, and then follow up the delivery of these right-handed and left-handed blows with an attack on the center of Lee
's lines, on the Boonsboro
road, by the 25,000 veterans under Porter
, that were massed in his front and ready to attack when ordered.
Numerous batteries of artillery lined the bluffs all along the eastern bank of the Antietam, many of them with long range guns that could fire into and even beyond the Confederate
had revealed his plans to Lee
by placing his troops in the positions indicated, or very near them, in the afternoon of the 16th.
It may be well to repeat the disposition of Lee
's forces to meet these three threatened attacks.
, with his cavalry, held the extreme left, where the great bend of the Potomac
to the eastward approaches to within a mile of the Hagerstown turnpike
's right was Jackson
's command, with its left pivoted amid the giant oaks and the great outcroppings of limestone strata, vertically disposed, where he had placed Early
: thence his lines stretched eastwardly, covering the roads converging at the Dunker church.
Nearly at right angles to Jackson
's line were the troops of D. H. Hill
, prolonged to the southward to opposite the Burnside bridge
' brigade, of 600 Georgians, advanced to the front, held the rocky, wooded bluff that overlooked and commanded the Burnside bridge
On the ridge behind Toombs
, at early dawn of the 17th, Lee
placed J. G. Walker
's 3,200 men, with batteries on his right and on the higher hill in his rear; while still farther to the right, covering a ford below the Burnside bridge
, was placed another battery and a portion of cavalry.
's entire force, of all arms, at the close of the 16th, was about 25,000 men, with which to oppose McClellan
Orders of urgency called McLaws
and A. P. Hill
to promptly bring forward from Harper's Ferry
their 10,000 fighting men.
As early as 3 o'clock on the morning of the 17th, two hours and a half before the rising of the sun, Hooker
sent forward his skirmishers in the East
woods, and as the sun looked over the lovely Cumberland valley
from the crest of the South
mountain, he boldly and impetuously urged forward his lines of I 2,500 muskets against Jackson
's front of but 3,500. Six Confederate batteries, well disposed in front of Jackson
's line, wrought havoc