's big army. corps from crossing, although he was constantly urged by McClellan
so to do and help to carry out his original plan for crushing Lee
. With unsurpassed bravery and gallantry, Sturgis
advanced upon the bridge, aided by a heavy cannonade from the bluffs above, that, at short range, hurled shot and shell against Toombs
' Georgians, who, during four hours of fierce contention, drove back four distinct storming parties and held to their position amid the rocks and trees of the bluff overlooking the bridge.
Finding he could not carry this by direct assault, Burnside
's division, by a wide detour to his left, to cross a lower ford of the Antietam
and fall upon Toombs
This forced the Georgians to retire, and at 1 o'clock Burnside
began crossing the bridge, after relieving the brave division that had been exhausted in the attempt to carry it by storm.
It took Burnside
an hour to cross and array his men on the ridges above the bridge.
This disposition of a fresh corps, for assault upon his right, was in full view of Lee
from his rock in front of Sharpsburg
Undisturbed by this, he had directed Jackson
to assail the Federal
right, knowing, by messages from A. P. Hill
, that his command was just about crossing the Potomac
, coming from Harper's Ferry
, and would soon become an important factor on the field in dealing with Burnside
The latter advanced boldly, captured a Confederate battery, and drove back, to near Sharpsburg
, the division of D. R. Jones
, and by 3 o'clock his 12,000 were ready to fall upon the 2,000 of Longstreet
that were tenaciously holding the immediate front of Sharpsburg
and the road leading thence southward toward the Potomac
That same hour brought A. P. Hill
up from Boteler's ford, and across to the commanding plateau along which runs the road from Sharpsburg
to the mouth of the Antietam.
His men were wearied by a march of 17 miles, including the fording of the Potomac
, in seven hours, but the fiery Hill
, who was always ready and impatient to begin a fight, promptly formed his lines, poured a storm of shot and shell from his well-placed artillery, and then rushed forward his men, with a wild yell, upon the masses of Burnside
's troops and forced them to seek safety, in flight, under cover of their guns, beyond the Antietam
, after leaving one-third of their number upon the field of