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Chapter 4:

Antietam.

ON the morning of September 15th, while Franklin was resuming his march toward Harper's Ferry, ignorant of the disaster we have just related, McClellan was quickening the pace of the long columns that were filing through the ensanguined gorges of Turner's Gap. The enemy had abandoned during the night the positions which the darkness had alone enabled him to hold the day before, while D. H. Hill, preceded by Longstreet, was hastily falling back toward Boonsboroa. This village is situated at a point where the Middletown road, after descending front Turner's Gap, divides into four branches; one is a continuation of the main road to the west-north-west, toward Williamsport; another, running to the south-west, strikes the Potomac near Sharpsburg; the third, to the north-west, leads to Hagerstown; and the last, to the south-east, is that of Rohrersville. The first three cross the Antietam, which flows directly south from Hagerstown to the Potomac. The hills bordering this small river lie parallel to the crests of South Mountain; they have neither the elevation nor steep acclivities of that chain, but are the more easily defended, because the Antietam, sluggish and deep, has only a small number of fords, that are almost impassable. Having been unable to defend South Mountain, Lee was obliged to halt in the rear of this water-course to hold McClellan in check and wait for Jackson. The rapid march of the Federal army compelled him to fight before resuming his project of invading Pennsylvania. By continuing his march upon Hagerstown, as he had originally intended, he gave McClellan an opportunity to place himself between him and the conquerors of Harper's Ferry. It was essential, above all, to draw near them, which obliged him to hug the shore of the Potomac, while his heads of column,

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