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[332] turning to the left at Boonesboroa, proceeded in the direction of Sharpsburg. He thus found himself within the acute angle formed by the Potomac and the Antietam, and was only nineteen kilometres from Harper's Ferry. His front was covered by a difficult stream, and he could recross the river behind him, if he should be vanquished in the defensive battle he was preparing to fight, or if Jackson should need his assistance. If victorious, he could at his option either enter Pennsylvania or drive McClellan back upon South Mountain and Washington. On the morning of the 15th he established himself in this excellent position.

Meanwhile, McClellan, who displayed great activity, was following him very close. A brilliant skirmish marked the entrance of his cavalry into Boonesboroa. He was in hopes of being able to attack the Confederates the same day, the 15th, for he was aware that Lee had only D. H. Hill and Longstreet with him, and that the remainder of his army could not yet have joined him. But he also knew almost certainly that Harper's Ferry had capitulated, and that consequently the indefatigable Jackson must already be on the march to join his chief. In fact, he had learnt from Franklin that at eight o'clock that very day the cannonade around Harper's Ferry had suddenly ceased, and that very shortly after he had met a considerable number of the enemy's forces in Pleasant Valley. In the presence of these forces he had halted, justly deeming it too late to attempt to rescue Miles' troops, and imprudent to proceed farther in that direction. Upon this intelligence McClellan immediately ordered his lieutenant to come back, directing him to follow the Boonesboroa road; and the distance the latter had to overcome led him to hope that he would be able to unite the greater portion of the army before Jackson, on his side, should join the enemy. At all events, Lee's movement upon Sharpsburg rendered the chances in the race between Jackson and Franklin about equal, and the junction of these two corps with their respective armies was the aim of all the manoeuvres which were to result in a great contest on the borders of the Antietam. Lee knew it as well as his adversary; he was therefore waiting with great impatience to hear from Jackson. At last the news came to Sharpsburg of the capitulation of Harper's Ferry and its twelve thousand defenders. The

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