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[336] second, which, inclining eastward before their point of confluence, approaches within four kilometres of the valley of the Antietam. It was in this peninsula that Lee awaited McClellan's attack. Its centre is occupied by the small town of Sharpsburg; the ground is extremely undulating, bristling with rocks, about equally covered with woods and cultivated fields, and interspersed by a large number of farms and cabins. Four principal roads start from Sharpsburg. One, to the north, crossing the isthmus between the Antietam and the Potomac, runs in the direction of Hagerstown. The second, to the south-west, leads to Sheppardstown, on the right side of the river, by an excellent ford in dry weather. The third, to the south-east, leads to Rohrersville, crossing the Antietam over a stone bridge at a distance of sixteen hundred metres from Sharpsburg. The fourth, to the north-east, leads to Boonesboroa, through Keedysville, a village situated on the other side of the Antietam, and crosses this stream sixteen hundred metres above the preceding one. It was by the last road that the first two divisions of the army of the Potomac had emerged on the evening of the 15th, in front of the enemy's positions. Among the numerous roads of less importance which furrow the peninsula, we must mention two—that of Harper's Ferry, which winds along the left bank of the Potomac, crossing the Antietam near its mouth, and that which connects Williamsport, a large village situated higher up on the Potomac, with this same village of Keedysville. Before crossing the Hagerstown pike, this road crosses the Antietam four kilometres above the bridge of the Sharpsburg and Keedysville road—that is to say, nearly on a line with the point where the isthmus commences. There are consequently four stone bridges spanning the Antietam. Those of the roads from Boonsboroa through Keedysville, from Rohrersville and Harper's Ferry, are thrown across the river in that portion of its course where it is no longer fordable; they present, therefore, the only practicable passages for surmounting this obstacle; they are very narrow, difficult of access, and entirely commanded by the heights on the right bank. Setting aside the one situated at the lowest point as too distant to be dangerous, Lee had only to guard the two other bridges in order to effectually cover his front on that side. Above the bridge of

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