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[339] A. P. Hill—that is to say, more than one-third of Lee's army— were still on the right side of the Potomac; the opportunity for making a sudden and decisive attack, which had been lost the day before, presented itself again to the Federal commander, and the very elements seemed to conspire in his favor. The scorching day of the 15th had been followed by one of those clear, fresh nights which, in that climate of opposite extremes, announce the approach of autumn, and from early dawn on the 16th a thick fog, rising from the humid plains which border the Potomac and the Antietam, enveloped both armies in an impenetrable veil. This mist would have concealed the movements of McClellan if he had been ready, and enabled him to mass all his forces upon such a point of the enemy's line as he might have thought proper to attack; it was, however, only the cause of fresh delays for the Federal army. The latter, in fact, had only taken its positions for battle after the very tardy arrival of the ammunition trains; and when ready to march, it had to wait until the sun had dissipated the mist, and had lighted up the passes of the Antietam, which it had not been possible to reconnoitre the day before. Precious time was thus lost, and half the day had already passed before McClellan was able to fix upon his plan of battle. Meanwhile, his several corps had deployed along the heights which border the valley of the Antietam to the east, and kept up a brisk artillery combat with the Confederates. Burnside, with the Ninth corps, occupied the hills south of the Rohrersville road. On those over which the Keedysville road passed were ranged in first line Sykes' division on the left of the road, and Richardson's on the right, in the position they had taken the day previous. The other two divisions of Sumner's corps were massed in rear of Richardson. More to the right, Hooker, with the heads of column of his first division, had also planted himself the evening before upon the heights whence the road from Keedysville to Williamsport, inclining to the right, descends toward the Antietam. The remainder of his army corps had joined him during the night. He was closely followed by Mansfield's small corps, which had halted behind him. Finally, Pleasanton with his cavalry already occupied the fords and the upper bridge of the Antietam. Thus McClellan had then in hand thirteen divisions of infantry and

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