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[341] the large clearing adjoining this church to the north and east. But as nearly the whole day had been devoted to the preparations for battle, this first engagement began very late, and the combatants were soon separated by the darkness. Owing to the facilities offered by the ground, the resistance encountered by Hooker had been very spirited; and the extension of the Federal columns, as the consequence of a rapid march, did not permit the assailants to engage all their troops.

Mansfield's corps crossed the Antietam during the night, and took position at a distance of two kilometres in rear of Hooker's. Sumner was to follow him at daybreak at the head of the second corps. Franklin, with the divisions of Smith and Slocum, was to leave his bivouac in Pleasant Valley at six o'clock in the morning; taking the Keedysville road, he would be able to reach the field of battle toward ten o'clock. Porter, with his second division, Morrell's, was also to reach it in the course of the morning. The entire Federal army, except Couch's division, would then be concentrated on the Antietam, and the opportunity for crushing a divided enemy—an opportunity which it could not seize on the evening of the 15th nor during the whole of the 16th—would perhaps again present itself early on the 17th. Indeed, McLaws, A. P. Hill and Anderson were yet at some distance from Sharpsburg, on the right bank of the Potomac. Lee, who had easily fathomed the plan of his adversary, reinforced his left wing. Jackson, separating himself from the centre, came to relieve Hood's brigades in the woods they had so stubbornly defended the previous evening, and in which they had sustained great losses. The centre, formed by D. H. Hill, was to support him if necessary.

Without losing an instant, Hooker renewed his attack against the adversary he had been feeling the day previous, imparting to his soldiers that dash which constituted him so good a division commander. McClellan desired to draw all the enemy's forces to the environs of Dunker Church, and thus to compel him to weaken his centre and right, and then to take advantage of it to enable Burnside to carry the bridge of the Rohrersville road over the Antietam. Having once control of this crossing, the Federals, who were menacing Sharpsburg and the Williamsport ford,

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