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A Confederate artillery wreck at Antietam: a tragedy of the tremendous cannonade-why Lee did not renew the battle The battery-horses lie dead beside the shattered caissons and the litter of corn-cobs where, only a few hours before, they had munched at their last meal. The heavy loss to Lee's artillery in horses, caissons, and guns affected his decision not to renew the battle. From researches of Henderson, the British military historian, it appears that on the morning of September 18, 1862, after the roar of Antietam had died away, General Lee sent for Colonel Stephen D. Lee, and told him to report to General Jackson. They rode together to the top of a hill on which lay wrecked caissons, broken wheels, human corpses, and dead horses. Their view overlooked the Federal right. “Can you take fifty pieces of artillery and crush that force?” asked General Jackson. Colonel Lee gazed earnestly at the serried Union lines, bristling with guns unlimbered and ready for action, but could not bring himself to say no. “Yes, General; where will I get the fifty guns?” “How many have you?” asked General Jackson. “About twelve out of the thirty I carried into the action yesterday.” “I can furnish you some, and General Lee says he can furnish you some.” “Shall I go for the guns?” “No, not yet,” replied General Jackson. “Colonel Lee, can you crush the Federal right with fifty guns?” Although Colonel Lee evaded the question again and again, General Jackson pressed it home. Reluctantly the brave artillery officer admitted: “General, it cannot be done with fifty guns and the troops you have near here.” “Let us ride back, Colonel.” Colonel Lee reported the conversation to General Lee, and during the night the Army of Northern Virginia, with all its trains and artillery, recrossed the Potomac at Boteler's Ford.

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Stephen D. Lee (7)
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