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Doc. 122.-battle of Antietam, Md.1

Despatch from General Hooker.

Centreville, Md., Wednesday, September 17.
A great battle has been fought and we are victorious. I had the honor to open it yesterday afternoon, and it continued until ten o'clock this morning, when I was wounded, and compelled to quit the field.

The battle was fought with great violence on both sides. The carnage has been awful.

I only regret that I was not permitted to take part in the operations until they were concluded, for I had counted on either capturing their army or driving them into the Potomac.

My wound has been painful, but it is not one that will be likely to lay me up. I was shot through the foot.

J. Hooker, Brigadier-General.

Brigadier-General Cox's report.

headquarters Ninth army corps, mouth of Antietam, September 23, 1862.
Lieutenant-Colonel L. Richmond, A. A. G., Headquarters Right Wing, Major-General Burnside Commanding:
sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements of the Ninth army corps on the sixteenth instant, and their parts in the battle of Sharpsburgh on the seventeenth.

On the evening of the fifteenth instant the Ninth army corps having been ordered away from the remainder of the right wing, was encamped in the rear of the extreme left of the whole line of the army of the Potomac, close to the hills on the south-east side of the valley of the Antietam, and on the left of the road from Rohersville to Sharpsburgh.

In the afternoon of the sixteenth the whole corps, except Wilcox's division, was moved forward, and to the left and front, by command of Major-Gen. Burnside, in three columns, and took up a new position upon the rear slopes of the ridges on the left bank of the Antietam, the centre of the corps being nearly opposite the stone bridge over the stream on the above-mentioned road.

The positions assigned the divisions of the command were as follows: The right front to be occupied by Crook's brigade of the Kanawha division, supported in rear by Sturgis's division; a commanding knoll in the centre to be occupied by battery E, Second United States artillery, First Lieutenant Samuel N. Benjamin commanding, consisting of twenty-pounder Parrott guns; the left front to be occupied by Rodman's division, supported in rear by Ewing's brigade of the Kanawha division, (the whole of the latter division being under command of Col. E. P. Scammon.) The columns were conducted to their new position by staff-officers of the personal staff of Gen. Burnside. The artillery of the command, except Benjamin's battery, was held in reserve.

Shortly after daybreak on the seventeenth, the enemy's batteries opened upon the batteries of our line, and a brisk artillery fight began, in which Benjamin's battery and Durell's battery (the latter sent forward a little to the right of our position, under charge of Capt. Rawalle, by Gen. Sturgis) took an active part, cooperating with batteries of other corps on our right. Two of the enemy's caissons were exploded, and many of their guns silenced. The shot and shell fell thickly in our bivouac, but little damage was done us.

About seven o'clock orders were received from Gen. Burnside to move forward the corps to the ridge nearest the Antietam and hold it in readiness to cross the stream, carrying the bridge and the heights above it by assault. The command was moved forward in columns as it had been formed the previous night, and promptly took position as directed, and the light artillery was advanced to cover the movement; McMullin's, Durell's, Clark's, Muhlenberg's and Cook's batteries being placed on the heights to right and left, and somewhat to the front of Benjamin's battery, to which a section of twenty-pounders from Simmons's battery was also temporarily attached. Wilcox's division was also brought up and held as a reserve.

About nine o'clock the order was received to cross the stream. Immediately the Eleventh Connecticut infantry, Col. Kingsbury commanding, was detailed from Rodman's division to deploy as skirmishers, and drive the enemy from the head of the bridge. The column on the right (Crook's brigade of the Kanawha division, supported by Sturgis's division) was ordered to march under cover of the Eleventh Connecticut, and attempt to carry the bridge by assault, deploying to right and left as soon as the bridge should be carried, and taking the heights above it. The column on the left (Rodman's division, supported by Ewing's brigade of the Kanawha division) was ordered to cross, if possible, by a ford about one third of a mile below the bridge, take the heights above it, and join the column crossing by the bridge.

The bridge itself is a stone structure of three arches, with stone parapet above, this parapet to some extent flanking the approach to the bridge at either end.

The valley in which the stream runs is quite narrow, the steep slope on the right bank approaching to the water's edge. In this slope the roadway is scarped, running both ways from the bridge and passing to the higher land above by ascending through ravines, above and below — the other ravine being some six hundred yards above the bridge, the town about half that distance below. On the hill-side immediately above the bridge was a strong stone fence running parallel [455] to the stream, the turns of the roadway were covered by rifle-pits and breastworks made of rails and stone, all of which defences, as well as the woods which covered the slope, were filled with the enemy's infantry and sharp-shooters. Beside the infantry defences, batteries were placed to enfilade the bridge and all its approaches. The crest of the first hill above the bridge is curved toward the steam, forming a sort of natural tete de pont. The next ridge beyond rises somewhat higher, though with less regularity, the depression between the two being but slight, and the distance varying in places from three to seven hundred yards.

In accordance with the order mentioned above, the Eleventh Connecticut advanced to the stream and warmly engaged the enemy across it. Crook's brigade in moving forward was brought under so lively an infantry fire as well as that of artillery, that it was forced to halt and open fire in return, and Sturgis's division passing by the rear came first to the bridge and was ordered to cross, under protection of the artillery-fire. General Sturgis ordered forward the Second Maryland and Sixth New-Hampshire, which charged at double-quick, with fixed bayonets; but the concentrated fire upon the bridge forced them to fall back. After repeated brave efforts these regiments were withdrawn and the Fifty-first New-York and Fifty-first Pennsylvania, from the same division, were ordered up. About the same time Col. Crook of the Second brigade, Kanawha division, succeeded in getting a section of Simmons's battery, supported by the Twenty-eighth Ohio infantry, in position to bear directly upon the enemy's position at the farthest end of the bridge, and, aided with these guns, the fresh troops charged with great enthusiasm, bearing down all opposition, and at one o'clock planted their banner on the opposite bank. In this desperate fight in the Valley, Col. Kingsbury, of the Eleventh Connecticut, fell, cheering his men on to their duty.

Gen. Sturgis's division immediately marched over, deploying one brigade to the right and the other to the left of the bridge, and advanced up the slope, driving the enemy before them. This division was followed by Col. Crook's brigade, of the Kanawha division, which took position on the right.

Meanwhile, Gen. Rodman's division and the First brigade of the Kanawha division, under Col. Scammon, had succeeded in crossing at the ford below, after a sharp engagement and under a heavy musketry and artillery-fire, and successfully took the position assigned, at the left of the line, of the crest above the bridge. The three divisions of the corps, at this. time on the right bank of the Antietam, occupied the exact positions assigned them before the commencement of the movement, except that on the right wing the division of Sturgis was in front, and Crook's brigade in support of it — the order being reversed by the causes before stated.

The bitterly contested fight at the bridge having about exhausted the ammunition and greatly fatigued the troops engaged, I sent a request to Gen. Burnside that Wilcox's division, which had been held in reserve on the left bank, might be sent over and take its place on, the right front, putting Sturgis's division in reserve at the head of the bridge. This was immediately ordered by Gen. Burnside, and Gen. Wilcox came promptly forward with his command. During the interval the enemy kept up an incessant cannonade, and having the exact range of the valley and the ravines, his shells came in very fast, annoying us a good deal, causing numerous casualties, notwithstanding the men were kept lying on the ground near the crests of the hill, whilst the changes in the line and the partially new formation after the arrival of Wilcox's division were being made.

At about three o'clock, the necessary changes in the line having been completed, the order to advance was received from Gen. Burnside, and the whole force, except Sturgis's division, was put in motion. Gen. Wilcox on the right — his whole division in line and supported by Col. Crook--was ordered to move on Sharpsburgh, which lay about a mile distant to the right of our front.

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