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Chapter 7:

Immediately after the Rappahannock campaign, General Lee, desiring if possible ‘to inflict futher injury upon the enemy’ before the season for active operations passed, and believing that the best way to relieve Virginia was to threaten the North, decided to enter Maryland. He took the step fully aware that his army was poorly prepared for invasion. He knew, as he says, ‘that his army was feeble in transportation, the troops poorly supplied with clothing, and thousands of them destitute of shoes,’ still he rightly felt that seasoned as his men were by active service, and filled with enthusiasm and confidence as they were by their successes, he could rely on them for much self-denial and arduous campaigning. Moreover, the prospect ‘of shifting the burden of military occupation from Confederate to Federal soil,’ and of keeping the Federals out of Southern territory, at least until winter prohibited their re-entering, was alluring. Accordingly, he ordered the divisions of D. H. Hill and McLaws and Hampton's cavalry, which had been left to protect Richmond, to join him. These forces reported to the commander-in-chief near Chantilly on the 2d of September. Between the 4th and the 7th, the entire Confederate army crossed the Potomac at the fords [107] near Leesburg, and encamped in the vicinity of Frederick City.

Of this army, thirty regiments of infantry, one battalion of infantry, one cavalry regiment, and four batteries were from North Carolina. These were distributed as follows: The Fifteenth regiment was in McLaws' division; Ransom's brigade of four regiments was under Walker, as also were the Twenty-seventh, Forty-sixth and Forty-eighth; the Sixth was with Hood; the Twenty-first and the First battalion were in Ewell's division; Branch with five regiments, and Pender with four, were under A. P. Hill; Garland with five, Anderson with four, and Ripley with two regiments were in D. H. Hill's division. The cavalry was under Stuart, and the batteries were scattered.

It had been supposed that as the Confederates advanced, the Federal garrisons at Harper's Ferry and Martinsburg would be withdrawn. Although General McClellan advised this, General Halleck prevented it. So, General Jackson, General McLaws and General Walker were sent to invest these places, and the rest of the army—Longstreet's and D. H. Hill's divisions—was ordered to cross South mountain and move toward Boonsboro, where the army was to be concentrated on the fall of Harper's Ferry.

Meanwhile, General McClellan, Pope having been relieved of command, was advancing by slow stages toward his adversaries, and cautiously trying to discover their intentions. On the 13th he reached Frederick, just after it had been evacuated by the Confederates. There he received, says Longstreet, such a complete revelation of his adversary's plans and purposes as no other commander, in the history of war, has ever received at a time so momentous.1 A copy of Lee's celebrated order No. 191, frequently known as the ‘lost dispatch,’ was found by Private Mitchell, of the Twenty-seventh Indiana [108] regiment, and at once transmitted through Colonel Colgrove to general headquarters. This ‘tell-tale slip of paper’ revealed to General McClellan that Lee's army was divided, that Harper's Ferry was to be invested; in addition, it

gave him the scarcely less important information where the rest of the army, trains, rear guard, cavalry and all were to march and to halt, and where the detached commands were to join the main body. The Antietam and Fredericksburg, p. 22.

As this important order was addressed to a North Carolina general, D. H. Hill, it should be stated here that it was neither received by him nor lost by him. General Hill's division was at that time attached to General Jackson's command, and hence, in accordance with military usage, he received all his orders through General Jackson. This fact seems to have been overlooked by some one at General Lee's headquarters when this order was prepared, and a copy of it was started to General Hill, but never reached him. By whom it was lost will probably never be known. General Hill, in a letter to the editors of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, (Vol. II, p. 570, note), says: ‘I went into Maryland under Jackson's command. I was under his command when Lee's order was issued. It was proper that I should receive that order through Jackson, and not through Lee. I have now before me the order received from Jackson. My adjutant-general made affidavit twenty years ago that no order was received at our office from General Lee. But an order from Lee's office, directed to me, was lost and fell into McClellan's hands. Did the courier lose it? Did Lee's own staff officers lose it? I do not know.’ The copy that reached Hill was in Jackson's own handwriting So important did that officer consider the order that he did not trust his adjutant to copy it, but made the copy himself. With like care, General Hill preserved the [109] order then, and preserved it until his death. Who lost the order from General Lee is not known, but it is absolutely certain that General Hill did not lose it.

To relieve Harper's Ferry and to strike the divided Confederates, it became necessary for McClellan to pass through the gaps of South mountain, for the direct turnpike by Knoxville was not suited to military purposes. He accordingly put his army in motion

to cut the enemy in two and beat him in detail. Order to Franklin, September 13th.

Franklin and Couch were to move through Crampton's gap, and their duty was first to cut off, destroy, or capture McLaws' command, and relieve Colonel Miles at Harper's Ferry; if too late to aid Miles, they were to turn toward Sharpsburg to prevent the retreat of Longstreet and D. H. Hill, who were to be attacked by the main body. All the rest of McClellan's army set out, by way of Turner's gap and Fox's gap, for Boonsboro. This main part of the army was intended to crush Longstreet and D. H. Hill, and then to join Franklin against Jackson, McLaws, and Walker.

So unexpected was the movement, and so successfully did the Federals mask the march of their army on the two gaps, that General Stuart's cavalrymen, ever untiring and daring, had not found out up to the time of attack on these gaps that McClellan's whole army was before them. When the cannon opened at Crampton's gap, General McLaws, who heard it from Maryland heights, attached no special significance to it. He says in his official report, ‘I felt no particular concern about it . . . . . and General Stuart, who was with me on the heights and had just come in from above, told me that he did not believe there was more than a brigade of the enemy.’ This ‘brigade’ turned out to be Slocum's division of Franklin's corps, and Smith's division of the same corps was soon added. The gap at that time was held only by Colonel Munford with two regiments of cavalry, Chew's battery, [110] and a section of the Portsmouth naval battery, supported by ‘two fragments of regiments’ of Mahone's brigade, under Colonel Parham. Colonel Munford reports that the two infantry regiments numbered scarcely 300. This small band made a most determined stand for three hours, for it had been directed to hold the gap at all hazards, and did not know that it was fighting Franklin's corps. The action began about noon. Gen. Howell Cobb with his brigade, consisting of the Fifteenth North Carolina regiment and three Georgia regiments, left Brownsville, two miles from the gap, about 5 o'clock, to reinforce Munford. On their arrival they went promptly at their enemies. Weight of numbers soon broke their thin line, and left the gap to Franklin. Manly's battery was engaged here all day, and General Semmes reports that it ‘did good service in breaking the enemy's line’ by its deliberate and well-directed fire. Cobb's total force, as stated by him,2 ‘did not exceed 2,200,’ while Franklin's, as given by him,3 ‘hardly exceeded 6,500.’ However, the last ‘field returns’ gave Franklin a force greatly in excess of those figures. Semmes' and Wilcox's brigades, that had been ordered up, did not reach the ground until during the night. Cobb's brigade loss was 690. The Fifteenth North Carolina lost 11 killed, 48 wounded, 124 captured or missing. McLaws ordered his brigades all up that night and set them in battle order, but Franklin did not press him the next morning.

While this action was going on, a conflict in which much larger forces were engaged was in progress at Turner's gap of South mountain. This action lasted from early morning until after dark, and, first and last, many troops took part; but until afternoon it was a series of small battles rather than a connected struggle. This was due to the fact that the Confederates, in small force in the morning, were trying to hold the gap, which was wide [111] and traversed by many roads. Hence their forces had to be scattered. But the defense made by these scattered brigades against odds was persistent and heroic. On the 13th, Stuart reported that his cavalry was followed by two brigades of infantry, and asked D. H. Hill, whose forces were closest to South mountain, to send a brigade to check the Federals at the foot of the mountain. Owing to long field service and poor equipment, Southern brigades were at that time very small.4 So instead of one brigade, Hill sent Garland's North Carolina brigade and Colquitt's Georgia brigade. Colquitt's brigade was posted by General Hill across the National turnpike. The Twenty-third and Twenty-eighth Georgia were placed behind a stone wall. Garland's North Carolina brigade took position at Fox's gap, on the old Sharpsburg road, and to the right of Colquitt. Garland had five regiments, but the five amounted to a little less than Zzz,000 men. The Fifth regiment, Colonel Mc-Rae, then Captain Garnett, was placed on the right of the road, with the Twelfth, Captain Snow, as its support. The Twenty-third, Colonel Christie, was posted behind a low stone wall on the left of the Fifth; then came the Twentieth, Colonel Iverson, and the Thirteenth, Lieutenant-Colonel Ruffin. From the nature of the ground and the duty to be performed, the regiments were not in contact, and the Thirteenth was 250 yards to the left of the Twentieth. Fifty skirmishers of the Fifth North Carolina soon encountered the Twenty-third Ohio, deployed as skirmishers under Lieut.-Col. R. B. Hayes (afterward President of the United States), and the action began at 9 a. m. between Cox's division and Garland's brigade.5

Against Garland's 1,000 men, General Cox, of Reno's corps, led the brigades of Scammon and Crook, stated by [112] Cox as ‘less than 3,000.’

The Thirteenth North Carolina, under Lieutenant-Colonel Ruffin, and the Twentieth, under Col. A. Iverson, were furiously assailed on the left. Both regiments were under tried and true soldiers, and they received the assault calmly. Lieutenant Crome ran up a section of artillery by hand, and opened with effect upon the Twentieth North Carolina; but the skirmishers under Captain Atwell of that regiment killed the gallant officer while he was serving as a gunner. The Federal effort was to turn the left where the Thirteenth was posted. General Hill, in Battles and Leaders

There General Garland, who had been urged by Colonel Ruffin not to expose himself so needlessly, was killed. ‘Upon the fall of Garland, Colonel McRae assumed command, and ordered the two regiments on the left to close in to the right. This order was not received, or it was found to be impossible of execution. The main attack was on the Twenty-third North Carolina behind the stone wall.’ Its namesake, the Twenty-third Ohio, seems to have been particularly zealous in this attack. The Federals had a plunging fire upon this regiment from the crest of a hill, higher than the wall, and only about 50 yards from it. The Twelfth North Carolina, only 72 men strong, could not offer much aid. It was, says Minor, commanded by an inexperienced captain, and under his order fell back and was thrown in some disorder from a severe fire, but nearly half of its members attached themselves to the Thirteenth, and received Colonel Ruffin's commendation for bravery and ‘efficient aid.’ The fight in front of the wall was of the stub-bornest nature. Some of the Ohio men broke through a gap, and for a few seconds bayonets and clubbed muskets were brought into play. Cox's numbers enabled him to fall on both flanks of the Carolinians, and this, with an assault on their center, broke them in confusion. Garland's death at the most critical time had also a depressing effect. Colonel Ruffin and part of his regiment were [113] entirely surrounded at one time, but fought their way out with great gallantry.

With the breaking of Garland's brigade, the enemy had no one in his front. Colquitt's brigade could not be moved from its important position, and Hill's other brigades had not come up. General Hill, in desperation, ran two guns down from above, and, to give the appearance of infantry support, formed behind them a dismounted line of staff officers, teamsters, cooks and couriers. General Cox, however, did not know that he had an open front, and remained stationary. Half an hour later, Gen. G. B. Anderson arrived with his small North Carolina brigade. Anderson was sent to hold one of the two roads to the right of the turnpike, and nearer than the one on which Garland met his death. General Rosser with one regiment of cavalry and a few pieces of artillery occupied the other, and behaved gallantly during the day. Anderson made a gallant effort to recover the ground lost by Garland, but failed. Shortly after, Rodes' brigade reached the field and was ordered to a commanding position considerably to the left of Colquitt. Ripley on arriving was directed to attach himself to Anderson's left. Anderson, thus strengthened, moved the Second and Fourth North Carolina forward to see what was in his front, and the Fourth was fired into by a whole brigade, which, however, did not follow the Fourth as it moved back to its position. A skirmish line attack on Colquitt was driven back. While waiting for reinforcements, all Hill's available artillery was kept busy. General Cox, from his article in ‘Battles and Leaders,’ evidently thought that up to this time he had fought Hill's whole division, whereas he had engaged only two brigades of it.

About 3:30 p. m., Col. G. T. Anderson's brigade and Drayton's brigade, of Longstreet's corps, arrived after an exhausting march of fourteen miles from Hagerstown. These brigades were sent to Ripley's left, and took position in front of Cox. In some way, Ripley's brigade got [114] out of line and marched backward and forward without finding its position, and ‘did not fire a gun all day.’ General Hill now ordered his men forward. He had already found from an early morning observation that General McClellan's large army was advancing on the pass, and while such an advance made his position hazardous, he was relieved to find McClellan in his front in such force, for the Confederates had feared that the Federals would cross nearer to Crampton's and strike McLaws' rear before Harper's Ferry surrendered. While Longstreet's brigades were reaching the top of the mountains, the Federals were steadily marching heavy columns up to push their way through. Reno's other divisions, Willcox, Sturgis, Rodman, joined Cox and formed on the Confederate right. The First corps under Hooker, consisting of three divisions of 42 regiments of infantry, 10 batteries and cavalry, formed on the Confederate left to attack the position held by Rodes. Gibbon, of this corps, advanced on the National turnpike against Colquitt. Before the general advance in the afternoon, the Federals had, according to General McClellan, 30,000 men; according to ‘Battles and Leaders of the Civil War,’ 23,778 men on the field of battle. The Confederates at no time during the day had over 9,000 men on the field, and at the time of the opening attack on Rodes' position, Hill's division of less than 5,000 men had been reinforced by only the brigades of G. T. Anderson and Drayton and Hood's two.

The general advance in the afternoon divided itself into three separate actions—that on the Confederate right, that on the extreme left, and that against Colquitt near the center. The attack on the right was made by Reno's corps. This fell on Anderson's and a portion of Garland's North Carolinians, Drayton's South Carolinians and Georgians, and less heavily on G. T. Anderson's Georgians. Drayton's men were heavily attacked and broken. The other brigades held their own, with Hood's [115] assistance, and while there were frequent advances and retreats, remained on their line till withdrawn for Sharpsburg. On the left, Rodes' gallant brigade of 1,200, attacked by the whole of Meade's division of Hooker's corps, made one of the most memorable stands of the war. Although fairly enveloped, he reformed and fought repeatedly, his men perfectly controlled, until at dusk Evans brought him relief enough to save him from destruction. Hatch's division advanced in beautiful order between Meade and Gibbon. As these brigades moved forward at first, there was not a Confederate soldier to oppose them. The brigades of Kemper and of Garnett from Longstreet arrived, jaded and worn, but just in time to form in the face of Hatch. These two brigades, together not numbering over 800 men,6 fought Hatch's men, numbering 3,500 men,7 and held their own until both sides, exhausted, fell asleep within 100 yards of each other.

Gibbon made, just before dark, a furious attack on Colquitt's men posted across the pike. This assault was especially directed against Colquitt's two brave regiments behind the stone fence. Gibbon lost 38 of his 1,500 men, but failed to move Colquitt from his advantageous position.

During this day of scattered battles, many gallant officers and men on both sides were killed or wounded. Of the Federals, General Reno, commanding a corps, was killed by the Twenty-third North Carolina.8 General Hatch was wounded, as were also Colonels Gallagher and Wainwright, both commanding brigades. The death of General Garland was a serious loss to the Confederates. Daring to the point of recklessness, courteous, just and upright, he had completely won the affection of his Carolina brigade, which followed him with the utmost loyalty and confidence. [116]

That night General Lee determined to withdraw his troops and concentrate on Sharpsburg. Maj. J. W. Ratchford, of General Hill's staff, one of the bravest of the brave, was sent in company with staff officers from General Longstreet's and General Hood's commands to give the requisite orders. So close were the contending lines, that Major Ratchford says that in some places they had to approach the lines on hands and knees and give the orders in a whisper. The retirement to Sharpsburg was made in good order and covered by the cavalry, which during the Maryland campaign was kept busy. The day before the battles just described, the First North Carolina cavalry, Col. L. S. Baker, had taken part in a sharp artillery and cavalry fight at Middletown. Colonel Baker's regiment held the rear, and, General Stuart says, acted with conspicuous gallantry. General Hampton says of the same battle that this regiment was exposed to a severe fire of artillery and musketry, which it bore without flinching; nor was there the slightest confusion in its ranks. The regiment had eight men wounded, and Captain Siler lost a leg.

On the 15th, Harper's Ferry surrendered, and the troops operating against it were free to hasten a junction with Lee, now seriously endangered. Nothing but the desperate resistance to the Federal advance at the mountain gaps saved Lee, for this check to the movement of the Federals gave Jackson and his comrades time to receive the surrender of Harper's Ferry, and then to reach Sharpsburg early enough to participate in that great battle. During the investment of this beautiful place, the divisions of Jackson, McLaws and Walker had co-operated. McLaws, on the north bank of the river, seized Maryland heights and placed his artillery in position where it did execution. General Walker approached on the Hillsboro road. At the foot of Loudon heights, he sent Colonel Cooke with the Twenty-seventh North Carolina to occupy the heights. Batteries were then [117] established, and on the 14th engaged in an artillery duel with the enemy, in which Maj. F. L. Wiatt, of the Forty-eighth North Carolina, was wounded, and one or two privates were also struck. General Jackson moved by way of the Winchester & Harper's Ferry railroad. On nearing the town, General Pender, in command of his own, Archer's and Brockenbrough's brigades, was sent to seize a crest overlooking the town, which was done with slight loss. This eminence was that night crowned with artillery. Generals Branch and Gregg marched along the river and occupied the plains in rear of the enemy's works. Ewell's division was moved into position on Schoolhouse hill, and other batteries were placed. On the 15th, all the guns on both sides opened with much noise and little destruction. Just as General Pender prepared to move his infantry forward in assault, a white flag was displayed, and General White, the commanding officer, surrendered 11,000 men, 73 pieces of artillery, 13,000 small-arms, and other stores.9

After a brief rest, Jackson and Walker started to join their commander. ‘By a severe night march,’ they reached Sharpsburg about noon on the 16th. General Walker says: ‘The thought of General Lee's perilous situation, with the Potomac river on his rear, confronting with his small force McClellan's vast army, had haunted me through the long hours of the night's march.’10 A. P. Hill and McLaws followed Jackson, arriving during the battle when they were sorely needed. When Jackson and Walker reported for position, General Lee's ground had been selected, and he had placed Longstreet on his right and D. H. Hill to Longstreet's left. The line of battle extended along a slight crest, parallel to the Antietam river, and just in front of the village of Sharpsburg. General Jackson was assigned to the extreme left, his right connecting with Hill's left, and his line at first [118] being almost parallel to the Hagerstown turnpike. General Walker was first placed on Longstreet's right, but subsequently moved to reinforce the left.

The Confederate army had now been continuously engaged since early spring. It had not had the rest that a large part of McClellan's army enjoyed while Pope was engaging Lee. In this campaign its marches had been long and its men so badly clothed and fed that the straggling, even of good soldiers, was enormous. Hungry men may fight well, but they do not march well. Moreover, many of Lee's men had been wounded more than once during the year and their bodies were consequently frail, and hard service and hunger told fearfully on these weakened men. Hence it was with largely-depleted ranks that Lee faced McClellan at Sharpsburg. The Federals, on the other hand, had moved slowly from around Washington, had an abundant commissariat, and were well clothed and in all respects well supplied.

On the afternoon of the 16th, Hooker crossed the Antietam without opposition, and after a sharp assault on Hood's brigades, which had been moved to D. H. Hill's left before Jackson's arrival, bivouacked on that side of the river. The Sixth North Carolina was engaged in this attack on Hood. During the night Hood was withdrawn to allow his men, ‘who had been without food for three days, except a half ration of beef for one day, and green corn,’ to cook. The brigades of Trimble and Law, of Jackson's corps, took Hood's place on the line, Trimble connecting with Hill. During the night the Federals were not idle. General Mansfield, with the Twelfth corps, crossed and moved up behind Hooker. This made five Federal divisions ready to fall on the Confederate left in the morning.

Before daylight on the 17th, the reverberation of cannon along the sluggish Antietam ushered in the most bloody one day's shock of battle yet seen on the western continent Before merciful night intervened to stop [119] the fratricidal strife, 11,657 Federal soldiers lay dead or wounded on the river slopes, and almost 10,000 Southerners lay near them. The choicest soldiers of two great armies of countrymen had met, wrestled to sheer exhaustion for victory, and yet, as the day closed, the line of battle stood nearly as it began.

As soon as it was light enough to see, Hooker moved his three divisions against the Confederate left flank. The attack fell first on Jackson, and Ripley, of D. H. Hill's left, went to his aid, and fierce and bloody was the encounter. ‘The two lines,’ as Palfrey says, ‘almost tore each other to pieces.’ The carnage was simply frightful, and yet it was only beginning. Between 6 and 7 o'clock Mansfield pressed forward to support Hooker. The Twenty-first North Carolina and the First battalion, of Ewell's division, and the First and Third regiments of D. H. Hill's division were so far the only North Carolina troops engaged. Hood is now sent for, and the Sixth regiment, Major Webb, enters with him. G. T. Anderson enters to brace the Confederate left. Doubleday's attack was driven back, Gibbon and Phelps suffering terribly; the Confederates, however, were repulsed in an effort to follow their advantage. Hofmann and Ricketts, and subsequently Mansfield's brigades, moved further toward the Confederate center, and this brought into action the brigades of Colquitt and Garland, of D. H. Hill's division. Garland's brigade was commanded by Col. D. K. McRae, and included the Fifth, Twelfth, Thirteenth, Twentieth and Twenty-third North Carolina regiments. The artillery, under Col. S. D. Lee and Major Frobel, watched for its opportunity, moved for every commanding position, and was most handsomely served. During this time men had fallen as leaves fall. So thick were men lying that General Hood found difficulty in keeping his horse from stepping on wounded men. On the Federal side, General Mansfield was killed; Generals Hooker, Hartsuff, Crawford and many subordinates were [120] wounded. On the Confederate side, General Starke and Colonel Douglass, commanding Lawton's brigade, had been killed; Generals Lawton, D. R. Jones and Ripley wounded. A third of the men of Lawton's, Hays' and Trimble's brigades were reported killed or wounded. Of Colquitt's field officers, 4 were killed, 5 wounded, and the remaining one struck slightly. All of Jackson's and D. H. Hill's troops engaged suffered proportionately.11

As Mansfield's men of the Twelfth corps deployed, Hooker's corps, worn from its struggle with Jackson, withdrew up the Hagerstown pike. General Longstreet says: ‘Walker, Hood and D. H. Hill attacked against the Twelfth corps; worn by its fight against Jackson, it was driven back as far as the post and rail fence on the east open, where they were checked. They (the Confederates) were outside of the line, their left in the air, and exposed to the fire of a 30-gun battery posted at long range on the Hagerstown ridge by General Doubleday. Their left was withdrawn and the line rectified, when Greene's brigade of the Twelfth resumed position in the northeast angle of the wood, which it held until Sedgwick's division came in bold march.’

The Sixth Regiment History says of the part of that command: ‘The enemy's guns in our front poured shot and shell in us while we were exposed to a cross-fire from his long-range guns, posted on the northeast side of Antietam creek. . . . Our line was called into action, and moved to the front on the Snaketown road, and between it and the Hagerstown pike. The front line had made a noble stand, but they were being pressed back. The enemy with fresh lines was pushing forward when we met them. Here it was that, for the first time in the war, I saw men fix their bayonets in action, which they did at the command of General Hood, who was riding up and down the line. We broke their line and held our place for awhile, [121] but the enemy was bringing up fresh columns and overlapping our left, and we were forced back. The enemy seemed to be overcoming us until our left was reinforced by troops ordered from our right. They engaged the enemy and drove them back of the Dunker church, and our lines were re-established.’ The Twenty-first, commanded by Capt. F. P. Miller, who was killed during the battle, along with the Twenty-first Georgia, was posted by Colonel Walker, commanding Trimble's brigade, behind a stone fence, and, says General Early, ‘concentrating their fire upon a part of the enemy's line in front of the latter [regiment], succeeded in breaking it.’ Colonel Thruston, of the Third North Carolina, gives this picture of the part of Ripley's brigade in the action on the left:

The house being passed, the Third North Carolina infantry mounted over the fence and through the orchard, when the order was given to change direction to the left to meet the pressure upon General Jackson, near what is known as the Dunker church. This change of front was admirable, though executed under heavy fire of infantry and artillery. Owing to this change, our line of battle was 500 yards further to the left than it was in the early morning, and brought us in close connection with the troops of the right, and in the deadly embrace of the enemy. I use the word embrace in its fullest meaning. Here Colonel DeRosset fell, severely wounded and permanently disabled, Captain Thruston taking command at once. It was now about 7:30 a. m. Jackson's troops were in the woods around, and west of the Dunker church and north of the Sharpsburg-Hagerstown turnpike. As we came up he advanced and drove the enemy back across a cornfield and into a piece of woods east and north of the church. Here the enemy, being reinforced by Mansfield's corps, returned to the assault, and the fighting became desperate for an hour. The two weak divisions of Jackson and one brigade of D. H. Hill fought and held in check the six12 divisions of Hooker and Mansfield; so tenaciously did their brave troops cling to the earth, that when reinforced by Hood and two [122] brigades of D. H. Hill, they were still north of the pike and contending for every inch of ground between it and the cornfield in front. At the moment when their ammunition was absolutely exhausted and all had been used from the boxes and pockets of dead comrades, the reinforcements of Hill and Hood, above referred to, came up and stayed the tide for a short time. Now Sumner with his three divisions put in appearance, when our thin lines were slowly pressed back by the weight of numbers into the woods, and beyond the church to the edge of a field to the south, through which the divisions of Walker and McLaws were hurrying to our assistance.

Garland's brigade under Colonel McRae went into action with alacrity, but owing to an unfortunate blunder of one of the captains, several of its regiments became unsteady and fell back in much confusion. The Twenty-third, General Hill reports, was kept intact, and moved to the sunken road. Portions of this brigade were rallied by Colonel McRae and Captain Garnett and others, and again joined in the battle.

A little before ten, General Walker, having been ordered from the right, pushed into the smoke and confusion of combat just behind Hood. Walker's division, consisting of Walker's own brigade and Ransom's brigade, was, with the exception of two regiments, composed of North Carolinians. His own brigade, under Manning and then under Col. E. D. Hall, of the Forty-sixth North Carolina, included the Twenty-seventh, Col. J. R. Cooke; the Forty-sixth, Colonel Hall, and the Forty-eighth, Col. R. C. Hill, North Carolina regiments; and Ransom's brigade comprised the Twenty-fourth, Col. J. L. Harris; the Twenty-fifth, Col. H. M. Rutledge; the Thirty-fifth, Col. M. W. Ransom, and the Forty-ninth, Lieut.-Col. L. M. McAfee, North Carolina regiments. As General Walker went in, he was notified that there was a gap of a third of a mile to the left of General Hill, and he detached the Twenty-seventh North Carolina and the Third Arkansas, under Col. J. R. Cooke, of the Carolina [123] regiment, to fill this gap, and well did they carry out their instructions. General McLaws' division from Harper's Ferry entered coincidently with Walker at 10:30.13

The second stage of the battle has now been reached. Hooker has retired and Mansfield has been brought to a stand. Jackson, worn and exhausted, has retired. Hood's brigade has been so cut to pieces that when its dauntless commander was asked, ‘Where is your division?’ he answered, ‘Dead on the field.’ D. H. Hill's three brigades have been drawn in, and only a small force guards the Confederate left. At this moment General Sumner marched against the Confederates with the Second corps of three divisions. General Sumner, as quoted by Longstreet, thus described the field when he advanced: ‘On going on the field, I found that General Hooker's corps had been dispersed and routed. I passed him some distance in the rear, where he had been carried wounded, but I saw nothing of his corps at all, as I was advancing with my command on the field. There were some troops lying down on the left which I took to belong to Mansfield's command. In the meantime, General Mansfield had been killed, and a portion of his corps (formerly Banks') had also been thrown into confusion.’ Sedgwick, of Sumner, was in the lead, and his three brigades moved toward the Dunker church and left it a little to their left. Just then there were not enough Confederates in his front to stop a brigade, but Walker, as seen above, was just arriving and McLaws was supporting him, and Early made splendid use of his brigade. Walker at the head of his six North Carolina regiments and two others, ‘charged headlong,’ says Gen. J. D. Cox, who commanded the extreme Federal left,

upon the left flank of Sedgwick's lines, which were soon thrown into confusion; and McLaws, passing by Walker's left, also threw his division diagonally upon the already broker. and retreating lines of Sumner. Taken at such disadvantage, [124] these had never a chance, and in spite of the heroic bravery of Sumner and Sedgwick, with most of their officers (Sedgwick being severely wounded), the division was driven off to the north with terrible losses, carrying along in the rout part of Williams' men, of the Twelfth corps. Battles and Leaders, II, 644.

Palfrey says: ‘Nearly 2,000 men were disabled in a moment.’ Then he adds, with a candor rare among some Federal participants:
The jubilant assertions of Confederate officers in regard to the repulse of Sedgwick's divisions are not more than the facts warrant. They did ‘drive the enemy before them in magnificent style;’ they did ‘sweep the woods with perfect ease; they did ’ inflict great loss on the enemy; they did drive them ‘not only through the woods, but (some of them, at any rate) over a field in front of the woods, and over two high fences beyond and into another body of woods (i. e., the east woods) over half a mile distant from the commencement of the fight.’ Antietam and Fredericksburg, p. 91.

In this rout of Sedgwick, the North Carolina regiments were destructive participants, Walker's division containing them being, as stated by Cox, the first to start the rout. On the right, Colonel Manning, commanding a brigade, took the Forty-sixth and Forty-eighth North Carolina and Thirteenth Virginia,

and dashed forward in gallant style, crossed the open field beyond, driving the enemy before them like sheep until, arriving at a long line of strong post and rail fences, behind which heavy masses of the enemy's infantry were lying, their advance was checked; these regiments, after suffering a heavy loss, were compelled to fall back to the woods. Walker's Official Report.

General Walker, however, mistakes about this advance being checked by Mansfield's men at this fence, so often mentioned in reports of this battle; for, as Lieut. W. F. Beasley has shown, the Forty-eighth (and perhaps the [125] others)
not only reached this fence, but drove the enemy from it, passed over and far beyond it (some 75 yards) before Lieut.-Col. S. H. Walkup ordered the regiment to fall back. Our Living and Dead, I, 330.

In the retirement of this regiment, Colonel Manning, a native of Pitt county, was severely wounded, and Col. E. D. Hall succeeded to the command of the brigade. To the left, General Ransom's brigade of Carolinians drove the enemy from the woods in its front, and then, with grim determination, held, for the rest of the day, that important position, called by General Walker ‘the key of the battlefield,’ in defiance of several sharp, later infantry attacks. Ransom's men endured a prolonged fire from the enemy's batteries on the extreme edge of the field. General Walker reports: ‘True to their duty, for eight hours our brave men lay upon the ground, taking advantage of such undulations and shallow ravines as gave promise of partial shelter, while this fearful storm raged a few feet above their heads, tearing the trees asunder, and filling the air with shrieks and explosions, realizing to the fullest the fearful sublimity of battle.’ Colonel Ransom, of the Thirty-fifth regiment, left in command of the brigade by the temporary absence on official duty of General Ransom, withstood a serious attack and led his command in a hot pursuit. The Twenty-seventh North Carolina and Third Arkansas regiments, left to guard the gap in the lines already mentioned, fought as an independent little brigade. Their conduct was so conspicuously gallant that it received the special commendation of the commander-in-chief, a corps commander, and two division commanders.

‘Thus,’ comments Palfrey upon Sedgwick's defeat at the end of the second stage of this great battle, ‘by 10 o'clock the successes of the morning were lost.’ The disappearance of Sedgwick ended the serious fighting on the left. But Sumner's remaining divisions, commanded by French and Richardson, were already on the [126] march against the Confederate center. The center was held by D. H. Hill. Three of his brigades had been used since early morning in the battle on the left; of these, Ripley's, the first to be engaged, had retired with Walker; Garland's had been badly broken; Colquitt's, after the fall of most of its officers, was withdrawn, but some of its men in desultory squads went back to active work on the line. So Hill was left with only the Alabama brigade of Rodes and the North Carolina brigade of G. B. Anderson to stand against the divisions of French and Richardson. To his left, the Twentysev-enth North Carolina and Third Alabama of Walker's brigade were still bravely in line. Against these two brigades and some regimental fragments, Richardson and French moved. ‘They came,’ says General Longstreet, ‘in brave style, in full appreciation of the work in hand, marched better than on drill, unfolded banners making gay their gallant step.’ But these were no holiday soldiers; they struck long and hard,14 and in vastly superior force.

So immovably, however, did the battle-tried North Carolinians and Alabamians, aided later by R. H. Anderson's division,15 die in piles on the sunken road in which they fought, that they have made it immortal as ‘Bloody Lane.’ Colonel Allan says:

After a most gallant resistance, Hill was driven from the Bloody Lane. Anderson was involved in the defeat, and it looked as if the enemy was about to pierce the Confederate center. The noble efforts of many brave men prevented this result. The artillery was managed and served with a skill never surpassed. Fragments of commands fought with a splendid determination. As General Longstreet says, the brave Col. J. R. Cooke (Twenty-seventh North Carolina) showed front to the enemy when he no longer [127] had a cartridge. Such instances of gallantry as Longstreet relates of his own staff did much to encourage our men. The manner in which Longstreet, D. H. Hill and other officers of high rank exposed themselves, contributed to the result, and though, as General Longstreet says, some ground was gained and held at this point by the Federals, the attempt to break through the center failed. Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XIV, p. 114.

Without any disparagement of the gallantry of the attackers, it must be said that their gaining the Bloody Lane was not entirely the result of their fighting, good as that was. General Rodes, whose men were in most excellent positions, having profited by their experience as campaigners and piled rails in front of the sunken road, ordered Colonel Lightfoot to turn his regiment to the left so as to meet an enfilade fire. Lightfoot seems to have misunderstood, and drew his men out of line and told the next regiment that the order was intended also for it. General Rodes was, at the time the movement began, aiding a wounded comrade, and was at the same time struck by a fragment of a shell. Before he could correct the mistake, the enemy poured into the gap. The withdrawal of these regiments, as unexpected to their commanders as it probably was to their enemies, gave their earnest assailants their first advantage.

While bravely discharging his duty in this part of the field, Gen. George B. Anderson, of North Carolina, received a wound that proved mortal. It is stated that he was the first officer in regular army service at the time to resign his commission to join the Confederacy, and he served his new government with zeal, ability and devotion. He was a man of winning manners, warm heart, modest manliness and intense love of truth. No man in service had gained more steadily the admiration and respect of his own men and officers, and the confidence of his superior officers.

There remains now only the final stage of this day of [128] slaughter. This was the attack of Burnside's corps, mainly directed by General Cox, as Burnside was in command of one of the wings. To make this attack, the corps thought it necessary to carry what has since been known as Burnside's bridge across the Antietam, held by two regiments and a part of a regiment from General Toombs' brigade. No more gallant deed was done that day than the defense of this bridge by those devoted Georgia regiments. The enemy, however, found a ford, and by attack from the men who crossed there and a direct assault on the bridge carried it. This was followed by the attack of this corps on the Confederate right, held by the division of D. R. Jones, in which there were no North Carolina troops. Jones' men stood manfully to their lines, but while his left baffled the efforts of Burnside's men, his right was overlapped and broken. At this crisis, A. P. Hill's division, after a hard march of 17 miles, deployed into battle line without a moment's breathing spell, and their fearless onslaught decided the day on the right. In his brigades were two purely North Carolina ones, Branch's and Pender's. General Longstreet, to whose corps Jones belonged, thus describes the close of the battle:

When General Lee found that General Jackson had left six of his brigades under Gen. A. P. Hill to receive the property and garrison surrendered at Harper's Ferry, he sent orders for them to join him, and by magic spell had them on the field to meet the final crisis.16 He ordered two of them, guided by Captain Latrobe, to guard against approach of other forces that might come against him by bridge No. 4, Pender's and Brockenbrough's, and threw Branch's, Gregg's and Archer's against the forefront of the battle, while Toombs', Kemper's and Garnett's engaged against its right. . . . Pegram's and Crenshaw's batteries were put in with A. P. Hill's three brigades. The Washington artillery, S. D. Lee's and Frobel's, found places for part of their batteries, ammunition replenished. [129] D. H. Hill found opportunity to put in parts of his artillery under Elliott, Boyce, Carter and Maurin. Toombs' absent regiments returned as he made his way around to the enemy's right, and joined the right of Gen. D. R. Jones. The strong battle concentrating against General Burnside seemed to spring from the earth as his march bore him further from the river. Outflanked and staggered by the gallant attack of A. P. Hill's brigades, his advance was arrested. . . . General Cox, reinforced by his reserve under General Sturgis, handled well his left against A. P. Hill; but assailed in front and on his flank by concentrating fires that were crushing, he found it necessary to recover his lines and withdraw. A. P. Hill's brigades, Toombs and Kemper, followed. They recovered McIntosh's battery and the ground that had been lost on the right, before the slow advancing night dropped her mantle upon this field of seldom equaled strife.

Manassas to Appomattox, pp. 261, 262.

Gen. A. P. Hill reports of his brigades: ‘With a yell of defiance, Archer charged them, retook McIntosh's guns, and drove them back pellmell. Branch and Gregg with their old veterans sternly held their ground, and pouring in destructive volleys, the tide of the enemy surged back.’

Pender's brigade was not actively engaged. In Branch's, General Lane says that the Twenty-eighth was detached, and with the Eighteenth, was not seriously engaged. The Thirty-third, Seventh and Thirty-seventh were the regiments principally engaged. They fought well, and assisted in driving back three separate and distinct columns of the enemy.

The artillery came in for a full share of fighting in this campaign. Latham's, Manly's, and Reilly's batteries did hard service. Manly's was especially commended for active and accurate service at Crampton's gap. At Sharpsburg, Major Frobel, chief of artillery, highly applauds Reilly's conduct of his guns. He reports: ‘I cannot too highly applaud the conduct of both officers and men. Captains Bachman and Reilly fought their batteries with [130] their usual determination and devotion to the cause.’ Captain Reilly's first lieutenant, J. A. Ramsey, who that day fought his section for a time under the direct personal orders of General Lee, is also commended for gallant conduct.

In this brilliant close to a hard day's battle, North Carolina lost a gifted son in the death of General Branch. His commander, Gen. A. P. Hill, said of him: ‘The Confederacy has to mourn the loss of a gallant soldier and accomplished gentleman, who fell in this battle at the head of his brigade, Brig.-Gen. L. O'B. Branch, of North Carolina. He was my senior brigadier, and one to whom I could have intrusted the command of the division with all confidence.’ For a time in this campaign he did command the division. Just as his brigade had so gloriously helped to shatter the columns of his old New Bern adversary, General Burnside, he fell dead on the field. General Branch had achieved high honors in civil life. These he had given up to serve his country manfully in the field, and he was rapidly working toward the highest rank when he fell, as soldiers love to die—at the head of a victorious command. Major Gordon, of the adjutant-general's office, says that on the very day General Branch was killed, he had been appointed majorgen-eral, but that the government, hearing of his death, never issued his commission. Sutton says of his death: ‘No country had a truer son, or nobler champion, no principle a bolder defender than the noble and gallant soldier, Gen. Lawrence O'Brian Branch.’

General Lee lost about one-third of his army on this field of blood. The next day, however, he remained on the field, defiant and ready to meet any new attack Mc-Clellan might order, but his enemy had suffered enough and made no move. That night he quietly crossed the Potomac ‘without loss or molestation.’ General Pendleton, with the reserve artillery and about 600 infantry, was left to guard the ford near Shepherdstown. General [131] Griffin headed some volunteers from four regiments, crossed the river, and driving off Pendleton's infantry, captured three or four pieces of artillery. The next morning, some brigades from the divisions of Morell and Sykes crossed the river. Their crossing and advance were protected by numerously posted batteries on the Federal side. Gen. A. P. Hill's division was ordered by General Jackson to drive these forces across the Potomac. Hill advanced with the brigades of Pender, Gregg and Thomas, in his front line, Lane (Branch's brigade), Archer and Brockenbrough in his second. The advance of these brigades was made in the face of ‘a tremendous fire of artillery.’ The infantry in front of Gregg and Thomas was in small force and ‘soon brushed away.’ Pender met a sharp infantry fire. His Carolinians were not retarded, however, and Archer's brigade and Lane, with his North Carolinians, supporting them, the small force in front was soon driven across the Potomac. These brigades remained under artillery fire the rest of the day. General Pender in his report pays a high compliment to the Twenty-second regiment, commanded by Maj. C. C. Cole. He says: ‘In the Twenty-second the list (for good conduct) will be rather long, as it is upon it and its commander that I usually call when any special or dangerous services are to be performed.’ There have been many exaggerated statements made as to the Federal losses in this battle. Their official reports itemized show a total loss of only 363.

The total North Carolina losses in the invasion of Maryland so far as they are officially reported were, killed, 335; wounded, 1,838. This official list, however, does not include the casualties in the Fifth, Twelfth and Fourteenth regiments. The following field officers, or acting field officers, were killed or mortally wounded: Gen. L. O'B. Branch, Gen. G. B. Anderson, Col. C. C. Tew, and Capts. W. T. Marsh and D. P. Latham, commanding Fourth North Carolina. The following field officers, or [132] acting field officers, were wounded: Cols. Van H. Manning, R. T. Bennett, F. M. Parker, W. L. DeRosset; Lieut.-Cols. Sanders, W. A. Johnston, Thomas Ruffin (three times); Majs. R. F. Webb and S. D. Thruston; Captains (commanding regiments) S. McD. Tate and E. A. Osborne.

In October, Gen. J. E. B. Stuart made a daring cavalry expedition into Pennsylvania. In this expedition the First North Carolina cavalry, Lieut.-Col. J. B. Gordon, took part. General Hampton in his official report commends the regiment, and especially the squadron commanded by Capt. W. H. H. Cowles, which had some special duties assigned to it. [133]

1 From Manassas to Appomattox.

2 Official Report.

3 Battles and Leaders, II, 595.

4 At the battle of Boonsboro, many of the regiments reported under 150 men to the regiment.

5 General Hill, in Battles and Leaders, II, 563.

6 Battles and Leaders, II, 575.

7 Hatch's Report.

8 McRae's Report.

9 Jackson's Report.

10Sharpsburg,’ Battles and Leaders, II, 675.

11 Manassas to Appomattox, p. 243.

12 There were only five present.

13 Walker, in Battles and Leaders, II, p. 678.

14 The losses in these two divisions in their attack on the center were 2,915.

15 Rebellion Records, Vol. XIX, p. 191, et seq.

16 Thomas' brigade was left behind to finish at Harper's Ferry, so Hill had only five.

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