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The battle of Antietam or Sharpsburg. [from the Baltimore, Md., sun, September 16—October 18, 1908.]

Reminiscences of Jackson's Old Division by Captain James M. Garnett and Alexander Hunter, with Comments by Alex. Robert Chisholm.
Numbers against General Lee—An estimate that he had but 35,000 or 36,000 in the Conflict—Hungry men fought bravely.

The approaching anniversary of the battle of Sharpsburg, or Antietam creek, recalls vividly to mind the incidents of that battle. It may be remembered by old soldiers that Jackson's Corps, consisting of his own division, commanded by General J. R. Jones; Ewell's Division, commanded by General A. R. Lawton, and A. P. Hill's Division, commanded by General A. P. Hill, had been detached to capture Harper's Ferry, whose garrison consisted of 11,000 men under Colonel D. S. Miles.

Jackson was assisted by General J. G. Walker's Division, which occupied Loudon Heights, and General McLaws' Division, which occupied Maryland Heights. There was some delay on the part of these troops in getting into position, but all was ready by the afternoon of September 14. Jackson moved forward, his command extending from the Shenandoah to the Potomac, in the following order from right to left, A. P. Hill, Lawton and Jones.

The attack began early on the morning of Monday, the 15th, and after brisk firing for an hour or more the white flag was displayed, and the place, being completely surrounded, was surrendered by General Julius White, who had returned from Winchester and joined Colonel Miles a few days before, Colonel Miles having been killed by one of the last shots and General White having succeeded to the command.

Battle of South Mountain.

Meantime General McClellan, having come into possession of a copy of General Lee's order of march, found at or near General D. H. Hill's headquarters at Frederick, on September 13 (the responsibility for the loss of which has not been settled to this day), had pressed forward much more rapidly than usual and brought on (Sunday, [33] September 14) the battle of South Mountain, or Boonsboro; fought by General Lee to protect his trains and to enable General Jackson to rejoin him.

The Federals carried the passes of South Mountain at Crampton's and Turner's Gaps, and General Lee drew up his army on the west side of Antietam creek, north and south of the village of Sharpsburg, and in easy communication with General Jackson by Boteler's ford, on the Potomac, near Shepherdstown.

As soon as the necessary arrangements for the surrender of Harper's Ferry could be made on the 15th, General Jackson, leaving General A. P. Hill at Harper's Ferry to complete these arrangements, marched that afternoon for Shepherdstown with his own corps (Jones' and Lawton's Divisions) and Walker's Division, and crossed the Potomac at Boteler's ford on the morning of the 16th. McLaws' Division, with which R. H. Anderson's was serving, did not reach Sharpsburg until the morning of the 17th, and A. P. Hill's Division, with the exception of one brigade left at Harper's Ferry, not until the afternoon of the 17th, after a march of seventeen miles, but just in time to save the day against Burnside's attack.

General McClellan had placed his army in position on the east side of Antietam creek by the night of September 15, and his failure to attack on the 16th, when General Lee's army was still divided, was fatal to his success.

This article must be limited to the operations of Jackson's old division (J. R. Jones') on the extreme left, as the writer was a staff officer of the Stonewall Brigade (Winder's), commanded by Colonel Andrew J. Grigsby, of the 27th Virginia Regiment, and later in the day of the division, as Colonel Grigsby succeeded to the command of the division after the stunning of General Jones by a shell and the death of General Starke, commanding the Louisiana brigade.

Taking Post near Sharpsburg.

After crossing the Potomac at Boteler's ford, on the afternoon of September 16, Tuesday, this division was marched to the extreme left, through Sharpsburg and the woods around the Dunkard Church on the Hagerstown turnpike, and took position in an open field to the left of the turnpike and in front of these woods; that is, the ‘Stonewall’ Brigade, or First Brigade, as it was also known, commanded by Colonel Grigsby, in the open field, right resting on the Hagerstown turnpike, the Second Brigade (Jones') prolonging the 3 [34] line to the left; the Fourth Brigade (Stark's) at the edge of the woods, a short distance to the rear of the First Brigade, right also resting on the turnpike, and the Third Brigade (Taliaferro's) prolonging this line to the left.

The division fronted north and was subjected to a cross-fire from the batteries in its front and from the heavy guns beyond the Antietam on its right rear, which firing was kept up until late at night, but it did not do much damage and served only as a fine display of pyrotechnics. The troops were wearied out with their long march and were soon unconscious in profound slumber, notwithstanding the cannon-firing. Colonel Grigsby and his staff secured a comfortable fence panel and were soon imitating the men around them.

Their slumbers, however, were rudely broken about daylight of the 17th by the renewal of the cannon-firing and the sound of musketry, showing that the enemy were driving in our pickets, and leading to the correct inference that the main attack was to be on our left.

Furious attack Begins.

It came at once and raged furiously both on the right and left of the Hagerstown turnpike. Being on the left of that turnpike I can speak personally only of what occurred on that side. Our two little brigades in the front line, about 400 men, resisted as long as it was possible—I cannot remember just how long—but presently Colonel Grigsby said to me: ‘Go to General Starke and tell him that unless I receive reinforcements I cannot hold this line much longer.’ I hurried back to the edge of the woods, found General Starke (General J. R. Jones having been stunned by the explosion of a shell very early in the morning and carried off the field), and delivered the message.

The words had barely escaped my lips when I saw the front line falling back and said to General Starke: ‘There they are, coming back now, General.’ He immediately ordered the Louisiana Brigade and Taliaferro's Brigade to rise and move forward, which they did in gallant style at a right oblique, and he himself led them, but he had not more than reached the fence along the Hagerstown road when he fell, ‘pierced by three musket balls and survived but an hour.’ Colonel William Allan rightly says: ‘He was greatly beloved by his men as a brave and chivalrous leader.’ (Allan's Army of Northern Virginia in 1862, page 386, note.)


Rallied by Colonel Grigsby.

Colonel Grigsby rallied the men of the front line at the edge of the woods, where they resisted a while longer, those on the left shooting from a ledge of rocks and some straw stacks in rear of a farmhouse. But increasing numbers forced them from this position and all of the men that could be rallied withdrew across a small stream and took position about half-way up the hill beyond, in front of another farmhouse—Hauser's, I think it must have been—where they stayed.

The enemy came into the woods and even to the ledge of rocks and straw stacks above mentioned, but did not venture across the little stream.

About this time there was a lull in the fighting on this part of the field, thus characterized by Colonel Allan (page 396): ‘A comparative lull now succeeded the furious storm of the morning, while the exhausted troops of both sides awaited the arrival of approaching reinforcements.’

Meanwhile General Early's brigade had been withdrawn from the support of the cavalry, which had been formed on a hill to the extreme left-front of the infantry, and General McLaws' Division had reached the field on the extreme right. Soon two of his brigades, Semmes' and Barksdale's, with G. T. Anderson's, of D. R. Jones' Division, were seen marching by the flank in our front and in speaking distance—for some of us hailed them and inquired what troops they were—and as soon as they had cleared our line they faced to the right, were joined by Grigsby's remnants and by General Early, who commanded his division after General Lawton was wounded, and the enemy was driven out of the woods on that part of the field and across the Hagerstown turnpike. I judge from accounts of the battle that these men were Sedgwick's Division, both Hooker's and Mansfield's attacks having been repulsed, but I do not pretend to know who the Federal troops were, as I am merely giving personal reminiscences of what took place under my own eye.

Without food two days.

Soon after the woods were cleared and our lines re-established, Colonel Grigsby was ordered by General Jackson to take the division to the rear to recruit, as it had been much cut up and thrown into disorder, to replenish their ammunition, to get something to [36] eat, of which the men stood much in need, for they had had nothing to eat since we left Harper's Ferry, two days before. I remember distinctly that we retired to a farmhouse in the rear, where some salt bacon was issued to us. In default of cooking utensils we cooked it before the fire on forked sticks, and I never knew bacon to taste sweeter in my life; ‘hunger is the best condiment,’ says the proverb.

After resting and collecting our men, we returned to the field and were posted in support of the Rockbridge Artillery—old friends, as it was attached to the ‘Stonewall Brigade,’ and the present writer had formerly been a member of it. This battery was stationed on top of the hill from which we had advanced to the last attack, and just above the farmhouse (Hauser's), in front of which we had lain.

We remained here during the afternoon, when we were moved to a piece of woods a short distance to our left and front, where we remained all the next day (18th). We were expecting another attack all that morning until truces were made for the burial of the dead, whether officially or informally I do not know, but the burial of the dead by both sides went on in our front all that day. That night General Lee withdrew his whole army quietly without loss, and even without attack, to the south side of the Potomac, which was reached soon after sunrise the next morning (19th).

Numbers of men engaged.

For an account of the battle on other parts of the field the reader is referred to Colonel Allan's The Army of Northern Virginia in 1862, and to General Palfrey's The Antietam and Fredericksburg, the best accounts that this writer has ever read. The defect of General Palfrey's otherwise fair book is that it seems impossible for him, as for other Federal writers, to realize the small number of troops, compared to the number of General McClellan's army, with which General Lee fought this battle. Colonel Allan says (page 380): “Lee's entire infantry force was under 30,000, to which should be added his cavalry and artillery, commonly estimated at 8,000. The battle was thus fought by the Confederates ‘with less than 40,000 men,’ ” quoting from General Lee's report. Even this allowance is an overestimate. The present writer investigated this subject a few years ago in a controversy with a reviewer in The Nation (Nos. 1538 and 1543), and came to the conclusion that the Confederate force in the battle of Sharpsburg numbered 35,000 or 36,000. The Nation [37] declined to publish his letters, but they were published in the Richmond Times of February 10, 1895. The reports of this battle are given in War Records, Vol. XIX, Part 1. The reader may examine them for himself.

The map in the War Records (plate No. xxix), which is followed by General Palfrey, is erroneous in giving the Confederate second position too far to the rear on the left. The line should be drawn about half-way between the first position and that there given as the second position. (The map in Battles and Leaders of the Civil

War, Volume II, page 636, is more accurate.) None of the enemy ever came beyond the straw-stacks mentioned above, on the left, and very few of them came even so far. Moreover, they were all driven from this position and beyond the turnpike in the attack of McLaws' brigades, Early and Grigsby on Sedgwick, after whose defeat, I might say rout, there was no more fighting on that portion of the line. Grigsby's handful of men—men of Jackson's old division, who had been through the Valley campaign, the Seven Days battles around Richmond, Cedar Mountain and Second Manassas, and had suffered severely in all, and who had already fought for several hours that morning, would never have been sent to the rear to recruit if there had been further need for them in front, but, as General Gordon said of his corps at Appomattox, they had been ‘fought to a frazzle.’

General J. R. Jones, commanding Jackson's old division on the morning of September 17, reports this division of four brigades as ‘not numbering over 1,600 men at the beginning of the fight,’ and its casualties as ‘about 700 killed and wounded’ (War Records, Volume XIX, Part 1, page 1008). This is a very heavy loss-nearly 50 per cent., of which Taliaferro's and Starke's brigades suffered most when Starke led them forward to his death and they were exposed to both a front and a flank fire. Dr. Guild, chief surgeon of the army, reports ‘the killed and wounded of the whole army at 10,291’ ( War Records, Volume XIX, Part I, page 813), or almost 30 per cent. This was one of the greatest battles of the Army of Northern Virginia, and there was glory enough for all.

Battle of Antietam.

The recent discussions of the battle of Antietam, Sharpsburg, as we call it, in the columns of The Sun, have been of great interest to [38] the participants in the battle. The incidents of the campaign of ‘62 are as fresh in my memory as if they happened yesterday instead of forty-one years ago.

General Lee was asked after Appomattox by a prominent lady in Alexandria which battle he felt most proud of, and he answered: ‘Sharpsburg, for I fought against greater odds then than in any battle of the war.’

I doubt if any army on earth ever endured greater hardships or went through more than Lee's army in the late summer and early fall of 1862.

On August 18 of that year our brigade, composed of the First, Seventh, Eleventh and Seventeenth Virginia Infantry, set its faces northward from Gordonsville. Every knapsack and all camp equipage were left behind, and in light marching order, with 60 rounds of ammunition, a blanket over our shoulders and five days rations in our haversacks, we headed for the Rapidan river. Those five days rations, which lasted us two days, were the last we drew until September 21.

The forced marches of August 28 and 29 to aid Jackson were a fearful ordeal, made as they were in the intense heat, with the roads deep in dust, but we reached Thoroughfare Gap in time, and the next day we fought the second battle of Manassas. Our men were so hungry that they gathered the crackers and meat from the haversacks of the dead Federals and ate as they fought. The next day we kept on to Chantilly and fought there; then, swinging to Leesburg, we struck for the Potomac. In all these weeks we had no change of clothing and we were literally devoured by vermin. We had no tents and slept on the ground, and slept soundly even though the rain was pouring in torrents. A prize fighter trains about two months to get himself in perfect condition, but we had been training in a more vigorous manner for nearly two years, and the men were skin, bone and muscle.

We lived on apples and green corn all of the time, and the soldiers began to drop out of the ranks at every halt. Then an order came for the barefooted men to remain behind and report in Winchester, and some thousands threw away their shoes. Every step our army made northward it became weaker. At last we stood on the long-dreamed — of banks of the Potomac. It was near Shepherdstown, and Maryland, my Maryland, met our gaze at last, which shone— [39]

Fair as the gardens of the Lord
To the famished eyes of the rebel horde.

With a rush and a swing we passed through the ‘royal’ city of Frederick, where we got scant welcome, up the dusty broad pike northward to Hagerstown, where the people received the ragged ‘Rebs’ as if they were belted knights, with victory on their plumes. Here every soldier got as much as he could eat. Then there came the long roll and we fell into ranks and sorrowfully turned our faces southward, and went with a swinging gait toward the mountains to help D. H. Hill. We reached Crampton's Gap after the fight was over, then retraced our steps, and on the morning of the 14th of September halted on the fields of Boonsboro, tired—and oh, so hungry. Apples and corn, corn and apples, were our only fare; eating them raw, roasted, boiled together and fried, they served to sustain life, and that was all.

That evening the battle of Boonsboro was fought. Our position was in a cornfield, and we held our line intact after repeated assaults. The next day we rested and gathered more corn and apples, and that night we marched until the Great Bear had reached its zenith in the heavens, and at dawn on the fateful morning of September 17th we reached the little village of Sharpsburg, and, forming in line of battle just on the right of where the National Cemetery is now located, we lay down and slept like logs, though the fight at the Dunkard Church on our left was raging in all its fury.

We moved several times in the course of the day, but at noon the final position was selected behind a post-and-rail fence near where we first stopped. The order to halt was given, the line formed, and the command to stack arms rang out. I was the only private left of Company A, Seventeenth Virginia, and, having no comrade to lock bayonets with, I ran mine into the ground. The only officer left in my command was Lieutenant Tom Perry. A mild-mannered, slow-speaking man was Tom, but he was a soldier, every inch of him. He never made a boast in his life, but in every battle in which the Seventeenth was engaged, there, in front of his company, stood Tom, calm and serene, as if waiting for the dinner-horn to blow.

Longstreet's old First Brigade—that which charged through the abattis at Seven Pines, 2,800 strong—mustered only 320 men. The Seventeenth Virginia, the pride of Alexandra, Prince William, Fairfax, Fauquier and Warren counties, which at Blackburn's Ford had 860 men in ranks, now stood in their tracks with 41 muskets [40] and 7 officers. My! my! What a set of ragamuffins they looked! It seemed as if every cornfield in Maryland had been robbed of its scarecrows and propped up against that fence. None had any underclothing. My costume consisted of a ragged pair of trousers, a stained, dirty jacket; an old slouch hat, the brim pinned up with a thorn; a begrimed blanket over my shoulder, a grease-smeared cotton haversack full of apples and corn, a cartridge box full and a musket. I was barefooted and had a stonebruise on each foot. Some of my comrades were a little better dressed, some were worse. I was the average, but there was no one there who would not have been ‘run in’ by the police had he appeared on the streets of any populous city, and would have been fined next day for undue exposure. Yet those grimy, sweaty, lean, ragged men were the flower of Lee's army. Those tattered, starving, unkempt fellows were the pride of their sections—

Whose ancestors followed
Smith along the sands,
And Raleigh around the seas.

About noon we were ordered to fall in, and in a few moments Toombs' skeleton brigade took position on the left overlooking Antietam bridge. Burnside had commenced his attack. Just at this moment a battery dashed by us—the Rockbridge Artillery—and I had only time to wave my hand at my old school-fellow, Bob Lee, a private in the battery, the son of our Commander-in-Chief, when it disappeared down the hill.

And then Toombs got to work in earnest. No words can describe the gallant fight he made to keep Burnside from crossing the bridge. Again and again he drove back the blue columns, and with nothing behind him for support. Those Georgians fought on until their gun barrels were too hot for the naked hands.

On our left it seemed as if Hades had broken loose. The volumes of musketry and noise of the artillery were mingled in one vast roar that shook the earth, and this kept up for nearly two hours. The whole of our front and left was wrapped in an impenetrable cloud of smoke. Then came a lull, and I was sent to the village with canteens to get water. I had a clear view from the steeple of a church which I climbed, and then hurried back and said to Colonel Corse, of my regiment: ‘We are lost, Colonel; we haven't a single reserve.’

“Is it possible?” he said. [41]

I told him it was a fact; there was not a solitary Confederate soldier in sight. He clenched his teeth like a bulldog, and as the news ran along the line each man knew we had to stay there and, if needs be, die there.

As we lay there waiting for the attack that all knew must come, every man in the ranks wondered why it was delayed; I had seen from my perch in the town, that there was a great force of Federals near Burnside bridge, and that our thin line could not stand long against a determined attack. Our attention was given to the fighting on our left, which had broken out with redoubled fury. About 3 P. M. we received a shock, for the remains of Toombs' Georgians came tearing down the hill, and then all the batteries across the bridge opened and swept the hill where we were lying. Every one of our batteries limbered up and returned, leaving the single line of infantry to brave the storm.

In about half an hour it came. Then the artillery was silent, and the infantrymen, who had lain there face downward, exposed to the iron hail, now arose, placed their cartridge boxes in position, rested their muskets on the lower rail, and with clenched teeth, fast beating hearts and hurried breath, braced themselves for the shock. The fence was not built on the top of the hill, but some fifty feet from the crest; consequently we could not see the attacking force until they were within pistol shot of us. We could hear the rataplan of their drums, the stern commands of their officers, the muffled sound of marching feet.

Colonel Corse gave but one order—‘Don't fire, men, until I give the word.’ As we lay there with our eyes ranging along the musket barrels, our fingers on the triggers, we saw the gilt eagles of the flagpoles emerge above the top of the hill, followed by the flags drooping on the staffs, then the tops of the blue caps appeared, and next a line of the fiercest eyes man ever looked upon. The shouts of their officers were heard, urging their men forward. Less brave, less seasoned troops would have faltered before the array of deadly tubes leveled at them, and at the recumbent line, silent, motionless and terrible, but if there was any giving away we did not see it. They fired at us before we pulled trigger and came on with vibrant shouts. Not until they were well up in view did Colonel Corse break the silence, and his voice was a shriek as he ordered:


All the guns went off at once, and the whole brigade fire seemed to follow our volley, and the enemy's line, sadly thinned, broke and [42] went over the hill. Every man in our line began to load his musket with frenzied haste. Only three or four of the Seventeenth were shot, the fire of the enemy being too high.

We had barely loaded and capped the muskets when the blue line came with a rush and we fired now without orders. Before we could load a third time the two lines of battle of the Federals, now commingled as one solid bank of men, poured a volley into us that settled the matter. It killed or wounded every officer and man in the regiment except five, of whom I was fortunate enough to be one.

Just as the bluecoats were climbing the fence I threw down my musket and raised my hand in token of surrender. Two or three stopped to carry me back to the rear. The rest kept on, urged by their officers, in the direction of the village of Sharpsburg.

Major Herbert and Lieutenant Perry made a dash for the rear and escaped. I and a private named Gunnell, of the Fairfax Rifles, were the only prisoners; the rest of the regiment lay there motionless in their positions. The men were either lying down or kneeling—the wounds were dangerous or deadly. But for the protection afforded by the fence I do not believe that a single man of the regiment would have escaped alive.

In conversation with Doctor Macgill, of Hagerstown, Md., shortly after the war, he told me that two days after the battle he visited the spot, having had some friends in the Alexandria regiment of Kemper's brigade, and that the fence was literally a thing of shreds and patches.

Our captors hurried us off. When we reached a hill in the rear we stopped to rest. My guard said to me:

“It's all up with you, Johnnie; look there.” I turned and gazed on the scene. Long lines of blue were coming like the surging billows of the ocean. The bluecoats were wild with excitement, and their measured hurrah, so different from our piercing yell, rose above the thunder of their batteries beyond the bridge. I thought the guard was right, that it was all up with us, and our whole army would be captured. We, Yank and Reb, were sitting down taking a sociable smoke when all at once we were startled as if touched by an electric shock. The air was filled with bursting shells, as if a dozen batteries had opened at once from the direction of Sharpsburg, and while we stood gazing we saw emerging from a cornfield a long line of gray, musket barrels scintillating in the rays of the declining sun and the Southern battle flags gleaming redly against the dark background. They seemed to have struck the Federal advance on [43] the flank. From the long line of gray a purplish mist broke, pierced by a bright gleam here and there, and the noise of the volley sounded like the whirr of machinery.

In an instant the whole scene was changed. The triumphant advance, the jubilant shouts, the stirring beat of the drums, the mad, eager rush of the forces in blue were stayed, and back they came, without order or formation, and we joined the hurrying throng, not stopping until we reached the valley near the bridge.

The attacking force was that of General A. P. Hill. It was Stonewall Jackson who saved the Army of Northern Virginia from disastrous defeat, as he had done at the first Manassas, at the seven days battle at Richmond and later on at Chancellorsville.

McClellan's dispatch to Burnside early on the morning of the 17th to hold the bridge, ‘If the bridge is lost all is lost,’ made General Burnside overcautious. When he received orders to attack at noon he allowed Toombs, with less than 400 men, to delay the crossing of the Ninth Corps for three hours. Had Burnside followed Napoleon's tactics at Arcola, and rushed his men across the bridge, he would have ended the war then and there, and been hailed by the North as the greatest general of the New World.

I asked my captors what command our regiment was engaged with. He answered Fairchild's New York Brigade. General Fairchild's report of the battle shows what a fight that frazzle of the old First Brigade put up.

I have often been asked about the rebel yell. I have always answered that we Rebs were savage with hunger, and men always ‘holler’ when hungry.

Comments by Alexander Robert Chisholm.

The New York Herald, September 26, 1903, prints the following letter:

In your issue of September 21, appears a letter from General Alexander Hamilton, in which he makes some very inaccurate statements in praising the distinguished soldier, General George B. McClellan, who was so suddenly replaced in command of a lately defeated army, which had confidence in him, thus enabling him to fight what all fair minded writers have described as a great drawn battle with the victorious army of General Robert E. Lee. [44]

Hamilton states that ‘the great battle was won in one day's fight, routing the late victorious enemy.’

Brigadier-General Francis Winthrop Palfrey, United States army, a friend of McClellan, writes in the Scribner Series Campaigns of the Civil War, page 64:

General Lee reported his forces as less than 40,000, while his adjutant-general, Colonel Taylor, gives the exact number as 35.255;’ and on page 65: ‘McClellan states in his official report that he had 87,164 men. Fourteen thousand of these, making a charge, were repulsed, staggered, reeled and recoiled in great disorder.’

On page 83, General Sumner writes:

Hooker's Corps was not only repulsed, but gone, routed, dispersed. General Ricketts, the only officer we could find, said that he could not raise 300 men of the corps. Hooker had been wounded.’

On page 69:

‘There were six corps and the cavalry division of 4,320 men, in all 87, 164 men. The First, Second, Ninth and Twelfth Corps did most of the fighting. The Fifth and Sixth (page 120) lost less than 600 men, while the total (page 117) loss in killed, wounded and missing was 12,469, which, with the exception of the 600, fell upon the First, Second, Ninth and Twelfth Corps (page 69). which had engaged a total of 56,614 men, McClellan reporting their loss as being 20 per cent.’

General Hamilton states that ‘the Confederate loss was more than 18,000 men (an absurd estimate), with great loss of cannon, ammunition and colors; that they were routed at the bridge, which was held by Burnside.’

On page 16, Palfrey states:

‘The truth is that the Confederate batteries were extremely well taken care of by their infantry; as a rule they seldom lost a gun.’

Colonel Long's Life of General Lee states:

‘About 1 o'clock the battle on the left ceased. The Federals had been repulsed at every point. Then Burnside with 20,000 fresh troops forced the passage at the bridge and at the ford below. A. P. Hill, arriving with 4,500 men, delivered such destructive volleys that the Federals were forced to retire as suddenly as they appeared, recrossing the Antietam. Thus closed the battle. General Lee remained in position during the 18th prepared for battle.’ [45] Finally, Palfrey writes, page 19:

‘Tactically the battle of the Antietam was a drawn battle, with the advantage inclining slightly to the side of the Federals, who gained some ground and took more trophies than they lost. The Confederates, however, held most of the ground on which they fought, and held it not only to the close of the battle, but for more than twenty-four hours after, and then retired unmolested and in good order.’

Whether intentionally or not, the omission of all mention of General McClellan in the recent event at Antietam was most impolitic from a military, political or social standpoint. He was the general in command. It was his battle, and history will never permit a subordinate commander or any one else to steal the glory.. He acted wisely in not attacking Lee on the 18th, for his defeat would have been certain. The position held was a strong one.

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