History of Antietam National Cemetery (Bradford - page 41)
wing, turned again for a time the fortunes of the day, and once more drove back our tottering line over that hard fought field.
Two other of our division commanders had been now lost to us—the lamented Richardson and the heroic General Sedgwick, the former falling mortally wounded, and the latter, though wounded several times, still struggling to keep the field. To and fro the contest had now swayed for seven hours; it was afternoon, and the combatants stood, as it were, at bay, each appearing confident of their power to defend, but doubtful of their ability to assail.
Now most opportunely appeared another auxiliary on the scene, and we may imagine the tumultuous joy that reanimated our exhausted troops as, turning their eyes towards yonder creek, they beheld two divisions of General Franklin's Corps, freshly arrived from Pleasant Valley, and hastening forward to their support. Under their gallant leaders, Slocum and Smith, they swept on in a resistless charge; running, and cheering as they ran, they dashed across the down-trodden cornfield, cleared the woods of their Confederate occupants, and at last held final possession of the ground so often lost and won, until
"Night her course began and over heaven
Inducing darkness, grateful truce imposed
And silence on the odious din of war."
On the extreme left of our line the Ninth Army Corps, under General Burnside, occupied during the forenoon the left bank of the Antietam, near the lower bridge, waiting a favorable opportunity for forcing a passage. The precipitous character of the banks of the creek at that point, and the advantageous position secured by the enemy's batteries along these heights to the west of it, postponed, it would seem, that opportunity until about one o'clock ; but at that hour a gallant charge of the 51st New York and 51st Pennsylvania regiments carried the bridge, and crossing by that and a neighboring ford the whole Corps crossed over. Afterwards assailing yonder heights, from which a Rebel battery had been pouring upon them a constant and destructive fire, they succeeded in dislodging the enemy, and it is said that some of their assailing force nearly reached the village; but here, as on our right, victory seemed to vibrate.
A. P. Hill, with his division, by a rapid march from Harper's Ferry, which they left that morning, reached the ground in the afternoon, and joining his command to the Rebel right wing, their united efforts drove back our troops from their advanced position, but replying with spirit, and supported by the batteries on the eastern bank of the creek, they, after desperate fighting, in which General Rodman, one of their division commanders, fell mortally wounded, were enabled still to maintain their stand upon its western shore, whilst the Rebels fell back to the heights as darkness closed the day.
Maryland. Board of Trustees of the Antietam National Cemetery.
Washington County Free Library.
23 x 14 cms
J.W. Woods, printer, Baltimore
Antietam National Cemetery; United States History, Civil War, 1861-1865, Registers of dead.
Washington County, Md; 1862-1869.