The History of the Ninth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, June, 1861-June, 1864

By Daniel George Macnamara | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII.
THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM.

THE CONFEDERATE ARMY IN MARYLAND—GENERAL McCLELLAN IN COM-
MAND—THE NINTH MASSACHUSETTS VOLUNTEERS MARCHES INTO
MARYLAND—CONFEDERATE PLANS DISCOVERED—BATTLE OF SOUTH
MOUNTAIN—THE FORCES ENGAGED—THE SURRENDER OF HARPER’S
FERRY —: LOSSES AT SOUTH MOUNTAIN—THE CONFEDERATE ARMY AT
SHARPSBURG—THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC AT ANTIETAM—THE
BATTLE OF ANTIETAM—THE NIGHT AFTER THE BATTLE—DESPATCHES
SENT TO GENERAL McCLELLAN—MARCHING THROUGH SHARPSBURG
—UNDER FIRE ON THE POTOMAC RIVER—OUR TROOPS FORD THE
RIVER—A SUCCESSFUL ASSAULT—GENERAL GRIFFIN’S OLD BATTERY
—PICKET DUTY ON THE POTOMAC—UNION LOSSES—CONFEDERATE
LOSSES.

“The waves
Of the mysterious death river moaned;
The tramp, the shout, the fearful thunder-roar
Of red-breathed cannon, and the wailing cry
Of myriad victims, filled the air.”

PRENTICE.

THE success which attended General Lee since he first assumed command of the Southern Army of Virginia, in the spring of 1862, was most remarkable. Every movement of his restless army ended in opening up greater territory to him for continued operations against the Union forces. By his superhuman efforts he relieved Richmond and the Peninsula, the latter movement having been accomplished by the misdirected aid and order of the new commander-inchief (Halleck) of the U.S. armies. Through Confederate successes which followed, General Lee was also partially enabled to beleaguer the Union capital and bring consternation on the United States government for a brief period at least. His plans at this time evidently were to continue in waging an aggressive warfare and thereby hold the Confederate capital free from future assaults if possible, a stratagem which he successfully accomplished up to within a short time before his final surrender. It was apparent that he intended to subsist his army,

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