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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
Page 954 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD. AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

In the afternoon General Hill was ordered to move along, the left bank of the Shenandoah, turn the enemy's left, and enter Harper's Ferry. General Lawton, commanding Ewell's division, was directed to move along the turnpike for the purpose of supporting General Hill and of otherwise operating against the enemy to his left. General J. R. Jones, commanding Jackson's division, was directed, with one of his brigades and a battery of artillery, to make a demonstration against the enemy's right, while the remaining part of his command, as a reserve, moved along the turnpike. Major [T. B.] Massie (Twelfth Virginia Cavalry), commanding the cavalry, was directed to keep upon our left flank, for the purpose of preventing the enemy from escaping. Brigadier-General Walker guarded against an escape across the Shenandoah River. Fearing lest the enemy should attempt to escape across the Potomac, by means of signals I called the attention of Major-General McLaws, commanding on Maryland Heights, to the propriety of guarding against such an attempt. The demonstration on the left against the enemy's right was made by Winder's brigade, Colonel Grigsby commanding. It was ordered to secure a commanding hill to the left of the heights near the Potomac. Promptly dispersing some cavalry, this eminence, from which the batteries of Poague and Carpenter subsequently did such admirable execution, was secured without difficulty. In execution of the orders given Major-General Hill, he moved obliquely to the right until he struck the Shenandoah River. Observing an eminence crowning the extreme left of the enemy's line occupied by infantry, but without artillery, and protected only by an abatis of fallen timber, Pender, Archer, and Brockenbrough were directed to gain the crest of that hill, while Branch and Gregg were directed to march along the river and during the night to take advantage of the ravines cutting the precipitous banks of the river and establish themselves on the plain to the left and rear of the enemy's works. Thomas followed as a reserve. The execution of the first movement was intrusted to Brigadier-General Pender, who accomplished it with slight resistance, and during the night Lieutenant-Colonel Walker, chief of artillery of Hill's division, brought up the batteries of Captains Pegram, McIntosh, Davidson, Braxton, and Crenshaw, and established them upon the position thus gained. Branch and Gregg also gained the positions indicated for them, and day break found them in rear of the enemy's line of defense.

As directed, Brigadier-General Lawton, commanding Ewell's division, moved on the turnpike in three columns, one on the road and another on each side of it, until he reached Halltown, when he formed line of battle and advanced to the woods on School-House Hill. the division laid on their arms during the night, Lawton and Trimble being in line on the right of the road and Hays on the left, with Early immediately in his rear.

During the night, Colonel Crutchfield, my chief of artillery, crossed ten guns of Ewell's division over the Shenandoah and established them on its right bank, so as to enfilade the enemy's position on Bolivar Heights and take his nearest and most formidable fortifications in reverse. The other batteries of Ewell's division were placed in position on School-House Hill, on each side of the road.

At dawn, September 15, General Lawton advanced his division to the front of the woods. Lawton's brigade, Colonel Douglass commanding, moved by flank to the bottom between School-House Hill and Bolivar Heights, to support the advance of Major-General Hill. Lieutenant-Colonel Walker opened a rapid enfilade fire from all his batteries at about 1,000 yards range. The batteries on School-House Hill attacked the


Page 954 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD. AND PA. Chapter XXXI.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
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