troops were relieved by the brigades of Lawton and Trimble, of Ewell's division, commanded by General Lawton. Jackson's own division, under General J. R. Jones, was on Lawton's left, supported by the remaining brigades of Ewell.
At early dawn on the 17th the enemy's artillery opened vigorously from both sides of the Antietam, the heaviest fire being directed against our left. Under cover of this fire a large force of infantry attacked General Jackson. They were met by his troops with the utmost resolution, and for several hours the conflict raged with great fury and alternate success. General J. R. Jones was compelled to leave the field, and the command of Jackson's division devolved on General Starke. The troops advanced with great spirit, and the enemy's lines were repeatedly broken and forced to retire. Fresh troops, however, soon replaced those that were beaten, and Jackson's men were in turn compelled to fall back. The brave General Starke was killed, General lawton was wounded, and nearly all the field officers, with a large proportion of the men, killed or disabled. Our troops slowly yielded to overwhelming numbers and fell back, obstinately disputing the progress of the enemy. Hood returned to the field, and relieved the brigades of Trimble, Lawton, and hays, which had suffered severely. General Early, who succeeded General Lawton in the command of Ewell's division, was ordered by General jackson to move with his brigade to take the place of Jackson's division, most of which was withdrawn, its ammunition being nearly exhausted and its numbers much reduced. A small part of the division, under Colonels Grigsby and Stafford, united with Early's brigade, as did portions of the brigades of Trimble, lawton, and Hays. The battle now raged with great violence, the small commands under Hood and Early holding their ground against many times their own numbers of the enemy, and under a tremendous fire of artillery. Hood was re-enforced by the brigades of Ripley, Colquitt, and Garland (under Colonel McRae), of D. H. Hill's division, and afterward by D. R. Jones' brigade, under Colonel G. T. Anderson. The enemy's lines were broken and forced back, but fresh numbers advanced to their support, and they began to gain ground. The desperate resistance they encountered, however, delayed their progress until the troops of General McLaws arrived and those of General Walker could be brought from the right. Hood's brigade, greatly diminished in numbers, withdrew to replenish their ammunition, their supply being entirely exhausted. They were relieved by Walker's command, who immediately attacked the enemy vigorously, driving him back with great slaughter. Colonel manning, commanding Walker's brigade, pursued until he was stopped by a strong fence, behind which was posted a large force of infantry with several batteries. The gallant colonel was severely wounded, and his brigade retired to the line on which the rest of Walker's command had halted.
Upon the arrival of the re-enforcements under General McLaws, general Early attacked with great resolution the large force opposed to him. McLaws advanced at the same time, and the enemy were driven back in confusion, closely followed by our troops beyond the position occupied at the beginning of the engagement. The enemy renewed the assault on our left several times, but was repulsed with loss. He finally ceased to advance his infantry, and for several hours kept up a furious fire from his numerous batteries, under which our troops held their position with great coolness and courage. The attack on our left was speedily followed by one in heavy force on the center. This was met by part of Walker's division and the brigades of G. B. Anderson and Rodes, of D. H. Hill's command, assisted by a few pieces of artillery.