War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0218 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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resistance became formidable, and we all slept on our arms that night. The cleared space between the forests necessitated a change in my front from a division to a brigade, and Seymour's command held the advance when night overtook us, and bivouacked in advance of my corps when operations were suspended.

The night becoming dark and drizzly, I sought shelter in Miller's barn, a few wards to the left of the Hagerstown pike (facing the south), and directly in the rear Seymour's brigade. Desultory firing was kept up between the pickets almost throughout the night, and about 9 o'clock p.m. I visited them in order to satisfy myself concerning this firing, and found that the lines of pickets of the two armies were so near each other as to be able to hear each other walk, but were not visible to each other. I found Seymour's officers and men alive to their proximity to our enemy, and seemed to realize the responsible character of their services for the night. Indeed, their conduct inspired me with the fullest confidence, and on returning to the barn I immediately dispatched a courier informing the commanding general of my surroundings, and assuring him that the battle would be renewed at the earliest dawn, and that re-enforcements should be ordered forward in season to reach me before that moment.

General Mansfield, with his corps, did cross the creek that night, and encamped his command about 1 mile in rear of my own, and in the morning participated actively in the battle. We were now 3 or 4 miles in advance of where we had crossed the Antietam Bridge. At daylight we were fully prepared to renew our march, which lay through orchards, corn-fields, and over plowed ground, skirted on either side by forests, the cleared space between which averaging not more than 400 or 500 yards in width, the field and the object in view narrowing my front to quite a limited degree. Doubleday's division was posted on the right, Ricketts' on the left, and Meade's in reserve. At daylight Gibbon's and Hartsuff's brigades were thrown forward, supported with the brigades of their respective divisions, while Meade followed them up in the center, instructed to spring to the assistance of either, as circumstances might require. Seymour continued to hold the advance, with the utmost firmness and resolution, until our troops had passed him. With these dispositions completed, the battle was soon renewed on the morning of the 17th. My object was to gain the high ground nearly three-quarters of a mile in advance of me, and which commanded the position taken by the enemy on his retreat from South Mountain; to prevent which he had been re enforced by Jackson's corps during the night, and at the same time had planted field batteries on high ground on our right and rear, to enfilade our lines when exposed during the advance.

We had not proceeded far before I discovered that a heavy force of the enemy had taken possession of a corn-field (I have since learned about a thirty-acre field) in my immediate front, and from the sun's rays falling on their bayonets projecting above the corn could see that the field was filled with the enemy, with arms in their hands, standing apparently at "support arms." Instructions were immediately given for the assemblage of all of my spare batteries, near at hand, of which I think there were five or six, to spring into battery, on the right of his field, and to open with canister at once. In the time I am writing every stalk of corn in the northern and greater part of the field was cut as closely as could have been done with a knife, and the slain lay in rows precisely as they stood in their ranks a few moments before. It was never my fortune to witness a more bloody, dismal battle-field.