into position, we heard of the surrender of Harper's Ferry. This left the portions of the army engaged in the reduction of that garrison free to join us. After much shelling at one point and another of our line, which extended more than a mile on each side of Sharpsburg, the enemy finally attacked General Hood, on my extreme left, late Tuesday evening, September 16. Hood drove him back, but not without severe loss, including that of Colonel Liddell, of the Eleventh Mississippi, an officer of great merit, modesty, and promise.
During the night the enemy threw his forces across the Antietam in front of Hood's position, and renewed his attack at daylight the next morning. Hood was not strong enough to resist the masses thrown against him. Several of Major General D. H. Hill's brigades re-enforced the position; but even with these our forces seemed but a handful when compared with the hosts thrown against us. The commands engaged the enemy, however, with great courage and determination, and, retiring very slowly, delayed him until the forces of Generals Jackson and Walker came to our relief. D. R. Jones' brigade, under Colonel G. T. Anderson, came up about the same moment; soon after this the divisions of Major-Generals McLaws and R. H. Anderson. Colonel S. D. Lee's reserve artillery was with General Hood, and took a distinguished part in the attack on the evening of the 16th, and in delaying that of the 17th. General Jackson soon moved off to our left for the purpose of turning the enemy's right flank, and the other divisions, except Walker's, were distributed at other points of the line. As these movements were made, the enemy again threw forward his masses against my left. This attack was met by Walker's division, two pieces of Captain Miller's battery, of the Washington Artillery, and two pieces of Captain Boyce's battery, and was driven back in some confusion. An effort was made to pursue, but our line was too weak. Colonel Cooke, of the Twenty-seventh North Carolina, very gallantly charged with his own regiment, but, his supply of ammunition being exhausted and he being unsupported, he was obliged to return to his original position in the line.
From this moment our center was extremely weak, being defended by but part of Walker's division and four pieces of artillery; Cooke's regiment, of that division, being without a cartridge. In this condition, again the enemy's masses moved forward against us. Cooke stood with his empty guns, and waved his colors to show that his troops were in position. The artillery played upon their ranks, with canister. Their lines began to hesitate, soon halted, and after an hour and a half retired. Another attack was quickly made a little to the right of the last. Captain Miller, turning his pieces upon these lines and playing upon them with round shot over the heads of R. H. Anderson's men, checked the advance, and Anderson's division, with the artillery, held the enemy in check until night.
This attack was followed by the final assault, about 4 p.m., when the enemy crossed the bridge in front of Sharpsburg and made his desperate attack upon my right. Brigadier-General Toombs held the bridge and defended it most gallantly, driving back repeated attacks, and only yielded it after the forces brought against him became overwhelming and threatened his flank and rear. The enemy was then met by Brigadier General D. R. Jones with six brigades. He drove back our right several times, and was himself made to retire several times badly crippled, but his strong re-enforcements finally enabled him to drive in my right and occupy this part of my ground. Thus advanced, the enemy's line was placed in such a position as to enable General Toombs to move his brigade directly against his flank. General Jones seized the opportunity