In their Quiet Fields

submitted by Carl Chatto.

The Union attack started with Hookers' Corps attacking through the East Woods. Doubleday had orders to clear Nicodemus Hill, which he did. The rest of the corps drove into the West Woods but was repulsed by Lawton and Hood. By then, the First Corps was done. Mansfield arrived, though, soon thereafter (and the first chance for coordination was lost). Ewell’s and Jackson’s divisions were fought out in the battle, so D. H. Hill arrived to cover the Dunker Church heights and support the artillery. The Twelfth Corps plunged ahead, with Crawford’s brigade of green troops getting blood-lusted and driving off D. H. Hill. At the same time, Hood (who had been on Hill’s flank) finally understood his old orders to defend the West Woods, which were no longer threatened! When he tried to get initiative to countermand the orders, he got a loose cannon result. Imagine--Hood, a loose cannon! Hood marched off toward Hauser Ridge, completely befuddled.

While all this was going on, Burnsides has distorted one set of orders and was pondering a second. Sumner and Porter seemed reluctant to move. Finally, at 10 AM, Sumner and the newly arrived Franklin, saw the light and moved up to attack the Confederate left flank from the Sunken Lane to the West Woods. Just as they arrived, Mansfield finally broke off his attack, his corps completely wrecked and driven off from the Dunker Church area by D. H. Hill. McLaws moves into the Sunken Lane with Anderson in reserve.

The Union Fifth and Ninth Corps artillery has forced the Confederate batteries to withdraw from the Sunken Lane and Sharpsburg Heights.

At 10:30 AM, the Confederate casualties (excluding stragglers) total 4,700; Union casualties are 6,300.

Sumner attacked the Dunker Church area and the West Woods. Hood moved back into the West Woods, but was flanked by Sedgewick’s division and nearly annihilated. Caldwell’s brigade got their blood up and drove D. H. Hill off the Dunker Church heights. But just as the Second Corps was on the verge of victory, Sumner saw all the carnage he can stand and called off the attack. Anderson’s division moved in to fill the Confederate void on the left flank.

Franklin’s Corps got off to a slow start against McLaws and Smith’s division was badly hurt. About this time, Porter finally understood his orders to cross Antietam Stream and take the Sunken Lane in the flank. Just before he got there, the attrition was too much for McLaws’ troops. Without any meaningful support (all “dead on the field”), they withdrew in the face of Slocum’s division and Porter’s Corps coming up against their right flank.

While this was going on, Burnsides finally began preparing to cross the Lower Bridge. Walker’s division barred the way. After some skirmishing and artillery dueling, Burnsides decided the position was unassailable and called off the attack. No one from the Ninth Corps crossed the Antietam!

There was a brief lull around 1 PM. Then Porter, on his own initiative sent Morrell’s division, which was virtually unscathed, up onto Sharpsburg Heights, by the Lutheran Church, against D. R. Jones’ troops to capture the town. Porter kept his other division in line to support Franklin around the Sunken Lane. Jones’ division could not match the numbers put up by Morrell’s big division and when Griffin’s brigade got blood lusted, the Confederate line came undone. Morrell charged into town, and was wounded in street fighting. Some recovering Confederate troops moved into the town and A. P. Hill came up to threaten the Union flank. Porter again saw an opportunity, this time at Lower Bridge, and moved Sykes’ division that way. Franklin finally began to move up to support Morrell in his drive on Sharpsburg. As A. P. Hill contemplated his plans to relieve Sharpsburg, he fell wounded by artillery fire. His troops remained in place.

The Confederate position held--barely--as dusk fell before Sharpsburg did. The Confederates held on by a sliver, but the ANV was a sideways shadow of an army.

Casualties, excluding stragglers, are as follows:

Confederate: 14,600
Wrecked brigades: *ALL* except Pryor, Texas, Branch, Field, Gregg, Pender, and the cavalry.

Union: 14,700
Wrecked brigades: Hoffman, Patrick, Christian, Richardson’s division, New Jersey, Vermont, Irwin, Fairchild, Twelfth Corps.
Final VP count:

Casualties 20
Little Mac 43
Total 63

Casualties 40
Terrain 22
Total 62

Result: a draw

Burnsides Mac points did nothing but cost the Union a victory. He escaped court-martial due to the Union winning the war soon after the 1862 elections.

Return to CWB Page