6646RE 149 Years Ago...
- Sep 16, 2011One-hundred-forty-nine years ago....
1. Soldiers of the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern
Virginia settled down for as much sleep as possible, knowing
beyond doubt that dawn would bring severe battle. For the
veterans of both armies, battle would mean many would be sleeping
under the sod by the next day's ending; for the green troops
(especially the nine month units), they had no idea of what they
were getting into.
2. Those soldiers in the Union Army First Corps went to bed
without campfires or the customary coffee, as did just about all
the soldiers in the Army of the Potomac. for many soldiers in the
Army of Northern Virginia, especially some of the North
Carolinians who lost their baggage during the fight at South
Mountain a few days before, only the stars were their coverlet...
and then around 9 pm, it started to softly rain.....
3. At about five thirty o'clock am on the morning of September
17th, the elephant awoke...and it turned out to be one mean,
nasty, blood-thirsty elephant indeed!
4. By day's end on September 17th, Lee's Army of Northern
Virginia had withstood all the attacks of the larger Army of the
Potomac, but just barely. That evening about half of the Army of
Northern Virginia was in earnest search for missing comrades...
the other half. Losses in the Army of the Potomac had been severe
as well.....Sedgwick's division of the Second US Army Corps
pretty much found itself decimated in a fifteen minute fight in
the West Woods. Earlier fighting in the North Woods, East Woods
and The Cornfield area saw units of the First Corps and the
Twelfth Corps, both US Army, lose heavily. The two remaining
divisions of the Second US Army Corps battered themselves against
a small but resolute force under Daniel Harvey Hill in the Sunken
Road near the Piper Farm, gaining not more than a few hundred
yards despite all the bloodletting... Ambrose Burnside and his
Ninth Corps came closest to achieving victory for the Union on
this day, only to be stopped by A P Hill's Light Division after a
nearly miraculous appearance on the field after a grueling forced
march up from Harper's Ferry commenced early that morning... "up
5. As an indirect result of the battle fought 149 years ago this
day (September 16/17), Abraham Lincoln issued a Preliminary
Proclamation of Emancipation on September 22nd.. thereby changing
the entire course of the war...
Let us pause tomorrow (September 17th) and remember the sacrifice
and valour of boys of both Gray and Blue on the blood soaked
fields around a sleepy little Maryland village: Sharpsburg.
Yr. Obt. Svt.
G E "Gerry" Mayers
A Yankee by Birth but a Rebel by Choice!
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