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  • Bud Wilkinson
    Here are the Times articles from 9/23/1862: New York Times, Tuesday, September 23, 1862 THE WAR IN MARYLAND Another Account of the Great Battle of Antietam ...
    Message 1 of 2 , May 31, 2001
      Here are the Times articles from 9/23/1862:

      New York Times, Tuesday, September 23, 1862

      Another Account of the Great Battle of Antietam
      The Strong Position Chosen by the Enemy-
      How the National Forces were Arranged
      -Desperatge Character of the Fighting-
      The Results, &c.
      This day will be memorable for one of the bloodiest fought battles on
      the American Continent. The combined forces of the enemy, under
      Jackson, Lee, Longstree, and the whole rebel set, have made a stand
      near Sharpsburgh, and all day long, from 5 o'clock in the morning
      until now, (8 o'clock P. M.,) have geen contesting with the Union
      Army under McClellan, led by Burnside, Hooker, Sumner, Keyes,
      and the rest of the heroes of this war. Nothing, I am sure, since the
      battle of Pittsburgh Landing, can compare with this day's fight, either
      in its collossal proportions, or in the bloody character of the struggle.
      Our advance overtook the revel forces, apparently in full retreat
      toward the Shepherdstown ford of the Potomac, yesterday morning,
      and a temporary halt was ordered near Kedysville, a little village three
      miles north from Sharpsburgh. The enemy had taken possession of
      the Antietam Hills, on the right of the creek by that name, with
      Sharpsburgh in their rear. They were attached yesterday by our
      batteries across this creek, for the purpose of occupying them until
      our whole force should come up, but no general engagement ensued.
      the rebels wer evidently preparing for a last desperate stand, before
      the final attempt to cross the Potomac. Their failure to check our
      advance here they knew would be fatal to their whole army, for they
      could not escape safely into Virginia with our artillery and infantry
      assailing their rear.

      The day closed without any decisive results, except that in every
      encounter our artillery practice was found to be too accurate and
      terrible for them, and they doggedly yielded every position which
      they took up.

      Meantime, Longstreet, who had suceeded in otaining possession of
      Maryland Heights the day before, having paroled the entire force
      found their,(excepting the cavalry, which cut their way through and
      escaped,) abandoned the position, and was hurrying forward to
      reinforce the rebel troops at this point.

      Thus the two armies, wearied by a harassing march over mountain
      ranges, and of four days' running fight from beyond Frederick, came
      together on this memorable field.

      The enemy having chosen a strong position on the hills just beyond
      Kedysville, began a sharp cannonade at 5 'oclock this morning. He
      found our boys wide awake, who replied firmly and steadily to the attack.

      Gen. Fitz-John Porter had thoroughly exmined the field on the previous
      day, and a council of the Generals had made a disposition of the various
      army corps for the grand contest. It will be sufficient, for the present
      purpose, to state that Gen. Burnside took command of the extreme left,
      while the other Generals occupied the enemy's extreme front and right.
      Burnside, with Gens. Rodman, Wilcox, Cox and Sturgis Brigades,
      extended his lines as far as to the southeast of Sharpsburgh, with the stone
      bridgeacross the Antietam Creek to his front. Between their position and
      that of the enemy, who lay toward the village at the northwest, is a
      succession of hills running nearly north and south, the highest and most
      abrupt of which is that rising from the bed of the creek. Gens. Hooker's
      and Sumner's corps have been conspicuous throughout the bloody day, the
      early part of the fight being over their part of the field, while a fierce
      protracted struggle was going on at the Stone Bridge, where Gen.
      Burnside commanded in person. In the latter place we lost, in the fore-
      noon, several brave officers and men. Gen. Hooker is reported wounded;
      Lieut. Col. Thomas Bell, of the fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers was
      mortally wounded while leading his men to the attack at this place, and
      died soon after. Lieut. Beaver, of the same regiment; Capt. Malcom
      Wilson and Sergeant Harry H. Stewart, of the Second Maryland Regiment,
      Co. A, were also killed. Col. Kingsbury of the eleventh Connecticut, was
      mortally wounded; and Adjutant Andrew Fowler, of the Fifty-first New
      York, is dead. Sergeant Davis, acting Lieutenant in the Twenty-first
      Massachusetts, had a leg badly shattered; Capt. Martin, Co. E, Second
      Maryland lost a leg; and Color Sergeants Osborn and Hoover, of the
      Second Maryland, are both severely wounded; also Capt. Neill, Thirty-
      fifth Massachusetts. I saw all these lying at a barn near the Stone Bridge,
      while the batttle was progressing, having visited the spot for the purpose
      of obtaining a list (which is only partial,) of the killed and wounded.

      I also saw lying dead on the field the following privates: James Kirby,
      Co. A, Second Maryland; Peter Daily, Co. I; Wm. Kelly, Co. H;
      Sergt. Jas. Clark, Co H; John Q Adams, Co. C; Daniel Fish, Co F;
      Sixth N. H.; Corp. Chas M. Noyes, Co. K, Ninth N. H.; S. H Case,
      Co. B, Seventeenth Mich.; Sergt. Howard Rand, Co. K, Sixth N. H.;
      Michael Boland, Co. G, Second Md.; _____ Connerly, Co. G; Fifty-
      first N. Y.; Corp. Keefe, Co. I, Fifty-first N. Y.; Thomas N. Stockwell,
      Co. I, fifty-first N. Y.; Robert C. Dale, Co. G, Fifty-first N. Y.; Geo.
      Summerlock, Co. A, Fifty-first Penn., and Thos. davis, Co. I, Fifty-first
      Penn. I saw some half-dozen others on the east side of the bridge, whose
      names I could not learn, lying on the field. It was not safe to cross the
      bridge, but I was told several others lay on that side. It is impossible, in
      the present state of affairs, to obtain anything like an estimate of the
      numbers killed and wounded, but our losses have been very heavy.

      The Irish Brigade, Gen. Meagher, in Sumner's corps, occupied a very
      prominent position, and the brave General, I am told, had a horse shot out
      from under him. Some report him killed, but I cannot now learn that it is
      true. He rode in front of his brigade and, waving his flashing blade in
      the air, beckoned his men to attack. Wherever they made a charge the
      rebel lines were seen to waver and fall back. The rebels kept as much
      as possible under cover of the ravines, and seldom advanced
      to the attack, but there has never been a battle probably, where there was
      so little of woods to conceal themselves in. The fighting has been mostly in
      the open field, with the exception of the sharp contest at the stone bridge,
      where woods (not dense) line both sides of the stream - and a considerable
      block of trees occupying nearly the centre of the right, where Hooker was

      The rebels have been driven back at least two miles since the fight began, so
      that Sharpsburgh has been, during the afternoon, about the centre of the
      rebel lines.

      Three times the rebel caissons have been blown up by our shells. Five
      different conflagrations have occurred on the field of barns and houses which
      were set on fire by exploding shells, or purposely fired by the enemy.
      While I
      write the whole heavens are lighted up by burning barns and wheat stacks.
      It is an immense conflagration.

      I made the following memoranda of events while overlooking the field:

      Capt. Cook's Parrot Battery, Eighth Massachusetts, occupies the east hill
      opposite Sharpsburgh and the bridge, and does excellent practice on the
      enemy's position. Lieut. Benjamin, in charge of Carlisle's Battery, also
      doing splendid execution. Twice the enemy's battery of six guns had been
      silenced or compelled to withdraw from the opposite hill.

      The musketry firing down at the stone bridge, where Wilcox and Sturgis
      are engaged, is sharp and continuous. At 11 o'clock squads of rebels are
      seen "getting up" the hill. Our batteries are playing on them, which hurries
      their time. Shells burst, and solid shot plow up the ground all around them.
      Cheers from the ravine. The Seventeenth Michigan (new regiment and all
      brave boys) are charging down to the help of Wilcox. Our infantry are
      seen charging up the hill, and our batteries are ordered to cease firing to
      avoid hitting them. They are turned on the rebel batteries , which now
      open on the hill to the right of Sharpsburgh. Our infantry advance, and are
      shelled by the rebel batteries, and compelled to lie down and finally retire
      under cover of the next ravine. Our 20-pounder Parrots upset the rebel
      guns. Splendid shots by Benjamin. The Forty-fifth New York come to the
      rescue, and are pressing by us toward the bridge. Gen. Burnside has just
      sent orders for Gens. Wilcox and Cox to cross the bridge with their
      brigades and occupy the hills south of the town. Our troops again advance,
      and as soon as they show themselves a new rebel battery of four guns, on
      the hill at the left opens upon us. At 12 o'clock a rebel caisson is blown
      up, the third one since morning.

      Sharpsburgh is now the centre of the action in our front, while Hooker is
      actively at work on the right. The firing in that part of the field is
      terrific and unceasing. The rebel lines are seen drawn up along the
      ravines at the north-west, and occasionally attempting to advance. In each
      instance they are met and driven back.

      At 1 o'clock the fighting at the Stone Bridge has ceased, and Wilcox and
      Cox have all passed over. We now have a large force on the hills confronting
      the rebel lines. They keep up a constant cannonade upon the Union troops.
      At 1 1/2 P.M. a squad of seventeen rebels are brought to Gen. Burnside as
      prisoners, who orders them sent to the rear. The spokesman of the party
      says: "I don't think there is a man of us who doesn't want to get out of the
      fight." Gen. Cox is ordered to move up and occupy the hills south of
      Sharpsburgh. At 2 1/2 P.M there is a temporary lull of the firing, but it is
      very short. At 4 1/2 P.M. our troops push up the hill (the rebels always
      continue to have us on the down-hill side of the fight) and a large force
      appears at their extreme left, advancing toward them over the hill. A perfect
      storm of shot and shell now greet the advance of our boys from a half dozen
      different batteries at once. On the right of our advance our troops push up
      toward the rebel lines and are met half way, at a ravine, where a fierce
      musketry fight continues for half an hour. The balls strike up the dust in
      plowed fields in all directions. The fight thickens, and so many batteries
      in play, from so many different quarters, it is difficult to distinguish
      from foe. Dust and smoke completely envelope the battle-field.

      On the left of the town the Union forces have now gained the crest of the
      hill, the rebels giving back under their steady fire, and cheers and shouts
      ring along the line. The rebel flag waves sulkily in the heavy air, in close
      proximity to the cheerful Red, White and Blue, borne into the thickest of the
      fight by our brave boys. The Union troops hold their position at the Sharps-
      burgh road for half an hour, while a deadly contest is going on. Our
      artillery, which has crossed the bridge, now takes up a position at the
      left, to check the advance of the rebels, who are trying to flank us, and
      open a brisk fire. On come the rebel hosts in overpowering numbers, to
      flank the force on the hill, and Wilcox's Brigade, which has stood their
      ground for over an hour, now retire part way down the hill. A tremendous
      onset was now made from the south, the enemy apparently having received
      reinforcements, and our left is pressed back. The sun has set, but the
      contest only thickens with the close of the day. The enemy's shell begin
      to burst over our hospital near the bridge, and the horses of Benjamins's
      Battery are shot at the guns. He is ordered by Gen. Burnside to withdraw
      them. Stragglers come in from the field, some wounded, some tenderly
      escorting comrades who are wounded - it generally
      takes two or three to perform this service for one man, and all hands wear a
      gloomy countenance and limp. Gen. Burnside orders them back to their
      regiments, with a sharp reprimand. Among these delinquents is a Lieutenant
      of the Sixteenth Connecticut Regiment, whom the General reprimands, and
      orders his name to be taken. He goes limping, and says a ball hit him in the
      leg. "But you walked away from the field - why did you come here to exhibit
      your cowardice? You had better remained at home," said the General sharply.
      At the same instant a youth, not over fifteen, who had his arm torn by a shell
      or ball, came up, holding the bleeding member in his other hand. "Look at
      that boy, Lieutenant, he has some excuse for leaving the field, but you have
      none". Shells now began to hum and burst all over the ground where we
      stood, and your correspondent began to think there might be a danger in
      remaining longer in that place, so he quietly mounted his horse and slowly
      moved to the rear.

      The rebels received a check soon after dark, and the contest ended for the
      night. It had been a most sanguinary fight. Our dead lie mingled with the
      rebel corpses on every pert of this wide field - over a space of three or
      four miles. Many a poor fellow will lie on the cold, damp earth to-night,
      and pray for death to relieve him of his sufferings.

      I shall endeavor to send fuller particulars of the fight than I am now enabled
      to do, as soon as they can be prepared.

      Both armies encamped on the field. To-morrow the dead must be buried,
      and possibly a renewal of the contest be had.

      We shall have reinforcements of Couch's Division this evening, from
      Harper's Ferry.
      E. S.

      ----NOTE: That is the end of this particular article. Correspondent "E. S."
      wrote another article dated Sept. 18th, which appears in the same NYT.
      The text follows...........

      2nd Article, NY Times, Sept. 23, 1862

      Events Succeeding the Great Battle - The Rebel Retreat Foreseen - Heavy
      Losses - Some of the Killed and Wounded - Incidents, &c.

      On The Field, Near Sharpsburgh, Md.,
      Thursday, Sept. 18, 1862

      There has been no engagement to-day - only occasional firing between the
      pickets, who continue to confront each other on substantially the same field
      where the contest closed at sundown yesterday. The body of the enemy - if
      there be any body remaining - are at least three miles further toward the
      than they were at the beginning of the battle yesterday morning. Competent
      judges, with home I have conversed, among whom is Gen. Griffin - a
      careful observer, and well vesed in the ways of the rebels- believe that they
      are merely amusing us by these exhibitions of force, while the army proper
      is really on the retreat to the river, an dshould this hypothesis prove
      we shall have a most mortifying result for all the labor, loss and bloodshed
      of this Maryland Campaign

      ……The body of the enemy - if there be any body remaining - are at
      least three miles further toward the river than they were at the
      beginning of the battle yesteerday morning. Competent judges, with
      whom I have conversed, among whom is Gen. GRIFFIN - a careful observer,
      and well versed in the ways of the rebels - believe that they are
      merely amusing us by these exhibitions of force, while the army proper
      is really on the retreat to the river, and should this hypothesis prove
      correct, we shall have a most mortifying result for all the labor, loss and
      bloodshed of this Maryland campaign. The rebel leaders have drawn after
      them from Washington an immense army, with its enormous train, which has
      marched, toiled, fought, and been dragged for fifty miles, over three mountain
      ranges, at an untold outlay of strength, expense and suffering; they will
      supplied their starving army with all it needed; slaughtered and wounded
      thousands of our brave Union soldiers, and then have escaped back to Virginia
      to laugh in their sleeve at our laggard way of following up our successes.
      old-fashioned way of waiting for the rebel army to make the first move to
      attack; to choose their own field of operations to fight us; lie still or
      retreat as suits their convenience, seems to be the humor of the hour.

      What motives of "strategy" or mysterious plans requiring time for development,
      explains this failure to attack the rebels to-day, a mere novice in warfare
      has no right to draw in question. But one thing seems apparent to me, the
      Union army are eager to be "up and at them," and make an end of this rebel
      canaille, and of the rebellion, while we have them and it in our power.
      The humblest Union soldier will feel the mortification of permitting this
      ragged and wolfish lazaroni to escape our clutches, by crossing again into

      In order to ascertain the number of the killed and wounded, as near as
      might be, so soon after the battle, and to obtain such names of prominent
      persons who
      have suffered, I passed over the field to-day, and went to nearly all the
      hospitals where the wounded are being gathered in.

      While the wounded are still on the field, and no official returns are made,
      it is, of course, impossible to obtain anything like a correct list of the
      killed and wounded. Lists will soon be prepared, however, and full accounts
      be sent forward. Every house and large barn contiguous to the field, is
      occupied by the wounded, where, I am happy to say, provision has very
      promptly been made for dressing wounds and rendering them comfortable.

      The troops in Hooker's, Sumner's and Richardson's corps have suffered greatly.
      Some officers of the General Staff estimate the number of wounded at 13,000,
      and say there are 5,000 on the field. My own judgment, after going pretty
      over the ground is, that this estimate is greatly exaggerated, and that
      they do not amount to half that number, while the killed is very small in
      proportion to the wounded. I think six to eight hundred will cover the
      killed, and twenty five hundred to three thousand the wounded, making a
      total of not to exceed four thousand of killed and wounded.

      Gen. Rodman was shot through the body, the ball passing through the lung.
      Gen. Mansfield was instantly killed. Gen. Hooker was wounded in the foot.
      Gen. Hartsuff, of Rickett's Division, wounded in the right iliac region; a
      serious wound, Col. Beal, 10th Maine, in the thigh. Col. Richard Oakford,
      of Scranton, Penn., (132nd Penn. Vol.,) was killed. Robert A. Abbot was
      seriously wounded in the lower jaw, Lieut. Jno. C. Dolan, injured in the hip
      by a shell. First Lieut. Sawyer, 7th Maine, killed, and about 100 privates of
      the same regiment wounded. Lieut.-Col. Fitlebrown was thrown from his
      horse and injured, but not seriously. Gen. Max Weber was wounded. Col.
      Kingsbury, of the eleventh Connecticut, who was shot throught the body
      twice and wounded in both feet, died this morning. Col. Childs, of the 4th
      Pennsylvania Cavalry, was killed while leading a charge on the right of the
      field. Gen. Richardson was sounded, and Gen. Hancock takes his command.
      Capt. Kelley, of the 8th Illinois Cavalry, was badly wounded on Monday in
      the mountain fight. Gen. Pleasanton's command, his cavalry division and
      four batteries of horse artillery lost several other officers and men, whose
      names I cannot now obtain.

      In Gen. King's division the loss has been heavy. Col. H. A.V. Post, of the
      Second United States Sharpshooters, was wounded; also, Lieut. Chas. E.
      Cushing, Co. E, 22d New-York Lieut. Whitman, Co. B, had his leg shot
      off - dead; Capt. Myers, Co. I, 14th Brooklyn - dead; Capt. O'Brien, Co.
      I, 24th Brooklyn - dead; Adgt. Parmele, 2d U. S. Sharpshooters - dead;
      Lieut. Seabury, 2d U. S. Sharpshooters - wounded; Capt. Chase, Co. A,
      2d U. S. Sharpshooters - wounded.

      In Caldwell's Brigade the loss was severe. The Fifth New-Hampshire
      Regiment have 119 killed and wounded, among which are fourteen officers.
      Some of these wounded are the following: Col Cross, wounded in the head,
      slightly; Capt. Long, Co. G, wounded in the arm; Capt. Ranlet, Co. E,
      wounded in the thigh; Lieut. Graves, Co. H, forearm, slight; Lieut. Bean,
      Co. H, severely; Lieut. Gay, Co. H, mortally; Lieut Parks.

      Phelix Randall, Co. B, Israel Colf, Co. C,
      Andrew Salier, Co. C, John A Troy, Co. C,
      Samuel Hunt, Co. D, S. H. Hooley, Co. D,
      Martin V. Moore, Co. D, Daniel McMartin, Co. D,
      Benjamin Ward, Co. D, Almeron Palmeter, Co. D,
      H. A. Smith, Co. D, Henry Tomlinson, Co. D,
      Wm. Woodward, Co. E, Alex. McKinnon, co. D,
      Robert C. Irvin, Co. E, Corp. Miron Hawley, Co. D,
      Ephriam Micka, Co. F Silas Gardner, Co. D,
      Delos Vandeberg, Co. H, Mason Kearney, Co. I,
      Frank Belknap, Co. I, Wm. Clay, Co. K,
      Oliver Cheeney, Co. K, Leonard Ives, Co. K,
      David D. Tompkins, Co. K, Total, 25.

      Mr. Ives of Providence, an Aid of Gen. Rodman, received a severe
      flesh wound in the thigh by a piece of shell. Probably not mortal. Mr.
      Ives is a brother of Capt. J. Poynton Ives, who commanded the
      Picket in North Carolina, under Gen. Burnside.

      The Seventh Maine regiment (Third Brigade, Smith's Division,) com-
      manded by Major Hyde, went into the fight with l75 men and 14
      officers, and came out with only 65 men and 4 officers unhurt.

      Lieut. Butler, Co. A, was wounded and is missing; Capt Jones, Co. B,
      wounded slightly; Adjt. Haskell was shot through both legs and his
      horse was killed. Lieut. Beason, Co. C. wounded in the leg; Lieut.
      Goodman, Co. D, killed; Lieut. Emery, Co. E, wounded slightly;
      Lieut. Shorey, Co. F, wounded in the leg; Lieut Warren, Co. H,
      wounded and missing; Capt. Cook, Co. I, wounded in the leg; Lieut.
      Brown, Co. I, supposed killed; Capt. Cochran wounded in foot;
      Major Hyde wounded in hand and horse shot under him, not serious.

      This regiment is now the body-guard of Gens. Franklin and Smith. The
      loss in this regiment is said to have been heavier than any regiment en-
      gaged, in proportion to the numbers, since the beginnning of the war.
      Their colors with "Williamsburgh" inscribed on them, were riddled with
      bullets. Capt. J. W. Channing has three bullet-holes through his clothes,
      and both he and Major Hyde came off the field with their clothing all
      bespattered with the blood of their comrades.

      Officers Killed
      Capt. Gustav A. Loreng, Co. C,
      First Lieut. Jacob Pabot, Co. D,
      Second Lieut. ----- Krano, Co. G,
      Some of the Wounded
      Capt. Robert Melkle, Pauls (?) Frick, -------- Lohman,
      Capt. Weber, Lieut. Voelker

      --Note: The next several paragraphs contain a listing of killed and
      wounded from the 1st Delaware. Only a portion of this
      is legible, so I've not included it here.

      In Gen. Burnside's Corps there has been severe losses in officers and
      men. the great conflict culminated on the left, where he commanded,
      and a desperate effort was made to outflank Wilcox and Cox's Divisions,
      which had gained the summit of the hills, and were fast turning the tide
      of battle. The contest here was desperate and bloody. To-day I can
      see our dead scattered over the hill side up which our gallant boys
      fearlessly charged the enemy. Nothing in modern warfare could exceed
      the steadiness and courage of the troops, who fought on this part of the
      field. To-day they occupy the hill, only a quarter of a mile in the rear of
      the position which they took yesterday. The enemy's batteries of seven
      guns on the left of Sharpsburgh and about the same number on the right
      of the town continue to threaten our front lines. No material change has
      occurrred since last evening in the position of the forces, but we occupy
      the field of battle. (author's italics)

      Gen. Burnside and Staff have remained constantly on or near the field,
      watching intently every movement of the rebels, who keep themselves
      habitually out of sight. We ought to learn a lesson from them in this
      respect. this afternoon the General and his Staff and his Aids might all
      have been seen lying on the gournd, under the shelter of a large wheat
      stack during a heavy rain. Let those who covet the glory and labors
      of the battle-field follow the march, and share the toils of our working
      Generals, and they will soon have enough of war.

      On the right, in the extreme front, I found General Cochrane, this morn-
      ing with his entire brigade engaged in picket service. Two hundred
      yards in advance of where he and Adjutant Rooms(?) were, our lines
      of sharpshooters were lying along the ground, within short rifle range of
      the enemy's pickets. Every two or three minutes the sharp crack of
      rifles, and the "bim-m-m" of the bullet was heard, in some cases,
      passing directly overhead or on either side. Behind them, in a large
      plowed field, the rebel dead lay very thickly scattered about, in every
      conceivable position, while muskets, bayonets and the debris of the
      previoius day's battle covered the ground. Beside the fence of a small
      square burying-ground I counted twenty-eight National soldiers, lying
      side and side, ready to be deposited in their last resting places. On
      this one field I counted over twenty rebel horses which had been killed
      in the previous day's battle. Near by, at the door of a barn, there was
      a splendid stallion lying dead with two legs shot away by a shell. It was
      evidently the horse of a rebel officer who was about escaping into the
      place for shelter, when a shell killed the horse. It was not the shell-ter
      he was looking for.

      Several of our fellows were brought to the rear, while I was on that part
      of the field, who had received a deadly ball from the enemy's pickets.
      One poor fellow, who had just been shot through the abdomen, was
      carried to an ambulance in a dying state. He asked for stimulus, which
      I gave him, and in a few moments before he reached the hospital, he
      sank to his death. He gave his name as Geo. W. Fell, or Pell.

      The surgeons have indeed an appalling amount of labor on their hands.
      They ought to be reinforced at once, and hundreds of careful male
      nurses could find most Christian and humane employment in tending upon
      these thousands of suffering, wounded soldiers of the Union.

      The rebel wounded are mingled promiscously with our own men, and
      receive every attention. The ambulances bring in sometimes both kinds
      in the same vehicle. Their condition is most pitiable. The majority look
      as if they had not seen soap or water for a twelve-month.
      E. S.

      ---That is the end of the 2nd article. There is one more article by "E. S"
      that was written on Sept. 19th. Here is that text:

      NY Times, Sept. 23, 1862, 3rd Article

      The Escape of the Rebel Army Across the Potomac -
      The Condition of Sharpsburgh.
      Sharpsburgh, MD., Friday Sept. 19, 1862

      The rebel army began to move to the rear about __ o'clock last evening
      {the time is illegible due to an ink blot, but could be a 9), and continued
      to march until daylight, passing rapidly (part of the time on the double-
      quick) through this town and making for the river at Blackford's Ford,
      three miles distant. They moved in perfect silence. Before 7 o-clock A.M.
      the whole army had got safely to the river, leaving only a rear-guard to
      protect the crossing of their artillery and wagon train. At 8 o'clock A.M.
      our cavalry arrived in this place in pursuit of the fugitive rebels, and at
      9 o'clock Gen. Pleasanton's whole cavalry division was in full pursuit of
      them. I joined this corps, and charged after the rebels on the double-
      quick. They placed batteries in position near the hill to retard our
      movements, and keep the Union batteries at a distance. The cavalry
      followed the rear guard, and Robertson's Batteries gave them a parting
      salute of shot and shell as they crossed over to the Virginia shore. The
      rebels placed a battery of seventeen guns in a semicircular form to com-
      mand the ford, and replied for a time vigorously to our guns. They
      appeared, however, to be short of ammunition, and used mostly solid
      shot. Some seventy wounded were left behind in charge of a surgeon,
      at houses within a mile of the crossing. On the hill-sides, where they
      encamped over night, they left hundreds of muskets, and any quantity
      of clothing, and all kinds of dirty duds.

      Bloody garments were scattered here and there, showing that many
      wounded were carried away. All the signs indicated that they left in
      great haste. They took the road down the river, and I saw only a few
      stragglers going over the hills. Your correspondent was the only
      representative of the Press on the spot, as the rebels retired across the

      There are various comments upon this termination of the great chase
      after the rebels. The general feeling is one of disgust and disappoint-
      ment, that they should have eluded our grasp. All the talk about
      bagging the rebels was mere bragging.

      The infantry have been passing through the town cheering and shouting,
      as if a great victory had been achieved. McClelland has his headquarters
      temporarily in this place at Col. Miller's. Union flags are flying from all
      the houses in the town. The houses are all more or less injured by shot
      and shell. The people on Wednesday retired into their cellars, to escape
      the deadly missles. the citizens protested against having their town made
      the centre of a battlefield, but the only reply the rebels gave was, "Then
      get up and leave the town." The Soldiers are giving cheers for the Stars
      and Stripes as they go through the town. This is a day of great rejoicing.
      It is as if a nightmare had been lifted from the breasts of the inhabitants.
      The rebels broke open the store of William Cromer, and stole all his
      shoes and dry goods before they left.

      This is the last article written by "E.S." in this issue.
      NY Times, Sept. 23, 1862, Other Excerpts:


      About the only thing we know of the rebel army is, that it is all out
      of Maryland; and the telegraphic indications this morning are, that
      it is continuing its retreat in Virginia, and altogether leaving the line
      of the Potomac. There have been fears expressed that the rebels
      might suddenly cross once more into Maryland lower down the
      river than the point at which they got out of it, and suddenly march
      upon Washington while our army is absent. But, it must be
      remembered, that notwithstanding all cavils, we have an army left
      in Washington sufficient to defend it - now that we know Baltimore
      is safe and loyal in the rear, - while, in such an event, McClellan's
      victorious army would march back to Washington as quickly as it
      marched out from it a fortnight ago to pursue the rebels. On the
      south side of the Potomac we have another army under most
      gallant leaders, which it seems has not been sent to cut off the
      rebel retreat at any point. Possibly it has been kept at the forts to
      prevent the rebels from coming down from Harper's Ferry on the
      south side, capturing Arlington Heights, and attacking the Capital
      in front. It is difficult to tell where the rebel army is pushing to.
      Probably Gen. Halleck is waiting to discover before he makes any
      moves. It would not be surprising if it did not halt till it got back
      to Richmond, or if it again took up the old quarters at Manassas -
      which, at present, we could very easily prevent.
      Condition of the Rebel Army.

      Not one man in a thousand can report correctly facts observed by
      him. Any one familiar with the giving of testimony in courts or with
      reports of scientific phenomena by inexperienced persons, will
      readily agree to this statement. Very few men, indeed, when they
      observe facts, see the important ones, or remember them when
      they do see them. We presume the whole public, like ourselves,
      has felt this difficulty in the reports with regard to the condition and
      numbers of the rebel army. The accounts seemed so often purely
      "sensation descriptions," and to be made by people of no little habit
      of observation, or under such excitement of feeling, that we have
      come to put very little confidence in them.

      We have just had an oppurnity of conversing with one of our surgeons
      who was captured at Harper's Ferry - a gentleman of scientific habit
      of mind and close observation. He had the opportunity which, till then,
      had scarcely been enjoyed by any loyalist, of seeing nearly the whole
      rebel army march by, as they were crossing the Potomac - that of
      Longstreet and Stonewall Jackson: they marched in two solid columns
      over the bridges, and were about fifteen hours in passing. This
      gentlman counted the numbers in a given time, and then made a rough
      estimate of the whole force: his reckoning would show those corps
      alone numbering close upon 60,000.

      He had heard the usual accounts of the costume, appearance and
      condition of the rebel army, and like most of us, supposed them exag-
      gerations. But he now says that no descriptions he has seen approach
      the truth. There never was beheld such a gang of ragged, rowdy
      looking men. It was like an army of rag-pickers. There was no
      uniform or attempt at uniform. Officers and men were equally dirty
      and dingy. The hats were commonly old "Wide-Awakes," stained by
      a long campaign, often with the tops gone and the hair streaming out.
      The trowsers were of all colors, and generally in tatters up to the
      knees. The coats, if they had any, were dirty and ragged, and often
      well greased by the piece of bacon which each man carried on his
      bayonet. the shirts were black with long use. One officer told our
      informant that he had not been able to change his shirt for six weeks.
      Their blankets were of all colors and materials - often bits of
      carpeting and old bed-comforters. Nearly one-half of the men were
      barefooted. They carried their crackers and bullets and caps all
      together in their pockets. Both officers and men were excessively
      lousy, and the stench from the passing columns was almost

      As they marched by, our men were surprised at first at the great
      number of field officers, riding in the lines, and then at the small
      numbers gathered around the flags. Their first theory was that these
      were sections of regiments, each with a separate flag. But they
      soon discovered that they were bonafide regiments, numbering from
      150 to 300 men, with their own banners and mounted officers.
      Many of these regiments, they were informed, had numbered 1000
      to 1100 men. Their method of treating their sick and wounded would
      account for much of this diminution. After each regiment followed
      some half-dozen men with stretchers, and whenever a man fell out
      of the ranks from sickness, he was taken at once to the nearest
      house, and left there to the mercies of the country people. So with
      those wounded or operrated on in battle. They were never
      carried with the army. The men were by no means in good spirits.
      They told our informant that they had been constantly walking since
      the battles before Richmond, and with very little to eat. They
      reproached Jackson with working them too hard. There was no
      enthusiasm shown by any of them, and the North Carolinians and
      the Irish were particularly lukewarm. The Virginians alone ex-
      pressed some bitterness on account of the ravages which their
      State had suffered. They evidently felt the deepest disappointment
      at their reception in Maryland. With regard to the future prospects
      of the war, their great hope and sustaining assurance was that the
      two new levies, by volunteering and drafting, would not possibly
      be raised in the North. We had come, they believed, to the end
      of our power.

      The whole rebel army had, to the eyes of this medical gentleman
      and his associates, a worn-out, exhausted look. The physique was
      inferior to that of our men, and they evidently suffered from want
      of food and overwork. Even the horses looked wretchedly.

      With such testimony as this, from persons accustomed especially
      to judge of the physical condition of men, what may not be
      believed of the present condition of the rebel army?

      Men can fight on empty stomachs and endure long and harassing
      marches, where victory and plunder reward them. But now to
      retrace the weary steps over a desolated country, under the
      conciousness of defeat and disaster, and with an active enemy
      behind them, must have a most discouraging effect upon them.
      They want rest and food. This is precisely what we should not
      allow them. Energy now on our part is worth all to us. An
      incessant, vigorous attack from our forces, might go far to break
      up and utterly demoralize the rebel army. Hesitation now, slow
      movements, any Corinth or Richmond operations with spade
      and pick-axe, will surely give the enemy time to recuperate,
      and destroy all the advantages of this successful campaign.
    • Bob Huddleston
      Bud, Thanks for posting that. ES was probably Elias Smith. Of course George Smalley s report for the Tribune is considered a classic is newspaper journalism.
      Message 2 of 2 , May 31, 2001

        Thanks for posting that.

        "ES" was probably Elias Smith. Of course George Smalley's report for the
        Tribune is considered a classic is newspaper journalism.

        Take care,


        Judy and Bob Huddleston
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        Northglenn, CO 80234-3612
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        Here are the Times articles from 9/23/1862:

        New York Times, Tuesday, September 23, 1862
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