Did Lee ever believe he had gotten into a serious debacle and his army was going to be severely crippled if not destroyed?
In the early stages of the Maryland Campaign Lee was hurt when he was pulled to the ground after grabbing Traveler’s reins to keep the horse from being stampeded by someone yelling “Yankee Cavalry.” He was forced to ride in an ambulance, which we would call a buckboard today. Later in the campaign, Lee could ride his horse, but had to be careful about how he handled the reins. All through the battle he fed units into the fray to counter McClellan’s offensive moves. Toward the end of the day he had used up all his available forces.
The Union 9th Corps had finally crossed Antietam Creek and began to assemble troops to assault the heights east of Sharpsburg. These troops were put in line of battle that stretched about half a mile and began their assault. They were successful in carrying the heights east of Sharpsburg and began to enter parts of the town. Lee had no more reserve troops to counter their break through. What do you believe his thoughts were at this time? Was he resigned to defeat? We all know how it turned out. Using binoculars, one of Lee’s aides spotted troops to the south of Sharpsburg coming on the field. Due to his injuries Lee couldn’t view the troops and had to ask what colors the aide recognized. When he was told it was Confederate Colors, what do you believe his thoughts were?