THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN OF 1862: Pt 18

THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN OF 1862: THROUGH ARKANSAS EYES

All of the division completed the crossing and marched toward Sharpsburg. At the western edge of the town the division halted and men went to sleep by the roadside. An incessant cannonade was heard from the 3rd‘s position north and east of the town.

The 3rd along with the division was roused from their slumbers at about 3:15 PM, when Jackson’s division was ordered to go to the north of the town. At about 4:00 PM, Walker’s division was ordered to “Fall In” and marched east toward Sharpsburg. After arriving in the center of town the division turned right and followed the Harper’s Ferry Road out the south side of the town. After marching about ¾ of a mile they topped a hill and looked to their left. The land sloped downward to Antietam Creek and on the other side was a solid line of Yankees.

The division was moved off the road to the west and bivouacked in a swale. As the division prepared to cook a meal at sundown a rattle of musketry erupted to the north and continued until dark. The meal was eaten in silence for they knew tomorrow would bring an all-out battle.

At 4:00 am on the 17th of September Walker’s Division received their assignment in the line. They were to be placed on the extreme right of the Confederate Line and assigned the task of covering the fords on the lower Antietam opposite the Snavely Farm. They moved out in the early morning with Manning’s (Walker’s Old Brigade) leading and Ransom’s Brigade close behind. They marched for about 30 minutes for a distance of about 500 yards to a low ridge overlooking Antietam Creek. The 3rd Arkansas was situated on the right of the brigade line along with the 27th NC.

The night before had been nerve racking with picket fire exploding every few minutes. At about 5:45 amon the 17th of September the ball began. Hooker’s
I Corps attacked Jackson’s divisions in the northern part of the battlefield. The Union Forces advanced steadily. Hood’s Division was called to plug the hole and was shot to pieces, but did stop the Union Advance momentarily. Mansfield’s XII Corps arrived and streamed down the Hagerstown Pike and the Smoketown Road pushing toward the Dunker Church. Jackson ConfederateDivisions were shattered and beaten.

Jackson’s Aide, Sandie Pendleton, rode to Lee and asked for more reinforcements. Lee sent McLaw’s Division, which had arrived from Harper’s Ferry a few hours before and been resting west of Sharpsburg, and ordered Walker’s Division to stop the Union Advance.

Lee had 8 divisions on the field at this time and had now committed 5 of them to the northern part of the battlefield.

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About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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