The Other Side, Part 23

Miller house, Sharpsburg

Library of Congress: Miller residence, Sharpsburg, MD

The Union troops had their right flank on the Hagerstown Pike with their line continuing toward the east. We couldn’t see their left flank, which was off in the distance. 

Beyond the Union troops was a small wooded area called the North Woods. To the north of the woods was a farm house, and Union artillery crews were moving their cannons so they could fire on us.

The cannons in the Confederate artillery position, where we were standing, fired on the Union Troops moving south. Suddenly the Union cannon crews began firing on our position.  One round went over our heads and hit on the backside of the hill. Other rounds hit in front of our position. They were starting to get our range.

The Union troops in the distance began to receive fire from other Confederate batteries to their front, and they moved forward.

A tall Confederate officer yelled for two cannons that were farthest north on our hill to fire at the Union artillery crews. He commanded the other cannons to continue firing at the Union infantry.

“Kill those damn Yankees!” he yelled.

As the Union shells came closer to our position, the Confederate officer ordered our cannons be moved back to the back edge of the hill.

A Union shell hit among a team of horses, killing one.  Another horse was wounded badly by shrapnel and was down and screaming.  A soldier asked the officer for his pistol, which the officer readily gave him. The soldier shot the horse to put it out of its misery. The soldier then cut the horse out of its harness so what was left of the team of horses could pull their load to safety.

The Union troops in the distance had reached the house on their southward march.

All of a sudden, I found myself among those troops.


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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