The East Woods

 

The East Woods

This page consists of quotes made about actions around the East Woods during the Battle of Antietam.  It was last updated on December 24, 2011.  There are 13 quotes in this collection.

 

Confederate Quotes

 

“We were ordered by the left flank and were very soon into the engagement. I commenced loading and shooting with all my might but my gun got chocked the first round and I picked up the gun of one of my comrades who fell by my side and continued to fire. Here I could see the second line of battle of the enemy and when their men would fall the rest would close in and fill their places. Their first line was lying by a fence and I could see the old Stars and Stripes waving over them I fired as near as I could aim at the men around the flag I do not know whether I killed any one or not during this time[.] our regiment got cut up very severely and the Brig was ordered to retreat back when we met reinforcements coming in and I was glad to see them for I was nearly tired to death.”

Calvin Leach of the 1st NC Inf, DH Hill’s Division

From “Antietam Eyewitness Accounts.” by Scott D. Hartwig. [Online] Available http://www.historynet.com/antietam-eyewitness-accounts.htm

 

Union Quotes

 

“Nothing could have been more grand.  The red glare of flame along the Rebel line for more than a mile, the bright streams of light along the track of the shell, and the livid clouds of smoke as the shell burst in the air, constituted a spectacle brilliant beyond comparison.”

A soldier from the 8th Ohio describes the fighting in the East Woods the night before the battle by soldiers from the 8th Ohio in Burnside’s Corps

From Mr. Lincoln’s Army by Bruce Catton.  New York: Anchor Books 1990.

 

“Well, I guess I’m hurt about as bad as I can be.  I believe I’ll go back and give ‘em some more.”

A wounded Hoosier responding to his injury

From Mr. Lincoln’s Army by Bruce Catton.  New York: Anchor Books 1990.

“The East Woods presented almost as ghastly a sight as the cornfield, by now-dead and living bodies everywhere, little groups of men trying to help wounded comrades to the rear, shattered limbs of trees lying on the ground in a tangle, wreckage of artillery equipment strewn about, with unseen Rebels keeping the air alive with bullets, and streaky sheets of acrid smoke lying in the air.  Nobody knew whether there were Union troops in front or not. The ground was uneven, crossed with rocky ledges and ridges.  Organized bodies of troops could be seen in the distance now and then, but the light was bad and skirmishers, shooting at everything that moved, did not know whether they were firing at friends or enemies.”

Bruce Catton describing the East Woods

From Mr. Lincoln’s Army by Bruce Catton.  New York: Anchor Books 1990.

 

“sickening, men lying wounded in every conceivable form, and praying for some kind hand to put them out of their misery; others just breathing their last and lisping the holy name of ‘mother'”

Charles N. Ritchie of the 13th NJ describes the fighting

From  “Who Would Not Be A Soldier?” by Scott D. Hartwig. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“When good Samaritans so abound it is a strong indication that the discipline of the troops in front is not good and that the battle is not going so as to encourage the half-hearted.”

Francis Palfrey describing all the good Samaritans during the battle.

From Mr. Lincoln’s Army by Bruce Catton.  New York: Anchor Books 1990.

“presented a fine picture.  We had over 1,000 men in line in new uniforms, bright new arms, beautiful new flags and marching to the inspiring music of the fife and drum corps.”

Frederick Crouse describing the 128th PA before the fight

From For Honor, Flag, and Family Civil War Major General Samuel W. Crawford, 1827-1892 by Richard Wagner.  Shippensburg:  White Mane Books, 2005.

“I can only say that it was awfully grand and terrible [sic].  The sun was shining through the sulphorous smoke of the battle, the ground was thickly strewn with dead and wounded.  The crash and rattle of musketry, the roar and thunder of the artillery that shook the ground under our feet the cries and groans of the wounded and dying made up a scene never to be forgotten.”

Frederick Crouse describing the fighting

From For Honor, Flag, and Family Civil War Major General Samuel W. Crawford, 1827-1892 by Richard Wagner.  Shippensburg:  White Mane Books, 2005.

“The air seemed filled with the messengers of death, the batteries belched thunderbolts of death and destruction from their red throats and their vivid lightning flashes showed ten or twelve men torn and bleeding in the agonies of death.”

Frederick Crouse describing the fighting

From For Honor, Flag, and Family Civil War Major General Samuel W. Crawford, 1827-1892 by Richard Wagner.  Shippensburg:  White Mane Books, 2005.

“we heard the whistle of the Minnie ball and we all began to duck and I got a little weak in the knees.”

Private Frederick Crouse describes the advance of the 128th Pennsylvania

From For Honor, Flag, and Family Civil War Major General Samuel W. Crawford, 1827-1892 by Richard Wagner.  Shippensburg:  White Mane Books, 2005.

“on all other fields, from the beginning to the end of our long service, we never had to face their equals”

John M Gould, one of Crawford’s men of the Twelfth Corps describing the action around the Cornfield

From Mr. Lincoln’s Army by Bruce Catton.  New York: Anchor Books 1990.

“That’s right boys, cheer-we’re going to whip them today!…Boys were going to lick them today.”

Joseph K. F. Mansfield

Mansfield  From Mr. Lincoln’s Army by Bruce Catton.  New York: Anchor Books 1990.

 

“the prettiest sight I ever beheld-shells flying in all directions, houses burning, musketry cracking & altogether the grandest sight imaginable.”

Signalman Furst, A Sixth Corps signal flagman

From Lincoln’s Darkest Year The War in 1862 by William Marvel. Boston: Houghtin Mifflin Company Company, 2008.

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