The Sunken Road

Piper Farm behind the Sunken Road

This page consists of quotes made about actions around the Sunken Road during the Battle of Antietam.  It was last updated on December 22, 2011.  There are 125 quotes in this collection.

 

Confederate Quotes

 

“brought down the enemy as grain falls before a reaper

a Confederate officer’s description of French’s attack into the Sunken Road

From George B McClellan – The Young Napoleon by Stephen Sears.  New York:  Ticknor & Fields, 1988.

 

“Our gallant Col. Jno. B. Gordon, though wounded and bleeding profusely in four places, continued cheering his men, though oft entreated to leave the field.  Seeing his men all dead and dying, till one could have walked the length of six companies on their bodies, his heart grew sick at the terrible havoc of death around him.”

A member of the 6th Alabama describes Rodes and Gordon

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

 

“Gen Rodes by his own heroic example, encouraged his men by moving up and down the line, while the brigade stood firm, repelling every onset of the enemy, breaking and driving them back as a firm rock does the waves of the sea.”

A member of the 6th Alabama describes Rodes and Gordon

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

 

“both sides were well whipped.”

A survivor of the 3rd Alabama describes the action in the Sunken Road

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

 

“in a semicircle on the side of a hill….the two wings and the centre…they poured upon us a murderous fire”

Benjamin Franklin Page, a Floridian describes the fire of the federals from the top of the hill

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“[the Federals] came like ocean billows to break on the rock of Gibraltar”

Cullen A. Battle, commander of the 3rd Alabama describes the attacks into the Sunken Road

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

 

“The men that held the centre could die, but they could not fly”

Cullen A. Battle, commander of the 3rd Alabama writes proudly of the men who carried the regiment’s colors

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

 

“Soldiers , you fought well on Sunday, but today you must fight harder.”

D.H. Hill to the soldiers of Rodes Brigade prior to the Union attacks.  D.H. Hill exhortation from obituary of Lt. John D. Perry, 6th Alabama, Selma Reporter, Dec 18 1862

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“The skulkers and cowards had straggled off, and only the bravest and truest men of my division had been left.”

D.H. Hill describing the toughness of his men.

From Taken at the Flood Robert E. Lee & Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 by Joseph L. Harsh.  Kent:  The Kent State University Press, 1999.

“one of the most finished scholars on the continent.”

D.H. Hill describes Col Tew

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“It was surely a hot day with us….Our loss was heavy in wounded and near half of the company is missing.  Our troops held part of the battlefield at night & the enemy held a portion of it.”

Sgt David Lane of the 2nd North Carolina who fought in the Sunken Road

From “The Net Result of the Campaign Was in Our Favor.” by Gary Gallagher.  The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

 

 

“[aim for] the belt of the cartridge boxes of the enemy.”

Francis Marion Parker, commander of the 30th NC commands his men in the Sunken Road

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“It was the worst cannonade I was in during the civil war.”

Frank Forrest of the 14th NC on the artillery

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“Tew, who was standing erect, lifted his hat and made…a polite bow, and fell immediately from a wound in the head.”

Fred Philips, sent to notify Tew of his assumption of command reports the mortal wounding of the Colonel

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“he would prefer being shot through the head”

George B. Anderson after being wounded told his attendants he did not want to be taken alive

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“[The shrieks of the wounded and dying was terrible, but they rallied and came at us again and our men again awaited until they come in range and again arose and mowed them down the second time, but they came again."

James C. Steele of the 4th NC describes the attacks into the Sunken Road

From  "It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg's Bloody Lane."by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

"Tired and sleepy we still march on, and as we come in proximity of the battle ground the scores of wounded passing to the rear remind us that bloody work is going on. A little further on, to the left of the pike, we halt & "load at will." No sooner done, then in again. The enemy's batteries give us shot & shell in abundance causing many muscular contractions in the spinal column of our line. But all the dodging did not save us. Occasionally a shell, better aimed than the rest would crash through our line making corpses & mutilated trunks."

James J. Kirkpatrick, one of Posey's men describes the line of Mississippi troops as they are exposed to fire

From  "It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg's Bloody Lane."by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

"If you insist on riding up there and drawing the fire, give us a little interval so that we may not be in the line of the fire when they open upon us."

James Longstreet to DH Hill at Battle of Antietam shortly before an artillery round takes off the front two legs of Hill's horse.  Lee is there also

From R.E. Lee A Biography by Douglas Southall Freeman.  New York Scribners, 1934.

"that little battery [Miller's 3d Co Washington Artillery] shot harder and faster, as though it realized that it was to hold thousands of Federals at by or the battle was lost.”

James Longstreet describing the battery that his staff manned at the sunken road

From Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army by Jack Mason.  Carbondale IL:  Southern Illinois Press, 2009.

“it was easy to see that if the Federals broke through our line there, the Confederate Army would be cut in two and probably destroyed, for we were badly whipped and were only holding our ground by sheer force of desperation.”

James Longstreet describing the situation and importance of the Sunken Road

From Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army by Jack Mason.  Carbondale IL:  Southern Illinois Press, 2009.

“accidental artillery shots that cut down Colonel Barlow, the aggressive spirit of Richardson’s right column, and General Richardson himself at his culminating moment.  But for the breaking up of Richardson’s aggression, this last advance could have gained the field.”

James Longstreet’s commentary about the wounding of Barlow and Richardson at the Sunken Road

From Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army by Jack Mason.  Carbondale IL:  Southern Illinois Press, 2009.

“There they are; but that regiment hasn’t a cartridge.”

James Longstreet in answer to Chilton’s query of what troops held the line, Longstreet who is holding the reins of his staff’s mounts while they work an abandoned cannon points to the battery and a small regiment.

From Taken at the Flood Robert E. Lee & Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 by Joseph L. Harsh.  Kent:  The Kent State University Press, 1999.

“The line swayed forward and back like a rope exposed in rushing currents.  A force to heavy to be withstood would strike and drive in a weak point till we could collect a few fragments, and in turn force back the advance till our lost ground was recovered.”

James Longstreet

Battles and Leaders 2:668

From Stonewall Jackson The Man, The Soldier, The Legend by James I. Robertson.  New York:  Macmillan Publishing Co, 1997.

“[Some officers] I am sorry and ashamed to say left the field unhurt.”

James W. Shinn reports some unwounded officers leaving the field

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“It appeared as though mutual extermination would put a stop to the awful carnage.”

James W. Shinn

Lt Shinn of the 4th NC on the carnage in the Sunken Road

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“Wright was drunk & tried to order our Brigade forward…we were under cover & preferred to let the enemy come up.”

James W. Shinn describing the confusion when Wright’s brigade under Gibson charged the Federals out of the Sunken Road

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“spoilt all, caused confusion & disorder yesterday.”

James W. Shinn writing the day after on Wright (Gibson’s) attack

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“These men are going to stay here, General, till the sun goes down or victory is won”

John B. Gordon

Gordon to Lee in the Sunken Road

From R.E. Lee A Biography by Douglas Southall Freeman.  New York Scribners, 1934.

“From the position assigned me near the centre of Lee’s lines, both armies and the entire field were in view.  The scene was not only magnificent to look upon, but the realization of what it meant was deeply impressive.  Even in times of peace our sensibilities are stirred by the sight of a great army passing in review.  How infinitely more thrilling in the dread moments before the battle to look upon two mighty armies upon the same plain, ‘beneath spread ensigns and bristling bayonets,’ waiting for impending crash and sickening carnage!”

John B. Gordon describing his position in the Sunken Road

From The Warrior Generals Combat Leadership in the Civil War by Thomas B. Buell. New York:  Crown Publishers, 1997.

“approach the top of the hill, cautiously, and lying down, we pour into each other one continuous shower of leaden hail for four long mortal hours.  The whole air resounds with the din of arms.  Musket, rifle, cannon and shell pour forth an avalanche  of lead and iron.  Our men are protected by about 6 or 8 inches of wear of the road, but that is great protection; they fire cautiously, and are apparently as cool as if shooting at squirrels, taking sure aim every fire.  The protection, however, is not sufficient.  The air is full of lead, and many are shot as they are aiming at the enemy, and the groans of the wounded are heard amid the roar of the musketry.”

John Calvin Gorman witnesses the repulse of the Yankee attack

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“drop, reel, stagger, and back their first line go beyond the crest of the hi…”

John Calvin Gorman witnesses the repulse of the Yankee attack

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“Just then, a Yankee horseman waved his hat at us, and Col. Tew returned the compliment. It was the last I saw of the colonel [Tew was killed in the ensuing engagement]. Our skirmishers began to fire on the advancing line, and we returned to ours. Slowly they approach up the hill, and slowly our skirmishers retire before theirs, firing as they come. Our skirmishers are ordered to come into the line. Here they are, right before us, scarce 50 yards off, but as if with one feeling, our whole line pour a deadly volley into their ranks – they drop, reel; stagger, and back their first line go beyond the crest of the hill. Our men reload, and await for them to again approach, while the first column of the enemy meet the second, rally and move forward again. They meet with the same reception, and back again they go, to come back when met by their third line. Here they all come. You can see their mounted riders cheering them on, and with a sickly “huzza!” they all again approach us at a charge, but another volley sends their whole line reeling back. “

Lt. John C. Gorman, 2nd North Carolina Infantry, D. H. Hill’s Division

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

“[he] gazed with tumultuous emotion over the fast approaching [Yankee] line.  Our little corps seemed doomed to destruction…[My very heart sunk within me."

John Calvin Gorman of the 2nd NC accompanied Col Tew to the  skirmish line and witnessed the approaching Yankees

From  "It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg's Bloody Lane."by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

"We made the Yankees smell brimstone though (entre nous) we smelled it also."

John K. Hoyt a captain in the 3rd Alabama describes the action

From  "It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg's Bloody Lane."by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

"We will stay here…if we must all go to hell together .  Tell General Longstreet to send me some ammunition.  I have not a cartridge in my command, but will hold my position at the point of the bayonet.  "

John R. Cooke of the 27th NC responding to orders to Genl Longstreet to hold the Confederate Center.

From Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army by Jack Mason.  Carbondale IL:  Southern Illinois Press, 2009.

"plain [attire], his right arm in a sling, his pantaloons tucked inside his boots.”

Josiah Lewis a Georgian describes Lee at Sharpsburg

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“kneeling behind a tree, praying earnestly for the cruel war to close.  He seemed to be badly demoralized.”

One of Posey’s men notices this soldier

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

 

“Go in at once,. You artillery men are too much afraid of losing your guns”

Thomas Jackson to Branch’s Battery of Walker’s Division when he observed the battery not engaged near the Reel Ridge

From The Maryland Campaign of 1862 edited by Joseph Pierro. New York: Routledge, 2008.

 

“Many were wounded and left on the battlefield, and had to be left in the hands of the Yankees when we fell back this side of the Potomac

Walter Battle of 4th North Carolina talks about not being able to bring off all the wounded

From “The Net Result of the Campaign Was in Our Favor.” by Gary Gallagher.  The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

 

“Gen. Hill had five horses shot from under him…and then came from the field afoot.”

Wilson T. Jenkins of the 14th NC in his memoir writes this of Hill

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“far in advance, stricken down, and writhing in pain.”

The wounding of Ltc Nisbet of the 3rd GA during the charge out of the Sunken Road by Wrights’s Brigade

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

Union Quotes

“The Confederates had gone down as grass falls before the scythe.  They were lying in rows like the ties of a railroad, in heaps, like cord-wood mingled with the splintered and shattered fence rails.  Words are inadequate to portray the scene.”

a northern correspondent reaches the bloody lane on Sep 18,1862

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“The shouts of our men, and their sudden dash toward the sunken road, so startled the enemy that their fire visibly slackened, their line wavered, and squads of two and three began leaving the road and running into the corn.”

A soldier of the Irish Brigade describing their last attack

From Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army by Jack Mason.  Carbondale IL:  Southern Illinois Press, 2009.

 

“[Confederate bodies] “lay as thick as autumn leaves along a narrow lane cut below the natural surface, into which they seemed to have tumbled.”

Alpheus Williams description of the Sunken Road

From  “It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg’s Bloody Lane.”by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

“as thick as autumn leaves.” General Alpheus Williams describes the Confederate dead in the Sunken Road

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

“the men yelled like demons and fought like infuriated mad men, the Rebels at last broke and ran like sheep from the squad that was left of our brigade.”

An officer of the 14th Indiana describes the attack into the Sunken Road

From “The 7th West Virginia Infantry’s Assault on Bloody Lane.” by David W. Mellott. The Maryland Campaign of 1862 Civil War Regiments:  A Journal of the American Civil War. Vol 5, No 3. Campbell CA:  Savas Publishing Company, 1998.

“The boys fired rapidly into the tree and in a brief time two Confederate gentlemen dropped to the ground, whether dead or alive I do not know, but we had no more trouble from that source.”

Charles A. Fuller reports on engaging Confederate snipers in a tree along the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“The boys fired rapidly into the tree and in a brief time two Confederate gentlemen dropped to the ground, whether dead or alive I do not know, but we had no more trouble from that source.”

Charles A. Fuller

Fuller recalls a scene during the fighting at the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“the result was terrible to the enemy. They cold do us little harm, and we were shooting them like sheep in a pen….The dead and wounded were a horrible sight to behold. This sunken road, …was a good many yards long, and for most of the way, there were enough dead and badly wounded to touch one another as they lay side by side. As we found them in some cases, they were two and tree deep.”

Charles A. Fuller describes Barlow’s attack at the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“When he learned I was of Barlow’s regiment, he told me that about the finest sight he ever saw on the battlefield was seeing Barlow lead his command in to action at Antietam.  He was where he had a full view of the display.  The regiments were in line of battle, and [Barlow] with saber in hand, was ahead of the line.  Such is the plain fact, as all who were there can testify.”

Charles A. Fuller

From The Warrior Generals Combat Leadership in the Civil War by Thomas B. Buell. New York:  Crown Publishers, 1997.

 

“Instead of halting his men where Meagher had, he [Barlow] rushed forward half the distance to the rebel line and opened fire. We were so near the enemy, that when they showed their heads to fire, they were liable to be knocked off.”

Charles A. Fuller describes Barlow’s attack at the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“What a bloody place was that sunken road as we advanced,…; the fences were down on both sides, and the dead and wounded were literally  piled in there in heaps. As we went over them in crossing the road, a wounded reb made a thrust at me with his bayonet; turning my head to look at him I saw that he was badly hurt, and kept on.” Charles A. Hale of the 5th new Hampshire describes the crossing of the Sunken Road and advance further south.

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“down among the corn there was a tremendous commotion and shouting, and some sharp firing, indicating that something serious was going on; it was the Fifth New Hampshire changing front.”

Charles A. Hale describes the change in front of the Fifth New Hampshire as they endure a rebel counterattack on their left.

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

 

“it was simply awful the way the canister was tearing up the ground, and making kindling-wood of the fences around Piper’s buildings.” Charles A. Hale of the 5th New Hampshire describes the effects of confederate canister fire

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“Was perhaps the supreme moment of their experience, as there shot through the minds of the men the thought of the loved ones at home; [and] the terrible possibilities of the engagement made vivid by the ghastly scenes through which they had already passed at South Mountain.”

Charles D. Page,  historian of the 14th Connecticut writes about the thoughts of the men as they approach the battlefield

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“We shot down the rebel color bearers as fast as they could get up, killed their officers, broke their ranks and piled them in heaps among the tall corn.  I never felt better in my life, and if the rebels didn’t hear the Apache war whoop that day, it was not my fault.”

Edward Cross of the 5th NH describing the fighting in the Sunken Road

From Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army by Jack Mason.  Carbondale IL:  Southern Illinois Press, 2009.

“I must chronicle my opinion of some of the chief actors in this eventful scene.  General Richardson behaved gallantly, leading and ordering his men until he was struck by a piece of shell in the breast.  Gen. Meagher was drunk as usual.  Gen. Caldwell did not show himself either brave or skillful; & lost the confidence of his solders.  Colonel Brooks of the Fifty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers did nobly, in command of the old brigade of Gen. French.  My own regiment-& in fact, the entire Brigade did nobly; worthy of a better General over them.”

Edward Cross evaluating the commanders in Richardson’s Division at the Battle of Antietam

From Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army by Jack Mason.  Carbondale IL:  Southern Illinois Press, 2009.

“The enemy are in front and the Potomac river is in their rear. We must conquer this day, or we are disgraced and ruined. I expect each one will do his duty like a soldier and a brave man. Let no man leave the ranks on any pretense. If I fall leave me until the battle is won. Stand firm and fire low.”

Edward Cross makes this speech to his troops as they approach the battlefield.

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“Put on the war paint…Give ‘em the war whoop!”  Edward Cross

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“the Confederates on the crest of the hill fired volleys into our ranks. The bullets flew thicker than bees, and the shells exploded with a deafening roar.”

Edward W. Spangler of the 130th PA, a rookie regiment recalls first contact with the Confederates on the ridge above the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“tried to climb over the fence at the further side of Bloody Lane, but was shot in the rear as he reached the top, his body hanging on the upper rail. When our regiment buried him, it was found that he had been riddled with seventeen bullets.”  Edward W. Spangler remembers one hapless Confederate trying to escape from the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“My regiments at once advanced over the crest of the hill, and bravely engaged the enemy and fired destructively.” Francis Barlow describes the advance of his regiments, the 61st and 64th NY

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“the portion of the enemy’s line which was not broken then remained lying in a deep road, well protected from a fire in their front. Our position giving us peculiar advantages for attacking in flank this part of the enemy’s line, my regiments advanced and obtained an enfilading fire upon the enemy in the aforesaid road.”

Francis Barlow describes the advance of his regiments, the 61st and 64th NY

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“Our troops ere joined together without much order-several regiments in front of others, and none in my neighborhood having very favorable opportunities to use their fire.”

Francis Barlow describes the confusion as the regiments of Brookes and Caldwell’s brigades mingle after the advance into the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“The enemy at length retreated quite precipitately under the fire of the troops on our side, together with another body of Federal troops, which attacked the enemy in turn on their flank and rear.”

Francis Barlow reports on the repulse of the Confederated counterattack on the right of the Sunken Road, assisted by two brigades from the Sixth Corps

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“their lank, emaciated forms and pale, cadaverous faces made them seem like an army of phantoms.”

Francis Barlow, a New York colonel Frank Barlow recalls to a New York woman Maria Lydig Daily the rebels that he fought in the sunken road

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

 

“the men in the sunken road increased their wall of protection by piling up fence-rails and also their dead in their front.” Franklin Sawyer of the 8th Ohio recalls Confederate actions to protect themselves in the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“that their guns were so foul or their ammunition exhausted. The ground was covered with arms along the field and the men were ordered to change their pieces for these, and the officers at once went to picking up and distributing ammunition, and in this way, and by cutting cartridge boxes from the dead, a good supply was soon obtained.”

Franklin Sawyer, Description of efforts to resupply Union troops at the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“deafening pandemonium of cannonading, with shrieking and bursting shells, filled the air beyond [and volleys of musketry] sounded in the distance like the rapid pouring of shot upon a tin pan, or the tearing of heavy canvas, with slight pauses interspersed with single shots, or desultory shooting.”

Frederick L. Hitchcock, historian of the 132d Pennsylvania records the action in the Sunken Road

From “The 7th West Virginia Infantry’s Assault on Bloody Lane.” by David W. Mellott. The Maryland Campaign of 1862 Civil War Regiments:  A Journal of the American Civil War. Vol 5, No 3. Campbell CA:  Savas Publishing Company, 1998.

“fear was not that I might be killed, but that I might be grievously wounded and left a victim of suffering on the field.” Frederick L. Hitchcock of the 132 PA describes the approach to the battlefield

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“It was now quite evident that a great battle was in progress. A deafening pandemonium of cannonading, with shrieking and bursting shells, filled the air beyond us, toward which we were marching.”

Frederick L. Hitchcock of the 132 PA describes the approach to the battlefield

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“These volleys of musketry we were approaching sounded in the distance like the rapid pouring of shot upon a tin pan, or the tearing of heavy canvas, with slight pauses interspersed with single shots, or desultory shooting.”

Frederick L. Hitchcock of the 132 PA describes the approach to the battlefield

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“were ordered to lie down just under the top of the hill and crawl forward and fire over, each man crawling back, reloading his piece in this prone position and crawling forward and firing….These tactics undoubtedly saved us many lives, for the fire of the two [enemy lines] in front of us was terrific.”

Frederick L. Hitchcock recalls a change in the tactics along the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

 

“Soon our men began to call for more ammunition and we officers were kept busy taking from the dead and wounded and distributing to the living.”

Frederick L. Hitchcock describes getting ammunition from the wounded and dead

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“so many men had gone over and dripped the water from their clothing on to this soft ground that it had become a sea of mud that it was hard to pull ourselves through.”

George C. Maquire age 13 accompanying his brothers as they cross the Antietam recalls

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“Squad after squad came in from the front, until at least 100 of the Fifth Maryland and almost as many of the Fourth New York, were gathered in the Clipp house and grounds. We were entirely without organization, but the colors of both regiments were there. I do not remember any of the First Delaware….found the house and grounds full of wounded men, and the Surgeon busy, on an improvised table in the back yard, operating on the more seriously wounded.”

George R. Graham recalls the condition of Weber’s brigade around the Roulette farm after their assault on the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“Each explosion seemed like a rushing mighty wind and a driving hail.  In the corner of a fence was discovered a pile of potatoes which the boys insisted should also fall back.  It was but a temporary break in the ranks, a moment of time, and this charge also was successful, every potato being captured.”

Gilbert Frederick of the 57th NY describing withdrawal from advanced positions beyond the Sunken Road

From Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army by Jack Mason.  Carbondale IL:  Southern Illinois Press, 2009.

“It was undoubtedly loaded with grape and canister, for it killed and wounded nine.”

Henry Gerrish of the 7th NY reports on a Confederate battery near by as the Federals attempt to attack out of the Sunken Road.

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“Not only their wounded fell back through our lines to be cared for by us but the frightened ‘skeedaddlers’ also in large numbers.”

Chaplain Henry S. Stevens of the 14th Connecticut recalls the fury of the battle

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“As we stood outside, a few feet from the door, to surrender or helpless charge if it could be done before the Johnnies shot, the foremost men in butternut came within about two rods of us, when the operations of a battery brought to bear upon the cornfield and of some infantry throwing a flanking fire into the field started those Johnnies on a retrograde movement of the most lively sort.”

Chaplain Henry S. Stevens of the 14th Connecticut recalls the close call with advancing rebel infantry near the Roulette house as he tends wounded federal soldiers

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“We pressed on until we reached a ditch dug in the road in which the enemy lay in line and the few who did not surrender did not live to tell the tale of their defeat.  The result was terrible to the enemy.  They could do us little harm, and we were shooting them like sheep in a pen.”

Isaac Plumb describing the attack of the 61st NY into the Sunken Road.  Isaac Plumb compilation of letters USAMHI

From The Warrior Generals Combat Leadership in the Civil War by Thomas B. Buell. New York:  Crown Publishers, 1997.

“No straggling today Colonel! Keep your men well up and in hand.”

Israel B. Richardson orders to his regiments as they cross the creek and approach the battlefield

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“the shot and shell of the enemy poured over our heads, and crashed in the hollows in the rear…on the right the sound of musketry was deafening.”

Lt James B. Turner on Meagher’s staff recalls moving through the cornfield to the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“The fire as we mount the slope is terrific, but the advance never falters or wavers.”

James B. Turner on Meagher’s staff recalls moving through the cornfield to the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“the enemy opened upon us a terrific fire from a fresh line of infantry, and also poured upon us a fire of grape and canister from two batteries, one in the orchard just beyond the corn-field, the other farther over to the right….regiments bore this fire with steadiness.”

John C. Caldwell reports encountering additional resistance as his brigade crosses the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“In the line of our advance a number of beehives were over turned, and the little fellows resented the intrusion, and did most unceremoniously charge upon us, accelerating our speed through the orchard toward the entrenched position of the enemy.”

John D. Hemmingen remembers the bees in the Roulette orchard

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“They tried the same deception a second time, which partially succeeded. The third time their white flags went up, our fire was withheld for a moment until every rifle could be reloaded, then with deliberate aim we gave them the first volley which must have caused them greater loss than we had so far sustained.”

John D. Hemmingen of the 130 PA recounts an apparent ruse by the Confederates in the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“When I went into the engagement at the Battle of Antietam I thought I was a coward, but that fear left me in five minutes after we received the first fire from the Gray backs and then I thought nothing but loading and firing.”

John Weiser of the 130th PA in a letter to his mother describes his first fight in the Sunken Road

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.

 

“saw the poor fellows mowed down like grass before the scythe.”

Jonathan Lockwood of the 7th WV records the action in the Sunken Road

From “The 7th West Virginia Infantry’s Assault on Bloody Lane.” by David W. Mellott. The Maryland Campaign of 1862 Civil War Regiments:  A Journal of the American Civil War. Vol 5, No 3. Campbell CA:  Savas Publishing Company, 1998.

“[after the battle we encamped on the field of blood and carnage amidst the dying and the dead, alleviating the wants of the former and burying the latter.  Truly it was a time long to be remembered."

Jonathan Lockwood of the 7th WV records the battlefield afterward

From "The 7th West Virginia Infantry's Assault on Bloody Lane." by David W. Mellott. The Maryland Campaign of 1862 Civil War Regiments:  A Journal of the American Civil War. Vol 5, No 3. Campbell CA:  Savas Publishing Company, 1998.

"I viewed he Battlefield the next morning Sept 18 and saw the awful slaughter of men such a sight I never want to see a again after looking around for a long time I found the brigade and one glance at them showed me that many of them was gone after spending an hour I went to the hospital and saw the wounded.  I then returned to Boonsboro about 4 miles where the wagons was left."

Joshua Rice of the 7th WV who was sick and assigned to Kimball's brigade wagons hunts down the brigade and this is what he sees.

From "The 7th West Virginia Infantry's Assault on Bloody Lane." by David W. Mellott. The Maryland Campaign of 1862 Civil War Regiments:  A Journal of the American Civil War. Vol 5, No 3. Campbell CA:  Savas Publishing Company, 1998.

 

"The enemy were in plain sight a very short distance below, and the Fifty-seventh and Sixty-sixth were ordered to charge, which they did in a most gallant manner, led by Colonel Parisen on horseback. Down the slope, over a sunken road strewn with dead and dying, and into a cornfield pell mell we went, driving the flying rebels before us in splendid shape, bayoneting all who did not properly surrender."

Josiah Marshall Favill  describes the advance of the 57th NY over the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

"Boys we are going for the 'Johnnies now, and we'll stay with them all day if necessary."

Brigade commander Nathan Kimball making a short speech before his brigade advances upon the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

"Now boys, we are going, and we'll stay with them all day if they want us to!"

Nathan Kimball to his men as they attack the Sunken Road

From "The 7th West Virginia Infantry's Assault on Bloody Lane." by David W. Mellott. The Maryland Campaign of 1862 Civil War Regiments:  A Journal of the American Civil War. Vol 5, No 3. Campbell CA:  Savas Publishing Company, 1998.

"Stand firm, trust in God, and do your duty."

Nathan Kimball to his men after the fighting ends in the Sunken Road

From "The 7th West Virginia Infantry's Assault on Bloody Lane." by David W. Mellott. The Maryland Campaign of 1862 Civil War Regiments:  A Journal of the American Civil War. Vol 5, No 3. Campbell CA:  Savas Publishing Company, 1998.

"They were lying in a ditch or a small road, and we partly surrounded them.  I then went forward over the rise a little and called on them to surrender….They rose up; I scarcely knew if they were going to fight or surrender; they however threw down their arms and came in....In the road the dead covered the ground....I think that in the space of less than ten acres, lay the bodies of a thousand men and as many more wounded."

Nelson A. Miles describes the advance of Barlow's two regiments the 61st and 64 NY in a letter to his brother

From  "It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg's Bloody Lane."by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

"very much depressed, not at all like himself, and inclined to look on the dark side, more than is good for him."

Richardson's wounding is described by an aide

From  "It Appeared As Though Mutual Extermination Would Put a Stop to the Awful Carnage Sharpsburg's Bloody Lane."by Robert K. Krick. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999.

"like wheeling a wheelbarrow over a mile of heaped up cobblestones"

Philadelphia Brigade veteran describes the advance of Sumner's corps to the battlefield

From Counter-Thrust From the Peninsula to the Antietam by Benjamin Franklin Cooling. Lincoln: University of Nebraska 2007.

"Steadily, under a shower of musketry, my regiment advanced to the orchard and gained the barn about 100 yards in font of the main line, and still pressing onward, reached the crest of the hill [to the rear of the Roulette house] and drove back the enemy.”

Richards McMichael, commander of the 53rd PA describes a counterattack against rebels counterattacking the right flank of the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“Just laying in rows as if whole regiments had been mowed down.”

Samuel Fiske, a soldier of the Pennsylvania Reserves describes the Sunken road

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

“we did our best to kill them all before they could reach their ditch. It was truly pitiful to see them tumble as they came down the slope, but they came in splendid alignment, their colors fell as fast as they were raised and each time they fell, there was a man to seize them but he couldn’t more than wave them once until down he would go.”

T.N. Rownsdale of the 14th Indiana recalls shooting down the rebel color bearers in the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“noticed a white flag waving in the rebel line for sometime but thought it was a wounded man asking protection in this way; the officers ordered us to cease firing, and the rebels called to us that they wished to surrender. We started to go to them and when near their line were fired on by a line in their rear.”

T.N. Rownsdale of the 14th Indiana recounts an apparent ruse by the Confederates

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“wore the Zouave uniform and were always conspicuous, and it is supposed that, on the day of the battle, they attracted the especial attention of the enemy, for they suffered, in numbers, more heavily than other companies.”

Chaplain Thomas G. Murphey of the 1st Delaware recalls the Zouave uniforms of Co. A.

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“advancing along the ridge, through the corn. They come up opposite us and sink out of sight in the sunken lane. It is a mystery that so many men could crowd into so small a space.”

Thomas Galwey recalls seeing the advance of Confederates into the Sunken Road. (Perhaps Richard Anderson’s Division)

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“white flags were once raised at several points along the Confederate lline in the sunken road. For a moment we ceased firing. But the handkerchiefs were quickly withdrawn so we resumed our fire.”

Thomas Galwey recounts apparent efforts of some Confederates to surrender in the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“The whole face of the country in front of us was filled with the smoke of battle and burning houses [Mumma farm] on the opposite plain…and through it we cold see the dim outlines of the country and the contending lines sometimes, and continually the flashes of musketry and of artillery.”

Thomas I. Livermore describes the approach of the 5th NH to the battlefield.

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“We stood nearly on the edge of the sunken road which ran along the border of an extensive cornfield, behind us the greensward for a hundred yards was dotted with the dead and wounded, and away across the creek our great guns were hurling shells over the valley and above our heads at the enemy; on our left, the country was as far as we could see was quiet and undisturbed, except, perhaps, by a few skirmishers, and the flight of shells overhead.”

Thomas Livermore describes a paradoxical scene on the way to the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“that while we fired by file a little before we advanced across the road,…we did not meet with great opposition here, probably because the Irish regiment we relieved had done considerable toward using up the line we first dealt with.”

Thomas Livermore describes his regiment’s arrival on the line and the contributions of the Irish who came before him.

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“Our men fairly roared, ‘Shoot the man with the flag! And he went down in a twinkling and the flag was not raised in sight again.”

Thomas Livermore reports when a rebel color bearer advances tow within fifteen yards of the NH line

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“…and all of us joined him in the Indian war whoop until it must have rung out above all the thunder of the ordnance.” Thomas Livermore describes the electric effect of the

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“I had the misfortune to lose the services of many good officers and brave men.”

Thomas Meagher, Irish Brigade commander recalls the frightful advance toward the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“on the impetuosity and recklessness of Irish soldiers in a charge…felt confident that before such a charge the rebel column would give way and be dispersed.”

Thomas Meagher’s plan to attack the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“orders were that after the first and second volleys delivered in line of battle by the brigade, the brigade should chare with fixed bayonets on the enemy.”

Thomas Meagher’s plan to attack the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“Despite a fire of musketry, which literally cut lanes through our approaching line, the brigade advanced under my personal command within 30 paces of the enemy.”

Thomas Meagher reports on the attack against the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“The volley that played out along the line towards that terrible crest made the hills ring far and wide. It was spitefully done, and very effective, for instantly the Confederates fell back from the summit into the sunken road, receiving as they did so several other volleys.”

William A. Osborne of the 29th Mass describes the first volley of the Irish Brigade against the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“cutting off the stalks of green corn as would a scythe, and having their effect upon the enemy who were hiding there.”

William A. Osborne describes the effect of the 29th Mass volleys against the Confederates in the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“that the guns of their men were getting so hot that the rammers were leaping out of the pipes at every charge.”

William A. Osborne of the 29th Mass describes how hot the firearms of the men are becoming

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“for a brilliant display of courage never surpassed.”

Genl. William French cites Kimball for his actions in the final report of the battle of Antietam

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“Old Dick Richardson led us in, not merely to fill up a gap, but to make gaps.”

William H. Helmbold of Co D 2nd Del describes Richardson’s commitment of his rgt to stop a Confederate counterattack

From Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army by Jack Mason.  Carbondale IL:  Southern Illinois Press, 2009.

“He wished me to save the battery as much as possible, in order that it might advance with his division at a signal then expected from Major-General Sumner.”

William M. Graham’s battery in action with Richardson is ordered to be ready to support an infantry attack

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“that the guns of their men were getting so hot that the rammers were leaping out of the pipes at every charge.”

William Osborne describes the condition of the firearms during the fighting in the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“Now the rush of troops was heard in the rear; now the air was rent with wild yells.”

William Osborne describes the arrival of Caldwell’s brigade to reinforce the Irish Brigade

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“so destructive that even veteran troops would have been repulsed.”

William P. Seville of the 1st Del recalls the destructive Confederate fire from the Sunken Road

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“At this moment the supporting troops behind us, instead of charging through our line upon the enemy, halted in the cornfield and fired on us from the rear, thereby forcing the command to retire a few yards to avoid the fire from our supports.” William P. Seville of the 1st Delaware recalls being fired upon from the troops behind it (probably 14th Ct)

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

“a stream of shouts, curses, and appeals to ‘Fire! Fire! Fire faster!’”

the fight between the rebels and soldiers of the 5th NH and 81st PA

From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

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