From Antietam to Chancellorsville: September 1862 to May 1863

Battle of Antietam

How did the battle commence?

Hooker had his men in position by 5 A.M., and the attack was made at first light (accounts differ as to the precise clock time). Hooker made a splendid sight, and target, on his white bay, and he urged his men forward with an uncommon insistence.

The men of Hooker’s corps were more than ready: they had been in pursuit of the rebels for days, and they made the most of their attack. Several times, between 7 and 9 A.M., Hooker’s men were on the verge of punching right through the Confederate left wing, but on each occasion, heroics were performed. At one point it was a regiment of Mississippians, a second time it was the heroics of a group of men from Alabama. The men of General John B. Hood’s Texas division were especially infuriated because they had just been given their first real rations in several days and were beginning to cook breakfast when the call came. For many of those men, perhaps as many as a third of them, they had missed their last meal.


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