Sgt. William Andrews, 1st Georgia Regiment
As the battle escalated, Union Gen. Edwin Sumner moved the Second Corps across Antietam Creek and into the battle. The swift waters of the Antietam and the difficult terrain separated the three divisions in Sumner's Corps. One division advanced toward the West Woods, while the remaining two fell behind and later assaulted the Sunken Road.
At approximately 9:30 a.m. Sumner led Gen. John Sedgwick's Division, numbering more than 5,000 men, into the battle. The plan was to drive into the woods and then sweep south, delivering the crushing blow to Lee's left flank. As the Union lines moved through the West Woods, Confederate artillery posted on Hauser Ridge opened fire. Within minutes bullets flew from three different directions and cut the Federals ranks into pieces.
Gen. Oliver Howard remembered, "We had the enemy's artillery and infantry both pursuing and flanking our broken brigades by rapid and deadly volleys." Confederate re-enforcements from the divisions of Gen. Layefette McLaws and Gen. John Walker slammed into the unsuspecting Union flank. Suffering over 2,200 casualties in about twenty minutes, the Federals quickly withdrew from the West Woods.
(Captions next to portraits of the Generals):
Gen. Edwin Sumner
Sumner's Union Second Corps advanced across Antietam Creek that morning. His three divisions became separated by time, distance and terrain.
Gen. John Sedgwick
His division of 5,000 men was crushed on three sides in the West Woods. Over 2,000 were killed or wounded. Known as "Uncle John," Sedgwick was wounded three times in the woods. He survived, but was later killed at Spotsylvania.
Gen. John Walker
Lee ordered Walker's Division to move north from the southern end of the battlefield toward the West Woods.
Gen. Lafayette McLaws
McLaws and his men marched all night from Harpers Ferry. Early that morning Gen. Lee ordered McLaws's men into battle. These soldiers did most of the fighting in the West Woods.
Gen. Stonewall Jackson
His ranks were decimated in the mornings action. What was left fell back into the West Woods.
was located on Hauser Ridge. These guns fired on Sedgwick's men as they moved through the West Woods.