"Before it was entirely dark the 100,000 men that had been threatening our destruction for twelve hours had melted away"
Gen. James Longstreet, Army of Northern Virginia
(1) After defending the Lower (Burnside) Bridge, the Confederates fell back to this ridge and then to the high ground west of this point. When the final Union attack started, there were more than 2,000 Confederate soldiers and more than forty cannon stretching from Sharpsburg south toward Millers Sawmill Road.
(2) Over 8,000 Federal troops, commanded by Gen. Ambrose Burnside, formed on the ridge 300 yards to the east. At 3:00 p.m., the attack began. A few regiments from Gen. Isaac Rodman's division advanced to the high ground 400 yards to the west. Col. Harrison Fairchild declared, "We charged over the fence, dislodging them and driving them from their position down the hill toward the village."
(3) When it appeared that the Federals had finally gotten the better of Lee's army, Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill and his men arrived from Harpers Ferry. Striking Burnside's left flank, Hill remembered that his soldiers "were not in a moment too soon," and how with a "yell of defiance" and "destructive volleys" they "drove them back pell-mell...the tide of the enemy surged back, and, breaking in confusion, passed out of site."
Burnside's men fell back to the protection of the ridge 300 yards to the east. That evening over 23,000 Union and Confederate wounded and dead covered the fields around Sharpsburg. Both armies maintained almost the same positions as they did when the day began. Neither Lee nor McClellan would renew the battle the next day. On the evening of September 18, Lee started his retreat across the Potomac River and back to Virgina.
Gen. A.P. Hill
Hill was born in Virginia, graduated from West Point in 1847, then fought in the Mexican and Seminole Wars. He was in every major Civil War battle in the east. Lee once said that, "next to Longstreet and Jackson, I consider A.P. Hill the best commander with me." On April 2, 1865, Ambrose Powell Hill was killed outside Petersburg, Virginia at the age of 39, one week before Lee's surrender.
Two More Generals Killed
Gen. Isaac P. Rodman
Born in 1822, Rodman commanded a Union division of 3,200 soldiers until he was shot in the chest on the hill in front of you. Taken to a field hospital, General Rodman died on September 20, 1862 at the age of 40. He is buried in his family's cemetery in Peace Dale, Rhode Island.
Gen. Lawrence O. Branch
Born in 1820, this North Carolinian graduated from Princeton. Branch's only military experience before the Civil War was a short stint as a general's aide during the Second Seminole War. At Antietam, General Branch led one of A.P. Hill's brigades. He became the last of six generals mortally wounded at Antietam when a bullet crashed through his cheek, killing him instantly.
The Day is Finally Done
Approximate Time of Action 3:00 p.m. to Sunset
Approximate Number of Soldiers Engaged:
Approximate Number of Casualties for Each Army:
Union Army of the Potomac
2,200 killed, wounded, missing
Confederate Army of Northern Virginia
1,000 killed, wounded, missing