Antietam - Mansfield's XII Corps Attacks
This is the view from near where Mansfield was hit, an area that was then part of a much larger East Woods. Advancing along the axis of the Smoketown Road, the XII Corps would flank the Confederate position in the Cornfield. Next, we'll take a look from the corner of the Cornfield.
Colquitt Reaches Northern End of Cornfield
Part of Colquitt's line of Confederates reached near here and extended from near here toward the post war farmhouse near the southwest corner of the Cornfield. Ripley extended the line from there, but there the rebels were unable to advance to the northern edge of the Cornfield - so the line bent to the rear. Colquitt repulsed a Union line, then faced another. To the right of Colquitt, the brigade under McRae, which had not yet recovered from the fight at South Mountain, had lagged behind and was to the rear - in the vicinity of post-war house along the Smoketown Road, an area which was then part of the East Woods. McRae was flanked by advancing troops of the Union XII Corps, and his troops fled in panic. Further ahead, Colquitt's men were now vulnerable, with the enemy on three sides and threatening their rear. Colquitt's brigade had to fall back, having lost roughly half the men in the unit.
From Smoketown Road
On the right of the XII Corps, the division of Alpheus Williams advanced to the West Woods, but it withdrew to rest and replace ammunition. Greene's division on the left advanced to the Dunker Church, forcing SD Lee's artillery to withdraw behind the West Woods.
This is the view from further along the Smoketown Road. Greene's division continued down the road to the Dunker Church, forcing SD Lee's artillery to withdraw from the area near the visitors center. It was already a confused situation on the Union side when Hooker was wounded and left the field. Neither Union corps commander was available to coordinate the action, and Sumner's II Corps would soon arrive. Spread out, the first division of the corps to arrive would try to exploit Confederate confusion on this flank while the other two would become engaged near the Sunken Road.
Copyright 2008 by John Hamill
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