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Near Sharpsburg in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Final Attack

 
 
The Final Attack Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 19, 2009
1. The Final Attack Marker
Inscription.
"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
Close Up of the Battle Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 19, 2009
2. Close Up of the Battle Map
The north seeking arrow points to the right of the map.
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
The Final Attack image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 19, 2009
3. The Final Attack
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:
Union 8,000
Confederate 4,500
Total 12,500

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
 
Erected 2009 by Antietam National Battlefield - National Park Service - Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 39° 27.211′ N, 77° 44.356′ W. Marker is near Sharpsburg, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is on Branch Avenue, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Located at stop 10, the Final Attack, of the driving tour of Antietam Battlefield. Marker is in this post office area: Sharpsburg MD 21782, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Advance Was Made With the Utmost Enthusiasm (here, next to this marker); Brown’s (Wise), Virginia Battery (a few steps from this marker); "It Is A.P. Hill"
The Final Attack Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 19, 2015
4. The Final Attack Marker
(a few steps from this marker); Ninth Army Corps (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Ninth Army Corps (within shouting distance of this marker); D.R. Jones' Division, Longstreet's Command (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named D.R. Jones' Division, Longstreet's Command (within shouting distance of this marker); Longstreet's Command (within shouting distance of this marker); 28th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker); 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Sharpsburg.
 
More about this marker. In the lower center is a map showing the actions (keyed to the text) in this phase of the battle. To the right are portraits of Gens. Hill, Rodman, and Branch.
 
Also see . . .
1. Old Marker at this Location. This marker replaced an older one at this location titled "It Is A.P. Hill." The new marker was oriented to a new facing (note
The Final Attack Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 19, 2015
5. The Final Attack Marker
the photos). (Submitted on September 22, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. Ambrose Burnside. Ambrose Everett Burnside (May 23, 1824 – September 13, 1881) was an American soldier, railroad executive, inventor, industrialist, and politician from Rhode Island, serving as governor and a United States Senator. As a Union Army general in the American Civil War, he conducted successful campaigns in North Carolina and East Tennessee, as well as countering the raids of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan, but suffered disastrous defeats at the terrible Battle of Fredericksburg and Battle of the Crater. (Submitted on October 5, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

3. Isaac P. Rodman. Isaac Peace Rodman (August 18, 1822 – September 30, 1862) was a Rhode Island banker and politician, and a Union Army brigadier general in the American Civil War, mortally wounded at the Battle of Antietam. (Submitted on October 5, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

4. Col. Harrison Fairchild Biography. At times he was a Brigade Commander, as for instance he was at South Mountain, part of the Siege of Suffolk, and the Appomattox Campaign. He led his men in several battles. On March 13, 1865, he was promoted to Brigadier General by Brevet for gallant and meritorious services
Waysides at the Final Attack Stop image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 19, 2009
6. Waysides at the Final Attack Stop
during the war. He was mustered out of the service with the Regiment on August 3, 1865 in Richmond, Virginia. (Submitted on October 5, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

5. A.P. Hill. Ambrose Powell Hill, Jr. (November 9, 1825 – April 2, 1865) was a Confederate army general who was killed in the American Civil War. (Submitted on October 5, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

6. Lawrence O. Branch. Lawrence O'Bryan Branch (November 28, 1820 – September 17, 1862) was a North Carolina representative in the U.S. Congress and a Confederate brigadier general in the American Civil War, killed at the Battle of Antietam. (Submitted on October 5, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
The Final Attack Marker (Right) image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 19, 2015
7. The Final Attack Marker (Right)
Major General Ambrose Burnside (1824-1881) image. Click for full size.
By Matthew Brady, LOC
8. Major General Ambrose Burnside (1824-1881)
His distinctive style of facial hair became known as sideburns, derived from his last name. He was also the first president of the National Rifle Association.
Brig. General Isaac P. Rodman (1822-1862) image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott
9. Brig. General Isaac P. Rodman (1822-1862)
At 4:00 p.m. A.P. Hill's Light Division joined the battle, launching a spirited counterattack after a rapid forced march from Harpers Ferry. Sighting the approaching Confederates, Rodman knew his division, on the Union army's left flank, would take the brunt of their assault. Galloping across a cornfield to warn his brigade commanders, he was shot through the left lung, mortally wounded. He died thirteen days later in a field hospital at Sharpsburg.
Col. Harrison Fairchild (1820-1901) image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott
10. Col. Harrison Fairchild (1820-1901)
Colonel of the 89th New York Volunteer Infantry.
Lieutenant General A.P. Hill (1825-1865) image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott
11. Lieutenant General A.P. Hill (1825-1865)
Responding to an urgent call for assistance from Lee, Hill marched his men at a grueling pace and reached the battlefield just in time to counterattack a strong forward movement by the corps of Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside, which threatened to destroy Lee's right flank. Hill's arrival neutralized the threat, bringing an end to the battle with Lee's army battered but undefeated.
Brig. General Lawrence O'Bryan Branch (1820-1862) image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott
12. Brig. General Lawrence O'Bryan Branch (1820-1862)
On September 17, 1862, he led his troops on a rapid march from Harpers Ferry to Sharpsburg, Maryland where the Battle of Antietam was raging. Branch arrived on the field around 2:30 PM, in time to help stop the Union advance, thus saving General Robert E. Lee's right flank from a crushing defeat. Soon after this victory, Branch stood talking with fellow brigadier generals Maxcy Gregg, Dorsey Pender, James J. Archer, along with Hill and General Lee when a Federal sharpshooter, seeing the group, fired a shot that hit him in the right cheek and exited behind his left ear, killing him instantly. He fell dead into the arms of a staff officer.
High Ground West of Branch Avenue image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 29, 2008
13. High Ground West of Branch Avenue
Federal forces advanced up the slopes of the ground west of (modern) Branch Avenue in the final stages of the battle. The arrival of A.P. Hill's Division turned the flanks of the Federals and effectively ended the battle.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 952 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4, 5. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   6. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   13. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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