Sharpsburg in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
I Found the Enemy in Great Force
About 9:30 a.m. the battle started to shift from the north end of the battlefield toward the Sunken Road, 180 yards to your right (south). Two divisions from the Union Second Corps moved across the Mumma and Roulette farm fields in front of you. Initially, over 5,000 soldiers commanded by Gen. William H. French assaulted the Confederate position. French, who was ordered "to press the enemy" with all of his force, locked into a bloody and costly struggle against Confederates positioned in the well worn sunken farm road. Approximately an hour later, Gen. Israel Richardson's division of over 4,000 men moved in to support their comrades.
Gen. Nathan Kimble, whose men advanced across the ground in front of you, remembered that, "Directly on my front, in a narrow road running parallel with my line, ... forming a natural rifle-pit between my line and a large corn-field, I found the enemy in great force... As my line advanced to the crest of the hill, a murderous fire was opened upon it from the entire force in front. My advance farther was checked, and for three hours and thirty minutes the battle raged incessantly, without either party giving way."
(Key points indicated on the panoramic view below the text):
Richardson's Division followed French, arriving about an hour later, adding additional forces to the fight.
French's Division led the assault. Moving from left to right in front of you. Seventy percent of his men had never been in a battle. In fact, many had enlisted in the army only two weeks before Antietam.
During the battle this field was planted in corn. The trees along the fence line in front of you were not there and the ground to the right (south) of the fence was open pasture.
Confederates under commanding Gen. D.H. Hill were strongly positioned behind stacked up fence rails in the Sunken Road.
Erected 2009 by Antietam National Battlefield - National Park Service - U.S. Department of the Interior.
Location. 39° 28.43′ N, 77° 44.556′ W. Marker is in Sharpsburg, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is on Mummas Lane, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Located at a pull off on Mummas Lane after stop six of the driving tour of Antietam Battlefield. The stop is just south of the Visitors Center. 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. Battery A, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Old Vermont Brigade (about 400 feet away); Twentieth Regiment (about 700 feet away); Battlefield Namesake (about 800 feet away); The Maryland Campaign of 1862 (about 800 feet away); New York State Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry (approx. 0.2 miles away); Mumma Farm Lane (approx. 0.2 miles away); A Savage Continual Thunder (approx. 0.2 miles away); A Converging Storm of Iron (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sharpsburg.
More about this marker. Above and over the panoramic view are photos of Gens. Richardson and French. Gen. Israel Richardson (left) and Gen. William French (right) were both West Point graduates. Gen. Richardson was mortally wounded in the far field in front of you. He was taken to Gen. McClellan's headquarters at the Pry House where he died on November 3, 1862. Gen. French retired in 1880 and died a year later.
Also see . . .
1. Antietam Battlefield. National Park Service site. (Submitted on July 11, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Old Marker at this Location. This marker replaced a previous one titled "A Thrilling Spectacle." (Submitted on September 21, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
3. William H. French. William Henry French (January 13, 1815 – May 20, 1881) was a career United States Army officer and a Union Army General in the American Civil War. (Submitted on October 25, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
4. Israel B. Richardson. Israel Bush Richardson (December 26, 1815 – November 3, 1862) was a United States Army officer during the Mexican-American War and American Civil War, where he was a major general in the Union Army. Nicknamed "Fighting Dick" for his prowess on the battlefield, he was mortally wounded at the Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Maryland. (Submitted on October 25, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
5. Nathan Kimball. Nathan Kimball (November 22, 1822 – January 21, 1898) was a physician, politician, postmaster, and military officer, serving as a general in the Union army during the American Civil War. (Submitted on October 25, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 11, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 704 times since then. Photos: 1. submitted on July 11, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2. submitted on October 25, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 3. submitted on July 11, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on October 25, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 8, 9. submitted on July 11, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.