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

“The Jaws of Death”

 
 
"The Jaws of Death" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 17, 2007
1. "The Jaws of Death" Marker
Inscription. Sedgwick's division entered the West Woods.
"The last of the charging lines had gone beyond, and was sweeping majestically into the jaws of death when the mass seemed to halt, while from the front line spouted forth a long angry sheet of flame from innumerable gun barrels. Men were falling fast now, as unseen batteries were pelting the lines with an iron storm, and Confederate bullets were finding the object of their flight."

Confederate infantry and artillery hit the Union lines from three directions. Sedgwick was wounded. Major General Edwin Sumner, Second Corps commander, was helpless:
"Back, boys, for God's Ssake, move back! You are in a bad fix!"

In about 15 minutes Sedgwick's division lost almost 2,300 men killed and wounded - about half their original number.
"Where the line stood the ground was covered in blue."

The Confederates pursued the Federals out of the woods and were themselves cut down by waiting infantry and artillery.

When it was almost over a Twelfth Corps division commanded by Brigadier General George Green - a division left over from Mansfield's earlier attack - finally reached the Dunker Church. They received no support and were driven back after a couple of hours.
 
Location. This marker has been replaced by another
Battle Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 29, 2008
2. Battle Map
marker nearby. 39° 28.697′ N, 77° 44.969′ W. Marker is near Sharpsburg, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from Dunker Church Road / Old Hagerstown Pike, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Located at stop five of the driving tour of Antietam Battlefield, near the Philadelphia Brigade monument. Marker is in this post office area: Sharpsburg MD 21782, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. "Back Boys, For God's Sake Move Back;" (here, next to this marker); The Onward Rush to Victory or Defeat (here, next to this marker); Philadelphia Brigade Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Philadelphia Brigade Park (within shouting distance of this marker); The Baltimore Battery (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Baltimore Battery (within shouting distance of this marker); Brigadier General William E. Starke (within shouting distance of this marker); Brockenbrough’s 2nd Baltimore, Maryland Battery (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sharpsburg.
 
More about this marker. The background of the marker is a depiction of the battle during the action described on the marker. On the upper right is a map illustrating the unit movements described on
Two Park Service Interpretive Markers at Stop Five image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 17, 2007
3. Two Park Service Interpretive Markers at Stop Five
For proper sequencing of the events, consider reading the "All Flags Flying" marker (left), then "The Jaws of Death" standing next to it.
in the text.
 
Regarding "The Jaws of Death". This marker was replaced by one named "Back Boys, For God's Sake Move Back" (See nearby markers).
 
Also see . . .  Antietam Battlefield. National Park Service site. (Submitted on March 16, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
The West Woods image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 6, 2008
4. The West Woods
Looking from the entrance to the tour stop into the West Woods. Sedgwick's Division, after being hit on the flank, was driven past here and into the Cornfield.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 16, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,114 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on March 16, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on April 8, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3. submitted on March 16, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on April 8, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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