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The Battle of Antietam Sharpsburg Maryland September 16-18 1862 On September 16 Major General George B McClellan confronted Robert E Lees Army of Northern Virginia at Sharpsburg Maryland Lees force was inferior to McClellans and Lee was facing battle with the river at his rear and with the danger of losing all of his force if defeated Lee had planned for a victorious invasion of the North however he now realised these hazards and drew up a plan to withdraw over the Potomac River into Virginia At dawn September 17 Hookers corps mounted a powerful assault on Lees left flank beginning the single bloodiest day in American military history Hookers men bore down his three divisions in line driving the confederate pickets southward onto the high ground Hookers men then entered the woods the east and west wood on either side of them The losses were heavy and one survivor described the fighting as Men I cannot say fell they were knocked out of ranks by the dozen As the union soldiers saw Dunker Church confederate soldiers emerged from the woods beyond the Church yelling as they ran At very close range the confederate soldiers pulled up shot a volley of bullets at the union ranks and then charged them again Those confederate soldiers who charged were Hoods soldiers who had until then been busy cooking their first hot meals in days this explained why their assault was so violent With their vengeance driving them Hoods men struck the union soldiers north of the Dunker Church and drove them back calling them to stand and fight Hooker put up a fight but his men were pushed back to where they had been two hours earlier and many broke ranks and fled Hooker called on Mansfield and told him that he would bring up his corps and destroy the corn fields around them Mansfield was an old man who commanded divisions of
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