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MAPS OF BATTLE PROGRESSION
This map shows the beginning of the Battle of Antietam. The battle began with General's Hooker and Mansfield's troops moving onto the battlefield from the North Woods. They moved around the house of farmer D. R. Miller and out towards his cornfield. The Confederate troops were hidden amongst the corn stalks, but the morning sun betrayed their position by the sunlight gleaming off their rifle barrels and bayonets. An intense battle began and the Confederate troops in the cornfield were initially driven off the field. Confederate reinforcements of Jackson and Hood then drove the Union troops off the fields and into the East Woods. It was said that during the course of the day forces moved across that field twelve times.
Near 9:30AM Jackson and Hood's units moved out from their positions in the West Woods pushing Hooker's 1st Corps. and Mansfield's 12th Corps. off the cornfields and into the East Woods. General Sedgewick orders his corps. onto the field to aid Hookers Division. Units of the 2nd. Mass., 3rd. Wisc. and the 27th. Indiana rally and form a line near the crest of a ridge on the Miller cornfield trying to hold off Jackson's advance.
Near 10:00AM The 13th New Jersey Volunteers of Mansfield's 12th. Corps. are ordered onto the field to help in driving back Jackson and Early's Confederate divisions. Early had come up from Harpers Ferry and was to reinforce Jackson. The 13th New Jersey was a new unit with no experience under fire. They were ordered towards the Haggerstown Pike, which was lined with six-foot high post and rail fencing on both sides of the road. The soldiers climbed over the fence on the east side of the road and as they started to climb the second fence, the Confederates unleashed a devastating fire. This was to be the 13th. New jersey's "baptism of fire". The first man down was Captain Hugh C. Irish who was leading his men over the fence with sword in hand. The 13th. NJV was repulsed away from the road and took up positions near the 2nd. Indiana, and the 3rd.Wisconsin behind a ridge on the field. After holding this position for awhile the 13th was ordered back to the East Woods as reserve. They had become veterans.
Near 11:30am the 13th. was again ordered into action to aid the advance of General Green who had pushed into the Confederate Divisions of Jackson, Early, and Hood, on the southern end of the field. Confederate forces were in place near the small one roomed Dunker Church near the intersection of the Haggerstown Pike and Smoketown Road. It was here in the West Woods, just a little past the Church building that the 13th was again caught in an intense battle with the Confederate units. Greens troops began to fall back and the 13th was caught in battle for over an hour with the men firing as fast as they could. It was their second time in battle.
While the 13th was engaging the Confederates in the West Woods, they failed to notice the Rebels were moving artillery on their flanks. The 13th began to move down into a shallow grove with the high ground to their rear. As they moved into this position the fighting began to let up. They noticed a group of Confederates moving towards them with their weapons trailing them, as if to surrender. A cease fire was called and Officers of the 13th NJV moved towards the Confederates to ascertain if they were indeed about to surrender. As the officers got close to them, the Confederates drew up their arms and opened fire. It was an ambush! The 13th NJV was then caught in a devastating cross fire with raking artillery on their flanks. As the 13th. retreated up the high ground towards the road they were ripped by the Confederate fire on their rear. Once they reached the road they had to climb over the rail fence and many lost their life trying to make it over. This was the final action of the day for the 13th NJV. It was here in the shallow grove behind the Dunker Church that George R. Harrison met his death. His body was never recovered.
Maps by LAR.