June 29, 1863 - 6:00 AM
Having determined that Lee's entire army had crossed into Maryland and Pennsylvania Gen Hooker makes a bold decision. He will send two corps to cut Lee's Line of Communications at Williamsport interrupting his supply line to Virginia and perhaps forcing him to turn and fight. He has received permission from President Lincoln to absorb the Harper's Ferry garrision into the Army of the Potomac, sending the supplies there back to Washington along with an adequate escort to protect them from the rebel cavalry. He orders the remainder, nearly 10,000 relatively green men under Gen French to march north and join Gen Slocum in a move on Sharpsburg and hopefully an advance to Williamsport to cut Lee's supply line. Gen Howard's XI Corps and Gen Buford's cavalry will provide flank cover to the northeast. Gen Reynolds I Corps is south of Emittsburg with Gen Sickles III to his right and Kilpatrick's cavalry near Union Mills. They will be ordered to move to Hagerstown. Hooker himself entered Frederick yesterday with V Corps to his front while II Corps was to the south in position to support Slocum should Lee turn or move north to Frederick if need be. Sedgewick's VI Corps has just crossed the Potomac, spending the night near Barnesville and expected to reach Frederick sometime today while Gregg's cavalry keeps an eye on the passes out of the Shenandoah.
Gen Lee has learned of Hooker's move into the Burkittsville area from his scouts. He cannot allow Hooker to get between him and Richmond and he needs to protect the large wagon train of supplies his army has gathered in their raid into Maryland and Pennsylvania. On the 28th he recalls Longstreet from Chambersburg and Hill from Cashtown while Ewell is ordered to stop his move on Harrisburg and return south as quickly as possible. The morning of the 29th finds Lee's army still stretched out on the road with Longstreet spread from Williamsport to Sharpsburg while Hill has two divisions near Hagerstown and the third on the road there. Gen Ewell will begin arriving sometime today while Gen Stuart arrives in Shepherdstown and moves to place his cavalry to Lee's southeast and locate the union army and provide Lee with the information he needs to concentrate his army in the right place. President Davis has finally ordered Gen D.H. Hill to return Lee's borrowed brigades. These units under Gen Ransom are moving north thru the valley and can be expected to arrive sometime in the next couple of days, a welcome addition to the ANV.
As VIII Corps marches north from Harper's Ferry, XII Corps leaves Burkittstown where they spent the night heading towards Sharpsburg. Gen Buford having crossed the mountains at Zittlestown with Gamble moves north toward Funkstown while sending Devin, who came thru Fox Gap yesterday, east to scout the Antietam crossings there. Gen Howard, arriving behind Gen Buford moves to Boonsboro to cover Gen Slocum's right flank..
Stuarts cavalry crosses the Potomac looking for the yankees reported to be in the area. Further north Pickett, having spent the night around Sharpsburg moves north to join the rest of I corps near Tilghmanton while Hood moves into position there and McLaws leaves Williamsport where his division spent the night. In Funkstown Gen Anderson moves to cover the crossings there while Pender is ordered to cover the Cavetown Pike crossing and Heth leaves the Williamsport-Greencastle Pike headed for Hagerstown.
As Buford scouts north and east Howard concentrates his corps at Boonsboro. Meanwhile Gen Slocum crosses the Antietam in two columns harassed by Gen Stuart's cavalry as Gen French moves to clear the western side of the river for Slocum.
Stuart is engaged with at least 2 union corps. Longstreet is in position near Tilghmantown digging in as ordered having sent two brigades from Hood to cover the crossings to the east. Anderson is digging in to cover the crossings from Rowland's Mill to Funkstown while Pender is preparing positions east of Hagerstown and Heth moves to cover the ground northeast of town. Ewell and Johnston approach by the Middleburg Road while Early is expected from the northeast having yesterday left Gettysburg and moved to Waynesboro.
Reynolds arrives via the Cavetown Pike with Merritt's cavalry scouting ahead. Gen Buford and Col Gamble begin to sight rebel infantry behind the Antietam as Gen Howard closes up on the river. Slocum has his whole corps across now as French secures Sharpsburg and Hancock's II Corps arrives on the field.
Stuart continues to cover the southern crossing points and delay the arriving union corps but his losses begin to mount as the union infantry take Sharpsburg and move against the cavalry. Longstreet is in position at Tilghmanton and covering the crossings to the east. Ewell's II Corps has arrived with Johnson moving to support Longstreet's left. As the last of his troops leave Hagerstown Early's division approaches and Rodes is expected to begin arriving shortly. Meanwhile Anderson continues covering the crossings around Funkstown and Pender sights union infantry moving to cross the Antietam east of Hagerstown as Heth digs in north of town.
As Hooker reaches the field, Slocum and French continue their advance attempting to pin Stuarts cavalry against the river. Hancock begins to cross the Antietam in support. Gen Howard is ordered by Gen Meade, commanding his own V Corps and Howard's XI to move north towards Funkstown. The union column fills the road as the two corps stretch for nearly nine miles. Meanwhile Gen Reynolds finding himself faced with a large rebel force elects to recall his two divisions back across the Antietam, hold the crossings and order Sickles III corps to cover his northern flank with an eye to crossing there.
In the south as some of Stuart's cavalry continue to cover the crossings the remainder is attempting to escape the trap as the yankees try to pin them against the Potomac. In the center I Corps continues digging in around Tilghmanton and Fairplay while Robertson and Benning guard the Antietam crossings in this area and Johnson's Division of II Corps extends the line north on their left. As Rodes approaches Hagerstown, Hill's III Corps supported by Early moves forward along the Cavetown Pike hoping to pin the yankees against the river only to find their prey has recrossed the Antietam and it appears there will be no fighting on this part of the field today.
With night approaching Gen Slocum calls a halt to his advance preferring to consolidate his gains and prepare for tomorrow. He wants to rest his forces who have marched hard all day and move his reserve, II Corps into position to strengthen his line for the expected advance in the morning. Gen Hooker has arrived and sets up HQ at Boonsboro, he awaits the days reports from his wing commanders so he can decide what to do on the morrow. Gen Meade has moved his V Corps into position to face the rebs across the two center crossings while ordering Gen Howard to recon the two crossings south of Funkstown. Finding rebels covering these crossing Gen Howard brings up his artillery and the outgunned rebels quickly pull back from the river. Gen Buford finds Funkstown unoccupied and rebs guarding the crossing there and at Hager's Mill to the north. Gen Reynolds digs in at the Cavetown Pike crossing and prepares to send Gen Sickles across the Antietam in the morning led by Merritt's cavalry and supported by Robinson's division.
As night approaches the rebel cavalry retreats licking its wounds having lost nearly 3000 men in the fighting with VIII and XII Corps. Longstreet having spent the whole day digging in at Tilghmanton receives orders from a worried Lee to pull back to the southwest. Lee fears a union attempt to turn his right. Johnson and Rodes having been sent to cover the Rowland Mill area when it appeared the Yankees might cross find the union troops there settling down for the night and in no hurry to cross the Antietam. With the retreat of the yankees back across the river in the Cavetown Pike area Early is sent to cover the Funkstown crossings. Hill's III Corps having seen the Yankees retire before they could get at them continue to watch the northeast while awaiting Lee's orders for tomorrow. Imboden's cavalry has arrived, part of it covering the large wagon train containing the suppliess the rebels liberated during their march north into Pennsylvania. The remainder arrives at Hagerstown to be used to watch the rebel left flank.
The union army goes into camp for the night. Gen Slocum has formed his line with McReynold's cavalry picketing where Marsh Run joins the Potomac northeast joining XII Corps line just west of Mercersville. This line then extends east to the Sharpsburg-Hagerstown Pike where it is extended to the Antietam by II Corps. Gen Hooker remains in Bonnsboro with the Artillery Reserve making camp along the Hagerstown-Boonsboro Pike. After speaking with Gen Hooker, Gen Meade confers with Gen Howard and issues his orders for the second day. Howard is ordered to defend the crossing below Funkstown but to be prepared to cross the Antietam when the order is given. Buford is to keep an eye on Funkstown and alert Meade and Howard to any change in the rebel positions there. After receiving orders from Gen Hooker not to cross the Antietam unless ordered by him Gen Reynolds orders Gen Sickles to remain on the east bank of the Antietam, digging in to cover the crossing near the Good Farm and sending a division to keep an eye on the headwaters of the Antietam to keep the rebels from flanking him.
As the yankees sit and rest the rebel army is once again on the move. Stuart continues covering the southern crossings and watches for a yankee flank march during the night. As Longstreet meets with Lee and the other corps commanders his I Corps is already on the road moving to Downsville then southwest toward the Potomac which he hopes to use to anchor his new line. Meanwhile Ewell, who Longstreet expected to be moving to cover his left still discusses his redeployment with Gen Lee who does not appear to be feeling well. His responses to questions are slow and his orders lack their usual clarity. Ewell's troops continue to sit along the Antietam while he and Lee confer. Gen Hill thinking the yankees may have crossed the Antietam further north wants to launch a reconaisaince in force in this area with Heth supported by Pender and Fitz Lee and Imboden's cavalry.
We have now reached the end of the first day. The fighting has been light except for the infantry/cavalry clashes in the south. Both sides have concentrated their main forces in the area. Tomorrow will surely see the decisive battle.