The Second Day
June 29, 1863 - 6:00 AM
As the sun set yesterday the union army found the confederate forces opposing it's crossing of the Antietam from Tilghmantown north to Hagerstown. With the coming of dawn Reynolds finds the northern wing still opposed at Hagerstown. However Hooker finds the rebels have disappeared opposite Meade and Howard's corps. In the south the VIII and XII Corps have been reinforced by Hancock's II Corps and they see only a picket line of cavalry in their front.
Gen Lee has elected to remain on the defensive. Orders have been issued for Longstreet to set up a line from the bend in the Potomac at the Saw Mill north to Mount Moriah continuing northeast along the ridge to a point just south of the Jones Crossroad-Williamsport Road where Gen Ewell's II Corps will extend the line northeast to Hagerstown. There Gen Hill's III Corps continues to oppose the yankee northern wing and Hill prepares a reconaisance in force to find out if the yankees have crossed the river further upstream during the night. However dawn finds the rebel army still moving into position.
With early reports indicating the rebels have fallen back everywhere except at Hagerstown Gen Hooker decides on an advance by Meade and Howard to support Slocum's wing while Reynolds probes in the north.. Orders are issued for Slocum's wing consisting of XII, VIII and II Corps to advance on Falling Waters with V and XI Corps crossing the Antietam to support their right flank. Meanwhile Gen Reynolds requests Hookers permission to leave Doubleday's division to watch the Hagerstown crossing and move with his remaining two divisions and Sickles III corps to cross the upper Anteitam and move against Hagerstown from the northeast. He is counting on the arrival of Kilpatrick's cavalry to provide him with a screening force to keep him informed of the rebel movements in the north.
Stuarts cavalry is ordered to delay the yankees a while and cover the crossings at Shepherd's Ford and Dam #4 until Gen Ransom's division arrives. The return of these veteran brigades to the ANV will help offset the additional forces provided to the AoP from the large but green VIII Corps . However Gen Lee continues to be out of sorts and his staff is worried about him, he does not seem to be displaying his usual agressiveness and his lack of response to his corps commanders messages indicates a problem.
In the north Reynolds prepares to send Sickles corps led by Kilpatrick's cavalry across the upper Antietam. He hopes to move on Hagerstown from the northeast rather than trying to fight his away across the river directly east of town. Near the center Buford's cavalry begins to scout the far side of the river at Funkstown while Howard prepares to cross his corps at the bridges at Clagett's and Rowland's Mills. Gen Meade's V Corps is already across the Antietam and preparing to advance to the west in support of Slocum. Meade looks north awaiting the arrival of Howard's corps to cover his right flank. Further south Slocum finds rebel infantry moving against him while Hancock's corps finds itself faced with a full scale attack from Longstreet's Corps. Meanwhile elements of French's VIII Corps, up from Harper's Ferry have been pushing Stuart's cavalry back.
Unknown to the union army Gen Lee has taken ill and Gen Longstreet has assumed command of the ANV with Hood taking over the I Corps. With the change in command comes a change of attitude and at the prompting of Hood, Ewell and Hill, Longstreet elects to attack the yankee southern wing in the hopes of defeating part of the AoP before it is fully concentrated. The plan is for Hood to crush the II Corps while two of Ewell's divisions keep Slocum busy and Rodes attempts to isolate Slocum and Hancock from the rest of the army. The initial attack goes well with the surprised II Corps being driven back and losing several guns. Now the rebels have begun to tire, the heavy casualties caused by the union artillery and the arrival of VIII Corps to the south has forced Hood to strip several brigades from the attack. Meanwhile Johnson's division is late moving against Slocum's right and Rodes finds Meade confronting him at Jones Crossroads while the original plan called for him to attack south towards Fairplay with his right on the Hagerstown-Sharpsburg Pike. Such a move now would expose his left flank to Gen Meade. Early's division was also late getting off and Hill's corps is still digging entrenchments in front of Hagerstown all of which appears to be jeopardizing the rebel plans.
In the north Kilpatrick and Sickles continue their methodical advance on Hagerstown, unaware their only opposition is two brigades of rebel cavalry. Doubleday remains on the Hagerstown-Cavetown Pike while Buford has been forced back across the river by Anderson's infantry and is holding the Hagerstown and Funkstown crossings. Further south Howard having been ordered to cross in support of Meade finds himself under attack from the north and the west. Rather than retiring back across the river leaving the rebels free to concentrate on Meade he elects to try and move south to join Meade and cover his right flank. Meade having advanced west towards the Schoolhouse finds himself assailed on both of his open flanks and in danger of being cutoff from both Howard and Slocum. Slocum can provide no help finding himself the object of a renewed rebel attack with Johnson's division now fully engaged with him and threatening to turn his right. To the south Hancock's II Corps has suffered near 50% casualties and is fighting for it's life. The VIII Corps now finds itself the object of the attention of Gen Ransom's newly arrived division and it too is being pushed back. To the west the VI Corps has arrived on the field but they are still several hours away and will have no affect on today's fighting.
Gen Ransom's division crosses the Potomac and attacks the VIII Corps, these green troops are no match for Gen Ransom's veterans and with the renewed attack by the rest of I Corps and with Johnsons's division fully engaged the union II and XII Corps are forced to fall back. At Jones Crossroads Meade's initial success is quickly countered by Rodes' attack on his left and Early's arrival on his right. The V Corps is not only stopped but finds itself being pressed back. Heth's division has moved to keep Howard and Meade seperated while Anderson's brigades move into position to assail Howard from the north with the aid of part of Pender's division. Hill is stripping the forces guarding the upper crossings in hopes of winning a victory in the center. In the far north Imboden and Fitz Lee's cavalry attempt to slow down Reynolds advance without taking heavy casualties.
Reynolds and Sickles corps approach Hagerstown as the rebel cavalry continues to fall back in front of them. Buford's cavalry continues to hold the crossings as the rebels do not appear to be interested in crossing the river. Their objective appears to be the destruction of Howard and Meade's corps as Anderson and Heth continue their assault against Howard while Rodes and Early keep Meade occupied. With Meade being pushed back and Hancock's corps nearly wrecked by Hood Slocum tries to save his corps as Johnson and the tired troops of Hood's corps continue to try and cut him off. To the south French's corps continues to be forced back by Ransom's veterans. Meanwhile Sedgwick deploys his fresh corps in position to support Slocum and French as they fall back.
Another change in the rebel command structure as both Longstreet and Ewell take ill. Gen Hood assumes command of the army and Gen Rodes takes over Ewell's corps while Gen McLaws assumes command of the I Corps. Imboden and Fitzhugh Lee anxiously await the arrival of Stuart with reinforcements to help them hold back Reynolds and Sickles. While Anderson continues pressing Howard's corps back Heth finds himself unable to cut Howard's escape route to the south. Having committed his division piecemeal as it arrived and having to assist Early against Meade's right he is unable to wrest control of the road from Howard's hard pressed troops. Early and Rodes having made some initial gains against Meade now find the heavy casualties from the union artillery halting their attacks as their men tire. Further down the line Johnson makes a final effort to cut off Slocum's retreat while Hood's corps continues to press Hancock's and French's remnants. The rebels have sighted Sedgwick's corps moving into position and they know they have little time remaining to finish their attack.
As night falls on the second day Reynolds and Sickles have taken Hagarstown and cleared the Funkstown crossing of the Antietam. Howard's men with assistance from Barnes division have held off the rebel attempts to take the bridge at the Schindel farm and cut off the yankee retreat. The rest of Meade's corps pulls back to defensive positions covering the crossing at the Booth Mill opposite Hooker's advanced headquarters. While Hooker rides to confer with Slocum the XII Corps moves into position extending Sedgwick's line along the Sharpsburg Pike to the north. Hancock and French pull their battered corps into reserve behind Sedgwick while the last of the union reinforcements, Gregg's cavalry division arrives at Botelor's Ford.
Taking stock of the current situation Gen Hood realizes the rebels are now heavily outnumbered, With their failure to destroy either Slocum or Meade and the arrival of the VI Corps the balance of forces has shifted to the union side. Still hating to give up on the offensive Hood calls his commanders to a meeting to discuss their options for tomorrow. Meanwhile the rebel infantry takes a much needed rest while Stuart's cavalry attempts to position itself to screen the northern flank and keep the yankees from turning the rebel left.
Hooker and Slocum have discussed the situation. Slocum will send Hancock and French back to cover the Antietam crossings while his corps remains in place and Sedgwick shifts the fresh VI Corps north to link up with Meade. Reynolds and Sickles will attack toward Downsville and Williamsport. Hooker cancels his orders to Gregg to cross the Potomac and get into the rebel rear. Gregg is now to screen Slocum's left with two brigades while one remains to watch the lower crossings.
Having had his discussion with his commanders Hood opts to plan a fighting withdrawal in the morning. To that end he starts the corps wagons to the rear while keeping his infantry in place to allow them to rest. He also wishes to see where the yankees are in the morning. If they find Meade and Howard still on this side of the Antietam he intends on attacking them before pulling back to face Reynolds and Sickles.
We have now reached the end of the second day. Both sides have suffered heavy casualties with losses being relatively equal at around 40,000 each and the battle currently is nearly a dead draw.