The southern sector of the battlefield, 0900 to 1630 17 September 1862, showing Burnside's crossing of the Antietam Creek and the intervention of A. P. Hill's division

▲ Burnside's men, after taking the heights overlooking the bridge thai bears his name, drew up in line of battle ready to attack towards Sharps-burg, as sketched by this eyewitness.

▲ Burnside's men, after taking the heights overlooking the bridge thai bears his name, drew up in line of battle ready to attack towards Sharps-burg, as sketched by this eyewitness.

Hill to the Rescue

Lee had no more reserves until the providential arrival of A. R Hill's 'Light' Division. Hill's men had been processing the captured Federal material at Harper's Ferry, and they were the only major element of the Army of Northern Virginia not yet present on the Antietam battlefield. They arrived in the best American tradition, like the cavalry, to save the situation quite literally at the last possible moment.

At Harper's Ferry, Hill had received orders from Lee at 0630 on 17 September to bring his men immediately to Sharpsburg. Leaving Colonel Edward Thomas's Georgian Brigade at Harper's Ferry to complete business there, Hill had the remainder of his division on the road by 0730 for a march of seventeen miles. The leading elements of the division approached Sharpsburg by 1430, but the division was not ready to advance into combat until 1600, Hill's officers needing time to redeploy their men from marching columns into battle lines.

the 21st Massachusetts, over the bridge in the wake of his other advancing formations. Sturgis brought the 1st Brigade over, followed by Colonel Crook's brigade of the Kanawha Division. Brigadier General Rodman's 3rd Division had managed to cross the ford below the bridge and was also across the stream. Willcox eventually crossed the bridge with his 1st Division.

The Attack on Sharpsburg

Burnside needed time to sort out his formations on the far bank, and additional time was employed in distributing fresh ammunition. IX Corps was not ready to advance on Sharpsburg until 1500. Willcox's 1st Division formed the right, supported by Colonel Crook's brigade of the Kanawha Division. Rodman's 3rd Division formed the left, supported by the other brigade of the Kanawha Division, that commanded by Colonel Scammon. The exhausted troops of Sturgis's 2nd Division were left in the vicinity of the stone bridge. Burnside's men were, nevertheless, over Antietam Creek and advancing. The Confederate division commanded by Brigadier General David Jones was too thinly spread to stop Wilcox's advance, and there was virtually nothing in front of Rodman. 80

Brigadier General Isaac P. Rodman got his men over an upper ford above the Burnside Bridge just in time to be attacked by A. P. Hill's arriving Confederates. He was mortally wounded bringing up the 4th Rhode Island Infantry as the 16th Connecticut fell apart under the enemy's attack.

reached the outskirts of Sharpsburg, overrunning several rebel field pieces and generally giving D. R. Jones's Confederate Division some bad moments. Rodman moved his 3rd Division/IX Corps forward with Colonel Harrison Fairchild's 1st Brigade on the right and Colonel Edward Harland's 2nd Brigade the left. Fairchild's men connected with the left of Willcox's division and Harland's command constituted the left of IX Corps. Colonel Crook's 2nd Brigade/the Kanawha Division supported Willcox, and Colonel Scammon's 1st Brigade/the Kanawha Division supported Rodman.

Hill's main assault struck Rodman's division. Harland's brigade was particularly hard hit. The regiments of Harland's command were not in proper order when Hill attacked, the 8th Connecticut on the right being in advance of the other two formations (from right to left, the 16th Connecticut and the 4th Rhode Island). Colonel Frank Beach tried to change the front of the 16th

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