Ricketts

ANSAR []Xj XII

MANSFIELD (approaching)

Cornfield East Wood

1 Hooker's attack forces the Confederates hack and threatens to smash Jackson's position

2 Hood's division leads counter-attack against Federal I Corps in the Cornfield area

3 After a desperate fight, the Confederates succeed in stahlilizing the position

4 Hooker's brigades withdraw to regroup as Mansfield's XII Corps comes up to renew the assault

ANTIETAM: THE INITIAL ATTACK

Hooker (Federal I Corps) attacks Jackson's position at the left of the Confederate line, and is repulsed by the counter-attack of Hood's division, c.0615-0720 17 September 1862

Brigadier General George Greene

A Brigadier General George S. Greene commanded the second division of XII Corps at Antietam, and then later at Chaticellorsville and Gettysburg. His troops, led by the 28th

Pennsylvania, crashed into the Confederates in the cornfield. ▼ A panorama of the attack of XII Corps as depicted in the contemporary pages «/Harper's Weekly.

A Brigadier General George S. Greene commanded the second division of XII Corps at Antietam, and then later at Chaticellorsville and Gettysburg. His troops, led by the 28th

Pennsylvania, crashed into the Confederates in the cornfield. ▼ A panorama of the attack of XII Corps as depicted in the contemporary pages «/Harper's Weekly.

suggest that things were not going well with the Federal assault. Mansfield was shocked, therefore, when in a fleeting conversation Hooker informed him that counter-attacking Rebels (Hood's division) had broken the centre of his I Corps, and that Mansfield must retrieve the situation immediately with his two divisions. This was not what Mansfield had expected. The excited I Corps commander had convinced Mansfield, however, that he must adopt a defensive posture in the East Woods. It may have seemed to Mansfield that any attempt to continue Hooker's offensive beyond was not a wise course of action. Mansfield attempted to alter his deployment, as his troops were nearly in contact with the enemy. It is small wonder that Mansfield became a bit disoriented.

Mansfield rode to one of his leading regiments, the 10th Maine, as it was about to lead XII Corps formations across the last fence separating open fields from the East Woods. There was an outbreak of rifle fire. Mansfield thought his men were shooting at retreating elements of Federal I Corps, and he ordered the shooting stopped. He was mistaken. They were indeed Confederates, the 20th Georgia Regiment. Mansfield tried to get his horse to jump the fence that stood between him, on the side nearest the enemy, and the 10th Maine, standing quiet now in a ploughed field. The horse refused the fence. Mansfield dismounted and led him around. Lieutenant John McGould, Adjutant of the 10th

Maine, recounted what happened next in a letter to Mansfield's son, Lieutenant Samuel Mather Mansfield. 'He passed to the rear of the regimental line, when a gust of wind blew aside his coat, and I discovered that his whole front was covered with blood. I had watched the General for more than five minutes expecting every moment to see him shot, but this was the first knowledge I had of the accident. I ran to him and asked if he was hurt badly. He said, "Yes, I shall not live, shall not live. I am shot by one of our own men." He was attempting to mount his horse again, but I informed him that the horse was wounded, and suggested his taking the orderly's, but his strength now failed him, and he said, "No, take me off. I am shot. I shall not live", and he directed the orderly to look after his horse.'

Mansfield died later that afternoon. One of his staff officers wrote to the General's wife that after requesting assignment to active duty Mansfield had said, 'Major, I am an old man, and I want to die in defence of the Capitol.' Mansfield had seen that wish come true, but XII Corps now found itself in brief confusion at a key moment in the battle by their general's untimely departure from the field. The command passed to Brigadier General Alpheus Starkey Williams, who commanded XII Corps' 1st Division. Williams received only perfunctory directions from Hooker, who was shortly thereafter wounded in the foot and who then proceeded to retire from the field with an infirmity perhaps more mental than physical. Williams remarked dryly in his report that he had received, 'such directions as the pressing exigencies would permit', and that he had then 'hastened to make a disposition of the Corps to meet them'.

Williams deployed his 1st Division, now led by Brigadier General Samuel Crawford, to his right in order to connect with the left flank of I Corps, driven out of the cornfield by Hood's counterattack. He placed the 2nd Division/XII Corps, commanded by Brigadier General George Sears Greene, to the left. Williams decided that the Federal forces must continue the offensive, whatever the condition of I Corps. He attacked out of the East Woods virtually alone, with only marginal assistance from Hooker's exhausted troops. The two divisions of XII Corps did not move forward in a coordinated fashion. Williams led the 1st Division through the southern portion of the North Woods towards the Confederate positions in the West Woods. He made little headway and suffered heavy casualties. The 2nd Division led by Greene moved out of the East Woods, advancing directly on the Dunkard Church, taking a position close to the structure after bitter fighting at 0800 and holding it for several hours.

II Corps Attacks

The first elements of Federal II Corps began arriving on the battlefield at 0830, the 2nd Division/II

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