Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/51
The Battle of Antietam. 43
the flank. From the long line of gray a purplish mist broke, pierced by a bright gleam here and there, and the noise of the volley sounded like the whirr of machinery.
In an instant the whole scene was changed. The triumphant ad- vance, the jubilant shouts, the stirring beat of the drums, the mad, eager rush of the forces in blue were stayed, and back they came, without order or formation, and we joined the hurrying throng, not stopping until we reached the valley near the bridge.
The attacking force was that of General A. P. Hill. It was Stone- wall Jackson who saved the Army of Northern Virginia from disas- trous defeat, as he had done at the first Manassas, at the seven days' battle at Richmond and later on at Chancellorsville.
McClellan's dispatch to Burnside early on the morning of the ijth to hold the bridge, " If the bridge is lost all is lost," made General Burnside overcautious. When he received orders to attack at noon he allowed Toombs, with less than 400 men, to delay the crossing of the Ninth Corps for three hours. Had Burnside followed Napoleon's tactics at Arcola, and rushed his men across the bridge, he would have ended the war then and there, and been hailed by the North as the greatest general of the New World.
I asked my captors what command our regiment was engaged with. He answered Fairchild's New York Brigade. General Fair- child's report of the battle shows what a fight that frazzle of the old First Brigade put up.
I have often been asked about the rebel yell. I have always an- swered that we Rebs were savage with hunger, and men always " holler" when hungry.
Washington, D. C., September, 1903.
Comments by Alexander Robert Chisholm.
The New York Herald, September 26, 1903, prints the following letter:
In your issue, of September 21, appears a letter from General Alexander Hamilton, in which he makes some very inaccurate state- ments in praising the distinguished soldier, General George B. McClellan, who was so suddenly replaced in command of a lately defeated army, which had confidence in him, thus enabling him to fight what all fair minded writers have described as a great drawn battle with the victorious army of General Robert E. Lee.