The Historical Importance of Newly Preserved Land at Antietam

On the southern side of the town of Sharpsburg the Antietam National Battlefield’s boundary is on the east side of the Harpers Ferry Rd. This fact leads to the mistaken belief that there was only fighting on that side of the road, which of course, is incorrect. The crest of the ridge along which the Harpers Ferry Rd. runs was an ideal location for Confederate artillery engaged in repulsing Ninth Corps’ final attack on the afternoon of September 17, 1862. These lots that we have purchased is on the final location of Capt. John B. Richardson’s 2nd Company, Washington Artillery of New Orleans. With the arrival of A. P. Hill’s Confederate division, the 28th North Carolina Regiment fought in the road in front of these lots. As the quote below illustrates, the batteries to the left of Richardson were captured and Confederates driven across the road to the west side of the Harpers Ferry Rd., but with the successful attack of  Hill’s Confederate division, the Union attack was driven back the east side of the road and the guns restored to position on the ridge located where we have purchased these lots.

“… I was ordered in a position to the right of McIntosh’s and Brown’s batteries. If you have the location of these two, you have only to place my position on the right. We held that position until the Federal forces made that magnificent charge, passing over McIntosh’s and Browns positions, the left of the Federal line missing my battery about 100 yards, which enabled me to save my battery, by throwing it to the right, around some hay stacks and move to the rear. My next position was in the new line formed, which captured this position back. These were the only positions that I occupied on the ground. Remained there, as you will remember, the next day and then withdrew at night with the Confederate forces. In locating my position in front of the bridge, I have recollection that there was a ravine at the rear of the battery, in which I protected my caissons and ammunition. If I were on the spot, I think I could locate it to a nicety.

           Yours respectfully,

           John B Richardson, Capt. Commanding 2nd Battery Washington Artillery of New Orleans at the Battle of Sharpsburg”[1]

The position of the 28th North Carolina is documented by their commander at the time, Col. James H. Lane;

“Almost immediately after we halted, Gen. A.P. Hill dashed up from the direction of Sharpsburg, & ordered me to move at a double quick in the direction of Sharpsburg, & defend an unsupported battery in an open field to the left, & drive back the enemy who was advancing through the field of corn on the right. I halted in front of the battery & threw out skirmishers in the corn.

           Yours very respectfully, James H. Lane[2]

Our lots about about an acre on the ground where Richardson’s battery is located on this map.

[1] Richardson to Ezra Carman, April, 1896

[2] Lane to Ezra Carman Feb. 1900