The initial action was in the northern part of the field around and through the infamous cornfield. Meade's division was the first into the cornfield, but they were quickly driven out by Hood's Texans. A see-saw battle saw All of Hooker's I corps, Mansfield's XII corps and a brigade of Sedgwick's division of Sumner's II corps, spend themselves against Jackson's wing of the Confederate army.
As both sides wore themselves out in the north, Sumner launched his II corps against the Rebel center. The Yankees nearly walked right into sunken road, but General Lee quickly shuttled his infantry north from the village of Sharpsburg and held the sunken road in force. The union put several artillery batteries on the high ground east of the sunken road position, and even attempted to pour fire from their 12 pounder Napoleons straight down the lane. Marse Robert countered with his own massed artillery battery on the ground outside of Sharpsburg and drove back many of the Yankee guns. As the artillery duel continued, Sumner's boys assaulted the sunken road in mass. Here is where the road received its somber nickname of "Bloody Lane".
In the far south of the field, Burnside watched the proceedings, waiting for orders from McClellan to make his advance. Whether the orders never arrived or got lost, or were not obeyed we may never know. But this we do know, Burnside's IX corps never advanced.
Ultimately, through strength of numbers, the Union forces held the cornfield and Dunker Church, and finally the last rebel infantry vacated the gruesome and deadly Bloody Lane. If only A.P. Hill had arrived in time from Harper's Ferry, perhaps the outcome would have been different.
|Hood's Texans attack from the West Woods into the Cornfield.|
|Stuart's cavalry attack the Yankees in the North Woods.|
|I Corps and XII Corps approach the East Woods.|
|Sumner's II Corps survey the sunken road.|
|Robert E. Lee directs the reserves in the village of Sharpsburg.|
|The last remnant of Sedgwick's division is surrounded in Bloody Lane.|
|Lee's artillery in the center of the field.|
|The cornfield is in Union hands but the Dunker Church is still held by the South.|
|The entire field as seen from the south.|
|Once again, the cornfield is taken by the Rebs.|
|The battle ended with Bloody Lane and the Dunker Church held by the Yankees.|
|The final disposition.|
|Burnside's IX corps never made a move against Toomb's Georgia boys.|