One hundred fifty-two years later, the Battle of Antietam Commemorative Half Dollar Coin tells part of the story of the historic battle.
“At daylight the contest was renewed between Hooker and the enemy in his front. Hooker’s attack was successful for a time, but masses of the enemy, thrown upon his corps, checked it.”
“The effect of Burnside’s movement on the enemy’s right was to prevent the further massing of their troops on their left, and we held what we had gained.
“Burnside’s corps, consisting of Willcox’s, Sturgis’, and Rodman’s divisions, and Cox’s Kanawha division, was intrusted with the difficult task of carrying the bridge across the Antietam, near Rohrback’s farm, and assaulting the enemy’s right, the order having been communicated to him at 10 o’clock a. m.
“The valley of the Antietam at and near this bridge is narrow, with high banks.
“On the right of the stream the bank is wooded, and commands the approaches both to the bridge and the ford. The steep slopes of the bank were lined with rifle-pits and breastworks of rails and stones.
“These, together with the woods, were filled with the enemy’s infantry, while their batteries completely commanded and enfiladed the bridge and ford and their approaches.
“The advance of the troops brought on an obstinate and sanguinary contest, and, from the great natural advantages of the position, it was nearly 1 o’clock before the heights on the right bank were carried.
“At about 3 o’clock p. m. the corps again advanced, and with success, the right driving the enemy before it and pushing on nearly to Sharpsburg, while the left, after a hard encounter, also compelled the enemy to retire before it.
“The enemy here, however, were speedily re-enforced, and with overwhelming masses.
“New batteries of their artillery also were brought up and opened.
“It became evident that our force was not sufficient to enable the advance to reach the town, and the order was given to retire to the cover of the hill which was taken from the enemy earlier in the afternoon.
“This movement was effected without confusion and the position maintained until the enemy retreated.
“General Burnside had sent to me for re-enforcements late in the afternoon, but the condition of things on the right was not such as to enable me to afford them. ”
“With the day closed this memorable battle, in which, perhaps, nearly 200,000 men were for fourteen hours engaged in combat.”
The above is an excerpt from General McClellan’s report found in The War of the Rebellion, A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.
Here, the Battle of Antietam Commemorative Half Dollar Coin is displayed with a background of a pencil sketch from September 17, 1862 of the battle at roughly 1 p. m.