It is widely reported that D.H. Hill’s men abandoned the Sunken Road during the battle of Antietam in a disorderly route when their right flank was turned. In fact, General Rodes’ orders to Lieutenant-Colonial Lightfoot were misinterpreted, causing the 6th Alabama to “about-face; forward march” in retreat. When Major Hobson asked if this order was for the entire brigade, Lightfoot answered “yes.”
“French (a Union general) launched several more attacks trying to capture the Sunken Road, but all were failures. Not a man reached the Confederate position. Although he had twice Hill’s numbers, French had lost 1,750 men and still could not capture the road. Reinforcements arrived for both sides. Lee decided to send forward his final reserve division under Richard Anderson (Confederate) to join Hill. French was reinforced by the fresh troops of Richardson’s (Union) divisions. The first attack of an Irish Brigade (Union) was unsuccessful, but the next, the fifth brigade to go into the fight, attained more success. Some Federals attained a good position to fire on the Confederate right, and an order was given to bend back the right flank to meet the threat. However, the order was misunderstood, and all of the troops holding the Sunken Road began a retreat.” ~ T. RUFFIN, JR. Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Thirteenth North Carolina Regiment.
Thus, D. H. Hill’s division retreated in error and almost delivered victory – and perhaps General Lee’s army – into the hands of General George B. McClellan. All due to a misunderstanding.
Especially in the heat of battle.
Take time to pause and ask for clarification before giving in, giving up, or going on.
###All typos are the “respecticablity” of Eddie Jones and in “know” way “refract” the “quantity” of work by those associated with Lighthouse Publishing “fo” the “Carlinas.”
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