2nd Manassas - Aug. 1862
The Battle of Antietam - Wednesday, September 17, 1862
The Cornfield

The monuments to the 128th and 137th Pennsylvania maintain constant vigil at the Southern edge of Miller's Cornfields where, during the morning hours of the battle, their regiments lost so many. The firing of musketry was so intense that Union Major General Joseph Hooker said of that day, "In the time that I am writing every stalk of corn in the northern and greater part of the field was cut as closely as could have been done with a knife, and the slain lay in rows precisely as they had stood in their ranks a few moments before. It was never my fortune to witness a more bloody, dismal battlefield." Major Rufus R. Dawes related the following about the 6th Wisconsin's experience in the Cornfield. "As we appeared at the edge of the corn, a long line of men in butternut and gray rose up from the ground. Simultaneously, the hostile battle lines opened a tremendous fire upon each other. Men, I cannot say fell; they were knocked out of the ranks by the dozens. But we jumped over the fence, and pushed on, loading, firing, and shouting as we advanced." [15]

The CornfieldGeneral Hooker's men would march confidently through these fields towards the Dunker Church through tall fields of ripe corn. As they emerged from the southern end of Farmer Miller's fields, the sturdy veterans of CSA General Stonewall Jackson waited for them with rifles at the ready. General Jackson would later write about the confusion and slaughter of the killing ground soon to be known as The Cornfield. "About sunrise the Federal infantry advanced in heavy force to the edge of the wood on the eastern side of the turnpike, driving in our skirmishers. Batteries were opened in front from the wood with shell and canister, and our troops became exposed for near an hour to a terrific storm of shell, canister, and musketry. General Jones having been compelled to leave the field, the command of Jackson's division devolved upon General Starke. With heroic spirit our lines advanced to the conflict, and maintained their position, in the face of superior numbers, with stubborn resolution, sometimes driving the enemy before them and sometimes compelled to fall back before their well-sustained and destructive fire. Fresh troops from time to time relieved the enemy's ranks, and the carnage on both sides was terrific."

The Miller Farm House 1862General McClellan would describe the action by saying, "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. Mansfield brought up his corps to Hooker's support, when the two corps drove the enemy back, the gallant and distinguished veteran Mansfield losing his life in the effort. General Hooker was, unhappily, about this time wounded and compelled to leave the field, where his services had been conspicuous and important. About an hour after this time, Sumner's corps, consisting of Sedgwick's, Richardson's, and French's divisions, arrived on the field...Crawford's and Sedgwick's lines, however, yielded to a destructive fire of masses of the enemy in the woods, and, suffering greatly (Generals Sedgwick and Crawford being among the wounded), their troops fell back in disorder; they nevertheless rallied in the woods. The enemy's advance was, however, entirely checked by the destructive fire of our artillery." [9]

The Cornfield claimed an estimated 8,550 casualties on this one day alone.

Confederate dead on the Miller Farm