Commanding Officer on the Antietam Campaign:
Henry Warner Slocum
On the Antietam Campaign
As reported by General Franklin, VI Corps commander ("Notes") -
When General Slocum arrived I placed two brigades of his division on General Sumner's [II Corps, on the field in the Mumma Farm area] left and was awaiting the arrival of his third brigade, which was to be in reserve. With the two brigades I intended to make an attack on the wood referred to, and General Sumner was informed of my intention. The two brigades were ready to move. Just as the third brigade arrived, General Sumner rode up and directed me not to make the attack, giving as a reason for his order, that if I were defeated the right would be entirely routed, mine being the only troops left on the right that had any life in them. Major Hammerstein, of McClellan's staff, was near, and I requested him to inform General McClellan of the state of affairs, and that I thought the attack ought to be made.
Shortly afterward McClellan rode up, and, after hearing the statements of Sumner and myself, decided that as the day had gone so well on the other parts of the line it would be unsafe to risk anything on the right. Of course, no advance was made by the division.
Later in the day General McClellan came again to my headquarters, and there was pointed out to him a hill on the right, commanding the wood, and it was proposed that the hill should be occupied by our artillery early the next morning, and that after shelling the wood, the attack should be made by the whole corps from the position then held by it. He assented to this, and it was understood that the attack was to be made. During the night, however, the order was countermanded.
I met him about 9 o'clock on the morning of the 18th. He informed me that he countermanded the order because fifteen thousand Pennsylvania troops would soon arrive, and that upon their arrival the attack would be ordered. The troops, however, did not arrive, and the order was not renewed that day.
On the 19th the corps entered the wood, expecting a fight, but the enemy had slipped off during the night.