T.D. Biscoe's photograph of ' The Miller House ' and D.R. Miller's family at Antietam. Some of the worst fighting of the battle took place within sight of this farm.
From History of the Ninety-Seventh Regiment, New York Volunteers by Isaac Hall (pp. 91-94):
" At the break of day, on that memorable 17th of September, the 97th marched to meet the enemy in position and awaiting attack. The brigade obliqued to the right til near the Hagerstown Turnpike, when it marched south, directly upon the enemy lines. It marched in column divisions through a belt of woods east of the turnpike, and the 97th passing through Matthews' and Thompson' batteries, a little east of D. R. Miller's dwelling, was ordered to lie down when it reaches the edge of a cornfield. The enemy was throwing a few shells over our heads. After a few discharges of canister shot by our batteries, over us, the brigade was deployed and the march continued through the field of corn, skirted by a row of broom corn what's the men began to poke to the right and left to discover what was in their front, when the Confederate line was discovered -- drawn up in rear of a low rail fence -- about 220 yards distant, and firing on both sides simultaneously began. In from thirty to forty minutes nearly one-half of the regiment, compose then of 208 men and officers, were killed and wounded.
General Lawton's command of Longstreet's Corps occupied our immediate front. Longstreet's and Hooker's men had met, -- and without advancing -- there they stood and shot one another and till the lines melted away like wax. No attention by either line was paid to below rail fence in front, but each stood and fired upon the other. The row of broom corn in front of our brigade was soon shot and broken down.
On the morning of the 18th, in front of where Duryea's brigade had stood was strewn promiscuously, -- like sheaves of grain tossed together by a reaper -- a line of Confederate dead. They had fallen in their tracks were they had stood, and marked plainly the course of the enemy's line. The wounded had crept to the rear, and under a flag of truce were then being gathered from the field. It seemed that but few could have survived, unhit, of these brave men, to carry back the sad tidings of their fatality. On the preceding day, when the Confederate fire had slackened and the remnants of the boys in blue began to look for men on whom to direct their aim, it was asked: "What has become of the brigade in our front, we have seen none go to the rear?" No, they had not gone to the rear, but it was apparent they had gone where none go but once, and there lay their remains in almost one unbroken line.... On our late lines too the dead still sadly lay, but less by more than one-half the number, though they suffered neatly two to one in wounded.
To one unused to the saguinary work it is difficult to realize with what coolness and how fsee from all perturbation men will appear when engaged in such deadly strife. During this destruction of life and limb men talked coolly of the progress of the battle, and of the best mode to achieve a favorable result. Two German brothers by the name of Gleasman, -- from Lewis county, N. Y. -- were standing in line together, when one of them was killed by the unerring aim of a Confederate marksman who had studied his piece against the tree. The other, aware of the position of the man who had fired the fatal shot, said: "There is the man who killed my brother, and he is taking aim now against that tree." An elbow was seen to protrude from a solitary oak in the enemy's line, and the next moment he laid dead beside his brother, shot by the same hand that had slain the other.
As aforementioned, after they had met there was no advancing by these contending lines. After forty minutes' time had passed there were but few to advance. The hour had come each had been relieved from doing the other harm. Yet none had left our line but those ordered to the rear to carry off the wounded. A few here and there remained like lonely saplings left amid a forest leveled by a hurricane storm.
As a fresh Confederate division appeared from beyond the Dunker chapel, a captain [Rouse S. Eggleston] of the 97th looked to the left where first our line rested, but now only the dead remained; and stepping to the right where the 107th Pennsylvania had stood -- till he could look over a roll in the field, to the turnpike, he said to his lieutenant: "None remain on our right;" and bidding the remnants of various companies -- now less than twenty men -- to close up into two ranks, he in good order left the field....
The reinforcements arrived at the edge of the cornfield just as Jackson's forces to the left were entering it, Hartsuff's brigade changing front forward, quickly, by the left flank, poured an enfilading fire over a rocky ridge towards the enemy's advancing column. The Confederates were thrown into confusion and a well directed charge completed their overthrow and secured many prisoners. But in turn the Federals were soon met by superior numbers and compelled to retire. Thus was the field of corn, which in the morning was so rank and high that an army could have been shielded by it from observation, fought over by contending forces, till at what levelled to the ground; and Confederate and Federal dead lay commingled from one side of it to the other."
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