Antietam artillery duel.–Diary of Josiah Marshall Favill.

September 16th, Tuesday. Fell in at daylight but remained in position, much to the surprise of everybody. Shortly afterwards an artillery duel commenced, which continued throughout the day. The enemy have an immense number of guns in position, apparently more than we have, and are liberal in the expenditure of ammunition. So far as our own regiment is concerned it had no effect, we simply lay on our backs and speculated as to where certain shells would burst as they went rushing over our heads. But one cannot always attend to one’s own business and the temptation to note the effect of batteries in action is very great. Frequently several of us crept to the top of the hill and there glass in hand, watched the flight of the twenty pounders shell and marked where they struck or exploded. Unluckily these big guns proved almost useless, three of them blowing away their muzzles whilst I was in the battery, of course disabling them. They are made of cast iron with a wrought iron jacket at the breech and are evidently not strong enough for guns of this calibre. The ten pounders of which we have a great many are all right and very popular.

Nothing occurred of interest on our front until towards evening, when Jack Garcon, an O’Malley type of Irish dragoon, aide-de-camp to General Meagher, amused the troops by a display of horsemanship on the top of the hill, in full view of the enemy during the hottest part of the cannonading.

On the right, however, towards evening Hooker crossed and engaged the rebel left, doing a good deal of fighting.

Diary of a Young Officer–Josiah Marshall Favill (57th New York Infantry)

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