Archeology at Antietam
The Effect of Battle on an Agrarian Landscape:
Battle in the North Woods
At dawn on September 17, 1862, elements of General Hooker's First Corps advanced from their bivouacs north of the woods, southward through the North Woods, past the D. R. Miller farmhouse, to the Cornfield beyond. The Union advance was under small arms fire from skirmishers at the Miller farm, which supposedly constituted the northernmost advance of southern troops. The Union advance through the North Woods was also under artillery fire from Colonel S. D. Lee's batteries, near the Dunker Church to the south, and Major John Pelham's batteries on Nicodemus Hill, to the west. The intensity of the attack increased as the First Corps approached and was engaged in the Cornfield. Throughout the morning of the battle, the North Woods was held and used by Union forces as a staging area for the intense fighting to the south. In the late morning, the North Woods became a refuge for the surviving elements and wounded of the First and Second Corps returning from the devastation in the Cornfield and West Woods.