Stop 7 - Tompkins’ BatteryAs French and Richardson’s Divisions attacked the Confederates in the Sunken Road, Captain John Tompkins and his Rhode Island Battery of six rifled guns moved forward in support. They provided additional firepower for the advancing infantry and counter-battery fire against the Confederate guns on the Piper Farm.
Incredibly, with the Mumma House burning behind him, Confederate artillery firing from his front, and an infantry attack that almost overran his guns from his right, Capt. Tompkins was able to hold this position for almost 3 hours.
He reported that, “During the greater portion of the time I was engaged, the battery was without support, and exposed on its right flank to an enfilading fire from the rebel infantry. I report having expended 83 rounds of canister, 68 rounds of solid shot, 427 rounds shell, and 454 rounds of case shot—1,050 rounds in all. With the exception of the shots fired at the battery on my right, which was hid by a ridge, every shot was fired at a visible enemy, the guns pointed with care, and the accuracy of aim and length of fuse noticed. I report 4 killed and 15 wounded. Six horses were killed and 4 wounded.”
There are few places in America that so clearly evoke visions of courage, sacrifice, suffering and destruction as the Bloody Lane at Antietam. As you finish this hike, take a moment to reflect on the landscape that you just explored, the footsteps followed, the farmer’s fields crossed, where one soldier, who witnessed the carnage on September 17th described as a “carpet of red, gray and blue.”
Last updated: February 21, 2021