from The Webster Times, October 18, 1862 (Volume IV # 32), 
Horrors of the Battlefield

A correspondent of the New York World thus describes the horrors of the battlefield of Antietam:

The severest fighting of the war was followed by the most appalling sights upon the battle field. Never, I believe, was the ground strewn with the bodies of the dead and dying in greater numbers or in more shocking attitudes. Let those who desire to witness a great battle and gratify themselves with the sublimest spectacle which mortals ever gaze upon, hear but once the cries and groans of the wounded, and see the piles of dead men, in attitudes which show the writhing agony in which they died, faces distorted with the pains which afflicted the dead in their latest moments, begrimmed and covered with clotted blood, arms and legs torn asunder, all the scenes upon the field of battle which fill one with horror and sadness, and they will be content to deprive themselves in future of the sublimity of a battle scene, when they think upon the horrors of the field where the dead lie heaps unburied, and the dying wounded uncared for beside them.

The faces of those who had fallen in the battle were, after more than a days exposure, so black that no one would ever suspect that they had been white. All looked like negroes, and as they lay in piles where they had fallen, one upon another, they filled the bystanders with a sense of horror. In the road they lay scattered all about, and the stench which arose from the bodies decomposing in the sun was almost unendurable. Passing after night from Sharpsburg to Hagerstown upon the turnpike, it required the greatest effort to keep my horse from trampling upon the dead, so thickly were they strewn around. All along the line for not more than a mile, at least one thousand five hundred lay unburied.


15th Massachusetts VI