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Sunday, July 12, 2009

The 1st Brigade started late in the morning, about 11 a.m., and after advancing in double columns for a mile stopped for a brief period before moving to the left. This pattern of start and stop continued throughout the afternoon when thunder and lightening storms rolled across the sky and sent buckets of rain earthward. Around mid-afternoon enemy earthworks were spotted on an elevated rise in the distance and the Brigade was deployed into two battle lines on an opposite rise, where it held while waiting further orders. A wide wheatfield served as an intervening buffer, with stacks of harvested grain standing at attention. Both sides sent skirmishers down into swale, but they simply took measure of each other and stood like scarecrows in the fields as the rain beat down on them.

The afternoon had been shrouded in twilight like conditions and around 8 p.m. the 18th and the rest of the 1st Brigade was moved into a strand of woods on their left, a stone’s throw from Funkstown, Maryland. A hundred men were detailed for picket duty and intermittent musket fire, some of it in rapid secession, continued to break the silence throughout the night.

With Lee having withdrawn virtually his entire force from Funkstown and Hagerstown earlier in the day, with the exception of a rear guard, George Meade convened an evening conference with his Corps commanders. Five of the six, when polled, expressed their opinion that Union forces shouldn’t launch an attack in the morning.


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