On the evening of September 16, 1862, Union soldiers bivouacked in the fields around the farmhouse of Joseph Poffenberger. It rained during the night, and in dreary camps all over the battlefield men tried to rest before the battle that would commence at daybreak.
It was a night "so dark, so obscure, so mysterious, so uncertain; with the occasional rapid volleys of pickets and outposts, the low, solemn sound of the command as troops came into position, and withal so sleepy that there was a half-dreamy sensation about it all . . ."*
*Letter from Union soldier quoted in Landscape Turned Red by Stephen W. Sears (Houghton Mifflin, 1983)