David Thompson of the 9th New York Volunteers wrote about the uneasy night his corps spent before the Battle of Antietam in the Civil War historical edition “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War”.
Our corps the Ninth, under Burnside—was on the extreme left, opposite the stone bridge. Our brigade stole into position about half-past 10 o’clock on the night of the 16th. No lights were permitted, and all conversation was carried on in whispers. As the regiment was moving past the 103d New York to get to its place, there occurred, on a small scale and without serious results, one of those unaccountable panics often noticed in crowds, by which each man, however brave individually, merges his individuality for the moment, and surrenders to an utterly causeless fear. When everything was at its darkest and stealthiest one of the 103d stumbled over the regimental dog, and, in trying to avoid treading on it, staggered against a stack of muskets and knocked them over. The giving way of the two or three men upon whom they fell was communicated to others in a sort of wave movement of constantly increasing magnitude, reenforced by the ever-present apprehension of attack, till two regiments were in confusion.
In a few seconds order was restored, and we went on to our place in the line—a field of thin corn sloping toward the creek, where we sat down on the plowed ground and watched for a while the dull glare on the sky of the Confederate campfires behind the hills. We were hungry, of course, but, as no fires were allowed, we could only mix our ground coffee and sugar in our hands and eat them dry. I think we were the more easily inclined to this crude disposal of our rations from a feeling that for many of us the need of drawing them would cease forever with the following day.
From “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War” online