“We are firing the passes of the Blue Ridge.” George B. McClellan September 14, 1862

At Dahlgren Road looking out over Turners and Fox's Gaps

Voices from September 14 1862

 

“The day has gone against us and this army will go by Sharpsburg and cross the river.  It is necessary to abandon your position tonight.”

Robert E. Lee

Sep 14 1862

Lee to McLaws reporting the defeat at South Mountain and his decision to retreat out of MarylandFrom Taken at the Flood Robert E. Lee & Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 by Joseph L. Harsh.  Kent:  The Kent State University Press, 1999.

page 289

 

“We are firing the passes of the Blue Ridge. Have possession of the heights on the left of Hagerstown pike; are now attacking the right. Franklin is attacking the Rockville [Crampton’s] Pass, through the same ranges. Thus far all goes well. Have taken about 100 prisoners. I have the troops in hand. They are confident, and hope to have gull possession of the passes by dark.”

George B. McClellan

Sep 14 1862

McClellan’s 4PM report to Halleck on the Battle of South MountainFrom Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

page 121

 

The Gaps from North to South

Frosttown Gap

 

“when within fifty yards of the stone-fence, a murderous fire of musketry was opened upon us by the rebels, who lay concealed behind it, and swarms of bullets whistled about our ears. With a wild shout, we dashed forward while volley after volley was poured upon us; but we heeded it not; we rushed madly in.”

A.F. Hill Sep 14 1862

A.F. Hill of the 8th Pennsylvania Reserves describes the advance upon Frosttown Gap. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011.

page 107

“children laid down upon the ground, the women shrieked, and the men displayed wondrous agility in leaping fences, which caused considerable amusement among us.”

Evan Woodward

Sep 14 1862

Sgt Woodward observes the effect of Confederate artillery on civilians from Middletown who came to witness the battle. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011.  page 93

“The air is now filled with shrieking lead, and we hear just ahead of us, the cheers and yells of the opposing troops, the never ceasing rattle of musketry, and the awful din of battle.”

George F. Noyes

Sep 14 1862

Capt Noyes of the 76th New York describes the fighting around Frosttown Gap. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011.  page 119

“Colonel, put your regiment into that cornfield and hurt somebody.”

Seymour, Truman Sep 14 1862. Truman Seymour ordering Col Joseph Fisher of 5th PA Res to advance into the cornfield at the top of Frosttown Gap. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011.  page 100

“as harmless as blank cartridge salutes to a militia general”

D.H. Hill describing the effect of enemy artillery at Frosttown Gap. From The Maryland Campaign of September 1862 Vol. 1 South Mountain. Edited by Tom Clemens. New York:  Savas Beatie, 2010. page 359

“Gordon’s excellent regiment (which he had kept constantly in hand, and had handled in a manner I have never heard or seen equaled during this war.)” Robert E. Rodes describing the conduct of Gordon and the 6th Alabama

From The Maryland Campaign of September 1862 Vol. 1 South Mountain. Edited by Tom Clemens. New York:  Savas Beatie, 2010.

page 350

 

Turner’s Gap

 

“General Stuart must have been mistaken as to the strength of the enemy.”

Alfred Colquitt addressing the large number of Federals approaching his position on Sep 14, 1862 at Turner’s Gap. From Lee’s Maverick General Daniel Harvey Hill by Hal Bridges.  Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press, 1961. page 102

 

“Father wants you to put a shot in that house; it is full of rebel sharpshooters.” Union Colonel Meredith’s son, a member of his staff, requests that Lt Stewart of Battery B at the Beachley house. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011.

page 126

“An ugly place to attack.”

Frank A. Haskell Sep 14 1862 describes the ground on which the Iron Brigade is to attack at South Mountain. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011.  page 125

“fellows were as cool and collected as if at target practice, and, in fact, on more than one occasion when gathered behind a boulder, one would ask the other to watch his shot and see where he hit.”

James P. Sullivan Sep 14 1862

Description of the skirmisher action at Turner’s Gap. From “They Must Be Made of Iron.” by Kent Gramm. Giants in Their Tall Black Hats – Essays on the Iron Brigade. Ed. Alan T. Nolan and Sharon Eggleston Vipond. Bloomington:  Indiana University Press, 1998.  page 23

“I can only call your attention to their list of casualties; it speaks for itself.”

Joseph Hooker, In his official report, Hooker commends the Iron Brigade. From “They Must Be Made of Iron.” by Kent Gramm. Giants in Their Tall Black Hats – Essays on the Iron Brigade. Ed. Alan T. Nolan and Sharon Eggleston Vipond. Bloomington:  Indiana University Press, 1998. cpage 26

“He recognized us and appreciated our efforts, but was unable to speak. The dread reality of war was before us in this frightful death upon the cold, hard stones. The mortal suffering, the fruitless struggle to send a parting message to the far off home, and the final release by death, all enacted in the darkness, were felt even more deeply than if the scene had been relieved by the light of day.”

Rufus Dawes recalls the death of William Lawrence. From “The Dread Reality of War.” Alan D. and Maureen Gaff. Giants in Their Tall Black Hats – Essays on the Iron Brigade. Bloomington:  Indiana University Press, 1998.  page 76

Fox Gap

 

“the vast army of McClellan spread out before me.  The marching columns extended back as far as the eye could see in the distance…It was a grand and glorious spectacle, and it was impossible to look at it without admiration.  I had never seen so tremendous an army before, and I did not see one like it afterward.”

D.H. Hill describing the spectacle of McClellan’s advancing army. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011.  page 62

“my God! Be careful, But I am paroled”

Augustus Moor

Sep 14 1862

Moor to Cox upon encountering him on National Road on the approach to South Mountain.  Moor had been paroled by Confederates

From “My God! Be Careful! Morning Battle at Fox’s Gap.”by Scott D. Hartwig.  The Maryland Campaign of 1862 Civil War Regiments:  A Journal of the American Civil War. Vol 5, No 3. Campbell CA:  Savas Publishing Company, 1998.

page 30

“Had an inkling…that a mass meeting was to be held on that eminence to discuss the pros and cons of secession, and that we the Seventeenth, had received a passing invitation to present.”

Daniel Lane.  Pvt David Land of the 17th Michigan describes the approach to South Mountain

From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011.  page 67

“The loss of this brave and distinguished officer tempered with sadness the exultation of triumph. A gallant soldier, an able general, endeared to his troops and associates, his death is felt an irreparable misfortune.”

George B. McClellan

McClellan on the death of his West Point classmate Jesse Reno. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011.  page 179

“The Yankees on their side lost General Reno, a renegade Virginian, who was killed by a happy shot from the Twenty-third North Carolina.”

D.H. Hill.  Hill happily reporting the death of Jesse Reno at Fox Gap.  From OR 19 (1) page 1020

“their canister shot cut long furrows in the sod, with a noise like the cutting of a melon rind.”

Jacob D.Cox describing the sound of canister at Fox’s Gap. From The Maryland Campaign of September 1862 Vol. 1 South Mountain. Edited by Tom Clemens. New York:  Savas Beatie, 2010. page 332

“I have seen all of war ever wish to.  The thing is indescribable.  Oh, horrors.”

Member of 9th NH Sep 15 1862

Another member of the 9th NH recalling Fox Gap

From  “Who Would Not Be A Soldier?” by Scott D. Hartwig. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999. page 156

“[bullets pattered about us like raindrops on the leaves…Then we heard the voice of Colonel Hayes saying: ‘Men of the Twenty-third, when I tell you to charge, you must charge…Charge Bayonets.'”

A member of the 23rd Ohio recalls future U.S. President Rutherford B. Haye’s command at Fox Gap.  From “My God! Be Careful! Morning Battle at Fox’s Gap.”by Scott D. Hartwig.  The Maryland Campaign of 1862 Civil War Regiments:  A Journal of the American Civil War. Vol 5, No 3. Campbell CA:  Savas Publishing Company, 1998. page 40

“I must have been the fastest runner for I caught up with him and together we went to the foot of the mountain.”

Alfred Iverson, commanding the 20th NC recounts his sprint down South Mountain’ with Col McRae of the 5th NC.  From “My God! Be Careful! Morning Battle at Fox’s Gap.”by Scott D. Hartwig.  The Maryland Campaign of 1862 Civil War Regiments:  A Journal of the American Civil War. Vol 5, No 3. Campbell CA:  Savas Publishing Company, 1998. page 51

“Parson, Parson- God Damn it, come back here; you have been praying all your life to get to heaven and now that you have a short cut you are running away from it.”

Duncan McRae recounting his run off South Mountain and encounter with the chaplain of one of Garland’s regiments as heard by Fred Foard of the 20th NC

From “My God! Be Careful! Morning Battle at Fox’s Gap.”by Scott D. Hartwig.  The Maryland Campaign of 1862 Civil War Regiments:  A Journal of the American Civil War. Vol 5, No 3. Campbell CA:  Savas Publishing Company, 1998. page 51

“The wood and undergrowth were dense, and nothing but a pig path seemed to lead in the direction in which I was ordered…We marched on through the wood as rapidly as the obstacles in our passage would admit.  Each step forward brought nearer and nearer to us the heavy Federal lines, as they advanced, cheering their success and the possession of our dead and wounded.”  John B. Hood Sep 14 1862

Hood describes the advance of his division along the wood road to Fox Gap. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011. page 79

“I may as well be here as yourself.”

Samuel Garland Sep 14 1862 General Garland replying to Col Ruffin at Fox Gap moments before he is mortally wounded.  From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011.

page 52

Crampton’s Gap

 

“stood for awhile and gazed at the magnificent splendor of the martial array that was slowly and steadily moving toward us across the plain below like a living panorama, the sheen of the glittering side-arms and thousands of bright, shiny musket barrels looking like a silver spangled sea rippling and flashing in the light of a midday sun.”

George M Neese Sep 14 1862 Neese reports on the advancing Union forces at Cramptons Gap. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011.  page 143

“Forward into the road and then give them the bayonet! It is death for all to hesitate now!”

Henry L. Cake Sep 14 1862. As the 96th Pennsylvania makes its last charge, Col. Cake urges them forward. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011.  page 151

“They came over the field grandly, the officers all in place and cheering the men onward, the men well aligned on the colors, with the Stars and Stripes floating above them…like devils let loose in the infernal regions.”

Sgt James Toomer of the 16th Virginia Infantry describes the advance of Torbert’s New Jersey brigade. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011.  page 150

“If you find something to do, do it!”

Henry Slocum Sep 14 1862 Henry Slocum to Colonel Cake of the 96th Pennslvania after asking the general for further instructions. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011. Page 144

“while clover is all right as a cow feed, when it comes to stopping bullets it don’t compare with a stone wall.”

J. Shaw of the 96th Pennsylvania later writes about the fight at Crampton’s Gap. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011.  Page 148

 

“It must have been a grand sight from that mountain Pass to see the glistening splendor of that column as the bright September sun shone upon the arms and trappings of the moving force.”

Joseph Bartlett Sep 14 1862. Bartlett speculates on how his attacking column must have looked from the top of Crampton’s Pass. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: