South Mountain by Rick Reeve

South Mountain by Rick Reeve
South Mountain by Rick Reeve depicting the wounding of General Garland

Monday, February 28, 2011

"The victory was decisive and complete..."

The following is the report written by Colonel Joseph Bartlett who commanded the attack of the Henry Slocum's division at Crampton's Gap on September 14, 1862. Bartlett's brigade would spearhead the assault with remainder of General Slocum's division supporting. Bartlett was chosen to lead the assault column and his attack commenced at roughly at 4 o'clock in the afternoon.


--- --, 1862.

Major H. C. RODGERS,

Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division, Sixth Corps.

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my brigade in the battle of Crampton's Pass, Sunday, September 14, 1862:

My command, after a march of nearly 10 miles, arrived opposite the village of Burkittsville and Crampton's Pass about 12 o'clock m., with the Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Cake commanding, deployed as skirmishers. The enemy's pickets retired from the town and opened an artillery fire from two batteries upon my line of skirmishers. I was ordered by Major-General Slocum to halt until he could mass his troops and arrange the plan of the assault, as the appearance of the mountain pass convinced all that artillery was of no avail against it, and that nothing but a combined and vigorous charge of infantry would carry the mountain.

It being decided that the attack should be made on the right and flank of the road leading over the mountain, I was ordered to lead the column, under cover from artillery fire and as secretly as possible, to a large field near its base, where the column of attack was to be formed, each brigade in two lines, at 200 paces in rear. About 4 o'clock p.m. I ordered forward the Twenty-seventh New York Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel A. D. Adams commanding, to deploy as skirmishers, and, upon their placing the interval ordered between the column of attack and their line, I advanced at quick time the Fifth Maine Volunteers, Colonel N. J. Jackson commanding, and Sixteenth New York Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel J. J. Seaver commanding. My line of skirmishers found the enemy at the base of the mountain, safely lodged behind a strong stone wall. Their entire line, being now developed, exhibited a large force. My first line advanced rapidly and steadily to the front under a severe fire of artillery from the heights above and musketry from behind the wall and the trees on the slope above it. Halting behind a rail-fence about 300 yards from the enemy, the skirmishers were withdrawn and the battle commenced.

By some unexplained and unaccountable mistake, more than 1,000 yards intervened between the head of the column of General Newton's brigade and my own line, and nothing but the most undaunted courage and steadiness on the part of the two regiments forming my line maintained the fight until the arrival of the rest of the attacking column. On their arrival, the Thirty-second New York Volunteers, Colonel Matheson commanding, and the Eighteenth New York Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Myers commanding, were sent to report to me by order of General Newton, commanding Third Brigade. The Fifth Maine and Sixteenth New York Volunteers having expended their ammunition, I relieved them, and formed them 20 paces in rear.

The New Jersey brigade, Colonel Torbert commanding, now arrived on the left of the line, and commenced firing by its first line, and the Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers having joined my command, and been positioned by me on the extreme right, it became apparent to all that nothing but a united charge would dislodge the enemy and win the battle. A moment's consultation with Colonel Torbert decided us to make the charge immediately at a double-quick, and the order was passed along the line to "Cease firing," the command given to "Charge," and our whole line advanced with cheers, rushing over the intervening space to the stone wall and routing the enemy. The charge was maintained to the top of the mountain, up an almost perpendicular steep, over rocks and ledges, through the underbrush and timber, until the crest overlooking the valley beyond was gained. The victory was decisive and complete, the routed enemy leaving arms, ammunition, knapsacks, haversacks, and blankets in heaps by the roadside.

The great natural strength of the enemy's position, supported by his well-served batteries, made it absolutely necessary that the first attempt should be successful or great confusion and slaughter must ensue. The success was fully and clearly established by the masterly arrangement of the column of attack by Major-General Slocum, and circumstances seemed to have been controlled by some master-hand to enable us to carry out the clear instructions received before the assault. All orders were carried out in detail. No more and no less was done than to execute the plan during the fiercely contested assault which was so clearly expressed in the bivouac.

I have the honor of reporting the capture of one battle-flag by the Sixteenth New York Volunteers.

The action of my own regiments, and of the Thirty-second and Eighteenth New York Volunteers, who were under my command, recommend them to the highest consideration of their general officers. There were no officers, field or line, who did not distinguish themselves upon this occasion, and the highest praise should be awarded the soldiers under their command.

It is with sorrow I have to report the death of Major Martin, Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, who fell gallantly leading his wing of the regiment to the charge.

My warmest thanks are due to the brave, able, and gallant assistance rendered me on this as on all former occasions by Lieutenant R. P. Wilson, acting assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenant M. E. Richards, acting aide-de-camp. Among the surgeons of the several regiments, Surg. N. S. Barnes, Twenty-seventh New York Volunteers, I wish particularly to mention for gallantry in following his regiment into battle, and establishing his field hospital close to the scene of action, thereby rendering immediate and invaluable assistance to the wounded.

I herewith annex an official list of the killed and wounded in my brigade.


Colonel, Commanding Brigade.


The War of the Rebellion: a Compliation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies: Volume 19, Part 1. 388 - 390

Monday, February 21, 2011

Remembering North Carolina's fallen

NC Monument at Fox's Gap

In the fighting on September 14, 1862 at the gaps along South Mountain, men and boys from North Carolina beared the brunt of the fighting, particularly during the fighting at Fox's Gap. Thirteen regiments of infantry and three artillery batteries participated in the battle. It was men from the 5th North Carolina from Samuel Garland's brigade that fired some of the first shots and it was the 6th North Carolina of Evander Law's brigade that fired some of the final shots. With help from the 4 volume set Roster of North Carolina Troops in the War between the States by John W. Moore, I have been able to put a name to many of the casualties that were suffered by these regiments during the battle. Published in 1882, Mr. Moore's work is the best book of rosters that I have come across during my research up here on the mountain. Moore does is best to build rosters for each regiment but he readily admits that the records of many regiments were lost following the fall of Richmond and he informs the reader that he regrets that this has happened. Thankfully, the rosters appear complete in his book, just the information about what happened to the men during the war is missing, especially in the case of the 4th North Carolina. So armed with this book, I believe I have compiled the most accurate listing possible of those North Carolinian's who fell during the bloody fighting on South Mountain. I have listed the regiments by brigade and at which gap they went into battle. Any casualties showing the soldier as killing, wounded, or missing in Maryland 1862 and nothing more have been excluded due to the uncertainty of where they became a casualty.

Fox's Gap

Brigadier General Samuel Garland's Brigade (Maj. General D.H. Hill's division):

Killed: 43
Wounded: 57
Captured/Missing: 15
total: 115

General Hill recalled at least 100 men killed and wounded and another 200 missing for a total of 300 casualties. The rosters in this book give us at least 115 names so of the casualty figures stated by Hill, 38.3 % are known.

5th North Carolina, Colonel  Duncan McRae commanding:

Private Todd Aquilla, Co. F
Private James Baker, Co.D
Private Ruffin Caps, Co. C
Private George W. Dennis, Co. D
Private S. Johnson, Co. D
Private Alfred B. Pearce, Co. I
Private J.G. Smith, Co. C
Private R. Windham, Co. D

1st Corporal James P. Britton, Co. F
Private S.E. Eldridge, Co. D (Captured also)
Private Jas. H. Ellis, Co. C
1st Sergeant Samuel Hackney, Co. A

Private James A. Baker. Co. A
Private Ransom R. Barber, Co. C
Private Samuel Eldrigde, Co. D
Private Harrison B. Ferrell, Co. C
Private Handy B. Jernigan, Co. C
Private Robert Johnson, Co. D
Private S. Johnson, Co. D
Private G.W. Laster, Co. D
Private Julius Lee, Co. C

12th North Carolina Infantry, Captain Shugan Snow commanding

Private C.R. Barkley, Co. G
Private Thomas Gordon, Co. B
Corporal William Hunt, Co. B
Private H.G. Johnson, Co. K
Private J.T. Marshall, Co. G
Private George A. Miller, Co. G
Private J.A. Sherrill, Co. A
Private John J. Strum, Co. B
Private William Wood, Co. I

Captain Phillip G. Alston, Co. K
Private J.C. Battle, Co. D
Private J.B. Brickell, Co. G
Private H.T. Drake, Co. C
Private James W. Knott, Co. B
Private H.R. Moss, Co. C
Private John Smith, Co. C

13th North Carolina Infantry, Lt. Colonel Thomas Ruffin, Jr. commanding

Private C.W. Brown, Co. B
Private W.F. Carter, Co. H
Private Robert J. Clendenin, Co. E
Private T. Chambers, Co. K
Private Nicholas Dalton, Co. H
Private Obediah N. Fitzgerald, Co. A
2nd Lieutenant John C. Joyce, Co. H
2nd Corporal N.R. Kerr, Co. A
Private John A. Long, Co. E
Private William H. Thompson, Co. C
Private R.C.S. Ticer, Co. B

Private John R. Adams, Co. E
4th Sergeant Jesse E. Amos, Co. K
Private James Bartlett, Co. B
Private T. Bell, Co. G
Private A. Blackwelder, Co. B
Private George W. Boone, Co. F
Private T.P. Bowman, Co. K
Private James Corbett, Co. A
Private Matthew A. Edwards, Co. B
Private James S. Gilliam, Co. E
Private G.W. Gorgan, Co. C
Private William H. Hatchett, Co. A
Private J.G. Hendrick, Co. C
Private Giles W. Jones, Co. I
Private James L. Kimbrell, Co. B
Private James Kirkpatrick, Co. B
Private James F. Kurfees, Co. F
Private John G. Lea, Co. A
Private Calvin G. Lee, Co. A
Private Henry M. Long, Co. C
Private Henry Mayard, Co. A (Missing)
Private James E. Miller, Co. F
Private William Monday, Co. F
Private James Phelps, Co. A
Lt. Colonel Thomas Ruffin, Jr., Regt.
Private Edward F. Scales, Co. H (died of wounds)
Private Daniel V. Vinegam, Co. F
Private Joseph M. Wall, Co. H
Private David Watson, Co. H

Private Mebane Kimberly, Co. E

20th North Carolina Infantry, Colonel Alfred Iverson commanding

Private Curtis Bagley, Co. H
Private Addison Barnhart, Co. B
Private John D. Davis, Co. A
Private Angus Evans, Co. B
Private John H. Ledbetter, Co . A
Private Robert E. Russell, Co. A

Private William Carter, Co. C
Private James Gibson, Co. A
Private John W. Gordy, Co. A
Private Martin Harper, Co. H
Private Samuel Hickman, Co. G (captured also)
Private M.D. Jackson, Co. I
Private E.F. Johnson, Co. I (Mortally)
Private John Lassiter, Co. H
Private V.J. McArthur, Co. F
Private Waterman Phipps, Co. C
Private J. Pope, Co. F

2nd Sergeant Isham Reynolds, Co. G

23rd North Carolina Infantry, Colonel Daniel Christie commanding

Private B.J. Coley, Co. E
Private Henry Coon, Co. B
Private G.W. Heathcock, Co. E
Private Jarrett W. Jackson, Co. E
Private Robert C. Joyner, Co. E
Private Nelson Morrison, Co. B
Private S.J. O'Brian, Co. E
Private Joseph Sanford, Co. E
Private Albert Shelton, Co. K
Private E. Williams, Co. E

Private F.C. Atkins, Co. E
Private R.H. Beck, Co. E
Private Thomas H. Benton, Co. K
Private J.G. Clay, Co. E
Private C.C. Crouch, Co. D
3rd Sergeant E.M. Fleming, Co. E
Private Anderson Laws, Co. E (Captured also)
Private J.P. Maynard, Co. G (Captured also)
Private A.C. Morrison, Co. C
Private W.J. Waller, Co. E (Missing)
Private James Willis, Co. I

Private Alex Epps, Co. C
Private Caleb Hobbs, Co. B
Private Edward F. Howell, Co. C
Private Thomas Moore, Co. E
Private William S. Robinson, Co. C

Brigadier General Roswell Ripley's Brigade, (Maj. General. D.H. Hill's division)

Wounded: 2
Missing/Captured: 1

Ripley's brigade, in an attempt to outflank the Union left at Fox's Gap, marched to far west and off of the mountain. These casualties are likely from minor skirmishing that took place as the brigade went into line on the western face of the mountain.

1st North Carolina Infantry, Lt. Colonel Hamilton Brown commanding

Private George Hagans, Co. B

3rd North Carolina Infantry, Colonel William D.L. Rossett commanding

Private George T. Calcutt, Co. C
Private John H. McClenney, Co. D

Brigadier General George B. Anderson's Brigade (Maj. General D.H. Hill's Division)

Killed: 5
Wounded: 35
Captured/Missing: 15
Total: 55

It was two regiments from Anderson's brigade that saved the day when Garland's brigade was swept from the field in the morning fight at Fox's Gap. The brigade would be an integral part of the planned afternoon counterattack but, while going into position, a fatal gap of nearly 300 yards opened between Anderson's left and the right of Thomas Drayton's brigade. Anderson would claw his way back towards the gap but it would be to late for those Confederates fighting near the Daniel Wise house. Again, as was the case with Garland's brigade, General Hill recalls that G.B. Anderson's brigade suffered 84 killed and wounded and 29 missing as a result of the fighting at Fox's Gap. So using these numbers as the official number of casualties, the list I have compiled accounts for 48% of the total casualties.

2nd North Carolina Infantry, Colonel C.C. Tew commanding

Private Patrick Darden, Co. D
Private Wiley Gay, Co. D
Private W. M. Mason, Co. D
Private F.E. Sauis, Co. D
Private Benjamin White, Co. F

Private W.R. Carroll, Co. F
4th Corporal Haywood Davenport, Co. K (captured)
Private John Donald, Co. F
Private James Duncan, Co. E
Private W.R. Green, Co. I
Private Henry L. Hall, Co. K
Private Giles Hawkins, Co. F
Private Benjamin Howard, Co. D
Private Joel Jones, Co. C
Private William Jones. Co. G
Private John C. King, Co. C
Private William Koonce, Co. G
Private James H. Kornegay, Co. C (died of wounds Sept. 1862)
Private William B. Martin, Co. C (died of wounds Oct. 1862)
Private Southy McCaffity, Co. F
4th Corporal John McDaniel, Co. G (captured)
Private Thomas B. Moore, Co. D (mortally)
Private Thomas Mumford, Co. D (captured)
Private David Sutton, Co. F

Private Berry M. Bizzett, Co. B
Private Benjamin Blackwell, Co. C
Private David J. Brock, Co. C
Private William N. Carter, Co. K
Private John W. Dowdy, Co. K
Corporal Amos B. Fulford, Co. K
Private John O. Ives, Co. I
Private Stephen W. James, Co. K
Private Jacob Koppell, Co. I
Private George W. Lamb, Co. K
Private James T. Land, Co. K
Private Jonathan Mann, Co. D
Private Robert Rice, Co. K
Private William Seslicamp, Co. K
Private John M. Wise, Co. K

4th North Carolina Infantry, Colonel Bryan Grimes commanding

Moore laments that while he has a roster of the men of this regiment, he was unable to find records about the service of each man.

Sergeant C.D. Murdock, Co. A
2nd Lieutenant James P. Burke, Co. B
Private John W. Kestler, Co. B

14th North Carolina Infantry, Colonel Risden Tyler Bennett commanding

Corporal J.M. Green, Co. F

30th North Carolina Infantry, Colonel Francis M. Parker commanding

Private E.B. Edwards, Co. F
Private W.G. Morgan Co. F
Private H.C. Baker, Co. H (died of wounds, Sept. 1862)
Captain Jesse Wicker, Co. H

Colonel Evander Law's brigade (Maj. General John B. Hood's division):

Killed: 1
Wounded: 4
Captured/Missing: 6
Total: 11
6th North Carolina, Lt. Colonel Robert F. Webb commanding

The 6th North Carolina entered into the fray at Fox's Gap just as the sun was going down on September 14, 1862. The counterattack of Hood's division stopped the Union tidal wave that was sweeping northward towards Turner's Gap. The number of casualties are unknown from Hood's division for their fight at Fox's Gap but it can be ascertained that the numbers were rather low.

Private Lawson L. Honk, Co. D
Private William G. Clements, Co. I
Private Anderson G. Gibbons, Co. G
Private Guilford T. Laws, Co. A
Adjutant Cornelius Mebane, Regt.
Private  Portland Bailey, Co. D
Private Rufus Barbee, Co. I
Private Roswell Elliot, Co. A
Private W.A. Jenkins, Co. I
Private John Kelly, Co. I
Private T.H. Smith, Co. I

Crampton's Gap

Brigadier General Howell Cobb's brigade, (Maj. General Lafayette McLaws' division)

Killed:  14
Wounded:  47
Captured/Missing:  21
total: 82

At Crampton's Gap, the 15th North Carolina infantry was the only North Carolina unit to suffer casualties in the fight. It came up late in the action and was going into position when the Union 6th Corps broke the main Confederate line at the base of the mountain. The North Carolinian's put up a stubborn resistance but the weight of numbers and the confusion of those men fleeing through their lines cause the regiment to break and run as well. According to Timothy Reese in Sealed With Their Lives: The Battle of Crampton's Gap, the regiment suffered 18 killed, 58 wounded, and 91 missing. Those listed account for 49.1% of those casualties.

15th North Carolina Infantry, Lt. Colonel William McRae commanding

Private Thomas O. Bulluck, Co. I
Private John Delap, Co. D
Private L. Fultcher, Co. D
Private W.H. Harper, Co. C
Private J.B. Humphries, Co. C
Private E. Hunt, Co. C
Private C.G. Jolly, Co. C
Private William Lankford, Co. H
Private J.H. Leonard, Co. G
Private J.B. McSwain, Co. C
Private L. Spaugh, Co. D
Private Robert Sterns, Co. B
Private Robert D. Wimberly, Co. I
Private D. Zimmerman, Co. H

Private George Andrews, Co. G
Private Isaiah Barnes, Co. A
Private John W. Batts, Co. K
2nd Lieutenant James M. Bonner, Co. G
Private Howell Boswell, Co. B
3rd Sergeant Eli Branson, Co. H
Private W.A. Breedlove, Co. G
Private G. Byerly, Co. B
Private Virginius Copeland, Co. A
Private James A. Clark, Co. A
Private D.R. Chandler, Co. E (died of wounds)
Private William Colville, Co. F
Sergeant David G. Cuthbertson, Co. B
Private J. O. Daws, Co. K (captured)
Private Ranson Edwards, Co. I
Private T.G. Ellis, Co. F
Private C. Everhart, Co. D
Private Franciz Faltz, Co. B
Private F. Foltage, Co. D
Private James S. Freeman, Co. B
Sergeant James W. Gardner, Co. K (captured)
Private Stephen Ham, Co. F
Private John Hawkins, Co. B
Private Jesse D. Helms, Co. B
Private M.C. Holmes, Co. E
Private W.N. Harris, Co. G
Private A.M. Honeycutt, Co. K
Private Issac N. Howard, Co. B
5th Sergeant John B. Howine, Co. F
Private G.G. Kennedy, Co. E
Private A.A. Koonts, Co. K (captured and died of wounds Oct. 1862)
Private John R. Matthews, Co. A
Private Henry Marks, Co. A
Private Ambrose M. Massey, Co. B
Private James C. McCall, Co. B (died of wounds Oct. 1862)
Private William McCall, Co. B
3rd Corporal Thomas A. Morrow, Co. H
Private Nelson Neighbors, Co. G
Private B.F. Outland, Co. A
Private Marcus L. Parker, Co. A
Private Samuel Rogers, Co. B
2nd Corporal C.N. Stephenson, Co. A (Captured also)
Private Sole Tesb, Co. H
Private John Whitsett, Co. H
Private W.W. Whitsett, Co. H
3rd Sergeant J.C. Withrow, Co. D
Private Marion York, Co. H

Private B.C.C. Armstrong, Co. K
Private Gay Bennett, Co. K
Private Charles B.B. Boykin, Co. A
Private Calvin H. Brooks, Co. B
Private R.B. Clinard, Co. K
Private William Cuthbertson, Co. B
Private James Gay, Co. A
Private H.H. Griffin, Co. K
Private James Griffith, Co. H
Private H. Grubb, Co. C
Private David Hendrick, Co. K
Private Henry Hendrick, Co. K
Private Kelan Hill, Co. K
Private Jackson Hill, Co. K
Private Micheal Hunter, Co. K
Private Andrew Jackson, Co. B
Private A. Marshall, Co. H
1st Sergeant James M. Mclarty, Co. B
Private Bedford B. Miles, Co. B
Private Alvin Noah, Co. H (missing)
Private Richard Pendleton, Co. G (missing)

From Hill's recollections and Timothy Reese's book, there are reports of 260 killed and wounded with 320 missing. From what I've collected here, there are 63 killed, 145 wounded, and 58 missing listed here for a total of 266 men. This accounts for 45.8% of the casualties numbers reported.

John W. Moore. Roster of North Carolina Troops in the War between the States: Vol. 2. Raleigh, NC: Edwards, Broughton, and Co., 1882. Rosters of 1st,2nd,3rd,4th,5th,6th,12th,13th,and 15th Infantry regiments
John W. Moore. Roster of North Carolina Troops in the War between the States: Vol. 2 Raleigh, NC: Edwards, Broughton, and Co., 1882. Rosters of 20th, 23rd, and 30th Infantry regiments
Timothy J. Reese. Sealed with There Lives: The battle of Crampton’s Gap Burkittsville, Maryland September 14, 1862. Baltimore: Butternut and Blue, 1998. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"As we emerged. . . the enemy met us with a murderous fire."

Colonel Cake
These are the words of Colonel Henry L. Cake of the 96th Pennsylvania in his report on the fighting at Crampton's Gap describing the climactic final assault by the Union 6th Corps that swept the Confederates from the gap. The regiment lost 91 men killed and wounded during the fight. The following is a list of casualties that I have found.

1st Lieutenant John Dougherty, Co. F
Private Thomas Haines, Co. I
Private George James, Co. K
Corporal Gomer Jones, Co. A
Private James Kaercher, Co. I
Private Henry P. Kuhns, Co. H
Major Lewis Martin, Regt.
Private Patrick McAllister, Co. K
Private Barney McMicheal, Co. K
Private Saul McMinzie, Co. C
Private Thomas Reese, Co. D
Private John Sentman, Co. H
Private Martin Sipe, Co. C
Private Oliver F. Treichler, Co. H
Private Otto G.H. Vogel, Co. E
Private William Weaklam, Co. I
Private Thomas D. Williams, Co. D
Private Charles B. Ziegler, Co. H

2nd Lieutenant Alexander Allison, Co. C
Sergeant Charles Bast, Co. C
Private Christian Bidel, Co. H
Private John Carr, Co. D
Private John Haley, Co. H
Private Patrick Fay, Co. K
Private John Frasier, Co. C
Private Thomas Hilton, Co. C
Private Micheal Holloran, Co. H
Private Caleb Kinzi. Co. A
Private  Hugh Lynch, Co. C
Private Aaron Miller, Co. H
Private Jeremiah Miller, Co. H
1st Sergeant James B. Oliver, Co. C
Corporal Thomas Oliver, Co. C
Private David Thomas, Co. C
Private Thomas Tracy, Co. F


Monday, February 7, 2011

Captain McMullin reports..

1st Ohio Light Artillery Monument,
Antietam N.B.
The following is the official report of the commander of the First Battery, Ohio Light Artillery, Captain James R. McMullin. McMullin's battery would go into position along the Old Sharpsburg Road conducting counter-battery fire against Confederate artillery at Turner's and Fox's Gap. McMullin would successfully silence one battery and force another to abandon its position. It was from McMullin's battery, that the section under the command of Lieutenant George Crome would be dispatched from. Crome recieved special attention in McMullin's report.

First Battery, Ohio Artillery
In the Field September 16, 1862

Sir: I have the honor to transmit an outline report of the part taken by my battery in the engagement of the 14th instant.

In obedience to orders from you, my battery took position about half way up South Mountain and to the left of the National road, when I immediately engaged a six-gun battery, for some thirty or forty minutes, when he opened another battery to the left of the first, the range being nearly or quite 1,700 yards. In about an hour, the enemy's first battery was silenced. My guns then continued to play upon the enemy's second battery until late in the afternoon, when it was moved out of range.

About 11 o'clock, in obedience to an order from yourself, I sent one section, under command of First Lieut. George L. Crome, to take position on the top of  South Mountain, which Lieutenant Crome reached with difficulty, being compelled to move his pieces by manuel force, and opened on the enemy, in position behind a stone wall, with canister at a distance of 40 yards. After expending four double rounds, Lieutenant Crome was struck in the breast with a musket-ball while engaged in loading one of his pieces, three of his cannoneers being wounded. The enemy was driven from his position and the section remained on the field. Lieutenant Crome lived about two hours, when he expired. His loss is to be deeply regretted, for he was a brave and noble man, who at the first call of his country left the endearments of home for its defense. Yet it is a consolation to his friends and companions in arms to know that he died at his post in the discharge of more than his duty.

Lieutenants McClung, Fair, amd Channell (the latter on detached duty from the Twelfth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and the men of my battery, all did their duty. Not a single exception come under my observation or to my hearing.

I am, colonel, with respect, your obedient servant
J.R. McMullin
Captain First Battery, Ohio Artillery

The War of the Rebellion: a Compliation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies: Volume 19, Part 1. 463-464

Saturday, February 5, 2011

They called them the "Stonewall Regiment"

Veterans of the 17th Michigan

The regiment had just been organized in Detroit, Michigan and arrived in Washington and were immediately attached to the brigade of Colonel Benjamin Christ in the First Division of the 9th Corps and ordered to march into western Maryland to drive out the rebel invader. Numbering nearly 1,000 men when the regiment arrived in Washington, little did they know that less than two weeks later, over half their number would become casualties.

William Withington
 Organized throughtout the summer of 1862, the different companies that would make up the regiment would be mustered into service throughout the month of August. It's commander would be Colonel William W. Withington, who would awarded the Medal of Honor in 1895 for actions performed during the Battle of First Bull Run. Withington's regiment would consist for Michigan men from Kalamazoo, Detroit, Battle Creek, Flint, and most of men enlisting in Company E would be from what is today Eastern Michigan University. Once the regiment was gathered at Detroit, it would be shipped to Washington on August 27, 1862. Arriving in Washington near the beginning of September, the regiment was assigned to Orlando Willcox's Division of the 9th Corps. The 17th Michigan, along with the rest of the 9th Corps, moved out of Washington on September 4th in search of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia that is reportedly marching into Maryland.

The regiment arrived in Frederick on September 12 and pushed on toward Middletown, bivouacing about a mile outside of town on the night of the 13th. On the morning of the 14th, the 17th Michigan marched through Middletown and was deployed to advance on Turner's Gap, but due to the nature of the fighting at Fox's Gap, Withington was ordered to countermarch his regiment back up the National Pike and onto the Old Sharpsburg Road and to deploy on the right of the road in support of Asa M. Cook's battery that was going into position. As Cook's guns deployed and the 17th came up, James Bondurant's Confederate battery opened up on the mass of blue clad men, demoralizing and chasing the Union artilleryman from their guns. The men from Michigan, however, remained holding their position despite being under a severe artillery fire.

Last Muster of the 17th Michigan
Not long after going into position, the men heard the sharp rattle of musketry off to the left-front. The Confederates had come out and were attacking. Orders were issued for the regiment to advance across the open field in their front, silence the Confederate artillery, and take the rebel line in the flank. The guns they were to assault were supported by a small contingent of Confederate infantry. At about 4 o'clock, the regiment is ordered to advance, with the 45th Pennsylvania supporting the regiment on the left. Immediately, the Confederate infantry men and Bondurant's battery unleash a devastating fire on the Michigan men, wiping holes in the lines of the "rookie" regiment. But, with the coolness of veterans, they pushed on. They captured the stonewall behind which the Confederate infantryman were taking cover. George C. Gordon of the 24th Michigan, recalled a story from a friend in the 17th that when the Confederates would peek over the wall to take aim, the bullet from the guns of the 17th would immediately strike the man in the head, killing him. This incredible fire shows the furosity of  the assault by the 17th was.

With no infantry support, Bondurant's battery is forced from its position and Colonel Withington, seeing that his regiment had managed to position itself behind  the Confederate positions in the Old Sharpsburg Road, He orders his regiment to left wheel. The Confederates in the road are surprised to see the Union battleline advancing on their rear, many attempt to turn and fire. When the regiment is aligned, Colonel Withington gives the order to advance at charged bayonets. The bloodsoaked regiment advances to within  30 yards of the roadbed when the order to halt is given and a devastating volley is unleashed on the Confederates in the road bed. With each successive volley, the rebel line wavers before it is completely routed. What was a stand-up slugfest turns into rout with the Confederates in the road bed becoming easy targets for the Michiganders.

By 5 o'clock, the fight is practically over. The 17th Michigan men had accomplished their given assignment of silencing the Confederate battery that was raining a steady does of shot and shell into the Union masses. The regiment than took advantage of their newly won position and attacked the Confederates who were savagely defending the Old Sharpsburg Road. After a brief firefight around dusk, the 17th Michigan was relieved by  unit from Samuel Sturgis' division and the regiment was moved down the mountain for rest. The first fight for this regiment were a costly one, losing 27 men killed and 114 wounded of less than 500 actually engaged..

It was a heavy price to pay, but the regiment caught the attention of those units who witnessed it's fight. In their first combat, the regiment performed as if they were veterans. Reports of the regiments actions reached General Ambrose Burnside during the weeks that followed and during President Lincoln's visit to the army in October, according to recollections, the President visited the regiment and christened the regiment with the "Stonewall Regiment" nickname. The name stuck and for the rest of the war, the regiment was known as such. The regiment would go onto fight in some of the most severe engagements of the war at Antietam, Fredericksburg, the Siege of Vicksburg, The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Siege of Petersburg, and Appomattox.


Randall Valkenburgh in the ACW (Lincoln names regiment)

Jackson Districk Library (17th Michigan veterans photo)

Last Muster of the 17th Michigan (photo)

Friday, February 4, 2011

A professor's recollections..

The following is a letter from Professor Gabriel Campbell. Professor Campbell was the captain of Company E, 17th Michigan during the Battle of South Mountain. He enlisted in June 1862 and was appointed captain of Company E. He would resign his commission in November 1863 to return to college to complete his degree in Philosophy. He would go onto to teach at the University of Minnesota and Bowdoin College. Company E was unique in that its ranks were made up of mostly students from the Michigan State Normal School, known today as Eastern Michigan University. It was written to Ezra Carmen for his history of the 1862 Maryland Campaign.

Dartmouth College
Hanover, N.H. Aug 23 1899.

Dear General Carmen,

I think you will find the following a very accurate itinerary of the 17th Mich at South Mountain, Sep 14, 1862.

Leave Camp 9:00 AM
March through Middletown   10:00 AM
At foot of mountain     11:30 AM
Enfiladed by battery    12:00 noon
Prostrate in cornfield   1:00 PM
"Attention" called        3:00 PM
First Charge        4:00 PM

The ridge of So Mountain ran nearly N and S, the road at the summit nearly East and West.

When I visited the field in 1892, I found that most of the woods had been cut away, the woods on the east of Wise's field, however remaining; while the little field, about an acre and a half was quite overgrown by trees and buses, the woods to the west remaining. Meanwhile the walls of the lane had been rebuilt about 20 yards to the west, the lane running close by the east end of the Wise house. Near the road, the south part of the wall had been carried to the east bringing it nearly in a line with the lane. The ditch like accent had been washed away and much leveled and an ordinary wagon road or highway had taken its place.

Of course, the so called "lane" was the "ridge" road, which here had a stone wall on either side. The walls were about three feet in height. The road, however, was worn or washed out so that the center of the "lane" was some six inches deeper than the sides.

Where we filed to the right at the deep cut of the road suddenly ended, the road sides becoming level. As we began to leave the cut, the rebels began to enfilade us. I stood at the edge of the track until my company (E) had all filed past. I could see the cannon balls coming, bounding down the road. One came within arms length of me, dashing through the head of the company just behind. There was an immediate scramble up the sides of the ditch and out of range.

Just as I was turning into the field, Gen Willcox came flying up on his horse, saying to me "Is this my Michigan". "Form into line". The expression "My Michigan" was applied to the 17th because we had been his escort in Detroit when he was given the reception upon his return from the rebel prison to which he was taken from The First Bull Run. Our Col. Withington was Captain in the 1st Michigan under col. Willcox and was taken prisoner with him. Willcox applied to the Secretary of War and had the 17th ,for that reason, put in his division.

Crossing to the left of the road, we marched forward in line of battle until we came in range of rebel batteries to the NW and W and of infantry in the woods before us. Here we fell on our faces, the grape shot cutting off the leaves of corn until we were quite thoroughly covered [a] considerable number were wounded.

Falling back a short distance, we passed into the woods to the right of the road. Here we formed in column of battalions, the left wing forming behind the right, the two wings mingling, the companies mixing as we moved on.

Although there was a sharp fire from the stockade, which reminded me of a hail storm on the roof, our men gave tremendous shouts as there were coming out of the woods pressing on without pausing. Although met by a terrific storm of bullets from the stone wall, we simply rushed forward giving a storm in reply. But before we could make a bayonet thrust, the enemy fled. The rebel batteries now fairly swept the open field. This drove us to the left across the road and into the woods. At the edge of the woods, came the tug of war. We were square in front of the double lines at the lane. The batteries played upon the woods bringing down an abundance of branches, but doing little damage. The discharge of musketry from the lane was a constant blaze. Evidently, they were unable to take aim and fired over us. We aimed at the top of the wall.

After a while, the artillery firing relaxed momentarily and our right moved into the field across the road and advanced to the stone wall when the rebel regiment was soon dislodged, but fought as it fell back across that field. Our men now obtained a raking fire from behind the wall, then a flank fire from the north on the men behind the lane walls. Upon this the major part of the regiment pressed across Wise's field from the east but the rebels fell back. We pursued them down the slope and into the woods, taking many prisoners. We at once began to reform the regiment at the edge of the woods to the east of Wise's field when we had done most of the fighting. Here we rested on our arms for the night.

As soon as we had fixed the point of rendezvous, I secured a small detachment of men and started to care for the wounded, who had been left on the field. Just as we finished removing and caring for the wounded in the field, a few rebels without arms appeared coming into the field, ostensibly looking for their dead and helpless comrades. I quickly observed that they were pilfering from our dead as well as their own, and also gathering up arms, occasionally discharging a musket into the air. When I remonstrated with them for picking pockets and firing at random, they answered [illegible]. As I was now the only Union soldier in the field, I walked quietly towards the exit. Just as I reached the doorway at the S.E. corner, I men General Willcox who asked with some indignation what that firing meant. I replied the men were rebels who were robbing the dead and picking up arms. I pointed to several who were just then climbing the fence, coming in from the woods, and added this was evidently the beginning of a volley. Gen. Willcox turned his horse, touching him with his spur, and rode back hastily. The twilight was growing dusky. Meditating on the stranger events of the day- a most suggestive Sunday eve- I was winding my way slowly back to the regiment when, about 50 yards from where I met Gen. Willcox, I encountered Gen. Reno and four or five members of his staff riding quietly to the front.

Reno, who was about half the length of his steed in advance, was leaning forward peering steadily through his field glass, in order, evidently, to reconnoiter for himself. I stood and watched. Just as I reached the end of the fence, there was a sudden fusillade- five or six shots in about a couple of seconds. There was at once commotion among the Reno horsemen, a dismounting and catching of someone. Evidently the rebels had begun to form behind the stone fence. Quickly an orderly comes back leading several horses. To my inquiring "what happened?" , he answered, "Reno's shot." Immediately men bearing the General on a blanket follow. They pause as they meet me, and are glad of a little assistance in carrying the middle of the blanket on the right side, which duty fell to me. It was too dark to see Reno's face at all closely. He seemed pale but perfectly composed. No one of us spoke. We bore our beloved commander silently, slowly, tenderly.

Reaching the corner of the wood east of the Wise Field, we were met by attendants and a stretcher. As we placed him on the better resting place, he looked up at us gratefully. It was the last I saw of the brave Gen. Reno. I may add that although conscious that he was mortally wounded, he did not utter a word or a groan as we were carrying him off the field. When the commander of the division came up, Reno said, "Willcox, I am killed. Shot by our own men." This implies that Gen. Reno did not, in the gathering darkness, satisfy himself that the rebels were so close at hand. Gens. Sturgis and Rodman, with their supporting divisions, were very nearly abreast of Reno, coming up, as they did, across the field to the North of the road. He could scarcely have recognized such a mistake as possibly on their part. Of course, he thought the shooting random and not intentional. Possessed of the conviction that the rebels were not there, it was the necessary inference that he was killed by his own men.

It is my recollection that Cox, his successor, at first accepted this opinion. In the Chicago Tribune for 1877 or 1978, there was a discussion by D.H. Hill and Cox as to the death of Reno, the article for each general representing a different view. My article following practically closed the contention. When the committee was locating the Reno monument at S.M., Gen. Hartfrant sent me a diagram of the field asking for facts as to where Reno was shot. Gen. Hartfrant died before I learned the result, but his chief of staff told me my testimony settled the question. The monument stands on the side of the road close beside the lane.

Our supporting troops, promptly, met the volleying rebels who fought for several hours to regain what they had found to be an uncommonly strong position. In the forenoon, the 30 and 36 Ohio had each struggled valiantly to dislodge the enemy from the lane but without success. A considerable number of the dead behind the lane walls were evidently the result of these struggles earlier in the day. I never saw it where dead men so emphatically heaped up. I recollect the group photograph in the Century War Book.

The 17 Mich was no doubt chosen for this emergency because it was strong and new. The report that there were about 500 for duty must be a mistake. Company A was absent on Provost duty at Frederick, and say 10-15 percent sick or detached, this would mean between 700 to 800 for duty. Evidently the new regiments were thought more reliable by the commanding generals than old ones for an attack in front of stonewalls, old ones being more inclined to "shy off" and attack the flank in such cases. When  Gen Willcox in his report speaks of a contest of some minutes he, of course, refers to only the carrying of the first stone wall on the right of the road.

My Co. E, was composed mainly of students from the Mich School and University. I do not see how better soldiers could exist. Their one impulse was to press forward and win. I prefer, however, that others should commend. As I have been writing the seven and thirty years have seemed to pass out of existence, an again its only the day after the battle. I hear again the church bells of Middletown ringing as we march through the town.

Very Truly Yours,
Gabriel Campbell
Capt. 17th Mich

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Private George Detrick, a fallen Ohioan

The Detrick Brothers

This is a photo of George and Samuel Detrick. George, seated on the left, would enlist in Company F, 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry on June 5, 1861 at the age of 22 and his enlistment would be for three years. He would fight in the campaign that would secure what is today West Virginia for the Union in the Summer of 1861 and early 1862. When Confederate forces invaded Maryland in September 1862, Detrick would find himself marching with the Army of the Potomac in pursuit of the Confederates. On September 14, George Detrick would lose his life as the 23rd Ohio was engaged in heavy fighting for control of Fox’s Gap. He is buried in grave 1409 at Antietam National Cemetery. His brother Samuel would enlist in the 63rd Pennsylvania in August 1861. He would survive the war.


Lilenquist Family Collecton, Library of Congress George and Samuel Detrick

State of Ohio. Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion: Vol. III. (Cincinnati: Ohio Valley Press, 1886), pg. 105

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Report from a Hagerstown Newspaper

The following is an article from the Herald of Freedom and Torch Light, a newspaper that was operated in Hagerstown from 1851 to 1863 and published on a weekly basis. It was staunchly pro-union and it was the competition against the pro-southern Hagerstown Mail. The papers offices were located in the northeastern corner of the public square in Hagerstown. It's publishing schedule was interrupted briefly by the Confederate invasion of Maryland, with the paper's employees fleeing into Pennsylvania, just before the September 10th edition of the paper could be published. When they returned, all news that was reported during their absence, from September 9 to September 23, was published under the September 10, 1862 dateline. The following article reports on the fighting at South Mountain including reports the General Lee was either killed, wounded, or captured.

MONDAY Sept. 15.

The news that reaches here from the front, coming through a variety of sources, and of course only to be got together piece-meal, is all of a gloriously encouraging character. Our troops have been driving the enemy ever since they left Frederick, and yesterday fought them for four hours in a general engagement, defeated them, and sent them flying in rapid retreat to get out of "My Maryland." Our army has proved itself like that God of the ancient mythology who gained strength from contact with his mother earth and rises from a fall prepared with a new fund of resolution and stamina. The reverses in front of Washington left behind, in the minds of men, anger instead of dismay, and led by Generals in whom they place confidence they say they are "fighting this time to win," and so far have made their words good by acts.

Sunday is emphatically the fighting day of this war and yesterday has added another to the list of memorable battles that have occurred on it. The scene of the fight yesterday was upon what is generally called the "Second Mountain" of the Catoctin range but on the maps is called South Mountain. Our forces on Saturday drove the Rebel rear guard out of Middletown and our advance halted that night a short distance beyond that village. Early on Sunday morning the onward movement was resumed by Gen. McClellan. The Rebels were directly in front and retreated slowly and resolutely contesting every foot of ground. Up to about two o'clock the engagement was principally with artillery. The Rebels placed their batteries on every advantageous position and shelled our advance. Our artillery replied and the fire was at times very heavy, but the advantage, from the higher ground they occupied, being with the Rebels in this artillery practice. Our Generals depended more upon their infantry, and heavy columns were pushed successfully forward, driving the enemy back until about half the ascent of the mountain was gained. In doing this work some splendid dashes were made by our troops, in which Burnside's and Hooker's corps (formerly McDowell's) particularly distinguished themselves.

Between two and three o'clock the Rebels were found drawn up in line of battle, their left covering Turner's Gap, through which the pike to Hagerstown passes, and their right extending to Crampton’s Gap. Our right was led by Gen. Hooker in advance, with Gen. Franklin on the left and General Burnside’s corps in the centre. Gen. Heintzelman's corps was pressing up in the rear, and was I believe in reserve. Some portions of it may have participated in the fight.

When the enemy were thus found drawn up in line of battle on their chosen position, the engagement at once became general and fierce. The musketry fire, as described to me by the officers wounded in the battle and now here, was the most continuous and sustained of the war. It rolled rapidly and fiercely from right to left, and back and forward, with irresistible fury. Our artillery was splendidly brought up, and played its part, as usual, well. For two hours this continuous exchange of musketry and artillery continued, until the enemy began to show signs of wavering. Our extreme right had been gradual but surely pushing the enemy, crowding him toward the Gap, and threatening his flank. At five o'clock a general charge was ordered, and our men responding willingly and bravely to the call, sprang forward with an impetus that carried all before it. The Rebels fell back, endeavored to again bring their disordered columns into line of battle, but failed.

Wildly cheering and determined to win, our lines pushed forward, drove the enemy from point to point, and as the last rays of the sun gilded the mountain reached the summit. The Pass was won, and the enemy were in rapid and disordered retreat down the slope toward Boonsboro’. The pursuit was continued for two miles down the mountain, until darkness put an end to the contest.

Our army bivouacked for the night on the battle field, whilst its pickets extended some three miles forward and beyond the little village of Bolivar (not the Bolivar of Harper’s Ferry.) The Rebels left their killed and many of their wounded on the battle-field. My informants have no knowledge of the enemy's loss, except where they were engaged immediately on the right and can, therefore, give no estimate of the general loss on either side. They found the ground over which they passed thickly strewn with Rebel dead and wounded. In a cornfield where a desperate stand was made there was marked evidence of the severity with which they have been punished.

Our own loss, it is believed, is very much less, perhaps not half that of the enemy. Our men fought the whole day with that desperate valor which in battle often proves that there is safety in temerity. They literally drove the enemy nil the time, giving them no time to rally, no opportunity to recover, and thus kept them at a disadvantage. Our veterans have added new laurels to those gained on other well-fought fields, whilst the new regiments did far better than any one who would have ventured to hope. Their enthusiasm made up for their inexperience, and they rivalled their older companions in arms in the steadiness with which they went under fire.

Among our losses we have to lament that of Gen. Reno, one of Gen. Burnside’s division commanders. Gen. Reno accompanied the Hatteras expedition, and bore an important part in all battles from Roanoke Island to New Bern. He was a brave, enterprising and reliable officer. I do not know the particulars of his death, but understand that he was killed by a rifle ball, whilst feeling the position of the enemy on Sunday morning. I hear of the loss of no other of our general officers. As to the loss of line and field officers we have no reports.

We have the numerous and no doubt extravagant rumors here of the loss of the enemy. Gen. Lee is reported killed, and the best part of Longstreet’s division captured. Tracing these reports, as far as I am able, I find that Gen. Lee is reported by the prisoners taken as wounded, and some say killed. Gen. Garland, of Virginia, is certainly killed. Of prisoners, probably from fifteen hundred to two thousand have been captured, independently of the wounded left on the field.


Hagerstown Newspapers in the Civil War (Washington County Free Library)

Hagerstown Herald and Freedom, Sept. 1862 (