South Mountain by Rick Reeve

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

Friday, May 27, 2011

In memory, Memorial Day 2011

With Memorial Day upon us, let us not forget those that have fallen in defense of our country. While we enjoy the numerous cookouts and jump in the swimming pool for the first time this summer, let us remember that a families father or mother; son or daughter; brother or sister paid the ultimate sacrifice for us to enjoy these freedoms whether it be those that gave us freedom in the Revolution or those who are serving overseas today, let us remember their sacrifices. The following is a poem that I came across today.

In Loving Memory

By Joanna Fuchs

On every soldier’s tombstone
should be a message of honor, respect and love:
"In loving memory
of one who loved his country,
who fought against evil
to preserve what is right and true and good.
In loving memory
of one who is a cut above the rest of us,
who had the surpassing courage,
the uncommon strength,
to do whatever had to be done,
persevering through hardship and pain.
In loving memory
of one who was brave enough
to give his life, his all,
so that those he cared about
would remain safe and free.
In loving memory
of a unique and treasured soldier
who will never be forgotten."

Private George Detrick, 23rd Ohio, KIA Battle of South Mountain
Buried at Antietam National Cemetery
I also encouraged those to visit the graves of these brave and fallen men and women at national cemeteries across the country. I will end with links to the casualties lists of those regiments and brigades that I have posted to this blog in honor of those men, blue and gray, that gave their last full measure of devotion. We must never forget.

23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry

50th Georgia Volunteer Infantry

North Carolina's Fallen

96th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

Pennsylvania Reserves

John Gibbon's Iron Brigade

Thomas F. Drayton's Confederate Brigade

Robert E. Rodes Fallen Alabamians

Friday, May 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to Bloody Prelude

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of the beginning of this blog. It amazes me how far this blog as come in the past year, especially since it deals with the Battle of South Mountain, the overlooked battle of the 1862 Maryland Campaign. I just hope that this blog as help raise awareness about this important battle here are some tidbids from the past year.

My very first blog post was about Brigadier General Samuel Garland, Jr. who was killed during the battle at Fox's Gap. You can read this entry here.

I would also like to note the 5 most popular post according to you the reader. They are:

1. Birth of the Iron Brigade: This entry narrates the thrust up the National Pike made by John Gibbon's all Western brigade against the Confederates defending Turner's Gap. It can be read here.

2. The Slaughter of Drayton's Brigade: This entry list the nearly 500 known casualties suffered by Thomas Drayton's Confederate brigade during the afternoon fighting around the Daniel Wise Cabin at Fox's Gap. It can be seen here.

3. The men have stood like iron: This entry list the known casualties suffered by the Iron Brigade during its furious assault against Turner's Gap. It can be found here.

4. 2nd Mississippi Regiment at South Mountain and beyond: This post is a narrative discussing the role the 2nd Mississippi played in the fighting at South Mountain and the remainder of its war career. It can be read here.

5. The "Rock of South Mountain": This post discusses the life and civil war career of General Alfred Colquitt with an emphasis on his role as the defender of Turner's Gap on September 14, 1862. It can be read here.

I send a thank you out to everyone who stops in to check out my little blog. Thanks for you continued support and heres to another year of Bloody Prelude.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fallen Ohioan's of the 23rd Ohio

Regimental Colors, 23rd Ohio
The 23rd Ohio Volunteer infantry was part of Colonel Eliakim Scammon's brigade of the Kanawha Division. On the morning of September 14, 1862, the 23rd Ohio was encamped just outside of Middletown, Maryland and at about 6 A.M., the regiment began its march towards Turner's Gap in support of Alfred Pleasonton's cavalry division. Upon reaching what is today Marker Road, General Jacob Cox ordered his division to proceed up this road and onto the Old Sharpsburg Road to outflank the Confederates in position at Turner's Gap from the south. This sent the 23rd Ohio and their commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes on a collision course with the 5th North Carolina Infantry of Samuel Garland's Brigade, which was at the moment marching with all speed towards Fox's Gap. Marching up the Old Sharpsburg Road and then up a mountain path called the Loop Road, the 23rd Ohio constituted the left flank of Scammon's brigade. Going into line of battle about a mile south of Fox's Gap, the regiment advanced out of the woods and at 9:00 a.m., slammed into the skirmishers of the 5th North Carolina, touching off what would become the Battle of South Mountain. For the next two hours, the 23rd battled North Carolina's sons in the fields south of the important intersection at Fox's Gap. After George Crook's brigade was ordered into the fray, the Ohioan's pushed back the North Carolinian's and began advancing on Fox's Gap itself before being halted by a determined Confederate counterattack. The 23rd had suffered terribly in its morning fight losing Lt. Colonel Hayes with a shattered arm. The regiment would participate in some skirmishing during the afternoon fighting and for the day it would lose 32 killed, 95 wounded, and 3 missing. Below are those known casualties pulled from the muster rolls of the regiment. Of the 130 casualties, 93 men are known accounting for 71% of the regiments casualties. A portrait of Private George Detrick, who was killed during the battle can be seen here.

Private George W. Baker, Co. E
Private Isaac W. Barker, Co. D
Private Joshua L. Barnes, Co. A
Private Albert J. Colbert, Co. I
Private Silas S. Collar, Co. B
Private William S. Crepps, Co. G
Private David A. Curtis, Co. I
Private George W. Detrick, Co. F
Private Robert A. Dixon, Co. I
Private Townsend G. Dixon, Co. C
Private John Dunn, Co. A
Private Hiram Durkee, Co. D
Private William Edwards, Co. F
Private Stafford A. Grant, Co. I
Corporal Jesse Hill, Co. I
Private Philander J. Hinds, Co. I
Private Frederick Hooker, Co. D
Private John W. Kiser, Co. G
Corporal Archibald Moore, Co. F
Private Robert P. Pierson, Co. I
Private John S. Pinney, Co. G
Sergeant Major Eugene L. Reynolds, Regiment
Private Thaddeus A. Roas, Co. A
Private William Severance, Co. I
Private George W. Shaffer, Co. H
Private Edward Sims, Co. D
Corporal Mark  Slonaker, Co.G
Private Benjamin B. Smith, Co. F
Corporal Francis C. Smith, Co. I
Private Henry H. Smith, Co. D
Private Thomas J. Smith, Co. I
Private Thomas G. Wells, Co. K
Private Issac N. Whitney, Co. H
Private Robinson Wiggins, Co. H
Private David Williams, Co. E

Sergeant Joshua A. Armstrong, Co. F
Corporal Eli F. Botsford, Co. A
Private Henry L. Braddish, Co. A (Captured)
Private Charles V. Brookman, Co. C (Mortally)
Private William Brown, Co.K
Private Jacob Burkhart, Co. F
Private Henry Burmaster, Co. A
Private Ogden M. Clow, Co. I
Private Thomas O. Conners, Co. A
Private Robert B. Cornwall, Co. A (Mortally)
Private Issac N. R. Crawford, Co. H
Corporal John Elder, Co. H
Private Van F. Fitch, Co. E
Private Martin Haacke, Co. C
Private George W. Harper, Co.H
Private Wilson B. Harper, Co. H (Mortally)
Private Jacob Hartman, Co. D
Lt. Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes, Regiment
Sergeant A.L. Heliger, Co. E
Private August Herthneck, Co. B
Private Isaac Hill, Co. K
Private William Holcomb, Co. D
Sergeant George W. Holeton, Co. E
Private Byron W. Hosford, Co. C
Private Joseph A. Joel, Co. A
Private Christian Kesler, Co. H
Private John S. Kirkwood, Co. F
Sergeant Frederick F. Koontz, Co. G
Sergeant Aaron Koplin, Co. F
Private William H.H. Liggett, Co. H
Sergeant John H. Lindley, Co. D (Mortally)
Private Thomas Moore, Co. E
Private Henry W. Parsons, Co. H (Mortally)
Private William W. Rech, Co. H
Private David I. Richardson, Co. H (Mortally)
Private Jacob E. Rife, Co. H
2nd Lieutenant Martin V. Ritter, Co. C
Private Joseph J. Roop, Co. G
Private Sylvester Rounsville, Co. I
Private Francis E. Sammis, Co. K
Private Morris Schneider, Co. I
Private Walter B. Selby, Co. H
Private Miles Shadwick, Co. D
Private Martin Siples, Co. D
Captain John W. Skiles, Co. C
Private William H. Snyder, Co. H
Private Fitzerland Squires, Co. K (Mortally)
Corporal Emanuel Stover, Co. H
Private Enos Taylor, Co. F
Private Edwin B. Thomas, Co. A
Private James A. Thomas, Co. F
Sergeant George E. Tyler, Co. I
Corporal Asa M. Vansickle, Co. A
Corporal John Whetstone, Co. E
Private Daniel Whisler, Co. G
Private Hiram N. Young, Co. C

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Thank You

Today marks my last day working as a National Park Service intern at South Mountain State Battlefield. It may be cliche to say that it only feels like yesterday that I started here but thats how I feel. This year went by way to fast. Coming up here, I knew very little about the Battle of South Mountain except from what I've read in various books about the Maryland Campaign but leaving here I feel like I have a grasp on the events that occured on that bloody sunday in 1862. I'd like to thank the National Park Service and the Maryland Park Service for giving me the opportunity to work at this wonderful site. The State of Maryland has something really special here and I feel proud that I was able to help interpret this wonderful battlefield with the Maryland Park Service Staff. It was special to me that I got to see the original stonewalls at Fox's Gap, the land over which the Iron Brigade earned its famous moniker at Turner's Gap, and the site where the war could have been ended at Crampton's Gap. I'll stop here so that I don't continue to ramble, so I'd like to thank again the National Park Service and the Maryland Park Service for this opportunity that I will never forget.

I would like to thank my wife, Heather, for supporting me while I worked here and with this blog. She was my first reader and she helped me gain confidence with writing this blog as well as giving tours. If you know me, I'm a kinda shy person so I just sit there and be quiet. She was the one I gave my first tour to. She helped me feel comfortable giving the tour and she helped point out little things that I needed to work on, like not mumbling, so that I could do the best I could. Thank you babe, I couldn't have done it without you.

I would also like to thank the readers of this blog for your support. It started out as a way for me to  remember what I was learning when I firsted started out. Now it will be away for me to continue learning about this important battle as well as educating the public about the events that occured here. The blog will continue until every last resource I have avaliable to me is exhausted and then I'll just write some more. I truely love this battlefield and I feel that it is finally getting its place in the spotlight. Thank you and I hope that you will continue to support my efforts as well as the efforts of the National Park Service and the Maryland Park Service in interpreting (NPS) and preserving (MPS) this place where thousands of American's shed their blood for the cause in which they believed. Thank you.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Texan's Diary

Presented here are the diary entries of Sergeant Robert G. Holloway of Co. I, 4th Texas Infantry. It begins on September 7, 1862 and concludes on September 21st. While the 4th Texas was not heavily engaged at South Mountain but they were here suffering six killed and two wounded according to the Supplementals to the Official Records of the Confederate and Union Armies. The regiment was under the command of Lt. Colonel Benjamin F. Carter. Three privates are named in the diary:

W.R. Jefferson would be captured at Williamsport, MD on September 15. 

S.M. Riggs is Private Steven Madison Riggs. Private Riggs would participate in every battle of the 4th Texas and would be wounded at Chickamauga where is leg would be shattered. He would die as a result of the amputation. He was the cousin of James M. Polk.

J.M. Polk is Private James M. Polk. Private Polk had been wounded at the Battle of Gaines Mill and rejoined the regiment while the regiment was encamped near Frederick, Maryland. He would be wounded at Chicamauga where a bullet struck him on the right side of his head and lodged itself within his skull. He would recover from this wound and be promoted to Captain. He would be captured while fighting in the Western Theatre.


Sunday, 7th 1862
Left Frederick at 8 o'clock and proceeded to Frederick Junction on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad where we stopped to cook rations.

Monday, 8th 1862
On the Railroad leading to Frederick City cooking rations. S.M. Riggs and W.R. Jefferson was detailed to go to the City to buy things for the company. Returned without anything since stores were closed.

Tuesday, 9th
Left Camp on the Railroad for camp on the Monocacy River about a mile off. J.M. Polk got to camp from Richmond.

Wednesday, 10th
Left camp at sunrise but do not know where we are going to. Passed through Frederick City and was recieved with good enthusiam by the cecessionist of that place. from there we passed on to Boonsboro and other little towns and camped seven miles from Fred'k City.

Thursday, 11
Nothing occured on the march of any importance. Camped 4 miles of near the Pennsylvania line. Some prisoners brought in.

Friday, 12th 1862
Marched about three miles. camped.

Saturday 13th
Remained in camp.

Sunday 14th
Left Hagerstown for Boonsborough. Arrived at Sundown and were exposed to the fire of shell and shot.

Monday 15th 1862
The army commenced to fall back through the town of Boonesboro on the Williamsport Road.

Tuesday 16th
The enemy followed us to Sharpsburg where we made a stand and had a heavy skirmish

Wednesday 17th
The fight commenced this morning at daylight and about Seven o'clock our Brigade was ordered forward to support Whitney's and soon became engaged, lost 6 wounded and 2 missing in Company I. I was shot through the finger of the right hand.

Friday 19th 1862
Left Shepherdstown in company with several others of the Regt. for Winchester.

Saturday 20th
Arrived in Winchester this morning.

Sunday 21st
Got pass this morning for Stauton.

Museum of the Confederacy, Eleanor S. Brockenbrough Library diary collection. Sgt. Robert G. Holloway, 4th Texas Company I, Nov 8, 1861 to Sept. 15 1863.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

11th Virginia Infantry, Kemper's Brigade

Unidentified Soldier
Company C, 11th VA Infantry
  In the afternoon of September 14th, the men of the 11th Virginia Infantry found themselves going into line of battle along a the rocky slopes of South Mountain just north of Turner's Gap facing an enemy they knew was in front of them but they could not see. When the Union assault finally came, they stubbornly held their ground until darkness ended the fighting.

The companies of the 11th Virginia were enlisted into service during the spring of 1861. They are as follows:

Company A: "Lynchburg Rifle Greys", Campbell County, April 22, 1861
Company B: "Southern Guards", Campbell County, April 23, 1861
Company C: "Clifton Greys", Campbell County, May 16, 1961
                     - transferred from 28th Virginia in June 1861
Company D: "Fincastle Rifles", Botetourt County, April 23, 1861
Company E: "Lynchburg Rifles", Campbell County, April 19, 1861
Company F: "Preston Guards", Montgomery County, May 29, 1861
Company G: "Lynchburg Home Guards, Campbell County, April 23, 1861
Company H: "Jeff Davis Guard", Campbell County, May 15, 1861
Company I: "Rough and Ready Rifles", Fauquier and Culpeper County, May 25, 1861
Company K: "Valley Regulators:, Botetourt and Rockbridge County, May 25, 1861

Samuel Garland, Jr. in militia uniform

The seperate companies would begin arriving in Richmond for muster into Confederate service beginning in late April and and early May when they were gathered and officially designated as the 11th Virginia Volunteer Infantry. They would elected Captain Samuel Garland,  Jr. of Company G as their first colonel.  Attached to the brigade of Brigadier General James Longstreet, the 11th Virginia spent the following months drilling in preparation for the coming Union invasion. Stationed near Bull Run near Manassas, Virginia, the 11th would get its first taste of battle in the middle of July.

On July 18, 1861, a Union reconnassaince in force approached Blackburn's Ford on the right flank of the Confederate defenses along Bull Run Creek. The fight was severe and the 11th helped turn back this Union thrust. In the first major battle of the war fought three days later, the 11th remained in its post on the Confederate right and only after the Union army was routed and chased from the field did the 11th go into action. The regiment along with the 1st, 17th, and 24th regiments with a section of artillery and a troup of cavalry supporting, advanced in pursuit of the routed army, reaching as far as Centreville before being ordered to fall back to the brigades original position. The regiment lost 19 men killed, wounded, and missing after being under constant artillery fire for the better part of the day. Following the battle, Colonel Garland was ordered to take his regiment and police the battlefield.

For the remainder of the year, the regiment found itself on picket and drilling in northern Virginia. In December, the regiment found itself fighting around Dranesville, Virginia. It was here that two foraging parties under Brigadier General J.E.B. Stuart (Confederate) and Brigadier General Edward O.C. Ord (Union) came upon each other. A brisk fight ensued that drove off Stuart's confederates. The 11th, with Garland commanding, held the line as the rest of the Confederates retreated. The day following this battle, Stuart returned to collect his wounded and left them at Frying Pan  Church, where the Confederates had retreated the previous day. After this skirmish, the 11th went into winter quarters.

In April 1862, the regiment was reorganized and sent to the Virginia Peninsula to help bolster Confederate defenses against the advance of General George B. McClellan's massive Army of the Potomac. Going into position in the defenses at Yorktown, the 11th came under a constant artillery fire. After stalling the Union advance for about two weeks, the Confederates abandoned their Yorktown lines and retreated back towards Virginia's colonial capital, Williamsburg. At Williamsburg, now a Major General , James Longstreet turned his division and attacked the pursuing Union force. The 11th was now in Brigadier General Ambrose P. Hill's brigade and they were in the thick of the fighting. Charging through a field and into a wood lot, the 11th suffered horrendous casualties. Colonel Garland was wounded during this assault but remained in command until the battle was over. For his gallantry and leadership in this fight, Colonel Garland was promoted to Brigadier General.

The 11th would lose is beloved commanded to promotion just as the regiment embarked on the most trying time to date since it went into service. The regiment would fight at the Battle of Seven Pines on May 31,1862 and but would be relegated to a reserve position on June 1st. A development that occured during this fight would change the course of the regiments history as well as the Confederacy's. General Joseph E. Johnston was wounded by a shell fragment during the fighting on May 31st and that night, Jefferson Davis gave command of the Confederate army to Robert E. Lee, who re-christened it, the Army of Northern Virginia.

For the entire month of June, the 11th was busy building and strengthening the fortifications around Richmond. It lead some of the men to believe that Lee was settling in for a siege. During this time, the army was also reorganized somewhat. The 11th was now assigned to the all-Virginia brigade of Brigadier General James Kemper in James Longstreet's division. During the coming Seven Days' Battles, the 11th would participate in the Battle of Glendale where it would suffer heavily. During the Battle of Malvern Hill, the 11th was held in reserve with the rest of Longstreet's division after the hard fighting they suffered through at Glendale.

Following the Seven Days, the 11th saw itself return to the Northern Virginia area where Union General  John Pope's new Army of Virginia had taken upon itself the invasion of this region and its systematic destruction. Lee first sent Stonewall Jackson to the area with his command to defend the approaches to Richmond and to harass Pope's army. The result was the Battle at Cedar Mountain on August 9, 1862 and on August 28, after capturing the depot at Manassas Junction, Jackson attacked the marching columns of Pope's army near the old Bull Run battlefield sparking the 2nd Battle of Manassas/Bull Run. The 11th was still apart of Kemper's brigade but Kemper was in command of a division at the moment and command fell to Colonel Mongomery D. Corse. The 11th arrived on the battlefield on August 29th and was apart of Longstreet's crushing flank attack against Pope that drove the Union men from the field in what amounted to a replay of the previous July's fighting over the same battlefield. The regiment suffered heavily, losing 9 men killed and 63 wounded.

After the Battle of Second Manassas/Bull Run, the 11th marched towards Leesburg, Virginia where the Confederate high command would debate a possible invasion of Maryland. The decision was made and on September 4, 1862, the first Confederate troops splashed into the Potomac River and entered Maryland. The 11th Virginia was now commanded by Major Adam Clement and was apart of Kemper's Brigade now attached to the division of Major General David R. Jones. The 11th crossed into Maryland on the 6th of September and bivouaced that night between Buckeystown, Maryland and the C & O Canal. It continued towards Frederick, Maryland the following day and went into camp for a brief rest. Remaining in Frederick until the 11th, the Virginians followed the main body of Lee's Army towards Hagerstown, Maryland where it would await the completion of Stonewall Jackson's expedition against Harper's Ferry. The regiment would arrive near Hagerstown on the 12th and go into camp along the Williamsport Road (present day Route 11/Virginia Ave. in Hagerstown).

On the 14th, the men of the 11th found themselves retracing their route of march from the previous days back towards Boonsborough and South Mountain. Hearing the rolling sound of musketry and the thunder of artillery coming from the mountain, the men surely knew that serious work was ahead. Arriving on the base of the mountain in the early afternoon, the Kemper's brigade was ordered to the summit. Kemper was ordered by D.H. Hill to place his regiments to the left of the National Pike to oppose the advancing Union division of John Hatch. Going into line of battle at about 4 P.M., the 11th found themselves under heavy fire from Union artillery.

The 11th deployed in a cornfield on the right center of Kemper's brigade. The regiment numbered perhaps 95 men. To its right was deployed the 17th Virginia (about 71 men) under Colonel Montgomery Corse and to its left was the 1st Virginia under Coming under attack from the forces of Hatch's division, the 11th held its ground along with the 17th Virginia on its right while the rest of Kemper's brigade melted away. Upon the recommendation of Colonel Montgomery Corse of the 17th Virginia, the 11th Virginia pulled back about 15 yards to a fenceline that they would occupy for the remainder of the fight. A fresh Union assault came just before darkness fell but the Virginian's held. After the bloody fighting on the Mountain Spur, the 11th was ordered to retreat along with the rest of the Confederates on the mountain towards Sharpsburg.

After reaching Sharpsburg, the 11th went into line on Cemetery Hill outside of Sharpsburg just above the Middle Bridge. It was under periodic artillery fire and skirmishing on the 16th. On the 17th, the 11th was shifted to a ravine in support of the defenders of what would become Burnsides' Bridge. Kemper's  brigade was shifted to a ravine, just south of the town to oppose the coming  Union advance. The 11th, along with the 1st and 17th Virginia, advanced to meet the Union assault after the bridge had been lost at around 3 P.M. The Virginian's were swept from the field and rallied in the Harper's Ferry Road south of Sharpsburg. From here they would hold and upon the arrival of A.P. Hill's Light Division, join in the counter-attack that would push the Union troops back to the Burnside Bridge.  The 11th would evacuate its position outside Sharpsburg during the night of September 18th and recross the Potomac.

Following the Maryland Campaign of 1862, the 11th would participate in the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862. Still within the brigade commanded by James Kemper, the 11th with ,the rest of the brigade, marched to the relief of the Confederates holding Marye's Heights. This movement occured towards the end of the fighting on the 13th and the brigade was returned to its original position early on the 14th. The regiment would miss the fighting at Chancellorsville the following May. They were marching with James Longstreet against Suffolk, Virginia. Their mission: to protect Richmond and to forage for much needed supplies. The ensuing Siege of Suffolk lasted nearly a month, but the objectives of the campaign had been met. Richmond was safe and supplies had been gathered. In early May, during the Battle of Chancellorsville, Longstreet ordered his divisions to retreat from Suffolk and march to rejoing Lee's beleagured Confederates. In doing so, he put his men on the road to Gettysburg, a battle that would be fought over three hot days in July.

View of Kemper's Advance towards The Angle
Gettysburg NMP
Under the command of Kirkwood Otey, the 11th Virginia would, along with the rest of George Pickett's Division, would not arrive on the battlefield at Gettysburg until the night of July 2nd and 3rd. The regiment had been in Chambersburg acting as the rear guard for Longstreet's Corps. On July 3rd, the regiment would be decimated during the assault that became known as Pickett's Charge. Forming up in the late morning, the regiment stepped off in the middle of the afternoon and within the hour, its men soaked the lush fields with their precious blood. The regiment would suffer through the grueling retreat towards the Potomac and the safety of Virginia.

In 1864, the regiment would find itself in North Carolina fighting at Plymouth in an attempt to capture the town that was successful. After this successful venture, the regiment was returned to Northern Virginia where it participated in the Battle of Cold Harbor in June and the Siege of Petersburg from June 1864 to April 1865. When the Union breakthrough came, the regiment retreated with the once proud Army of Northern Virginia to Appomattox Courthouse where Union forces cut off the Confederate line of retreat. Here the regiment surrender with 1 officer and 28 men.

Monday, May 2, 2011

"Then came a crash of musketry..."

The article presented here was written by Uberto Burnham, a soldier in the 76th New York Volunteers. Burnham enlisted in October 1861 and was mustered in as the First Sergeant of Company D. His first taste of battle would be during General John Pope's campaign in northern Virginia during August of 1862 that culminated with the Union defeat at Second Manassas. Here he writes to The National Tribune, a newspaper used primarily by Union veterans to tell their stories, describing the march towards South Mountain, the battle itself, and the aftermath. He also speaks of visiting the battlefield nearly 60 years later after attending the dedication of the New York Monument at Antietam.

South Mountain - Maryland Campaign

by Uberto A. Burnham, 76th NY, 9 Elmwood Ave, Cortland N.Y.

On Sept. 6, 1862, the 76th NY received orders to march. The regiment at that time, also the other regiments of Gen. Doubleday’s Division, were about 10 miles south of the Potomac River. We commenced marching about 7p.m. and about 2a.m. reached the river and crossed at Long Bridge. We then marched through the city of Washington and along Pennsylvania Avenue. When morning came we thought we would halt and rest, but we did not. The day was very hot and the dust four inches deep. The word was always "Forward! Forward!" During the whole day we did not stop long enough to take a real meal or make a cup of coffee.
The reason for this hurried march was that Lee with his victorious troops had crossed the fords of the upper Potomac and was in Maryland in alarming attitude toward the city of Washington. It seemed necessary to put as many troops as possible between Lee and Washington in as short a time as possible. We did not halt until 7p.m., having marched 24 hours. When the marching columns halted, not half the men were in line. Many had fallen, exhausted, but by morning most of them were again with their comrades at the front. The next day we resumed our march, but moved more deliberately.

On the afternoon of Sept. 13 we reached Frederick in western Maryland. The company to which I belonged found a fine camping place in the city in a dooryard near a good residence. As the Captain and First Lieutenant had been wounded at Gainsville and Bull Run and the Second Lieutenant was sick in the hospital, I, as First Sergeant, had command of the company.

While making my details two of my men came to me and said "Orderly, when Jackson passed through the city two or three days ago, an old woman on Patrick Street waved the US Flag from her door or window as they passed." They told me some other details. Now I am sure it was the Barbara Frietchie incident which in their hurried stroll about the city they had heard about.

The march of the previous days had been of much interest. We had left devastated and depopulated northern Virginia and were now in Maryland, loyal and beautiful. Moving through a prosperous farming section with fenced fields and orchards, we received friendly greetings from all sources. The women and girls gave us water and encouraging words. The Stars and Stripes were seen on every hand. We noted, however, that some houses were closed. No friendly face appeared at door or window. We naturally inferred that the sympathies of the occupants were on the other side.

On the morning of the 14th we resumed our march. We passed over a range of hills and into the beautiful Middletown Valley. Late in the afternoon we reached the foot of South Mountain. We halted for a short time at a hamlet called Bolivar. While there I was startled by a loud "Hurrah!", and the sight of caps thrown in the air. Looking near me, I saw General McClellan riding slowly by with his staff.

The Confederate forces were on top of the mountain and it was our task to drive them off. We turned to the right and marched along the foot of the mountain until the line had cleared the road, then faced to the left and went up the mountain in line. The mountain was quite steep. When we were about half-way up we halted a few minutes to rest. The sun had gone down behind the mountain. We were marching in the shadow. The sun lighted up the valley behind us. It was a beautiful sight, with farm houses, grain fields, orchards, groups of staff officers, and columns of troops in motion, but I cannot say I enjoyed the scene. I felt the importance of the big task before us.

As we started again forward I noticed that a line of skirmishers had been thrown out in front of us. They consisted of the 84th NY, known among us as the 14th Brooklyn. They had a bright uniform of red and blue. The line of skirmishers was in our front and extended to our right as far as I could see. The men presented a most picturesque sight, were stepping rapidly forward and receiving their orders by bugle.

A little further up the mountain was a comparatively level place planted with corn, which had been fenced in. I saw the skirmishers go in the field, and thought they would perhaps find some of the enemy there, but they did not. I saw their bright uniforms going over the fence on the further side.

During all these minutes cannon shots were going over our heads both from the top of the mountain and the valley behind us. I thought the Confederates were firing at the batteries below, but I learned from an account written after the war by a Confederate officer that they fled to break the advancing line of infantry, but could not depress their pieces low enough to hit us.

The same officer told of the advancing lines. He said the alinement(sic) was perfect, the field and line officers were on horses. It gave him the most impressive view he had seen during the war.

Three women came down the side of the mountain on horseback by a diagonal path and passed in front of the regiment. Our Color Bearer, Charles E. Stamp, addressed them and inquired about the Confederate forces on top of the mountain. Less than half an hour later Sergt. Stamp was dead from a bullet wound in his forehead.

To make the situation plain to the reader, a few words of explanation may be necessary. The mountain on the east side was cleared to the summit, and at the summit was a piece of wood yard about 200 yards wide. Then there was an open field of perhaps 300 yards, then another piece of woods, in the edge of which was a wide path which led to the gap below. Turner’s Gap was between two mountains, each about 1,000 feet high. The gap rose to a height of 600 feet. It was the task of General Hooker, with his corps, to take possession of the north mountain. Gen. Burnside's Ninth Corps was to take the mountain on the south side of the gap.

When we arrived at the summit, we were ordered to unsling knapsacks. Then came a crash of musketry on our right and the staff officer came down, ordering us to hurry, "The right was hard pressed." Then came the orders, "Fix bayonets!" Then "Forward, double-quick, march!"

I remember thinking, "will our men be equal to this?" But they immediately gave a great shout and rushed forward. The way was somewhat tangled, but the men pushed forward into the woods which were more open.

The Confederate brigade in our front fell back through the woods into the open field, where it rallied. Our line was brought up to the edge of the woods against an old rail fence, and halted.
The broken fence was about knee high, but seemed to give some protection. Both lines then commenced fighting and for the next half hour or more was all the noise and confusion of a closely-contested battle. It soon was quite dark, and we could see the opposing line only as a long shadow, illuminated by the flash of rifles.

The lines seemed to be less than 100 feet from us. Looking to the front and right I thought I saw a Confederate officer on horseback directing the Confederate troops. I said to the boy who stood just in front of me, "Charley Roundy, stand aside." He gave me place, and I took as good aim as possible and fired. But I saw nothing fall.

Just at this time the quick eye of Capt. Goddard saw a long line of our enemy creeping cautiously toward our left flank . He reported the fact to the Colonel, who ordered the men to turn their rifles toward the left and fire at the advancing line. We did so. The Confederates rose to their feet and gave us a return volley.

Fortunately for us they fired too high, most of the bullets went over us. Yet some of our men fell, among them Color Bearer Stamp. Col. Wainright was shot through the wrist and his horse was killed. Immediate action was taken to strengthen our line on the left. The contingency had been anticipated and a full regiment was ordered to take place of the 76th NY.
We received an order to countermarch by "file left" and the new regiment coming forward "left in front" filed into our places, making a new line much longer, towards the gap. But the battle was virtually over. The new regiment stood in its place all night, but had little fighting to do.

The Confederate line to the north of us had been turned and the forces in our front made haste to reach the main road and retreat down the west side of the mountain.
Battlefield Horrors

My regiment was taken to the rear of the battle line where it stayed until morning. In the morning I obtained permission to look over the battlefield in our front. I first looked through the woods where we charged. The first body I saw was a Confederate Colonel. He was lying on his back and his hat and sword had been taken. He wore some old-style boots which reached half way up to the knee. The front of the tops were russet leather and on these tops was written in plain letters "Col. K. B. Strange, 19th Va." Prisoners said he commanded the brigade opposed to us and tried hard to make his men stand in the woods.

Passing through the woods into the open field I could plainly see where the Confederate line of battle stood by the number of fallen. Supposing that the wounded, who had been removed, succeeded the dead in usual proportion their first line must have almost entirely fallen.

I looked for the officer at whom I had shot, but I saw only a large stump with a large sliver reaching far above it. This object I had probably taken for a Confederate officer on horseback.

A little later the regiment was ordered to fall In and march. We crossed the battlefield and entered a path in the second piece of woods where we turned down to the road which leads through the gap. The small houses along the road on the west side were all filled with Confederate wounded.

Standing beside the road was a hotel called the Mountain House. Near it was a well and the water was lifted to the surface by an old-fashioned sweep. The well was, of course, surrounded by thirsty soldiers.

We marched down the mountain and through the village of Boonesboro. There we turned to the left and marched toward Sharpsburg.

Three days later came the great battle of Antietam, but the story of this battle belongs to another chapter. Perhaps I may take space to relate a few incidents of the Battle of South Mountain.

In the morning as we were moving across the field a tall boy about 17 jumped up from beyond a log or stump and exclaimed "Don't shoot." He came forward and gave himself up as a prisoner. "I told them," he said, "that I was afraid and could not fight. But they pushed me up here and I was near being killed, so I dropped down behind this stump and stayed all night."
In the morning before we moved Van Valkenburg, a private, on duty at headquarters, started out to explore the neighborhood. He was probably seeking for something for the headquarter's mess. Going to a nearby farmhouse he saw seven Confederate soldiers seated near the house and their rifles stacked a few yards from them. Drawing his pistol he ordered them to fall in. One of the Confederates started to reach for his rifle but Van Valkenburg with his pistol pointed at him, gave him warning and he fell in with the rest.

They were directed to march towards headquarters, but on the way they came across two other Confederates, who were ordered into line with the seven. Van Valkenburg riding behind the prisoners took them all into our lines. For this deed he was offered a commission. This he declined, saying he had no education and he could fill best the position he now has.

Looking Back on the Battle

Fifty-eight years after I again stood on that battlefield, but how different the scene.

The day was bright and beautiful as on the day of battle. There was the same beauty of meadow and wood land, the same sublime beauty of mountain. Now all was peaceful, there were no columns or marching infantry, no lines of near, no houses filled with wounded. I had been attending the dedication of the New York monument on the Antietam battlefield.

After the dedication I spent two days looking over the Antietam field, hunting up familiar features of the field, which I remembered. At the end of the second day while at supper at the hotel I began a conversation with a guest who sat near me. I became aware that he knew more about the Maryland campaign than I did. He seemed to know the records of the different regiments which participated, my own among the number. I learned that his name was Fried Cross, head of the Bureau Of Military Statistics in the State Department of Massachusetts. He told me that he had that day been over the South Mountain Battlefield. I expressed a desire to visit that field. He said he would go with me the next day.

The next morning we took the bus on Boonesboro pike and at that village connected with the Hagerstown bus which went through Turner's Gap, now a paved road. Quite early in the forenoon we found ourselves on the battlefield. I could hardly realize the situation. It seemed to me almost a vision. I took great interest in looking over the field. I looked for the stump which I shot 58 years before, but it was not there.

We could look across the gap to the mountain south and see where Gen. Reno of the Ninth Corps was killed. Tables by the roadside gave information as to the movements of the different commands. We found the South Mountain House, but the old sweep was gone. My companion, with his ready tact for obtaining information, had learned the history of the house.

After the war it became the property of a widow Dalgreen, who rebuilt the house and made it her home, and later built a chapel across the road where she is buried. Mrs. Dalgreen had written a book about South Mountain. I forgot now the title but it emphasized the superstition and folklore of the plane people of the Mountains. We had a bountiful dinner at the New Mountain House, and stopped at Boonesboro in the afternoon, becoming acquainted with a very interesting family, who treated us with true Southern hospitality and told us many interesting facts about the mountain arid the country surrounding it.

One citizen told me that against the French and Indians at Fort Duquesne, Gen. Braddock in his ill-fated expedition passed through Turner's Gap. He said there were formerly two Indian trails to the west from that point, one north of the village and one south.

The small houses on the west side of the mountain were still there, but most of them had been whitewashed or stuccoed.