South Mountain by Rick Reeve

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

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bathed in Blood: Afternoon fight at Fox's Gap

View of the afternoon battlefield at Fox's Gap. Wise's North Field is in the
foreground, the Old Sharpsburg runs just behind the tree in center, Wise's
South Field is beyond the road. The Wise Cabin in the right of this picture.

After an all morning fight that saw one general killed and hundreds of young men killed and wounded, the fight at Fox's Gap died down as Confederate reinforcements under Colonel Charles Tew, in command of the 2nd and 4th North Carolina regiments, stabilized the Confederate battle lines with a spirited counterattack that halted the advance of the Kanawha Division under Major General Jacob Cox. With this lull, both sides rushed in reinforcements and planned their next move.

With the inconclusive fighting of the morning done, Confederate General D.H. Hill called a war council to discuss the Confederate plan of attack in the afternoon. With reinforcements from James Longstreet's Command arriving at the mountain in the early afternoon, Hill devised a plan to flank and possibly crush the Union 9th Corps that was assailing his right flank on the mountain. With four brigades and remnants of Samuel Garland's (primarily the 13th North Carolina), Hill's planned called for a massive left wheel up the western face of the mountain catching the Ohioans of Cox's division in the flank and forcing the Union men off the mountain and securing Fox's Gap for the Confederacy. The four brigades to be involved in this attack would be Brigadier General Roswell Ripley's (1st NC, 3rd NC, 4th GA, 44th GA), Brigadier General George B. Anderson's (2nd NC, 4th NC, 14th NC, 30th NC), Colonel George T. Anderson's ( 1st GA Regulars, 7th GA, 8th GA, 9th GA, 11th GA) and Brigadier General Thomas Drayton's (3rd SC Infantry Battalion, 15th SC, Philip's GA Legion, 50th GA, 51st GA). The movement begins just after Noon when Roswell Ripley's Brigade files onto the Wood Road for its march to Fox's Gap.

On the Union side of things, the positive news was that the Kanawha Division had turned the flank and routed Samuel Garland's Brigade, killing Garland in the process and sowing confusion in the Confederate ranks early in the fighting. Only the timely arrival of Tew with his North Carolinian's stemmed a Confederate rout at the gap. The Ohioans are holding the stonewalls and fields just behind the border of Daniel Wise's South Field in support of a section of the First Kentucky Artillery (the only Kentucky unit with the Army of the Potomac). Early in the afternoon, the rest of the 9th Corps begins to arrive on the battlefield. The division of Major General Orlando Willcox deploys to the east of the Kanawha Division's battle line facing west. Samuel Sturgis' division deployed to the right and behind Willcox to support his movement towards the gap. The division of Issac Rodman deployed near Turner's Gap and would see very little fighting on this day. Major General Jesse Reno ordered that an attack be launched at 4 PM to capture the gap and push on towards Turner's Gap possibly cutting off any chance of a Confederate retreat off the mountain. To support the assault, the Massachusetts's battery of Asa Cook is deployed behind Willcox's division and the already mentioned section of Kentucky artillery would also play a supporting role.

Ripley's Brigade arrives at Fox's Gap about the same time that Willcox's Division deploys to the east of the Confederate position. Ripley is in overall command of the attack and he orders a march by the right flank down the Old Sharpsburg Road then into the woods on the western side of the mountain. Ripley's Brigade would be the Confederate right flank, next in line is George B. Anderson's brigade, then George T. Anderson's brigade, then the brigade of Thomas Drayton. Drayton's brigade deploys at Fox's Gap itself with the 50th and 51st Georgia regiments deploying along the eastern edge of Wise's North Field covering the position of James Bondurant's Alabama battery in the Northwestern corner of the field. To the right of the 51st is the infantry battalion of Phillip's (GA) Legion whose line ,upon reaching the Old Sharpsburg Road, turned abruptly to the west following the road bed. The Phillips' Legion would be the pivot on which the entire Confederate attack would hinge. The 3rd South Carolina Infantry Battalion and the 15th South Carolina would round out the deployment of Drayton's Brigade in the road.

As Confederate forces went into position, Ripley believed there was not enough room for Drayton to deploy his brigade and ordered a move by the right flank to create room. In actuality, Drayton had plenty of room and this movement only opened up a 300 yard gap between Drayton's right flank and George T. Anderson's left. This movement would prove disastrous for the Confederate assault. Ripley would end up marching his brigade clear off the mountain, George B. Anderson would follow Ripley but he would realize his brigade was out of position and make an attempt to move back to the gap only to do some skirmishing. George T. Anderson would make an attempt to link back up with Drayton's brigade but it would prove to be to late. Drayton's brigade had become heavily engaged and Union troops had swarmed across the Old Sharpsburg Road blocking Anderson's way.

At about 3 PM, Drayton, in an attempt to ascertain what was in front of his brigade order a small contingent from Company F, 3rd South Carolina Battalion to reconnoiter into Wise's South Field to locate Union positions. The group only advanced as far as the southern boundary before reporting back that the only threat was from Cox's Ohioans holding in position behind several stonewalls. Unknown to these men and Drayton, if they would have moved to the east a little bit, they would have seen the advance elements of Willcox's Division as they prepared for their assault. But with the knowledge of the threat in front of him, Drayton shifted his brigade. He redeployed the 15th South Carolina, 3rd South Carolina Battalion, and the Phillips' Legion all into the Old Sharpsburg Road with the 51st and 50th Georgia regiments pulling out of their original positions and deploying as support for these three front line units. Drayton was planning an assault against the Union troops to his front. The three units in the road would advance out of the road across Wise's South Field and the Georgians of the 51st and 50th regiments would move into the road in preparation to follow up the gains of the initial attack.

When Drayton's attack began, there was very little in the way of musketry. The Ohioans waited for Drayton's men to get into pointblank range before unleashing a devastating volley. Within minutes of this initial firing, musketry from the East startled and caused the men of Philips' Legion to recoil from is effect. Willcox's Division had made its presence known. Immediately, the men of the Legion attempted to face this new threat. The two Georgia Regiments still in the road cover the withdrawal of the 3rd South Carolina Battalion and 15th South Carolina as they pull back to the Daniel Wise Farm. The 15th South Carolina takes up position behind a stonewall in Wise's rose garden and the 3rd South Carolina Battalion redeploys in the Ridge Road between two stonewalls that would in the end prove to be a trap. The Phillips' Legion is holding its own but casualties and the threat of being surrounded in Wise's South Field cause the regiment to rout and retreat back towards Turner's Gap.

The 50th and 51st Georgia are still firing to the South and Southeast not knowing that to the immediate left and rear, the 17th Michigan, in service for less than a month, was preparing to attack Bondurant's exposed artillery. In full dress uniform, the Michigan men charged across the North Field driving off Bondurant's battery and several skirmishers that were left to cover the battery. Immediately, the regiment, seeing the backs of Confederate infantry in the road, advance and from within 30 yards put down a devastating fire into the backs of the Georgians. Some of the Confederates attempt to answer this new threat but are immediately mowed down by musketry. With men falling left and right, the Georgians abandoned their position and retreat to the North and west, their only avenue of retreat still open. Covering the rout of the Georgians, the 15th and 3rd South Carolina men were suffering heavily, especially the men of the 3rd. The 15th South Carolina managed to get off the field in an organized manner seeing that it was on the Confederate right and was easily able to withdraw, which it did under increased pressure from the Ohioans of Cox's Division. All that remained of Drayton's brigade, the 3rd South Carolina Infantry Battalion, put up a gallant stand against Thomas Welsh's brigade as it advanced across the South Field, Cox's Division bore down from the South, and the 17th Michigan poured fired in from the North. Fighting on three sides, the small battalion remained in position with its commander, Lieutenant Colonel George S. James, refusing to order the retreat. This stand may have bought time for Confederate troops to retreat and for more to possibly come up but it was costly and futile. Lt. Colonel James would be mortally wounded, Major Rice (the second in command) would be severely wounded, and of the 150 men brought into the fight, only about 30 would escape unharmed. Drayton's Brigade for all intent and purposes no longer existed as a cohesive fighting unit.

With Drayton's Brigade routed, the path was open for the Sturgis' fresh division to leapfrog over Willcox and push on towards Turner's Gap. Only the timely arrival and counterattack by John Bell Hood's Division halted the Union advance and ended the fighting. It was during this final burst of musketry that Major General Jesse Reno was mortally wounded while investigating the scene of the afternoon's fighting. Firing had completely ceased by 10 P.M. and by midnight Confederate troops began to pull off the mountain.

When September 15th dawned, the scene was ghastly. Confederate dead and wounded littered the area around Fox's Gap and the Daniel Wise cabin. Burial crews went to work burying the dead, any wounded that survived the night were carried to field hospitals, and the men of the 9th Corps and other Union Corps were put on the line of march in pursuit of the Confederates. It was reported in the Old Sharpsburg Road where the men of the 50th and 51st Georgia was piled thick with the dead. One soldier even counted nearly 20 dead Confederates piled up in on corner of the intersection of the Ridge and Woods Roads coining the spot "dead man's corner". Another wrote in his diary describing the scene when Union artillery and supply wagon's moved in the road, the Confederate dead were not moved but instead trampled and run over by the hooves of the horses, wagon wheels, and even the feet of passing regiments. But possibly the most gruesome practice to come out of the aftermath was the burial of nearly 60 Confederates in the well of Daniel Wise after they had become drunk from the excessive liquor given to the burial details to deal with the stench of the dead. Wise protested and would end up being compensated one dollar for each body buried in his well. They would remain their for the next 15 years before they would be removed to the Confederate Cemetery in Hagerstown, Maryland.

All in all, the fighting in the afternoon was far more bloody and desperate than the morning action. Drayton's Brigade would lose upwards of nearly 50% of its effectives, about 600 men out of a reported 1,200 engaged. Of his 5 regiments, the 50th Georgia suffered the most with nearly 80% of its men becoming casualties and Company F of this regiment, being the far left flank of the entire brigade, was nearly wiped out with less than 10 men ,out of 40 entering the fight, answering the roll call the next morning. Union casualties from this fight totaled roughly half of those suffered by the Confederates.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Regimental profile: 1st Pennsylvania Reserves

The men of the 1st Pennsylvania Reserves, one company seen above, played a vital role in helping capture the Frostown Gap and turning the Confederate flank forcing them to abandon the defensive positions to the North of Turner's Gap.

What would become the 1st Pennsylvania Reserves/30th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was organized at Camp Wayne, outside of West Chester, Pennsylvania on June 9th, 1861. The men of the regiment elected R. Biddle Roberts, a lawyer from Pittsburgh, as colonel. Once organized, the regiment was paraded through the town of West Chester under the watchful eye of Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin. The 1st Reserves remained in West Chester as the first, and hopefully the last, campaign to capture Richmond kicked off in mid-July. On July 20th, Roberts was ordered to have his regiment ready to move at a moments notice depending on the outcome of a pending battle along the banks of Bull Run near Manassas, Virginia. The next day, the order came to move with all speed to Harrisburg, after news was recieved by the War Department that the Irwin McDowell's army had been severely beaten by the rebels. Arriving in Harrisburg, the regiment immediately marched to Baltimore, Maryland arriving there late in the day on July 22nd.

An interesting incident occured when the regiment neared Baltimore. Warnings were issued from the local populace that certain unrest at the sight of Federal soldiers marching through the city would occur. Colonel Roberts was met by and even asked by the police force to not march through the city to avoid any violence that may occur. Roberts, prior to this unrest, had ordered some ammunition passed out to the men because of the violence that had occured the in April when Massachusett's infantry marched through the city and shooting erupted when civilians began throwing bricks and stones at the soldiers. The riot left four Massachusett's men dead and several civilians, Roberts was prepared for the worst. As the regiment began marching through the streets, the regiment was heckled by civilian's on the sidewalks and from windows above but no violence occured and the regiment arrived safely at Camp Carroll that evening. At Camp Carroll, the regiment was mustered into United States Service and immediately ordered to Annapolis, Maryland.

At Annapolis, the regiment set up base at the Naval Acadamy and several companies were posted along the approaches to the city to help stem the tide of southern aid from Baltimore. The regiment remained here until the end of August. After it's successful mission to stop the flow of medical supplies and spy communications from the area, the regiment was reassigned and ordered to join the Pennsylvania Reserve Division, in camp near Tenallytown, Maryland. It was placed in the brigade of John F. Reynolds. In October, the regiment marched with the division into Virginia for the first time and in December it made a reconnassaince towards Confederate positions at Dranesville, where it engaged in some skirmishing. Later in Decemeber, the regiment again marched towards Dranesville. Upon hearing the sounds of battle, Colonel Roberts rushed his brigade forward arriving on the battlefield as the battle concluded. The regiment returned to camp. In early January, Colonel Roberts was ordered to Washington and command of the regiment fell to Lieutenant Colonel Henry McIntire.

The regiment would remain in camp until early March when it was orderd to Alexandria, Virginia. It was here that Colonel Roberts returned after his duties in Washington were completed. After the colonels arrival, the regiment moved by rail to Manassas Junction and on towards the old battlefield where it encamped in the abandoned huts that Confederates had built. The next day, the regiment continued its march southward arriving at Fredericksburg with the First Corps under the command of Irwin McDowell. McDowell was to move to the support of McClellan's Army of the Potomac once it reached the outskirts of Richmond, forcing the Confederates to divide their already outnumbered army to deal with two threats. Unfortunately for Union military plans, Stonewall Jackson's Valley campaign pulled valuable troops away from the effort to capture Richmond. McDowell moved the Pennsylvania Reserves to the banks of the Rappahannock River to cover the city after two of his divisions were ordered to the Valley to deal with Jackson. Reynold's brigade, along with the First Reserves, was ordered across the river near the end of May. It would set up an advance position outside the city and act as a provost guard. The move did not last long with Reynold's being pulled back across the river just days after he had occupied Fredericksburg. The men of the regiment, having been in service for nearly a year, most certainly had to be itching for a fight. Unknown to them, that fight was just weeks away, at a place called Mechanicsville.

After spending the months of April and May 1862 holding the line along the Rappahannock, the 1st Pennsylyania Reserves, along with the rest of the Reserve Division, was ordered to board transport boats in a movement to the Virginia Peninsula to reinforce George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac arriving on the Peninsula on June 11th. After performing guard duty near the main Union supply base, the regiment was ordered to march for Mechanicsville on June 18th. The regiment would be assigned to Fitz-John Porter's 5th Corps holding Union army's right flank. Unknown to the Pennsylvanian's, Confederate General Robert E. Lee had plans for this portion of McClellan's army. On June 26th, two Confederate divisions fiercely attacked Porter's line. The slaughter that ensued stuck with the minds of the men and Company K historian, Henry Minnigh, wrote, " I need not write up of this battle in full detail, for those who were there, remember well the onward rush of the enemy, and how two whole divisions of Gen'l Lee. . . at 3 p.m. threw themselves upon our line only to be hurled back amid great slaughter, how amid the shriek of shell and flashing musketry they still advanced, how our 58 caliber elongated balls now for the first time were sent on missions of death . . . how Craig Wisotskey fell, and in a few moments expired, one limb being literally torn from his body, when Hamilton and Siplinger were wounded and assisted from the field, how . . . the shades of night fell, putting and end to the fight."

The regiments fight at Mechanisville was brutal to say the least but it was just the beginning. They would fight again the next day at Gaines' Mill. The regiment moved to support the 5th New York, Duryea's Zouaves, taking up position just behind the battered New Yorker's. They would repulse each Confederate assault against their lines, only the lack of ammunition caused them to retreat. The would again be engaged at Glendale and Malvern Hill. The fighting of the past week and had been the first for this regiment and they proved the could stand their ground. For the remainder of July and most of August, the regiment remained on the peninsula before being transported back to Northern Virginia arriving August 20th at Aquia Creek. It marched to Warrenton where it was again attached to the Corps of Irwin McDowell, now part of John Pope's Army of Virginia. The First Reserves engaged at the Second Battle of Bull Run, but suffered rather light casualties compared to other regiments. Following the 2nd Union defeat on the battleground at Bull Run, the Union troops retreated back towards Washington hoping to reorganize.

While at Washington, the army was reorganized with the First Corps recieving a new commander, Major General Joseph Hooker, and it was again attached to McClellan's Army of the Potomac. When word was recieved that Confederate forces had entered Maryland, all haste was made to get on the move and push them back across the Potomac. The First Pennsylvania Reserves marched to Frederick, Maryland via Leesboro and New Market. The regiment arrived in Frederick on September 13th, just days after the Confederates had evacuated. The regiment made camp along the Monocacy River that night.

At 5 AM on the 14th, the First reserves were set in motion towards South Mountain. The men of the regiment knew that the Confederates were out there somewhere, they just did not realize that just miles in front of them, D.H. Hill's division awaited them. Arriving in the Middletown, Maryland roughly around noon, The First Reserves were given a brief rest. They were then ordered to the town of Bolivar then to turn North onto Mount Tabor Road to outflank the Confederate defenders at Turner's Gap from that direction. At about 3 o'clock, the regiment is deployed on the right flank of the Reserve Division with the 13th Reserves (1st Rifles) to the front as skirmishers and the 2nd Reserves to their right. The advance began at about 4 o'clock and by 5, the small skirmish became a general engagement. The fighting was chaotic with smokefilled woods, stonewalls, and the boulderstrewn terrain playing havoc with regimental cohesion. When the battle commenced, Colonel Roberts had only two companies of the regiment on the front with the remaining companies in reserve. When brigade commander Truman Seymour ordered and advance, Roberts called up the rest of his regiment and the advance became a Union titalwave. The Confederates were posted strongly behind a stonewall when Roberts began his climactic advance. Through sheer determination and courage, with men suffering heavily, the regiment pushed forward gaining the crest of the mountain ahead of the rest of the division and sending the Confederate defenders fleeing to the West.

An interesting event occured prior to the regiments fight within that ranks of Company K. Lieutenant John D. Sadler predicted, from a dream he had the previous night, that he would be killed. From the diary of Private William Jobe:

"Another incident of this campaign is the relation by Lieutenant John D. Sadler of a premonition to the writer of his death in the approaching fight. He declared that it had ben revealed to him in his sleep the night before that he would not survive the fight. I told him laughing that was only a revelation of a streak of superstition in a highly educated Gentleman and proved nothing. He replied you may call it what you like. But the fact remains, he was killed about five PM at South Mountain by the last volley fired by the Rebels."

The diarist continues describing the fight:

"Gen'l Seymour coming up just then ordered the Regt. to halt saying it had dont enough. Colonel Roberts was unable to get his horse to clear the fences so was not with us in the last charge. Lieut. Sadler had received a permit to call on a relative living in Middletown, Md, but rejoined the Company by the time we had formed line of battle at the foot of the mountain. A fine setter dog had followed him and the same rebel volley that killed Sadler, killed the setter and also the Regiments mascot, a spotted b---h that had followed the Regiment through everything previous to South Mountain. The Rebels occupied a position at the top of the Mountain and parallel with it after reaching the top and turning the Rebel flank the Regt. being on the right was temporatil thrown out of the fight. The Regts. on our left taking up the fight but a short time had elapsed when Genl. Seymour in command of 1st Brigade came riding back and asked Col. Roberts if his Regt. would charge the position held by the Rebels on our left. The Col. made no immediate reply but whipped out his sword and ordered the Regt. into line, wheeled it on center point facing the position indicated, alligned it then turned and saluting replied, ' Yes Genl, the will do it' and the Regt was orderd to march quicktime. When we reached the top of the elevation in our front a view was had of the whole field. The Rebels were posted in a ravine ahead in open fields. We were ordered to charge over fences, stone heaps, and other obstructions. The Rebs fled to their right up a 45% grade and reformed at the top while our advance was over open ground. We advanced perhaps half the distance between the lines when the first volley struck us full in the face. Many of our men went down to rise no more. In ten minutes we were on them. They stood for a short time when they again broke and retreated but they paid dearly for their last stand."

The First Reserves help plow the way for Union victory to the north of Turner's Gap. Only darkness and the terrain kept the First Reserves and the rest of the division from sweeping down and capturing Turner's Gap and initiating a disaster that the Confederacy could never possibly recover from. That night, the First Reserves slept on the arms believing that the conflict would be continued in the morning.

On the morning of the 15th, the Reserves policed the battlefield over which they fought. Private Jobe counted four officers killed, three wounded, and 21 enlisted men killed and wounded. The regiment marched off the mountain later in the morning and arrived outside Keedysville, Maryland later in the day where the regiment bivouaced and recieved much needed supplies. On the 16th, the regiment crossed the Antietam Creek and formed line of battle near the East Woods and skirmished with a large body of Confederate soldiers. The skirmish lasted til darkness and forshadowed the bloodshed that would ensue on the following day. On the 17th, these men would face the bloodbath that was the Cornfield at Antietam.

Following the Battle of Antietam, the regiment remained in the area until the 22nd when it was order to Harper's Ferry then Berlin, Maryland, recrossing the Potomac at the spot and encamping near Hamilton, Virginia. It was here that the regiment lost it's beloved colonel. Governor Curtin requested to McClellan that Colonel Roberts resignation be granted so that the colonel could return to the state capital and serve on the governor's staff. McClellan granted the request and command of the regiment was given to William Talley, who was promoted to colonel after serving as captain of Company F. The regiment continued marching southward when at Warrenton, it recieved word that McClellan had been relieved of command and Ambrose Burnside was given command of the army. It was under Burnside, that the regiment would suffer heavily at the Battle of Fredericksburg where it would be part of the force that punched a gaping hole in Stonewall Jackson's defenses on the Confederate right before it was forced to withdraw do to lack of support and overwhelming pressure from a Confederate counter-attack. The regiment would remain on the field for the next two days before being withdrawn back across the Rappahannock. The regiment would participate in Burnside's infamous "Mud March" before being deployed along the Orange and Alexandria near Fairfax, Virginia to protect the railroad and supplies from Confederate raiding parties. As a result of this deployment, the regiment missed the Battle of Chancellorsville.

When Lee again pushed his Confederate troops northward across the Potomac, the First Regiment, broke camp, joining the rest of the Army of the Potomac as it pursued Lee through Maryland and into Pennsylvania. The First Reserves marched as part of the 5th Corps under the command of General Meade, who had lead the division at South Mountain and Antietam. As the army moved northward from Frederick, General Joseph Hooker was relieved of command of the army and the command was given to Meade. Meade was an unknown to the rest of the army but to the Reserve Corps, he was well known and was seen as a fighter. The Pennsylvania Reserves marched into Pennsylvania aware that for the first time they would be fighting on their native soil and the coming fight could decide the future of the nation.

At the Battle of Gettysburg, Company K of the First Reserves were literally fighting for their homes and land. The regiment arrived at Gettysburg on July 2nd and Henry Minnigh of the company recalled, "As we neared Gettysburg, in a number of instances we passed the homes of relatives and friends, but with the meerest greeting, the boys kept their places in the ranks. Reaching the summit of the hill east of the town, members of the company, with few exceptions, could see their homes, in the village before them, in the immediate vicinity or in the distance, and all of them within the lines of the enemy." This circumstance added an extra fury to the fight that was to come for the men of this company.

When the regiment arrived at Gettysburg, they bivouaced along the Baltimore Pike before being shifted to the endangered Union left when Confederate forces overwhelmed Daniel Sickles 3rd Corps. When the Reserve Division deployed, the First Reserves were deployed on the frontline of Colonel William McClandless' Brigade as it pushed from a position near Little Round Top and through the Wheat Field, pushing back the advance of Confederate regiments in that sector of the field. It would hold its line at a stonewall, remaining in position for the remainder of the day. The Reserves, according to one memoir written by John Urban, had saved Little Round Top with its desperate charge and was credited with killing Brigadier General William Barksdale as he attempted to rally his battered and disorganized brigade of Mississippians. On July 3rd, the regiment remained in position behind a stonewall bordering the wheat field and when the Confederate assualt against the Union center was repulsed, it was ordered to advance to clear the fields and woods to their front of any Confederate forces. The mission was undertaken and rather successful as reported by Colonel McClandless, "Having cleared the woods to the front and finding a line of the enemy in the woods to my left, I faced my command . . . and charged the enemy directly on the left flank, routing him, capturing nearly 200 prisoners [and] also a stand of colors." After the battle, the First Regiment encamped near its original position and several of the men from Company K, as stated earlier the company was recruited in Gettysburg, visited their homes with or without leave, according to Minnigh. The regiment joined in the pursuit of the Confederates as they retreated back towards Virginia, but another pitched battle was not to be. For the remainder of the year, the regiment skirmished with Confederate forces as the Union army returned to Virginia and winter set in.

When Spring 1864 came along, the regiment was about to embark on a venture that would see some of the most desperate and bloody fighting of the entire war. At the Wilderness, the regiment would be in the center of the Union line, which possibly saved it from some of the bloodiest fighting to occur there. The regiment a numerous occasions made reconnassainces in force to there front but nothing of great consequence occured other than some rather heavy skirmishing. When the fighting ceased in the wood thickets, each army licked its wounds and General Ullysses Grant, accompanying Meade as the overall commander of the Union armies, ordered the Army of the Potomac to continue southward. The two would collide again at Spotsylvania Courthouse and as skirmishing began for control of the crossroads, brigade commander Colonel McClandess was wounded and Colonel Talley of the First was elevated to brigade command and Lieutenant Colonel Stewart took command of the regiment. Colonel Talley would be captured by rebel forces during these opening clashes and sent to Libby Prison in Richmond. The two armies would remain in contact at Spotsylvania for most of May before Grant again moved the army southward.

As the armies came to the North Anna River, the first regiment was thrown across and the regiment was ordered to barricade a road near Bethesda Church to prevent any surprises from the Confederates. The regiment erected their breastworks and the men of Company K decided to rest since this would be their first reprieve from marching and fighting for nearly a month. When the men awoke from their slumber, they were startled by musket fire on either side and they discovered the regiment and brigade had abandoned them. The company ran pell-mell back to friendly lines, narrowly avoiding capture. The regiment again threw up a new barricade and awaited the advance of the Confederates. It would not be long, as Captain Minnigh states:

"The Brigade now took up a new position . . . and awaited the advance of the enemy, which was soon seen, in a well dressed battle line, emerging from the cover of the woods. . . . Orders were given not to fire until the enemy reached . . . an old fence half-way across the open space between us. We never saw a so deliberate advance by the enemy, in all our three years experience, as this was. Brave speciments of American soldier . . . conciously facing death, they came on. Two sections of . . . a battery, one on the right the other on the left, with enfilading fire, opened on them, then the infantry added their missiles of destruction; they come on no further, a few turn and flee to cover of the woods, the firing ceases and an advance is ordered, when the only enemy we find are the torn and shapeless forms, that literally cover the ground. . . ."

The fighting along the North Anna River would be the last for the First Pennsylvania Reserves. On June 1st, the regiment was ordered to return by way of Washington, D.C. and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to report to Philadelphia to be mustered out. The regiment arrived there on June 13th and were officially mustered out to return to their homes to fight no more.

The First Pennsylvania Reserves fought in many of the battles that occured in the Eastern Theatre of the Civil War from the Penisular Campaign to the Overland Campaign. Through the course of its service, the regiment had roughly 1,100 men serve within its ranks and lost nearly 600 in the course of its service in killed, wounded, missing, and due to disease. At South Mountain, the regiment helped bring about a Confederate rout and nearly win a major Union victory that could have possibly ended the war on September 14, 1862 with the capture of Lee and what parts of his army that were in Maryland.


Henry N. Minnigh. History of Company K, 1st Pennsylvania Reserves. Duncansville, PA: Thomas Publications, 1891.

Unknown. 1st Pennsylvania Reserves/30th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.

John W. Urban. My Experiences Mid Shot and Shell and in Rebel den. Lancaster, PA: Hubbard Brothers, 1882.

Hawks Interactive. First Pennsylvania Reserves.

William Jobe. Recollections & Reminiscences of a soldier of the Union in the War of the Rebellion of 1861 to 1865. (Courtest of the Adams County Historical Society)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A letter from McRae

Duncan McRae was the colonel of the 5th North Carolina Infantry regiment in Samuel Garland's infantry brigade and would take command of the brigade when Garland was mortally wounded. Just over 20 years after the battle, McRae would write a letter to Hill answering questions about the fight at Fox's Gap. He also mixes in some criticisms of other regimental commanders at the fight. Enjoy.

New York City
August 21, 1885

General D.H. Hill
Hendersonville, N.C.

Dear Sir,
Your letter has just been forwarded and recieved by me and I hasten to reply. I have no memoranda whatever of the events inquired about and must rely entirely on memory.

1. On the night before the Battle of South Mountain I learned for the second time from a scout, that McClellan had reached the foot of the mountain ridge on the other side by a general advance of his army. I at once notified the fact to General Garland and suggested that we should proceed at once to occupy the summit and make some breastworks, but he did not deem the information trustworthy and caused us to bivouac down the mountain and proceed leisurely to the summit on the next morning.

2. When about 8 AM the 5th Regiment reached the summit and took position on the right of our line, it covered a road leading down the mountain towards Sharpsburg, good for Artillery and general transportation, and it faced a dense undergrowth, distant about 100 yards, and stretching back for some two miles or more, to the left of which the country was open down the mountains into the valley on the East side.

3. Before he got into line I discovered in an open space at distance of about a mile in the woods, considerable bodies of troops, and calling Genl Garland's attention to it, he directed me to detach a portion of my Regiment to feel the woods and if encountered by any material force to summon the balance of the Regt to dislodge and drive them back. I went with the detail and at the edge of the woods one encountered skirmishers and had a sharp skirmish in which we killed and wounded several Ohio men of the command of a Colonel whos name I don't recall (Rutherford B. Hayes), but who was the late minister to the Sandwich Islands- Crouly, I think.

The belief of General G. that the woods was full of enemy troops induced him to place the 5th Regiment in the edge of it, with theleft thrown back towards, but not connecting with, his line of battle. There was therefore a space on the right of the 20th which was left open.

I remained in charge of the 5th, all the while desultory skirmishing going on in the woods but with no effect of the enemy to advance, until I recieved a message from General G. that he was wounded, and devolving on me the command of the Brigade. Leaving the disposition of the 5th as he had made it, I hastened to the center of the line and found that General G. was dead, and his staff had all gone off with his body: so that I was left without the assistance of any staff officers.

I found that General G. had thrown the 23rd Regiment, Col. Christy, to the front, some 100 yards towards the brow of the mountain, and this left another space between the 12th on the left of the 20th and the 13th Scales Regiment, under Ruffin, Lieutenant Colonel.

There had been two or more serious efforts by the enemy to reach our line, which had been repulsed, and I found that a large overpowering force was making ready to charge our line.

Had I been disposed, I could not easily have withdrawn the 23rd from its advanced postion without subjecting it to serious loss, but I saw the necessity of filling the spaces if possible, and as soon as possible. I therefore availed myself of the Chaplain of the 13th to bear you a message. His name I don't remember, but I sent you word of our exact condition, and asked that sufficient force might be sent from Anderson or Ripley to fill our blanks, and that one of those Brigades should be moved to easy supporting distance, as I feared the result of the movement about to be made. I also told him to say to you that an easy road down the mountain lay in our rear and the enemy might thus interpose between you command and the river.

Very soon after this, Colonel Tew arrived with his regiment and I requested him to fill the space between the 12th and 13th, which I hoped would give Christy support to fall back on.
Colonel Tew laid claim to rank me, and I said to him that there was no time to settle rank, that I would gladly serve under him. He made no reply, but seemed to relinquish the claim and moved off with his regiment towards the vacant space, but did not fill it, nor do I know what became of him and his command. I know I was subjected to a sharp censure from Colonel Ruffin afterwards for the exposed position in which his regiment was left.

By this time the Enemy in very heavy force came on with a yell, surrounding the 23rd Regiment, which was made the more easy by the fact that the 12th broke and fled. The 20th made some resistance and gave way fighting and in order, but was obliged to retreat, accompanied by its Colonel and Officers. In this condition I turned towards the 13th which had become enveloped, but was maintaining an obstinate resistance, which it continued to do, till beaten off by superior numbers. Colonel Ruffin received a severe contusion which laid him up for several days. I omitted to mention that the 23rd, notwithstanding its position, made good its retreat, with no great loss either of killed or wounded. This kind of loss was altogether slight, because the enemy fired no volleys, being intent to win with a rush.

I will now endeavor to answer your questions categorically.

1. The fighting was maintained after the death of Garland for two or more hours.

2. The loss was very slight, I can't now remember, more of them were killed or wounded than of us. Nothing like the 300 prisoners were taken; indeed I don't think 100 in the whole brigade.

3. The 20th was not surrounded but as I said, retreated with some show or order and fight. Colonel Iverson retreated along with his men, as he did at Sharpsburg, leaving me on the field in both instances, but was fortunate to secure the promotion.

4. I could not see the operations of the 5th from my position but it was reported to me that the enemy broke in upon it from the woods and also broke into the space on its left, driving it towards the South; and that it fought it way out inflicting some loss, but receiving little for the reason I have given above.

5. The 12th on account of being without officers in chief command worthy of it, did break in confusion and I don't think rallied in any force.

Most of the brigade was rallied promptly and when Anderson moved up to attempt to recover the position, it was ready to go along into the fight, but I found that the ammunition was well nigh exhausted, and so I held them close in the rear of Anderson to render any support which we might.

It was at Sharpsburg that the unaccountable panic occurred, when I was left along on the field, with only Capatin Withers of Caswell and perhaps one other officer, and I had just gotten off, when I encountered you and General Lee, and it was while, with him I was trying to get some men out of the Hay Stacks that a piece of shell struck me in the forehead.

I did not expect ever to write this much about the war. To tell the truth I recur to it with little pride and no satisfaction. It was an enterprise begun in folly and conducted with imbecility of Legislation to a disastrous failure. All there is of glory belongs to the self sacrificing and brave men who endured to the end.

I am under the Doctors here, and beg you will take this as excuse for this hasty note.

Yours truly.

Monday, December 13, 2010

"I may soon recieve my 'baptism of fire'."

This is a diary entry from Private George A. Hitchcock of the 21st Massachusett's in the brigade of General Edward Ferrero in the 9th Corps. At the start of the battle, Hitchcock's regiment near Middletown awaiting orders to move forward. The Maryland Campaign was Private Hitchcock's first taste of campaigning and at the Battle of South Mountain, he experience his first fight, and he would never forget it.

September 14

We lie on arms all the morning, listening to the battle of artillery up the side of South Mountain. The serious faces of my comrades warns me that I may soon have to receive my "baptism of fire." At half past one in the afternoon, the fated orders comes to us: "Forward Second Brigade"- this is composed of the 21st Massachusetts, 51st New York, and 51st Penn. Our division marches rapidly through the streets of Middletown and we see the village given up to the uses of the army.

Churchs are filling up with wounded as they are rapidly brought in on stretchers and in ambulances. From their steeple-tops the signal corps is busy with its waving signals. The streets are packed with troops hurrying forward and into battle. Passing our toward a sharp and constant rattle of musketry, we meet a steady stream of wounded pouring down the mountain sides. Up half a mile ahead we see the dense smoke where is the center of conflict, long black lines are sweeping across the open space and moving out of the woods.

As we begin to ascend the hill groaning and screaming men covered with blood, blackened with smoke lie on each side of the road. Officers and orderlies mounted and galloping frantically about. The sights and sounds fairly sicken me but John Wallace, the corporal who has us unders his direct command, cautions us to keep our eyes straight ahead. At las we file out into a field and form in line of battle.

With no delay we rush forward at double-quick-step to save a battery. Our part of the line swings around into the grove of trees on the left of the field, when suddenly a sheet of flame a few rods in front from out of the trees beyond greets us, a united volley of musketry and artillery. Instantly the order comes, "Lie down," and as instantly obeyed. An eternity of time it seems as we recieve the withering fire but possibly twenty minutes elapses when it is seen that an attempt is being made to flank us.

We are ordered across the road to the left which is called Fox's Gap. The sunken road is literally packed with dead and dying rebels who had held so stubbornly the pass against our troops who have resistlessly swept up over the hill. Here the horrors of war were revealed as we see out heavy ammunition wagons go tearing up, right over the dead and dying, mangling many in their terrible course. The shrieks of the poor fellows was heartrending.

Our brigade is moved forward into an open field on the summit of the mountain between two wooded pieces and again formed in line of battle when we recieve a waking fire from the enemy who is strongly posted behind a stone wall a half dozen rods in front. Falling flat for a few moments until the volley is over, then rising up, charge across the field reaching the stonewall, we find the 51st New York who were halting for orders. Our position is so far advanced and exposed that little time elapses before any of the field officers appear. Captain Richardson, the senior officer present, at last orders us back to the woods in our rear and not finding and superior officers, we retreat still further to a corn field where Colonel Clark finds us. General Sturgis immediately orders us up to the stone wall.

We learn that General Reno has just been killed and this accounts for the temporary disorder of the brigade. His death is a terrible loss for he was considered one of the finest, bravest, and most popular officers of the army.

Soon after breaching the stone wall, darkness settled down over all and the Battle of South Mountain has passed into history. We remain in position all through the chilly night expecting a renewed attempt by the rebels to force the pass. As the hours slowly pass by, I review the events of the past week and personally am not ashamed of my participation in them. Have succeeded in keeping pace with veterans in the long severe march which intercepted General Lee's Army in its attempt to carry the war North. Have not flinched in this my first battle and now my comrades tell me the next one will come easier.

What are my feelings when first under fire? I was fearfully that the rebels would his somebody and I wished they would not hit me. How did I feel? My brain was constantly telegraphing to my legs to take me down the hill. Yes, strange as it may seem, I did not want to be shot and I thought I might be if I remained. I was not brave and I did not want to be a coward so I watch the others and did just as they did, carrying on a conflict on my own private account in my heart and with the help of God I won a victory.

The following day, Hitchcock surveys the field and again writes in his diary about the carnage and other events that , reportedly, had taken place.

September 15

As daylight slowly lifts the curtain we begin to realize the heavy loss to the enemy. The first sight to meet our gaze was a dead rebel hanging over the wall. Just over the other side the ground was thickly strewed with dead who had been our silent companions through the night. We find the enemy has retreat but were startled just before sunrise by hearing the report of the guns of our pickets just in front of us in the woods.

We were double-quicked into the woods and take two or three rebels who by mistake came into our lines supposing the summit was in possession of the rebels. We lay on arms through the morning: many of our boys venture out beyond the lines and secure trophies of the conflice from the rebel dead. The face of many have changed color to a dusky hue, which gives them a frightful appearance. It is said to be caused by drinking a concoction of whiskey and gunpowder.

At noon General Burnside and a large escort rode by us down the Boonesboro road amid the hearty cheers of his men. He was followed by division after division. Fitz-John Porter's Corps composed largely of U.S. regulars also passed us. At last we start and South Mountain is left behind. March until dark though a beautiful, fertile country, the boys in good spirits singing the rebel song, "Maryland, My Maryland," and go into camp near Boonesboro. Reports to the effect that the rebel army is cornered between us and the Potomac, that General Wook is engaging them from Harpers' Ferry and that they are much demoralized and that Stonewall Jackson is killed.

Hitchcock would participate in the heavy fighting around the lower bridge during Burnside's Assault at Sharpsburg and he would be nearly captured when, being caught up in the action of loading and firing his musket, the regiment had retreated leaving Hitchcock and a friend behind. He would survive the fighting at Antietam.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Artillery on the Mountain: Federal

As I said in an earlier post, the terrain was not suitable for the use of artillery but, both sides did the best they could. That post focused on Confederate artillery units, here are the Federal units at South Mountain.

Kentucky Light Artillery, Simmonds' Battery, Captain Seth Simmonds commanding: Mustered into United States service as Company E, 1st Kentucky Infantry, it was transferred and retrained as an artillery unit. It was attached to the Kanawha Division of Jacob Cox and it had the distinction of being the only Kentucky unit to fight in the Eastern Theatre of the war. Around 10 o'clock on September 14th, a section of the battery armed with two 10-pounder Parrots, commanded by a Lieutenant Glassier, was ordered up to an open area near Fox's Gap to support the final assault by the Kanawha Division against the remnants of Samuel Garland's Confederate brigade. The section played a role in demoralizing the Confederate defenders and driving off Bondurant's Battery from its position near the Wise Cabin. Two 20-pounder Parrot's were left in the rear in a position from which these guns could easily put fire down onto the Confederate defenders at Turner's Gap.

Battery A, 1st Maryland Light Artillery, Captain John W. Wolcott commanding: Organized and mustered in at Baltimore and Pikesville, Maryland, these men were defending their homestate. Attached to William Franklin's 6th Corps, the battery was advanced at about 2 PM on September 14th supporting Union skirmishers that had been deployed. When the assault began, the battery was ordered to change position to support the assault column. A Lieutenant Rigby wrote home, "We had to take the road through a village, which was being shelled by three 12 pounders posted on the mountain. From where we started, to the village, was about one mile and the postition we were about to take, about one mile from the village; as soon as we appeared on the road, the Rebels turned their guns upon us, and such a shower of shot and shell fell around us is not easily imagined...we went through at a full gallop...without a scratch and took our position." Before the battery could get off any shots, the main Confederate line had been broken and the fight was surging up the mountainside negating the use of the battery in fear of hitting friendly units.

Battery B, 1st Maryland Light Artillery, Lieutenant Theodore Vanneman commanding: This battery, while present on the field at Crampton's Gap, was not engaged.

Battery A, 1st Massachusetts Light Artillery, Captain Josiah Porter commanding: This battery was present on the field at Crampton's Gap, but was not actively engaged.

8th Battery, Massachusetts Light Artillery, Captain Asa Cook commanding: Attached to the 1st Division of Major General Jesse Reno's 9th Corps, the battery was deployed along the Old Sharpsburg road leading towards Fox's Gap to drive off the Confederate artillery that was posted at Turner's Gap. Suddenly, a Confederate battery to the left of Cook's guns (Bondurant's Battery) opened fire on the Union artilleryman. The sudden fire, drove the artilleryman from their guns despite Cook trying frantically to keep his men from routing. As he remained in position, he would lose 1 man killed and 4 wounded. Cook's men would return to their guns following the Union attack the destroyed Thomas Drayton's brigade.

1st Battery, New York Light Artillery, Captain Andrew Cowan commanding: This battery was not actively engaged in the fight at Crampton's Gap but the Confederate artillery piece "Jennie" that was captured when the Confederate's fled from the gap was turned over to this battery.

Battery L, 1st New York Light Artillery, Captain John A. Reynolds commanding: Assigned to Joseph Hooker's 1st Corps, this battery was present on the field but was not engaged.

1st Battery, Ohio Light Artillery, Captain James McMullin commanding: Attached to the Kanawha Division, a section of this battery under Lieutenant George Crome, was engaged in the early fighting near Fox's Gap. Advanced to support Scammon's brigade, the section came under heavy fire from Confederate sharpshooters. The artilleryman continued serving their guns despite the withering fire and only abandoned them when Lieutenant Crome went down, mortally wounded, while in the act of loading one of his pieces. The guns were abandoned and nearly captured by Alfred Iverson's 20th North Carolina. The remaining guns of the battery were posted on a hill near the intersection of the Old Sharpsburg Road and the National Pike to combat Confederate artillery batteries in position at Turner's Gap.

1st Battery A, New Jersey Light Artillery, Captain William Hexamer commanding: This battery was present on the field at Crampton's Gap but was not engaged.

1st Battery, New Hampshire Light Artillery, Lieutenant Frederick Edgell commanding: This battery was present with the 1st Corps at Turner's Gap but was not engaged.

Battery A, 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery, Lieutenant John Simpson commanding: Attached to the Pennsylvania Reserve Division of the First Corps, the battery was present on the field at Frostown Gap but it is unclear if they engaged.

Battery B, 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery, Captain James Cooper commanding: Attached to the Pennsylvania Reserve Division, Cooper's Battery engaged with Confederate artillery on South Mountain as it went into position near the Mount Tabor Church. The battery ceased fire when the infantry advance began to avoid friendly casualties.

Battery C, 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery, Captain Jeremiah McCarthy commanding: This battery was attached to the division of Darius Couch of the 6th Corps and was not engaged at South Mountain.

Battery D, 1st Pennsylvana Light Artillery, Captain Micheal Hall commanding: This battery was attached to Couch's Division of the 6th Corps and was not engaged at South Mountain.

Battery F, 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery, Captain Ezra Matthews commanding: Battery was attached to Rickett's Division of the 1st Corps and was held in reserve and did not see action.

Battery G, 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery, Lieutenant Frank Amsden commanding: Battery was attached to the Rickett's Division but was detailed to man the defenses of Washington during the Maryland Campaign.

Battery D, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery, Captain J. Adelbert Monroe: This battery was attached to the First Corps and Captain Monroe, while serving as commanding officer of the battery, was also Chief of Artillery for the First Corps. The battery was no engaged.

Battery D, 2nd United States Artillery, Lieutenant Edward B. Williston commanding: This battery was attached to the first division of the 6th Corps under the command of Major General Slocum. It would not see action at Crampton's Gap.

Battery E, 2nd United States Artillery, Lieutenant Samuel N. Benjamin: This battery was attached to Willcox's Division of the 9th Corps. At 8 AM on the 14th, it was ordered to report to General Alfred Pleasonton and placed in position on a high knoll that could fire at both Turner's and Fox's Gap. Benjamin writes in his reports that he engaged three seperate Confederate batteries silencing one and drawing the fire of the other two away from Union infantry. The battery had a detachment from the 79th New York Infantry present helping to work the guns. No casualties were suffered.

Battery B, 4th United States Artillery, Captain Joseph Campbell commanding: Probably that most famous artillery unit to come out of the war, Battery B assigned to the First Division of the First Corps. On September 14th, it was attached to support John Gibbon's "Iron" Brigade as it assaulted Turner's Gap directly up the National Pike. When Gibbon's brigade became stalled, one section under Lieutenant James Stewart was advanced and went into position where it shelled a farm house that was housing Confederate sharpshooters and successfully forcing them to abandon their position. Stewart's section would continue to support the attack. When hostilities had ended for the day, Stewart was relieved by the two remaining sections of the battery, but Stewart refused, or adamently argued, that he should remain in the field, but his section was eventually relieved and ordered to the rear to replenish ammunition and rest.

Battery E, 4th United States Artillery, Captain Joseph Clark, Jr. commanding: This battery was attached to Samuel Sturgis' Division of the 9th Corps. Upon arriving at Fox's Gap, the battery was detached from Sturgis and ordered to support Cox's Division as it advanced during the afternoon Union assault.

Battery A, 5th United States Artillery, Lieutenant Charles Muhlenberg commanding: Battery was attached to Issac Rodman's Division of the 9th Corps. It was on the field at Fox's Gap but was likely not engaged.

Battery C, 5th United States Artillery, Captain Dunbar Ransom commanding: This battery was attached to the Pennsylvania Reserve Division. It was on the field at Frostown Gap but it was likely not engaged.

Battery F, 5th United States Artillery, Lt. Leonard Martin commanding: This battery was attached to the division of William F. Smith of the 6th Corps. It was on the field at Crampton's Gap but was not engaged.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Artillery on the Mountain: Confederate

If any civil war enthusiast has ever visited the battlefields on South Mountain or just driving along one of the many country roads that lead over the mountain, can make the correct assumption that the terrain was not suitable for the use of artillery with the steep elevations, rock outcroppings, and heavily wooded areas. Despite these disadvantages, artillery played an important, bloody role in the fight for the mountain gaps.

Confederate Artillery Units:

Jeff Davis (AL) Artillery, Captain James Bondurant commanding: On the morning of September 14th, Bondurant's battery of Alabamian's was sent to Fox's Gap to support the infantry brigade of Brigadier General Samuel Garland in the defense of the gap. He was posted on the Confederate right flank, in a field just to the front of the position of the 12th North Carolina. Just before 9 AM, Bondurant reported seeing what appeared to be blue lines of advancing Union infantry to his immediate front. He requested that skirmishers be posted from the 12th North Carolina and 5th North Carolina to investigate and to protect his guns. The commander of the 5th, Colonel Duncan McRae, ordered about 50 men to advance as skirmishers. The would collide with the lead elements of the 23rd Ohio just to the front of Bondurant's unprotected battery. Bondurant's men came under fire and miraculously, only one man was wounded having the tip of his nose shot off. To pull out of this position, Bondurant ordered his guns to fire one by one with each successive gun covering the withdrawal of the previous gun. The movement went off without a hitch and Bondurant moved his battery to a position near the Daniel Wise cabin supporting the 13th North Carolina, on the Confederate left. After Garland's brigade collapsed and Union forces advanced on the gap itself, Bondurant again pulled his battery back taking up a new position in the Northwest corner of Wise's North Field (Present day 17th Michigan Field). From here Bondurant harassed Union forces coming up the mountainside and supported Brigadier General Thomas Drayton's Brigade as it fought for its life at the gap. Eventually running low on ammunition and facing pressure from the 17th Michigan, Bondurant pulled his battery out of the action and retreated back towards Turner's Gap and the safety of Boonsboro.

Cutt's Sumter (GA) Artillery Battalion, Lt. Colonel Allen S. Cutts commanding: This artillery battalion was posted a various points near Turner's Gap supporting Confederate defenders in the area. Captain Hugh M. Ross' Battery A, Sumter Artillery was position along present day Dalghren Road, opposing the advance of Hatch's Division of the First Corps. Captain George Patterson's Battery B, Sumter Artillery, was posted next to Ross' battery along the Dalghren Road also opposing Hatch's Division. Captain John Lane's Battery E, Sumter Artillery was posted in the fields opposite the Mountain House at Turner's Gap where the battery could fire upon any advance up the National Pike against Turner's and on Union forces at Fox's Gap. One gun was also posted on a mountain spur just to the north of Turner's where it could fire down upon Hooker's First Corps at Frostown Gap. This one gun, under a lieutenant, was sent to support Rodes' Brigade but the desired position for it was captured by Union forces early in the fighting.

Stuart's Horse Artillery, Captain John Pelham commanding: Stuart's Horse Artillery was posted at two of the three mountain gaps that were to be contested on September 14th. At Fox's Gap, John Pelham was in position with two guns supported the 5th Virginia Cavalry that covered the intersection where the Loop Road meet the Ridge Road on the Confederate right. When the battle commenced, Pelham fired a few rounds from each of his gun's then pulled back off the mountain in the direction of Rorhersville. To the south at Crampton's Gap, Captain Roger Chew's artillery battery was positioned near the gap supporting combined force of Confederate infantry and cavalry in position in the Mountain Church Road at the base of the mountain. Chew remained in position as long as he could. When the Confederate battle line broke, Chew was forced to retreat into Pleasant Valley where he would remain for the remainder of the battle.

Troup (GA) Artillery, Captain Henry Carleton commanding: Attached to Howell Cobb's brigade during the Battle of Crampton's Gap, the Troup Artillery was deployed two guns, the Jennie and Sallie Craig, at the intersection at Crampton's Gap. The Jenny was pointed down the Arnoldstown Road and the Sallie Craig was aimed down the Burkittsville Road. When Union infantry came within sight, the two guns unleashed 5 rounds a piece of double or triple canister at point-blank range. The blast were devasting to those Union infantry units that meet this wall of steel. Within minutes though, Union infantry put to much pressure on the section forcing it to retire. Unfortunately, the Jenny was lost to Union pursuers when the axle of the gun carriage split along a stress fracture from the repeated firing of large amounts of powder. The gunners managed to free their horses just as Union troops neared the gun. Like Cobb's Brigade, this section of artillery suffered tremendously in the fight.

Light Battery A, 1st North Carolina Artillery, Captain Basil Manly commanding: Attached to Brigadier General Paul Semmes' brigade, Manly's battery was in position at the Brownsville Pass about a mile south of Crampton's Gap. From his position, Manly fired upon the advance of the 6th Corps as it moved out of Burkittsville. The fire from Manly's guns may have influenced William Franklin's decision to attack Crampton's Gap, believing the the Brownsville Pass was heavily defended. When the Union attack column came out of Burkittsville and deployed, Manly again fired on the massed Union infantry causing chaos within the ranks. Despite his efforts, the Union attack was successful. Manly was in command of six guns.

Richmond (Fayette) Artillery, Captain Miles Macon commanding: Attached to Semmes' Brigade, a single gun of the battery under Lt. William Clopton, supported Confederate forces at Crampton's Gap by firing upon the Union attack column during the assault on Crampton's Gap. The remainder of the battery was on Bolivar Height's in preperation to bombard Harper's Ferry.

Magruder Light Artillery, Captain Thomas Page, Jr. commanding: Attached to Semmes' Brigade, one gun was in position at Brownsville Pass and bombarded that Union assault column as it advanced on Crampton's Gap.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"While advancing upon them we suffered severely from their fire.."

This is a quote from the official report of Colonel R. Biddle Roberts' of the 1st Pennsylvania reserves on the Battle of South Mountain. The Pennsylvania reserves played a important role in the Union battle plan. They were positioned to assail the flank of the Confederate defenses at South Mountain just north of Turner's Gap. As this quote tells, they suffered heavily in their relentless assaults against the Confederate brigade of Robert Rodes holding the southern flank.

Division losses (according to figures from OR's):

Killed: 95
Wounded: 296
Missing: 9
3rd PA (K,W,M): 50
Total: 450

Known Casualties

1st PA Reserves (Seymour's Brigade)

Private Thomas P. Dwin, Co. H
Private Thomas C. Griffin, Co. H
Private Jocab Kintz. Co. I
Private George Miller, Co. E
Private Peter Miller, Co K
Private John M. Powers, Co. G
Private Robert Ruddock, Co. C
1st Lieutenant John D. Sadler, Co. K
2nd Lieutenant John H. Taylor, Co. C
Private Jeremiah Taylor, Co. K

Private Elam Hultzhouse, Co. E (Mortally)
Private John M'Dade, Co. F
Private Enos M. Russell, Co. A
Private Levi Kennedy, Co. I
Private William H. Taylor, Co. C

Private Fista Minnenger

2nd PA Reserves (Seymour's Brigade)

Corporal Edward Booth, Co. E
Private Gilbert M'Kelley, Co. E
Corporal William M'Clintock, Co. B
Private William Simpson, Co. I
Private Augustus Sucker, Co. F

Sergeant Alex Brown, Co. B
Private Henry Brown, Co. E
2nd Lieutenant R. Clendenning
Sergeant Robert Ferguson, Co. E
Sergeant Richard P. Dillon, Co. B
Private John Donlin, Co. B
Private Francis Higgins, Co. D
Private George Malloy, Co. B
Private Albert R. Reed, Co. K
Sergeant George Staughton, Co. K
Private Charles Stump, Co. C

5th PA Reserves (Seymour's Brigade)

Private A. J. Heugendoubler, Co. K

Corporal John W. Ayres, Co. I
Sergeant Thomas Bennett, Co. K (Mortally)
Corporal Amos Ditsworth, Co. D
Sergeant Peter Wells, Co. K (Mortally)

Private Aaron Huyett, Co. I
Private George Leper, Co. I
Private James W. Smith, Co. I
Private William Steward, Co. I
Private John Verner, Co. C

6th PA Reserves (Seymour's Brigade)

Private John Baker, Co. C
Private John Belknap, Co. C
Private Jacob F. Boran, Co. B
Private Thomas Campbell, Co. D
Private William Davidson, Co. C
Private John Fry, Co. D
Private John H. M'laughlin, Co. D
Private Abraham Price, Co. E
Private John L. Reed, Co. C
Private Edmund L. Reimer, Co. C
Private Simon Troup, Co. B
Private Joseph Weaver, Co. E

Private William Andrews, Co. C
Private Lucius Avery, Co. C
Private Peter Clein, Co. C
Corporal George M. Demorest, Co. A (Mortally)
Corporal Henry B. Mowry, Co. B
Private John Nesle, Co. C
Captain Charles D. Roush, Co. B

Private William H. H. Orth

13th PA Reserves (Seymours Brigade)

2nd Lieutenant Charles Bitterling, Co. F
Private Hero Bloom, Co. I
Private Joseph Broomall, Co. K
Private Charles B. Carney, Co. C
Private Charles Hoadley, Co. E
Private Conrad Jumper, Co. B
Private S.W. Landers, Co. C
Private William Maxson, Co. I
Private Henry McGee, Co. I
Private Thomas Riley, Co, K
Private Charles Shlaffy, Co. F
Private Charles H. Sweet, Co. E
Sergeant Augustus Trask, Co. D

Private Leslie Bard, Co. I
Private Philip Beer, Co. F
Private James Elder, Co. G
Captain Edward A. Irvin, Co. ?
1st Sergeant William J. Kibbe, Co. I (Mortally)
Private James Grace, Co. H
2nd Lieutenant Samuel A. Mack, Co. E
Private Peter Mangold, Co. F (Mortally)
Private James D. Newpher, Co. I (Mortally)
Private A. Delos Northrop, Co. I (Mortally)
Private Augustus Rhanewalt, Co. G
Private Joseph Roman, Co. H

4th PA Reserves (Magilton's brigade)

Private Hugh M'Leer, Co. A
Private Benjamin Storer, Co. A
Private Henry Zinckham, Co. E

7th PA Reserves (Magilton's Brigade)

Private Charles F. Adams, Co. K
Private Thomas Abbott, Co. E
Private Joseph Gardner, Co. C
Private Jacob Weaver, Co. E
Private John H. Wittell, Co. C

Private Thomas Abbot, Co. E
Colonel Henry C. Bolinger, Regt.
Sergeant William R. Smith, Co. I
Private Jacob Weaver, Co. E
Private P.E. Williamson, Co. B

8th PA Reserves (Magilton's brigade)

Private George W. Brooks, Co. E
Sergeant Jacob Cameron, Co. C
1st Lieutenant William M. Carter, Co. B
Private James C. Clark, Co. G
Corporal Albert Esters, Co. E
Private George R. Everson, Co. B
Private William Harker, Co. E
Private Wolfgang Hepinger, Co. H
Private Henry Madara, Co. E
Private David Malone, Co. D
Corporal Neal M'Cole, Co. B
Private Charles Moss, Co. E
Private William Oldman, Co. E
Private Matthew P. Shaw, Co. E
Private Valentine Smith, Co. A
Private Henry Struble, Co. C

Private Austin W. Colston, Co. B
Private William H. Kay, Co. F (Mortally)
Private Daniel M'Williams, Co. B
Private William Reese, Co. C (Missing)
Private Micheal Tracy, Co. B (Mortally)

9th PA Reserves (Gallagher's Brigade)

Private Samuel Adams, Co. D
Private Samuel Baker, Co. I
Private John Barnett, Co. K
Private H.H. Chamberlain, Co. A
Corporal John S. Copsley, Co. A
Private Henry Fallenstein, Co. D
Private William E. Forrest, Co. A
Private Hiram Marsh, Co. D
Private George Milligan, Co. I
Private William Reed, Co. D
Private John Richey, Co. E

Sergeant E. P. Darlington, Co. A
Private Thomas T. Fitzpatrick, Co. C
Private William T. Foley, Co. C
Private Edward Hogdson, Co. C
Private John Kingsland, Co. K (Mortally)
Private John Lerch, Co. B (Mortally)
Sergeant John M. Shane, Co. C
Sergeant August Smetz, Co. C

10th PA Reserves (Gallagher's Brigade)

Private Moses Clements, Co. I
Private Charles Harper, Co. I
Private Benjamin F. Heckart, Co. A
Private John M'Cann, Co. B
Private John M. McCowan, Co. H
Private George Nunamaker, Co. G
Private Horace Pearl, Co. I
Sergeant B. B. Strickland, Co. I

Private C.F.F. Boyd, Co. A
Private Fred Breneman, Co. F
Private George F. Kapp, Co. F
Private Steven G. Harris, Co. H
Private W. Houston, Co. B
1st Sergeant Thomas A. Wilson, Co. I
Private David Yates, Co. F

11th PA Reserves (Gallagher's Brigade)

Captain Elvinis Brady, Co. K
Private Robert W. Cathcart, Co. E
Private Scott M. Ferguson, Co. E
2nd Lieutenant Walter F. Jackson, Co. G
Private James Johnson, Co. G
Private William Laughery, Co. B
Private Charles Schmidt, Co. C
Private Labanah Starver, Co. G
Private Jas. H. Stevenson, Co. C
1st Sergeant Samuel T. Steward, Co. G
Private Henry Stuchell, Co. B
Private B.F. Whitlinger, Co. G

Colonel Thomas G. Gallagher, Regt.
1st Lieutenant J.S. Kennedy, Co. B
Private John G. Kimberlin, Co. A
Captain Nathaniel Nesbit, Co. E (Mortally)
Private Robert F. Sherman, Co. A
Private James N. Simpson, Co. E (Mortally)
Private William K. Thomas, Co. B

12th PA Reserves (Gallagher's Brigade)

Private Henry W. Dean, Co. B
Corporal Henry H. Hopple, Co. D
Private William M'Farland, Co. D
Private Frederick Melott, Co. C
Private William R. Pilkington, Co. A
Private Henry Shuman, Co. H
Private Oliver Sproul, Co. H

Private Robert C. Edlabute, Co. H
Private Joseph S. Fry, Co. A

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Pennsylvania Reserves capture the Frostown Gap

Just to the north of Turner's Gap, about a mile, is a gorge that is known as the Frostown Gap. This gap, like Fox's two miles south, would prove to be an avenue of approach for the attacking Union forces to outflank the Confederates defending Turner's. The job of capturing this gap would go to the Pennsylvania Reserve Division under the command of Brigadier General George G. Meade.

On the morning of September 14th, the First Corps, Major General Joseph Hooker commanding, was encamped near Frederick, Maryland. The Reserves were encamped along the banks of the Monocacy River and recieved orders early that morning to be prepared to march towards Middletown. At roughly 8 o'clock, the Meade's Pennsylvanian's were on the march towards Middletown and South Mountain.

The division arrived at Middletown between 11 and 12 o'clock and were given an hour long rest while the army commanders decided on the course of action to take. Fighting at Fox's Gap had been going on most of the morning and surely the Pennsylvanian's could hear the musketry and cannon fire up on the mountain. After the short break, the division, leading the 1st Corps, continued its march towards South Mountain. As it neared the small hamlet of Bolivar near the base of the mountain, the division filed to the right onto the Mount Tabor Road to get into position to turn the flank of the, believed, strong Confederate position at Turner's Gap. By three o'clock all was in position and ready for the advance.

The Frostown Gap is characterized by a very rock terrain, heavily wooded areas with patchs cleared for the purpose of farming, and parallel ridges that grow gradually steeper as one appoaches the crest of the mountain. The terrain would definately be an advantage to the defenders. As the First Corps arrived near the Mount Tabor Church, Meade's division was deployed to the right of the Old Hagerstown Road leading towards Frostown. Meade's division consisted of three brigades under the commands of Brigadier General Truman Seymour (1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 13th PA Reserves), Colonel Albert L. Magilton (3rd, 4th, 7th, and 8th PA Reserves), and Colonel Thomas F. Gallagher (9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th PA Reserves). Supporting the division would be Battery B, 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery under Captain James H. Cooper. The division was deployed with Seymour's Brigade to the right of a road that lead over the mountain and connecting with the National Pike at Zittlestown. Magilton's brigade was placed in the center and Gallagher's Brigade was would be positioned as the division's left flank.

Opposing Meade's division was the single Confederate brigade under Brigadier General Robert Rodes (3rd, 5th, 6th, 12th, and 26th Alabama) that numbered between 1,000 and 1,500 men. Rodes' brigade arrived at Turner's Gap around Noon on the 14th and was ordered to first hold the mountain spur that is immediately to the left of the National Pike at Turner's Gap. After holding this position under fire of Union artillery at Bolivar for nearly an hour, General D.H. Hill ordered Rodes' to move his brigade northward to the "north ridge" protecting the left flank of Hill's position on the mountain. Unfortunately, a sizeable gap was opened between Rode's right flank and Confederate positions at Turner's Gap. To cover this gap at the gorge between the spur and Rodes' new position, Rodes posted the 12th Alabama here. To cover the rest of his line, Rode's post the 6th Alabama on his left flank, the 5th will be next in line to the right, the 3rd will make up Rode's center, and the 26th will connect to the 12th regiment's left flank. Upon deploying his brigade, Rodes' could see the entire Union attacking column had been organized and was preparing to advance. He sent for reinforcements from General Hill and also requested artillery to be brought up. Rodes could see that he was heavily outnumber, "It was perfectly evident. . . that my force of about 1,200 muskets was opposed to one that outflanked mine on either side by at least a half a mile". Rode's has prepared that best he could, Meade's men are advancing. The hour was at hand.

Just before combat, an eerie silence falls over the battlefield where the two sides are to be engaged. The Confederates could see the lines of blue advancing towards them and even these veteran troops are uneasy. Suddenly a shot rings out on the left. The skirmishers from the 6th Alabama have fired the first shots of the battle into the ranks of the 13th PA Reserves under Colonel Hugh McNeil. The brief firefight was rather severe. McNeil ordered his regiment to double quick, pushing back the confederate skirmishers upon their main line. The 6th Alabama, under Colonel John Gordon, moved his regiment into position in the Widow Main's farm lane. To the right of Gordon's regiment, the 5th Alabama skirmishers had held up the advance of the 9th reserves before quickly retiring to the rear where they rejoined their regiment. The 3rd Alabama now joined in the fray when it unleashed a volley on the 11th reserves as the regiment came over a ridgeline to the regiments front hitting more than 30 enlisted men and half the regiments officers. The volley also hit Colonel Thomas Gallagher, leaving him with a severe wound to his right arm. Gallagher relinquished command to Lt. Colonel Robert Anderson. The 26th Alabama fired a volley into the ranks of the 12th Reserves halting thier advance. With Rodes' brigade now entirely engaged and his advance going slow, Meade ordered in more of his men.

The fight was quickly turning into a brawl. Rodes' men had halted the Union advance. The 6th Alabama had advanced against the 13th Reserves. Gordon's men unleashed a devastating volley into the Pennsylvanian's. The 2nd Reserves and 2 companies of the 1st reserves was ordered to support the 13th, who had by now taken heavy casualties. It was also at this time, that confederate artillery on the mountain spur began pouring fire into Seymour's brigade. The 6th Alabama fell back to the Main farm lane, its original position, as the left wing of the 5th Alabama poured a murderous fire into the left flank of Seymour's flank. With Gallagher's and Seymour's brigades heavily engaged against the balance of Rode's men, Magilton's brigade finally came into the fight. The skirmishers from the 12th Alabama, under Lieutenant Robert Park, engaged the skirmishers of the 8th Reserves. Derkness was falling and the Union lines appeared "like a flowing, black ribbon across the farmland in front of them". Park's skirmishers unleashed a volley into the 8th's skirmishers forcing them back to their regiment. Park immediately order his men to reload and the 8th now advanced in a solid formation. Again, Park ordered his skirmishers to fire when the Pennsylvanian's were at point-blank range. The Union men recoiled from the blast which took down over 30 men killed and wounded. Park order his men to fall back after this second volley and the 8th reserves pursued that Confederates, who fought stubbornly for every inch of ground. Eventually Park's brave band was forced to retreat and Park himself was captured.

For nearly an hour, Rodes' line was punished by sledgehammer blows from the Reserves but his line held. Now, the weight in numbers began to tell, Rodes' left flank began to crumble. The 11th and 12th Reserves were ordered into the fight, slamming into the 3rd and 26th Alabama regiments. The left wing of the 5th Alabama was driven back upon the skirmishers of the 6th Alabama by the 5th Reserves. The 6th was coming under heavy pressure from the 1st, 2nd, 6th, and 13th reserves. Rodes' line was being pushed back into the shape of an L. To the dismay of the Confederates, the right wing of the 5th Alabama was cutoff from the 3rd Alabama when the 10th Reserves pushed between the two regiments. The colonel of the 26th Alabama, Edward A. O'Neal, was wounded in his regiments fight with the 11th and 12th Reserves, causing the 26th to retire from the field. The Reserves of Magilton and the left of Gallegher's brigade charged into the Confederates, breaking their lines and forcing Rodes' to pull back the rest of his brigade for fear of being cutoff. Rodes' formed a new line on the ridgeline immediately to the left of Turner's Gap and with the arrival of Nathan 'Shanks' Evans brigade, Rodes could breathe easier.

Evan's brigade upon going into position, immediately counterattack into the reserves. The counterattack stopped the reserves for a short time and it became a slugging match between the South Carolinians and Pennsylvanians. Rising pressure against Evan's brigade eventually broke the back of the South Carolinian's sending them fleeing westward. With Evan's brigade broken, The reserves continued their advance against Rodes' men. Rodes had gone into line along a ridgeline that overlooked the Frosttown Gap. The Reserves attack relentlessly forcing some of Rodes' men to break and run. The only regiment that didn't break for the rear was the 6th Alabama. Gordon's men, despite suffering heavily, held the line despite being heavily outnumber. Eventually the pressure would prove to great and Gordon pulled his regiment out of line.

Darkness ended the fighting. Both sides had suffered heavily in the fight that lasted nearly two hours. Rode's brigade suffered 422 men killed, wounded, and missing and Evan's brigade tacked on another 200 casualties to the Confederate total. Union casualties totaled just over 400. The capture of Frostown had turned the northern flank of the Confederate position on South Mountain but with the lateness of the hour that the attack took place, full victory could not be achieved. The terrain and darkness played a big role in keeping the Reserves from puring across the pike and into Boonsboro, cutting off all Confederate forces on South Mountain from the only avenue of retreat. These men would lick their wounds and engage in an even bloodier fight three days later outside of Sharpsburg.

Monday, November 22, 2010

2nd Mississippi Regiment at South Mountain and beyond

While they would enter the fight well after the outcome had been decided, Hood's Division would help stem the tide of blueclad soldiers racing towards Turner's Gap and the National Road. The 2nd Mississippi of Evander Law's Brigade would suffer the most in the brief but sharp clash that ended the fighting around Fox's Gap. These men would also help constitute the Confederate rear guard as the troops of General Longstreet and D.H. Hill retreated through the street of Boonsboro and on to the ridges outside Sharpsburg, Maryland.

Mustered into Confederate service in Corinth, Missisippi on a crisp spring day in early May 1861. Immediately the regiment was ordered to Virginia, where it joined those Confederate forces concentrating at Harper's Ferry under General Joseph Johnston. It would be assigned to the brigade of Bernard Bee. When Irwin McDowell's Union army began it's advance out of Washington, D.C., Johnston's small army was ordered out of the Shenendoah Valley and to Manassas Junction to reinforce the army of P.G.T. Beauregard, who was guarding the approaches leading to Richmond. On July 21st, the 2nd Missisippi found itself embroiled in heavy fighting while trying to hold off the powerful Union assault that began in the early morning hours. The weight of Union numbers broke this initial Confederate line and the Mississippian's retreated in full rout. Bee managed to rally 2 companies from the 2nd and parts of the 4th Alabama after giving General Jackson his famous moniker, "Stonewall". The Mississippians that remained fought along side Jackson's Virginian's and helped win the day for the Confederates.

When the scene of the war in the east shifted to the Virginia Peninsula, the 2nd Mississippi went there, now in the brigade under the command of General William H.C. Whiting. When the regiment arrived in the entrenchments near Yorktown, Virginia, new officers were elected and John Marshall Stone of Company K was elected the new colonel of the regiment. It was also at this time the Evander Law was placed in command of the brigade after the promotion of General Whiting to division command. The Mississippians fought with distinction at the Battle of Seven Pines/Fair Oaks stalling the advance of George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac and in the Seven Days' Battles that pushed back McClellan's powerful army. Following the Seven Days', General John Bell Hood was promoted to divisional command, commanding the brigade of Colonel Law and the Texas Brigade under Colonel William Wofford.

Following the successful campaign to expel McClellan from the gates of Richmond, General Lee moved his army northward to deal with the next threat, the Army of Virginia under Major General John Pope that was advancing practically unopposed throughout Northern Virginia. In early August, Stonewall Jackson's command clashed with elements of Pope's army near Cedar Mountain then towards the end, Jackson sparked off the Second Battle of Manassas/Bull Run. As part of Longstreet's command, Hood's Division came rushing to the aid of Jackson's beleagured troops. With the Union high command ignoring reports of a strong Confederate concentration, Longstreet positioned his command to the right of Jackson's ready to overtake the flank of Pope's army when it renewed its attacks upon Jackson. Law's brigade was positioned on the extreme left of Longstreet's command along the Warrenton Turnpike. On the 29th of August, just as the Mississippian's went into position and prepared for a recon in force, a brigade of Union infantry and aUnion battery stumbled into Hood's division. Hood's men easily handled the small enemy force and the 2nd Mississippi even captured a Union officer, Major Charles Livingston of the 76th New York, after he stumbled into their regiment attempting to rally them believing them to be retreating Union troops.

On August 30th, as Pope engaged his entire force against Jackson, Longstreet unleashed his troops on the Union flank. The ensuing fight broke the back of the Union army and sent them fleeing towards Washington. Law's brigade, with the 2nd Mississippi, was to support the Texas Brigade in the fight, but contact was lost and instead Law advanced in support of the Confederate artillery. Law eventually attack a Union battery defended by the 2nd and 7th Wisconsin and suffered heavily before retiring from the field.

After the victory at Manassas, Lee moves his army to Leesburg, Virginia in preperation for the invasion of Maryland. Law's brigade crosses the Potomac between September 4th and 7th and concentrated near Frederick, Maryland with the rest of the Confederate army by the 8th. On the 10th, Lee divides his army and Longstreet's command, along with the 2nd Mississippi, marches towards Hagerstown, Maryland. On September 14th, hearing the Hill's division is being pressed heavily at the mountain gaps outside Boonsboro, Longstreet orders his command to march to the aid of Hill. Hood's Division arrives in late afternoon and his deployed at first to the left of the National Pike supporting a Confederate artillery position at Turner's Gap. After news of heavy fighting reaches near Fox's Gap reaches Hill and Longstreet, Hood is ordered to redeploy his division at Fox's Gap to stem the tide of the Union advance.

As Hood marched down the Wood Road towards Fox's Gap, he deployed his division faceing southwest towards the Gap. As Hood's men moved into position, they came across remnants of Drayton's brigade that had just been severely handled by advancing Union troops. Hood deployed his division with Law on the left and Wofford's brigade on the right. From research and casualty figures, I believe it is safe to assume that this is how Hood deployed his division. Also, to take it further, Law deployed his brigade with the 2nd Mississippi on his brigade's right, connecting his line with Woffords. This position would undoubtly put the Mississippian's into the thickest of the fight.

Just as the sun was going down, Hood has his men in position and orders them to fix bayonets. From Hood's report, " I at once ordered the Texas Brigade , Col. W.T. Wofford commanding and the Third Brigade, Col. E.M. Law commanding, to move forward with bayonets fixed, which they did with their usual gallantry, driving the enemy and regaining all our lost ground, when night came on and further pursuit ceased." While the fight was brief, Hood's division suffered just under 50 casualties. The 2nd Mississippi regiment suffered the most with 20 men killed, wounded, or missing/captured. That night, Hood's division would consitute the Confederate rearguard as Lee pulled his men out of their positions on South Mountain and put them on the road to Sharpsburg. At Sharpsburg, the 2nd Mississippi suffered horrendous casualties as it fought in the cornfield and around the Dunker Church.

Following the Maryland Campaign, the 2nd Mississippi was detached from Law's brigade and assigned to the new brigade forming in Richmond under the command of Brigadier General Joseph R. Davis. Davis' Brigade was sent to the North Carolina, allowing the 2nd Mississippi to recuperate from his losses in the Maryland Campaign. The regiment missed the Battle of Fredericksburg as a result of this new assignment. When Union troops invaded Southern Virginia in early 1863, Longstreet's Corps consisting of Hood's and Pickett's divisions was sent to Suffolk and Davis's brigade was brought northward to participate it what would become the Siege of Suffolk lasting about a month from April 11th to May 3rd, 1863. As a result, the 2nd Mississippi also missed the Battle of Chancellorsville.

When Lee made his intentions clear that he was again going to march northward, Davis' brigade was brought to the Army of Northern Virginia with Longstreet's Corps and placed in the division of Major General Henry Heth of the new 3rd Army Corps under the command of General Ambrose P. Hill. This move became official on June 5th and the 2nd Mississippi would remain in this division for the remainder of the war.

When fighting broke out a Gettysburg, the 2nd Mississippi was apart of the action that took place on July 1st resulting in heavy losses for the regiment. It was engaged on the left flank of Heth's Division as Heth pushed towards Gettysburg running into the cavalry division of John Buford. Davis' brigade also engaged infantry from the brigade of Lysander Cutler. Cutler's brigade was eventually broken and forced into a full fledge retreat. Davis' brigade followed in pursuit that quickly turned into a unorganized mob. From the south, a volley tore into the flank of the southerner's. The unexpected volley came from the 6th Wisconsin of the Iron Brigade. Davis attempted to pull his men back and many took refuge from the withering fire in a railroad cut. It was here at this railroad cut that the 2nd Mississippi's flag would be captured. The regiment would not participate in the fighting of July 2nd but on July 3rd it would take part in what would become known as Pickett's Charge. The regiment advanced with 60 men towards Cemetery Ridge and advance to a point near the Bryan Farm, where it could no longer advance. The regiment nearly lost a second flag during this charge, but the flag was saved by the regiments color bearer after he ripped it from the staff and hid it under his body. Only one man was unwounded following the charge. During the retreat, the regiment participated in the battle outside Williamsport, Maryland as Heth's division covered the retreat of Lee's army back into Virginia. The regiment would spend the remainder of 1863 and early 1864 recuperating in Northern Virginia.

For the remainder of the war, the men of the 2nd Mississippi participated in the Overland Campaign and the Siege of Petersburg suffering heavily. The regiment would be surrendered on April 2, 1865 after it was cut off from retreat near Hatcher's Run. The regiment's flag was again ripped from the staff and hidden. The regiment surrendered less than 100 men on April 2nd having participated in many of Lee's major battles and campaigns and suffering heavily as a result.

Regimental Losses at South Mountain:

Private Jacob McCarty, Co. L
Private John L. Vanzant, Co. G

Private Richard Bennett, Co. H
Private Francis M. May, Co. G
Private James R. Sergeant, Co. B

Private Henry M. Box, Co. D
Private Giles M. Burns, Co. A
Private John H. Chaney, Co. A
Private Daniel Fallon, Co. G
Private James Helton, Co. A
Private William T. Lummus, Co. K
Private Jesse Martindale, Co. K
Private Elijah T. Miller, Co. E
Private Gilford F. Reynolds, Co. A
Private Balam J.M.C. Smith, Co. A
Private Dillon A. Willis, Co. K