South Mountain by Rick Reeve

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

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

5th Alabama: "cut all to pieces"

This entry is from the diary of John S. Tucker of the 5th Alabama Volunteer Infantry. While the entries are short, you can get an idea of the savage resistance that occurred along the Frostown Gap where Brigadier General Robert Rodes brigade of Alabamians fought tooth and nail to keep the Federal division of George G. Meade from crushing the Confederate left flank and pouring over the mountain into the Confederate rear area. I've included the entries from September 12 and 15th to show the movements of this regiment prior to and after the fight on South Mountain. From these three entries you can see the morale of a southern soldier, the demoralization of the Confederates following the Battle of South Mountain, and the morale booster that resulted with the fall of Harpers Ferry.

Friday Sep 12, 1862

Took an early start this morning for Hagerstown but traveled very slow having quite a mountainous road to go over. Pass through Boonsborough early and found many warm Sympathisers in the place. Camped in 6 ms of Hagerstown. Expecting a fight and may remain here several days. Had another rain this evening.

Sunday Sep. 14 1862

Was ordered off early this Morning back in the direction of Middletown where a hard fight is going on 9 AM - Genl Garland Killed early this morning. The 5th Ala ordered to the scene of action early in the morning. In the evening a general engagement commenced which resulted most disastrously to our arms. Our Brigade "cut all to pieces" & many of our men taken prisoners. Only 40 odd men to be found in the 5th at dark. at which time we commenced retreating leaving all our wounded in the enemy's hands. traveled all nigh long. The fight was at North Mountain [one and a half miles] east of Boonsboro from which I presume it will take its name. Never saw so much stragling in all my life.

Monday Sep 15th 1862

The army was halted 7 miles from Sparksburg
(Sharpsburg) & 3 miles from the Potomac and formed in line of Battle where they remained all day, having a little fight in the evening. Rode all day try to get provisions for the Men. Some of our Men came in. Harpers Ferry captured.

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