South Mountain by Rick Reeve

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

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

Friday, November 19, 2010

To my darling wife:

Going a little off topic here at the blog. I would just like to take a few moments to thank the person that makes this all worthwhile.


First off, I can't believe we've been married for almost 6 months now, boy does time fly by. But to the point, I want to thank you for allowing me do something that I love to do and also thank you for supporting me in everything I do. I know when I was first up to get this position here at South Mountain, we had our discussions because at the moment it wasn't exactly what we needed for our new life together. But, we worked things out and you've supported me once we, together, decided that this would be in the best interest for us if I could possibly turn this into a career. Thank you for everything. And also thank you for supporting me with this blog. I know when I first started, it seemed like nobody was checking it out or anything. But you were, you helped keep me motivated to keep posting and your support as made it more enjoyable for me to do. Thank you babydoll, I love you more than you could ever know.

your Husband,


"Four Score and Seven Years Ago.."

147 years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln spoke these words that put the conflict, in which the nation was engaged, into context. He laid out why the war was being fought and why it must continue until the United States was victorious and could give the nation " a new birth of freedom". Here's a video with Jeff Daniel's reciting this famous speech:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The "Rock of South Mountain"

In 1863 at the Battle of Chickamauga, Union General George Thomas earned the sobriquet "Rock of Chickamauga" for holding the line as the routed Union Army fled back towards Chattanooga, Tennesse. A year earlier, the Confederacy found their "rock" in the form of Colonel Alfred Colquitt who commanded a brigade of Georgian's and Alabamian's that held back the determined attack of General John Gibbon's Iron Brigade.

Alfred Holt Colquitt was born on April 20, 1824 in Walton County, Georgia to Walter T. Colquitt, a Methodist Preacher and future US Representative and Senator, and Nancy H. Lane. He would be enrolled in local schools and he attended Princeton University (then the College of New Jersey) where he studied law. He was accepted into the Georgia bar in 1846 but when war broke out with Mexico, he enlisted in the army. By the time the war ended, he had been promoted to major.

Upon completion of his service, he returned to Georgia where he practiced law in Macon. Not long after his return though, he was appointed assistant secretary in the Georgia Senate. This appointment sparked an interest in politics for Colquitt so in 1852 he ran for the US House of Representatives and won. He would only serve one term in the house. His wife, Dorothy, had fallen ill and he did no consider being re-elected in 1854 so that he could be with his ailing wife. Dorothy would die in 1855. Colquitt would marry Sarah Tarver, the sister of his recently deceased wife. Colquitt would return to politics in 1859 when he ran for a seat in the Georgia Senate, a seat that he would win in the election. With the two sections of the country drifting apart, Senator Colquitt strongly advocated for secession. In 1860, he was an elector for Presidential candidate John C. Breckinridge and when Georgia began considering the secession question, Colquitt was appointed to the secession convention in 1861. Georgia seceded on January 18, 1861.
When Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, Colquitt volunteered his services and was appointed a captain in the 6th Georgia Volunteer Infantry. When the regiment was moved to the Virginia Peninsula to reinforce the Confederate army in May 1861, he was elected Colonel of the regiment. The 6th Georiga was assigned to the brigade of Gabriel Rains. He would lead his Georgians in the Battle of Seven Pines and upon the wounding of General Rains, Colquitt would take command of Rains' brigade that consisted of the 6th and 23rd Georgia Infantry regiments and the 13th and 26th Alabama regiments. In the Seven Days Battle, Colquitt's brigade would be left in the defences of Richmond as General Lee took the remainder of the army in an attempt to push George McClellan's Union army back from the gates of Richmond.

After Lee's victory in the Seven Days, he turned his attention to the army of John Pope who was advancing into Northern Virginia. Colquitt would again be left behind in Richmond and assigned to the division of General Daniel H. Hill. Hill's division would be called upon as reinforcements after the stunning defeat of Pope's Army at Second Bull Run to make up for casualties in this battle as Lee prepared to cross into Maryland. By this time, Colquitt's brigade had changed in make up. The 26th Alabama infantry was transferred to Robert Rodes' Brigade. Colquitt would receive the 27th and 28th Georgia as his brigade moved north. On September 1st, Colquitt was promoted to Brigadier General, but his promotion would not be recieved until after the coming campaign.

Colquitt's brigade crossed the Potomac River into Maryland on September 4 & 5, 1862 with the lead elements of Lee's army. His brigade reached out across the Maryland countryside eventually making its way to Frederick, Maryland, where the Confederate army would be concentrating. On September 10, orders were sent out making D.H. Hill's Division the rear guard for the Confederate Army as it moved westward towards Hagerstown to await the capture of Harper's Ferry by General Jackson's command. Hill would concentrate his division at Boonsboro to watch the gaps in South Mountain and roads leading south towards Harper's Ferry while also guarding the wagons and reserve artillery of the army. On the 13th, Colquitt recieved orders to occupy Turner's Gap along the National Pike to support General J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry as it was being pressed by Union forces. Colquitt put his brigade into position at the eastern base of the mountain and some skirmishing to place with lead elements of the Union 9th Corps. Colquitt retreated a little ways back up the mountainside in preperations for the action that was to surely to take place on the 14th.

September 14th dawned with Colquitt's line firmly holding its position astride the National Pike. The 23rd and 28th Georgia were posted to the left of the road behind stonewalls and the three remaining regiments were posted in a wood lot to the right of the road. These three regiments were attempting to link up with Garland's Brigade, who was engaged at Fox's Gap. By late afternoon, fighting was raging to the North and South of Colquitt's line, but little activity had taken place in his portion of the line. Suddenly, firing erupts on his right flank, Gibbon's brigade had arrived to force the pass. Colquitt's men held their ground stubbornly until a company of the 19th Indiana outflanked the 27th Georgia on the Confederate right. The Union fire caused the Georgian's to break and flee up the mountainside. This 27th would be followed by the 13th Alabama and 6th Georgia in the retreat back up the mountainside. These three regiments would stop just short of the gap itself. On the Confederate left, the 23rd and 28th Georgia had completely stalled the Union advance. The 7th Wisconsin had been decimated and the 6th Wisconsin had been repulsed in is attempt to flank the Georgians. These two regiments held for until well after dusk holding back the entire Union brigade of John Gibbon. The night, the Confederate forces were pulled off of the mountain and ordered to concentrate at Sharpsburg. Colquitt had performed suberbly in this little fight and southern newspapers, upon hearing of his fight, called him the "Rock of South Mountain", a nickname that stuck with him until the day he would die.

At Sharpsburg, Colquitt's brigade was in position to the right of Roswell Ripley's brigade near the center of the Confederate line. Around 7, Colquitt ordered an advance into the East Woods and Cornfield that ran into the advance of the 12th Corps under Joseph Mansfield. Colquitt's brigade is pushed back and Colquitt goes into position to the left of Robert Rodes' brigade in the sunken road. Colquitt's brigade suffered tremendously in these two fights during the Maryland Campaign. The brigade would retreat back across the Potomac on the night of September 18th and 19th.

During the Battle of Fredericksburg, Colquitt's brigade would remain in reserve behind Jackson's front despite the breakthrough by Meade's division. Colquitt's brigade would make winter quarters in the Fredericksburg area during the winter of 1862-63.

When spring came, so did a new Union offensive. In later April, General Joseph Hooker moved the Union army around Lee's and successfully captured the crossroads of Chancellorsville, just miles from the rear of Lee's lines at Fredericksburg. Colquitt's brigade is now part of Robert Rode's Division. The brigade now consists of all Georgia regiments with the loss of the 13th Alabama and the addition of the 19th Georgia. Chancellorsville would prove to be Colquitt's worst fight in command of his brigade. As part of Jackson's famous flank attack, Colquitt advance with caution believing that there was a large force of Union infantry on his flank. His men did fight but this caution would cause Colquitt to be subject to harsh critisisms. In this fight, he lost 422 men from his brigade. Just before the Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania, Colquitt was transferred, along with his brigade, to Charleston, South Carolina. Here, Colquitt and his men would participate in the defense of the city for the remainder of 1863.

In early 1864, Colquitt was ordered to take his brigade to Florida to combat a Union invasion of the state. Colquitt's brigade would be bolstered by the 6th Florida Infantry Batallion and two batteries of artillery and would be assigned to the command of Brigadier General Joseph Finegan. On February 20, 1864,Colquitt, commanding a detachment from the small army of General Finegan, clashed with the Union invasion force near the Olustee, Florida. Colquitt's men fought savagely pushing back the Union force at all points before it finally broke in route losing 43 killed, 441 wounded and 2 missing in the effort. Colquitt was praised as the "Hero of Olustee" and Florida was saved for the Confederacy. This little battle also got the attention of those in Richmond and Colquitt was transferred back to Lee's army just as General Ullysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign began. Colquitt would serve with Lee during the Overland Campaign and early stages of the Siege of Petersburg before he would again be transferred with his brigade to North Carolina in early 1865. Colquitt's brigade would surrender in North Carolina in the Spring of 1865.

Following the war, Colquitt returned to his law practice and eventually reentered politics. Colquitt opposed the Reconstruction measures passed by congress and he served as the president of the Georgia Democratic Convention in 1870. He would be elected Georgia's Governor for two terms in 1876 and 1880. During his time as Governor, watched over the return of Georgia's economy. He also suffered controversy when he was accused of corruption. He was appointed to fill the seat of deceased Georgia Senator Benjamin Hill in 1882 and he would win reelection to the Senate serving until his death in 1894.

Alfred Colquitt is remembered for his fight at Olustee, but his first claim to fame was at South Mountain as the "Rock of South Mountain". If Colquitt's men had been beaten, the entire Confederate position was untenable with those brigades fighting around Frosttown Gap cut off from Virginia. Colquitt's fight helped save those elements of the Confederate Army near Boonsboro, Maryland. He fought with distinction throughout the war and in the post-war years, he showed that an ex-confederate could, again, become a lawful and hardworking American Citizen. He is buried in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Georgia.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fighting Colonels: Fox's Gap afternoon phase

Following the horrific fighting on the morning of September 14 at Fox's Gap, the sounds of battle die away and a lull begins on the battlefield. The Confederate's managed to retain a foothold at the gap after Jacob Cox's Kanawha division managed to, for a brief time, capture the gap. Following a determined Confederate counter-attack, Cox pulled his men back to the stonewalls that are a dominant feature in Daniel Wise's South Field to await reinforcements from the Union 9th Corps that was rushing to the gap. On the Confederate side, the 2nd and 4th North Carolina, along with remnants of the 13th North Carolina await reinforcement coming in the form of 4 brigades under Roswell Ripley, Thomas Drayton, George T. Anderson, and the remainder of George B. Anderson's. Within the next several hours, both Union and Confederate, would experience some of the most intense fighting of the entire war. Two regiments, the 3rd South Carolina Infantry Battalion and the 17th Michigan would each stand out and suffer in the ensuing conflict as well as their commanding officers.

Lt. Colonel George Strother James, commanding 3rd South Carolina Infantry Battalion: By firing one of the most important shots in American History, Lt. Colonel James cemented his place in history as the one who ordered the first shot fired on Fort Sumter in April 1861. Flash forward a year and a half later, he is now in command of the 3rd South Carolina Infantry Battalion on it's march North across the Potomac into Maryland. As part of Thomas Drayton's brigade, James found his South Carolinian's near Hagerstown on September 14, 1862. After General Longstreet recieved reports of heavy fighting at South Mountain, he issues orders for a forced march to assist those Confederates at the mountain passes. As Drayton's brigade reached the crest of the mountain on the National Road, it was ordered to Fox's Gap and would take part in a Confederate attack that would push Union forces off the mountain. Drayton's brigade would be the hinge on which this attack would swing. James went into battleline along the Old Sharpsburg Road in the gap itself with the 15th South Carolina Infantry to his right and the Phillips (GA) Legion to his left. Going into this fight he would take just over 150 men, many of them would not see the next morning.
Drayton deployed skirmishes as he deployed his brigade. Drayton also ordered James to send a company on a reconnaisance into Wise's South Field to get a better handle on the situation. James selected Company F, under Captain D.B. Miller, to conduct the scouting mission. Miller moved his men through the field and came upon a large body of Union troops in their immediate front. Miller rushed back to report to both James and Drayton. Seeing that the immediate threat was to his front, Drayton orders his three lead regiments to attack. The Phillip's Legion, 3rd S.C. Infantry Battalion, and 15th South Carolina advance into the south field. Just as the advance begins, James' South Carolinians come under fire from the Ohioan's of Cox's division. As this firefight builds, Union forces from Thomas Welsh's Brigade attack into the flank of the attacking column forcing the Phillip's Legion to turn and face this threat leaving the flank of James' Battalion exposed as James continue to advance towards the Ohioan's. Eventually, the fire from the front and left at to much for the battalion to bear and James pulls them back into the Ridge Road to cover the retreat of the Phillip's Legion.
In this new line, the 15th South Carolina and James' Battalion make an 'L' around the Daniel Wise cabin with the 15th facing South and the battalion facing East. This position proved to be untenable and the casualties began to pile up. James refused to retreat despite repeated pleas from his second in command, Major William Rice. James held this line until nightfall when darkness caused the fighting to die down. His battalion had been decimated in the fight to the point where it was no longer an effective fighting unit. In one of the last volley's of the battle, James was struck in the chest and mortally wounded. He remained in command until he could no longer do so and finally order the retreat, which was executed by Major Rice, who was also severely wounded. Of the 160 who went into the fight, less than 30 would escaped. Lt. Colonel James would be left behind by his men and he would die early on the morning of the 15th and buried alongside his men. In the 1870's, an effort to collect the Confederate dead from the Maryland Campaign began. Lt.Colonel James was one of the bodies recovered and he is buried with the thousands of unknowns in the Washington Confederate Cemetery in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown.

Colonel William H. Withington, commanding 17th Michigan Infantry: One of the many Union soldiers captured following the debacle following the First Battle of Bull Run, William Withington, then a captain in the 1st Michigan, was held in a Rebel prison camp until January 1862 when he was finally exchanged. Withington was sent back to Michigan to recruit more men for the war and upon raising the 17th Michigan, he was appointed its Colonel. The 17th Michigan would train at Fort Wayne until late August 1862 when it was sent east to reinforce George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac and assist in pushing the Confederate army out of Maryland. The regiment would be assigned to the brigade of Colonel Benjamin Christ in the 1st Division, 9th Army Corps. The first battle this regiment would participate in would be at South Mountain. In the afternoon of the 14th, the 17th was deployed on the right of the Old Sharpsburg Road facing west across Wise's North Field. In front of them were the men of 50th and 51st Georgia of Drayton's Brigade and the Jeff Davis Artillery of Captain James Bondurant. Just before the Union attack was to commence, the Confederates themselves attack. The Georgian's were pulled out of their position and moved into the road uncovering Bondurant's battery. With orders to advance, Withington pushed his men forward against Bondurant's battery and into the left flank of Drayton's Georgians in the Old Sharpsburg Road. The attack surprised Drayton's men and with the advance of Union units on their left, the 17th Michigan got behind the Georgians trapping them in a 3-sided kill zone. The Georgian's returned fire the best they could but it was suicide to attempt to stand. The Michigan men had precipitated a Confederate rout. The regiment killed and wounded dozens of Confederate troops while capturing many more. The loss for the regiment in this fight was 27 killed and 114 wounded out of 500 who were taken into the fight. The regiment earned the "Stonewall Regiment" nickname following its capture and rout of those Confederates behind the stonewall in Wise's North Field despite the regiment recieving less than a months worth of training. Colonel Withington was breveted a Brigadier General for his leadership at South Mountain. He would be either mustered out or he resigned in early 1863. Following the war, he would serve several terms in the Michigan Legislature as both a representative and senator. He would recieve the Medal of Honor in the 1890's for his actions in tending and remaining with his superior officer, Colonel Orlando Willcox, after Willcox was wounded and the two came under heavy fire at the Battle of First Bull Run. He would pass away in 1903 at the age of 68.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cavalry at South Mountain

During the opening phases of the Maryland Campaign, cavalry on both sides played a critical part. Major General James Ewell Brown Stuart's Cavalry Division of the Army of Northern Virginia played the role of covering Lee's army has it moved through the Maryland countryside and to keep Lee informed of enemy movements into the area. Brigadier General Alfred Pleasonton, commanding the Army of the Potomac's Cavalry Division, took on the job of breaking through the cavalry screen of J.E.B. Stuart had send back intelligence on the movements of Lee's Army. The two sides clashed repeatedly as Lee pulled his army westward to deal with Harper's Ferry and secure his line of communication and supply. The cavalry did not play a real big role in the fight on South Mountain, but some units did participate in some of the most severe fighting of the war.


5th Virginia Cavalry, Colonel Thomas Rosser commanding: In the fight at Fox's Gap, this cavalry regiment covered the extreme right flank of Samuel Garland's infantry brigade. It was supported by a section of Stuart's Horse Artillery under Major John Pelham. In the early morning hours of the 15th, as General Stuart moved with his cavalry division in the direction of Harper's Ferry, Rosser and his regiment were ordered to take and hold Fox's Gap, covering the flank of the Confederate infantry at Turner's Gap. Stuart failed to inform General Daniel H. Hill that he had posted the 5th Virginia at Fox's Gap that morning. As Hill completed his morning recon in the direction of Fox's Gap, he heard the sound of hoofbeats, wagon wheels, and orders being shouted. He quickly returned to his headquarters at Turner's Gap and ordered Garland to take his brigade with all haste to Fox's Gap. Luckliy a friendly fire situation was avoided when Garland found Rosser and his regiment. The Virginians would assist in the 5th North Carolina's fight againts the 23rd Ohio in the early minutes of the fighting and as Garland's line began to falter, Rosser's men came under fire from the 11th Ohio which eventually forced Rosser to abandoned his position. The Virginians were out of the fight by 11 o'clock that morning. Casualties for the regiment are unknown.

2nd Virginia Cavalry, Lt. Colonel Richard Burks commanding: In the fight at Crampton's Gap, this regiment would be one of several undersized regiments that made up a rag-tag force of infantry and cavalry under Thomas Munford that would be the initial roadblock against the advance of the Union 6th Corps. In the overall picture of things, Lt. Colonel Burks would be in command of the regiment, but Captain Thomas Holland would be in charge of the deployment of the regiment, which number barely 200 troopers. It would go into line behind a stonewall along the Mountain Church Road at the eastern base of the mountain. It was posted on the right flank of Munford's line and was opposed the Vermont Brigade, specifically the 4th Vermont. The Virginians stalled the 4th Vermont's advance and annoyed the left flank of Henry Slocum's division as it advanced towards the mountain. Eventually, the pressure from the Vermonters became to much to hold back and the Virginia's fled up the mountainside. As the Vermonter's pursued, many of the Virginian's halted to return fire making the woods a nightmare for the men from Vermont. Eventually, the regiment regrouped in Pleasent Valley the night of the 14th and early morning of the 15th. The casualties for the regiment were surpisingly light, according the Colonel Munford, suffered only 1 man killed and 2 wounded.

12th Virginia, Colonel Asher Harman commanding: This regiment was also posted at Crampton's Gap under the command of Colonel Munford. It consisted of only 75 troopers. It would be posted near the center between two infantry regiments of Colonel Parham's infantry brigade in Munford's line. When this first line collapsed, the regiment retreated back up the mountain and managed to put up a picket line along the Arnoldstown Road. When the infantry brigade of Howell Cobb arrived to reinforce the confederate positions, the Virginian's abandoned this second line and retreated back into Pleasant Valley and headed in the general direction of Boonsboro. Casualties for this regiment are unknown.


There were really no Union cavalry units actively engaged on September 14. There a few that were escorts for Union commanders.

2nd New York Cavalry (Companies A,B,I, and K), Captain John Naylor commanding: Cavalry escort for Major General Joseph Hooker, commander Union 1st Corps

Company G, 1st Maine Cavalry, Captain Zebulon Blethen commanding: Cavalry escort for Major General Jesse Reno, commander 9th Corps. Of interest, Corporal Charles Goodwin of this company assisted General Reno down the mountainside following the general's wounding.

Company B and G, 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Captain Henry P. Muirheid commanding: Cavalry escort for Major General William Franklin, commander Union 6th Corps.


1. Timothy J. Reese, Sealed with Their Lives: The Battle for Crampton's Gap. (Baltimore: Butternut & Blue, 1998).

2. William T. H. Brooks. O.R., War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies Vol. 19, part 1. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1887).

3. Brian Downey. [Accessed November 3, 2010]

Monday, November 1, 2010

Confederate High Tide?

Well, I'm sure you have read the blog description and noticed that I consider the Battle of South Mountain and, if you wanna look at the bigger picture, the campaigns in the Fall of 1862 as the Confederacy's high tide. Here's why:

The Battle of South Mountain itself can be considered the event that drastically altered Robert E. Lee's plans that fall. His whole intention is to push forward into Pennsylvania and draw out the Army of the Potomac into the open and effectively destroy it. But in order to continue into Pennsylvania, Lee first had to deal with the garrison at Harper's Ferry. Lee had believed that crossing into Maryland would force the Union high command to evacuate Harper's Ferry, but has we know, the garrison does not evacauate and Lee is forced to divide his army to deal with this threat on his line of supply and communication.

As we know, "Stonewall" Jackson takes command the Confederate forces sent to capture Harper's Ferry, James Longstreet's command (along with General Lee) marches to Hagerstown, and the division of Daniel Harvey Hill is left as the rear guard to cover the mountain gaps in South Mountain. Surprisingly, George McClellan moves his army with uncharacteristic speed and just a couple days after Lee has divided his army and left Frederick, Union troops have occupied the city and are advancing towards South Mountain pushing back the confederate cavalry screens. By the evening of the 13th, the Union 9th Corps is encamped in the Middletown, Maryland.

The gaps of South Mountain are important because as long as Union forces are on the eastern side of the mountain, Lee's Confederates have freedom to roam the countryside and time to regroup once Harper's Ferry falls. Once the Union army is on the western side, the Confederates are in deep trouble and even bigger trouble if they are still divided. Thats is why on the 14th, D.H. Hill's division and Longstreet's command fight tooth and nail to hold the gaps. The Confederates would hold the two northern gaps ,Turner's and Fox's, at the end of the day due to their savage defense.

Crampton's Gap, the southern gap near Burkittsville, Maryland, is the one gap that the Confederates would not hold at the end of the day and it was the most important gap. As long as the gap was secured by Confederate troops, Lafeyette Mclaws' division on Maryland Heights was safe and able to help complete the capture of Harper's Ferry. With the fall of Crampton's gap, Mclaw's division was trapped on Maryland Heights. Upon hearing word that Crampton's Gap had fallen, Lee even goes as far as ordering a general retreat back into Virginia by all Confederate forces in Maryland has quickly as possible. If General Franklin had moved his 6th Corps with speed through Crampton's gap and into Pleasent Valley, McLaws would possible have been destroyed and he would have had the inside track to the vital river crossings that Lee would need to get back into Virginia. Only a message from Jackson saying the Harper's Ferry would fall on the 15th kept Lee in Maryland.

Now looking at the bigger picture, the Fall of 1862 was the Confederate high tide both militarily and politically. Militarily because every major Confederate force was on the offensive: Lee invades Maryland, Bragg and Edmund Kirby Smith invade Kentucky, Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price are on the offensive to recapture the vital rail hub of Corinth, Mississippi. So from a military standpoint, and the only time in the entire war, the Confederate military was purely on the offensive and if any of these offensive would prove successful, the war might be ended especially if Lee is successful in Maryland. Politically, the Confederacy was as close to a diplomatic end to the war as ever. With Confederate Armed Forces on the offensive, the Confederacy had a bargaining chip on the table if any of their armies could win a major victory on northern soil or recapture lands that had been lost to Union forces. It was also as close to foreign recognition that the Confederacy would get in the war. European leaders, primarily Britain and France, had seen the Confederacy defeat Union forces everywhere on the map and even carry the war North.

With the defeats of Bragg and Smith in Kentucky, Van Dorn and Price at Corinth, and Lee in Maryland, the Confederacy took a severe morale blow and any hope of a victory in the war was destroyed. In the following year, the Confederacy would see an invasion of Pennsylvania that would end in defeat and the fall of Vicksburg that pretty much sealed the victory for the North. So in 1862, in the most important campaign by any Confederate army, Lee's invasion of Maryland and the Battle of South Mountain are, in my opinion, the Confederate high tide. Now what say you?