South Mountain by Rick Reeve

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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Captain William Horsfall, Killed in Action, September 14, 1862

This is a photo of Captain William Horsfall. He commanded Company E of the 18th New York Infantry Regiment in Brigadier General John Newton's brigade. Captain Horsefall was mustered into service as a 1st Lieutenant of Company E in Schenectady, New York on May 16, 1861. He would be promoted to Captain in December of 1861. During the fighting at Crampton's Gap, the 18th New York advanced against the Confederate positions during the final climactic assault. Lt. Colonel George R. Myer's describes Captain Horsefalls final moments:

 On rising the hill to the road, which ran along its side, we received a terrific volley from the enemy. It was here that I met my heaviest loss, the fire of the enemy being well directed and fatal. At this point, the lamented Captain William Horsfall was killed while gallantly leading his men to the charge...

He was 46. Captain Horsfall's body would be returned to Schenectady where he was buried in T-31 of Vale Cemetery.  The people of Schenectady gave Captain Horsfall a memorial. From a newspaper describing the monument:

—A beautiful Italian monument, to be placed over the remains of the late Captain William Horsefall, who fell at the battle of South Mountain, Maryland, has just been completed by our fellow townsman, William Manson, will be forwarded to Shenectady [sic] to adorn the Cemetery at that place.
The monument is made of the finest Italian marble, and is beautifully and artistically cut and engraved. The front represents a projecting shield, with three stars upon it, backed by a sword and spear, and entwined together with a wreath of evergreens.
Beneath this in projecting letters, is the following:

Captain Horsfall's grave
"Captain William Horsefall,
18th Regiment, N. Y. S. Volunteers.
Born April 7th, 1816;
Died September 14th 1862.
On the base is the following:--
"He died in the defence of his county."

On the opposite side, engraved upon the stone, is the following:--
"He fell cheering his men in the gallant and successful charge made by Gen. Slocum in the Battle of South Mountain, near Burkettsville, Frederick Co., Maryland, Sept. 14th, l862.”
The monument is surrounded with a fatigue cap, hewn from the stone, on the foot of which is a shield, with initials, in old English letters, N. Y.
It is certainly a monument choice and beautiful in design and reflects great credit upon the maker as a work of art.


1. Newspaper clipping describing monument, New York State Military Museum
2. Roster, 18th New York Infantry, New York Military Museum
3. Photo, Captain Horsfall, New York Military Museum
4. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of of the records of the Union and Confederate Armies; Series 1, Volume 19 (part 1), pg. 398.

16th New York Infantry Casualties

The following is the casualty list of the known casualties from the 16th New York Infantry commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Joel J. Seaver. The regiment went into the fighting at Crampton's Gap as part of Colonel Joseph Bartlett's brigade and after a brief stalemate at the base of the mountain, the regiment joined in the blue tide the charged up the mountainside, routing the Confederate defenders.  In his report, Lt. Colonel Seaver's reports losing 20 men killed and 41 wounded. I have listed the known casualties, 19 killed and 50 wounded or 113% of casualties reported. Many of the wounded later died of their wounds. The regimental history, written by Nelson M. Curtis, reports that there were 18 killed, 8 mortally wounded, and 35 wounded for a total of 61 which shows the casualty report I've posted makes known every casualty suffered by the regiment during its fight at Crampton's Gap.

-updated 3/3/12-


Private Henry R. Bissell, Co. C
Private Thomas Brown, Co. G
Private James E. Burdick, Co. F
Corporal Charles H. Conant, Co. D
Private Orville Cooper, Co. H
Private Giles N. Cunningham, Co. F
Private William Dunn, Co. C
Private John S. Fredenburgh, Co. D
Private Celestea Grenier, Co. G
Private William Hammond, Co. H
Private Sidney L. Hare, Co. C
Sergeant Andrew J. Lee, Co. D
Private John Magin, Co. H
Sergeant William Nowlan, Co. H
Private G. Myron Van Ornum, Co. D
Private John Pulford, Co. D
Private Martin V. Roberts, Co. E
Private John Torry, Co. C
Private Henry C. Washburn, Co. F


Private Hiram G. Van Arnam, Co. E
Corporal Benjamin F. Baldwin, Co. B
Private John Bario, Co. A 
Private William R. Blair, Co. E
Private Henry Bottom, Co. B
Private Brainard Bowen, Co. C
Private Peter Le Brick, Co. E
Private Joseph E. Bruce, Co. F
Private Mitchell Bully, Co. C
Private Martin Callahan, Co. I
Private Enos S. Collins, Co. B (died of wounds, Sept. 18, 1862)
Private Thomas W. Curtis, Co. G
Private Roswell A. Darling, Co. B
Sergeant Jerome Eddy, Co. B
Sergeant Francis A. Englehart, Co. H
Private Alden Fairbanks, Co. D
Private Alfred Favereau, Co. A
Private William Fieldson, Co. G
Sergeant Charles I. Gardener, Co. D
Private Loren D. Gladden, Co. F
Private John Harnet, Co. A
Private Benjamin F. Heath, Co. H
Private Zimri Hodges, Co. F
Private Andrew A. Houghtaling, Co. K (died of wounds, Sept. 18, 1862)
1st Sergeant William W. Hutton, Co. D (died of wounds, Nov. 15, 1862)
2nd Lieutenant Charles L. Jones, Co. A
Private David Jones, Co. D (died of wounds, Dec. 20, 1862)
Private Peter Labrick, Co. E
Private Louis H. Larock, Co. C
Sergeant Andrew J. Lee, Co. D (died of wounds, Sept. 15, 1862)
Private John Mitchell, Co. A
Private David McAllister, Co. H
Private Richard McAuliff, Co. E
Private James McCombs, Co. D
Private Wellesley McCury, Co. F
Private Mathew Nesbit, Co. B
Private Smith Pine, Co. C
Private James W. Richards, Co. F (died of wounds, Sept. 20, 1862)
Private Martin V. Roberts, Co. E
Corporal James G. Robertson, Co. D (died of wounds, Oct. 7, 1862)
Private William Roden, Co. K (died of wounds, Sept. 16, 1862)
Private David C.J. Russell, Co. G
Private William A. Smith, Co. B
Private Willis L. Starkey, Co. K
Private John Torry, Co. C
2nd Lieutenant William H. Walling, Co. D
Corporal Robert Watson, Co. K
Private Melancthon B. Webb, Co. E
Private Thomas C. Whitehouse, Co. I
Private George L. Wilkins, Co. H


16th NY roster, New York State Military Museum

Newton Martin Curtis. From Bull Run to Chancellorsville: The Story of the Sixteenth New York Infantry together with Personal Reminiscences. New York: G.P. Putnam's Son's The Knickerbacker Press. 1906. 366-367.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Awesome Preservation News

Union Artillery firing in support, Battle of Shepherdstown. The cement mill is the structure located at the center of the photo graph
Yesterday, I learned the a significant landmark of the battlefield located outside of Shepherdstown, West Virginia has been purchased and preserved. Edward Dunleavy, President of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association, Inc., announced that the Cement Mill and the 18 acres of the property along the banks of the Potomac River has been purchased by the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission. The Cement Mill was significant landmark in the battle, September 20-21, 1862, that ended Robert E. Lee's plans to continue his Maryland Campaign by recrossing upriver at Williamsport. It is located near Blackford's Ford where Union soldiers crossed in pursuit of Lee's retreating army and the site where Union soldiers, many from the 118th Pennsylvania, sought shelter when the Union battle line collapsed and hastily retreated back across the river. The commission plans to place a conservation easement on the property and eventually deed the site to Antietam National Battlefield. Congratulations are in order for the commission and the SBPA since this is one of their most significant victories in their battle to preserve the Shepherdstown Battlefield.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Soon after we halted, the enemy advanced upon us in overwhelming numbers."

The following is the official report written by Colonel Fitz William McMaster. Colonel McMaster commanded the 17th South Carolina Infantry in Brigadier General Nathan Evan's brigade. His regiment would go into the battle on the mountain spur just north and east of the National Pike. During its fight, McMaster's regiment would suffer a casualty rate of 43%. The report includes reports on the Battles of Malvern Hill, Rappahannock Station, and Second Manassas which have been omitted but can be seen in Volume 12, part 2 starting on page 632 of the Official Records.

Camp near Winchester, Virginia
October 20, 1862

Sir: In obedience to your orders to report the action of the Seventeenth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, in the battles in which it has been engaged since it came to Virginia, I have the honor to report:


Sunday evening, September 14, about 4 o'clock, after a most fatiguing march, under which some of our men broke down, the brigade took position on the slope of a mountain on the east side of the turnpike. Soon after we halted , the enemy advanced upon us in overwhelming numbers. After fighting for about an hour, and after the other regiments of the brigade had broken and retired, and we were being flanked by the enemy, I ordered my regiments to retire, firing. After we began the retreat,  we were so unfortunate to lose our gallant lieutenant colonel (R.S. Means), who was shot through the thigh. I detailed four men to bear him off, but he magnanimously refused to allow them to make the effort, as the enemy was in short distance of him and still advancing. 

I succeeded in forming a new line of battle, on a knoll about 300 yards in rear of the first line, but was soon flanked by the enemy and compelled to retire. I brought off with men 36 men, rank and file, in order. I was soon ordered by Major Sorrel to form on the left of General Jenkins' brigade; but before we were able to do so night overtook us, and, under the order of General Evans, we retired to the turnpike. 

In this battle we had engaged - - -
officers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
rank and file and ambulance corps . . . . . . . 131

       total. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141

 [The following were casualties]

number killed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
number of severely wounded . . . . . . . . . . . .13
number of slightly wounded . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
number of missing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
      total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  61


 The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of of the records of the Union and Confederate Armies; Series 1, Volume 19 (part 1), pg. 945. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lieutenant James W. Schenck, 22nd New York Infantry

This is a photo of Lieutenant James W. Schenck who was serving as the quartermaster of the 22nd New York during the Maryland Campaign. He would enlist in as a private in a company of the 93rd New York before he was discharged for promotion to the staff of the 22nd New York in September 1961.

Lieutenant Schenck was commended by his brigade commander, Colonel Walter Phelps, Jr., for his role during the brigades fight at South Mountain. Acting as quartermaster, Lieutenant Schenck job was not to take part in any battles but to ensure that the regiment was fully equipped and supplied when the battle started. At South Mountain, he would be acting as one of two aides to Colonel Phelps and as a result he would be required to carry orders to the brigades various commanders under fire.

Colonel Phelp's commendation: 

"I cannot allow the conduct of Lieutenant Cranford, Fourteenth New York State Militia, and Lieutenant Schenck, Twenty-second New York Volunteers, aides to myself, to pass by unnoticed. I was often obliged to send them, through a galling fire, to different parts of the field with orders. Their conduct on this occasion was most gallant, and all that I could have desired. It was more striking that their line of duty not require their presence on the field at that time, the former being acting commissary of subsistence, and the latter regimental quartermaster."


1. New York State Military Museum. Photo, Lieutenant Schenck

2.The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of of the records of the Union and Confederate Armies; Series 1, Volume 19 (part 1), pg. 232.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

"The sight of the field after the battle is more horrible then the battle itself..."

The following letter was written by John M. Lovejoy. He enlisted in the army in August 1862 in Company G of the 121st New York Volunteer Infantry. He was only 19 years old and his first taste of battle came during the fight at Crampton's Gap. Fortunately, Lovejoy's regiment remained in reserve during the battle but, Lovejoy writes about what he witnessed as the 6th Corps attacked up the slopes of the mountain. He also writes, rather graphically, about what he witnessed as his regiment moved up to the Crampton's Gap to occupy the gap and bury the dead. Following the battle, he would serve as an orderly tending to wounded of both sides in Burkittsville. He would rise to the rank of Corporal before being mustered out with his company in June 1865. 

Headquarters of the 121 Regt. NY Vol.
Battlefield near Burkittsville, Maryland

My dear Cousins and friends,

It is with strange feeling but yet a feeling of gratitude that I now attempt to write to you about one half hour ago, the 2nd lieutenant came in with letters for the company. On having heart leaped with joy when I heard my name called now I must write in short all that will interest you. One week ago yesterday we took up the lines of march to join the division. We joined Slocum's. We belong to [Franchot's] Reg., Bartlett's Brigade, Slocum's Division, Franklin's Corps. Yesterday morning (Sunday), we were near at three o'clock. At five, we were in line for march. We had not marched more than 2 1/2 miles when the booming of artillery told us that we were engaging the enemy about Harpers Ferry. We marched on til noon when we halted in a field in front of the Village of Jefferson. About [two] hours had passed in sight of artillery firing when were were ordered forward. We moved across the fields instead of roads and cornfields and ridges when we were halted in a ravine between the mountain and our batterys. Our men fired a gun to draw the [attention] of the rebels while were were moving down the gulf the rebels returned the fire. The shells falling over our heads about fifteen feet. I must confess that I dazed when the shells passed whistling like fury. When we got in the ravine, we found about five thousand men drawn up in line ready to march at a moments warning. About three o'clock, all the forces except out reg. were called upon to march to the field. We were held in reserve. Our boys marched boldly across the plain under such a volley of grape, canister, and shell. The hill the rebels held was as steep as that south of you house. The rebels had their batteries planted in a road out through the wood about half way up the hill. Our forces marched up to the face of the hill under the fire of their infantry and artillery when they returned a few rounds. When Gen. Slocum ordered to charge . . . they sent up such chants that they could be heard at a great distance. They charged on heeding not the fire of the rebels. The rebels stood their ground bravely until our forces got quite close to them when they turned and ran. I can tell you the way they skedaddled was a . . . . The pinch for me came next morning to see the dead and dying and wounded soldiers, the greater part of them shot through the head. I saw at least 100 dead rebels. In some places they lay so thick that one could not move without treading on them. You can't imagine the [sounds] of the wounded and dying with dead and dying all around you. I'm sure as for one, I should rather be killed out right. I saw [a] poor fellow killed who had been shot through the leg. He had rolled up his pants, put tobacco on the wound, and had kept it dry when another bullet took him through the head scattering his brains in all directions. I saw one poor rebel die. At times he prayed, at times he saw. He cursed the yankee who had given him his death wound. The sight of the field after the battle is more horrible then the battle itself but, enough of this. The loss of the rebels were three hundred killed and wounded to seven hundred prisoners. Our loss was about one hundred killed and wounded and no prisoners. One word from your friend to David, Jonathan should enlist, stay at home . . . and to when you can enjoy yourself. Any man can be patriotic at home but when his belly is empty, his patriotism is all gone. Some times on our march, we did not draw rations. . . . If my life is spared, I shall be with you by another fall. Enjoy yourself as well as you can, but I must close. Good bye from you cousin and friend John M. Lovejoy.

Friday, December 9, 2011

"Their dead lay in piles all over the field and in the woods in every direction."

The following is an account of the battle written by an unknown soldier of the 23rd Ohio. The 23rd Ohio was part of Scammon's Brigade and was the regiment that initiated contact with Samuel Garland's Confederates on the morning of the 14th of September near Fox's Gap. This article was published in the Western Reserve Chronicle of Warren, Ohio on October 8, 1862.

From the Twenty Third
Near Sharpsburg, MD., Sept. 21

Long before this you have probably received accounts of the great battle fought on Sunday, the 14th, but I will send such minor details as came under my own observation. On the 12th Gen. Cox drove the rebels from Frederick City, and immediately followed them up, having a small battle on the 13th near Middletown, which place we occupied the same evening. 

Early on Sunday morning our artillery was moved up to the front of the rebel force and commenced a heavy cannonading which was replied to with spirit by the enemy. They were advantageously posed near the ridge of what is call South Mountain or Middleton Heights. What their force was we have no means of knowing, but that it was superior to ours we have every reason to believe. 

General Cox's Division was in Reno's corps holding the left, and the first brigade, composed of the 12th, 23d, and 30th Ohio regiments, the extreme left of the division. This brigade, under command of Col. E.P. Scammon, was sent up the side of the mountain through a dense undergrowth of red cedar to outflank the enemy on the left. Cos. A and F. of the 23d. were deployed as skirmishers to scour the woods in advance of the column. The rebel pickets were captured near the foot of the mountain without making any resistance. When near the summit of the mountain, small detachments of rebels were seen through the underbrush, some of which were captured. At the edge of the forest, and on the ridge of the mountain, was a stonewall with a cornfield beyond. As soon as this was reached a hot fire was opened upon us by the rebels, when the column, headed by the 23d, charged over the stonewall into the corn field, where lay a whole division of the rebel forces. The conflict at this moment was terrible, but of short duration. Our loss was heave and that of the rebels immense. Both parties fell back to rally--ours to the woods just left and the enemy across an open field to another slight elevation. The column was formed again and led into the open field under fire of the rebels, where we laid flat on the ground on the ground, fixed bayonets and prepared for another charge. Previous to this, Col. Hayes of the 23d, was severely wounded in the arm, but he retained command until he was too faint to stand, when Major Comly took charge of the regiment.

We lay on the side hill waiting with breathless anxiety the word, and when "Charge them with the bayonet" ran along the line, the brigade rose as one man, sent up a shout that seemed to shake the mountain, and rushed upon the enemy. The had every advantage of us. Part of the line had to go over a wall, and the whole line of the rebels was sheltered either by walls or piles of stone. We were meet with a terrible reception, but the rebels could not stand the impetuosity of our men, and broke through the woods in all directions. We followed them close and pouring volley after volley into their rear. Their dead lay in piles all over the field and in the woods in every direction. By singular coincidence the 12th Ohio met the 12th North Carolina and the 23d Ohio met the 23d North Carolina. We took a number of prisoners who said that they never saw such a furious onset before, and that it was the first time their regiment ever gave away. They also stated that the force we met was a whole division of five brigaes- the whole of which we drove with three regiments. Other troops laying in sight of us said tha tin the whole war they had not seen a charge that would compare with ours for impetuosity and the results--not even on the Peninsula where some of the most brilliant charges on record were made. While the fight was raging on the left in the manner I have described the artillery held, and finally drove them in front, assisted by Pennsylvania and other troops. 

The rebels charged on our batteries which opened upon them with grape and canister, mowing them down by scores at every discharge. The day was finally decided in our favor and the enemy driven entirely from the mountain. Our loss was heavy, but that of the rebels was full five to our one. The left their dead on the field and our men collected and buried over one thousand of their dead. The greater part of their wounded seemed to have been carried from the field when they retreated, so we do not know their loss; but following the usual ration of the wounded to killed their loss could not have been less than five or six thousand. A great number of their killed wire in the woods, and it is more than probable that many of them not found. 

During the day Gen. Reno was killed and the command developed upon Gen. Cox, Col. Scammon taking command of the Division, and Col. Ewing of the 30th Ohio, of the 1st brigade. As soldiers we were proud of the day's work and proud of our officers. Wherever Col. Scammon will take the brigade and Major Comly the 23d, there we will follow confident of success. 

Other regiments fought well and deserve great praise which I would cheerfully give if I knew their State and no, I have seen several accounts of the battle given by Eastern correspondents, some of whom totally ignored the fact that the Ohio troops fought at all, much less the principal part of the battle. Our entire army followed close at the heels of the retreating enemy, and the next day established its lines some six miles in advance of the battle ground. 


Library of Congress. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. " Western Reserve Chronicle: Warren, Ohio; October 8, 1862". article.

Monday, December 5, 2011

"Fire was soon opened up along the entire front. . ."

Major Cabell, circa 1865
The following is the after-action report of Major George C. Cabell of the 18th Virginia. A lawyer in the years before the war, Cabell found himself enlisting at the outbreak to defend his home against what he saw as the northern aggressor. By the time the Confederate army entered Maryland, he was holding the rank of major and in command of the 18th Virginia of Brigadier General Richard Garnett's brigade. Cabell would lead his regiment, 120 men strong, into the fray in the Confederate attempt to stop the Union tide rolling up the Confederate left near the Frostown Gap. His regiment would suffer in the attempt losing 41 men killed, wounded, and missing.

October 14, 1862

General Garnett's Assistant Adjutant-General.

Captain: About 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 14, the Eighteenth Virginia Regiment, about 120 strong, under my command, after a rapid and fatiguing march from Hagerstown, was directed to a position a little north of the gap in South Mountain, near Boonsborough, Md. We were not fairly in position before the enemy's skirmishers were seen not far off and to their rear, their line of battle approaching. Fire was soon opened up along the entire front of the Eighteenth Regiment, when the skirmishers retired,  and soon the main body of the enemy fell back a short distance, sheltering themselves behind trees, rocks, etc, and opened a heavy fire upon us, which was replied to with spirit and vigor for some time. 

After some three-quarters of an hour, word was brought the regiments on our left had fallen back, and that the left of the Eighteenth was wavering. I at once repaired to the left of the regiment and aided in restoring comparatively good order, but soon after the order came along the lines to fall back, which was done, halting in a ravine about 100 yards to the rear of the position we had just left. Here the regiment was reformed. General Garnett did not approve of this last position, so he ordered the regiment to the edge of the wood and across a fence some 200 yards distant. In going to this position, the ground being uneven, and covered with bushes and briars, the regiment became a good deal scattered. As many of the regiment as could be, were collected, and, together with Captains Claibourne and Oliver, I marched them forward and took position on the left of Jenkins' Brigade, which had just come up, and again engaged the enemy, the men fighting bravely. In some twenty-five or thirty minutes information was brought the General Garnett's brigade was ordered to retire. The men were then withdrawn, and, together with General Garnett, who was upon our left, retired from the field. 

It is but just to say that the regiment was very much exhausted when it went into the fight, having marched in quick time from Hagerstown and around the mountain some 4 or 5 miles, and therefore fought under disadvantages. It nevertheless did good and effective fighting, and, had it been supported on the left, would have maintained its ground throughout the entire fight. 

There were only seven officers besides myself with the regiment, and three companies were commanded by second sergeants. 

The regiment lost 7 killed, 27 wounded, and 7 missing, a report which has already been forwarded. 

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Geo. C. Cabell,
Major, Commanding Eighteenth Virginia Regiment


The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of of the records of the Union and Confederate Armies; Series 1, Volume 19 (part 1), pgs. 899-901.