await the advance of General McClellan
At the same time he detached a portion of his force, amounting to twenty-five thousand men, and sent them, under command of General Jackson
, to Harper's Ferry
, by the Williamsport
On the 13th, the rear-guard of the enemy's army was found in strong position at Turner's Gap of the South Mountain
, over which the main road from Frederick
is carried; and preparations were made for an attack the next morning.
The position of the Confederates
was very strong on the sides and summit of the mountain, both to the right and left of the gap. The battle began on the morning of the 14th, but was some hours merely an artillery duel, with no very decisive results, though, on the whole, with gain to our side.
At three, our line of battle was formed, and orders were given to move the whole forward, and take or silence the enemy's batteries.
They were executed with enthusiasm and complete success.
Our right, centre, and left advanced simultaneously towards the enemy, unbroken by a fire from two pieces of cannon which played upon our columns for upwards of an hour before they were silenced by our batteries.
The right wing, where General Hooker
was in command, was first engaged, and the left followed at no long interval.
The tactics and order of battle were simple, and substantially the same all along the line.
Steadily, without pause or wavering, our gallant troops pressed up the slope, and delivered heavy volleys of musketry as they came within range.
It was for some time a hot and steady fight