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Doc. 119.-battle of South-Mountain, Va.

Despatches from General McClellan.

headquarters of the army of the Potomac, three miles beyond Middletown, Sunday, Sept. 14-9.40 P. M.
H. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief:
after a very severe engagement, the corps of General Hooker and General Reno have carried the heights commanding the Hagerstown road by storm. The troops behaved magnificently — they never fought better.

General Franklin has been hotly engaged on the extreme left. I do not yet know the result, except that the firing indicated progress on his part.

The action continued until after dark, and terminated, leaving us in possession of the entire crest.

It has been a glorious victory. I cannot yet tell whether the enemy will retreat during the night, or appear in increased force during the morning.

I regret to add that the gallant and able Gen. Reno is killed.

George B. Mcclellan, Major-General.

headquarters army of the Potomac, Sept. 15, 1862-3 o'clock A. M.
Major-General H. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief:
I am happy to inform you that General Franklin's success on the left was as complete as that on the centre and right, and resulted in his getting possession of the Gap, after a severe engagement in all parts of the line. The troops, old and new, behaved with the utmost steadiness and gallantry, carrying, with but little assistance from our own artillery, very strong positions defended by artillery and infantry. I do not think our loss very severe. The corps of Generals D. H. Hill and Longstreet were engaged with our right.

We have taken a considerable number of prisoners.

The enemy disappeared during the night. Our troops are now advancing in pursuit. I do not know where he will next be found.

George B. McClellan, Major-General Commanding

headquarters of the army of the Potomac, Sept. 15, 1862-8 o'clock A. M.
Henry W. Halleck, General-in-Chief:
I have just learned from General Hooker, in the advance, who states that the information is perfectly reliable, that the enemy is making for the river in a perfect panic, and General Lee stated last night, publicly, that he must admit they had been shockingly whipped. I am hurrying every thing forward to endeavor to press their retreat to the utmost.


headquarters army of the Potomac, Bolivar, Sept. 15-10 A. M.
To H. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief:
Information this moment received, completely confirms the rout and demoralization of the rebel army.

General Lee is reported wounded, and Garland killed.

General Hooker, alone, has over a thousand more prisoners, seven hundred having been sent to Frederick. It is stated that Lee gives his loss as fifteen thousand. We are following as rapidly as the men can move.

George B. McClellan, Major-General.

General Doubleday's report.

headquarters First division, First army corps, near Sharpsburgh, Va., Sept. 28, 1862.
Major: I have the honor to report that this division left the Monocacy at six A. M., September fourteenth, and arrived at the Catoctin about half-past 12 P. M. Here the column halted until half-past 2 P. M., when Brig.-Gen. Hatch assumed the command in place of General King, who was assigned to other duty.

The enemy's position was on the summit of South-Mountain. To avoid the fire of his batteries, the division was diverged from the main road, and struck off in a by-road to the right, which led to a stone church at the foot of the Mountain, where we found Gen. Hooker and his staff. The division at this time consisted of Doubleday's, Patrick's, and Phelps's (late Hatch's) brigades, General Gibbon having been detached with his brigade on special service.

The general order of battle was for two regiments of Patrick's brigade to precede the main body, deployed as skirmishers, and supported by Patrick's two remaining regiments; these to be followed by Phelps's brigade two hundred paces in the rear, and this in turn by Doubleday's brigade, with the same interval. In accordance with this disposition, Gen. Patrick deployed the Twenty-first New-York, under Colonel Rogers, as skirmishers on the right, and the Thirty-fifth New-York, under Col. Lord, on the left, supporting the former with the Twentieth New-York, Col. Gates, and the latter with the Twenty-third New-York, Col. Hoffman. By Gen. Hatch's order, Phelps's brigade advanced in column of divisions at half distance, preserving the intervals of deployment. My brigade advanced in the same order. On reaching a road part-way up the mountain, and parallel to its summit, each brigade deployed in turn and advanced in line of battle. Col. Phelps's brigade, owing to an accidental opening, proceeded for a while in line of skirmishers, but soon halted and advanced in line some thirty paces in the rear. Gen. Patrick rode to the front with his skirmishers, drew the fire of the enemy, and developed their position. They lay behind a fence on the summit, running north and south, fronted by woods and backed by a corn-field full of rocky ledges.

Col. Phelps now ordered his men to advance, and Gen. Hatch rode through the lines, pressing them forward. They went in with a cheer, poured in a deadly fire and drove the enemy from his position behind the fence, after a sharp and desperate conflict, and took post some yards beyond. Here Gen. Hatch was wounded, and turned over the command to me, and as, during the action, Col. Wainwright, Seventy-sixth New-York volunteers, was also wounded, the command of my brigade subsequently devolved upon Lieut.-Col. Hoffman, Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania volunteers.

Phelps's brigade being few in number and having suffered severely, I relieved them just at dusk with my brigade, reduced by former engagements to about a thousand men, who took position beyond the fence referred to, the enemy being in heavy force some thirty or forty paces in our front. They pressed heavily upon us, attempting to charge at the least cessation of our fire. At last I ordered the troops to cease firing and lie down behind the fence, and allowed the enemy to charge within about fifteen paces, apparently under the impression that we had given way. Then, at the word, my men sprang to their feet and poured in a deadly volley, from which the enemy fled in disorder, leaving their dead within thirty feet of our line. I learned from a wounded prisoner that we were engaged with four thousand to five thousand, under the immediate command of Gen. Picket, with heavy masses in their vicinity. He stated, also, that Longstreet in vain tried to rally the men, calling them his pets, and using every effort to induce them to renew the attack.

The firing on both sides still continued, my men aiming at the flashes of the enemy's muskets, as it was too dark to see objects distinctly, until our cartridges were reduced to two or three rounds. Gen. Ricketts now came from the right, and voluntarily relieved my men at the fence, who fell back some ten paces, and lay down on their arms. A few volleys from Ricketts ended the contest in about thirty minutes, and the enemy withdrew from the field. Not, however, until an attempt to flank us on our left, which was gallantly met by a partial change of front of the Seventy-sixth New-York, under Col. Wainwright, and the Seventh Indiana, under Major Grover. In this attempt the enemy lost heavily, and were compelled to retreat in disorder.

While the main attack was going on at the fence referred to, Col. Rogers, with his own, and Lieut.-Col. Gates's regiments — the Twentieth and Twenty-first New-York volunteers, of Patrick's brigade — rendered most essential service by advancing his right and holding a fence bounding the north-east side of the same corn-field, anticipating the enemy, who made a furious rush to seize this fence, but were driven back. Colonel Rogers was thus enabled to take the enemy in flank, and also to pick off their cannoneers and silence a battery which was on their right and behind their main body.

Our men remained in position all night, sleeping on their arms, and ready for any attack, but with the dawn it was discovered that the enemy had fled, leaving large numbers of dead and [434] wounded. Among the former was Colonel J. B. Strange, of the Nineteenth Virginia, and some other officers whose names I am unable to report.

I desire to mention in terms of just commendation Gen. Patrick, whose long experience and cool bravery were never better attested; Colonel Phelps, commanding Hatch's brigade, and Col. Wainwright and Lieut.-Col. Hoffman, commanding in turn my own brigade. Their gallantry and good conduct did much toward winning the victory.

I desire, also, to mention Capt. E. P. Halsted, A. A.G., and Lieut. B. F. Marten, A. D.C., who carried my orders faithfully into the thickest of the fight, and who each spent several hours in the night in the difficult and dangerous task of verifying the enemy's position; also, Capt. George F. Noys, C. S., who stood upon the fence during the hottest of the fire, cheering on the men, and otherwise rendering me valuable assistance.

I enclose herewith a tabular statement of the killed and wounded. I am, Major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. Doubleday, Brigadier-General Volunteers, Commanding Division. Major Jos. Dickenson, A. A.G.

Report of General Cox.

headquarters Kanawha division, Ninth army corps, Sept. 20, 1862.
Lieutenant-Colonel L. Richmond, A. A.G., General Burnside's Headquarters, Right Wing Army of the Potomac:
sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Kanawha division, Ninth army corps, Major-General Burnside commanding, in the battle of South-Mountain:

At six o'clock on the morning of September fourteenth, the division marched from Middletown, under an order received by me from Major-Gen. Reno, directing me to support with my division the advance of Gen. Pleasanton, who, with his brigade of cavalry and artillery, was moving up the Hagerstown turnpike, toward the positions of the enemy in the pass of South-Mountain.

The First brigade of the division, Colonel E. P. Scammon commanding, consisting of the Twelfth, Twenty-third, and Thirtieth Ohio regiments, and McMullin's Ohio battery, was ordered to proceed by the Boonsboro road, running to the left of the Hagerstown turnpike, and to feel the enemy, ascertaining whether the crest of South-Mountain on that side was held by any considerable force. The Second brigade, Colonel Crook commanding, consisting of the Eleventh, Twenty-eighth, and Thirty-sixth Ohio regiments, and Simmons's battery, with Schambeck's cavalry troop, was ordered to follow on the same road, to support the First brigade.

It soon became evident the enemy held the crest in considerable force, and the whole division was ordered to advance to the assault of the position, word being received from Major-General Reno that the column would be supported by the whole corps. Two twenty-pounder Parrott guns from Simmons's battery and two sections of McMullin's battery were left in rear in position near the turnpike, where they were most efficiently served during the action, in opposition to the enemy's guns, in the centre of the line along the Hagerstown road.

The First brigade being in advance, the Twenty-third Ohio regiment, Lieut.-Col. R. B. Hayes commanding, was deployed to our left and ordered to move through the woods to the left of the road, and up to the crest of the mountain, gaining, if possible, the enemy's right, so as to turn it and attack. his flank. The Twelfth Ohio regiment, Col. Carr B. White commanding, occupied the centre of the line, and the Thirtieth Ohio regiment, Col. Hugh Ewing commanding, was on the right.

The Second brigade marched in column of reserve, and within supporting distance. The whole line in advancing was well covered with skirmishers, whose duty was very effectively performed.

The Twenty-third Ohio, having reached the crest on the left, established itself there in spite of a most vigorous resistance on the part of the enemy. On the right the Thirtieth Ohio also succeeded in reaching the top of the slope, in the face of showers of canister and spherical case from a battery of the enemy commanding that part of the line. A section of McMullin's battery was immediately advanced to the front, and opened an effective fire upon the enemy, but its position was necessarily so near the enemy's infantry as to be greatly exposed, and after losing Lieut. Croome, commanding the section, and the wounding of six gunners of the section, it was withdrawn, having rendered good service, however, in enabling the infantry to gain tenable positions along the ridge.

In the centre of the line the Twelfth Ohio was obliged to advance several hundred yards over open pasture-ground, under a most galling fire from the edge of the wood which crowned the slope, and behind stone fences. The skirmishers of the regiment, advancing with admirable courage and firmness, drove in those of the enemy, and the regiment, with loud hurrahs, charged up the slope with the bayonet. The rebels stood firmly, and kept up a murderous fire until the advancing line was within a few feet of them, when they broke and fled over the crest into the shelter of a dense thicket, skirting the other side.

The Eleventh Ohio, of the Second brigade, was now sent to support the left, and formed on the left of the Twenty-third. The enemy made several attempts to retake the crest, advancing with great obstinacy and boldness. In the centre they were at one time partially successful, but the Thirty-sixth Ohio, of the Second brigade, was brought forward, and, with the Twelfth, drove them back by a most dashing and spirited charge.

The whole crest was now held by our troops as follows: The left by the Eleventh and Twenty-third Ohio; the centre by the Twelfth Ohio, supported by the Thirty-sixth, formed in line in reserve, and the right by the Twenty eighth and Thirtieth. Two ten-pounder Parrotts of Simmons's [435] battery, under Lieut. Glassie, were pushed forward to an open spot in the woods, and supported by the infantry, did good service throughout the rest of the action. The enemy withdrew their battery to a new position upon a ridge, more to the front and right, forming their infantry in support, and moving columns toward both our flanks.

Such was the situation about noon, when a lull occurred in the contest, which lasted some two hours, during which our supports from the remainder of the corps were arriving and taking position.

General Wilcox's division being first to arrive, took position on the right, sending one regiment, however, to the extreme left, which was threatened to be turned by a column of the enemy which moved in that direction.

Gen. Sturgis arriving subsequently, supported Gen. Wilcox, and Gen. Rodman's was divided, Col. Fairchild's brigade being posted on the extreme left, and Col. Harlan's (under Gen. Rodman's personal supervision) being placed on the right.

While these supports were arriving the enemy made several vigorous efforts to regain the crest, directing their efforts chiefly upon our right, which was exposed not only to the fire in front, but to the batteries on the opposite side of the gorge beyond our right, through which the Hagerstown turnpike runs.

About four o'clock P. M. most of the reenforcements being in position, the order was received to advance the whole line and take or silence the enemy's batteries, immediately in front. The order was immediately obeyed, and the advance was made with the utmost enthusiasm. The enemy made a desperate resistance, charging our advancing lines with fierceness, but they were every — where routed and fled with precipitation. In this advance the chief loss fell upon the division of Gen. Wilcox, which was most exposed, being on the right as I have said above, but it gallantly overcame all obstacles, and the success was complete along the whole line of the corps. The battery of the enemy was found to be across a gorge and beyond reach of our infantry, but its position was made untenable and it was hastily removed and not again put in position near us.

Gen. Sturgis's division was now moved forward to the front of Gen. Wilcox's position, occupying the new ground gained on the further side of the slope. About dark a brisk attack was made by the enemy upon the extreme left, but was quickly repulsed by Col. Fairchild's brigade of Gen. Rodman's division, with little loss.

About seven o'clock still another effort to regain the lost ground was made by the rebels in front of the position of General Sturgis's division, and part of the Kanawha division. This attack was more persistent, and a very lively fire was kept up for about an hour, but they were again repulsed, and under cover of the night retreated in mass from our entire front. Just before sunset Major-Gen. Reno was killed, while making a reconnoissance at the front, and by this lamentable occurrence the undersigned was left in command of the corps.

Early in the engagement Lieut.-Colonel R. B. Hayes, commanding the Twenty-third Ohio, was severely wounded in the arm whilst leading his regiment forward. He refused to leave the field for some time, however, till weakness from loss of blood compelled him.

Major E. M. Carey of the Twelfth Ohio, was shot through the thigh late in the action, in which he had greatly distinguished himself by his gallantry and cool courage.

Captains Skiles and Hunter, and Lieutenants Hood, Smith, Naughton and Ritter of the Twenty-third Ohio, and Captains Liggett and Wilson of the Twelfth Ohio, were also wounded in the engagement.

Lieut. Croome, commanding a section of McMullin's battery, was killed whilst serving a piece in the place of the gunner who had been killed.

In the Kanawha division the casualties were five hundred and twenty-eight, of which one hundred and six were killed, three hundred and thirty-six wounded, and eighty-six missing, of all of which a full list will be immediately forwarded.

I take pleasure in calling attention to the gallantry and efficiency displayed in the action by Colonels Scammon and Crooks, commanding the brigades of the division. The manner in which their commands were handled reflected great credit on them, and entitles them to the highest praise.

I beg leave, also, to mention my indebtedness to Capt. E. P. Fitch, Capt. G. M. Barcom, and Lieuts. J. W. Conine and S. L. Christie, of my personal staff, for the devotion and courage displayed by them in the laborious and hazardous duties of the day; also to Brigade-Surgeon W. W. Holmes, medical director of the division, for his tireless activity and efficiency in his department.

The conduct of both officers and men was every thing that could be desired, and every one seemed stimulated by the determination not to be excelled in any soldierly quality.

I cannot close this report without speaking of the meritorious conduct of First Lieut. H. Belcher, of the Eighth Michigan, a regiment belonging to another division. His regiment having suffered severely on the right, and being partly thrown into confusion, he rallied about one hundred men and led them up to the front. Being separated from the brigade to which he belonged, he reported to me for duty, and asked a position where he might be of use till his proper place could be ascertained. He was assigned a post on the left and subsequently in support of the advanced section of Simmons's battery, in both of which places he and his men performed their duty admirably, and after the repulse of the enemy in the evening, he carried his command to their proper brigade.

About six hundred prisoners were taken by the Kanawha division, and sent to Middletown, under guard. The losses of the enemy in our immediate [436] front were not definitely ascertained, but it is known they very greatly exceeded our own.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

J. D. Cox, Brig.-General, Commanding Kanawha Division.

Report of Colonel Meredith.

Gibbon's brigade headquarters, camp near Sharpsburgh, Md., September 20, 1862.
Hon. O. P. Morton, Governor of Indiana:
dear sir: I most respectfully submit to you the following report of the part taken by the Nineteenth Indiana volunteers in the battle of the fourteenth instant, at South-Mountain. On the evening of the thirteenth we encamped two miles south-east from Frederick, Md. We left camp soon after sun up, marched through Frederick, took the road toward Hagerstown and marched twelve miles. On arriving near South-Mountain it was ascertained that the enemy was in force on the mountain and in the pass. I was ordered to form a line of battle about three o'clock P. M., which was done on the hill facing the mountain, and remained there until about five o'clock, when we were ordered to go forward. We went forward in line of battle on the left of the pike leading through the pass, supported by the Second Wisconsin, two companies of which, commanded by Capt. Caldwell, had been deployed as skirmishers. I also employed company B, Capt. Dudley, as flankers, to protect our left flank.

We moved slowly and cautiously, but steadily forward. The skirmishers were soon fired on, but pressed forward with caution. On arriving near a house on our extreme left, surrounded on the south-west and north by timber, I discovered a large number of the enemy in and around the house. They had been annoying us as well as the skirmishers, by firing from the house and out-houses, also from the woods near the house. I ordered Lieut. Stewart, who commanded a section of battery B, Fourth artillery, to come forward and open fire upon the house. He moved forward his section of two pieces and threw several splendid shots, the first of which took effect in the upper story, causing a general stampede of their forces from that point, enabling us to go forward more rapidly and with less loss from their sharp-shooters. Their skirmishers opened a sharp fire upon ours, which made it necessary for us to push forward. We then opened fire on the enemy at short-range, who were concealed in part under a fence. The fire became general on both sides. The Nineteenth gave a shout and pressed forward, continued a steady step forward, cheering all the time. It was a most magnificent sight to see the boys of the Nineteenth going forward, crowding the enemy, cheering as they pressed on. After driving the enemy about three quarters of a mile, I discovered a stone fence in front, which the enemy had fallen back to; at that point they were annoying us very much. I then ordered Capt. Clark, company G, to wheel his company to the left and move by the right flank until he could command the line of battle lying directly behind the stone fence. They then opened a flank fire upon the enemy, causing them to retreat precipitately, which gave us an opportunity of pouring upon them a raking fire as they retreated. Capt. Clark here took eleven prisoners, one major, one captain, and one lieutenant amongst them. The firing then ceased in front of us. The Second Wisconsin came to our support promptly as soon as the firing became general, and stood by the Nineteenth until the enemy fled over the mountains.

After the firing ceased in front we discovered that the enemy, who was concealed behind a stone fence on the right of the pike in front of the Seventh Wisconsin, annoyed them by a deadly fire behind their breastworks. Col. Fairchilds, commanding the Second Wisconsin, wheeled the left wing of his regiment and opened an enfilading fire upon the enemy. After exhausting their ammunition he withdrew them and ordered up his right wing to take their place, in which position they remained until they exhausted their ammunition, when they were withdrawn. I then took forward my regiment and occupied the same position, and continued an enfilading fire upon the enemy, who soon fell back from their strong position. The Wisconsin and Indiana boys gave three hearty cheers as the fate of the day was thus decided. It was then after nine o'clock at night, and pursuit being considered dangerous, we lay down on our arms, holding the battle-field. Small detachments of my command were now engaged in bringing in wounded prisoners. We held the field until about twelve o'clock, when we were relieved by fresh troops.

The losses in the Nineteenth regiment were nine killed, thirty-seven wounded, and seven missing, making an aggregate of fifty-three.

It was a glorious victory on the part of Gen. Gibbon's brigade, driving the enemy from their strong position in the mountain gorge. The boys of the Nineteenth Indiana behaved most gloriously. Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon them for their courage and gallantry. The officers all were active in the discharge of their duties. Lieut.-Col. Bachman was very efficient on the occasion, rendering me important service.

Capt. Hart, of company H, and Lieut. Rariden, of company F, were wounded in the leg.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. Meredith, Colonel Nineteenth Indiana Volunteers.

Colonel Torbert's order.

Soldiers of the First New-Jersey Brigade: The fourteenth day of September, 1862, is long to be remembered, for on that day you daringly met and drove the enemy from every point. Your advance in line of battle under a galling fire of artillery, and final bayonet-charge, was a feat seldom if ever surpassed. The heights you took show plainly what determined and well-disciplined soldiers can do. You have sustained the reputation of your State, and done great credit to your officers and yourselves. While we lament [437] the death of our brave comrades, who have fallen so gloriously, we can only commend their souls to God, and their sorrowing friends to his sure protection. May you go on from victory to victory, is the hope of the Colonel commanding the brigade.

A. T. A. Torbert, Colonel First New-Jersey Volunteers, Commanding First Brigade.

General Burnside's order on the death of General Reno.

headquarters of Ninth army corps, Mouth of Antietam, Md., September 20.
General order no. 17.

The Commanding General announces to the corps the loss of their late leader, Major-General Jesse L. Reno. By the death of this distinguished officer the country loses one of its most devoted patriots, the army one of its most thorough soldiers. In the long list of battles in which Gen. Reno has fought in his country's service his name always appears with the brightest lustre, and he has now bravely met a soldier's death while gallantly leading his men at the battle of South-Mountain.

For his high character and the kindly qualities of his heart in private life, as well as for the military genius and personal daring which marked him as a soldier, his loss will be deplored by all who knew him, and the Commanding General desires to add the tribute of a friend to the public mourning for the death of one of the country's best defenders.

By command of Major-General Burnside.

Lewis Richmond, Assistant Adjutant-General.

New-York times account.

on the battle-field, Sunday Night, Sept. 14, 1862.
Although the battle of to-day was of long duration, still it was not so sanguinary, considering the forces engaged, as a spectator would at first be inclined to suppose. Our loss in killed and wounded will not probably exceed two thousand, and that I judge to be a high estimate. Since Gen. Pleasanton's brigade of cavalry advanced from Rockville, we have had skirmishes daily along the route. During those skirmishes the enemy's force consisted of about two regiments of cavalry and two or three pieces of artillery. On Saturday, however, more regiments of cavalry were added, making a force equal, if not superior, to our own.

The force that opposed our advance until to-day was the rear-guard of the enemy, and the battle-ground of yesterday was evidently selected with a view of staying our further progress.

The rebel position was on the sides and summit of the Blue Ridge Mountains on each side of the Gap, known as Frog Gap, through which the main road on the turnpike from Middletown to Hagerstown passes. The Gap is distant from Middletown about three miles, and from Frederick twelve miles. Boonsborough, the next important town to Middletown on the turnpike, is two miles from the Gap, on the other side of the mountains. The mountains in the vicinity of the Gap are steep and rugged, and rendered difficult to ascend unless by the ordinary thorough-fares, on account of numerous ledges and loose rocks which afford no permanent foothold. From base to top they are covered with a thick wood, thereby giving protection to the party in possession, and making the progress of the attacking force doubly hazardous. Bolivar, a village boasting of six or eight dwellings, is situated on the main road, between Middletown and the Gap, and about one and a half miles from the latter place. At Bolivar, a road branches off from each side of the main road, the two roads taking a circuitous course to the mountains, and gradually ascending them, join the main road again at the Gap.

The early position of the Union army, or where the line of battle was first formed, was on a piece of rising ground on the right and left of the main road between Bolivar and the mountains. As the day advanced and our forces moved forward, the position was changed, but never for the better. The nearer we approached the mountains, the more successfully could the enemy bring his artillery to bear on our columns. No matter what position we held, the Blue Ridge Mountains commanded that position. It will be observed at once, that the enemy had a formidable ground of defence, and nothing but undaunted courage wrested it from him.

The first division to enter the field on our side was Cox's, of Reno's corps. Next came the Pennsylvania reserve corps, Ricketts's and King's divisions, under command of the gallant and brave Hooker. We had batteries stationed on both wings, but at no one time were there over ten or twelve pieces in practice.

The enemy's force is supposed to have amounted to about forty thousand men. He probably used twelve pieces of cannon. The forces of General Longstreet and D. H. Hill were engaged.

The battle commenced with artillery at seven A. M., Robertson's United States battery of four light field-pieces firing the first shot. This battery was stationed about six hundred yards to the left of the turnpike, the fire being directed at no particular place, but with a view of shelling the woods generally, so as to draw a reply from the rebels. The firing was continued for over an hour, but the enemy did not respond until Cox's division appeared in the main road, advancing to take a position. Two pieces stationed in the Gap were then opened upon the column. The troops, however, turned into a field at the left of the road, and got out of harm's way before any injuries were effected. Here they remained in line of battle for an hour and a half. In the mean time the enemy's position having been discovered, Robertson directed the fire of his pieces to the Gap. Soon after, the rebels opened another battery at the right of the Gap, and subsequently still another battery at the left. It was then evident that the rebels intended to make a vigorous stand on the mountain. Since the preceding day they had brought up extra pieces of cannon, for, as before stated, they had used but three, at the most, in the skirmishes [438] during the week. The enemy was now firing from nine pieces; consequently, to make a vigorous reply, Hayne's U. S. battery of six pieces moved up to the left to the assistance of Robertson.

A heavy cannonading then ensued, but, as usual in artillery duels, little damage was effected on either side. At ten A. M. the enemy withdrew his pieces on the left and right of the Gap, and worked principally with those in the Gap. A half an hour later all of the enemy's guns were silent, but upon the moving of Cox's division soon after to the edge of the woods on the side of the mountain at the left, the rebels again produced their pieces at the right of the Gap. Cook's Massachusetts battery of six pieces was now brought up to the support of Robertson's, and a concentrating fire was poured into the Gap, many of the shells bursting directly over the rebel guns. At first the enemy threw solid shot, but after a while changed his projectile to shell.

Three times during the day the rebels were forced to change the position of their pieces, and late in the afternoon their guns were silent altogether.

By eleven o'clock Cox's division had arrived at the woods, and a few minutes later had entered for the purpose of getting round the enemy's right.

At this juncture Generals McClellan and Burnside, with their staffs, rode upon the field, where they remained during the continuance of the battle.

Cook's battery took a favorable position for shelling the woods in advance of the division, but had hardly got to work when the rebels fired a tremendous volley of musketry at the cannoneers. This was repeated several times in quick succession, until at length the cannoneers abandoned their pieces, and ran to the rear, leaving four or five of their comrades dead upon the ground. The drivers of the caissons also partook of the panic, and dashed headlong through the ranks of Cox's division, which was drawn up in line of battle a few yards to the rear. Two companies of a cavalry regiment, which were supporting the battery, also galloped through the line of infantry, thus leaving four pieces of artillery (the other two having been detached to another part of the field) to fall into the hands of the enemy. The event caused temporary, and only temporary confusion among the troops. They quickly straightened the line and prepared to resist a demonstration observable on the part of the enemy to seize the abandoned pieces. The rebels march forward to secure their anticipated prize, and at the same moment the Twenty-third Ohio and One Hundredth Pennsylvania regiments advanced in splendid order to repulse them. The rebels had approached to within about ten feet of the guns, when the contest commenced. Each side seemed desperate in its purpose, and the struggle was most exciting. At length the Forty-fifth New-York came to the rescue, and turned the tide of fortune in our favor. Both parties suffered severely in the action. The rebels retreated in great confusion, while our men made the woods resound with cheers.

For the succeeding two hours the infantry under the command of Reno ceased operations, and the artillery alone continued the duel. The guns used thus far were six, ten and twelve-pounders. Simmons's Ohio battery of four twenty-pounder pieces was now placed in position on the left, and commenced throwing shells to the right of the Gap, at which point the rebels had again stationed a battery. The firing for a while was exceedingly animated, but the twenty-pounders proved too much for the rebels, and they were compelled, in the course of half an hour, to change the position of their guns. At the expiration of the next half-hour their guns were silenced. In this battle the enemy did not appear to have so many guns as usual, for if they did have them, he did not bring them into practice. The thirty-two-pounder which he was so fond of using against us on the Peninsula, did not make its appearance here.

At two P. M. the head of General Hooker's column appeared coming up the turnpike to reenforce Reno. The column took the road branching off from the turnpike at the right, near Bolivar, and proceeded to the foot of the mountains. All along the line the utmost enthusiasm was manifested for Hooker. Every man in the corps was evidently impressed with the belief that he had a general able and willing to lead them forward to face the enemy.

At three P. M. the line of battle from right to left was formed in the following order, near the base of the mountains on the right, and at the edge of a piece of woods on the mountain slope at the left: The first brigade of Ricketts's division on the extreme right, which was about one mile north of the turnpike; the Pennsylvania reserve corps, the right resting on Ricketts's left; the Second regiment U. S. sharp shooters on the road branching off from the turnpike at the right; the second and third brigades of Ricketts's division between the branch road and the turnpike; King's division (commanded by Gen. Hatch) at the left of the turnpike, the right resting on the turnpike; Gen. Reno's force on the extreme left, about a mile and a half from the turnpike.

The Sixth United States, Eighth Illinois, Eighth, Third and Twelfth Pennsylvania, Sixth New-York, Third Indiana and First Massachusetts cavalry regiments were on different portions of the field performing picket-duty, acting as guards to the roads and supporting the batteries.

Up to this time all our batteries had been stationed to the left of the turnpike, as the positions secured there enabled the gunners to work their pieces to advantage.

About one hundred yards in the rear of the Pennsylvania reserve corps was stationed Capt. Cooper's First Pennsylvania battery of four pieces; Captain Ransom's, company C, Fifth United States battery, of four pieces, took a [439] position at the extreme right, in the rear of the first brigade of Ricketts's division.

Immediately after the line of battle was formed, the right, left and centre commenced moving simultaneously toward the enemy on the slope of the mountains. The rebels opened on the column with two pieces, of cannon, directing the fire of one to the right, and of the other to the left of the line. They were replied to by one of Simmons's twenty-pounders on our left, and Cooper's battery on our right. The enemy continued the firing for upward of an hour, when, on account of the severe punishment he was receiving from our guns, and the near approach of our infantry to his pieces, he disappeared on the other side of the mountain.

The enemy's shells for the most part went over the Union troops, consequently they did not effect much damage.

Steadily onward went our long unbroken line of infantry, until the right wing had gained a piece of woods on the mountain, a short distance from the base, when the Bucktails, who were skirmishing on the right, discovered the enemy's pickets. A desultory rattling of musketry was next heard, which indicated the commencement of the battle on the part of the infantry. The column from right to left still remained unbroken, and advanced cautiously but firmly up the steep. In a short time the enemy's main force was encountered, and then came heavy volleys of musketry on the right. The Pennsylvania reserve corps and the First brigade of Ricketts's division were now hotly engaging the enemy. The rebels stood their ground for a while, but after a contest of thirty minutes they wavered, and commenced falling back in disorder toward the summit of the mountains. Our forces pushed them vigorously, and kept up a continuous fire.

The valor displayed on this occasion by the Pennsylvania reserves, and the corps formerly under the command of McDowell, is deserving of the highest praise. Not a straggler could be seen on the field. Every man was at his post in the line. They all seemed determined to force back the enemy and take possession of the mountains, in spite of any opposition that might be placed in their way. Gen. Hooker, accompanied by his staff, was where he always is on such occasions — at the front. The line did not give way for an instant, but kept moving forward and upward, pouring volley after volley of musketry into the enemy's ranks, until at last the rebels broke and ran precipitately to the top of the mountain — thence down on the other side.

Reno's corps on the left did its part nobly. The men were called upon to do some severe fighting, and they performed their duty with a will and heroism seldom before displayed. The engagement on the left succeeded that on the right, and lasted about an hour and a half. The enemy contested every foot of ground, but eventually yielded it to the conquerors.

The centre column was the last to come into the action. The same success that marked the advance of the two wings also attended the centre. At six P. M., after an engagement of three hours duration, the rebels fled, leaving the top of the mountain in the possession of the Union troops. Darkness prevented us from pursuing the enemy further at the time.

The result of the battle secures to the Union troops a very important position, inasmuch as it commands the approaches on each side of the mountain, also a vast area of the surrounding country. I estimate, as before stated, that two thousand will cover the list of our casualties. I think that the enemy's loss in killed and wounded will not exceed our own. Altogether we captured two thousand prisoners.

Gen. Reno was killed on the field of battle. At the time of the calamity he was observing, by aid of a glass, the enemy's movements. He was struck in the spine by a musket-ball — the ball lodging in the breast.

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