to make a detachment for its relief. The left, therefore, was ordered to move through Jefferson to the South-Mountains, at Crampton's Pass, in front of Burkettsville, while the centre and right moved upon the main or Turner's Pass, in front of Middletown. During these movements I had not imposed long marches on the columns. The absolute necessity of refitting and giving some little rest to troops worn down by previous long-continued marching and severe fighting, together with the uncertainty as to the actual position, strength and intentions of the enemy, rendered it incumbent upon me to move slowly and cautiously until the headquarters reached Urbana, where I first obtained reliable information that the enemy's object was to move upon Harper's Ferry and the Cumberland Valley, and not upon Baltimore, Washington or Gettysburgh. In the absence of the full reports of corps commanders, a simple outline of the brilliant operations, which resulted in the carrying of the two passes through the South-Mountains, is all that can, at this time, with justice to the troops and commanders engaged, be furnished. The South-Mountain range, near Turner's Pass, averages perhaps a thousand feet in height, and forms a strong natural military barrier. The practicable passes are not numerous, and are readily defensible, the gaps abounding in fine positions. Turner's Pass is the more prominent, being that by which the national road crosses the mountains. It was necessarily indicated as the route of advance of our main army. The carrying of Crampton's Pass some five or six miles below, was also important to furnish the means of reaching the flank of the enemy, and having as a lateral movement, direct relations to the attack on the principal pass, while it at the same time presented the most direct practical route for the relief of Harper's Ferry. Early in the morning of the fourteenth instant, General Pleasanton, with a cavalry force, reconnoitred the position of the enemy, whom he discovered to occupy the crests of commanding hills in the gap on either side of the national road, and upon advantageous ground in the centre upon and near the road, with artillery bearing upon all the approaches to their position, whether that by the main road or those by the country roads which led around up to the crest upon the right and left. At about eight o'clock A. M., Cox's division of Reno's corps, a portion of Burnside's column, in cooperation with the reconnaissance, which by this time had become an attack, moved up the mountain by the old Sharpsburgh road to the left of the main road, dividing as they advanced into two columns. These columns (Scammon's and Cook's brigades) handsomely carried the enemy's position on the crest in their front, which gave us possession of an important point for further operations. Fresh bodies of the enemy now appearing, Cox's position, though held stubbornly, became critical, and between twelve and one o'clock P. M. Wilcox's division of Reno's corps was sent forward by Gen. Burnside to support Cox, and between two and three P. M. Sturgis's division was sent up. The contest was maintained with perseverance until dark, the enemy having the advantage as to position, and fighting with obstinacy; but the ground won was fully maintained. The loss in killed and wounded here was considerable on both sides; and it was here that Major-General Reno, who had gone forward to observe the operations of his corps, and to give such directions as were necessary, fell pierced with a musketball. The loss of this brave and distinguished officer, tempered with sadness the exultations of triumph. A gallant soldier, an able general, endeared to his troops and associates, his death is felt as an irreparable misfortune. About three o'clock P. M., Hooker's corps, of Burnside's column, moved up to the right of the main road by a country road, which, bending to the right, then turning up to the left, circuitously wound its way beyond the crest of the pass to the Mountain House, on the main road. Gen. Hooker sent Meade, with the division of Pennsylvania reserves, to attack the eminence to the right of this entrance to the gap, which was done most handsomely and successfully. Patrick's brigade, of Hatch's division, was sent--one portion up around the road, to turn the hill on the left, while the remainder advanced as skirmishers — up the hill, and occupied the crest, supported by Doubleday's and Phelps's brigades. The movement, after a sharp contest on the crest and in the fields in the depression between the crest and the adjoining hill, was fully successful. Ricketts's division pressed up the mountain about five P. M., arriving at the crest with the left of his command in time to participate in the closing scene of the engagement. Relieving Hatch's division, Ricketts remained on the ground, holding the battle-field during the night. The mountain sides thus gallantly passed over by Hooker on the right of the gap and Reno on the left, were steep and difficult in the extreme. We could make but little use of our artillery, while our troops were subject to a warm artillery fire, as well as to that of infantry in the woods and under cover. By order of Gen. Burnside, Gibbon's brigade, of Hatch's division, late in the afternoon advanced upon the centre of the enemy's position on the main road. Deploying his brigade, Gibbon actively engaged a superior force of the enemy, which, though stubbornly resisting, was steadily pressed back until some hours after dark, when Gibbon remained in undisturbed possession of the field. He was then relieved by a brigade of Sedgwick's division. Finding themselves outflanked, both on the right and left, the enemy abandoned their position during the night, leaving their dead and wounded on the field, and hastily retreated down the mountain. In the engagement at Turner's Pass our loss was three hundred and twenty-eight killed, and one thousand four hundred and sixty three wounded and missing; that of the enemy is estimated
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Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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