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[15]

Chapter III


As the army advanced in Maryland, the military situation became more clearly defined. The Confederate army occupied the passes of the South Mountain range, that is the continuation north of the Potomac of the Blue Ridge and it became evident that to get at the main force of the enemy it would be necessary to wrest from him the passes of this range of mountains. To the Sixth Corps was assigned the attack upon Crampton's Pass, the one farthest south and nearest Harper's Ferry. The head of the column was veered to the south, and passing through the village of Jefferson on the 14th of September, halted a short distance from the town. “Here the sound of cannon from the direction of South Mountain was heard by the men of the 121st. There was a feeling over us all, that a great battle was impending. We knew from common report that Lee, with as great a force as he could muster, was not far away, and this conflict and the part we should take in it was thoroughly discussed as we hurried along. Of one thing we were determined, and that was, that no matter what occurred or in what position we might be placed, we would show the men of the other regiments of the brigade of what stuff we were made, and shame them for the gratuitous ridicule and abuse they had heaped upon us. At last the sound of cannon far off fell upon our ears and a rumor came down the line that the enemy held all the passes of the mountains we were approaching. The sound of cannon grew nearer and we seemed to quicken our steps; ”

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