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[342] own hand, a copy of that and sent it by safe hands to General Hill, supposing he would in no other way receive this order. But it so happened that a copy was also sent to Hill from Lee's headquarters, and this latter, carelessly left on the ground in Hill's camp, was discovered by a Federal soldier, wrapped about some Confederate cigars, and he, recognizing its importance, promptly sent it to McClellan, who at once vigorously set about availing himself of the opportunities that the knowledge contained in that lost order put in his way. It was not the first time that events of great magnitude in the tide of history have been controlled by the demands of that miserable weed.

The close of this eventful Saturday found Lee confronted with serious conditions. D. H. Hill was ordered to retrace his march, recross the South mountain, and hold its eastern slope against the great host that could be seen rapidly approaching from the direction of Frederick. McLaws was urged to finish his work on Maryland heights and move to Boonsboro, by way of Sharpsburg, and Longstreet was ordered to return from Hagerstown, to Hill's aid, on the morning of the 14th.

As Lee rode forward to the South Mountain battlefield on Sunday morning, September 14th, followed by Longstreet's command, he could both see and hear that the mighty conflict for the possession of the passes of that mountain, now looming up before him, had already begun. The roar of cannon and musketry from Hill's 5,000 men rang in his ears, and the smoke of battle showed, by its length along the mountain top, how thin must be Hill's stretched-out line and how large must be the force pressing against it. Hill held the ‘old road,’ passing through Fox's gap, against Pleasanton's cavalry and Reno's corps, in one of the most desperate of all recorded contests, until the middle of the afternoon, when Hooker's corps, in furious onset, fell on his left near Turner's gap, where the Boonsboro and Frederick road crosses, and added to the fury of the contention. Lee then sent in 4,000 of Longstreet's men, in eight brigades, to sustain the brave Hill and his unyielding North Carolinians, and so the fight went on, at and between each of the road crossings, until night put an end to the conflict, with the 9,000 Confederates still holding the crest of the mountain against the 28,000 Federals who had been contending for its possession.

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