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[269] In fact, the whole battle on the right and left was one of self-imposed illusions on the part of the Federals. McClellan had come into possession at Frederick of a copy of Lee's order directing Jackson to attack Harpers Ferry, and Longstreet and myself to proceed to Boonsboro. The copy found was the one directed to me, though I must disclaim here, as ever before, that I was the loser of it. According to this order, Longstreet was at Boonsboro, and not Hagerstown, on the morning of the 14th, and McClellan's people believed that the whole mountain was swarming with Rebels.

It is a curious fact that the map of this battle, prepared by the United States Bureau of Topographical Engineers in 1872, ten years after the battle, represents ten regiments and one battalion under Longstreet at the foot of the mountain, on the north side of turnpike and east side of the mountain. This, on the morning of the 14th September, before the fighting began. Longstreet did not have a man there at any time, and not one any where on the mountain till 3 1/2 P. M. I had forty men at the foot of the mountain on north side of the pike after three o'clock, but not a man before that time. These forty men were under command of Captain R. E. Park, of the Twelfth Alabama, now living in Macon, Georgia. To have produced the impression that there were ten regiments and one battalion here, these forty men must have been uncommonly frisky, and they must have multiplied themselves astonishingly, but unfortunately for us, not in overwhelming numbers. Burnside tells us that he sent two peremptory orders to Fighting Joe Hooker before he would move forward his corps. From the foot of the mountain Fighting Joe watched the magnificent advance of the divisions of Meade and Hatch, followed by the division of Ricketts. The previous fighting had drawn all our men, except Rodes's brigade, to the south side of the pike, and it was posted on the commanding point of which I have spoken. Meade took his division, with the true instincts of the soldier, to the peak held by Rodes with 1,200 men. So resolutely was Meade met that he sent for Duryea's brigade, of Ricketts's division. Longstreet's broken down men were still arriving, and four hundred under Colonel Stevens went to the help of Rodes, and were in time to save him from being surrounded, but their combined effort could not save the peak, and the key of our position was lost. The steady advance of the other Federal divisions drove back by nightfall the remainder of Longstreet's forces on the left of the pike to the very crest of the mountain. But the pike itself was still held, and the effort of the Federals to move up it met with a bloody repulse. So the retreat

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