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[270] was effected without difficulty and without pursuit. The trains and artillery were saved, and the two wings of Lee's army were united at Sharpsburg.

There had been much straggling of Longstreet's men on that hot and dusty march from Hagerstown. Garnett estimates that in marching and countermarching, his brigade passed over twenty-two or twenty-three miles. The reports are very meagre as to the numbers that were brought into action at South Mountain. We must judge of the whole from the few authentic estimates that are given. The Seventeenth South Carolina reports 141 men in the fight; the First South Carolina 106 men; the Seventeenth Virginia 55 officers and men; the Nineteenth Virginia 150 men; the Eighteenth Virginia 120 men; the Fiftieth Virginia 80 men; the Eighth Virginia 34 men. Longstreet admits now that his reinforcements did not exceed four thousand men. I think that estimate very high. But admitting this number, and that it was equally divided on the two sides of the pike, then Fighting Joe Hooker was contending with fifteen thousand men against 3,200 men, more than half of them in a broken down condition. However, his powerful field glass gave Fighting Joe a good view of the battle, and he felt proud, as well he might, of the steady and gallant advance of his three divisions. He says in his report: ‘When the advantages of the enemy's position are considered and his preponderating numbers, the forcing of the passage of South Mountain will be classed among the most brilliant and satisfactory achievements of this army, and its principal glory will be awarded to the First Corps.’ The reader will please remember that the First Corps was ‘Fighting Joe's’ corps. However, I am thankful to Fighting Joe for saying preponderating numbers, and not overwhelming numbers.

The advantages of the position were with the attack, and not the defence, as any practical soldier will say, who will carefully examine the ground.

General McClellan said officially: ‘The force opposed to me was D. H. Hill's division (15,000 men), and a part, if not the whole of Longstreet's, and, perhaps, a portion of Jackson's. Probably thirty thousand in all.’ It is always safe to give a divisor of three to any estimate made by General McClellan of the forces of his enemy. The General puts his attacking force in the two corps at thirty thousand. On the 14th September, 1862, I would have given that number a multiplier of two. An attacking column is apt to take on the appearance of overwhelming numbers.


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