This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 portion of the left wing was still on the banks of the Monocacy. The execution of the great movement, in fact, was only commenced on the morning of the 14th. The march of the heads of column of the enemy's army had not been unobserved by Lee, and their arrival at Middletown on the evening of the 13th had made him conscious of the danger that menaced him. Relying upon the slowness of the Federals, and the secrecy in which he believed he had shrouded his operations, he had been unwilling to detach any portion of his troops for the defence of the South Mountain passes, and simple rear-guards had been left in these passes by the corps which had passed through them, on their diverging march upon Harper's Ferry and Hagerstown, to guard them. But at the break of day on the 14th the Confederate general hastened to occupy them again in force, and had the good fortune to forestall the main body of the Federal army, which thus missed the opportunity of occupying them without striking a blow. Whilst McLaws, who had already reached the banks of the Potomac, was sending the largest portion of his division to the rear, with orders to defend Crampton's Gap at all hazards until Harper's Ferry should capitulate, Hill's division, followed by the whole of Longstreet's corps, returned in haste to Turner's Gap. Reno, having left Middletown at daybreak on the 14th, arrived early at the foot of this defile, which Hill occupied alone with less than six thousand men. Situated between the two villages of Middletown and Boonsboroa, at a distance of five kilometres from the former and three from the latter, Turner's Gap, or Frog's Gap, is a deep gorge opening in the South Mountain ridge. After rising to a height of nearly two hundred metres over slopes of considerable steepness, the road enters the gorge, where it winds among abrupt acclivities from one hundred to one hundred and fifty metres in height. This narrow gap can be defended by a handful of men; but the ridge it crosses not being inaccessible, it is upon that, and not upon the defile itself, that the real defence of the pass depends. Sixteen hundred metres north of the road the crest of the South Mountain rises, forming a scarped hill which commands the whole surrounding country; then it divides and encloses a valley which, as it deepens, forms a gradually increasing
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.