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[325] at Turner's Gap, the success of the Federals would undoubtedly have been more complete if it had been achieved a little sooner. If Smith and Slocum had arrived early before Crampton's Gap by marching a few kilometres farther the previous evening—if Couch, by following them closer, had shortened the battle through his intervention—Franklin would probably have come within sight of Harper's Ferry on the very evening of the 14th, and his presence at this juncture would have indeed changed the issue of the sad drama which was being enacted there. But as we have already remarked, the expression of this regret, in view of the success of the Federal army, cannot, without injustice, be brought as a reproach against its commanders, who had on their hands the double task of marching and reorganizing their battalions. The two battles of Turner's Gap and Crampton's Gap, having been fought on the same day and not far from each other, took the common name of the battle of South Mountain. The total losses sustained in this first encounter on the soil of Maryland was two thousand one hundred and one on the side of the Federals, and about four thousand on that of the Confederates.

In order to convey an idea of the evolutions in the game of which Harper's Ferry was the stake, we must relate in detail the movements of the Confederates, and to this effect go back a few days. We have seen Lee on the 9th of September forming his plans for investing this place, and putting his whole army in motion on the morning of the 10th. Whilst Longstreet, followed by the baggage, the parks of the army and Hill's division, was proceeding toward Boonesboroa, McLaws was marching toward Maryland Heights Walker crossed the Potomac, so as to seize Loudon Heights, while Jackson, describing a large circuit, crossed the river at Williamsport, and descended it again on the right bank, thus to close the circle which was to surround Harper's Ferry. But these complicated movements, despite the energy of the officers who had them in charge, experienced a delay of one day; and that day was sufficient to ensure the safety of the Union troops. Indeed, Jackson had been obliged to deploy his army on the right bank of the Potomac in order to cut off the retreat of the garrison of Martinsburg, which would otherwise have escaped to the west. He had thus organized a kind of grand hunting-match

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