In 1862 the National
army pursued the Confederates
from Frederick, Md.
, in two columns over South Mountain
into the valley of Antietam Creek
. General Burnside
led the right and centre by way of Turner's Gap; and the left, composed of Franklin
's corps, went by the way of Crampton's Gap, on the same range, nearer Harper's Ferry
The division of D. H. Hill
was the only Confederate force guarding Turner's Gap, and McLaws
was guarding Crampton's Gap.
The Confederates had no idea that the Nationals would make such a vigorous pursuit as they did; but on the morning of Sept. 14, a startling apparition met the eyes of the Confederates
from the mountain heights.
's cavalry was leading nearly the whole of the National
army down the Kittoctan Hills
and across the valley towards South Mountain
A portion of General Cox
's division of Ohio
troops reached the borders of the Gap
early in the forenoon, and, under the cover of a portion of McMullin
's battery, Cox
pressed up the wooded and rocky acclivity.
He was at first confronted by Garland
's division, which was badly cut up and its commander killed in the severe action that ensued.
The place of this division was soon filled by the troops of Anderson
, supported by Rhodes
These held the position for a long time, but finally gave way, and Cox
gained the crest of the mountain.
It was now noon.
Very soon the battle assumed far greater proportions, for two of Longstreet
's brigades came to the aid of Hill
These were soon followed by Longstreet
himself with seven brigades, making the Confederate
force defending the Gap
and the two crests about 30,000 strong.
First the divisions of National troops of Wilcox
, and Sturgis
came up, followed soon after by Hooker
's troops, and a little later a general battle-line was formed
Battle of South Mountain.|
's, and King
At 4 P. M. fighting was general all along the line, and at many points the ground was contested inch by inch.
, who commanded King
's division, was wounded, when General Doubleday
took his command, his own passing to the care of General Wainwright
, who was soon disabled.
At dusk Hooker
had flanked and beaten the Confederate
's command, which had gained a foothold on the crest, fought desperately until dark.
At about sunset their leader, at the head of the troops in an open field, was killed.
He died almost at the moment of victory, and his command devolved on General Cox
, with his brigades, led by General Seymour
and Colonels Magilton
, fought on the right of Hatch
, whose fine brigade of Ricketts
's division had participated in the later struggles of Pope
, was just coming up when the contest ceased at that point.
Meanwhile the brigades of Gibbons
had pushed up the road along the Gap
, fighting and winning steadily until about 9 P. M., when, having reached a point near the summit of the Gap
, their ammunition was exhausted.
But the victory for the Nationals was secured.
During the night Lee
withdrew his forces, and so ended the battle of South Mountain
meanwhile, confronted by Confederates led by Howell Cobb
, had fought
and driven his enemies over the mountain into the valley at Crampton's Gap, and held a position in Pleasant Valley
, within 6 miles of Harper's Ferry