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Encyclopedia > Battle of South Mountain
Battle of South Mountain
Part of the American Civil War

Fox's Gap at the battle of South Mountain, MD. Sunday, Sept. 14, 1862
Date September 14, 1862
Location Frederick County and Washington County
Result Union victory
Combatants
United States of America Confederate States of America
Commanders
George B. McClellan
Ambrose Burnside
William B. Franklin
Robert E. Lee
Strength
28,000 18,000
Casualties
2,325 (443 killed, 1,807 wounded, 75 missing) 2,685 (325 killed, 1560 wounded, 800 missing)
Maryland Campaign
South MountainHarpers FerryAntietamShepherdstown

The Battle of South Mountain (known in several early Southern accounts as the Battle of Boonsboro Gap) was fought September 14, 1862, as part of the Maryland Campaign of the American Civil War. Three pitched battles were fought for possession of three South Mountain passes: Crampton's, Turner's, and Fox's Gaps. Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, commanding the Union Army of the Potomac, needed to pass through these gaps in his pursuit of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Despite being significantly outnumbered, Lee's army delayed McClellan's advance for a day before withdrawing. Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1485x926, 689 KB)TITLE: The battle of South Mountain, MD. Sunday, Sept. ... September 14 is the 257th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (258th in leap years). ... 1862 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Frederick County is a county located in the western part of the U.S. state of Maryland, bordering the southern border of Pennsylvania and the northeastern border of Virginia. ... Washington County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland. ... Motto: (traditional) In God We Trust (official, 1956–present) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City Official language(s) None at the federal level; English de facto Government Federal Republic  - President George W. Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence - Declared - Recognized... Motto: Deo Vindice (Latin: Under God, Our Vindicator) Anthem: God Save the South (unofficial) Dixie (traditional) The Bonnie Blue Flag (popular) Capital Montgomery, Alabama (until May 29, 1861) Richmond, Virginia (May 29, 1861–April 2, 1865) Danville, Virginia (from April 3, 1865) Language(s) English (de facto) Government Republic President... George Brinton McClellan (December 3, 1826 - October 29, 1885) was a Major General of the Union Army during the American Civil War. ... Ambrose Everett Burnside (May 23, 1824 – September 13, 1881) was a railroad executive, inventor, industrialist, and politician from Rhode Island, serving as governor and a U.S. Senator. ... Major General William B. Franklin William Buel Franklin (February 27, 1823 – March 8, 1903) was a career U.S. Army officer and a Union Army general in the American Civil War. ... Robert Edward Lee (January 19, 1807 – October 12, 1870) was a career U.S. Army officer and the most celebrated general of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. ... Confederate dead at Antietam The Maryland Campaign, or the Antietam Campaign, of September 1862 is widely considered one of the major turning points of the American Civil War. ... Battle of Harpers Ferry Conflict American Civil War Date September 12-15, 1862 Place Jefferson County Result Confederate victory The Battle of Harpers Ferry was fought during the American Civil War on September 12–15, 1862. ... Combatants United States of America Confederate States of America Commanders George B. McClellan Robert E. Lee Strength 87,000 45,000 Casualties 12,401 (2,108 killed, 9,540 wounded, 753 captured/missing) 10,316 (1,546 killed, 7,752 wounded, 1,018 captured/missing) The Battle of Antietam (also... Battle of Shepherdstown Conflict American Civil War Date September 19-20, 1862 Place Jefferson County, West Virginia Result Confederate victory The Battle of Shepherdstown, also known as the Battle of Botelers Ford, took place from September 19-20, 1862 in Jefferson County, West Virginia as part of the Maryland... Historic Southern United States. ... September 14 is the 257th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (258th in leap years). ... 1862 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Confederate dead at Antietam The Maryland Campaign, or the Antietam Campaign, of September 1862 is widely considered one of the major turning points of the American Civil War. ... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... South Mountain is a long mountain ridge in Maryland and Pennsylvania which comprises a northern extension of the Blue Ridge Mountains. ... Insignia of a United States Air Force Major General German Generalmajor Insignia Major General is a military rank used in many countries. ... George Brinton McClellan (December 3, 1826 – October 29, 1885) was a major general during the American Civil War. ... The 21st Michigan Infantry, a company of Shermans veterans. ... Generals Burnside, Hancock, Couch, Ferro, Patrick, Wilcox, Cochrane, Buford and others. ... Some Confederate soldiers The Confederate States Army (CSA) was formed in February 1861 to defend the Confederate States of America, which had itself been formed that same year when seven Southern states seceded from the United States (four more states soon followed). ... Robert Edward Lee (January 19, 1807 – October 12, 1870) was a career U.S. Army officer and the most celebrated general of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. ... The Army of Northern Virginia was the primary military force of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War in the eastern theater. ...

Contents

Background

South Mountain is the name given to the continuation of the Blue Ridge Mountains after they enter Maryland. It is a natural obstacle that separates the Shenandoah Valley and Cumberland Valley from the eastern part of Maryland. Blue Ridge Mountains, Shining Rock Wilderness Area Appalachian Mountain system The Blue Ridge is a mountain chain in the eastern United States, part of the Appalachian Mountains, forming their eastern front from Georgia to Pennsylvania. ... Official language(s) None (English, de facto) Capital Annapolis Largest city Baltimore Area  Ranked 42nd  - Total 12,417 sq mi (32,160 km²)  - Width 90 miles (145 km)  - Length 249 miles (400 km)  - % water 21  - Latitude 37°53N to 39°43N  - Longitude 75°4W to 79°33... Canoeing on the Shenandoah River near Winchester, VA. The Shenandoah Valley region of western Virginia, from Winchester to Staunton, is bounded by the Blue Ridge mountains to the East and the Allegheny mountains to the West. ... Cumberland Valley Township is a township located in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. ...


After Lee invaded Maryland, a copy of an order for troop movements that he wrote fell into the hands of McClellan. From this, McClellan learned that Lee had split his forces and the Union general hoped to attack and defeat some of these isolated forces before they could concentrate against him. To reach Lee, McClellan had to move across South Mountain. Lee learned of McClellan's intelligence coup and quickly sent forces to reinforce the passes to block his advance.


McClellan temporarily organized his army into three wings for the attacks on the passes. Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside, the Right Wing, commanded the I Corps (Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker) and IX Corps (Maj. Gen. Jesse L. Reno). The Right Wing was sent to Turner's Gap and Fox's Gap in the north. The Left Wing, commanded by Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin, consisting of his own VI Corps and Maj. Gen. Darius N. Couch's division of the IV Corps, was sent to Crampton's Gap in the south. The Center Wing (II Corps and XII Corps), under Maj. Gen. Edwin V. Sumner, was in reserve. Ambrose Everett Burnside (May 23, 1824 – September 13, 1881) was a railroad executive, inventor, industrialist, and politician from Rhode Island, serving as governor and a U.S. Senator. ... I Corps (First Corps) was the designation of four different corps_sized units in the Union Army during the American Civil War. ... Joseph Hooker (November 13, 1814 – October 31, 1879), known as Fighting Joe, was a career U.S. Army officer and a major general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. ... IX Corps (Ninth Corps) was a corps of the Union Army during the American Civil War that distinguished itself in combat in multiple theaters: the Carolinas, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. ... Jesse Lee Reno (April 20, 1823 – September 14, 1862) was a Union general in the American Civil War, killed at the Battle of South Mountain. ... Major General William B. Franklin William Buel Franklin (February 27, 1823 – March 8, 1903) was a career U.S. Army officer and a Union Army general in the American Civil War. ... The VI Corps (Sixth Corps) was a corps of the Union Army during the American Civil War. ... Darius N. Couch Darius Nash Couch (July 23, 1822 – February 12, 1897) was a United States Army officer, naturalist, and a Union general in the American Civil War. ... There were two corps of the Union Army called IV Corps during the American Civil War. ... There were five corps in the Union Army designated as II Corps (Second Corps) during the American Civil War. ... The XII Corps (Twelfth Corps) was a corps of the Union Army during the American Civil War. ... Edwin Vose Bull Head Sumner (January 30, 1797 – March 21, 1863) was a U.S. Army officer who became a Major General and the oldest field commander of any Army Corps on either side during the American Civil War. ...


Battles

Crampton's Gap

At the southernmost point of the battle, near Burkittsville, Confederate cavalry and a small portion of Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaws's division defended Brownsville Pass and Crampton's Gap. McLaws was unaware of the approach of 12,000 Federals and had only 500 men under Col. William A. Parham thinly deployed behind a three quarter-mile-long stone wall at the eastern base of Crampton's Gap. Franklin spent three hours deploying his forces. A Confederate later wrote of a "lion making exceedingly careful preparations to spring on a plucky little mouse." Franklin deployed the division of Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum on the right and Maj. Gen. William F. "Baldy" Smith on the left. They seized the gap and captured 400 prisoners, mostly men who were arriving as late reinforcements from Brig. Gen. Howell Cobb's brigade.[1] Burkittsville is a town located in Frederick County, Maryland. ... Lafayette McLaws Lafayette McLaws ( January 15, 1821 – July 24, 1897) was a U.S. Army officer and a Confederate general in the American Civil War. ... Portrait of General Henry W. Slocum by Mathew Brady, ca. ... William F. Baldy Smith William Farrar Smith (February 17, 1824 – February 28, 1903), was a civil engineer, a police commissioner, and Union general in the American Civil War. ... A Brigadier General, or one-star general, is the lowest rank of general officer in the United States and some other countries, ranking just above Colonel and just below Major General. ... Howell Cobb (September 7, 1815–October 9, 1868) was an American political figure. ...


Turner's Gap

Confederate Maj. Gen. D.H. Hill, deploying 5,000 men over more than 2 miles, defended both Turner's Gap and Fox's Gap. Burnside sent Hooker's I Corps to the right and Turner's Gap. The Union Iron Brigade attacked Colonel Alfred H. Colquitt's small brigade along the National Road, driving it back up the mountain, but it refused to yield the pass. Hooker positioned three divisions opposite two peaks located one mile north of the gap. The Alabama Brigade of Brig. Gen. Robert E. Rodes was forced to withdraw because of his isolated position, despite the arrival of reinforcements from Brig. Gen. David R. Jones's division and Brig. Gen. Nathan G. Evans's brigade. Darkness and the difficult terrain prevented the complete collapse of Lee's line. At nightfall, the Confederates still held the gap.[1] General Daniel Harvey Hill Daniel Harvey Hill (July 12th, 1821 - September 24th, 1889) was a Confederate general and Southern scholar. ... The Iron Brigade was an infantry brigade in the Union Army during the American Civil War, consisting primarily of Western regiments, that was noted for its ability to withstand almost any fire, and its regiments combined took the highest casualty percentage of the war. ... Colonel (IPA: or ) is a military rank of a commissioned officer, with the corresponding ranks existing in nearly every country in the world. ... Alfred Holt Colquitt (April 20, 1824–March 26, 1894) was a lawyer, preacher, soldier, Governor of Georgia and two term U.S. Senator from Georgia where he died in office. ... Mile markers can still be found along the National Road; this one is located in Columbus, Ohio. ... Robert E. Rodes Robert Emmett Rodes ( March 29, 1829 – September 19, 1864) was a railroad civil engineer and a promising young Confederate general in the American Civil War, killed in battle in the Shenandoah Valley. ... Nathan George Shanks Evans (February 3, 1824 - November 23, 1868) was a U.S. Lieutenant in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment who became a Brigadier General for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. ...


Fox's Gap

Just to the south, other elements of Hill's division defended Fox's Gap against Reno's IX Corps. A 9 a.m. attack by Union Brig. Gen. Jacob D. Cox's Kanawha Division secured much of the land south of the gap. In the movement, Lt. Col. Rutherford B. Hayes of the 23rd Ohio led a flank attack and was seriously wounded. Cox pushed through the North Carolinians positioned behind a stone wall at the gap's crest, but he failed to capitalize on his gains as his men were exhausted, allowing Confederate reinforcements to deploy in the gap around the Daniel Wise farm. Reno sent forward the rest of his corps, but due to the timely arrival of Southern reinforcements under Confederate Brig. Gen. John Bell Hood, they failed to dislodge the defenders. Union Maj. Gen. Jesse Reno and Confederate Brig. Gen. Samuel Garland, Jr., were killed at Fox's Gap. Union soldiers dumped 60 Confederate bodies down Farmer Wise's well, paying him $60 in compensation.[2] Jacob Dolson Cox (October 27, 1828 - August 4, 1900) was an officer in the Union Army during the Civil War and later a Republican politician from Ohio. ... Rutherford Birchard Hayes (October 4, 1822 – January 17, 1893) was an American politician, lawyer, military leader and the 19th President of the United States (1877-1881). ... John Bell Hood John Bell Hood (June 1, 1831 – August 30, 1879) was a Confederate general during the American Civil War. ... Samuel Garland, Jr. ...


Aftermath

By dusk, with Crampton's Gap lost and his position at Fox's and Turner's Gaps precarious, Lee ordered his outnumbered forces to withdraw from South Mountain. McClellan was now in position to destroy Lee's army before it could concentrate. Union casualties of 28,000 engaged were 2,325 (443 killed, 1,807 wounded, and 75 missing); Confederates lost 2,685 (325 killed, 1560 wounded, and 800 missing) of 18,000.[2] McClellan's limited activity on September 15 after his victory at South Mountain, however, condemned the garrison at Harpers Ferry to capture and gave Lee time to unite his scattered divisions at Sharpsburg. September 15 is the 258th day of the year (259th in leap years). ... Battle of Harpers Ferry Conflict American Civil War Date September 12-15, 1862 Place Jefferson County Result Confederate victory The Battle of Harpers Ferry was fought during the American Civil War on September 12–15, 1862. ... Combatants United States of America Confederate States of America Commanders George B. McClellan Robert E. Lee Strength 87,000 45,000 Casualties 12,401 (2,108 killed, 9,540 wounded, 753 captured/missing) 10,316 (1,546 killed, 7,752 wounded, 1,018 captured/missing) The Battle of Antietam (also...


References

  • Eicher, David J., The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War, Simon & Schuster, 2001, ISBN 0-684-84944-5.
  • Kennedy, Frances H., Ed., The Civil War Battlefield Guide, 2nd ed., Houghton Mifflin Co., 1998, ISBN 0-395-74012-6.
  • National Park Service battle description

Notes

  1. ^ a b Kennedy, p. 117.
  2. ^ a b Eicher, p. 344.

External links


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