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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
Page 48 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

lin, to whom the Sixth U. S. Cavalry and a section of artillery had previously ;been sent, and to proceed with the remainder of his force in the direction of Middletown, in pursuit of the enemy.

After skirmishing with the enemy all the morning, and driving them from several strong positions, he reached Turner's Gap of the South ;Mountain in the ;afternoon, and found the enemy in force and apparently determined to defend the pass. He sent back for infantry to General Burnside, who had been directed to support him, and proceeded to make a reconnaissance of the position. The South Mountain is at this point about 1,000 feet in height, and its general direction is from northeast to southwest. The National road from Frederick to Hagertown crosses it nearly at right angles through Turner's Gap, a depression at about a mile to the north. There are two country roads, one to the right of the turnpike and the other to the left, which give access to the crests overlooking the main road. The one on the left, called the "Old Sharpsburg road," is nearly parallel to and about half a mile distant from the turnpike, until it reaches the crest of the mountain, when it bends off to the left. The other road, called the "Old Hagerstown road," passes up a ravine in the mountains about a mile from the turnpike, and, bending to the left over and along the first crest, enters the turnpike at the Mountain House, near the summit of the pass.

On the night of the 13th the positions of the different corps were as follows:

Reno's corps at Middletown, except Rodman's division at Frederick.

Hooker's corps on the Monocacy, 2 miles from Frederick.

Sumner's corps near Frederick.

Banks' corps near Frederick.

Sykes' division near Frederick.

Franklin's corps at Buckeystown.

Couch's division at Licksville.

The orders from headquarters for the march on the 14th were as follows:

13th, 11.30 p. m.-Hooker to march at daylight to Middletown.

13th, 11.30 p. m.-Sykes to move at 6 a. m. after Hooker, on the Middletown and Hagerstown road.

14th, 1 a. m.-Artillery reserve to follow Sykes closely.

13th, 8.45 p. m.-Sumner to move at 7 a. m.

14th, 9 a. m.-Sumner ordered to take the Shookstown road to Middletown.

13th, 6.45 p. m.-Couch ordered to move to Jefferson with his whole division.

On the 14th General Pleasonton continued his reconnaissance. Gibson's battery and afterwards Benjamin's battery of Reno's corps were placed on high ground to the left of the turnpike, and obtained a direct fire on the enemy's position in the gap.

General Cox's division, which had been ordered up to support General Pleasonton, left its bivouac near Middletown at 6 a. m. The First Brigade reached the scene of action about 9 a. m., and was sent up the Old Sharpsburg road by General Pleasonton to feel the enemy and ascertain if he held the crest on that side in strong force. This was soon found to be the case, and General Cox having arrived with the other brigade, and information having been received from General Reno that the column would ;be supported by the whole corps, the division was ordered


Page 48 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
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