Numbers 230. Reports of Colonel E. B. Montague, Thirty-second Virginia Infantry, of the battles of Crampton's Pass and Sharpsburg.
IN THE FIELD NEAR MARTINSBURG, W. VA., September 25, 1862.
SIR: In obedience to orders from division headquarters, I forward the following report of the part sustained by my command at Brownsville Gap on the 14th instant:
On the evening of the 13th I was ordered by Brigadier-General Semmes to proceed with the Fifteenth Virginia Regiment and my own, and two pieces of Manly's battery, to the top of South Mountain, to watch for and report any advance of the enemy in that direction.
On the morning of the 14th I received a message from Major-General Stuart to the effect that the enemy were advancing in great force, and that I must defend the pass at all hazards, calling for re-enforcements if necessary, should the enemy select in as his point of attack, which, however, he thought doubtful.
At 9 or 10 o'clock the enemy's advance came in sight from the direction of Jefferson, seemingly in great force. At about 11 o'clock they masked the most of their force under a hill and wood about 3 miles, and advanced two brigades by the left flank into a field opposite our position. Meantime I had sent to General Semmes for re-enforcements, and he promptly ordered up the Fifty-third Georgia Regiment and three pieces of artillery (rifled), under the command of Captain Macon, two of his own guns, and one of Captain Magruder's.* I stationed a picket of about 200 men at the foot of the mountain, near Burkittsville, and a line of skirmishers along my whole front, connecting with Colonel Munford's, on my left. Shortly afterward the enemy threw out a large advance of skirmishers, who steadily advanced toward the base of the mountain, supported by a brigade of infantry, the other brigade remaining at a halt. I ordered Captain Manly to open upon them with his 3-inch rifled gun, which he did so effectually as to check the advance of the skirmishers and cause the advancing brigade to fall back on its reserve, beyond our range.
At about 3 or 4 o'clock, after withdrawing his skirmishers, he moved by the right flank, leaving Burkittsville on his left, formed three strong parallel lines of battle, and started the whole in advance, still leaving an immense force in reserve, and moved with great celerity and perfect order against Crampton's Gap. I was in a position to see every move that was made, and saw at once that, by moving my artillery to the left a few hundred yards, I could bring the advancing host within easy range. This was done, and Macon's, Manly's, and Magruder's guns were played upon the enemy with great effect, time and again their ranks being broken by their deliberate and well-directed fire, the enemy's guns not being able to reach us on account of our elevated position. Captain Macon, the senior artillery officer, managed his guns most handsomely, and he and his juniors are entitled to all the credit of the occasion, if any is due. I was more of a spectator than participant in the action. My infantry force was not engaged, though they were ready and anxious to take part in the conflict.
Our guns continued to play on the enemy until dark, long after our
*Reference is probably to Lieutenant G. A. Magruder, of Page's Virginia battery, or the Magruder Light Artillery.
56 R R-VOL XIX, PT I