Actually Gerry, it's Kevin who seeks Steve's source on Hill's whereabouts
while surveying the Union host tramping toward him. It's of passing
interest to me, Hill's immediate dilemma and reaction being of greater
interest. He saw what he saw wherever.
Today's vegetation is by far much higher than in 1862. All areas of the
valley and mountainside had been scalped for every available foot of
tillable land. That's why farmers needed one or more wood lots on the
mountain. The advent of coal as a fuel eliminated the need for such lots.
Views at all three gaps were far more expansive as attested by photos taken
in the 1880s and as late as the early 20th century.
Steve sharing documentation with me personally is a moot point. Back in '88
I gave him all my accumulated secondary sources for SM (T&F gaps) when I
broke off to concentrate on CG alone. Intervening years saw us occasionally
partnered for tours or other events. I eventually distanced myself from him
realizing he had an agenda. This isn't the proper venue for elaboration.
Suffice it to say I still await any concrete contribution. IMHO Scott
Hartwig has long since left Steve in his dust.
Joe Harsh, in "Taken at the Flood," confirmed that the Lee-Longtsreet-Hill
conference was held at a house at the foot of the mountain near to
Boonsboro circa 10 PM. A hard source would be required for a like meeting
at S. Mtn. House. I fully agree; even a meeting on the SMH porch would
preclude Hill's personal use of the structure, not that this point is all
that significant. As you know, it was a frantic night. Perhaps Hartwig will
clarify these points when he publishes his multi-volume tactical study.