I found the attached report rather interesting. As so often happened
in the war, army units were ordered to occupy ground that had
previously served as a battlefield. In this case, the old South
Mountain field was occupied at the three key gaps by Yankee forces
during the Gettysburg Campaign should any Rebels venture that
Although there is no direct mention of the previous fighting in this
report, one cannot help but wonder what sights the soldiers must have
seen. Much of the battle damage from the 1862 battle would have still
been evident to these men. Note his interesting description of the
Here is the report from the Official Records...
Lieutenant W. F. A. TORBERT,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:
SIR: In answer to your communication, dated 2 p. m. this day, I have
to say that, in order to hold the passes strongly, there should be
four regiments at each of the three gaps, as the woods are quite
open, and the enemy's infantry could sift through the woods and get
upon the heights on either side, if he came in force, and have an
advantage over me.
I have two pieces and two regiments at the National Pike Pass
[Turner's Gap], excepting two companies, which are at the Sharpsburg
Pass [Fox's Gap], and two pieces and one regiment in reserve at
Bolivar. Colonel Kitching's regiment and two pieces are at Crampton's
The approaches are so circuitous that artillery can sweep them but
for short distances; it would, therefore, be running unnecessary risk
to have more guns, unless a still larger amount of infantry should be
sent. The chief reliance must be upon infantry.
The character of the ground is stony, so that intrenchments can be
thrown up only with great difficulty in many places; stone-wall
breastworks, however, can be made. Slashed timber would also
strengthen the position. Please send me the engineer company, with
such tools as they and my troops can use.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. H. MORRIS,