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The Yankees occupy South Mountain in 1863

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  • scottmingus
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 28, 2002
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      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
      direction.

      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
      terrain.

      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
      Pass.

      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,

      Brigadier-General.
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