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  • South Mountain Monument

  • South Mountain Illustration

South Mountain

Crampton's, Turner's, and Fox's Gaps

September 14, 1862

Frederick County and Washington County, Maryland

After his success at Second Manassas, Gen. Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia on an invasion of Maryland in September of 1862. Lee divided his army, sending a portion of it into western Maryland while Stonewall Jackson's wing attempted to capture the Federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry. The bold plan was jeopardized on September 13 when a mislaid copy of Lee's orders revealing the Confederates' plans and positions was given to Union commander Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan. Emboldened by this intelligence, McClellan tried to force his army through three passes in the South Mountain range on September 14, 1862. Intense fighting drew increasing number of troops of both armies to Fox's, Turner's, and Crampton's gaps. Though the Federals ultimately gained control of all three passes, stubborn resistance on the part of the Southerners bought Lee precious time to begin the process of reuniting his army, and set the stage for the Battle of Antietam.
Learn More About This Battle
Antietam Battlefield

"The Most Propitious Time…"

Professor Gary Gallagher discusses the historical and strategic importance of Robert E. Lee's decision to invade Maryland in 1862.

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The Battle of South Mountain

Historian John D. Hoptak discusses his book about the September 14, 1862 fighting at Crampton's, Fox's, and Turner's Gaps.

Civil War Trust News Releases

Featured Article

George McClellan at Antietam

The Long Road to Antietam

Read the Trust's interview with author Richard Slotkin. Learn about the strategic challenges facing both the Lincoln and Davis administrations in September 1862.

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Acres Saved

This battlefield was identified in our annual report History Under Siege™ in 2009 »  , 2010 »  , and 2004 »


The Civil War Trust's collection of historic and modern images of the South Mountain Battlefield in Maryland.

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Garry Adelman recounts the action at the Civil War Trust's 2014 property at Fox's Gap during the Battle of South Mountain.

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Recommended Reading

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"The Battle of South Mountain"
by John Hoptak

Join historian John Hoptak as he narrates the critical Battle of South Mountain, long overshadowed by the Battle of Antietam

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