South Mountain Battle

South Mountain

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

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After his success at Second Manassas, Gen. Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia north across the Potomac River on an invasion of Maryland in September of 1862. Lee divided his army, sending a portion of it into western Maryland while Lieut. Gen. Stonewall Jackson's wing attempted to capture the Federal garrison at Harper's Ferry. The bold plan was jeopardized on September 13th when a mislaid copy of Lee's orders revealing the Confederates' plans was given to Union commander Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan. The next day, emboldened by this intelligence, McClellan moved his six army corps into the three passes on South Mountain in order to destroy the Confederate defenders there and divide Lee's army. Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker at Turner's Gap, Maj. Gen. Jesse Reno at Fox's Gap, and Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin at Crampton's Gap all gained success with their forces against Maj. Gen. D. H. Hill and other elements of Lieut. Gen. James Longstreet's wing of Lee's army. Finally defeated in battle by McClellan, Lee withdrew Longstreet's men to the west. 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 three days later.

Battle Facts

Result

Union Victory
COMMANDERS
Forces Engaged
46,000

Union

28,000

Confederate

18,000
Total Estimated Casualties
5,010

Union

2,325
443
killed
1,807
wounded
75
missing & captured

Confederate

2,685
325
killed
1,560
wounded
800
missing & captured