Grain of Salt

Someone added her grain of salt to Joe’s message…

All I I have to say about that is I’d like to share this from Wikipedia if ok…

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Simplified parse tree
PN = proper noun
N = noun
V = verb
NP = noun phrase
RC = relative clause
VP = verb phrase
S = sentence

“Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” is a grammatically valid sentence in American English, used as an example of how homonyms and homophones can be used to create complicated linguistic constructs. It has been discussed in literature since 1972 when the sentence was used by William J. Rapaport, an associate professor at the University at Buffalo.[1] It was posted to Linguist List by Rapaport in 1992.[2] It was also featured in Steven Pinker’s 1994 book The Language Instinct as an example of a sentence that is “seemingly nonsensical” but grammatical. Pinker names his student Annie Senghas as the inventor of the sentence.[3]

The sentence’s meaning becomes clearer when it’s understood that it uses the city of Buffalo, New York and the somewhat-uncommon verb “to buffalo” (meaning “to bully or intimidate”), and when the punctuation and grammar is expanded so that the sentence reads as follows: “Buffalo buffalo that Buffalo buffalo buffalo, buffalo Buffalo buffalo.” The meaning becomes even clearer when synonyms are used: “Buffalo bison that other Buffalo bison bully, themselves bully Buffalo bison.”

From Cousin Joe

You think English is easy??

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present thepresent.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

 Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig..

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. – Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’ ?

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this ..

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is ‘UP.’ 

It’s easy to understand
UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?
Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
We call UP our friends.
And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning..
People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and thinkUPexcuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special..A drain must be opened UPbecause it is stopped UP.
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.
When the sun comes out we say it is clearingUP .
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things
When it doesn’t rain for awhile, things dry

One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP,for now my time is UP,
so…… is time to shut UP!
Now it’s UP to you what you do with this email.

Four More Battles Before Alexander Bennett’s Desertion

3 May 1863, Marye’s Heights, Virginia

Confederate Artillerists on Marye’s Heights

The Sunken Road at Fredericksburg. Confederate troops from Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Caronlina held the road throughout December 13th, 1862. No Union soldiers touched the wall or made it into the road. Mac Wyckoff

The Battles for Marye’s Heights

Twice the focal point of major attacks by the Union army, Marye’s Heights ranks among the foremost landmarks in American military history. On December 13, 1862, during the Battle of Fredericksburg, Major General Ambrose E. Burnside assailed the ridge with nine divisions totaling 30,000 men. Confederate William Miller Owen watched as line after line of Union soldiers surged toward the ridge. “What a magnificent sight it is!” he marveled.”We have never witnessed such a battle-array before; long lines following one another, of brigade front. It seemed like a huge blue serpent about to encompass and crush us in its folds. . . .” Miller’s fears were unfounded. Not a single Union soldier reached the heights, though 8,000 fell in the attempt.

Five months later, Union troops again stormed the heights. General Robert E. Lee had taken most of the Confederate army west to Chancellorsville, leaving only a skeleton force to hold the high ground behind Fredericksburg. In a brief but fierce struggle, Major General John Sedgwick’s Sixth Corps carried the heights on May 3, 1863, only to have the Confederates retake them the following day. Click Tour of 2nd Fredericksburg & Salem Church for a folder that provides more information on this fighting and describes a driving tour that includes a visit to Marye’s Heights.

4 May 1863, Salem Heights, Virginia 

The fighting at 2nd Fredericksburg and Salem Church comprises an important if often overlooked, phase of the Chancellorsville Campaign. Major General Joseph Hooker, commander of the Union army, began the campaign by splitting his forces. { Read General Hooker’s Report} While Major General John Sedgwick’s VI Corps crossed the Rappahannock River below Fredericksburg to hold the Confederates’ attention, Hooker sent three corps (later reinforced to six)across the river above Fredericksburg, turning the Confederate’ left flank. General Robert E. Lee responded by diving his army as well. {Read General Lee’s Report}While Lee led 45,000 men west to engage Hooker’s main force at Chancellorsville, Major General Jubal A. Early remained at Fredericksburg with 12,000 men to block Sedgwick. { Read General Early’s Report,} After two days of fighting, Hooker ordered Sedgwick to seize the heights behind Fredericksburg and march to his assistance at Chancellorsville.{ Read General Sedgwick’s Report}

Daybreak, May 3, 1863, found Sedgwick’s 25,000 troops facing Early’s 12,000 across a seven-mile front. Early concentrated his strength near Prospect Hill, where Union troops had enjoyed brief success during the Battle of Fredericksburg the previous year. Sedgwick, however, attacked Marye’s Heights, five miles further north. Although Marye’s Heights was a strong position, fewer than 1,000 men of the 18th and 21st Mississippi Infantry regiments of Barksdale’s brigade and seven guns of the Washington Artillery the ground defended it. { Read General Barksdale’s Report} 8,000 Confederates had successfully defended the previous December.

Despite the paucity of Confederate defenders, Sedgwick’s first two attacks against Marye’s Heights failed, recalling images of the December 1862 slaughter. During a truce to remove the wounded, Union soldiers discovered how few Southerners held the ridge. Confident of success, they renewed their attack and on the next try succeeded in capturing the heights. Early rallied his troops and retreated down the Telegraph Road (modern Lafayette Boulevard), thus blocking any direct advance by Sedgwick on Richmond.

Sedgwick instead headed for Chancellorsville. In his path were 10,000 Confederates led by Major General Lafayette McLaws and Brigadier General Cadmus Wilcox. These Southern troops held Salem Church ridge, four miles west of town. The sun was low in the sky when Sedgwick reached Salem Church and deployed his corps for the attack. Utilizing just one of his three divisions (Brooks’), he made a costly and unsuccessful frontal assault against the center of the Confederate line. Nightfall put an end to what Sedgwick termed a “sharp and prolonged attack.”

On May 4 Lee took the offensive against Sedgwick. Jubal Early reoccupied Marye’s heights at dawn, cutting off the Union general’s escape via Fredericksburg.

Later in the day, Lee brought General Richard Anderson’s division from Chancellorsville to fill the gap between Early and McLaws. { Read General Anderson’s Report,} By sunset, Sedgwick found himself confronted by Confederates on three sides. When Lee attacked at 6 p.m., Sedgwick was forced to retire across Scott’s Ford. The following day, as Sedgwick’s soldiers returned to their winter camps, Lee hurried west to resume assaults on Hooker. Before he could attack, however, Hooker withdrew across the Rappahannock, bringing the campaign to an end.

The fighting at 2nd Fredericksburg and Salem Church prevented Sedgwick from striking the main Confederate army at Chancellorsville while it was engaged with Hooker. By forcing Lee to divert two divisions to Chancellorsville at a critical juncture of the battle, however, Sedgwick may have spared the Union army a much greater defeat.

Two more battles to go?

5 June 1863, Fredericksburg, Virginia

3 July 1863, Gettysburg, Pennylvania 

I think I am going to desert from my posts about the Civil War and the reason why Alexander Bennett deserted the Union Army after the riotings that took place in New York City in 1863.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I think I got the message across. We don’t have to pass judgement on someone’s actions.

After all these battles I think I need a rest from Our Ancestors especially since I am looking for this man’s relatives.

journal10Lawrence Walton Montague

 I will let you do a little Google research… or you can click here and save yourself a lot of trouble. This is part one.


Edited 23 December 2020

Who’s excited?

Cynthia was not the only one who was excited.

Robin was also excited…

I am anxious too for her, its been awhile since the Bleau family has been searched by someone, great job Pierre for keeping this blog going, we all appreciate all your hard work.

Hard work?

This is fun…

Going back in times is what I like the most and finding links between people and me. Bringing our ancestors to life again and interact with them with pictures if we can find them.

Someone else wrote me a message, this time on Ancestry. She is a descendant of Scholastique Lauzon and Maxime Neveu seen here in a family picture.

Family  of Joseph Girard and Léocadie Neveu

The message says a lot about excitement…

Hello Pierre, my name is [ ], Scholastique Lauzon Neveau is great great grandmother. Her husband Maxime, their son Leander, his son Roy, [], my mother and I are asking if we can look at the information you have Scholastique. I don’t have a lot of pictures or information on her. The only info I have is the cemetery that we go and put things on her grave. I’m fairly new at this so I would like any help you can give me.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

This person does not know it but in fact we are very distant cousins… so I invited her to visit my family tree on Ancestry. She has not sent me anymore messages…


Getting back to Blanche Bleau, I have found her Bleau ancestors and they are  not the same as Harry Bleau’s ancestors who were Barthélémy Bleau and Barbe Aubry. 

Blanche’s ancestors were François Bleau (Blot) and Anne Sautin from the parish of La Trinité, in Falaise, Caen, Normandy.

So why people got all excited about the Bleaus?

Because looking for our ancestors is fun.


I hope Cynthia does not think I am too obsessed with her ancestors. I know my good friend Ron does not think so.

Cynthia just wanted my help to look for Blanche.


I am a descendant of Blanche Corelia Bleau. I have gotten pretty excited to come upon these pictures. I wonder, does anyone know of her? She passed away, many years ago, but I have always been interested in the Bleau name. Her husband was Edward Roland Collins.

Thank you,

I hardly can control myself when it’s time to look for people’s ancestors.

I react like a piranha.

Pierre obsessed? No way…

I asked Cynthia for a time period about Blanche Bleau’s birth.

I feel that my Grandma Blanche would’ve probably been born late 1800s. ie; 1889 or later. There was a mis-spell on her birth cert. Silly; Corelia changed to Gorelia.. something like that.…

It’s the only thing I needed… and then the frenzy began and I could not stop searching for most of Blanche Bleau’s ancestors and her husband for that matter.

Blanche Bleau

Blanche BleauEdward CollinsEdward R. Collins

Just could not stop…

13 December 1862, Fredericksburg, Virginia

Christmas was just around the corner in 1862. I am sure Alexander Bennett  was thinking about his family in Vermont.

Photo1404Some of our ancestors will always remember that Christmas.

I visited Fredericksburg, Virginia, in September 2011.

I was going to visit a friend in North Carolina. It was like a stopover to cut travel time. I knew nothing about Fredericksburg or about the part it played in the Civil War.

Alexander Bennett was also a complete stranger and I did not know he was a private with Vermont Second Infantry.

I remembered going there and visiting Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center.


As usual I took a lot of fuzzy pictures with my cellphone (my camera battery was dead)… while trying to make sense of all this madness that occured around Christmas time in  December 1862.

Photo1407Why Fredericksburg?

Wikipedia has all the answers and I have a few fuzzy pictures to share.

Still Puzzled?

Cynthia should not.

She came to the right place. If she has pictures, it’s going to be much more interesting.

Pictures are like a frosting on a cake when you are looking for your ancestors.

Louis Bleau 1But one question remains…

Was Louis Bleau really played violin or is the violon just a prop?

Corilla Blanche Bleau

Try Googling that on the Internet to search for her.

Not much information.

Unless you sent a comment like this on my blog Our Ancestors…

Hello, I am a descendant of Blanche Corelia Bleau. I have gotten pretty excited to come upon these pictures. I wonder, does anyone know of her? She passed away, many years ago, but I have always been interested in the Bleau name. Her husband was Edward Roland Collins.
Thank you,

The Bloodiest One Day Battle in American History

Antietam (click here for some pictures)

Alexander Bennett was part of this battle. It must have made a big impression on him.

In mid-September 1862, the Civil War was only a year and a half old, and many Americans in the North and the South still clung to the view that this war was a noble, glorious, even romantic undertaking. That notion was shattered forever when Alexander Gardner and his assistant James Gibson, working for photographer Mathew Brady’s firm, came to Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Md.

Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and George McClellan’s Army of the Potomac had collided there in a battle that was, and remains, the nation’s bloodiest day. It was called a Union victory, though the cost on both sides was enormous — 23,000 men killed or wounded.

Up until that time, war photography had primarily depicted only the landscape and individual commanders, long after the fighting was done. Gardner and Gibson arrived at the battlefield before all of the soldiers’ bodies had been buried, and they recorded a series of what they called “death studies” that, for the first time, showed the bloated, mutilated corpses that are the true aftermath of conflict.

The exhibition of those images, only a month after the battle, caused a sensation. A reporter for The New York Times wrote, “Mr. Brady has done something to bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war. If he has not brought bodies and laid them in our dooryards and along the streets, he has done something very like it.”

This is a Website dedicated to Antietam.

This is most interesting.

For pictures click here.

The bravest of the braves.

How many casualties did 2nd Vermont Infantry Co. G sustained?


Coolidge, John T., 20, Ludlow, VT; enl 10/1/61, m/i 11/9/61, PVT, Co. E, 2nd USSS, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, dis/wds, 12/19/62

Cooper, Edward S., 18, Rochester, VT; enl 9/9/61, m/i 9/21/61, Pvt, Co. E, 4th VT INF, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, tr to VRC 9/1/63, m/o 4/15/64

Crane, Cyrus R., 25, Bridport, VT; comn 1LT, Co. F, 5th VT INF, 9/4/61 (9/4/61), pr CPT 6/21/62 (6/21/62), wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, tr to Co. K, 1/24/63, dis/wds, 3/13/63

Dobson, William, 28, Richmond, VT; enl 6/26/61, 12th MA INF, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62 (gsw right leg), VRC

Drake, Oliver B., 21, Bristol, VT; enl 5/22/61, m/i 6/20/61, Pvt, Co. K, 2nd VT INF, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, dis/wds, 4/19/63

Eggleston, George Dulton, 0, Cabot, VT; enl, 6/28/61, CORP, Co. E, 6th WI INF, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, wdd, Gettysburg, 7/1/63, wdd, Spotsylvania, 5/12/64, pr 2LT 1/14/65, m/o 6/9/65

Harris, Joseph Hartwell, 26, Woodstock, VT; enl, Lebanon, 4/27/61, m/i, Pvt, Co. K, 1st NH INF, 5/7/61, m/o 8/9/61; enl, Lebanon, 8/21/61, m/i, 1SGT, Co. C, 5th NH INF, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, dis/dsb 6/8/63

Holbrook, Manlius, 17, Lemington, VT; enl 11/11/61, m/i 11/29/61, PVT, Co. E, 2nd USSS, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, wdd, Gettysburg, 7/3/63, reen 12/21/63, pr CORP 1/7/64, pr SGT 1/1/ 1865, tr to Co. G, 4th VT INF, 2/25/65, m/o 7/13/65

Holcomb, Chester, 18, Windsor, VT; enl 8/31/61, m/i 9/21/61, Pvt, Co. K, 4th VT INF, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, dsrtd 10/28/62

Howard, Silas W., 20, Royalton, VT; enl 12/16/61, m/i 11/9/61, PVT, Co. E, 2nd USSS, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, dis/wds, 3/5/63

LaClair, John E., 28, Highgate, VT; co. G, 13th MA INF, kia, Antietam, 9/17/62

Laythe, Gilman, 0, Newport, VT; enl, Clinton, 7/12/61, m/i, Pvt, Co. C, 15th MA INf, 7/12/61, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, dis/dsb 1/6/63

Lewis, Luke Monroe, 22, Duxbury, VT; enl 10/30/61, m/i 11/9/61, PVT, Co. E, 2nd USSS, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, m/o 11/9/64

Marks, Lorenzo J., 18, Shelburne, VT; enl 5/7/61, m/i 6/20/61, Pvt, Co. G, 2nd VT INF, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, wdd, 5/18/64, m/o 6/29/64; enl 1/25/65, Hancock’s 1st A.C., 7th Regt, Co. I, m/o 1/30/66

Martin, William Henry, 22, Williamstown, VT; enl 8/19/61, m/i 9/21/61, 1SGT, Co. B, 4th VT INF, comn 2LT, Co. A, 7/17/62 (9/29/62), wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, wdd, Funkstown, 7/10/63 (neck, slightly), mwia, Wilderness, 5/5/64, d/wds 5/8/64

McClallen, Byron, 18, Westford, VT; enl 11/2/61, m/i 11/9/61, PVT, Co. E, 2nd USSS, kia, Antietam, 9/17/62

Mosher, Edward, 21, Alburgh, VT; enl 7/16/61, 13th MA INF, wdd, Bull Run, 8/30/62, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, dis/wds 2/15/63

Pasha, Antoine, 21, Burlington, VT; enl 10/4/61, m/i 10/15/61, Pvt, Co. F, 6th VT INF, wdd, Lee’s Mill, 4/16/62, mwia, Antietam, 9/17/62, d/wds 5/18/63

Richardson, George A., 22, Jamaica, VT; enl 12/7/61, m/i 12/31/61, PVT, Co. H, 2nd USSS, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, dis/wds, 12/4/62 (occupation: cooper, 6′ 4 1/4″, dark complexion, black eyes, dark hair)

Richardson, Israel Bush, 0, Fairfax, VT; USMA 36, 2LT, 3rd US INF 41, Bvt CPT and MAJ for gallant conduct in battles of the war with Mexico, CPT, 3rd US INF 51, resgd 55, COL 2nd MI INF, 4/61, B.G. USV, 5/17/61, commanded bgd at the first Bull Run, M.G. USV, 7/4/62, commanded 1st Div, 2nd AC, 62, mwia, Antietam, 9/17/62, d/wds 11/3/62  [College: USMA 36]

Rollins, Andrew J., 24, Greensboro, VT; 12th MA INF, occ. painter, enl, Boston, 6/61, PVT, Co. D, kia, Antietam, 9/17/62 (minnie ball in side)

Sanborn, Asa J., 18, Stowe, VT; enl 10/30/61, m/i 11/9/61, PVT, Co. E, 2nd USSS, reen 12/31/63, wdd, 6/4/64, mwia, Antietam, 9/17/62, d/wds 6/21/64

Slade, George H., 21, Bennington, VT; enl 9/9/61, m/i 10/4/61, PVT, Co. F, 89th NY INF, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, dis/dsb 6/5/63, Frederick, MD

Stanton, John, 20, Charleston, VT; enl 4/22/61, m/i 7/16/61, CORP, Co. D, 3rd VT INF, kia, Antietam, 9/17/62

Stockwell, Arthur E., 22, Stowe, VT; enl 10/28/61, m/i 11/9/61, Pvt, Co. E, 2nd USSS, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, reen 12/21/63, wdd, Wilderness, 5/6/64, tr to Co. G, 4th VT INF, 2/25/65, pr CORP 5/1/65, m/o 7/13/65

Thompson, Samuel H., 36, Cabot, VT; enl 8/20/61, m/i 9/21/61, Pvt, Co. H, 4th VT INF, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, kia, Spotsylvania, 5/12/64

Tyler, George E., 22, Readsboro, VT; enl 5/27/61, m/i 6/20/61, Pvt, Co. A, 2nd VT INF, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, dis/wds, 8/26/63

Vance, Lorin A., 18, Lowell, MA; enl, Lowell, MA, 10/14/61, m/i, Pvt, Co. K, 2nd MA INF, 10/23/61, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, reen 12/31/63, m/o 7/14/65

Whitman, John Norton, 33, Brighton, VT; enl 8/24/61, m/i 9/21/61, Pvt, Co. D, 4th VT INF, pr CORP, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, dis/wds, 11/3/62

Whitman, Shepard B., 23, Newbury, VT; enl 11/5/61, m/i 11/9/61, PVT, Co. E, 2nd USSS, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, dis/wds, 12/4/62

Williams, Silas Hudson, 27, Sheffield, VT; enl, Northbridge, 1/22/62, m/i, Pvt, Co. H, 15th MA INF, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, dis/dsb 1/24/63

Winship, David H., 19, Bradford, VT; 9th NH INF, mwia, Antietam, 9/17/62, d/wds, 11/14/62, Falmouth, VA

This is most interesting.

Seven More Battles to Go

14 September 1862, Crampton’s Gap, Maryland

17 September 1862, Antietam, Maryland

13 December 1862, Fredericksburg, Virginia

3 May 1863, Marye’s Heights, Virginia

4 May 1863, Salem Heights, Virginia

5 June 1863, Fredericksburg, Virginia

3 July 1863, Gettysburg, Pennylvania

I have to find the strength to go on with this story of a deserter of the Second Vermont Infantry and find the reasons why he deserted the Union army.

Crampton’s Gap, Maryland


14 September 1862.

You can read about that battle here.


Author and historian Timothy Reese, a noted authority on the Battle of Crampton’s Gap, has consented to have AotW present here the principal content of his reference website, formerly hosted on Earthlink, now withdrawn from service. Mr Reese has long been an advocate for recognition of this action as separate from the fights at Turner’s and Fox’s Gaps on the same day—all three often being described together as the Battle of South Mountain. Mr Reese has also been arguing that public land at the site be renamed Crampton’s Gap Battlefield, but sees small hope of that occurring soon.

star See more about … Crampton’s Gap or South Mountain—Which is it?
star See … quotes on the significance of Crampton’s Gap
star See more about … the author’s published work on the Battle

This is an online resource for the Crampton’s Gap battlefield, September 14, 1862, embracing Gathland State Park, as well the village and farmlands of Burkittsville in the southwest corner of Frederick County, Maryland.

Often mistaken as a portion of the South Mountain battlefield six miles to the north, Crampton’s Gap is reemerging on its own merit as a significant element of the 1862 Maryland Campaign.

Due to the complexity, fluid nature, and vast region embraced by the 1862 Maryland Campaign, the Battle for Crampton’s Gap is frequently difficult to understand. Its strategic sense was paramount in the minds of both Lee and McClellan as attested by their words and actions.

Why did the armies come to South Mountain?

Gen. Robert E. Lee moved his Army of Northern Virginia into Maryland for many reasons, paramount among them being the Confederacy’s long-standing desire for intervention by Great Britain and France, world powers of the day, to obtain foreign recognition and material aid against the far stronger Northern states waging war for its downfall. By invading Union soil, Lee also hoped to relieve Virginia from war’s cost, evoke sympathy from disaffected Northerners, impact upcoming mid-term Congressional elections, create panic in the stock market, and broadly startle the world at large as a nation worth noticing. With so much at stake, the climate would never be better for Southern independence.

To accomplish this Lee moved northward, intent on drawing Union forces after him, with the idea of confronting his adversary on ground of his choosing while threatening Pennsylvania, this after driving Union forces back onto Washington following the Second Battle of Manassas in late August. Gen. George B. McClellan was hastily given the task of reforming his Army of the Potomac, then ordered to pursue Lee and bring him to bay with little or no knowledge of where Lee had gone or what he intended.

What was the turning point?

Pausing at Frederick, Maryland to rest his troops, Lee penned his Special Orders No. 191 outlining campaign objectives. The Confederate army would march westward across South Mountain. Half the army under Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson would descend upon Federal garrisons at Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry, (West) Virginia, while the other half, under Gen. James Longstreet accompanied by Lee, would continue west to Hagerstown near to the Pennsylvania state line. Lee would leave a rearguard at South Mountain under Gen. D. H. Hill to watch for pursuit. In this fashion, Lee the gambler broke the cardinal military rule of never splitting one’s forces in the face of a superior enemy—with or without a mountain intervening.

A copy of Lee’s orders was unaccountably left behind at Frederick, falling into McClellan’s hands on Saturday, September 13, 1862. Armed with the “Lost Order,” McClellan devised surgical counter-strategy to compromise Lee’s movements in mid-stride and to perhaps close the war. During the postwar era, veterans and historians agreed that the finding of the Lost Orders was without doubt the turning point of the campaign, perhaps of the entire war due to the then favorable climate for foreign intervention.

To use a boxing metaphor, McClellan now struck at three road crossings on South Mountain where he could best threaten Lee. While his strong right wing powerfully smashed into Hill’s rearguard at Turner’s Gap, where the National Pike crossed—preceded by a quick right jab flank march at Fox’s Gap, one mile south—he ordered a left hook at Crampton’s Gap, six miles to the south, intent on driving a wedge between the widely separated halves of Lee’s army. His left could then relieve Harpers Ferry and drive westward to Sharpsburg, cutting off Lee. In this way, McClellan could confront Lee beyond South Mountain with startling numerical advantage. After vanquishing Longstreet’s half of the army, he could then descend on Jackson with still greater advantage, assuming the latter would stand his ground. Though his counter-strategy was sound, McClellan was not well served by his wing commanders, generals Ambrose Burnside and William Franklin.

South Mountain on horizon, Crampton's Gap center
South Mountain on horizon, Crampton’s Gap center (photo: T. Reese) Zoom Image Symbol

When and where did fighting occur? For how long?

Sunday, September 14, 1862. Assaults on Turner’s and Fox’s gaps were orchestrated by Burnside, overseen by McClellan at the former near the village of Bolivar. Fighting began at 9 A.M., what was planned as seizure of the mountain crest at Fox’s Gap by Reno’s Ninth Corps, followed by an advance along the ridge to flank Hill out of Turner’s Gap. Hill rushed Gen. Samuel Garland’s troops to Fox’s Gap to meet this threat, sparking a bloody standoff south of the crossroads during which Garland was mortally wounded. Fighting was renewed by the Ninth Corps around 2 P.M., and again at 4, continuing without success until nightfall. Though yielding ground, Confederate reinforcements stubbornly barred the way. Near nightfall Reno angrily rode to the summit to personally investigate the holdup and was killed by a Confederate sniper. Further disheartened by his death, Federal troops were unable to make headway toward Turner’s Gap as originally planned.

Meanwhile, Gen. Joseph Hooker’s First Corps had moved directly on Turner’s Gap via the National Pike and by another flank march through the area of Frosttown north of that gap. Marching out of Middletown, Hooker’s forces did not come to grips until about 4 P.M. As at Fox’s Gap, Confederate resistance was desperate and heroic. Outnumbered and hard pressed, Hill was reinforced late in the day by Longstreet’s brigades hurriedly counter-marched in mid-stride from Hagerstown. As darkness approached, Union troops were prevented from seizing the entire summit, forced to sleep on their arms. Confederates still clung to nearly a mile of the mountain ridge line.

To the south, Franklin’s Sixth Corps easily burst through Crampton’s Gap in total victory at about 6 P.M., after marching through Jefferson to Burkittsville. The attack however had been launched too late in the day to capitalize on its success before nightfall. Sixth Corps troops could still hear firing at the northern gaps after Crampton’s Gap had fallen.

How many troops were involved?

Union present-for-duty figures are reasonably dependable. Confederate reports however are far less accurate or do not exist. Estimates yield a broad ratio of 3 to 1 in favor of Union forces at Turner’s and Fox’s gaps. Crampton’s Gap figures are more clearly defined, yielding 6 to 1 odds in favor of Union troops. Overall figures for the three gaps on South Mountain reveal odds of 3.6 to 1 in favor of Union forces.

Union Strengths  Confederate Strengths
First Corps, Turner’s Gap 14,800 D. H. Hill’s Division (est.) 5,800
Ninth Corps, Fox’s Gap 13,000 Longstreet’s brigades (est. reinforce) 3,300
Sixth Corps, Crampton’s Gap 12,800 Crampton’s Gap 2,100
Total 40,600 Total 11,200
Total troops involved on South Mountain: 51,800

star See … the Orders of Battle—the units that fought at Crampton’s Gap
star See more about … some key units at Crampton’s Gap
star See more about … Medals of Honor awarded for action there

How many casualties were inflicted?

Union casualty reports are mostly reliable. Confederate casualties however are nearly impossible to determine due to poor or nonexistent after-action returns. Southern casualties were reported in total for the entire campaign, irrespective of a particular engagement. Totals are largely inseparable. The following figures were collected from all available returns and estimates (killed, wounded, missing, prisoner of war):

Union Losses  Confederate Losses
First Corps, Turner’s Gap 933 D. H. Hill’s Division (est.) unknown*
Ninth Corps, Fox’s Gap 858 Longstreet’s brigades (est. reinforce) unknown*
Sixth Corps, Crampton’s Gap 538 Crampton’s Gap 873
Total 2,329 Total (* 2,685 est. at Turner’s & Fox’s) 3,558
Total casualties inflicted on South Mountain: 5,887—5% of Union strength, 31% of Confederate strength

Who won? Who lost?

In calculating success or failure, we must examine South Mountain as two disconnected battles fought for wholly separate strategic objectives. They were so viewed by both Lee and McClellan. The Battle of South Mountain proper (i.e., Turner’s and Fox’s gaps) though styled a Union victory by McClellan, was in fact a tactical defeat for Union forces. The Ninth Corps flanking maneuver at Fox’s Gap was effectively blunted at great cost. McClellan’s main drive through Turner’s Gap also ground to a halt at day’s end. Confederate troops, though highly disordered by combat, still clung to portions of the summit and western slope when firing ceased.

Later that night Lee wisely, though reluctantly, evacuated this portion of the mountain after learning of the result at Crampton’s Gap. From the Confederate viewpoint, disaster had been narrowly averted. McClellan on the other hand had run head-on into an impenetrable wall at South Mountain, dramatically forestalling his coming to grips with Lee before the latter could reunite with Jackson. McClellan’s only tangible gain at South Mountain was the halting of Lee’s westward march. Therefore, South Mountain is properly defined as a strategic standoff for both armies, though it just barely qualifies as a tactical victory for Lee via D. H. Hill’s intrepid rearguard stand. Fighting at Turner’s Gap and Fox’s Gap can be fairly described as irresistible forces pitted against immovable objects.

In counterpoint, Crampton’s Gap was undeniably a Union victory, the sole undisputed success of the campaign, and in fact the first victory over any portion of Lee’s army thus far in the war. Confederate commands engaged there were badly demoralized and scattered into the night. Nothing remained to block Franklin’s way to Sharpsburg, excluding his mandate to relieve Harpers Ferry. For McClellan, Crampton’s Gap and South Mountain were one win and a tie.

How did Crampton’s Gap impact Union and Confederate campaign plans?

In the early, sleepless hours of Monday, September 15, Lee learned of the shocking Crampton’s Gap setback and hastily evacuated his remaining troops, still doggedly clinging to Turner’s and Fox’s gaps. Only then did he apprehend that McClellan was attempting to keep Longstreet and Jackson apart. Had Crampton’s Gap Confederates held on as at the other gaps, Lee would have been allowed time to reunite his forces and continue westward, perhaps offering McClellan battle farther to the northwest on ground of his own choosing as originally planned. In this event, the “Lost Order” would have merely reduced Lee’s safe distance from McClellan, underscoring the need for further rapid footwork.

Battle at the two northern gaps arrested Lee’s progress to Hagerstown. Defeat at Crampton’s Gap soundly impressed upon him the urgency of rejoining Jackson, still preoccupied with the siege of Harpers Ferry. Lee had to get Longstreet out of harm’s way before McClellan could corner him. He was therefore obliged to race to Sharpsburg where Jackson could join him via Shepherdstown Ford. Franklin declined to get between Longstreet and Jackson as ordered, even after the fall of Harpers Ferry, allowing Lee to reassemble unmolested. McClellan’s ìwedgeî had been abandoned, forcing his army to swing to the southwest through Boonsboro and Keedysville on Franklin’s rooted pivot. Lee in fact showed no desire to meet McClellan at Sharpsburg under the circumstances until he heard of Jackson’s capture of Harpers Ferry, freeing him to rejoin Lee. Only then did Lee decide to confront McClellan head-on at Antietam Creek in what became the bloodiest single day of the war, a stubborn gamble to salvage something of value from a campaign gone horribly awry.

On September 17, Antietam too became a fearful, tactical standoff at a place Lee never dreamed of fighting. In a very literal sense, Crampton’s Gap directly precipitated the Battle of Antietam, as well Lee’s ultimate return to Virginia. But it can be argued that Lee survived to fight another day because Lost Order advantages were not fully exploited. Modern historians have tended to blame McClellan exclusively for these lost opportunities, when it was his subordinates rather who had the “slows.”

How did Crampton’s Gap affect the war’s progress and outcome?

Crampton’s Gap conclusively halted Lee’s campaign into the North, nullifying multiple political benefits he hoped to derive. It forced him into a set-piece battle at Antietam, results of which cost him dearly, having just the opposite effect on Northern and foreign opinion he and his infant nation had so earnestly hoped to influence.

Fully cognizant of Confederate overtures for European aid, President Abraham Lincoln had long anticipated a Union victory that would facilitate a political design calculated to isolate the South. Though Antietam was a tactical standoff, Lee’s abandonment of Maryland lent the appearance of victory for Federal arms. From this tentative platform Lincoln issued his preliminary draft of the Emancipation Proclamation just five days after Antietam, a document which shifted Union war aims onto political ground morally repugnant to Great Britain and France. Abolition of slavery had now become an objective equal in weight to restoration of the Union. As a result, a British or French referendum on Southern recognition was indefinitely postponed. Thus stigmatized, the Confederate States continued to search in vain for fading European sympathy and support. Lincoln’s canny maneuver adroitly deflected the most dangerous impediment to crushing the Confederacy. From that moment the North was free to wage punitive war, confident that the Confederate States would stand or fall alone, solely through their own inferior resources.

Lee’s 1863 campaign into Pennsylvania was a desperate replication of his Maryland exploits. This time he was not hindered by lost orders or a Federal garrison planted squarely astride his extended line of communication and supply. By then the impetus for campaigning in the North had passed, namely the quest for Northern disaffection and foreign recognition.

Where he only need seriously embarrass Federal forces for crucial diplomatic gain in 1862, at Gettysburg he was vitally tasked with destroying the Union army without hope of foreign intervention. Historians habitually characterize the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg as the “high-water mark” of the Confederacy, when in fact the events of 1862 predestined war’s outcome. Gettysburg was without question the military high-water mark of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. But the momentous 1862 Maryland Campaign, strategically pivoted on the Lost Order, Crampton’s Gap and Antietam, was the indisputable pinnacle of Confederate diplomatic achievement, as well any hope for independence, nationhood or sovereignty.

— Timothy Reese, Burkittsville, Maryland
AotW Member

© 2000, Tim Reese
published online previously as part of the website at

On the site we find more information about Second Vermont Infantry.

Federal Regiment

2nd Vermont Infantry

Organized: Burlington, Vermont; mustered in 6/20/1861
Disbanded/Mustered out: Burlington, VT 7/15/1865

Commanding Officer:
Maj. James H. Walbridge
Battlefield Tablets for this Unit:
Tablet #120: Army of the Potomac – 17 Sep, 5 AM to 17 Sep, 12 PM
Tablet #102: Sixth Army Corps – 17 Sep, 5 AM to 17 Sep, 4 PM
Tablet #72: Smith’s Division, Sixth Army Corps – 17 Sep, 5 AM to 19 Sep, 9 AM
Tablet #73: Brooks’ Brigade, Smith’s Division – 17 Sep, 6 AM to 19 Sep, 9 AMThis Regiment’s Chain of Command:
Army – Army of the Potomac
Corps – Sixth (VI) Army Corps
Division – 2nd Division, VI Corps
Brigade – 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, VI Corps
starstarHistory of the Unit:
The Second Regiment Vermont Volunteer Infantry was organized at Burlington, and was mustered into the United Sates service by Lieutenant-Colonel Rains, U. S. A., June 20, 1861, it being the first three years’ regiment raised in Vermont. It was composed of ten companies, selected from about sixty which offered their services for this organization. June 24, it left Burlington for Washington, where it arrived on the 26th. While in New York, on its way to the front, it was presented with a stand of State colors. On arriving at Washington, it went into camp on Capitol Hill, where it remained until July 10. On that day it moved into Virginia, over Long Bridge, and marched through Alexandria to Bush Hill, about five miles in the direction of Fairfax Court House. At Bush Hill it was, with the Third, Fourth and Fifth Maine, formed into a brigade under command of Col. O. O. Howard of the Third Maine. The brigade of Colonel (now Major-General) Howard was assigned to the Division of General Heintzleman. On the 16th, the regiment, with the rest of the Union Army under General McDowell, commenced its march to Centerville, and on Sunday, July 21, took part in the battle of Bull Run. After the defeat of the Union Army, the regiment returned to its old camp at Bush Hill. The loss of the regiment in this fight was as follows: Two men killed, one officer and 34 enlisted men wounded, and one officer and 30 men missing, making a total loss of 68 men.General Howard always spoke in the highest terms of praise for the Second.August 12, the regiment was detached from Howard’s brigade and ordered to Chain Bridge, some ten miles above Georgetown on the Potomac, and went into camp at the east end of the bridge, being brigaded with the Third Vermont, the Sixth Maine and the Thirty-third New York regiments. September 3, it was moved across the bridge into Virginia once more, and about a mile from the bridge went into camp, (Camp Advance). Here the regiment, together with the Third Vermont and Sixth Maine, built Forts Marcy and Ethan Allen. During the winter of 1861-2, the regiment did picket duty along the Leesburgh turnpike, varied occasionally with a little skirmishing with the enemy. During the month of September, the Fourth and Fifth Vermont regiments had arrived, and the famous “Old Vermont Brigade” was formed. The Brigade had moved about three miles farther out in the direction of Lewinsville, where the Sixth Vermont was added to it, the whole being under command of Gen. W. F. (Baldy) Smith. Soon after the formation of the Brigade, General Smith was assigned the command of the Division of which The Vermont Brigade was a part, it being the Second Brigade, Smith’s Division. Gen. W. T. H. Brooks took command, and from this time until the close of the war this regiment was identified with the Brigade, in all the battles in which the latter took part. It was a regiment in which all the officers of the Division and Corps had confidence. In a fight it would obey orders if within the limits of the possible so to do.March 10, 1862, the regiment moved from Camp Griffin, where it had remained during the winter doing picket duty and drilling, and took up the line of march to Centerville. On the arrival of the army at that place, only “quaker guns” frowned upon us, and a change of base was decided upon and the army moved to Alexandria. The regiment went into camp on the same grounds it had occupied while under General Howard, before the battle of Bull run, but only for a few days. March 23, together wit the other regiments of the Brigade, it took transports at Alexandria for Fortress Monroe. On the 24th, they landed near the Fortress and moved out to Newport News on the James River.April 2, 1862, the regiment moved with the army up the peninsula, taking part in the fights at Young’s Mills, Lee’s Mills and Williamsburg, beside some skirmishing with the enemy. April 13, it reached White House Landing, where the famous Sixth Corps was formed, and The Vermont Brigade was assigned to the Second Division as the Second Brigade, and retained that place during the remaining three years of the war. Leaving White House Landing May 19, the regiment reached the Chickahominy and went into camp on Golding’s Farm until the 25th. On the evening of that day, after the fighting was over, the army commenced its retreat, and the Second did its share of the fighting during the Seven Days’ fight. Again a change of base was decided upon, and August 22 the regiment took transports at Fortress Monroe and steamed up the Potomac to Alexandria.For reasons best known to the higher officers, the Sixth Corps, at the Second Battle of Bull Run, did not reach the enemy till the evening of the last day of the fighting, and was soon ordered back to Chantilly. General McClellan had previously been relieved by General Pope, Pope had been defeated and Lee’s army was in Maryland.

In the Antietam Campaign:
Now Pope was superseded by McClellan, and then came the campaign in Maryland and the fights at Crampton Pass and Antietam. At Crampton Pass the Second Regiment charged the heights to the left of the road, and carried its colors to and over the crest, brushing away the rebel line as though it had been a cobweb. It was on the skirmish line at the battle of Antietam, when Lee’s army withdrew from that bloody field.

References, Sources, and other Notes:
Unit history of the regiment (1892) from Peck1 as transcribed on Vermont in the Civil War.

For additional reading see George G. Benedict, Vermont in the Civil War. A History of the part taken by the Vermont Soldiers and Sailors in the War For The Union, 1861-5, Burlington (VT): Free Press Association, 1886-1888, Vol. I, pp. 62-125.