(Another) Canadien in the American Civil War: Cyprien Racine Becomes George Root

Reblogged from this blog.


In an earlier post I told the story of Philibert Racine alias Philip F. Root. Philibert was a Canadien veteran of the Civil War and the brother of two of my great-great-grandmothers. He served with the First Vermont Battery Light Artillery that saw action in the Red River campaign in Louisiana.

I mentioned in that post that Philibert reportedly had a brother who called himself George S. Root who served in this same unit in the Civil War. I surmised that “George” was an alias for Cyprien Racine, baptized May 30, 1843 at Saint-Damase-de-Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec. I believe that I can now confirm the theory that George S. Root was Cyprien.


A Canadien in the American Civil War

Reblogged from here…


Many Canadiens fought in both the Revolutionary War and the American Civil War. Estimates for the number of Canadiens who fought in the latter conflict range as high as 20,000. A love of adventure and the desire for employment seems to have been the main motives for these very young men who heard the calls to arms in the 1860s.

Philibert Racine, the brother of two of my great-great-grandmothers (my grandparents were second cousins) was among these Canadien veterans of the Civil War. Philibert was born on June 20, 1845, and baptized at Saint-Pie, Bagot County, Québec (known as “Lower Canada” at the time).  Following his father Prudent Racine’s involvement in the Patriotes War of 1837 (see previous post) the Racines lived briefly in Vermont before returning to the Eastern Townships region of Québec in the early 1850s where they settled eventually  at Roxton Falls.

Blog of David Vermette, dormant since 2012…

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.

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.

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 http://home.earthlink.net/~tjreesecg/index.html

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.

Sometimes You Are Missing the Forest

While looking for some trees in a forest, sometimes you are missing the forest.

This is what happened with Alexander Bennett’s next battle after Golding’s Farm on 26 June 1862. There were two more battles that he was in three days later. 

Savage’s Station on the 29th and White Oak Swamp on the 30th.  Soldiers must have been elated to fight again…

This is a Website that sums up the Seven Days Battles.

June 29

On June 29 Confederates south of the Chickahominy River found the Union trenches empty and started their pursuit. Longstreet and A. P. Hill marched twenty miles in the heat to be in position. But Huger received conflicting orders and spent his day marching. Jackson believed he was to stay north of the Chickahominy instead of crossing the river and heading south and east as Lee had intended. Magruder alternated between aggression and worry that Union troops would attack him, in part causing Huger’s back-and-forth marching.

Eventually Magruder attacked the Union rear guard at Savage’s Station, formerly McClellan’s advance base. Union general Samuel Heintzelman continued his retreat, leaving behind Union general Edwin V. Sumner’s Second Corps and another division—more than enough troops to stop Magruder despite an initial Confederate success. The rest of McClellan’s army and the trains continued toward the James during the day, and the rear guard followed that night.

June 30

June 30 was the culmination of Lee’s pursuit plan. Despite the disorder of June 29, his pieces were in place for a glorious victory. McClellan kept more than half of his army near the Glendale crossroads, which was vital to the retreat because most of the major roads from the Richmond area to the James River converged there. Jackson and D. H. Hill would, by their presence, force the Union troops guarding White Oak Swamp Bridge to remain north of Glendale, attacking them if possible. Huger would do the same on the Charles City Road. Longstreet and A. P. Hill, joined by Magruder if the latter could move quickly enough, would then drive toward the Willis Church Road south of Glendale to cut McClellan’s retreat route.

Once again Longstreet and A. P. Hill performed well while the other generals struggled. Jackson contented himself with a bombardment at White Oak Swamp Bridge, allowing thousands of Union troops to reinforce the Glendale lines. Huger’s failure was on a smaller scale but just as complete. Magruder spent June 30 as Huger had spent June 29, marching to no effect. So Longstreet and Hill attacked unsupported, and broke the Union line initially before Union reinforcements made possible by Jackson’s and Huger’s failures pushed them back. While the exhausted Confederates rested, the victorious Union troops joined the remainder of the army on the relatively safe high ground at Malvern Hill.

More info on this site.

Savage’s Station   

Other Names: None

Location: Henrico County

Campaign: Peninsula Campaign (March-September 1862)

Date(s): June 29, 1862

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Edwin Sumner [US]; Maj. Gen. John Magruder [CS]

Forces Engaged: Divisions

Estimated Casualties:   4,700 total (US 2,500 wounded were captured)

Description: Fourth of the Seven Days’ Battles. On June 29, the main body of the Union army began a general withdrawal toward the James River.  Magruder pursued along the railroad and the Williamsburg Road and struck Sumner’s Corps (the Union rearguard) with three brigades near Savage’s Station.  Confederate Brig. Gen. Richard Giffith was mortally wounded during the fight.  Jackson’s divisions were stalled north of the Chickahominy. Union forces continued to withdraw across White Oak Swamp, abandoning supplies and more than 2,500 wounded soldiers in a field hospital.

Result(s): Inconclusive

CWSAC Reference #: VA019


Estimated Casualties:   4,700 total (US 2,500 wounded were captured)


Glendale/White Oak Swamp   

Other Names: Nelson’s Farm, Frayser’s Farm, Charles City Crossroads, White Oak Swamp, New Market Road, Riddell’s Shop

Location: Henrico County

Campaign: Peninsula Campaign (March-September 1862)

Date(s): June 30, 1862

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. William Franklin, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan [US]; Gen. Robert E. Lee, Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson [CS]

Forces Engaged: Armies

Estimated Casualties: 7000 total


Glendale – This is the fifth of the Seven Days’ Battles. On June 30, Huger’s, Longstreet’s, and A.P. Hill’s divisions converged on the retreating Union army in the vicinity of Glendale or Frayser’s Farm.  Longstreet’s and Hill’s attacks penetrated the Union defense near Willis Church, routing McCall’s division. McCall was captured.  Union counterattacks by Hooker’s and Kearny’s divisions sealed the break and saved their line of retreat along the Willis Church Road. Huger’s advance was stopped on the Charles City Road.   “Stonewall”  Jackson’s divisions were delayed by Franklin at White Oak Swamp. Confederate Maj. Gen. T.H. Holmes made a feeble attempt to turn the Union left flank at Turkey Bridge but was driven back by Federal gunboats in James River. Union generals Meade and Sumner and Confederate generals Anderson, Pender, and Featherston were wounded. This was Lee’s best chance to cut off the Union army from the James River. That night, McClellan established a strong position on Malvern Hill.

White Oak Swamp – The Union rearguard under Maj. Gen. William Franklin stopped Jackson’s divisions at the White Oak Bridge crossing, resulting in an artillery duel, while the main battle raged two miles farther south at Glendale or Frayser’s Farm.

Result(s): Inconclusive

CWSAC Reference #: VA020


Estimated Casualties: 7000 total