One Continuous Fight; The Monterey Pass Battlefield Association; & The 'Other' Regiment.
Lee's Retreat from Gettysburg
Even people with little interest in the Civil War have heard of Gettysburg and the great battle that happened there. But has anyone heard of the midnight Battle at Monterey Pass that directly followed?
Ted wrote the forward. I'm reading the book now. There were so many actions that took place in this ten day period that one trooper described it as 'one continuous fight,' hence the title of the book.
The Midnight Battle at Monterey Pass; July 4-5, 1863
Picture a midnight fight on a dark mountain top; a violent thunderstorm is raging; Yankee troopers and horse artillery are slowly advancing to capture a long Confederate wagon train of supplies and wounded, jamming narrow mountain roads and trying to cross the mountain before the Federals capture them. A very small band of Confederates assisted with a battery of light artillery are blasting away at the Yankees trying to delay their advance. It's so dark the soldiers can barely see their own hands in front of them. Lightening and canon blasts point the way forward and define enemy targets. Panicked teams drag wagons over the mountain cliffs, carrying with them screaming wounded. Picture a wild Cavalry charge down the mountain. The troopers feel as if they are flying because they can't see the road below them. This is the drama of the battle.
The Battlefield Association
I turned to the internet to see if I could find the route taken to Leitersburg by the 1st Vermont Cavarly the morning of July 5th. The flanking ride is detailed in the book but the route was left off the accompanying map. My search led me to John Miller and the Monterey Pass Battlefield Association.
John and several others are trying to preserve the history of Emmitsburg by conducting tours, raising awareness and purchasing land. I found the map I needed at this site and I wrote to John. I told him my ancestor participated in some of the fighting during the retreat.
3rd U.S. Artillery
John Miller responded to my email with a color photo of Gardenhour's Hill where Williams battery was positioned July 5th. Diary entries for the week read:
Sunday 5. Came to within 1/2 mile of Smithsburg Md. and we came on the Rebels. We opened on them with our whole Battery and they with a Battery. Their Shells struck in the Town but done us no harm.
Monday 6. We came to Boonsboro Md. and the left Section went to a Rebel train of wagons and burnt them about 4.esn [dozen] number and charged through Hagerstown. Hung a spy and then Laid in the woods that Night.
Tuesday 7. The Section came back here. Laid in Camp at Boonsborough Md. all Day. At Night had Orders to get ready to march but the Order was countermanded. Pleasant Day but Rainy Night.
Wednesday 8. Started about 12 A.M. and Skirmeshed with the Rebels until dark then came back to the other side of Boonsboro and halted for the Night.
The Region Today
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