Rediscovering Colonial America: The Braddock Expedition – 1755, Part Two

1755braddockmsOn June 28, Maj. Gen. Braddock’s army was located at Stewart’s Crossing on the Youghiogheny River. The British would actually cross this river a couple of times as they marched west and north to Fort Duquesne, where they would encamp for a day. During the day, rain fell across the region, adding to the misery in the wilderness. The next morning, on June 30, Braddock forded the river, which was about 200 yards wide. Crossing the river was not an easy task, and often the British were outin the open, in full view. The advance guard was ordered over first to secure the opposite side of the river. Once secured, the artillery and wagon trains were next to cross, followed by the rest of the army. Camp was established to give time for the road workers to open the new road.

By July 2, Maj. Gen. Braddock was well into hostile territory. As the men marched, they noticed that coal was in abundance, lying on top of the ground. The area was also a swamp, and because of that the army encamped at Jacob’s Creek to allow bridges to be constructed for the army vehicles. The men also faced a new challenge. Rations were running low and had to be cut back until fresh supplies were brought up from the rear. Rations then consisted of bacon and flour. Colonel Thomas Dunbar was several days behind Braddock’s flying column due to the conditions of the roads and trying to move the heavier artillery and wagon loads of supplies.

The next day, on July 3, Braddock met with his officers regarding Colonel Dunbar’s men. Several officers had wondered if they should wait for the Colonel Dunbar to arrive and concentrate the two columns into one since Fort Duquesne was a few days march ahead. The vote was cast and it was decided that the flying column would continue moving ahead without Dunbar’s troops. As Braddock’s flying column encamped, pickets were ordered out, and were to be doubled up for security measures.

By July 6, camp was located at Monacatootha, roughly three to four days march from Fort Duquesne. For the past several days, the British had no contact with the natives or the French, and moved unopposed through the American wilderness. After being ordered to stall the British advance, the French, Canadian and Indian allies had not slowed Braddock’s advance.

On July 7, trying to avoid the Turtle Creek Narrows, Braddock’s column turned north. This detour would cause him to lose a day. After encamping at Turtle Creek, Braddock marched all day and well into the evening, coming to a halt at Sugar Creek at 8:00 p.m. As the British marched throughout the day, the French and their Indian allies at Fort Duquesne were rallying to attack. French Captain Louis L. Beaujeu rallied alongside his Native allies. Hundreds of Natives encamped just outside of the fort and planned to move out the next day, searching out Braddock’s army.

At 2:00 a.m. on July 9, Braddock’s army began forming up for the final push to Fort Duquesne. Major General Braddock’s plan was to hurry out and began laying siege on the French fort. Twenty-four rounds of fresh ammunition as well as two days rations were issued out to the 1,400 men in the flying column. The advance guard, under Captain Thomas Gage, was first to move out at 2:00 a.m. Following behind, two hours later, was the work detail under St. Clair. The main body under Maj. Gen. Braddock moved out at 5:00 a.m., with the rear guard moving out shortly thereafter.

The first of two Monongahela River crossings came into view. The advance guard and two 6-pound cannon forded the river, which was about knee deep and 200 yards wide. Once across the steep banks, the advance guard secured the river crossing. The work details soon came to the road, but for Braddock, the workers cutting in the road were moving too slow.

By 8:00 a.m., Braddock had reached the first river crossing. There, he reformed his units and moved forward. About four hours later, Braddock’s men had come to the second river crossing. Major General Braddock suspected that the enemy was watching his every move, as the river crossing was in a very exposed place. With the king’s colors and music playing “The Grenadiers March,” the men began to ford the Monongahela River in tight formation with bayonets gleaming. Never before had America witnessed such display of military might.

At 8:00 a.m., 254 French soldiers and Canadian militia and roughly 600-700 Indians under the command of Captain Jean-Daniel Beaujeu left Fort Duquesne. They moved out following the path that led to the Monongahela River crossing. Around 1:00 p.m., as the British were moving forward, the French, French Canadians, and their Indian allies were caught off guard seeing Braddock’s men so close. Captain Beaujeu quickly organized a frontal attack and sent the Indians to ambush the British flanks.

Major General Braddock’s army was about 1/8 of a mile wide with flankers and about one mile in length strung out. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Gage and his advance guard were ahead of Braddock’s flying column, and received word from a guide that the French were approaching. With very little time, Gage began preparing for the pending battle. Gage quickly ordered bayonets to be fixed, and the British battle line moved forward.

The soldiers were half stupifiedThe French Marines fired a volley at Gage’s men, which was quickly answered by the British. After a short exchange, the French Marines and Canadian militia began to fall back as Gage’s men tried taking a hill on their right flank. As Captain Beaujeu was rallying his men and reorganizing his command, the British fired a third volley, killing Captain Beaujeu.

French command fell upon Captain Dumas, who rallied his men just as the Indians were beginning their attack, hitting the British flanks. The French battle formation was now taking on the shape of a half moon. Once the British flanks came under fire, the advance guard’s battle line became compromised, and they fell back, causing a great deal of confusion. The Indians had taken positions behind fallen trees on the British right flank, and kept up a severe fire hitting their left flank.

Hearing the sounds of the battle ahead, St. Clair quickly ordered his two 6-pounders to be readied, and for the workers to form ranks. The artillery threw grape shot though the woods, tearing up the landscape in its front. The cannons provided aid to Gage’s men during the second attack, but were exposed once the advance guard fell back onto St. Clair’s line, causing more confusion. At the same time, a half mile away, Braddock also heard the sounds of what might be a battle unfolding and thought perhaps that this was another false alarm. During the confusion, St. Clair was struck in the right lung and began riding back to find Maj. Gen. Braddock, where he collapsed.

Standing next to his artillery with his aides, the Royal Naval Detachment, and Virginia horsemen, Braddock was quickly met by members of his staff including George Washington. With the battle going into its fifteen to twenty minute mark, Braddock rode forward, along with several mounted Virginian horsemen to see what was in his front. Arriving on scene, Maj. Gen. Braddock saw men falling all over the place. Many were in a panic stricken state of mind. Several British soldiers were wounded or killed by friendly fire.

Maj. Gen. Braddock ordered the wagons and artillery to be secured, and at the same time, he ordered the 500 men marching on both sides of the wagons to quickly move forward. This left Colonel Halkett with 250 men to guard the wagons. The Indians moved to the rear of Braddock’s column, where the wagons were located, and began attacking them. At the same time they continued putting pressure on the flanks of the British. The half moon battle tactic never took on a full circle, which was most likely the only thing that saved the British from being completely destroyed. During this portion of the fight, Colonel Halkett was killed and his son, Lieutenant James Halkett fell wounded upon his father’s chest.

While Braddock was commanding the field, many of the Colonial militia began taking positions in the same manner as the Indians. At one point, Colonel George Washington suggested to Braddock that he order men to take cover behind the trees, but Maj. Gen. Braddock cursed the idea as being cowardly. As Maj. Gen. Braddock rode back and forth, the scene became worse. Many of the British troops, who were earlier issued twenty-four rounds of ammunition, were running low and began empting the cartridge boxes of the dead and wounded.

Many men were still trying to take to higher ground on their right, but were not able to, as the firing came from their front, flanks, and rear. Eventually Lt. Col. Gage fell wounded upon the battlefield. This caused more troops to panic and fall back onto more oncoming British troops. During the confusion, Maj. Gen. Braddock had four horses shot out until a bullet hit his arm and entered into his lung.

FrenchAndIndianWarNot long after Maj. Gen. Braddock was wounded, the British and Colonial troops broke. The trouble began with the wagoneers, and soon after the army was in flight. By 5:00 p.m., most the shattered remains of Braddock’s flying column were hastily headed to the Monongahela River crossing. Lieutenant Robert Orme, along with Washington, and Captain Robert Stewert carried the wounded Braddock to safety. As the British retreated, the Indians and French followed suit. By the time that the British made it to the other side of the river, the Indians and French began looting what the British had left behind in the wagons.

Out of less than 1,500 British soldiers and Colonials at the battle, 456 were killed, 421 were wounded, and many more were captured. Other resources state that the British casualties were much higher. The French suffered far less with about 30 killed, and 57 wounded. The shattered British army retreated to Colonel Dunbar’s camp, west of Great Meadows, arriving there on July 11. There, most of the supplies were destroyed to lessen the baggage so that the army could fall back to Fort Cumberland for a faster retreat.

616x510During the evening on July 13, near Great Meadows, Braddock had called upon Colonel George Washington and asked him to oversee his burial. Shortly afterward, Braddock died. The next morning, Maj. Gen. Braddock was placed into a hasty coffin and buried in the middle of the road.

The British continued their march, arriving at Fort Cumberland on July 17. Although the French did not pursue the British, Colonel Dunbar, now commanding the army, fell back to Philadelphia after he realized that he had no resources at his disposal to launch an attack to take Fort Duquesne.

Crocker, Thomas E. Braddock’s March, Westholme Publishing, Yardley, PA, 2009.
Hall, Charles (editor). Gen. Braddock’s Defeat, Fort Edwards Foundation, Capoon Bridge, WV, 2005.
Netherton, Ross. Braddock’s Campaign and the Potomac Route to the West, Higher Ed. Publishers, Falls Chruch, VA. 1997.
Kopperman, Paul E. Braddock at the Monongahela, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA. 1977.
McCardell, Lee. Ill-starred General, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA. 1958.
Wahll, Andrew J. Braddock Road Chronicles 1755, Heritage Books, Westminster, MD. 2006.
Preston, David. Braddock’s Defeat, Oxford University, Oxford NY. 2015.

Rediscovering Colonial America: The Braddock Expedition – 1755, Part One


Major General Edward Braddock

After Colonel George Washington’s defeat at Fort Necessity in July 1754, the Royal Crown ordered Major General Edward Braddock to take command of the situation developing in North America. In February of 1755, Maj. Gen. Braddock came ashore at Hampton, Virginia, and would spend about one month at Williamsburg, Virginia before proceeding to Alexandria. While at Williamsburg, Braddock quickly went to work on plans for the future campaign. George Washington was given an opportunity to serve not as a Colonial militia officer, but as a British officer serving as Braddock’s Aide since he was familiar with the area past Fort Cumberland.

Before the spring campaign could take place, Braddock had to plan logistics. He needed to supply and re-supply his army as they moved westward. In order to do this, wagons and pack horses were needed to transport supplies. He also needed to re-supply his army, therefore, he studied the trails as to where he could store supplies and have additional supplies transported to the field. Navigation was also discussed. The mountains would prove to be a natural barrier, the Allegheny Mountain in particular, was a very steep mountain. Another natural barrier were the rivers that flowed in the region which may be too deep to ford on foot.

On March 22, Maj. Gen. Braddock left Williamsburg, and four days later moved into Alexandria, where the military aspect of the campaign would be concentrated. Major General Braddock would command the largest army North America had seen to date. He was ordered to rebuild the road west of Wills Creek at Fort Cumberland, to the Forks of the Ohio, where the French Fort Duquesne was located. He was to capture it, and then move northward, taking out French fortifications until he reached Fort Niagara.

Major General Braddock’s army consisted of 1,350 soldiers from the 44th and 48th Regiments of-Foot. Major General Braddock would be re-enforced by Colonial militia and regulars, bringing his infantry up to about 2,000 men, supported by artillery. He also needed guides and Indian allies.

After weeks of planning and briefings, Maj. Gen. Braddock began putting the expedition in motion. The expedition would move in stages. Sir John St. Clair would map out the transportation of supplies and artillery, and cut out new roads or widen existing roads. He recommended that the few supply wagons that the army had move from Alexandria to Rock Creek, and then eventually move to Winchester. St. Clair would move directly to Winchester, Virginia. Colonel Peter Halkett and the 44th Regiment of-Foot would move directly to Winchester in stages beginning on April 11. On April 12, Colonel Thomas Dunbar and the 48th Regiment of-Foot would take a Maryland route, marching through Rock Creek to Frederick. Major General Braddock would leave Alexandria on April 20 and then move to Frederick.

By April 17, Colonel Dunbar was just outside of Frederick. By April 21, Maj. Gen. Braddock would enter Frederick. Since supply wagons were not forthcoming, Braddock met with Benjamin Franklin, who pledged Pennsylvania support for wagons to meet the expedition at Fort Cumberland. George Washington also met with Braddock in Frederick. Also, Maj. Gen. Braddock learned that a westerly road through Maryland to Fort Cumberland did not exist and therefore, the Maryland expedition would have to turn south to Winchester.

Fox's Gap, South Mountain

Fox’s Gap, South Mountain

On April 29, the Maryland portion of the expedition moved through Fox’s Gap on South Mountain. The next day, modern day Williamsport was reached, where Colonel Dunbar’s command would move south toward Winchester. While Colonel Dunbar moved westward, Maj. Gen. Braddock moved directly to Winchester to meet with several Indian Chiefs. Braddock reached Winchester on May 4.

The expedition would finally begin to concentrate at Fort Cumberland beginning on May 9. While at Fort Cumberland, Braddock met with several Indians for support. But his words were not strong enough to get the support from the natives. George Washington was also named as an Aide-de-Camp to Braddock as a volunteer Colonial. Life at Fort Cumberland consisted of drilling. Many of the militia were not nearly as trained as the Regulars, or the British infantry. Shortages of supplies also took a toll on the army. By May 20, Benjamin Franklin came through when several wagon loads of supplies came in rolling into Fort Cumberland.

On May 29, the campaign would begin to resume. St. Clair and 600 men under Major Russell Chapman were ordered out to begin working on the road that led over the mountains. 50 wagons and two cannon would also leave with them. Clearing, making, and repairing roads for the main body of the army through the wilderness was not an easy task. The work was labor intensive, cutting a road twenty-five feet wide to accommodate the wagons and heavier artillery. The work crews were exhausted by the end of the day. The labor and poor diet of army rations would eventually take a toll on the work crews building the road. Leaving Fort Cumberland, Haystack Mountain was the first to be tackled.

By June 2, Dans Mountain was finally cleared. Next came Big Savage Mountain, standing at 2,800 feet above sea level. After which came Little Savage Mountain, followed by Meadow Mountain. On June 7, with St. Clair’s work detail being several miles ahead, the British columns began moving out. Bringing up the rear on June 10 was Maj. Gen. Braddock.

Six days later, the main column of Braddock’s army encamped at Little Meadows. There, he decided to split his army. He would establish a “flying” column that could move further ahead without getting bogged down from the extra baggage of the expedition. This was an executive decision made by Braddock.

On June 18, St. Clair moved out to begin clearing roads for the heavier equipment to come up at the rear. The next morning, under Maj. Gen. Braddock’s direct supervision the flying column moved out. With Braddock were Colonel Sir Peter Halkett and the veteran soldiers of the 44th and 48th Regiments of-Foot, supported by four 12-pound cannon, four howitzers, three cohorn mortars, and thirteen wagons. Bringing up the rear was Colonel Dunbar, with a command of newer recruits and baggage, who was ordered to be at least one day behind the main column.

On June 20, Braddock was just south of Pennsylvania and was forced to encamp there for a few days, as he caught up to St. Clair’s’ working party. Three days later, the army was on the move and by June 24, they had encamped just east of Great Meadows, where a year earlier Washington had fought and surrendered to the French. The next day, some of the officers saw the charcoal remains of Fort Necessity. They were not all that impressed with the fort. It was noted that human bones laid upon the ground from those who were killed in that battle.

On June 25, the flying column marched about two miles west of the old fort and encamped. The next day, Chestnut Ridge, the last major mountain, was ascended. Now Braddock’s Army would have to be mindful as they were in the territory that France considered as “New France.”

During Braddock’s expedition, the French at Fort Duquesne had sent out patrols to find the British army and harasses them. With all of the problems that faced Braddock, the French, Canadian militia, and Indians should have found the British army easily. There were some Indian attacks, but nothing major materialized from it. Intelligence gathering for both armies was lacking.


Crocker, Thomas E. Braddock’s March, Westholme Publishing, Yardley, PA, 2009.

Hall, Charles (editor). Gen. Braddock’s Defeat, Fort Edwards Foundation, Capoon Bridge, WV, 2005.

Netherton, Ross. Braddock’s Campaign and the Potomac Route to the West, Higher Ed. Publishers, Falls Chruch, VA. 1997.

Kopperman, Paul E. Braddock at the Monongahela, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA. 1977.

McCardell, Lee. Ill-starred General, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA. 1958.

Wahll, Andrew J. Braddock Road Chronicles 1755, Heritage Books, Westminster, MD. 2006.

Preston, David. Braddock’s Defeat, Oxford University, Oxford NY. 2015.

Hood Stems The Tide: The Evening Phase of the Battle of Fox’s Gap

During the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of South Mountain, September 14, 2012, I led several tours of Fox’s Gap. I broke Fox’s Gap down into three phases, morning, afternoon and finally I ended the 150th with the evening phase. The tours I led had more than 100 participants and was one of the highlights of my career in Parks. Going through my notes from the state of Maryland, I came across the notes of my final tour that I gave as a Historian at South Mountain and I wanted to share these notes with my followers and friends. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed researching this topic.

The Texas Brigade was organized on October 22, 1861, in Richmond, Virginia. It was initially commanded by Brig. Gen. Louis T. Wigfall. After February of 1862, Wigfall resigned command of the brigade and in early March Colonel John Hood was promoted to brigadier general and placed in command. Because of his daring leadership the brigade adopted the name of Hood’s Texas Brigade, despite his brief service of only six months as commander.

The Texas Brigade pulled out of Richmond on August 7, 1862. Reflecting on what would become the Campaigns at Manassas and Maryland, John Stevens of the 5th Texas Infantry reflects on the hardships of company. “August the 7th – we left Richmond on this campaign. In all these days we have never changed our clothes, for the reason that we have had no chance to do so-no chance to draw new clothing and clothing as all old soldiers will tell you, we could not carry any extra with us. One blanket, gun and accoutrements, haversack and canteen was all that any soldier could afford to carry. Now for nearly two months we have worn the same shirt, pants and jacket-sleeping on the ground, anywhere we could find a place, and the opportunity to lie down. Dust, mud, hot weather, rain and sunshine, we take it as it comes. Also the wading of creeks and rivers—the water often waist deep—no chance to clense ourselves from the unavoidable accumulation of filth.”

J.B. Polley also confirms the same feelings – “It [Hood’s Division] marched light, each man having by this time learned what weight he could comfortably carry, and therefore, dispensing with all superfluities. Still, we could not reduce the weight to be carried less than about thirty-six pounds. A gun weighed about ten pounds, the cartridge box, cap-box, bayonet and the belts and straps to which these hung, another ten, and the roll of the blanket and tent, or oil-cloth, still another ten. Add to these the weight of the haversack, in which not only provisions but under-clothing and many other necessities were carried, and the total, on a fair estimate, was never less than thirty-six pounds, and often went a little beyond forty. A canteen full of water weighed at least three pounds… “

By late August, the Texans fought at Manassas, Virginia, were they faced off again against the 5th New York. Alfred Davenport’s “Camp and Field Life of the Fifth New York Volunteer Infantry” wrote about that battle. “And the men were receiving deadly volleys from an unseen enemy on their left and rear, at close quarters, as well as on their front, into their faces, by Hood’s brave but ragged barefooted, half-starved Texans…”

As General Robert E. Lee moves northward toward the Potomac River, the Second Manassas Campaign has already taken a toll of the Texans. John Stevens of the 5th Texas wrote, “Now, remember this is about the 6th or 7th of September, and we have been out of Richmond a full month and we have on the same clothes: pants, jacket and shirt, nothing more…We also have some kind of head cover, either an old piece of a hat or an old cap and if we have not worn them out, we have some sort of footwear, in the shape of old army shoes, butt many of us are bare- footed.”

As the Confederate army beings to concentrate in Frederick, a Frederick resident recalled his experiences with the Confederate army. “They are on the broad grin all the time. Oh! they are so dirty! I don’t think the Potomac river could wash them clean; and ragged! — there is not a scarecrow in the cornfields that would not scorn to exchange clothes with them; and so tattered! — there isn’t a decently dressed soldier in their whole army. I saw some strikingly handsome faces though; or, rather, they would have been so if they could have had a good scrubbing. They were very polite, I must confess, and always asked for a drink of water, or anything else, and never think of coming inside of a door without an invitation.”

General John B. Hood would find himself marching at the rear of his division, under arrest for insubordination as a result of a dispute over the rightful ownership of captured Union ambulances following the Second Battle of Manassas/Bull Run with Brigadier General Nathan Evans. Hood was ordered to Culpepper for court martial but, General Lee rescinded that order and Hood remained with the army as it marched into Maryland. As a result of his arrest, according to Hood in his post-war memoirs, his division, upon its arrival in Hagerstown would demonstrate a certain degree of insubordination and Hood advised his subordinates that the issue of his arrest would be decided in a short time.

On September 9, General Lee issued his famous Special Orders No. 191 that divided his army into several sections. The Texas Brigade would be ordered to march to Hagerstown with General James Longstreet’s Wing of the army. J.B. Polley recalled marching toward Hagerstown: “The three days’ rations issued to the division on the 13th [September] included no meat, and were therefore the sooner exhausted. No clothing or shoes had been furnished it since it left Richmond, and in a month and a half of hard marching and harder fighting hundreds of the men had become ragged and barefooted, while lack of provisions forced them to subsist on green corn and green apples.”

The Battles of the Catoctin Mountain on September 13 was a sign of things to come the following day. By dawn of September 14, the first shots of the Battle of South Mountain were fired at Fox’s Gap. Throughout the day, the Union army that managed to catch up with Lee’s Confederate army tried desperately to penetrate South Mountain and punch through the mountain gaps in order to destroy each divided element of the Confederate army. By the afternoon, the Union army had come close to breaking through Fox’s Gap. Finally, Hood’s Division was ordered to move to Fox’s Gap and hold the Union army back until after nightfall.

Hood’s Division would begin ascending the mountain at about 3:30 pm and Hood, still at the rear of his division, faintly heard the cry’s from his Texas brigade demanding of General Lee, “Give us Hood!” Lee requested that Hood show regret for his dispute with General Evans and Hood politely declined both attempts by Lee for the admittance of guilt. Seeing that he would get nowhere with Hood, Lee promptly released Hood from his arrest to re-take command of his division and the matter of the ambulance dispute would be settled at a later date. Hood quickly mounted his horse and rode to the summit, amid the cheers of his division, and reported to General Longstreet, who was then placing his command into defensive positions on either side of the National Pike. Hood was ordered to deploy his division on the left of the pike with his right resting near the pike.

From this position, Hood witnessed “the advance of McClellan’s long lines” that had the evident appearance of forcing the Confederates from the mountain. Remaining in this position for a short time, Hood was ordered by Longstreet to shift his division to the South of the pike to shore up the Confederate line there. The 35th Mass Infantry had just pulled out from the woods when Hood was advancing.

Before arriving in force, four members from the Hampton Legion Infantry were ordered ahead to scout. Stephen Welch recalls: “A call was made for three volunteer skirmishers. Under one of the Lieutenants, we pushed ahead and on reaching the crest or the mountain we saw a line of blue coats not 30 yards from us. Fortunately they did not see us, so taking deliberate aim we fired and withdrew. It had some effect of astonishing them and as soon as possible they fired us in return, doing no damage, however. Not being ranked in line of battle we four lay down and the yanks fired over us.”

Hood ordered his division to deploy with Colonel Evander Law’s brigade on the left and Colonel William Wofford’s brigade on the right (facing in a Southeasterly direction from the tree line near Wise’s Northfield). Then the order to fix bayonets was given and when the Union troops were within 75 to 100 yards, the order to charge was given. Sometime around 7pm, shots range out from the woods and mass confusion began setting on the soldiers in blue. As the 35th Mass was pulling back, skirmishers of the 51st Pennsylvania had advance and this caught the attention of Hood. When Hood’s men fired, the shots went over the heads of the Pennsylvanians, but struck down many Massachusetts men including their colonel.

The 35th Mass fired and soon “Cease fire” is given as they struck the skirmishers of the 51st PA. Hood would stand off with BGen Edward Ferrero’s Brigade of the IX Corps recalled “[We] was unexpectedly fired upon from the woods by a large force of the enemy. The sudden fire produced the utmost confusion in one of my new regiments. It quickly recovered, however, reforming under a severe fire. My command then advanced, and after a long and hard fight, lasting until 9 p. m., drove the enemy from their position and occupied the field. We retained possession of the battle-field during the night, having our whole force on guard, momentarily expecting a renewal of the attack.”

Major General Jesse Reno moved forward in the South Field to observe the Confederate activity. Captain Gabriel Campbell of the 17th Michigan Infantry observed the following: “The twilight was growing dusky….about 50 yards where I met General Wilcox, I encountered General Reno and four of five members of his staff riding quietly to the front. Reno, who was about half the length of his steed in advance was leaning forward peering steadily through his field glass to reconnoiter for himself. I stood and watch. Just as I reached the end of the fence there was a sudden fosilade, about five or six shots….at once commotion among the Reno horsemen, dismounting and catching of someone.” Thomas Parker of the 51st Pennsylvania recalled, “Thus passes away the army’s brightest stars, as a gentleman, a friend and a soldier.”

By midnight, the Confederate army had fallen back toward Boonsboro. J.B. Polley of the 4th Texas: “…on the morning of the 15th, and Hood’s division, assisted by artillery and cavalry, forming the rear guard, and holding the Federals in check until the other troops of Longstreet’s command marched quietly to their destination west of Antietam Creek. This was no easy task.”

Six days after the Battle of Antietam, General Ambrose Burnside issued General Orders No. 17 officially announcing the death of Jesse Reno. “BY the death of this distinguished officer, the country loses one of its most devoted patriots, the army one of its most thorough soldiers. In the long list of battles in which General Reno has fought in his country’s service, his name always appears with the brightest luster, and he has now bravely met a soldier’s death while gallantly leading his men at the Battle of South Mountain.”