The Battle of Monterey Pass: When Thunder and Lightning Came Crashing Down

The weather conditions during the Battle of Monterey Pass were described by many Civil War soldiers, and left a lasting impression upon them. Many first hand accounts describe a scene so horrific and so awful that it would seem as if the battle was fought inside of some abyss or near the gates of hell. Some accounts are difficult to believe, giving you a sense that their story may have been exaggerated. However, when the Union accounts match that of the Confederate accounts, and it was written by not one or two, but several soldiers, one has to think there is a lot of truth behind those stories.

The flash of lightning followed by a loud boom of thunder, intertwined by the screaming of soldiers clashing though the night, followed by flashes and sounds of small arms cracking, mixed with the roar of cannon must have been a Fourth of July to remember. No where in Civil War history can I recall the terrible conditions experienced by Civil War soldiers during the Battle of Monterey Pass. The closest that I could recall is the Battle of New Market, Virginia in May of 1864, when the battle was fought during a thunderstorm, but it occurred during the daytime hours.

I used to live on the Monterey Pass Battlefield, and for years I observed all movements of weather. On one occasion I was hunting in October when a thunderstorm moved in due to a cold front that clashed with the warm air of the atmosphere. Often times in the summer I would be working in the yard when a thunderstorm would crop up out of what seemed the middle of nowhere. Those storms that hit on a summer night left me thinking about how frightening it must have been to a soldier fighting during the Battle of Monterey Pass in those conditions. The boom of the thunder echoed among the steep walls of South Mountain, the pitch blackness between lightning strikes, and then the heavy downpours. Many times I have seen the blacktop road during an afternoon thunderstorm quickly become a muddy, water covered mess. These roads are on an incline and all of the water flowing to the bottom gave the same appearance as a raging flood.

During the late afternoon of July 4th seems to be when the weather turned really nasty. According to Luther Hopkins of the 6th Virginia Cavalry, “Dark ominous clouds came trooping up from the west with thunder and lightning, and it was not long before the whole heavens were covered and the rain was falling in torrents.” British Army Observer Colonel Arthur Fremantle recalled those who had just left Gettysburg moving toward Fairfield. He recalled “The night was very bad thunder and lightning, torrents of rain the road knee deep in mud and water, and often blocked up with wagons “come to grief.” I pitied the wretched plight of the unfortunate soldiers who were to follow us.” Cannoneer John Marye of the Fredericksburg Artillery recalled as he followed behind A.P. Hill’s Corps “Never shall I forget that night’s march. Their cries and appeals to their comrades to leave them by the roadside or else to shoot them and end their misery, ring in my ears to this day.”

Riding on to Emmitsburg and then turning west toward South Mountain, General Judson Kilpatrick’s Third Cavalry Division was ordered to get in front of the retreating Confederate wagon train. This would be no simple task. As the Confederate Army was in its beginning stages of their withdraw, both Kilpatrick’s cavalry and those Confederate forces guarding and escorting the wagon train all experienced the same conditions.

Captain James Kidd of the 6th Michigan Cavalry recalled their line of march toward South Mountain that afternoon and toward evening. “It seemed as if the firmament were an immense tank, the contents of which were spilled all at once. Such a drenching we had! Even heavy gum coats and horsehide boots were hardly proof against it. It poured and poured, the water running in streams off the horses’ backs, making of every rivulet a river and of every river and mountain stream a raging flood.”

The storm soon began to pick up in intensity. As the 1st Vermont Cavalry was ordered from Monterey Pass to Smithsburg via Raven Rock Pass, they found the elements to be very severe. Henry Ide later recalled “The night was intensively dark, the rain was falling in torrents, the lightning flashed and then striking trees and rocks in our immediate vicinity.”

During the battle Kilpatrick attempted to turn the Confederate left flank at Fairfield Gap where the wagon train was entering, and from there it would travel about a mile and half to Monterey Pass where Custer’s Brigade was fighting elements of the 1st Maryland Cavalry, the 4th North Carolina Cavalry, and the 1st North Carolina Battalion of Sharpshooters. Captain Tanner’s single gun had stalled Custer’s advance. Fighting was desperate and hand to hand combat proved to be the only way to fight. Once the lightning flashed it illuminated the ground and troop’s positions were revealed.

In addition to the lightning flashes, the flashes of guns being discharged were another way to determine where the opposing troops were positioned. Captain Kidd recalled “It was too dark to distinguish objects at any distance.” Pushing further ahead, Kidd continued “The darkness was intense and in a few moments we plunged into a dense thicket… One had to be guided by sound and not by sight… Had it not been for the noise and the flashing of the enemy’s fire we should have wondered away in the darkness and been lost.”

The fighting continued through the night and as midnight approached, the battle was far from over. By three in the morning on July 5th, the fighting was fierce. The flank attack at Fairfield Gap was repulsed. The Vermonters who left around midnight would be approaching Leitersburg but they would fail to get in front of the wagon train. While back at Monterey Pass, the fighting was based around a wooden bridge that spanned a swollen Red Run. To make a fierce battle even worse, several cattle had gotten away from the wagon train. Luther Hopkins of the 6th Virginia Cavalry recalled “These [cattle] got loose in the mountains and hills covered with timber, and between their constant bellowing and the flashes of lightning and crashing thunder the night was hideous in the extreme.”

Soon Kilpatrick deployed two guns of Pennington’s Battery to assist the bogged down line. The case shot of those guns helped to illuminate the ground as it exploded in the air sending shrapnel spiraling to the ground. The Michiganers realized that a bridge spanning the flooded Red Run had not been destroyed, and Colonel Alger of the 5th Michigan Cavalry sent word back to Kilpatrick. Moments later reinforcements arrived. One unit in particular was that of the 1st West Virginia Cavalry. Private Joseph A. Lesage of the 1st West Virginia Cavalry recalled “The darkness was so dense that we could not tell what kind they were [Confederate soldiers] but we took them in all the same. While we were forming up, seconds appeared like hours, but at last the order came. “Boys, draw sabers and prepare to charge; let everyone ‘yell’ as loud as he can.” Captain Kidd heard orders being given to the West Virginians that morning “Use the saber only; I will cut down any man who fires a shot. This was to prevent shooting our own men in the melee, and the darkness.”

As the West Virginians charged down the mountainside, Pennington brought his two guns up and deployed them at the intersection from which the wagons were coming from. Luther Hopkins of the 6th Virginia Cavalry recalled “The only light we had to guide us was from the lightning in the heavens and the vivid flashes that came from the enemy’s cannon.” Edward Moore of the Rockbridge Artillery recalled being with the portion of the wagons that contained a number of wounded, forage wagons and cattle. “All plodding gloomily along through the falling rain.” When Pennington deployed and fired upon the direction where the wagons were located, Moore continued “I could not tell what was before me in the dense darkness, whether friend or foe.” The wagons had already stopped their approach to the turnpike where the Union cavalry was located. As Moore rode ahead of the column to see what was going on, “Every other sound was drowned by a roaring waterfall on my right; then emerging from its noise, I was carried at a fearful rate close by dismounted men who were firing from behind trees along the roadside, the flashes of their guns whose speedy gleams the darkness swallowed.”

Jacob Hoke published a book in 1887 entitled “The Great Invasion of 1863 or, General Lee in Pennsylvania.” In it contains the correspondence from Dr. H.G. Chritzman, who rode with Colonel Huey’s Brigade during the Battle of Monterey Pass. Dr. Chritzman sums up this midnight battle perfectly during this furious thunderstorm. He wrote the following: “At once there rose so wild a yell. Within that dark and narrow dell. As if all the fiends from heaven that fell. Had pealed the banner cry of hell.”

“This, combined with the plutonic darkness made it one of the nights to be remembered. When we came up with the wagon train, Federal and Confederate cavalry, wagons, ambulances drivers and mules became a confused mass of pursued and pursuing demons whose shouts and carbine shots, mingled with the lightning’s red glare and the thunder’s crash, made it appear as if were in the infernal regions. Especially so as the cries of the wounded often rose high above the din of the conflicting forces.”

I couldn’t even begin to imagine how such a battle was fought. What a terrible, hideous night as echoes of thunder reverberated among the South Mountain gorges in such a frightful manner, followed by the flash of lightning and the torrential downpours “only to leave friend or foe enveloped in the greater darkness.” What a powerful combination of Mother Nature’s own fireworks mixed with the flashes of battle created by man.


The Citizens Fight of Monterey Pass

When most people hear about battles being fought they often times they think of the soldiers who participated in them. During the battle of Monterey Pass several stories are told about civilians guiding General Kilpatrick’s Cavalry through the area. This is the story of Charles Buhrman, David Miller, Jacob Baer and a teenage girl and how they contributed to the Union efforts during the battle of Monterey Pass. The story takes place during the day of July 4th and the battle that erupted along the mountain gaps. Later in life Charles Buhrman and David Miller sent letters to the Waynesboro Paper called the Valley Spirit explaining their story and how they helped.

Up on the mountain at Monterey Pass, the Confederates captured Mr. Jacob Daniel Baer as he traveled from Gettysburg to Baertown to look after his property and neighbors during the Confederate retreat. He was a veteran in the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment and later served with General Sheridan in 1864 as his orderly. Traveling to his home, Mr. Baer was captured by Confederate pickets around 3:30 pm along with David Miller. Mr. Miller later recalled “They gave my nephew, Willie Waddell, and myself privilege to go wherever we wished, to look after things, but required us to report every fifteen minutes to Sergeant Grabill, who was stationed at the front door of the house.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Baer had come into contact with Susan Lookabaugh and told her to get help. She managed to walk by the Confederate pickets and headed toward Fountaindale, where she came in contact with James Embley. Miss Lookabaugh told Mr. Embley about the situation at Monterey Pass and asked him to get help. Near the hamlet of Fountaindale Charles H. Buhrman, a local farmer received this message from Mr. Embley who told him about the capture of Mr. Baer and Mr. Miller at the Monterey House and about the Confederate retreat on Jacks Mountain. Mr. Buhrman then mounted his horse and traveled toward Emmitsburg looking for any Federal soldiers in area that he could find. He came across one of General Kilpatrick’s scouts two miles below Fountaindale. The pickets escorted Mr. Buhrman to General Custer where he reported what he was told. General Custer then escorted Mr. Buhrman to General Kilpatrick.

Near Fountaindale General Kilpatrick was directing his artillery to deploy and begin shelling the Confederates at McMullin’s Hill. Mr. Buhrman told General Kilpatrick about the layout of the Confederate forces at Monterey Pass and told him about the cannon planted in the middle of the road at the Clermont House. When General Kilpatrick learned of the movement of the Confederate cavalry only five miles away at Monterey Pass, he immediately began to pursue the Confederate wagon train.

As Mr. Buhrman rode with General Kilpatrick, the 1st Michigan Cavalry came across a local teenage girl named Hetty Zeilinger, who told them that the Confederates had placed a cannon near the Clermont House on top of the mountain. She knew Mr. Buhrman and begged him to tell General Kilpatrick not to go up to Monterey Pass. One of the 1st Michigan Cavalry soldiers lifted Hitty into his saddle and they traveled up the mountainside together. They soon came to Charles Buhrman’s farm where he told General Kilpatrick that this was as far as he would go. General Kilpatrick asked Mr. Buhrman to continue with him as his scout and Mr. Buhrman agreed.

General Kilpatrick traveled about one mile along Waynesboro Pike, when he came across a Confederate scouting party that belonged to Captain Emack. Using local citizens as guides, Kilpatrick galloped through the rainy evening on a collision course toward the Confederate wagons passing through Monterey. Mr. Miller heard a great deal of movement outside of where he was being held. He remembers “About dusk I saw a great deal of commotion among them and asked some of the soldiers what was going on. “Oh nothing! Just you report to Sergeant Grabill,” was the reply. I came to the house and asked Willie Waddell whether he knew what was going on. “Yes,” said he, “I just came down from the observatory on the top of the house and could hear the Union troops coming up the mountain.”

It was about sundown when General Custer’s Brigade was at the base of the mountain. The 5th Michigan was the first of Kilpatrick’s Cavalry Division to climb the mountain. At around 9:00 pm Custer’s men came in contact with Confederate pickets from Captain George Emack’s company of the Confederate 1st Maryland Cavalry that was stationed near the Clermont House, located one half mile south of Monterey Pass on the Waynesboro-Emmitsburg Pike.

Hearing of General Kilpatrick’s movements, Captain Tanner ordered the cannon to be loaded while General Custer’s men approached Emack’s position. As the weather conditions worsened, the Federal soldiers failed to recognize the Confederate pickets who were wearing black gum blankets over their uniforms. Without making any demonstration, using their bodies to shield the gun, Captain Tanner ordered the cannon to fire. The first shot was fired directly into the head of the 5th Michigan Cavalry, causing confusion and chaos in the ranks of the cavalrymen. The shots were fired over their heads, but managed to get the 5th Michigan’s attention and put fear in their hearts.

Captain Emack ordered the rest of his company to dismount and deploy on both sides of the cannon. Captain Tanner’s men fired two more shots. After the confusion subsided, Captain Emack’s company then mounted and charged forcing the 5th Michigan back, where Kilpatrick’s Artillery was stationed near McMullin’s Hill. Allowing the 5th Michigan to reorganize before advancing back into the mountain gap, Mr. Buhrman told Kilpatrick to dismount a regiment and send them to the left of the road where they could seize the cannon and possibly out flank Captain Emack’s men. Kilpatrick thought the tactic suggested might work and he ordered the 8th Pennsylvania to dismount and march through the dense stretch of woods toward the Clermont House for the first advance into Monterey Pass. The 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry covered the ground about 100 yards to the left portion where the Clermont house once stood and where Monterey Circle is today.

In a letter to the Valley Spirit in 1886, Charles Buhrman recalled: “It was then getting dark in the evening. After passing Clermont about the rebels fired three or four shots with grape and canister, and then pulled up their battery, and retreated. I don’t think they killed any of Kilpatrick’s men with the battery, as they fired too soon, and the grape and canister went over our men’s heads; but it made some of our men retreat, and caused a great deal of confusion. I told Kilpatrick if he would dismount a regiment and go down through the edge of the woods, he could flank them and capture the battery.”

Seeing that he might be out flanked, Captain Emack withdrew his force about 200 yards past the Monterey House. This gave him time to concentrate his force at the mountain pass. Captain Tanner then ordered to have the cannon be redeployed from its current position and reinforce Captain Emack near the Monterey House where his troopers were ordered to deploy on both sides of the road. This maneuver was carried out in such a hurry that Captain Tanner’s men were forced to leave their caisson behind and members of the 8th Pennsylvania took possession of it.

As the majority of General Kilpatrick’s Cavalry began to ascend the eastern side of the mountain, Kilpatrick saw the conditions of the road as his troops moved westward toward the Monterey House. On his right was Monterey Peak, which was a rough rugged portion of Monterey Pass. To the left was a steep ravine and to his front was a road too narrow to even deploy his artillery. After Captain Emack placed his troops near the Monterey House, Custer’s men consisting of a portion of the 1st and 5th Michigan Cavalry began their advance.

The 5th Michigan was sent toward the right to protect Kilpatrick’s right flank. A small portion of the 1st Michigan Cavalry was ordered to dismount and continue on the main road. This forced Captain Emack to slowly fall back further westward until the Custer’s Brigade gained the eastern half of Monterey. This forced Captain Emack to withdraw his force even further back to eastern side of the Maria Furnace Road where it connected to the Emmitsburg and Waynesboro Turnpike.

General Kilpatrick stopped at the Monterey House where David Miller and Jacob Baer were held prisoner. He dismounted and walked up on the porch where Mr. Miller and Mr. Baer were. General Kilpatrick started to discuss the roads of the area and where they led when one of General Custer’s men came riding up to the Monterey House asking General Kilpatrick for more men. Kilpatrick did not honor General Custer’s request for more manpower. Later in life Mr. Baer recalled that General Kilpatrick told the courier to tell General Custer, “He had enough men and lick the hell out of them!”

During the conversation, General Kilpatrick asked David Miller about the roads and where they led. Mr. Miller informed General Kilpatrick of the Mount Zion road that led into Smithsburg and Leitersburg. General Kilpatrick then asked Mr. Miller who he knew that could guide a regiment of his cavalry down the western side of the mountain so they could try and cut off the Confederate wagon train. David Miller saw Charles Burhman talking to some of the Union officers, and he turned to General Kilpatrick and told him that Mr. Buhrman was the man for the job.

General Kilpatrick asked Mr. Buhrman where he thought the wagon train was going. Mr. Buhrman later recalled: “Kilpatrick asked me which way I thought the wagon train was going, and where I supposed they would strike the river. I told him they could go by Smithsburg and Boonsboro, and cross the river at Sharpsburg, or go by Leitersburg and Hagerstown and cross at Williamsport. He asked me if there was any road that I knew of that I could take a regiment and head off that wagon train. I told him there was that I could take them by Mount Zion and then down the Raven Rock Hollow and strike Smithsburg, and if they had not taken that road, we could cross to Leitersburg and there we would strike them for certain.”

General Kilpatrick ordered Lt. Colonel Preston of the 1st Vermont Cavalry to take Mr. Buhrman as his guide and travel through Blue Summit, taking the road leading to Smithsburg. This wooden road took them through modern day Blue Ridge Summit and Cascade to Smithsburg. Upon their arrival at Smithsburg they found that everything was quiet. Mr. Buhrman then told Colonel Preston to take the road leading to Leitersburg that was 4 miles away and by daylight they had captured several prisoners and wagonloads of supplies.

As soon as Colonel Preston and the 1st Vermont Cavalry rode off toward Smithsburg, General Kilpatrick ordered Colonel Town to take a regiment of his battalion to head off the retreating wagon train. Near the Clermont House, the 1st Michigan Cavalry under Lt. Colonel Peter Stagg was sent on a road leading to Fairfield Gap to head off the Confederate wagon train coming out of Fairfield.

General Custer hired Emmitsburg resident James McCullough on June 27th as a guide during the Pennsylvania Campaign, when the Michigan Brigade encamped at the old Toll House south of Emmitsburg. During the battle of Monterey, McCullough guided Colonel Stagg’s 1st Michigan Cavalry to Fairfield Pass. Also guideing the the detachmet of the 1st Michigan Cavalry to Fairfield Gap was Hetty. Hetty lived on a small farm located near the Benchoff farm along the winding mountain path known as Furnance Road.

As all of this was happening at the same hour, General Kilpatrick had made plans of an attack from the east and west which was already underway; he now had to concentrate on gaining the actual pass of Monterey in order to dislodge Captain Emack and his Marylander’s. As the third wave of the battle was underway, Custer’s men began to get disorganized.

After General Kilpatrick’s Cavalry gained Monterey Pass, they continued down the mountainside to Waterloo (present day Rouzerville). After the affair at Waterloo, General Kilpatrick traveled to Ringgold, Maryland where he ordered his division to halt. The casualties of these battles proved to be devastating for the Confederates. General Kilpatrick stated his losses at Monterey Pass were 1 killed, 12 wounded, and 30 captured. The Confederate official reports state that the Confederates lost more than one thousand men, captured at the battle of Monterey Pass along the Waynesboro and Emmitsburg Road.

Once General Kilpatrick entered Ringgold, his men were tired and the horses needed rest. A New York Times reporter by the name of E. A. Paul rode with Kilpatrick and saw first hand the condition of Kilpatrick’s men. The men were tired, wet and covered with mud from the battle of Monterey Pass. As the cavalrymen halted at Ringgold, many men were so exhausted that they fell asleep in the saddle. Kilpatrick’s Cavalry had been riding and fighting for almost twenty-four hours without a break.

While General Kilpatrick’s Cavalry was riding toward Ringgold, Maryland, Charles Buhrman and the 1st Vermont Cavalry had already traveled down Mount Zion Road and then took the Raven Rock Hollow and came out to Smithsburg. When they arrived at Smithsburg, not one Confederate soldier was to be found and everything was quiet. Mr. Buhrman thought that maybe the Confederate wagon train had taken the road to Leitersburg. Colonel Preston ordered the 1st Vermont to head toward Leitersburg and they arrived at daybreak finding the road filled with Confederate soldiers, livestock and the wagons that survived the battle of Monterey Pass.

Charles Buhrman later recalled: “The regiment I was with captured a great many prisoners, cattle, horses, etc., and destroyed the wagon train from Leitersburg back to Ringgold. There they met the remainder of Kilpatrick’s cavalry. They had destroyed the wagon train from Monterey to Ringgold, a distance of six miles, and from Ringgold to Leitersburg, a distance of three miles more, making nine miles of wagon train captured or burned or destroyed by cutting off wagon tongues and cutting spokes in wheels. I am not able to say how much, if any, of the wagon train was destroyed between Leitersburg and Hagerstown, as I went only as far as Leitersburg with the 1st Vermont regiment, when it divided, part going toward Hagerstown, and part toward Ringgold. I went with the part that went toward Ringgold, as that was on my way home. I left them about 8 o’clock on Sunday morning, and started home by way of Ringgold.”

Charles Buhrman started for home. He rode by himself to Ringgold where he was taken prisoner, by General Kilpatrick’s pickets. As they escorted him to the old school house, Mr. Buhrman explained that he was with Kilpatrick during the battle of Monterey Pass, but the pickets didn’t believe a word Buhrman said. As Buhrman walked into the schoolhouse several of Kilpatrick’s officers recognized him. They ordered Buhrman’s release and he continued toward home. Buhrman took the road leading to George Harbaugh’s farm and as soon as he got up the hill, he saw Confederate soldiers riding down the other side. Avoiding capture by the Confederate soldiers, Buhrman traveled along the foot of the mountain and rode his horse through the woods until he came to Germantown Road near the schoolhouse.

From there he continued to the Sabillasville Road near Monterey Pass where he found Confederate pickets that were guarding the Frederick County, Maryland side. About sixty yards from the Confederate pickets, he was spotted and they called to him to dismount. Unable to jump a high fence near an orchard, Buhrman recalled: “I was near the orchard fence, I “dismounted” over the fence and did some good running from that to the Pine Swamp, about one-fourth of a mile. They shot four times at me, but missed me. I heard the balls whistle over my head, as it was down hill and they shot over me. I lost my horse, saddle and bridle. I was in the swamp only a few minutes until they were there; but as the bushes were very thick, I soon got away from them and kept the woods until I got home, two miles from there. It was then two or three o’clock on Sunday afternoon.”

Once Buhrman was home, he spotted a detachment of Confederate cavalry that was coming to his house. Buhrman hurried out the back door, found one of horses, mounted it and rode toward the mountain. The Confederate soldiers had searched his entire house and they told Buhrman’s wife that if they found him they would hang him. Buhrman hid in the mountains until the last of General Lee’s Army had passed through Monterey.

The Battle of Monterey Pass: Artillery Hell at Monterey Pass

Over the last few years, I have had a lot of great artillery questions asked by visitors to the Monterey Pass Battlefield. Enthusiasts who are starting to learn more about the Civil War or the Battle of Monterey Pass are surprised, and often confused about the terminology of the artillery. Many of the questions relate to the organization of the artillery during the Pennsylvania Campaign. One thing to keep in mind is that all batteries in the Union Army during this time frame of the Civil War contained the same type of cannon. Meaning, one battery may be armed with all 10 lb. Parrot Rifles or all 12 lb. Napoleons, ect… In the Confederate Army, the idea of two types of guns, usually two rifled and two smoothbore made up the battery. But this was not always followed. There are a few batteries that contained four of the same gun.

Because of the viewed effectiveness of massed artillery utilized by Napoleon Bonaparte during the French Revolution, as well as by the Confederate Army during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, and the sweeping victory against General John Pope at Second Manassas, it was deemed necessary to revitalize and wholly implement this style of artillery organization. This style of massed artillery was referred to as an artillery battalion. An artillery battalion could be made up of four to five batteries and was commanded by a senior ranking officer such as a major or a lieutenant colonel. If a portion of the battle line was in peril, guns from the artillery battalion could quickly come to their aid. Translated into simpler terms, each infantry division would be assigned an artillery battalion.

From this divisional artillery battalion, batteries or sections could be sent to aid and support infantry brigades. The reorganization would also allow for fresh batteries to be exchanged for depleted ones, thus giving the depleted batteries time to re-supply and refit. This method of circulation would render a constant flow of unmolested batteries that could be put into service when needed.

An artillery reserve would be utilized for the circulation of fresh batteries to the battlefront and batteries could be easily transferred around a battlefield and those sections were commanded by a lieutenant. Several artillery battalions would be kept within the artillery reserve for emergency purposes. Where the Union artillery reserve could be tapped by any infantry unit in need, a corps commander was needed to authorize usage of the Confederate artillery reserve.

An artillery battery (usually 4 guns Confederate and 6 guns Union) would be divided into sections, typically 2 guns Confederate and 3 guns Union, and those sections were commanded by a lieutenant who relayed orders from the captain commanding the battery. Firing styles in a battery were very simple; you could fire by piece, by section, or by battery.

So how did the gun detachment work? Nine men, including the gunner, are necessary for the service of a field piece. Cannoneers 1,2,3 and 4 are positioned around the gun and service the piece. Cannoneer 5 receives the round from the Cannoneer 7 and carries it to the gun. Cannoneers 6 and 7 prepare ammunition and fused rounds. Cannoneer 8, or Chief of the Caisson, prepares rounds from the three limber chests located on the caisson when necessary. The Gunner, a corporal (G) relays commands to the detachment and points the piece. When, from necessity, the detachment consists of less than nine, the higher numbers are struck out, and additional duties are imposed upon those remaining.

The field artillery fired four basic types of ordinance. Solid shot was made of solid iron that does not explode. This type of ammunition is meant to roll and skip along the ground, breaking battle formations or smashing through buildings. Another type of projectile is that of shell. Shell is a hollow iron shell that is filled with a bursting charge that, when fused, will explode at a predetermined time and yardage. Case has a slightly thinner shell wall than a shell round and is filled with lead musket balls packed in a sulfuric resin mixture that aided in the bursting process. This round was fused and made to explode over the heads of the enemy, raining down its contents. The last type of ammunition was canister. Canister was comprised of a tin can filled with twenty-seven 1.25 inch round balls packed in sawdust. This round essentially turned the cannon into a giant shotgun.

There were two types of cannon used during the Battle of Monterey Pass. The lone Confederate cannon was called a Model 1857 Light 12 lb. Gun Howitzer or better known as the 12 lb. Napoleon. The tube is made of bronze and the gun itself fires a 12 lb. solid shot. The ammunition is fixed, meaning that the 2.5 pound powder charge of black powder is attached to the projectile. The maximum range for this smoothbore cannon is about 2,000 yards. The smoothbore cannon at Getttysburg are indentifiled, among those those cannon that are turning green. The greenish patena on the bronze is a reaction of years of exspoure to the elements of weather.

The Union artillery that was with Kilpatrick’s cavalry division that night all had the 3-Inch Rifle. The tube on this gun was made of iron, firing an unfixed 10 pound solid shot with a 1 pound powder charge. The powder bag was inserted first into the tube and then rammed to the rear of the tube. After this was done, the projectile was then introduced and rammed. This was done because the rifling in the barrel often ripped the powder bags. The maximum range of the projectile was about 3,000 yards. If you were to take a drive on the battlefied at Gettysburg all of the black painted barrels of a cannon are rifled. Rifled defines the groves that are cut into the barrel where as a smoothbore, the name itself defines the type of gun. For accuracy, think of the difference between a soccer ball vs. a football. Which one is more accurate at a longer range. If you guessed the football you are correct and the same concept would apply to a projectile being shot from a cannon. The peice being fired from a rifled cannon would go a greater distance, because the rifling of the gun would give the projectile a definitive spiral, much like a football when it is thrown.

During the Confederate retreat from Gettysburg on the afternoon of July 4th, the artillery was to play a crucial role, giving support to the cavalry and infantry escorting the wagons into Maryland. Confederate General William Jones’ had the 1st Rockbridge Artillery, Chew’s Battery and Mooreman’s Battery to aide him if needed. As the wagon train made its way through South Mountain, a section of the 1st Rockbridge Artillery positioned itself at Monterey Pass. One gun took to the heights of Clermont Craig, overlooking Monterey Pass as well as Waynesboro. The second piece was positioned behind the toll house near the barn. As the day progressed, these guns were recalled and ordered to be deployed at Burns Hill in Waynesboro.

During the afternoon of July 4th, Chews Battery was parked at the intersection of Iron Springs Road waiting for the rear of the wagons to pass by. A section of Mooreman’s Battery was ordered to Jacks Mountain, while the other section remained near Fairfield. Eventually two guns of Mooreman’s Battery made their way to Fairfield Gap, guarding the entrance of that intersection.

It was just by luck that Captain William Tanner, who commanded the Courtney Henrico Artillery was to assist in protecting General John Imboden’s wagon train at Cashtown. Tanner ended up at Monterey Pass by following Ewell’s wagon train from Black Horse Tavern rather then going to Cashtown. Tanner was asked to haul two additional Napoleons in addition to his battery that contained 3-inch rifles. Arriving at Monterey Pass, and seeing that there was no artillery support on the eastern edge of South Mountain, he ordered one gun to be placed in the middle of the Emmitsburg and Waynesboro Turnpike. He then ordered the other four 3-inch rifles and the remaining Napoleon to Waynesboro. The limber chest contained only a few rounds of canister.

While the Confederate Army began its withdraw from Gettysburg, General Judson Kilpatrick was ordered to Emmitsburg to pick up a brigade of cavalry and additional artillery for support. Kilpatrick already had with him, First Lieutenant Samuel Sherer Elder’s Battery E, 4th US Artillery that contained four 3-inch rifles, and First Lieutenant Alexander C. M. Pennington’s Battery M, 2nd U.S. Artillery that contained six 3-inch rifles. At Emmitsburg, Kilpatrick acquired First Lieutenant William Duncan Fuller’s, Battery C, 3rd US Artillery that contained six 3-inch rifles which was not engaged at the Battle of Gettysburg. Upon leaving Emmitsburg, Kilpatrick’s horse artillery now consisted of three batteries for a total of sixteen cannon.

Kilpatrick’s cavalry came into contact with a local farmer by the name of Charles Buhrman. This meeting was a stroke of luck for Kilpatrick, because he now knew where on South Mountain that the Confederate wagon train was located. With the weather conditions worsening, Kilpatrick’s cavalry rode upon the narrow, winding road that led to Monterey Pass. It was noted that if they came under attack, the landscape would not allow Kilpatrick to deploy even one of his artillery guns. The muddy road was very narrow with Monterey Peak to his right and a very steep ravine to his left. At nine in the evening on July 4th, the head of Kilpatrick’s cavalry made the last turn approaching the summit when a flash appeared in the midst of the darkness followed by a loud boom.

Captain William Tanner had heard the movements of the Union cavalry and ordered his gun to load a double round of canister. After the first shot was fired, those weary Union cavalry soldiers knew a major fight was going to occur. Captain Tanner then ordered several more rounds of canister to be fired until a small portion of the 1st Maryland Cavalry under Captain George Emack charged the Union horsemen. Once the initial charge was over, Emack ordered his cavalry to pull back from the eastern summit to the Monterey House. Tanner, unaware of Emack’s withdraw, was forced to save his gun at the last minute during the second Union cavalry assault. Once Tanner’s men pulled back from the position, the limber was captured by the 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry.

Realizing that he has no ammunition, Tanner pulls his cannon back several hundred yards near the intersection of the wagon train. Tanner will have a fresh supply of ammunition as General Rodes’ divisional ordinance wagons were entering the turnpike. Tanner’s cannon will command the bridge, keeping the Union cavalry of General Custer’s Brigade from crossing and forcing his battle line to stall.

Meanwhile, Kilpatrick had already sent a small portion of the 1st Michigan Cavalry to attack the Confederate right that was holding Fairfield Gap. There, they were met with the most fearful fire from a section of Mooreman’s guns. The Battle of Monterey Pass raged into the dark hours of July 5th. Mooreman’s Battery, along with additional Confederate cavalry pushed the 1st Michigan back, securing the Fairfield Gap and saving those wagons from certain destruction.

While Tanner held the extreme left of the Confederate battle line at Monterey Pass, Kilpatrick ordered a section from Pennington’s Battery to deploy and fire on the Confederate lines. Since the right could not be turned, Kilpatrick needed to punch through Monterey Pass, thus his two 3-inch rifles soon began to open fire. As this ammunition exploded in the air, the light of the explosion illuminated the ground. By this point in time, from the weather, and the darkness the battle was being fought in between lightning strikes and the flashes from the muzzle of small arms.

Tanner kept his fire hot, and the 1st West Virginia, who were ordered to the front, thought that there was a full battery firing into the Union lines. Once the order to charge came, Tanner fired his piece one last time and soon after the cannon was captured by the West Virginians, who tumbled it down a steep embankment. As the West Virginians, followed by the Michiganers, began charging on the turnpike, Pennington’s Battery sends a section to the intersection to fire on the incoming wagons. Case shot was still exploding in the air.

More Confederate reinforcements arrived, including Chew’s Battery who had made their way from Fairfield Gap to Monterey. Once into position they deployed and began firing. Kilpatrick, realizing that he was in a very dangerous position ordered his reserves forward, down South Mountain, ending the battle upon the summit. The battle would now carry into Waterloo and end in Maryland near Ringgold.