Recently, on Penn Pilot, a website of aerial photographs of Pennsylvania, I am able to help explain visually what Monterey Pass looked like at least during the 1930’s as Route 16 or Sunshine Trail was being cut in. The roads that were used during the Civil War are still visible and still in use as this new highway was being cut in.
South Mountain witnessed much activity during the American Civil War, most famously the Battles of South Mountain in September 1862. During the 1863 Pennsylvania Campaign the majority of SouthMountain in Maryland and Pennsylvania, saw much activity including the Battle of Monterey Pass, situated along the Mason Dixon Line. In July of 1864, South Mountain would again see major activity during Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s Maryland Campaign.
On July 3, many citizens living in the Cumberland Valley heard cannon fire in the direction of West Virginia, and began to flee, crossing South Mountain in the wake of another Maryland Invasion. It was rumored by many refugees that Lt. Gen. Early was leading an army toward Shepherdstown, and would ford the Potomac River there into Maryland. As many refugees flocked east of South Mountain, Middletown residents doubted that another invasion was even going to take place.
Headquartered in Baltimore, Union Major General Lew Wallace heard the same rumors about a massive troop movement moving up the Shenandoah Valley, that could threaten Maryland or Washington. He had also received reports about Lt. Gen. Early’s movements from the officials of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Major General Wallace thought to himself about the consequences of this campaign. If Washington was the Confederate target, they could capture the defenseless city, as most of those troops were sent to Union General U. S. Grant. If the city was lost, the Confederates would capture the Quartermaster Depot, Naval Yard, and the U.S. Treasury. This would be a major blow to the Union.
The Confederate army began to ford the Potomac River on July 5. By July 7, they were fully concentrated at Sharpsburg, where in September 1862, many of these men fought in the battle of Antietam. Major General Wallace boarded a train at Baltimore and made his way to Frederick. From there he began assessing his situation and weighing his options. Union cavalry stationed in Frederick also went out to assess the situation. There, at Turner’s Gap, upon SouthMountain, a detachment of the 8th Illinois Cavalry skirmished with Brigadier General Bradley Johnson’s Cavalry Brigade. This was no contest for the Confederate cavalry, and they pushed ahead toward Middletown when two cannon were fired by Alexander’s Baltimore Artillery, supported by the 8th Illinois Cavalry. Brigadier General Johnson and his cavalry would skirmish toward Braddock’s Gap upon the CatoctinMountain.
During the day, Lt. Gen. Early ordered his army to SouthMountain, skirmishing at several points along the way with Union Major General Franz Sigel’s force. Confederate Major General John C. Breckenridge marched into Rohrersville, where he was supplied with new shoes for his soldiers, and encamped for the night. A few miles to the south, Major General Robert Rodes’ Division skirmished with Union cavalry, but by nightfalll the Confederates were bivouacked near Crampton’s Gap. Lieutenant General Jubal Early, along with Major General Stephen Raseur’s Division were near Boonsboro.
Acting on orders, Mr. Flechter scouted the movements of the Confederate army. Reporting back to Major Burt about the activity near Boonsboro, Mr. Flecther recalled, “Discovered a large number scattered all over the country, gathering horses, with scouts in mountain for the same purpose, preventing my going any farther, and have gathered in a large number of horses from the Maryland farmers.” Major Burt sent that information to Major General Darius Couch in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.
On July 8, Early’s army began marching toward Middletown. The Confederate army marched over SouthMountain at three different mountain gaps. Using the National Road through Turner’s Gap was Lt. Gen. Early and Maj. Gen. Ramseur’s Division. Also, the wagon train that followed the Confederate army used that same route. About a mile to the south was Fox’s Gap, situated on the Old Sharpsburg Road. Following this route was the Army of South Western Virginia under the command of Major General John C. Breckenridge. About seven miles south of that point was Crampton’s Gap. This is the route Major General Rodes’ Division would use.
Since the Old Sharpsburg Road and the National Road both led to Middletown, this would be the concentration point by evening for both Early and Breckenridge. Major General Rodes would continue his march to the town of Jefferson. The only natural barrier that separated the Confederate army from Frederick was the Catoctin Mountain.
As the Confederate troops moved over SouthMountain, the Union cavalry skirmished with the Confederate rear guard. By the end of the day, Crampton’s Gap was being used to hold Confederate prisoners that were captured by the Union cavalry.
As the sun rose on July 9, the Battle of Monocacy would erupt. While, Lt. Gen. Early was there fighting, he maintained a chain of pickets that covered many of the mountain gaps situated upon SouthMountain. Federal scouts entered Wolfsville, where they stated that fifty Confederate infantrymen were on picket duty, and that they were part of a chain of pickets that stretched across South Mountain from there to Boonsboro. It was also reported that several Confederate troops were fortifying the battlefield of South Mountain.
On July 10, it was reported that Confederate cavalry were foraging SouthMountain from MontereyPass to Frederick, stealing horses, and creating much alarm. During the day, Major John Burt wrote to Major General Couch, who was at Chambersburg, that about 3,000 cavalrymen under General Bradley Johnson were in Lewistown and Creagerstown, with another 7,000 cavalrymen at Smoketown. He also confirmed that the Confederate troops were fortifying South Mountain, and that General Imboden, with about 1,500 men, came down the west side of South Mountain, sending a small detail of men into Smithsburg, eight miles from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.
Captain Maxwell Woodhull, who was serving as Acting Assistant Adjutant-General wrote a dispatch to Union Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence that Brigadier General William Morris wanted a cavalry to scout the area near SouthMountain at BlackRockBridge. Reports were of Confederate cavalry and a section of artillery moving along the Westminster and Baltimore Pike, from Boonsboro. The Westminster and Baltimore Pike was a roadway that led from Hagerstown, over SouthMountain at Wolf’s Tavern, and at the CatoctinMountain to Emmitsburg, and continued to Westminster.
This ended the actions on South Mountain during Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s Raid on Washington. This campaign is a fascinating one. Although, the majority of the Confederate army marches toward Frederick and fights a battle along the banks of the Monocacy, one can see how far the effects of the campaign reached. Troop movements, picket lines, and smaller raid parties had a far reaching effect on the communities on and around South Mountain.
Gettysburg Great Camp
Plans for July 1-4
To commemorate 50th anniversary of battle
Reunion of war veterans
To explain the plans for the great reunion of Civil War veterans at Gettysburg from July 1 to July 4 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the battle there, the chairman of the Battle of Gettysburg Commission, Col. Shoemaker, has sent a circular letter to the 40,000 veterans who have been invited to attend the celebration.
The state of Pennsylvania well provide all the entertainment at Gettysburg for the veterans, and that state and the national government, by appropriations of $150,000 each, will maintain a great camp around the battlefield, equipped with all the possible conveniences for the comfort of the old soldiers.
The camp will be established on a field, which embraces some 280 acres. The camp will be in the vicinity of the high water monument on the battlefield of Gettysburg. It lies to the south west of the town and includes part of the track covered in the first day’s fight. There’ll be 5,000 tents, intended to accommodate 12 men each, but only eight veterans will be assigned to each tent.
Each veteran will be supplied with a separate cot, blanket, and mess kit. The mess kit will become his property. Each tent will be furnished with water buckets and candles. Towels, soap, and toilet articles will be provided by the veterans themselves.
Meals will be served to them at tables adjoining the kitchen at the end of each company street. The veterans will be restricted to hand baggage. To aid in prompt delivery, all mail and telegrams must be plainly addressed to the individual veteran, with the additional delegation of “Maine delegation,” or “Mississippi delegation,” or whatever state delegation he may be with.
The control of the grounds and camp and the movement of troops and marching bodies will be in charge of the Secretary of War, under such officers as he may detail for that purpose.
Each state through its representative must advise the Battle of Gettysburg Commission how many veterans it will send, and the state’s delegation will be assigned to a section of the camp with sufficient tents for its veterans. The subdivision of tents will be left to each state representative.
To avoid, as far as possible, congestion on the roads at Gettysburg, the camp will be ready for the reception of the old soldiers on June 29. Supper will be the first meal served that day. The camp will continue open on through the celebration until July 6, when the last meals served will be breakfast.
Under acts by the Pennsylvania Assembly and Congress, only veterans of the Civil War will be provided with food, shelter and entertainment within the camp around the battlefield. Women and children accompanying the veterans cannot be taking care of within the camp. Veterans, therefore, are advised that they should not bring any members of the family, for whom they will have to obtain food and quarters outside the camp without first making arrangements for them.
Before a veteran is admitted to the camp he must produce credentials such as honorable discharge, pension certificate or certificate of service from either the governor of the state in which he enlisted; or if a veteran of the regular army, from the United States War Department; or if a former sailor or member of the Marine Corp, from the United States Navy Department, or certificate of identification from the commander of a post of the Grand Army Republic, or from a commander of the United Confederate Veterans.
It will be left to each Commonwealth, State and territory to discriminate in the issuance of free transportation. The state of Pennsylvania will furnish free transportation to only her own veterans or the veterans now living in her borders.
The Truck Line Passenger Association, with a territory embracing Gettysburg, has granted a round-trip excursion rate good from the time of starting, June 25, to the time of returning to the original point, July 15; a 20 day ticket good only on the same route going and coming, at a rate of two cents a mile. The railroads at Gettysburg, for lack of space would not put any cars there on site tracks.
The program for the four days exercises and entertainment has not been perfected in detail, but the tentative suggestions are:
July 1, Veterans Day – appropriate exercises under the joint direction of the Pennsylvania Commission and the Commanders in Chief of the Grand Army Republic and the United Confederate Veterans.
July 2, Military Day – under the direction of the chief of staff of the United States Army. Special attachments of each arm of the regular servers to participate as directed.
July 3, Civic Day – Under the direction of the Gov. of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, presiding, and participating in by the governors of several states. Orations, sermon, and music.
July 4, National Day-the Chief Justice of the United States presiding, noon speech by the President the United States. High noon, President to lay at cornerstone of a great Peace Memorial. Evening, fireworks.
A great tent to see between 10,000 and 15,000 veterans will be erected immediately adjoining the camp, and therein will occur the exercises; except the military parade and fireworks, and there, also, save for the hour set apart for the exercises, the veterans may hold reunions. The tent will be subdivided into separate enclosures.
All veterans of the Civil War, North and South, are urged to wear their army, corps, division, brigade, and society badges, as a means of identification to their comrades in like commands in the expectations that will assist in imparting information as to when and where are different organizations, meet, and in bringing together comrades who would otherwise, by reason of lapse of time, fail to recognize each other.