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Battle of South Mountain  

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In this battle, Union and Confederate forces fought fiercely to control the roads and gaps crossing South Mountain at the cost of over 5,000 killed, wounded, or missing soldiers.

The Battle of South Mountain set the stage for the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, fought three days later.

Click here to view the official Battlefield map.

CPMV Sept. 12th Event

Below is the schedule for the event. Supporters should attend the 8:30 AM presentation at Hawk Hill Farm. View the map here.

Hawk Hill Farm
2330 Marker Rd
Middletown, MD 21769

Saturday, September 12, 2009:

7:00 AM - Reenactors assemble and sign in for the march.
Where: Middletown Municipal Center, 31 West Main Street, Middletown, MD 21769

7:30 AM - The road march begins. There will be brief" catch your breath" rest and water stops for the marchers along the route.
Where: Middletown Municipal Center, 31 West Main Street, Middletown, MD 21769

8:30 AM (approximately) - Rest stop on private property on Marker Road to meet up with those who want to make a shorter march. Marchers can register. Water and access to "port-a-pots" provided. There will also be a brief presentation. This will be good location for press photos/interaction and for community supporters to gather. Parking provided. Marchers will leave this rest stop at 9:30 AM
Where: Hawk Hill Farm, 2330 Marker Rd, Middletown, MD 21769

11:00 AM (approximately) - Rest stop with water and access to "port-a-pots" provided.
Where: On private property along Reno Monument Road.

12:00 PM (noon) - The road march concludes at Reno Monument.

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM - A tour of the actions of the 9th Corps Kanawha Division at the Battle at Fox's Gap on the actual ground these actions took place will be given by South Mountain Battlefield State Park Ranger, Isaac Forman.

Participants will be transported back to the parking areas at Hawk Hill Farm and Municipal Building at the conclusion of the march and at the conclusion of the battlefield tour if they wish to attend the tour.

CPMV Sept. 12th Event

On September 12, 2009, Union Civil War re-enactors will hold a road march retracing the route taken by the 30th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the Ninth Corps of the Army of the Potomac to Fox’s Gap on South Mountain to commemorate the 147th Anniversary of the Battle of South Mountain fought September 14, 1862.

If you are a Union Civil War re-enactor and want to participate in this event, please download and complete a registration form. All tax-deductible proceeds from the march will be donated to the non-profit Civil War Preservation Trust.

In 2009, the Civil War Preservation Trust named South Mountain Battlefield as one of the top ten most endangered battlefields in the US.

The battlefield is under threat by a utility company’s (Dominion) purchase of 135 acres of agricultural-zoned land as the site for a proposed multi-storied natural gas compressor station.

The march will pass the land under threat which includes the historic 18th century Fox’s Tavern which served as a field hospital after the battles of South Mountain and Antietam.
About the Battle:

The Battle of South Mountain was critical engagement in the Maryland Campaign of 1862. Confederate General Robert E. Lee came north to Maryland in early September to resupply his army, enlist sympathetic Maryland citizens and to win a decisive victory in the North to earn recognition and foreign aid for the Confederate States. President Abraham Lincoln had a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation written and in his desk, but needed a major Union victory to formally announce it.

As September unfolded, the Confederates moved westward through Frederick County into Washington County in Maryland, and South Mountain became a screen for Lee’s divided army. If the Federals could be kept east of South Mountain and the Union garrison at Harpers Ferry seized, Lee had a clear avenue to move his forces northward and southward to the west of South Mountain. Behind this mountain screen, Lee made an highly daring and unusual move – he split his army, charging Confederate Generals Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Lafayette McLaws to take Harper's Ferry, General James Longstreet with resupplying the army at Boonsboro and Hagerstown and sending General Daniel Harvey Hill to guard the South Mountain passes.

At the same time, US General George B. McClellan, in command of the Army of the Potomac, in westward pursuit of the Confederates, discovered in a field west of Frederick a copy of Lee’s orders to split his forces. He marched his army rapidly westward hoping to engage Lee forces while they were still divided.

The two armies met in the gaps of South Mountain on September 14th.

At Fox’s Gap, Confederate General Samuel Garland, in command of a brigade of North Carolina regiments and Captain James Bondurant’s artillery battery, was ordered by General D. H. Hill to deploy on the crest of South Mountain on the ridge adjacent to the Old Sharpsburg Road (now Reno Monument Road). The 9th Corps of the Union’s Army of the Potomac, under General Jesse Reno, left their camps in and to the west of Middletown at daylight advancing up South Mountain along the National Road (Alt-40) and Old Sharpsburg Road (Marker Road). The first wave of Union infantry to open the battle at 9 AM was General Jacob Cox’s Kanawha Division, including the 30th Ohio Volunteer Infantry regiment. A detachment of the 30th Ohio moved directly up the Old Sharpsburg Road, while the main column went to the left up a forested road.

The 30th Ohio was the rightmost regiment on the Union right flank with Old Sharpsburg Road to their right.

They fought from morning into the evening enduring an especially intense artillery and infantry fire at close range near the Wise Farm on Old Sharpsburg Road on the mountain crest in the afternoon.

Photo of the Wise Farm

By the late evening of September 14, the Union pressed the Confederates to the west side of the South Mountain.

However, the Union commander, General Reno, was mortally wounded in the evening’s fight, a sight witnessed by the 30th Ohio, which was praised for their bravery by Reno moments before.

The Confederate’s commander, General Garland, had been killed earlier in the morning engagement. Though the Confederates were pushed back off South Mountain, they took Harpers Ferry, setting the stage for the horrific battle fought on the west side of South Mountain along Antietam Creek at Sharpsburg on September 17.

After the Battle of Antietam, the Confederates retreated southward into Virginia and Lincoln had the victory he needed to announce the Emancipation Proclamation.

General Jesse Reno

The 30th Ohio at the time of the Battle of South Mountain was commanded by Col. Hugh Ewing and composed of men from Scioto, Harrison, Athens, Perry, Union, Guernsey, Jefferson, Pickaway, Tuscarawas and Noble Counties mustered into service in August of 1861.

Col. Hugh Ewing

Lieutenant Henry Brinkerhoff,in his History of the Thirtieth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry  recalled:

On the fourteenth day of September, 1862, the regiment stood up against a front fire, at South Mountain for forty-five minutes, and on the following morning, after having examined the field, we involuntarily exclaimed “My God, how could a single man escape here?” Every tree and sapling had been riddled. Thousands of limbs and twigs had been cut off by balls, and no place on the whole front could we find where a man could not have been in range with balls, which perforated trees and limbs to the rear. The only reason we can assign why all did not perish … is, that the soldier under fire almost continually changes position.

South Mountain March Details:

The commemorative South Mountain march on September 12, 2009:

  • Will begin at the Municipal Building on Main Street in Middletown, Maryland at 7:30 AM.
  • Will include brief rest and water stops.
  • There will be a rest stop at a midway point on private property on Marker Road to meet up with those who want to make a shorter march.
  • We will have images struck at the midway point. This will be good location for Press interaction.
  • The march will continue at 9:30 AM and conclude at Reno Monument by noon.
  • There will be a short talk at Reno Monument about the Battle of South Mountain and the 30th Ohio’s role in the battle following the march given by a South Mountain State Park Ranger.
  • Participants will be transported back to the parking areas at the Midway point and Municipal Building after the march.
  • Chase cars will be available to pick up those who need them and provide water to moving troops.  
  • Remember to participate, you must download and complete a registration form.

The march will cover five miles with a shorter 2.5 mile march from the midpoint where parking will be available. The rise from Middletown to Reno Monument is 500 ft and covers hilly terrain. It winded the original cast and caused them to take rest breaks as we will take.

Reenactor guidelines:

  • Impression is Army of the Potomac 1862 generic enlisted (private soldier preferred).
  • Forage caps, sack coats and suitable Civil-War era infantry long-arm weapons desired.
  • Remove hat brass and corps badges.
  • Bring NO powder, caps or ammunition.
  • Bring bayonet for stacking arms.
  • Don’t forget your canteen!
  • Leave your knapsacks at home – the 30th Ohio dropped packs in camp before their march.

Most importantly, use your common sense. This is a road march for preservation on a public road with local spectators and media. We would like to portray the 30th Ohio honorably and present a good impression to the public.