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LCol Joel J Seaver's Official Report

Report of September 22, 1862 of Crampton's Gap

J. J. Seaver

[author biography]

Camp near Williamsport, Md., September 22, 1862.

Lieutenant R. P. WILSON,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Second Brigade, Slocum's Division.

SIR: I have the honor to report that on Sunday, September 14, instant, this regiment, preceded by the Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, marched from its bivouac, crossing the Catoctin Mountain, and passing the little village of Jefferson at about 12 m., soon after which we were halted for a brief rest. On resuming the march, the Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania Regiment, under Colonel Cake, was thrown forward as an advance guard, and, on approaching the village of Burkittsville, a portion of the Ninety-sixth was deployed as skirmishers. One gaining the immediately vicinity of Burkittsville, and within sight of the enemy's pickets, the brigade was drawn up on the left of the road, and the Sixteenth Regiment was ordered to support the Second U. S.(Captain Upton's) Battery [D].

From this position the brigade was again moved forward, and I received an order to follow in rear of the One hundred and twenty-first New York Regiment, which I did until we reached the outskirts of the village, when I was assigned a position in rear of the Twenty-seventh New York Volunteers, and the brigade moved to the right of the road, and rested in a ravine until about 2.30 p.m., when we were again ordered to advance, for the purpose of storming Crampton's Pass, on South Mountain, where the enemy had taken up his position. Advancing a few hundred yards under cover of hedge and corn-field, we were formed in line of battle, with the Fifth Maine Regiment on our left, and the Twenty-seventh New York Volunteers thrown forward as skirmishers. In this position we advanced about 600 yards to the crest of a knoll, and to within short rifle-range of the enemy, who were in force behind a stone wall and in the wood skirting the base of the mountain, the enemy's cannon in the mean time keeping up a steady fire upon our lines. Here we opened upon them, and continued a brisk fire for nearly three-quarters of an hour, suffering severely from the fire of the enemy in their superior position, when we were relieved by the Thirty-second New York Regiment, of General Newton's brigade. We had rested but a few minutes when Colonel Torbert's brigade was brought up, and ordered to charge upon the enemy. They were immediately followed by General Newton's brigade and the Sixteenth New York and Fifth Maine Regiments.

Now the third line immediately advanced with fixed bayonets and ringing cheers. The enemy opened with great fury upon us with cannon and musketry as we gained the base of the mountain. I found myself directly opposed to the enemy, who were pouring upon us a deadly fire from the cover of the woods. Rallying my men with the aid of Major Palmer, who behaved in the most heroic and commendable manner, I ordered them to charge into the woods, which was done, driving the enemy before us. The troops on our right and left advancing at the same time, we soon cleared the first slope of the mountain, and pressed forward toward the pass.

As we gained the crest of the first hill, I observed a line of battle formed in a road which led around the brow of the hill, and ordered the men to cover themselves and fire as rapidly as possible. This was done with good effect. Our fire, increasing as the men came up, soon broke the rebel lines, and they fled precipitately. They were pursued as rapidly as the men could climb the hill and at sundown we had carried the pass and won the day.

As night closed upon the scene I found myself on the heights on the right of the pass, in company with Colonel Cake, Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania; Lieutenant-Colonel Myers and Major Meginnis, Eighteenth New York, and a portion of the Thirty-second New York Volunteers. These, with Major Palmer, Sixteenth New York, were the only field officers present at that point. Subsequently, and in obedience to orders, the Sixteenth Regiment was moved to a point on the road passing through the gap, where we bivouacked for the night. As this regiment gained the skirt of the woods, one of the enemy's battle-flags was borne immediately in front of my right wing. The color-bearers were fired upon, and one of the men wounded, and a private, James Allen, of Company F, rushed forward, securing the colors, and taking the bearer prisoner. The flag has been forwarded to General McClellan's headquarters, in obedience to an order to that effect.

The loss of the regiment in this action was 20 enlisted men killed, 1 commissioned officer (Lieutenant C. L. Jones) and 41 enlisted men wounded.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Page 390 - 392


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