The Battle of Boonsboro Gap. 31
THE BATTLE OF BOONSBORO GAP OR SOUTH MOUNTAIN.
By Judge QEORQE D. QRATTAN, Harrisonburg, Va., Captain and A. A. a. Staff of General Colquitt.
The interest centered upon the battle of Sharpsburg, which is generally conceded to have been the bloodiest and most stub- bornly contested battle of the Civil War, has served to almost obliterate the memory of the minor engagement of Boonsboro Gap, or South Mountain as it is called in all the official reports of the Federal officers. For this reason I am moved to call to mind some facts in connection with the Boonsboro Gap fight, with the hope that fuller justice may be done to General D. H. Hill, and the brave men who fought with him on that day.
In order that the importance of that battle may be known and appreciated, it is necessary to recount some of the events and circumstances connected with it. Without entering into a dis- cussion of the much mooted question as to who Was responsible for the loss of the copy of General Lee's order directing the movements of his troops for the capture of Harper's Ferry. which fell into the possession of General McClellan on tlie morning of the 13th of September, 1862, it is sufficient to say that this order, which gave full information as to the movements of the several commands of Lee' army for some days to come, was fully appreciated by General McClellan, and afforded him the best opportunity of dividing the Confederate army and de- feating it in detail, which could have been hoped for, and if he and his men had been more active and efficient and the Con- federates less watchful and courageous, the result might have been disastrous. This order (a copy of which can be seen in the Official Records of the War, Vol. 19, part I, page 603) informed General McClellan that more than half of Lee's