Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 39.djvu/55

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The Battle of Boonsboro Gap. 43

the mountain." The attack after nightfall was certainly bril- liant, but they never succeeded in pushing these two regiments one foot from the ground they had held during the whole day.

In this last assault Col. Grabill, of the 28th Georgia, finding that the ammunition of his men was exhausted, mounted a large stone and in the darkness, shouted at the top of his voice, "fix bayonets." Immediately there was a lull in the« Federal firing in his front, and soon the enemy ceased firing altogether, and withdrawing, gave up the fight. Thus ended McClellan's grand eftort to force his way through Boonsboro Gap and cut Lee's Army in two. When we remember the disparity in the forces engaged, and the issue involved in this battle, no one ought to withhold from General D. H. Hill and the brave men who fought with him that day, the praise due them for holding Mc- Clellan's army at bay, from early morning until half-past three in the afternoon, when the first Longstreet's men arrived to assist. Not over 4,000 men beating back for nearly eight hours more than ten times that number of the enemy, as is fully shown by their own official records.

In the light of the cold facts established by these published records, it is somevN^hat amusing to hear the estimate given by the Federal officers of the number of troops opposing them in this battle. General McClellan, in his official report, says: "It is believed that the force opposed to us at Turner's Gap con- sisted of D. H. Hill's Corps (15,000), and a part, if not the whole of Longstreet's Corps, and perhaps a part of Jackson's, probably some 30,000 in all. We went into action with about 30,000 and our losses amounted to 312 killed, 1,234 wounded and 22 missing; total 1,568."

General Llooker, with characteristic boastfulness, says : "When the advantages of the enemy's position are considered, and the preponderating numbers, the forcing of the passage of South Mountain will be classed among the most brilliant and satis- factory achievements of this army, and its principal glory will "be awarded to the first corps. With shameful efifrontery, this field was heralded from the rebel capital as a victorv." While