Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Company A, Inc.
"September Storm" Event Report
145th Anniversary South Mountain & Antietam Reenactment
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September 7-9, 2007
Pleasant Valley, Md.
September 20, 1862
I write you after many exertions and hope to tell you many of the deeds we have been part of in the past days. The first news is that indeed, many of our friends are well, and among the blessed, but there are also so many more that have not been able to claim the same. I shall start at the beginning, only a few days past.
We started marching towards the hills and mountains of Maryland just a few days past, and came into contact with the rear of the Confederate invaders around Frederick City on Friday night. We were order into camps and to draw rations, get some rest, and be ready to move at a moments notice. Our staff of the battalion were invited by Sgt. Touhy to take mess with the company of Captain Hane, and we were all quite thankful that they had their mess chest up, and were cooking warm food. Our staff had swelled in the recent days to include all ranks from our honorable Twenty-third Ohio Volunteers, the Colonel, our Lt. Colonel, Major, Adjutant and Sergeant Major.
Come the morning, the Rebel threats were gone for the mountains, and the US Paymaster, fresh from the York Mint, had arrived with a bundle of cash. We had been anticipating pay since leaving Washington City, and had prepared all the muster and pay rolls some time since. It was the end of the two month period, but since we were on the march, few thought it possible for the Pay Department to catch up to us. But indeed they did.
On Saturday morning, before any other orders were received from Head Quarters, our battalion was ordered to fall in for review and inspection immediately after breakfast. The first order read was from the Colonel, which specifically stated that gambling and other games of chance were prohibited in this army. This only increased to pitch of glee that the boys were to be paid.
Our numbers were reported on the morning consolidated at 174 rank and file for duty. Our numbers had indeed been swelled by our regular units of the 14NJ, 2NJ, 3NJ, 28MaCoB, 78PA, 63PA, 23OV, 40PA, 28MaCoK, 8CV, and the members of the Liberty Rifles. We were also indeed pleased to welcome the boys of Company I for the operations of our battalion. We were specially pleased to be the hosts for our friends from Michgan, including the 3MI, 4MI, 5MI, 7MI, and 19Ind. Never has such a fine troop of gentleman been arrayed in a single Federal battalion against the rebels. We are truly fortunate to enjoy this level of companionship and comraderie during this campaign. Our kindest thanks to all that made this line of battle something we could all be proud to dress in.
The formation was easily done, since the rumored motivation was high. Major Schnapps from the A.G.O. Office was in attendance, and he reviewed our battalion, company by company along with the command. They were broken right, in column of companies, opened ranks, about faced, unslung knapsacks, and looked over with a not so fine tooth comb. The ranks were closed, and the muster roll called. Each company was then signed off for the muster, and proceeded to the pay table. There, each captain presided over the payments to his men, and the pay masters doled out the cash. And there was the guard there, and the regimental laundress, who seemed to have no records, other than those she kept in her head. As each man was paid, she would demand or not her due. And she was paid. The same occurred for the regimental sutler, and his take seemed to grow quickly, as the boys lost more of their cash. The whole affair was conducted in about two hours, and the boys were dismissed to their camps.
Soon came the order to fall in for the anticipated march, and we were put in route for the hills beyond Frederick. We marched the National Road from Frederick, and approached Fox's Gap. The heat of the day was indeed extreme and severe, and several were overcome with the sun, including one of our line captains. There the rebels were arrayed in strength, but we went into them with a vengeance, and they indeed caved, but it cost us a good deal. We pushed them uphill, and then over, and sometimes the fighting was hand to hand. We were eventually disengaged, and tried to get some rest.
When the bugle sounded again, part of us, under Lt. Col. Herzog, were the Second New Jersey Volunteers that answered the call,and we were called into line in the late afternoon. We were marched towards Cramptons's Gap, and were thrown into an historic fight there. New Jersesy Blue prevailed. The reports will tell the erst of the story.
The other part of us were the Eighteenth New York, under Major Harrison. We marched forward on the right of the line, and engaged, and pushed the rebel lines well into the trees on the crest of the mountain, and well into the darkening night. The fight was of the most severe nature, and the results were in our favor, but not our desire for the casualties suffered on both sides.
We returned to our camp, and simply collapsed from the heat and exertion of the days battles. Some were able to cook some rations, and others simply slept.
The night was cool, and the boys recovered well from the past day, but were called into line about day light. The breakfast fires were small and short, but the battalion was formed very soon after a few coffee cups were downed. We had some confusion forming the companies into the line of battle, but soon were marched off by the left flank as the Eighth Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteers.
We were now over the mountain, and over the creek, and mounting the hills towards the town of Sharpsburg. We went into the fight by the left, caught some rebel fire before we turned into line, but once we were on line the fight commenced in earnest. We were holding while the battalions around us were yielding to the pressure of the Confederate advance. We were ordered, implored, and even threatened by the staff, particularly the Lt. Colonel, that if we moved from that spot, we would be up on charges. So, we held, with or without the admonitions, and soon, our fire was telling on the enemy to the front. They started stumbling, yielding, and then retreating. Such was our favor that day, and the other Penn. Reserves rallied upon us. The honor was ours. The rest of the battle after that continued to unfold all the day through, but our 8th Pa. Reserves were standing, and holding. We were ordered to rest, and soon, to retreat with relief. We returned to our bivouac of the night before, pulled up stakes, sounded the general, and moved towards the hills to our rear.
We have been resting here, gathering news of the epic fight, listing our losses, requesting rations and equipments. Our baggage is said to be up in a day or so, but in the meantime, we are gathering our wounded, burying our dead, and giving thanks that our blessed army had prevailed her on this Union ground. The costs are large, but the loss could be larger.
Most of the boys that you know are still well, have survived in tact, and others are recouperating in the hospitals. I cannot say that any you know have been killed or mortally wounded. This is not the normal news for the bulk of the folks at home, there have been severe casualties and losses across the fighting troops, so we are blessed to have fared better than the rest.
We are now headed for Pleasant Valley for a rest, and I will write more news once we arrive there. God Bless the Union, and Lincoln, and Liberty !
Your humble servant,
Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.