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Adjutant and Inspector General Reports

1864 Report

Appendix F

HEADQUARTERS SIXTH ARMY CORPS,
Camp near Bakersville, Md., September 30, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of operations of the corps under my command in the battle of the 14th inst., at Crampton's Pass:

In compliance with the instructions of the commanding general, the corps advanced on the morning of the 14th inst., from a point 3 miles east of Jefferson, in the direction of the Blue Ridge. At Jefferson a halt was ordered, to afford General Couch an opportunity of coming up. After a short delay, upon learning that this division was still some distance in the rear, I advanced to the vicinity of the village of Burkittsville. Upon ascertaining that the pass over the mountains at this point, which I was directed to secure and hold, was occupied by the enemy in force, I caused immediate preparations to be made for an attack. The enemy was strongly posted on both sides of the road, which made a steep ascent through a narrow defile, wooded on both sides, and offering great advantages of cover and position. Their advance was posted near the base of the mountain, in the rear of a stone wall, stretching to the right of the road at a point where the ascent was gradual, and for the most part over open fields. Eight guns had been stationed on the road, and at points on the sides and summit of the mountain to the left of the pass.

It was evident that the position could be carried only by an infantry attack. Accordingly, I directed Major-General Slocum to advance his division through the village of Burkittsville, and commence the attack upon the right. Wolcott's First Maryland Battery was stationed on the left and to the rear of the village, and maintained a steady fire on the positions of the enemy until they were assailed and carried by our troops. Smith's division was placed in reserve on the east side of the village, and held in readiness to co-operate with General Slocum, or support his attack, as occasion might require. Capt. Ayres' battery, of this division, was posted on a commanding ground to the left of the reserves, and kept up an uninterrupted fire on the principal battery of the enemy until the latter was driven from its position.

The advance of General Slocum was made with admirable steadiness through a well-directed fire from the batteries on the mountain, the brigade of Col. Bartlett taking the lead, followed at proper intervals by the brigades of General Newton and Col. Torbert. Upon fully determining the enemy's position, the skirmishers were withdrawn, and Col. Bartlett became engaged along his entire line. He maintained his ground steadily under a severe fire for some time at a manifest disadvantage, until re-enforced by two regiments of General Newton's brigade upon his right, and the brigade of Col. Torbert and the two remaining regiments of Newton's on his left. The line of battle thus formed, an immediate charge was ordered, and most gallantly executed. The men swept forward, with a cheer, over the stone wall, dislodging the enemy, and pursuing him up the mountain side to the crest of the hill and down the opposite slope. This single charge, sustained as it was over a great distance, and on a rough ascent of unusual steepness, was decisive. The enemy was driven in the utmost confusion from a position of strength, and allowed no opportunity for even an attempt to rally until the pass was cleared and in the possession of our troops.

When the division under General Slocum first became actively engaged, I directed General Brooks' brigade, of Smith's division, to advance upon the left of the road, and dislodge the enemy from the woods upon Slocum's flank. The movement was promptly and steadily made, under a severe artillery fire. General Brooks Occupied the woods after a slight resistance, and then advanced, simultaneously with General Slocum, rapidly and in good order, to the crest of the mountain. The victory was complete, and its achievement followed so rapidly upon the first attack that the enemy's reserves, although pushed forward at the double-quick, arrived but in time to participate in the flight, and add confusion to the rout. Four hundred prisoners from seventeen different organizations, 700 stand of arms, 1 piece of artillery, and 3 stand of colors were captured, while numberless articles of equipment, knapsacks, haversacks, blankets, &c., were abandoned by the enemy in their flight.

The gallantry of the officers and the spirit and dash displayed by the troops are worthy of the highest praise, and I respectfully call attention to the recommendations made in the accompanying reports of Major-General Slocum and the commanders of brigades, and solicit for them the favorable notice of the commanding general. I also respectfully refer to the reports in question for a detailed account of the operations of the respective brigades, and for the names of such officers as have won honorable mention for their gallant bearing in the field. While fully concurring in the recommendation offered in behalf of Col.s Bartlett and Torbert, who have certainly earned promotion on this as on other occasions, I respectfully and earnestly request that Brig. Gen. Newton may be promoted to the rank of major-general for his conspicuous gallantry and important services during the entire engagement.

The prompt and energetic action of Dr. White, the medical director of the corps; of Dr. Bradley, his assistant, and of the medical staff of the different organizations engaged in bringing off and caring for the wounded, is worthy of the highest praise.

Our total loss in killed and wounded is 530. Of these, 16 are officers, 5 of whom were killed. The total loss, killed, was 110; wounded, 420. The losses of the enemy are not accurately known. We buried 150 of their dead, and took charge of more than 300 of their wounded, who were left upon the field.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. B. FRANKLIN,
Major-General, Commanding 6th Corps.

Brig. Gen. S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac.

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