The Battle of Crampton’s Gap, fought on September 14, 1862, was part of the larger Battle of South Mountain preceding the Battle of Sharpsburg (aka Antietam.)
A small force of Confederate soldiers, including the 16th Georgia under Brig Gen Howell Cobb, were dispatched there to delay the advance of about 13,000 Union troops of Franklin’s VI Corps. The 16th Georgia, in support of Cobb’s Legion led by Lt Col Jefferson Mirabeau Lamar, advanced down the steep mountain and came upon fellow Confederates of Parham/Munford’s retreating up the mountainside. Lamar immediately saw troops of the Union VI corps advancing in pursuit and cried to the men to follow him in a counterattack. Lamar boldly charged his horse forward, but found the maneuver foolish, as the steep grade of the hillside caused horse and rider to fall to the ground. Unfazed, Lamar, leapt to his feet and continued the charge. He put his men into position on the flank of the Union attacking column and unleashed volley after volley into their ranks. But it was already too late.
“In this horrible predicament the Legion likely would have followed Munford’s men in panicked retreat up the mountain. But its lieutenant colonel, Jefferson M. Lamar, held them to their impossible work until he had been twice shot, once mortally.” (Sealed with Their Lives: Battle of Crampton’s Gap, Burkittsville, MD, Sept. 14, 1862, Timothy Reese, Butternut & Blue, October, 1998.)
Slocum’s Division of the Union VI corps charged straight up the mountain, traversing almost vertical ground. Outnumbered nearly 15:1, the Confederates were forced up the mountain and through Crampton’s Pass. Although unsuccessful in holding the gap, the Union advance was delayed long enough to allow more time for Genl. Robt E Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia to become better organized.
The 16th Georgia suffered heavy casualties. Of the 368 members engaged at South Mountain (Crampton’s Gap), 52% were disabled (wounded, killed, captured, or missing.) The following members of the 16th Georgia Volunteer Infantry were killed in the Battle of Crampton’s Gap:
Killed at Crampton’s Gap 9/14/1862:
Lieut Nathan E Benton Co K Ramsey Vols
Pvt Wilson Carrington Co A Madison Greys (above)
Sgt James M David Co A Madison Greys
Pvt Young C K Gunn Co E Cobb Infantry
Pvt William H H Gunter Co F
Corp James J Harrison Co F
Pvt Reuben S Harrison Co F
Pvt Benjamin Franklin Herring Co A Madison Greys
Corp William Sealy McMillan Co B Centre Hill Guards
Pvt James O Miller Co F
Lieut John R North Co B Centre Hill Guards
Captain Nathaniel Reeder Co H Flint Hill Grays
Captain Abner Monroe Reynolds Co B Centre Hill Guards (see previous post)
Pvt Tolbert Strickland Co A Madison Grey
Pvt Alfred M Thompson Co G Jackson Rifles
Pvt Abner Wills Co B Centre Hill Guards
Mortally Wounded and died later as prisoners:
Pvt Benjamin F Gilmer Co G Jackson Rifles; d. 10/4/1862
Pvt Thomas B Hobbs Co K Ramsey Vols; d. 10/1/1862
Corp James M Light Co I Hutchins’ Guards; d. 10/7/1862
Pvt Benjamin Franklin Manning Co F; d. 9/28/1862
Pvt James William W McDowell Co C Hartwell Infantry; d. 9/20/1862
Pvt Thomas Reuben Moore Co F; d. 10/17/1862
Pvt Stephen A Treadwell Co F; d. 9/15/1862
Pvt Edmond Harris Vickers Co F; d. 9/21/1862
Pvt Shadrick Wilson Co G Jackson Rifles; d. 9/20/1862
The Confederate dead were initially buried around Burkittsville, MD at the foot of the mountain. Those who were killed on the battlefield were buried where they fell. Those who were wounded and captured, were transported to Union field hospitals which had been established at churches and farms in Burkittsville.
Later, the Confederate dead of South Mountain and Antietam were removed to Washington Confederate Cemetery in Hagerstown, MD. Washington Confederate Cemetery was dedicated June 15, 1877 and is a separate cemetery, located within the grounds of Rose Hill Cemetery.
Most of the the graves are of Confederate soldiers who died in the nearby battles of Antietam and South Mountain. More than 2000 soldiers are buried here but only 346 were identified. Only three of the graves have any markers, but an old map of the cemetery is mounted on a plaque at the site. The plaque shows the locations of some burials by name.