Friday, December 01, 2017

Gallery: At Fox's Gap, valor, death and remains of the day

Deep in the woods, a seldom-visited monument honors the North Carolina soldiers who fought 
at Fox's Gap  during the Battle of South Mountain (Md.) on Sept. 14, 1862.
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At the end of a leaf-covered trail deep in the woods on South Mountain, a North Carolina color-bearer, veins bulging in his hand, grasps a bullet-riddled battle flag as he lays wounded atop a black-granite pedestal. On this late-autumn day, a lone monument visitor, invigorated by a chill in the air, inspects the nearby remains of the stone wall. On Sept. 14, 1862, during fighting at Fox's Gap, this remote place was valiantly defended by North Carolina soldiers -- a prelude to the much-bloodier Battle of Antietam three days later. Twelve regiments from the Tar Heel State fought here on the old Daniel Wise farm and elsewhere in the vicinity, before they were pushed off the mountain by an overwhelming Union force. Afterward, 58 dead Southern boys were unceremoniously dumped into Wise's well by Union burial parties looking for a quick way out of their onerous task.  Like the long-ago soldiers, the well has vanished into the mists of history.

In apparent agony, a North Carolina soldier grips his bullet-riddled battle flag.
Who placed this replica North Carolina sunburst button in the eye of the soldier?
Veins bulge in the wounded soldier's hand.
An attacking Yankee's view on Sept. 14, 1862.
A close-up of farmer Daniel Wise's old stone wall.
Remains of the war-time stone wall defended by North Carolina troops on Sept. 14, 1862.
Sun primed to set on the old battlefield. The stone wall borders the Daniel Wise field.

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  1. Locate the well and give those in that hole a honorable burial they were denied by the invading Yankee horde.

  2. They were re-buried in Hagerstown after the war. All is well.

    1. And one more thing, Hubert: It was an invading Rebel horde in this invasion of the North. Be well.

  3. One of my favorite places on South Mountain, thanks for posting.

  4. Spent many hours setting on that stone wall wondering what the battle must have been like. Also trying to figure out where Hays was wounded.