THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN OF 1862: Pt 23

THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN OF 1862: THROUGH ARKANSAS EYES

Colonel Cooke saw his chance; ordered his regiments up; and put them into battle line with the 3rd Arkansas on the right and the 27th NC on the left.

At that time one of the weirdest exchanges in the Civil War took place. A 3rd Arkansas soldier approached the Colonel with a fiddle and asked if he could give the boys a tune as they moved out. The Colonel in an excited state said yes as long as it was a particular mountain square dance tune. Thus, the fiddler played Swing Your Partner. Doe see Doe. Granny, will your dog bite? Hellfire no!

During the conflagration that was taking place near and in the West Woods, the Sunken Road fighting has escalated to a fever pitch. The Union Forces began to take a toll on the Confederates in the Sunken Road with Richardson Division of Sumner’s II Corps.

Cooke’s charged his two regiments toward the East Woods and with the flanking movement by Ransom completed undid the Union Forces left in Mumma’s Swale. Union soldiers began to throw down their muskets and surrender as Cooke’s Regiments swept over the Hagerstown Pike, up and over the hill protecting the Union Troops and into Mumma’s Swale. The charge picked up Cobb’s Brigade of McLaw’sDivision out of the west end of Bloody Lane.

The charge actually got out of hand. The 27th NC was being led into the barrels of Thomas’ Union Battery, located near the East Woods. Col. Cooke caught up to his color bearer and yelled at him to slow down. Whereupon the color bearer yelled back, “Colonel, I can’t let that Arkansas fellow get ahead of me.” Col. Cooke simply aimed the 27th color bearer to the south to get out of the danger. What Col. Cooke had mistakenly assumed was that Ransom’s regiments would silence the Union guns on his left flank. However, once Ransom’s regiments crossed the Hagerstown Pike, they were fired upon by the Union Batteries and after taking casualties returned to the West Woods. The 27th NC and the 3rd Arkansas were on their own.

Meanwhile, Richardson Division of Sumner’s II Corps had taken its toll on the Confederates in the Sunken Road. Graham’s well-placed Union battery was finally able to get in a position to fire into the road. Barlow’s Brigade then flanked the Confederate right. Plus a mistaken Confederate order to retreat resulted in a whole scale Confederate rout. All the Confederates in the Sunken Road were killed, wounded, captured or ran toward the Hagerstown Pike.

Lee’s Center was broken.

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About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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