CIVIL WAR TRANSCENDENCE, part 209

Major Mosby drew on his map the Yankee contingents at Boonsboro. His finger then traced the Sharpsburg/Boonsboro Road from Boonsboro west to Keedysville, which is a distance of about 7 miles.  Guessing at the number of Yanks at Keedysville, because Jeremy was arrested immediately on entering the town and never got a chance to adequately tally the strength of the Union Forces, he penned ‘50 cavalry’. Continuing a westward track about a mile, his finger came to the Middle Bridge, where the Sharpsburg/Boonsboro Road crosses the Antietam Creek.  He asked me about the terrain.

From memory I told him of the large hill to the north of the road on the Keedysville side of the bridge, the large hill about half a mile to the west side of the Antietam Creek that spanned the main road for about 200 yards and overlooked the Middle Bridge, and the larger hill further west and just before entering the town of Sharpsburg that overlooked the whole landscape to the north and south down to the Antietam Creek (General Lee utilized this hill as a major artillery position during the Battle of Antietam in my Universe.).

209 burnside bridge

I also told him of the Rohrbach Bridge (Burnside Bridge in my Universe) that crossed the Antietam Creek southeast of Sharpsburg and could be used by the Yanks to cut off any movement from Sharpsburg by way of the Miller Saw Mill Road to Boteler Ford.

He, of course, knew of the covered bridge on the Sharpsburg/Shepherdstown Road that spanned the Potomac and lead into Shepherdstown, VA.  We both pondered the situation and I ran through possible scenarios in my mind of what the Yanks might be up to.

After a few moments, he asked, “What do you know of Pleasant Valley?”

(This is the Maryland valley between South Mountain to the east of Boonsboro and the Blue Ridge to the west of Boonsboro that lies south of the Boonsboro/Sharpsburg Road.) I told him the valley had one main road from Boonsboro south through the valley to Weverton, MD, which is located just north of the Potomac River. This road continues west to Harper Ferry.

I suddenly inquired, “Major, how many troops do we have at Harpers Ferry?”

“Why do you want to know?” he rejoined with a suspicious tone to his voice.

“Ah, come on Major. The Yanks don’t have that many men accumulated to take a well defended position. If we don’t have that many men at Harpers Ferry, then that could be the position they will attack. If we have a lot of men at Harpers Ferry, then the point of attack has to be elsewhere,” I explained. “I have proven my allegiance to the Confederacy on numerous occasions. All I want to know is, where am I needed and what do you want of me. I need to know your idea of what will be happening so I can provide the best information for you.”

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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