THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN OF 1862: THROUGH ARKANSAS EYES
The 3rd Arkansas, 27th North Carolina and Cobb’s Brigade had turned from an easterly advance to a southerly advance. There were probably two reasons for this. One was Col. Cooke’s order to his color bearer. And two, since entering Mumma’s Swale, the 3rd Arkansas had been in serious fight with the 1st Delaware. A mean hand to hand fight ensued with the 1st Delaware finally breaking and running into the cornfield east of Mumma’s Lane. The Razorbacks and the other regiments then proceeded over the fences in Mumma’s Lane and reached the fields just before Roulette’s Lane and were in the rear of the Union forces that had just taken what was the Sunken Road, but was not dubbed Bloody Lane.
However, the 3rd Arkansas and 27th North Carolina had run out of ammunition and were robbing Yankee cartridge boxes for bullets only to find the rounds were too big for their muskets.
Units of the 8th Ohio, 14th Indiana, and 130th PA began to run back along Roulette’s Lane to confront the new threat. A new regiment, the 53rd PA, appeared on the left flank of the 27th North Carolina. All these Union regiments began to fire at the Confederates.
To make matters more precarious Colonel William Irvin’s Brigade of Franklin’s Union VI Corps had arrived on the scene and was located in the Confederate’s rear. Irvin was moving his brigade toward to drive Cooke out of Mumma’s Swale. Col. Cooke realized that he was up against overwhelming odds and ordered his regiments back to their original position west of the Hagertown Pike. The Confederates began a run to the west. Once the 3rd entered Mumma’s Swale, the surrendered Yanks reentered the war, picked up their muskets and fired at the retreating Rebels knocking them down by squads.
The 3rd Arkansas and 27th North Carolina ran straight across the front of the 20th New York of Irwin’s Brigade, which disregarded them on their drive for Confederate cannon located south of where the original position of the 3rd and 27th had been.
What was left of Cooke’s men made it back to their original position west of the Hagerstown Pike behind a rail fence in a cornfield. Immediately General Lee with his hands still bandaged rode up to the men and shouted they must hold this line or the whole army would be prisoners within 2 hours. He rode away and General Longstreet and his staff appeared behind the line of men. The staff rolled an abandoned cannon into position; loaded it; and fired one round into the advancing 20th NY. Then they rode off.
The newly positioned Confederate artillery batteries were now on a ridgeline 400 yards south of Cooke’s position and they hit the Yankees advancing from Mumma’s Swale with a full barrage. Ransom’s Regiments in the West Woods tore into the rest of the Union Forces with musketry. All this fire power stymied any Union advance.
The 3rd Arkansas and 27th North Carolina stayed in their position until nightfall without any ammunition, but were determined to hold their line even if only by the bayonet.
The battle was over for the 3rd. They had 27 dead and 155 wounded. The 27th had 31 dead and 168 wounded. Colonel Cooke, bother-in-law of Confederate Cavalry General Jeb Stuart and son to Union General Phillip St. George Cooke, was promoted to Brigadier General for gallantry in leading the charge of the 3rd Arkansas and 27th North Carolina.