Lt. V.E. Turner, 23rd NC describes Fox’s Gap fight

The North Car­olina State Board of Den­tal Exam­in­ers
President’s Office
Dr. V. E. Turner, Raleigh NC

Raleigh NC 1 July, 1899
Gen. E A Car­man,
Wash­ing­ton DC
Dear Gen’l,
I have your favor of the 19th inst. And fear I have for­got­ten many of the details of the engage­ment of our Regt. (23 NC Infantry) on the 14 Sept. 1862 at South moun­tain.
I think I can recall the posi­tion of the Regt. in the fight. Gar­lands Brigade filed off from the pike into a moun­tain road on the right and on or near the top of the moun­tain. It was haulted in the road about ¾ mile of a mile or more from the pike and it now occu­pied the extreme right of the line. After send­ing for­ward the Sharp Shoot­ers Gen’l. Gar­land ordered Col. McRae of the 5th NC to sup­port them with the 5th came 12th NC.
Within a half hour the Sharp Shoot­ers became engaged with those (sharp­shoot­ers) of the enemy and as they began to retire Col. McRae went their assis­tance with the reg’t named but these were soon over­whelmed with a supe­rior force and were retir­ing in some con­fu­sion and it was evi­dent that the main line of the enemy was advanc­ing.
A lit­tle to the left of this posi­tion of these was an open field and the 23rd NC was ordered from the Moun­tain Road where it had haulted. On a line of an old stone fence partly thrown down and that move­ment was made a few moments before the gen’l advance of the enemy, which drove the sharp shoot­ers and sup­port­ing troops back to our main line. These we ordered to form on the right of the 23rd Regt. but in this moment there was so much con­fu­sion that many did not stop at the line. So that the few who did stop were so that the few who did stop were so mixed offi­cers & men that it was impos­si­ble to tell whether these men were of the 5th or the 12th. The line of the 23rd was assaulted sev­eral times with­out any appar­ent effect, but the enemy, his ( ) a gap between the 23rd and the 13th which was next on its left, charged in between the two reg’ts. And mak­ing a flank attack drove back the 23rd and it retreated down the side of the moun­tain. There was fence between the 23rd and the other reg’t. of the brigade. The 5th & 12th hav­ing prac­ti­cally ( illeg­i­ble) and strag­gled down the moun­tain so the 23rd was prac­ti­cally cut off.
The posi­tion of the other reg’ts was about on a line with the 23rd, the 13th next to it on the left and the 20 on the left of the 13th.
I think the attack of the 23rd Ohio was made force­fully to cut off these troops on the extreme right of the army. The 13th NC Reg’t changed its front towards the right and were not dri­ven away in the attack on the posi­tion of the 23rd.
I hope my herein sent you may be able to read and under­stand this. I am a busy man don’t remem­ber much. Will be glad to help you when I can.

Yrs Respect­fully,

VE Turner

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  1. Tom
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Vines Edmunds Turner, born Franklin Co. NC Jan. 19, 1837. attended Bal­ti­more Col­lege of Den­tal Surgery, was a den­tist and sell­ing den­tal hard­ware in Hen­der­son NC before the war. Liv­ing in Granville Co., enlisted in 23rd N.C. Infantry Garland’s Brigade
    Lt. Co. G. Granville Rifles, and was com­mis­sioned Sec­ond Lt. June 11, 1861.
    Pro­moted adju­tant May 10, 1862. Wounded at Cold Har­bor June 27, 1862, pro­moted to Ass’t. Quar­ter Mas­ter 1863. Served as AQM of this brigade to the end of the war.
    After the war he prac­ticed den­tistry, lived in Hen­der­son and Raleigh and was the pres­i­dent of the NC Board of Den­tal Exam­in­ers. He died May 11, 1914.

  2. Joseph Vines Turner
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Dr.Vines Turner ( Den­tal Sur­geon, Con­fed­er­ate Offi­cer, men­tor to the N.C. den­tal com­mu­nity, Pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Den­tal Asso­ci­a­tion) con­tributed so much to the Turner Fam­ily. Leav­ing us in 1914, he could never know how won­der­ful his life has been for his kins­men. In no small part he was respon­si­ble for:

    Dr. Charles Root Turner, DDS Philadel­phia, Pa (His son)
    Dr. Joseph H. Turner, DDS South Hill, Va
    Dr. Joseph Vines Turner, DDS Wil­son, NC
    Dr. Joseph Vines Turner Jr, DDS Rich­mond, Va (My father)
    Dr. Remus Strother Turner, DDS Greens­boro, NC (My uncle)
    Dr. Remus Turner, DDS Char­lotte, NC

    What a great legacy and accom­plish­ment for a man’s life !

  3. Tom
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for post­ing this. It is per­haps super­flu­ous to say, Dr. Turner added to our knowl­edge of the bat­tles of South Moun­tain and Sharps­burg with his lit­er­ate and insight­ful letters.

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