Lt. Col. Jefferson M. Lamar & Cobbs Georgia Legion
McLaw's Division C.S.A.
At 1 P.M. on September 14, 1862, Cobb's Brigade under Gen. Howell Cobb of Athens, GA. marched from Sandy Hook to Brownsville at the west foot of South Mountain. At 4 P.M., as Cobb's Brigade reached Brownsville, word came that the Union VI Corps, numbering 12,000 troops, was attacking Crampton's Gap. The sole Confederate troops stationed there were Col. William A. Parham's Brigade augmented by Col. Thomas Munford's cavalry and the 10th Georgia Regiment of Semmes' Brigade, roughly 800 muskets in all.
Cobb's regiments were hurried to Parham's aid: the 24th Georgia and 15th North Carolina ascending into the gap first, closely followed by the 16th Georgia and Col. T.R.R. Cobb's Legion accompanied by Gen. Howell Cobb. Two guns of the Troup Artillery were also commandeered. Outnumbered 6 to 1, Cobb's and Parham's troops were decimated and retreated. The next morning only 300 of the Brigade's 1300 men answered roll call.
Beaten and wounded soldiers straggled in over the next few days. Casualties for the Brigade probably exceeded 50%. The defense of Crampton's Gap, though costly in casualties, was instrumental in forestalling the compromise of Lee's Army due to the famous "Lost Order." Here it was that Gen. George B. McClellan had elected to cut Lee in two and "beat him in detail."
Lt. Col. Jefferson M. Lamar
& Cobbs Georgia Legion
Col. Thomas R.R. Cobb (brother of Howell Cobb) organized Cobb's Legion in August 1861. The Legion consisted of 6 infantry companies, 4 cavalry companies, and the Troup Light Artillery. On September 6, 1862, the Legion, attached to Gen. Howell Cobb's Brigade, accompanied "Stonewall" Jackson's Corps en route to capture Harpers Ferry. Except for 2 guns, the Troup Artillery was positioned on Maryland Heights overlooking Harpers Ferry.
Cobb's Legion infantry under Lt. Col. Jefferson M. Lamar accompanied Cobb's Brigade to Crampton's Gap. Many of the 248 soldiers were from Athens, GA. By the time Cobb's Legion took position at the gap, Parham's line at the foot of the mountain had been overrun. Col. Lamar desperately tried to form a line south of the gap. But the 1st New Jersey Brigade broke through and gained ground above and behind the Legion. The Legion, outnumbered 6 to 1 and partly surrounded, stood its ground.
After suffering 72% casualties, including the mortally wounded Lamar, some of the men escaped to the top of the gap where a final stand was being made by Gen. Cobb with 2 guns of the Troup Artillery and refugees from the other regiments. In large measure Cobb's Legion was responsible for delaying the Federal advance until nightfall. The next day Harpers Ferry surrendered.