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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
Page 854 OPERATIONS IN N. VA.,W. VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

4.30 p. m. we had possession of the entire heights, the enemy going down a road which they had constructed on the side opposite the Ferry, invisible to our troops from the valley, and were fired on by our skirmishers as they crossed the pontoon bridge to Harper's Ferry town. The report concerning cannon along the heights proved to be false, as the enemy used but one battery on the heights, and that was placed on the road toward Harper's Ferry, and was withdrawn so soon as the main ridge was carried. The battery of heavy guns placed on the west slope of the mountains, which during the day fired frequently on the storming party and dropped shells into Pleasant Valley, was spiked and abandoned at the same time. The troops in the valley were then advanced, and General Cobb's brigade occupied Sandy Hook with but little resistance, the enemy having abandoned the place with their main force of 1,500 on the night previous, leaving several hundred new muskets and other stores. The road, then, from Harper's Ferry, which presented egress from the place, coming east, was now completely commanded. Up to this time I had received no notice of the advance of either General Jackson or General Walker, except that a courier from General Jackson brought a dispatch from him to the effect that he hoped his leading division would be near Harper's Ferry about 2 o'clock on this day, and some firing in that direction led to the belief that he was advancing. During the day heavy cannonading was heard to the east and northeast, and the cavalry scouts were constantly reporting the advance of the enemy from various directions, but the truth of these reports was questionable, as the lookouts from the mountains saw nothing to confirm them.

On the 14th, the morning was employed in cutting a road to the top of Maryland Heights practicable for artillery. Major McLaws, of my staff, had examined the ground, and, reporting a road practicable, was directed to make one, and by 2 p. m. Captain Read and Captain Carlton, under the direction of Major Hamilton, chief of artillery, had two pieces from each of their batteries in position overlooking Bolivar Heights and the town. Fire was opened at once, driving the enemy from their works on the right of Bolivar Heights and throwing shells into the town. In the meanwhile General Walker, who had informed me of his arrival after dark on the 13th instant, had opened fire from Loundoun Heights, and General Jackson's batteries were playing from several points. Hearing of an advance of the enemy toward the gap over which the command had passed into Pleasant Valley, I had, about 12 o'clock, ordered General Cobb to return with his brigade to the camp near the point where the road came into the valley, and directed General Semmes to withdraw the brigade from Solomon's Gap, leaving a mere guard, and to tell General Cobb, on his arrival in the vicinity, to take command of Crampton's Gap. This gap was over 5 miles from the positions of my main force. I was on Maryland Heights, directing and observing the fire of our guns, when I heard cannonading in the direction of Crampton's Gap, but I felt no particular concern about it, as there were three brigades of infantry in the vicinity, besides the cavalry of Colonel Munford, and General Stuart, who was with me on the heights and had just come in from above, told me he did not believe there was more than a brigade of the enemy. I, however, sent my adjutant-general to General Cobb, as also Major Goggin, of my staff, with directions to hold the gap if he lost his last man in doing it, and shortly afterward went down the mountain and started toward the gap. On my way, with General Stuart, I met my adjutant-general returning, who informed me that the enemy had forced the gap and that re-enforcements were needed by General Cobb. I at once ordered up Wilcox's brigade, commanded by Colonel Alfred


Page 854 OPERATIONS IN N. VA.,W. VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXI.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
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