undertaken was one of days instead of hours. The movement of our main army from Frederick toward Hagerstown, which I had been officially informed would take place on the 10th, would leave my small division in the immediate presence of a very strong force of the enemy, and, while it would be engaged in destroying the aqueduct, in a most exposed and dangerous position. I therefore determined to rejoin General Lee by way of Jefferson and Middletown, as previously instructed by him. Before marching, however, I received instructions to cross the Potomac at Cheek's Ford and proceed toward Harper's Ferry, and cooperate with Major-Generals Jackson and McLaws in the capture of the Federal forces at that point.
Early on the morning of the 10th the aqueduct over the Monocacy was occupied by a large force of the enemy, with their artillery commanding the aqueduct and its approaches, as well as Cheek's Ford. I then determined to cross at the Point of Rocks, which I effected during the night of the 10th and by daylight on the 11th, but with much difficulty, owing to the destruction of the bridge over the canal and the steepness of the banks of the Potomac. My men being much worn down by two day's and night's marching, almost without sleep or rest, we remained in camp during the 11th, and proceeded the next day toward Harper's Ferry, encamping at Hillsborough.
On the morning of the 13th we reached the foot of the Blue Ridge, opposite Loudoun Heights, which I was instructed to occupy. From such reconnaissance as could be made from below, it seemed certain that Loudoun Heights were unoccupied by the enemy. To ascertain if such was the case, I detached Colonel John R. Cooke, with his regiment (the Twenty-seventh North Carolina), and the Thirtieth Virginia Volunteers, who took possession of the heights without opposition and held them during the night.
In the mean time the enemy was being attacked on the Maryland Heights by the forces under Major-General McLaws, and in the afternoon it became apparent that our forces had possession of the summit, which commands Harper's Ferry as well as Loudoun Heights.
That night and the next, the entire division, except that portion of it occupying Loudoun Heights, was placed in a strong position to prevent the escape of the enemy down the right bank of the Potomac.
At daylight on the 14th, I sent Captain French, with three Parrott guns and two rifle pieces of [J. R.] Branch's battery, under Lieutenant [M. A.] martin, to Loudoun Heights, where I immediately proceeded and placed them in position. I informed Major-General Jackson of this, by signal, and awaited his instructions. In the mean time we had attracted the notice of the enemy, who opened their batteries upon us, and it became necessary either to reply or withdraw our pieces. About 1 p. m. I therefore gave orders to open fire upon the enemy's batteries and the troops upon Bolivar Heights, beyond Harper's Ferry. Our guns were served admirably and with great rapidity, and in two hours we had silenced an eight-gun battery near the Barbour House, except one gun, which was so close under the mountain that we could not see it. What other effect our fire had we could not tell, but it evidently produced great consternation and commotion among the enemy's troops, especially the cavalry.
During the engagement, one of the enemy's caissons was blown up by a well-directed shot from French's battery. On our side, we lost Lieutenant [Patton] Robertson, of French's battery, killed; Major [F. L.] Wiatt, Forty-eighth North Carolina Troops, and two privates, of French's battery, wounded. Our guns and horses sustained no injury.
58 R R- VOL XIX, PT I