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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 146 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

co-operating forces under Generals McLaws and Walker,

from the former of whom he was separated by the Potomac and from the latter by the Shenandoah. General Walker took possession of Loudoun Hights on the 13th, and the next day was in readiness to open upon Harper's Ferry. General McLaws encountered more opposition. He entered Pleasant Valley on the 11th. On the 12th he directed General Kershaw, with his own and Barksdale's brigade, to ascend the ridge, whose southern extremity is known as Maryland Heights, and attack the enemy, who occupied that position with infantry and artillery, protected by entrenchments. He disposed the rest of his command to hold the roads leading from Harper's Ferry eastward through Weverton and northward from Sandy Hook, guarding the pass in his rear, through which he had entered Pleasant Valley, with the brigades of Semmes and Mahone. Owing to the rugged nature of the ground on which Kershaw had to operate and the want of roads, he was compelled to use infantry alone. Driving in the advance parties of the enemy on the summit of the ridge on the 12th, he assailed the works the next day. After a spirited contest they were carried, the troops engaged in their defense spiking their heavy guns and retreating to Harper's Ferry. By 4.30 p. m. Kershaw was in possession of Maryland Heights.

On the 14th a road for artillery was cut along the ridge, and at 2 p. m. four guns opened upon the enemy on the opposite side of the river, and the investment of Harper's Ferry was complete.

In the mean time events transpired in another quarter which threatened to interfere with the reduction of the place. A copy of the order directing the movement of the army from Fredericktown had fallen into that hands of General McClellan, and disclosed to him the disposition of our forces. He immediately began to push forward rapidly, and on the afternoon of the 13th was reported approaching the pass in South Mountain, on the Boonsborough and Fredericktown road. The cavalry under General Stuart fell back before him, materially impeding his progress by its gallant resistance, and gaining time for preparations to oppose his advance. By penetrating the mountain at this point, he would reach the rear of McLaws and be enabled to relieve the garrison at harper's Ferry. To prevent this, General D. H. Hill was directed to guard the Boonsborough Gap and Longstreet ordered to march from Hagerstown to his support.

On the 13th General Hill sent back the brigades of Garland and Colquitt to hold the pass, but subsequently ascertaining that the enemy was near in heavy force, he ordered up the rest of his division.

Early on the 14th a large body of the enemy attempted to force its way to the rear of the position held by Hill by a road south of the Boonsborough and Fredericktown turnpike. The attack was repulsed by Garland's brigade, after a severe conflict, in which that brave and accomplished young officer was killed. The remainder of the division arriving shortly afterward, Colquitt's brigade was disposed across the turnpike road; that of G. B. Anderson, supported by Ripley, was placed on the right, and Roder's occupied an important position on the left. Garland's brigade, which had suffered heavily in the first attack, was withdrawn, and the defense of the road occupied by it intrusted to Colonel Rosser, of the Fifth Virginia Cavalry, who reported to General Hill with his regiment and some artillery. The small command of General Hill repelled the repeated assaults of the Federal Army and held it in check for five hours. Several attacks on the center were gallantly repulsed by Colquitt's brigade, and Rodes maintained his position against heavy odds with the utmost tenacity. Longstreet, leaving one


Page 146 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
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