War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0296 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.

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unless the enemy were in inferior force, and under no circumstances to pass beyond Leesburg, or a strong position between it and Goose Creek, on the Gum Spring (Manassas) road. I cautioned him in reference to passing artillery across the river, and begged him, if he did so, to see it well supported by good infantry. I pointed out to him the positions of some bluffs on this side the river from which artillery could act with effect on the other, and, leaving the matter of crossing more troops or retiring what were already over to his discretion, gave him entire control of operations on the right.

This gallant and energetic officer left me at about 9 or 9.30 a. m. and proceeded rapidly up the river to his charge. Re-enforcements were rapidly thrown to the Virginia side by General Gorman at Edwards Ferry, and his skirmishers and cavalry scouts advanced cautiously and steadily to the front and right, while the infantry lines were formed in such positions as to act rapidly and in concert in case of an advance of the enemy, and shell were thrown by Lieutenant Woodruff's Parrott guns into the woods beyond our lines as they gradually extended, especial care being taken to annoy the vicinity of the battery on the right.

Messengers from Harrison's Island informed me soon after the arrival of Colonel Baker opposite the island that he was crossing his whole force as rapidly as possible, and that he had caused an additional flat-boat to be from the canal into the river, and had provided a line by which to cross the boats more rapidly.

During the morning a sharp skirmish took place between two of the advanced companies of the Massachusetts Fifteenth and a body about 100 strong of Mississippi riflemen, during which a body of the enemy's cavalry appeared, causing Colonel Devens to fall back in good order on Colonel Lee's position; after which he again advanced, his officers and men behaving admirably, fighting retiring, and advancing in perfect order, and exhibiting every proof of high courage and good discipline. Had he at this time had the cavalry scouting party which was sent him in the morning, but which most unfortunately had been turned back without his knowledge, he could doubtless have had timely warning of the approach of the superior force which afterwards overwhelmed his regiment and their brave commander and comrades.

Thinking that Colonel Baker might be able to use more artillery I dispatched to him two additional pieces of Vaughan's battery, supported by two companies of infantry, with directions to its officer to come into position below the place of crossing and report to Colonel Baker. My opinion was justified by his suggesting the same thing later in the day, and only a short time before the guns must have arrived.

After Colonel Devens' second advance Colonel Baker seems to have gone to the field in person, and I am sorry to say he has left no record of what officers and men he charged with the care of the boats and insuring the regular passage of the troops. If any were charged with this duty it was not performed, for it appears that the re-enforcements as they arrived found no system enforced, and the boats delayed most unnecessarily in transporting back, a few at a time, the wounded as they happened to arrive, with their attendants. Had an efficient officer with one company remained at each landing guarding the boats, their full capacity would have been made serviceable, and sufficient men would have passed on to secure the success of his operation. The forwarding of artillery (necessarily a slow process) before its supporting force of infantry also impeded the rapid assembling of an imposing force on the Virginia shore. The infantry, which was waiting with impatience,