War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0313 Chapter XIV. BALL'S BLUFF AND EDWARDS FERRY, VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

and lost in the precipitate and disorderly retreat. No field officer was on duty upon the island, with the exception of Major Bowe, of the New York Tammany regiment.

After the passage of the Nineteenth Massachusetts Regiment no re-enforcements crossed to the island, although several regiments were upon the tow-path on the Maryland side, but returned to their camps during the night. A considerable number of unarmed fugitives, form various regiments, were passed to the Maryland shore during the night, and the transportation of the wounded was continued until noon of the 22nd.

On the morning of the 22nd I dispatched Lieutenant Dodge, of the Nineteenth Massachusetts, with a flag of truce, to request of the Confederate commander permission to remove our wounded, of which numbers lay in view, uncared for, on the Virginia shore. This request was denied, except in the case of a few, apparently mortally wounded. The remainder were taken prisoners. Permission for my surgeon to cross and treat the wounded was also refused, except upon condition that he should remain a prisoner in their hands. Subsequently I dispatched Captain Vaughan, of the Rhode Island Battery, with another flag of truce, to obtain permission to bury the dead, which was acceded to, with the stipulation that no movement of troops should be made from the island to the Maryland shore in retreat while the burying party was employed, and I dispatched Captain Vaughan, with a party of 10 men, for that purpose, who remained until after dark, and succeeded in burying 47 bodies, which he reported to be about two-thirds of the number lying upon the ground; but night coming on, he was unable to bury the remainder.

During the afternoon factions complaint was made by the rebel commander that I had violated the stipulations under which the flag of truce was protected,* accompanied by a threat to retain Captain Vaughan and his party as prisoner of war. I at once addressed a note to the rebel commander denying the accusation; threw up new entrenchments, and made disposition of troops, with a view of renewing hostilities if the threat was carried into execution. Subsequently, however, Captain Vaughan returned with his party, and informed me that my explanation was deemed satisfactory by the rebel commander.

Immediately after Captain Vaughan's return, under cover of the night, I commenced a retreat, in pursuance of orders previously received from General Hamilton, and transported three pieces of artillery, with caissons and ammunition, thirty-six horses, and the eleven companies of infantry under my command, numbering some 700 men, in good order, to the Maryland shore, without any casualties or loss whatever, and, completing the retreat at 12 o'clock, I immediately passed my compliment to the rebel commander in the form of four shells from Captain Vaughan's guns, which had been placed in battery upon the high ground overlooking the canal and river.

During the retreat I was re-enforced by five companies of the Second Massachusetts, under the command of Captain Tucker, who remained upon this side of the river, where I stationed him, with his command, in support of the battery, and ordered to camp the companies of the Nineteenth and Twentieth, who were greatly exhausted, having been constantly employed in the entrenchments, burying the dead, removing the wounded, and transporting the artillery to and from the island. The enemy known to have been engaged consisted of the Eighth Virginia

---------------

*See note at close of report.

---------------