War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0315 Chapter XIV. BALL'S BLUFF AND EDWARDS FERRY, VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

brigade,* though not refuting the statement alluded to, is one of implied censure to myself for stating a matter of unquestioned fact in the performance of the disagreeable duty that devolved upon me to report "that the remnant of the Tammany regiment, under the command of Major Bowe, deserted its post at the entrenchment on the island at an early hour in the forenoon of the 22nd and passed to the Maryland shore in disobedience of orders."

I therefore request to state that at about 9 o'clock on the evening of the 21st ultimo I was informed by Lieutenant-Colonel Devereux, of the Nineteenth Massachusetts, whom I dispatched to apprise you of the condition of affairs at Harrison's Island, that your directions were to hold the island at all hazards, and as the enemy was in considerable force, apparently threatening to occupy the island, I availed myself of all the forces there, consisting of nine companies of the Nineteenth Massachusetts, two companies of the New York Tammany regiment, together with the three pieces of artillery, commanded by Captain Vaughan, to enable me, at whatever cost, to hold the island, in accordance with your directions.

Just at daybreak on the morning of the 22nd I changed the disposition of the troops, with a view of defending the island against any attempt of the enemy to occupy it, either from the vicinity of Ball's Bluff or from the crossing near Smart's Mill. In making the disposition, I directed Major Bowe to place the companies under his command behind the breastworks, in the rear of the ditch from the corner of the old tobacco mill to the water at the Maryland side of the island, which ditch and breastwork were made under your personal direction, with a view, as i supposed, of defending the position against any advance of the enemy from the direction of Smart's Mill. I received no refers for the relief of these companies, neither were they relieved by any other troops, neither were any other troops at my disposal to relieve them.

Between 8 and 9 o'clock on the morning of the 22nd, while upon the opposite side of the island, in conversation with the rebel offices, relating to a flag of truce, I was informed by Lieutenant Merritt, of the Nineteenth Massachusetts, that the companies of the Tammany regiment had taken possession of the boats and were passing to the Maryland shore. I hastened thither, and found that a portion of them had already crossed; others were preparing to cross. I addressed them, and inquired by whose authority they left the island. Several voices replied that no orders had been given for them to do so, of which fact I, as commander of the forces upon the island, had no need to be informed. I at once replaced them with companies G and F of the Nineteenth Massachusetts, which I moved from another part of the island for the purpose.

At 5 o'clock on the evening of the 22nd an order stating that troops would be sent for my re-enforcement, a copy of which I here inclose (A), was received from General Hamilton, and hour hours later the re-enforcements alluded to arrived upon the tow-path and reported to Lieutenant-Colonel Devereux.

A summary of the matter may be presented, as follows: A remnant of the Tammany regiment was upon the island subject to my command. In accordance with your directions for the holding of the island this detachment was placed in position at the entrenchments. This position was deserted. The remnant did pass to the Maryland shore in disobedience of orders given by myself to maintain the position. Twelve


*Attached hereto as inclosure B.