War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0329 Chapter XIV. BALL'S BLUFF AND EDWARDS FERRY, VA.

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others ran down to the crossing. I got the body of Colonel Baker on the flat-boat, at this time partly filled with water, the dead and wounded, and safely reached the island. Throwing away their arms the men swam the river, the enemy firing upon them from the heights. The boat returning to the Virginia side was overcrowded, and, being leaky, sank in the middle of the rive, and many drowned at that time.

Lieutenant-Colonel Wistar, and hour before, having received four shots in various pats of his body, had been carried from the field, and Colonel Cogswell being wounded in the arm, there was no officer in command. Adjutant-General Harvey has a shot in his cheek, but remained on the field and was taken prisoner. Colonel Devens safely reached the shore; but I can give no information concerning Colonel Lee. He with Colonel Cogswell are probably prisoners.

When Colonel Cogswell crossed the river he brought a second order in writing with him from General Stone, ot the effect that Colonel Baker should, if he could, advance in the direction of Leesburg, and that he orders I found on Colonel Baker's hat, after he had fallen, stained with his blood.

During the engagement our forces to the number of 5,000, with many pieces of artillery, were in plain view on the Maryland side, but having no means of transportation, were of no service. The position occupied by our forces was but a few rods from the river side, and there were no houses or roads in vies. I have no means of stating accurately the number of our loss but that of the California battalion, which is about 260 out of 689. Colonel Baker and all the offices were on foot throughout the engagement, leaving their horses tied to the trees, and they all fell into the hands of the enemy. There was an ineffectual effort to throw the 12-pounder and howitzers down the steep into the river, but being obstructed by fallen trees, they did not reach the water, and the next day were drawn by the enemy up on the hill.

A first lieutenant of the Eighth Regiment Virginia Infantry, named J. Owen Berry, by mistake rode into our lines, having been left behind by his company, and was taken prisoner in the early part of the engagement and sent to our camp. He states that the rebels are abundantly supplied with arms, ammunition, and rations, but are sadly in want of clothing. A few privates also fell into our hands, but not being able to carry them away, they escaped from us.

The depth of the river at the crossing ranges from 3 to 10 feet, and the width of the first crossing is about 100 yards, and of the second 60 yards; it may be more. There was no regulatory or order in the movement of the boats.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,


Captain, of General Baker's Staff.

Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND.



Washington, October 28, 1861.

Respectfully refereed to General Stone, by whom it should be forwarded in due course. It is proper to state that Captain Young stated in person that he had wished to prepare an account of the battle in which Colonel Baker was kille, having been one of his staff. He was told to submit it in writing, which he did.


Assistant Adjutant-General.