once with all his disposable troops, first destroying the bridges over the Potomac, if not already done, and leaving a sufficient garrison to prevent the enemy from passing the ford, you will then return by Rohrersville on the direct orad to Boonsborough if the main column has not succeeded in its attack. If it has succeeded, take the road by Rohrersville to Sharpsburg and Williamsport, in order either to cut off the retreat of Hill and Longstreet toward the Potomac, or prevent the repassage of Jackson. My general idea is to cut the enemy in two and beat him in detail. I believe I have sufficiently explained my intentions. I ask of you, at this important moment, all your intellect and the utmost activity that a general can exercise.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Again, on the 14th, I sent him the following:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Frederick, September 14, 1862-2 p.m.
Your dispatch of 12.30 just received. Send back to hurry up Couch. Mass your troops and carry Burkittsville at any cost. We shall have strong opposition at both passes. As fast as the troops come up I will hold a reserve in readiness to support you. If you find the enemy in very great force at any of these passes, let me know at once, and amuse them as best you can, so as to retain them there. In that event I will probably throw the mass of the army on the pass in front of here. If I carry that it will clear the way for you, and you must then follow the enemy as rapidly as possible.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
General Franklin pushed his corps rapidly forward toward Crampton's Pass, and at about 12 o'clock on the 14th arrived at Burkittsville, immediately in rear of which he found the enemy's infantry posted in force on both sides of the road, with artillery in strong positions to defend the approaches to the pass. Slocum's division was formed upon the right of the ;road leading through the gap and Smith's upon the left. A line formed of Bartlett's and Torbert's brigades, supported by Newton, whose activity was conspicuous, advanced steadily upon the enemy at a charge on the right. The enemy were driven from their position at the base of the mountain, where they were protected by a stone wall, steadily forced back up the slope until they reached the position steadily forced back up the slope until they reached the position of their battery on the road, well up the mountain. There they made a stand. They were, however, driven back, retiring their artillery en echelon until, after an action of three hours, the crest was gained and the enemy hastily fled down the mountain on the other side.
On the left of the road Brooks' and Irwin's brigades, of Smith's division, formed for the protection of Slocum's flank, charged up the mountain in the same steady manner, driving the enemy before them until the crest was carried. Four hundred prisoners form seventeen different organizations, 700 stand of arms, one piece of artillery, and three colors were captured by our troops in this brilliant action. It was conducted by General Franklin in all its details. These details are given in a report of General Franklin, herewith ;submitted, and due credit awarded to the gallant officers and men engaged.
The loss in General Franklin's corps was 115 killed, 416 wounded, and 2 missing.* The enemy's loss was about the same. The enemy's position was such that our artillery could not be used with any effect. The close of the action found General Franklin's advance in Pleasant Valley on the night of the 14th, within 3 1/2 miles of the point on Maryland Heights, where he might, on the morning of the 15th, have formed a junction with the garrison of Harper's Ferry had it not been previously withdrawn from Maryland Heights, and within 6 miles of Harper's Ferry.