On the evening of the same day I assumed the command of the troops there stationed, consisting of the Thirty-second Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, under command of maj. S. M. Hewitt; a squadron of Rhode Island cavalry, under command of Major Corliss; three companies of the First maryland Potomac Home Brigade, under command of Major John A. Steiner; two companies of the First Maryland Cavalry, under command of Captains Russell and Graffin, and Captain Eugene McGrath's battery of New York Heavy Artillery, numbering in all about 1,150 men.
Immediately upon my arrival at the heights, assisted by Major Steiner and Captain McGrath, I made strict examination of the situation of the defensive preparations, and found that no fortifications had been made so as to enable us to resist a superior force, the eastern and northern slope of the mountain being open and easy of access for any number of troops through Solomon's Gap. I found that at Solomon's Gap a battery of artillery might be placed in position so as to repel almost any force. I at once made application for a battery of artillery, in order to enable me to command that position, and, after continuous efforts for several days to obtain the battery, was overruled by Colonel Miles and gave up that mode of defense. Stick examination was then made of and my judgment was convicted that, if I could procure a section of artillery, I could made a stand at that point, and probably prevent the enemy from ascending the mountain, either on the eastern or northern slope through the gap; but, after making a second appeal for guns to man that position, I was told by Colonel Miles that if I and Captain McGrath had our way, we would have all the artillery at Harper's Ferry on Maryland Heights. Being foiled in my efforts, I abandoned this project as a means of defense.
On the 11th instant the enemy in large numbers encamped in Pleasant Valley, directly opposite Solomon's Gap, and drove in our pickets stationed there, shelling them out from the valley below. I immediately re-enforced the pickets at the lookout by one company of the Thirty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Captain Hibbets, and two companies of the Potomac Home Brigade, commanded by Captain Brown and Lieutenant Bridge.
Early on the following morning it was ascertained that the enemy's pickets were stationed at Solomon's Gap, and that our pickets were driven back about 2 1/2 miles, to a church on the Rohrersville road. Having been re-enforced by a battalion of the Thirty-ninth new York, under the command of major Hildebrandt, and one company of the One hundred and eleventh New York, and the One hundred and twenty-sixth New York, under command of Colonel Sherrill, I immediately ordered Colonel Sherrill, with his regiment, and Major Hewitt, with five companies of the Thirty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, to the top of the mountain, to re-enforce Captains Hibbets and Brown, who were already there, whilst Captain Crumbecker, of Thirty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and two companies of the One hundred and twenty-sixth New York were left to guard the eastern slope of the mountain, and major Hildebrandt, with a portion of his battalion and two companies of Thirty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, were placed in position to defend Captain McGrath's heavy artillery, of two 9-inch columbiads and one 50-pounder rifled piece.
Brisk skirmishing commenced along the entire line about 3 o'clock p. m., and was continued until darkness closed the scene, with varied success, at times our forces driving them down the mountain slope, with