War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0557 Chapter XXXI. THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN.

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of its extremities, however, being in view. I saw it first at about 11 o'clock and again and about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, when the enemy were observed planting a battery on the western slope of the eastern range of mountains. On the morning of September 12, 1862, I made the following written communication to Colonel Miles:

CAMP AT SANDY HOOK, September 12, 1862.

Colonel DIXON S. MILES, Commanding:

COLONEL: The enemy is in sight with a large wagon train, apparently making its way toward Weverton and Knoxville.

We, of course, are strong enough only to defend ourselves when attacked, according to your orders, and I make this communication in order that you may understand the condition of affairs, and take such action as you may deem proper. The train is apparently guarded by a heavy force of cavalry and infantry. The artillery, if any, is not yet in view.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding.

The same evening, I think, I received from Colonel Miles the following communication:

SEPTEMBER 12, 1862.

Colonel MAULSBY, Commanding Sandy Hook:

A large force is represented marching on you; it may be our own army, but if it is the enemy your position is not a defensible one, and as soon as you know to a certainty it is the enemy you must fall back to the head of the bridge with your whole command, bringing the two guns along. Do it deliberately; obstruct the road against a charge of cavalry. Send Cole out to distinctly understand what is the character of the force marching on you. I will visit you so soon as I can. Out troops are driven out of Solomon's Gap, and a large infantry force is advancing on Maryland Heights. I shall now place guns to play on the road, from the bridge to Sandy Hook. Have the trees cut down by Captain Bamford's company to unmask the road on bank of canal. Have this done at once.

Your obedient servant,


Colonel Second Infantry, Commanding.

I received this on the top of the hill, and wrote a note to Colonel Miles in reply, in substance, that it was very clear the force in sight was the enemy, but as I did not understand his note to be a distinct order to retire, I wished him to give me such distinctly, if such was his wish.

A few hours afterward Colonel Miles rode up, and said, "If attacked, you will lose that gun, as you will not be able to get it down." He then ordered the guns to be brought down, and to fall back toward the head of the bridge, and there to make a stand, which we did, and fired several rounds. The enemy threw a shell which burst near us, when Captain Potts removed the guns to the point indicated by Colonel Miles, near the head of the bridge. That position we held until the next day. On Friday night my headquarters were removed to a point between the railroad and pontoon bridge. On Saturday morning I saw two regiments pass my position toward the Maryland Heights.

About 3 p. m. I saw the column retreating from the Maryland Heights. I received, about the same time, an order from Colonel Miles to cover the rear of the column and follow it across the bridge, which I did. I was still guarding the eastern approach. At the same time I was ordered by Colonel Miles (in person, I think, but am not positive) to destroy the pontoon bridge after the retreating column and my command had crossed. I detailed one of my lieutenants, having supplied him with axes, but directed him not to cut the rope of the pontoon boats until I should confer again with Colonel Miles. Calling on the colonel, I was told, through his aide, not to cut the ropes. A short time afterward I met Colonel Miles, and said to him, "Why, colonel, what does this mean? What is to be done?" To which the replied, in an agitated manner, "My God! I don't know; I am afraid Colonel Ford has abandoned the heights almost too soon. Do you hold these bridges." Which I did till Monday morning, the 15th, when I left my post for a few moments, and on my return I found the flag was lowered, and was told that a surrender had taken place.

The enemy advanced from the east. There were but two approaches from the east, one by Sandy Hook and the other through Solomon's Gap. Colonel Miles, four or five weeks before, had contemplated fortifying Solomon's Gap and holding it, which was never done.

Question. What is the distance from Maryland Heights to the gap?

Answer. About 4 miles.

Question. From the view which you had of the whole field, and of the operation of the enemy's force, what necessity, if any, existed, in your judgment, for the evacuation of Maryland Heights?

Answer. I am not prepared to speak of the necessity of the evacuation, when and as it occurred, but I am very clear that if the forces at Harper's Ferry had been moved