War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0614 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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Answer. I am lieutenant-colonel of the Third Regiment Potomac Home Brigade, Maryland Volunteers.

Question. Were you present at Harper's Ferry on the occasion of the evacuation of Maryland Heights?

Answer. Yes, sir; I was on the Maryland Heights with my regiment.

Question. Will you state your judgment as to the necessity of that evacuation at the time it was made?

Answer. Do you desire my opinion?

Question. Yes, sir; your opinion as a military man.

Answer. I think that with the troops we had there at that time we would have been compelled, perhaps, during that night or the next morning to have evacuated the heights.

Question. Unless re-enforced?

Answer. Yes, sir; unless re-enforced. I will say, in connection with that opinion, that I re-enforced Colonel Ford with my regiment on the same day the heights were abandoned.

Question. Did you witness the engagement that took place in which the One hundred and twenty-sixth New York Volunteers took part?

Answer. I will state that my order from Colonel Miles was, when I reached Maryland Heights to report to Colonel Ford. I have the written order in my pocket to that effect. I reported to Colonel Ford. Colonel Ford desired me to divide my command. In addition to four companies of my regiment, he gave me three companies of an Ohio regiment-the Thirty-second, if I am not mistaken. Four companies of my regiment were retained by Colonel Ford, who stated at the time, and it afterward proved true, that he sent those four companies around on the eastern road, going in the direction of the lookout. With the four companies and the three companies of Ohio troops, I was sent up the western slope with orders-as I understood at the time-to report to Major Hewitt. I had no written order to that effect. An order was placed in my hands which was directed to Major Steiner, which I have in my pocket. I marched, with seven companies, up a by-path, with an orderly to guide me, for I had never been on Maryland Heights before. Just as I reached the lookout, which is on the top of Maryland Heights-my men had not all come up; they were closing up-I heard a tremendous firing, and the bullets commenced rattling all around us, and I think perhaps two or three of my command were wounded at that time. I was talking with some officer at the time; I do not know his name. I saw our force within a short distance of me, behind some kind of breastwork made of logs, fallen trees, timbers, which lay right across the ridge. This officer, whoever he was-and I thought so myself at the time-said to me, "You better re-enforce Colonel Sherrill immediately." I had never seen Colonel Sherrill-did not know who he was. It afterward turned out that he was the colonel of the One hundred and twenty-sixth New York. I immediately headed my men and took the seven companies in behind this log-work. The firing was very brisk and very heavy. With the forces I brought we held the enemy. I had no straps on; I was dressed as I am now. I reported to Colonel Sherrill who I was, and said that I had command of the regiment that had just re-enforced him. He started over toward the left, and I kept my position to the right, perhaps toward the center it was, and kept walking backward and forward, rallying the men, getting them up to the breastworks, when an orderly rode up to the line-the fight had continued some time; I do not know how long, perhaps a half an hour, perhaps three-quarters-an orderly rode up to the line on a horse; said he, "The order is to retreat." I turned to him and said, "Who gives that order?" I understood him to say that it was the order of Colonel Ford. Said I, "Sir, there can be no order to retreat." I turned to the officers and men, and said, "There certainly cannot be an order to retreat from this position." Although I had never been there before, I had looked around and seen the position of things. I said, "If we lose this position we lose everything; we can hold this position unless the enemy press heavier than they do now." Some one else rode up to the line and said, "The order is to retreat." The men commenced falling back. I turned to the men and said, "For God's sake, don't fall back; we must hold this position." But they commenced retreating. I turned to the orderly and said, "Give me your horse, and I will see who gave this order to retreat." I then took command myself, as I understood Colonel Sherrill was wounded, and I supposed I was the chief in command. I supposed the order was wrong. I jumped on the horse and rode down the mountain. I rode through the men first, and halted my own regiment,