War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0645 Chapter XXXI. THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

the One hundred and twenty-sixth New York on the wayside, between Maryland [Heights] Battery and the canal. Colonel Miles then ordered Lieutenant Binney to fall back and bring them up. He first said, "Boys, what are you doing here?" Said they, "We have been ordered to fall back." Said he, "By whom?" "By some major," says one. Said Colonel Miles, "There has been no order to give orders to fall back. I have given no order to fall back, and no major could get one unless he got it from me." He then said, "Mr. Binney, bring those men up," and then he ordered them to the front. I then passed on with him. When we got up to the battery where Colonel Ford was, there were a great many stragglers around there. Colonel Miles looked around and said, "What are you men doing here?" Said they, "We have been ordered to fall back." Said he, "There has been no order to fall back?" He then turned to me and said, "Mr. Willmon, go up on the hill and reform the One hundred and twenty-sixth, and try to get it to the front; and tell every officer and man you see that there is no order given to fall back, but the order is to go to the front immediately and do his duty there to the last." I obeyed his order and went up the hill. There I found, I think, about 500 members of the One hundred and twenty-sixth, and a few of the First Maryland and some of the Garibaldi Guards, but I think they were on duty. Among the men I found, I think, four officers. I worked there for over an hour. I appealed to the corporals and sergeants to take the places of their officers, as there were no officers to command them; that they should form in companies in some shape or other and go to the front. After getting them into some kind of ship-shape, I met their adjutant and handed them to him, with instructions from the colonel that there was no order given to retreat, and that the men should be marched to the front immediately, and that he should take command and do so. I then came down and reported to the colonel. Says I, "Colonel, it is almost an impossible matter to get the men together. I have done all I could to form them in the best possible shape, and have handed them over to the adjutant, with instructions that they should be marched to the front and kept there." To which he replied, "Well, damn them, they will run; just what I thought they would do." Then we left and came down.

By Colonel FORD:

Question. Describe to these gentlemen the condition of the troops around the place I was using as a hospital.

Answer. There was an utter confusion. The men were being forced up one way, and by the time you would get them up hill one way, they would be running down another.

Question. When you got there, did you find me exerting myself to the utmost?

Answer. I did; Colonel Ford did his utmost there in his saddle, when I knew he was sick at the time.