War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0718 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

Search Civil War Official Records

incapable of judging whether the evacuation was proper or improper, although I felt at the time that it was the loss of the entire position and the command.

Question. Did Colonel Miles make any remark at this time in regard to the conduct of Colonel Ford in abandoning the position when he did?

Answer. No, sir; he found no fault with Colonel Ford; made no remark upon that subject, whatever.

Question. How long was this conversation after the heights had been evacuated?

Answer. I should suppose this conversation occurred somewhere about 5 o'clock in the evening; I do not know how long before that the heights had been evacuated.

Question. Have you any reason to believe, from what occurred, that Colonel Miles was in any way dissatisfied with Colonel Ford for having abandoned the heights?

Answer. He did not so express himself to me. He merely stated, without commentary, that he had not issued the order for the evacuation, and when I suggested that there must have been something in the way of an order, as I have already related, or Colonel Ford would not surely have taken the responsibility of such a movement without some authority, he stated this conversation that he had had with Colonel Ford: that if he found it necessary to abandon the heights he must be sure and spike the guns; and he said, "That was all the order I have given." I inferred that it contemplated such a contingency by his expressing himself in that way.

I will, if the court will permit me, make one further statement. Several witnesses have given evidence in relation to the feasibility of taking the command away from Harper's Ferry after the evacuation of Maryland Heights, and two have spoken of going by crossing the Shenandoah. I simply desire to state to the court that after the surrender the occupation of the bridge was had by the enemy in crossing their forces. I was anxious to get my command away, on account of the short amount of subsistence I had. Upon remonstrating with them in regard to it, General Hill suggested that we might cross the Shenandoah and take down the south side of the Potomac to Washington. I went out with him to examine the ford, taking along with us a person who was familiar with it. A mounted man was sent in, and he rode some 30 or 40 yards into the water. The water was so deep that it would be impossible for a man to stand in the water. the water was so deep and the current so swift that it was almost impossible to stand there, and, upon going a few yards farther, the horse fell into a hole in the river and almost drowned the man.

Question. Why not have tried Keys' Ford, above?

Answer. I do not know. Possibly we might have got across there, but then that would have led over the heights instead of around this way by the Potomac. My object is simply to show that the crossing of troops over the Shenandoah in the night would have been utterly impracticable, and, I think, utterly impracticable in the day-time. At least, we gave it up that morning as such. My object is to show that while the enemy were investing the place there could have been no opportunity of crossing our forces there.

By Colonel FORD:

Question. What means have you of knowing the number of the enemy's forces that were on and around Maryland Heights?

Answer. I had a conversation, after the surrender, with General McLaws, who commanded a portion of the troops there. I understood from him that there were two divisions there - he did not give me the numbers - his own and one commanded by General Anderson, I think. Anyway, there were two divisions.

Question. did you see the troops passing over from there after the surrender?

Answer. Yes, sir; I saw them when I was not asleep. They were passing my quarters all night.

Question. And the next morning?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. What number do you suppose passed over?