War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0743 Chapter XXXI. THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

Question. Was the fire from those batteries that morning a severe one?

Answer. It was perfectly terrific.

Question. Have you been in other engagements besides that?

Answer. Yes, sir; and under artillery fire in three different engagements.

Question. How did that compare with what you had seen in other engagements?

Answer. The other were so perfectly insignificant in comparison with this that there was just no comparison at all.

Question. Did the fire from these different batteries of the enemy command that entire line of ours from every possible conceivable direction or not?

Answer. It commanded every foot of it around the batteries on the left and along the lines, enfilading that part of the ground, and producing a terrible cross-fire. Our position was under their command, every foot of ground; there was not a place where you could lay the palm of your hand and say it was safe. I rode through it all that morning and saw it.

Question. Was there any place in that vicinity, on Bolivar Heights, that infantry could have been formed with any kind of regard to success, or any kind of prospect of bringing them into action, even, without their being slaughtered by this artillery fire?

Answer. No, sir; the regiments between the Charlestown [pike] and the Shennandoah would, at the same time, have been in position to have been shelled from behind, from Loudoun Heights, and, at the same time, they would have received the fire from the batteries on the ridge in front; and the regiments on Bolivar Heights, to the right of Rigby's batteries, were under range of three batteries on their flank, one on the ridge and two on either side of the Charlestown pike and also the shells from Loudoun Heights and the batteries under Loudoun Heights. The batteries under Loudoun Heights threw to that point, as I know from having rode over that ground several times and having met a cross-fire there.

Question. Did Colonel Miles ever say to you that the line on the summit of Bolivar Heights, stretching from the Potomac to the Shenandoah, was to be the line which he proposed to defend - the line we occupied?

Answer. Yes, sir; he told me from the first that was to be the line.

Question. Do you know of its having been suggested to him that that line should be contracted, in order that proper support to the front might be had? If so, what was his remark in regard to it?

Answer. Suggested by any other person than myself?

Question. In any way.

Answer. I did hear of others making that suggestion, and I suggested to him, myself, that it was so long a line for the small number of troops we had, that I did not saw how we could defend it, unless there was some effort made to give us the advantage by throwing up breastworks and making rifle-pits from the Charlestown pike to the Shenandoah and Bolivar Heights. Colonel Stannard and myself had taken every pains, the first day I was appointed to command the brigade, to examine the country and see what was necessary for the defense of the left flank, as we thought it a weak point, and it was generally so regarded. We suggested to Colonel Miles the cutting down a belt of forest only about a half a mile from our front, in which the enemy could conceal themselves, and the cutting down also the corn-fields between that forest and our front line. He objected to both.

Question. This was before the siege commenced?

Answer. Yes, sir.