War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0782 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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true or false. If he had no such order, then the paper that he was reading to McGrath was a forgery of the order of his superior officer, who was alive and well, and within 2 or 3 miles of him. He rode up to an officer and told him he had left Maryland Heights in obedience to an order he had received. He had or had not received such order. If he received no such order, he was guilty of willful falsehood. After that, he was inquiring for Colonel Miles, and soon afterward found Colonel Miles, and then they went on together in pleasant conversation.

Take, now, all this testimony, not singly, but all together; the position of the entry on the order-book; the testimony of Noakes, Maulsby, McGrath, and Brown; the conduct of Colonel Miles and of Colonel Ford, and you must discredit a volume of evidence before you can reach the conclusion that the order referred to was ever received by Colonel Ford. Indeed, it would seem to be doubtful whether such order was ever issued by Colonel Miles; but that is a matter in which we have no interest, as, unless received by Colonel Ford, he is not responsible for disobedience to it. This relieves Colonel Ford. He evacuated Maryland Heights under the order of his commanding officer. This obedience to that order was an act of official duty on his part. He was bound to obey it. He did obey it, and that ends the inquiry as to him. But if any member of the Commission shall entertain a different opinion, then I respectfully submit that Colonel Ford should have evacuated Maryland Heights at the time he did so; that he did right in ordering the guns to be spiked and the men to go over to Harper's Ferry. In other words, that there was a military necessity for the evacuation, and if the had had no superior officer to command him he should have evacuated the heights as soon as he did so. To determine the matter, we must see, as exactly as possible, the condition of his command and of his position at the time he did give the order to spike the guns and to fall back upon Harper's Ferry. What was that condition?

The enemy had already marched through the defile of Solomon's Gap, and were in three columns, one in front, one on each wing, with artillery and infantry. The [strength] of the enemy is variously estimated from 25,000 down to 12,000. Colonel Ford's cavalry had been shelled out of Solomon's Gap on Thursday night. Colonel Ford had no mortar, not a single piece of artillery, to oppose them, and they were pressing on with both infantry and artillery. The One hundred and twenty-sixth New York Regiment handled; were rallied as well as they could be, and Colonel Sherrill was wounded; they fled again, leaving to Colonel Ford only about 300 or 400 men, infantry and dismounted cavalry, armed with carbines. The enemy was approaching on both flanks and from the center, from 25,000 down to 12,000 men, with fifteen pieces of artillery at least. Could these 300, or 400, or 600, or, if you please, 1,000 men withstand the enemy even upon the lowest estimate of their numbers, 12,000 men, armed as they were with artillery, and the means of shelling our troops? Could Colonel Ford have any reason whatever to hope for success in such a conflict? His troops had already been driven back to the breastwork of logs, and from that point back to a depression in the hill, and from that point back still farther to another depression, below which were the guns. He was strictly ordered to spike the guns and throw them down the hill, so that the enemy could not use them against Harper's Ferry. Another backward [movement], another repulse, only was wanted, and the guns were lost. What was to be done? The enemy were his superiors, greatly so, both in arms and in numbers. He had no special advantage of position; he was on a hill, so, too, were they, and they were coming up on both sides. A day's delay and the guns were