vestigate the conduct of certain officers connected with, and the circumstances attending, the abandonment of Maryland Heights and the surrender of Harper's Ferry, have the honor to report as follows:
On the 3rd day of September, General White entered Harper's Ferry, with his command, from Winchester. The next day he was ordered to Martinsburg, to take command of the forces at that place. On the 12th of September he again returned to Harper's Ferry, where he remained until its surrender, without assuming command.
On the 7th of September, General McClellan (the larger portion of his command having preceded him) left Washington, under orders, issued some days previously, to drive the enemy from Maryland. He established that night his headquarters at Rockville, and from which place, on the 11th of September, he telegraphed to General Halleck to have Colonel Miles ordered to join him at once.
On the 5th of September, Colonel Thomas H. Ford, of the Thirty-second Ohio, took command of the forces on Maryland Heights.
Forces were placed at Solomon's Gap and Sandy Hook. Those at Sandy Hook, being under Colonel Maulsby, retired, by order of Colonel Miles, to the eastern slope of Maryland Heights two or three days previous to their evacuation by Colonel Ford.
On the 11th of September the force at Solomon's Gap was driven in by the enemy. Colonel Ford called upon Colonel Miles for re-enforcements, and on Friday, the 12th of September, the Thirty-ninth and One hundred and twenty-sixth New York Regiments were sent him, and on the morning of the 13th he was further re-enforced by the One hundred and fifteenth New York and a portion of a Maryland regiment under Lieutenant-Colonel Downey.
Colonel Ford made requisition for axes and spades to enable him to construct defenses on the heights, but obtained none, and on the 12th, with twelve axes belonging to some Maryland regiment, being all he could obtain, a slight breastwork of trees was constructed near the crest of the Heights, and in front of which for a short distance a slashing of timber was made.
The forces under Colonel Ford were stationed at various points on Maryland Heights, the principal force being on the crest of the hill near the breastwork and lookout. Skirmishing commenced of Friday, the 12th, on the crest of the hill.
Early in the morning of the 13th the enemy made an attack on the crest of the hill, and, after a short engagement, the troops retired in some confusion to the breastwork, where they were rallied. About 9 o'clock a second attack was made, which the troops behind the breastwork and twenty-sixth New York, was wounded and carried off the field, when the entire One hundred and twenty-sixth Regiment, as some witnesses testify, with the exception of two companies, as Major Hewitt states, broke and fled in utter confusion. Both men and most of the officers fled together, no effort being made to rally the regiment except by Colonel Ford and Lieutenant Barras, acting adjutant, and some officers of other regiments, directed by Colonel Miles, who was then on the heights.
Soon after, the remaining forces at the breastwork fell back under a supposed order from Major Hewitt, who himself says that he gave no such order, but merely sent instructions to the captains of his own regiment that, if they were compelled to retire, to do so in good order. Orders were given by Colonel Ford for the troops to return to their position, and they advanced some distance up the heights, but did not regain the breastwork.
That morning Colonel Miles was on Maryland Heights for some hours,