Numbers 218. Reports of Major General Lafayette McLaws, C. S. Army, commanding division, of operations September 10-17.
HEADQUARTERS DIVISION, October 21, 1862.
Colonel R. H. CHILTON,
I inclose herewith a report of the operations of my command in Pleasant Valley, Md. There are particular reasons why I should make a special report of the engagement at Crampton's Gap; to do which, however, it is necessary to obtain reports from Colonel Munford, who was first in command, and from Colonel Parham (Mahone's brigade), who came next after, and made the dispositions previous to the arrival of General Cobb.
HEADQUARTERS DIVISION, October 18, 1862.
SIR: On the 10th ultimo, in compliance with Special Orders, Numbers 191, of September 9, 1862, from your headquarters, I proceeded with my own and General Anderson's division, was Burkittsville, to Pleasant Valley, to take possession of Maryland Heights, and endeavor to capture the enemy at Harper's Ferry and vicinity. I reached the valley on the 11th. Pleasant Valley runs north and south, and is bounded on the east by the Blue Ridge, on the west by Elk Ridge, the southern portion of which ridge being more specially designated as Maryland Heights, the distance across in an air-line between the summits of the two ridges being about 2 1/2 or 3 miles. The valley itself is rolling and irregular, having one main road along or near the foot of the Blue Ridge, and there in another along the base of Elk Ridge, but it is very much out of repair and not much used. The Potomac River runs along the south ends of both ridges, Harper's Ferry town being on the opposite side of the river but entirely commanded by Maryland Heights, from which a plunging fire, from musketry even, can be made into the place. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the turnpike to Frederick, Md., through Middletown, and the canal to Washington City pass along the south end of Blue Ridge, there being just space for them between the mountains and the river. They also pass under the south end of Maryland Heights, where a crowded space for them has been made by blasting the rocks for a very considerable distance. The railroad bridge crosses the river just under the precipice of Maryland Heights, and about 50 yards above it the Yankees had a pontoon bridge for wagons, &c. The railroad bridge was defended by cannon placed on the farther end; the narrow causeway along the river under Elk Ridge, by cannon placed under the precipice and on the road. The river there is near 400 yards 400 yards wide. On the west slope of Elk Ridge the enemy had three heavy guns, placed so as to command the approaches along the road and the town on the opposite side, and I believe, the road coming from the west, and they also swept Bolivar Heights, which defended the approaches to the town from the side between the Shenandoah and the Potomac, west and south. So long as Maryland Heights was occupied by the enemy, Harper's Ferry could never be occupied by us. If we gained possession of the heights, the town was no longer tenable to them. Pleasant Valley was ap-