War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0855 Chapter XXXI. THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

Cumming, of the Tenth Georgia Regiment, who had been detached from General Semmes' brigade for that purpose, and rode toward the gap.

Fortunately, night came on and allowed a new arrangement of the troops to be made to meet the changed aspect of affairs. The brigades of Generals Kershaw and Barksdale, excepting one regiment of the latter and two pieces of artillery, were withdrawn from the heights, leaving the regiment and two rifle pieces on the main height overlooking the town, and formed line of battle across the valley about 1 1/2 miles below Crampton's Gap, with the remnants of the brigades of General Cobb, Semmes, and Mahone, and those of Wilcox, Kershaw, and Barksdale, which were placed specially under command of General Anderson. General Wright and Pryor were kept in position guarding the Weverton Pass, and Generals Armistead and Featherston that from Harper's Ferry. That place was not yet taken, and I had but to wait and watch the movements of the enemy. It was necessary to guard three positions: First, to present a front against the enemy advancing down the valley; second, to prevent them from escaping from Harper's Ferry and acting in conjunction with their troops in front; third, to prevent an entrance at Weverton Pass. The force of the enemy engaged and in reserve at Crampton's Gap was estimated to be from 15,000 to 25,000 and upward.

The loss in those brigades engaged was, in killed, wounded, and missing, very large, and the remnant collected to make front across the valley was very small. I had dispatched Lieutenant Tucker, my aide-de-camp, with a courier and guide, to report to General Lee the condition of affairs, but, on getting beyond our forces, he rode suddenly on a strong picket of the enemy, was halted, and fired on by them as he turned and dashed back. The courier was killed, but Lieutenant Tucker and the guide escaped. General Stuart had, however, started couriers before that, and sent others from time to time during the night, and I, therefore, was satisfied that General Lee would be informed before morning.

On the 15th the enemy did not advance, nor did they offer any opposition to the troops taking position across the valley. The line to oppose them from that direction was, therefore, formed, and the artillery posted to the best advantage, our artillery on Maryland Heights firing on the enemy below so soon as light permitted.

About 10 a. m. it was telegraphed to me from Maryland Heights that the enemy at Harper's Ferry had hoisted a white flag and had ceased firing. I at once ordered the troops which were defending the pass from Harper's Ferry to advance their skirmishers along the road to the bridge, or until they were fired on, and directed all the trains to be sent toward the Ferry, still keeping the line of battle opposed to that of the enemy above. They, in the mean time, were planting batteries on the Blue Ridge to operate against the artillery on the left of the valley looking north, which had been advantageously placed in position by my chief of artillery, Major Hamilton, along the line formed across the valley. My aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Tucker, had been sent to communicate with General Jackson, in Harper's Ferry, and he returned and reported that General Jackson wished to see me. The enemy showing no disposition to advance, I left the command to General Anderson, with directions to push the train across the river as fast as possible and follow with the infantry when the trains were well over. I then rode over and received orders to proceed to Sharpsburg with all possible dispatch. I returned to Pleasant Valley, and, as the troops had been gradually withdrawn, I formed a new line across at the foot of the valley, still holding Maryland Heights and Weverton Pass, and waited until near 2 o'clock, when, the trains having passed over the river, the troops were withdrawn to the