War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0709 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

Beaver Creek was received. The corps renewed the march, and took position about 4. 30 p. m. on the right of the Sixth Corps, near the Hagerstown and Smoketown road, 2 1/2 miles from Funkstown. Occasional artillery firing was heard toward Funkstown. July 11, the First, Eleventh, and Sixth Corps, under General Sedgwick, remained in position. At 4 a. m. July 12, my First Division, under General Ames, marched to Hagerstown, to support Kilpatrick's cavalry. This force succeeded in entering Hagerstown, capturing some 100 prisoners. At 11 a. m. the remainder of the corps marched to Funkstown; passed through the town; crossed the Antietam Creek, and took position on the right of the First Corps, about a mile south of Hagerstown. At 7 p. m. the three corps, sixth, First, and Eleventh, were marched to the left, in order to make connection with the rest of the army, already in position on the west bank of the Antietam. The Eleventh Corps still occupied the right of the line near Funkstown. During the night, some covers for the artillery and rifle-pits were constructed. The general commanding called together his corps commanders during this evening, and counseled with them with regard to the enemy's position, strength, and intention, and asked their opinion with regard to making an attack upon the enemy, as affairs then stood. The decision was not to attack then, or until further information should be obtained. July 13, one brigade was sent to Hagerstown as an outpost, and a support to the cavalry in case of necessity. I spent the day in personal reconnaissances, so as to obtain as accurate knowledge as possible of the enemy's works, a portion of which were in view from the church steeples in Hagerstown. I sent General Schimmelfennig with one regiment of infantry to reconnoiter the enemy's left. Before this regiment had passed Hagerstown, General Kilpatrick started to accomplish the same purpose, his cavalry being supported by a regiment of Pennsylvania militia, whereupon General Schimmelfennig joined the reconnaissance. As soon as the cavalry skirmishers had approached the enemy's lines, he opened a brisk fire from infantry or dismounted cavalry. One or two pieces of artillery also fired at random from a battery near the Williamsport road. After this reconnaissance, and all the information I could collect, I was impressed with a belief that the enemy would retreat without giving us battle, and it was with a hope of being able to make a lodgment on the enemy's left that I then asked permission to make a reconnaissance at 3 a. m. of the next day (the 14th). Subsequently, the commanding general's order for several simultaneous reconnaissances 7 a. m. reached me. I also received word, in answer to my request, that orders had already been sent out, which would probably effect the purpose I proposed. On the morning of the 14th, a report was received from Hagerstown that the enemy had evacuated his position in that vicinity. At 11. 20 a. m. orders were received from General Sedgwick to march to Williamsport, via Hagerstown. The enemy had completely crossed before my corps arrived. The inhabitants reported that he crossed on a bridge at Falling Waters, on flat-boats at Williamsport, and at a deep ford a little distance above that place; that many men and horses were drowned in fording the Potomac; that the bridge, boats, and all had been built at Williamsport and floated down to Falling Waters. The corps encamped near Leister's Mill, on Conococheague Creek, 1 mile from Williamsport.