War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0077 Chapter XXXIX. The Gettysburg Campaign.

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the day was now explained. He had prolonged his line on the right to a point north of the Berryville road, while the left extended across the Front Royal, Strasburg, and Romney roads to a point west of the city and directly in rear of the main fort. He had with great labor cut a road through the dense woods a considerable distance west of the city, and forced several batteries to a position directly in from of the main fort, which was now invested from that side. The first evidence of their approach from that quarter was in the shape of a solid shot, which flew over the fort and fell in the town beyond. The city now being three-fourths invested, all forces were withdrawn from the outer defenses and concentrated within the earthworks of the main fortifications, with the exception of a portion of the First Brigade, which had since the beginning of the action been stationed with a battery on a ridge directly in line of the enemy's approach. The rebels having made disposition of their batteries, some cannonading ensued, at the end of which they made a furious assault upon the ridge, capturing the battery, which however, had been rendered unserviceable, and driving the support back in confusion, though not without desperate resistance on the part of the latter. The whole division was now concentrated within the main fortifications. Nothing further of importance occurred for several hours, the enemy being, as was afterward known, at this time engaged in bringing artillery through the road previously cut through the woods, with a view of commencing with the daylight a bombardment which should put an end to all further resistance and necessitate immediate capitulation. At 1 a. m. on the 15th, the order was given for the silent evacuation of Winchester. The night was intensely dark, but the column moved with order on the road leading to Martinsburg, the Eighteenth Connecticut forming the advance of the Second Brigade. The command had proceeded about 4 1/2 miles, when the head of the First Brigade suddenly encountered the right of the enemy, posted in strong force in a piece of woods skirting the right of the road. The rebels threw forward with great rapidity a sufficient force to command the whole of the First Brigade and a large portion of the Second. One or more volleys were delivered by them and returned, but, owing to the extreme darkness of the morning, had little or no effect. At this time the First Brigade charged, and having partially driven back the force immediately in its front, the larger portion passed on, and continued its flight to Harper's Ferry. The remainder of the First Brigade, together with the Second, fell back in a field to the left of the road, and reformed their partially disordered ranks. Two successive charges were then made, but were repulsed without the occurrence, however, of much loss to the Eighteenth, the loss being more severe on the left of the brigade. The brigade, after the second charge, became considerably disorganized, and some of the regiments scattered, so as to render it impossible to bring them into line again. The Eighteenth was reformed with considerable difficulty, and charged the third time alone, but was immediately repulsed, with a loss of some 30 killed and wounded. In this charge, Captain (formerly Adjutant) Porter was killed, and Captains Bates and Bowen severely wounded. Captain Warner and Lieutenant Merwin had received slight wounds in the second charge. These men then scattered in all directions, but, meeting the enemy at nearly all points, were forced to turn back, and a large number were captured.