War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0998 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

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The colonel, however, was decidedly of the opinion that we could retreat yet without being hard pressed by the enemy. I accordingly sent an order to Lieutenant-Colonel Green, while Colonel Frick was to fall back as soon as he saw our flanks well drawn in. I saw the movement commenced in good order; then hastened to the bridge and saw the mines were ready, and found the artillery in position prepared for the worst. The enemy had selected positions for their cannon, and, as the retreat began, opened upon the men and town, firing some 40 rounds. Our retreat was so unexpected to them, so quietly and simultaneously performed, as to disconcert them. Our troops defiled from the bridge in good order; the companies were promptly formed in the street and the battalion there reformed. An agreeable sight presented itself as the colors of the Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania Militia, held by a sergeant, followed by the regiment in good order, cheering it, marched last from the bridge. Having selected camping grounds, Through the assistance of Major C. C. Haldeman the troops were conducted into camp; details were made to guard the river bank; our cannon were provided with horses by impressment, upon your authority (see orders* hereto annexed, marked C), as it was necessary that they should be in readiness to move at a moment's notice. Every precaution was taken to prevent the enemy from crossing to the Lancaster County side. Our troops reached the bridge in advance of the enemy, and all of our men were passed over until the enemy was seen descending the hill, when the mines were exploded. Colonel Frick, who conducted the retreat at the rear, halted at the bridge span to see that the work, would be effectually performed. The explosion unfortunately failed to drop the span into the river, and the enemy's approach required speedy action. Colonel Frick accordingly ordered the bridge to be set on fire, and the seasoned timbers readily took fire, carrying the flames rapidly toward Wrightsville and Columbia. In Columbia the citizens and soldiers, attracted there by the fire, procured axes and entered the bridge to cut away such parts as would lessen the flames, hoping, by means of the fire-engines, to extinguish the flames before reaching the town, where it would endanger houses. The rapidity of the flames and intense heat defeated all efforts, and the bridge was entirely consumed; also a building near it. The firemen prevented, by their exertions, the spreading of the flames in the town. In Wrightsville the flames extended to private houses, and the Confederate troops made great exertions to extinguish the fires. On Monday, June 19, at the request of Colonel Frick, I accompanied him around Columbia on a reconnaissance, and determined the best positions for troops and defenses. This work had just been completed when we received the gratifying intelligence that the enemy had retired from Wrightsville. Soon after I received your telegram directing me to go to Bainbridge at once to see that Colonel Thomas put himself in a position to defend the different fords at every sacrifice, dig pits, make abatis, &c. At 2 p. m. I rode up to Chestnut Riffles, and thence to Bainbridge. Before concluding, I deem it proper to add that Colonel Frick's conduct throughout was zealous and patriotic, and deserves your

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*Not found.

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