War of the Rebellion: Serial 070 Page 0198 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLIX.

Search Civil War Official Records

the village of Urbana he repeatedly repulsed the pursuing rebels, and in one bold charge, saber in hand, captured the battle-flag of the Seventeenth Virginia. The three regiments in Monrovia joined me at New Market and afterward served a good purpose in covering the march of the weary column, which bivouacked for the night about twelve miles from the battle-field.

It would be a difficult task to say too much in praise of the veterans who made this fight. For their reputation and for the truth's sake, I wish it distinctly understood that, though the appearance of the enemy's fourth line of battle made their ultimate defeat certain, they were not whipped; on the contrary, they were fighting steadily in unbroken front when I ordered their retirement, all the shame of which, if shame there was, is mine, not theirs. The nine regiments enumerated as those participating in the action represented but 3,350 men, of whom over 1,600 were missing three days after, killed, wounded, or prisoners-lost on the field. The fact speaks for itself. "Monocacy" on their flags cannot be a word of dishonor.

As to General Ricketts, attention is respectfully called to the mention made of him in the telegraph report* subjoined. Every word of it is as deserved as it was bravely earned. If we had had entrenching tools in time no doubt the losses of the veterans would have been greatly lessened. Another deficiency existed in the want of ambulances and wagons, but this I designed remedying by the use of the cars. That the dead and so many of the wounded were left suffering on the field in the hands of the enemy is just attributable to the base desertion by the railroad agent. I will also add that my dispatches would have reached the War Office several hours sooner if the telegraph operator had remained at his post or within calling distance. My intention upon leaving the battle-field was to march the troops directly to Baltimore, which, by the concentration at Monocacy, had been left almost defenseless. Had this purpose been carried out they would have reached the city on the evening of the 10th in time to have driven off the marauders who, under Johnson, had moved by the Liberty road from Frederick City and taken post in the vicinity of Cockeysville. Such a result would very probably have saved the bridges on the Philadelphia railroad. But under an order received while en route to Ellicott's Mills, directing me to "rally my forces and make every possible effort to retard the enemy's march on Baltimore, "I thought it my duty to halt Ricketts' division with the cavalry and battery at the Mills, that being the first point on the pike at which it possible to resupply the men with rations and ammunition. In doing this, however, I was careful to leave General Ricketts trains sufficient to bring his whole force away at a moment's notice, and as soon as it was certainly known that the enemy had marched against Washington I ordered him to Baltimore. Before he arrived, however, I was temporarily superseded in the command of the troops by Major-General Ord.

The evening of the 10th I returned to Baltimore, and found the city very naturally in a state of alarm, occasioned by the approach of Johnson's cavalry. Thanks, however, to the energy of Lieutenant Colonel S. B. Lawrence, assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenant Colonel John Woolley, provost-marshal, every measure of safety had been taken that intelligence could suggest. The railroad communications north had been the subject of the former's special care. The means of defense for the city, as already remarked, were very meager, but the

---------------

*See p. 191.

---------------