War of the Rebellion: Serial 070 Page 0348 Chapter XLIX. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

Search Civil War Official Records

Sixth Corps, under Ricketts, which had arrived the day before. This force we attacked on the afternoon of the same day, Ramserur demonstrating in front, while Gordon moved across the Monocacy on the enemy's flank by a route which had been opened by McCausland's brigade of cavalry in a very gallant manner. The enemy in a very short time was completely routed by Gordon, and left the field in great disorder and retreated in haste on Baltimore.

In this action our entire loss was between 600 and 700, including the cavalry, but I regret to say Brigadier-General Evans was wounded and some gallant officers killed.

On the morning of the 10th I moved toward Washington, taking the route by Rockville, and then turning to the left to get on the Seventh-street pike. The day was very hot and the roads exceedingly dusty, but we marched thirty miles.

On the morning of the 11th we continued the march, but the day was so excessively hot, even at a very early hour in the morning, and the dust so dense, that many of the men fell by the way, and it became necessary to slacken our pace. Nevertheless, when we reached the right of the enemy's fortifications the men were almost completely exhausted and not in a condition to make an attack. Skirmishers were thrown out and moved up to the vicinity of the fortifications. These we found to be very strong and constructed very scientifically. They consist of a circle of inclosed fords, connected by breast-works, with ditches, palisades, and abatis in front, and every approach swept by a cross-fire of artillery, including some heavy guns. I determined at first to make an assault, but before it could be made it became apparent that the enemy had been strongly re-enforced, and we knew that the Sixth Corps had arrived from Grant's army, and after consultation with my division commanders I became satisfied that the assault, even if successful, would be attended with such great sacrifice as would insure the destruction of my whole force the victory could have been made available, and, if unsuccessful, would necessarily have resulted in the loss of the whole force. I, therefore, reluctantly determined to retire, and as it was evident preparations were making to cut off my retreat, and while troops were gathering around me I would find it difficult to get supplies, I determined to retire across the Potomac to this county before it became too late. I was led to this determination by the conviction that the loss of my force would have had such a depressing effect upon the country, and would so encourage the enemy as to amount to a very serious, if not fatal, disaster to our cause. My infantry force did not exceed 10,000, as Breckinridge's infantry (nominally much larger) really did not exceed 2,500 muskets. A considerable part of the cavalry has proved wholly inefficient. Sigel was at Maryland Heights. Hunter was making his was to get in my rear, and Couch was organizing a militia force in Pennsylvania. If, therefore, I had met a disaster I could not have got off, and if I had succeeded in the assault, yet my force would have been so crippled that I could not have continued their active operations so necessary in an expedition like mine.

All these considerations conduced to the determination to which I came, and accordingly, after threatening the city all day of the 12th, I retired after night, and have moved to this place in entire good order and without any loss whatever.

Late in the afternoon of the 12th the enemy advanced in line of battle against my skirmishers (of Rodes' division), and the latter