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George H. Gordon, From Brook Farm to Cedar Mountain, Chapter 2: Harper's Ferry and Maryland Heights—Darnstown, Maryland.--Muddy Branch and Seneca Creek on the Potomac—Winter quarters at Frederick, Md. (search)
ly had I withdrawn my artillery from the hill and my pickets from the front, when the enemy's pickets swarmed into Harper's Ferry. Joining the Twentieth N. Y. Regiment at Berlin, we trailed across a country of unbridged streams, through which our horses and mules splashed with their burdens, and over which our men passed in file on trunks of prostrate trees. Houses were small and shaky, and not many of them; negroes were lazy and fat; and the corn-fields rejoiced in gigantic stalks. On the 23d we encamped at the foot of a steep hill, in the flourishing village of Hyattstown. We had made twenty-one miles in three days. From hill-top to valley, all around us the ground was dotted with whiteroofed tents and wagon-tops. It was by the light of the stars that we breakfasted on the morning of the twentyninth of August, and prepared to move still farther southward to concentrate for the defence of Washington. In the afternoon of the thirtieth of August our regiment, at the end of its
George H. Gordon, From Brook Farm to Cedar Mountain, Chapter 3: through Harper's Ferry to Winchester—The Valley of the Shenandoah. (search)
he people would convey false information to Jackson at New Market, as indeed they did, for Jackson turned instantly in pursuit. On the 22d, when Ashby drove in Shields's pickets, he discovered only what he supposed to be a single brigade. On the 23d, when Jackson attacked, he soon found he had caught a tartar. His force of 4,000 was opposed, not to 2,000 less than his own, but to the whole of Shields's division of 6,750 infantry, cavalry, and artillery, and no more. If Shields had remainthat his distance was too great from the Federal army for objects in view. On the 21st he acknowledged this, and said that he was about to move his headquarters to Woodstock, twelve miles from the enemy's camp. At about half-past 6 A. M., on the 23d, at Strasburg, he expressed a hope that he should be near Winchester that afternoon; and at ten o'clock that night he wrote in his brief manner that he attacked the Federal army at four P. M., and was repulsed by it at dark. He gave his force as
George H. Gordon, From Brook Farm to Cedar Mountain, Chapter 5: return to Strasburg (continued)—Banks's flight to WinchesterBattle of Winchester. (search)
rdon in the centre, and General Hatch in the rear. See Banks's official report, Moore's Rebellion Record, vol. IX. When I besought Banks, at 11 P. M. of the 23d, to start then for Winchester, he replied that he would not retreat, repeating with an oath his fear of public opinion. At 3 A. M. of the 24th (he says in his offiry to follow his movements, and discover why he did not surround us at Strasburg before daylight of the twenty-fourth of May. Had Jackson moved on the night of the 23d, as he had intended, Cooke's Life of Jackson, p. 144. the morning of May 24 would have dawned upon his army surrounding Banks in Strasburg. It was an untoward eexpected to cut the Winchester road before we could pass Middletown. Recalling the condition of fatigue in which his troops entered Front Royal on the night of the 23d, it will be remembered why Jackson was obliged to defer his march until daylight of the 24th, when, with his whole army, save the forces under Steuart and Ewell, -
George H. Gordon, From Brook Farm to Cedar Mountain, Chapter 6: battle of Winchester (continued)—Federal retreat across the Potomac to Williamsport. (search)
r path, and the panic-stricken crowd of fugitives,not until these were over, could we fairly estimate the sum total of our achievements. Between the 24th of May, at eleven o'clock, A. M., and near midnight of the 25th, my brigade had marched from Strasburg to Williamsport, a distance of fifty-four miles. To this, two miles more should be added to the march of the Second Massachusetts, on its return from Bartonsville to Newtown, where we turned upon Jackson. Without sleep on the night of the 23d, the brigade marched the next day eighteen miles to Winchester. On the same day the Second Massachusetts not only marched farther than any other regiment of the brigade, but from three o'clock P. M., until two o'clock of the next day, it was engaged in an almost continuous skirmish with the enemy, holding back alone, in the most plucky manner, as narrated, the head of Jackson's army, materially defeating his plans, and giving ample opportunity, which might have been availed of, to remove muc