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Chapter 12:


A hard forced march from Gettysburg to Frederick, via Emmetsburg, Maryland, commenced on the night of the 5th of July; we encountered on the way Sisters of Charity, proceeding to the hospitals in Pennsylvania to minister to the wounded, as is ever their wont when the occasion for their services occurs. Our arrival at Frederick was in the midst of rain, that had been falling more or less through the previous twelve hours, and we were quite hungry. After a brief halt in this town, where we saw the Tenth Massachusetts Battery and had the pleasure of greeting Capt. Sleeper, who had been our third in command, it became apparent that we were not to continue the pursuit down the Monocacy Valley, for we took the road leading over South Mountain to Boonesboro. One circumstance of our bivouac in the vicinity of the place, worthy of mention, was its nearness to a most remarkable spring, which was nothing less than a basin in the rock, perhaps twenty feet by thirty feet, whose outlet was a creek which a few rods thence entered the Antietam.

We soon moved to Williamsport, the inference being that Lee had crossed the Potomac near this town. But if this were the route of the retreating army, it is evident that its southward progress had been sufficiently rapid to render it necessary for us to march upon a more easterly line and one nearer the railroad communications with the capital, for we descended the north bank of the Potomac and crossed that river about two miles below Harper's Ferry, entering Virginia at the same point as in the previous year, six weeks after the battle of Antietam. It was during this week that news of the fall of Vicksburg reached us,—the complement of the encouraging report from our own army, which the press had already transmitted to the West. The military outlook

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