with a view of relieving the garrison at Harper's Ferry
's column was ordered to move through Crampton's Pass, in front of Burkettsville
, while the centre and right marched upon Turner's Pass in front of Middletown
On the 14th a verbal message from Colonel Miles
reached General McClellan
, which was the first authentic intelligence the latter had received as to the condition of things at Harper's Ferry
The messenger reported as to the position of our force there, and stated that Colonel Miles
instructed him to say that he could hold out with certainty two days longer.
directed him to make his way back, if possible, with the information that he was rapidly approaching and felt confident that he could relieve the place.
It does not appear that this message ever reached Colonel Miles
On the afternoon of the 14th, General McClellan
addressed a letter to Colonel Miles
, giving him instructions and information, assuring him that the centre was making every effort to relieve him, and entreating him to hold out to the last extremity.
Three copies of this letter were sent by three different couriers on three different routes, but none of them succeeded in reaching Harper's Ferry
On the previous day, September 13, General McClellan
had sent to General Franklin
a letter of detailed instructions as to his movements, and further orders were despatched on the following day.
The results of the battle of South Mountain