Doc. 90. battle of Bolivar Heights, Va. Fought October 16, 1861.
Washington Star account.
On the morning of the 16th instant, at half-past 8 o'clock, Colonel John W. Geary
, of the Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania regiment, and about four hundred men, composed of fractions of Companies A, D, F, and G, of the Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania; C, I, and K, Thirteenth Massachusetts; A, C, and H, Third Wisconsin, aided by two “amateurs,” (Judge Daniel McCook
and Benjamin G. Owens
,) were attacked by twenty-five hundred or more of the rebels, including the celebrated cavalry regiment of Colonel Ashby
The rebels had six pieces of artillery-four of them upon Loudon Heights south, and two upon Bolivar Heights west, upon the Charlestown
road, midway between the Potomac
and the Shenandoah Rivers
, and a mile and a half back of the ferry.
The rebels first drove in our pickets from Bolivar Heights, and then began a cross fire upon us, which lasted for several hours.
Their cavalry charged into Bolivar
, but were driven back by the Third Wisconsin boys, aided by shells from Capt. Tompkins
' battery, which was upon the Maryland Heights
east of the ferry.
companies, led by Captain Henry Bertram
, made a desperate charge upon the enemy's guns and took a thirty-two pound columbiad, but were driven back by a cavalry charge and heavy firing from the vicinity of Smallwood
Shell then fell around us as thick as hail, and making a noise over us about like a train of cars when crossing a bridge.
at this time turned his guns upon Loudon Heights, silenced all their
guns there, and scattered the enemy, who were seen in great numbers.
The two rebel guns upon Bolivar Heights kept up a constant fire with shell and canister until about five P. M., and our men were gradually advancing upon them under cover of the houses, breaking down the fences as they went, to the west end of the town, when Lieut. Martin
, with a piece of artillery belonging to the Ninth New York regiment, came to our aid, and fired upon the enemy with terrible effect, advancing at intervals, accompanied by Colonel Geary
The men flanked right and left, considerably in advance of the piece, and deployed obliquely.
men, commanded by Captain H. Bertram
, were on the left; the Massachusetts
men, under Lieut. Jackson
, a Pennsylvania company, and one of the “amateurs,” composed the right wing. Colonel Geary
, Judge McCook
, and the balance of the Pennsylvanians were in the centre.
Our brave band, with a universal shout for the Union
, stormed the heights of Bolivar
, drove the enemy in the wildest confusion from Smallwood
's woods, recaptured the thirty-two-pounder and two ammunition wagons, disabled several of the enemy's horses, took four prisoners, including Chaplain
,” of Jefferson County, Va.
The rebel colonel's cap was among the trophies; he was shot from his horse, but remounted and made his escape.
The rebels could not stand the fire of our artillery and Enfield rifles, so they fled to the woods near Halltown
, and began shelling us with the only remaining available gun they had left; but our shells soon silenced it--one of them striking the rebel caisson caused a great explosion.
When we reached the heights, we found the axle of the “new convert” considerably damaged by a shell, and also found that the rebels had used great industry during the day by making extensive additions to our works there, from which they had driven our pickets in the morning.
The rebels disgraced themselves more than ever by taking off the clothing, rifling the pockets, and then running their bayonets through the Federal
A team of a dozen horses was brought up from the ferry with remarkable expedition, and the big gun was conveyed across the river, placed in a position commanding Harper's Ferry
and the mouth of the Shenandoah
, and was there, by one of the “amateurs,” named “The New convert to the Union
As the gun moved down the street toward the Maryland
side, we met Major Tyndale
and Adjutant Flynn
, with a reinforcement of five companies, to wit, B, C, I, K, and M, of the Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania, who had just arrived from Point of Rocks
The cheering of these troops was most vociferous, and the Virginia
ladies of the place gave strong proof of their love for the Union
, by waving their handkerchiefs and joining the general jubilee.
About five P. M. one or two other cannon of the New York Ninth crossed the river, ascended Bolivar Heights, and then the woods in the direction of Halltown
, as well as Loudon Heights, were completely shelled, but with no reply.
Our loss was four killed and eight wounded. Theirs must have been very heavy, as they had all the wagons of the neighborhood busy in hauling off the slain.
Two wagons were seen full of the killed.
Their chaplain admitted the loss to be very heavy, and much blood was found upon the hill from which they were driven.
displayed much skill and great bravery during the whole of the engagement.
This was my first day upon the battlefield, and my venerable friend Judge McCook
fully sustained the high reputation of the “McCook
This was not a “Bull Run
,” but a rebel-run affair.
The rebel colonel during the next day sent down a flag of truce, offering to exchange the only prisoner they took — a Pennsylvania corporal — for the chaplain.
A few of their cavalry also appeared back of Bolivar
, but were promptly shelled and dispersed by the Rhode Island battery.
Great praise is due the surgeons of the Third Wisconsin and the Thirteenth Massachusetts for skill and attention to the wounded, and to Corporal Myers
of Company A, Third Wisconsin, for efficient aid in bringing the captured gun off the field.
was ordered by Major-General Banks
to cross the Potomac
at Harper's Ferry
, in order that he might capture a large quantity of wheat, most of which was stored in a mill belonging to a gentleman by the name of Herr
The order aforesaid was obeyed, and twenty-one thousand bushels of wheat were taken.
The object of the mission was accomplished before the battle began.
Philadelphia Inquirer account.
A correspondent of the Boston Saturday Evening Gazette
, a member of the Massachusetts Thirteenth, gives the following account of the fight:
Secession account of the battle.
The following is the secession version of the late engagement at Harper's Ferry
, as published in the Baltimore Republican