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[440] Guards) were sent him on Friday, the twelfth of September, and on the morning of the thirteenth he was further reinforced by the One Hundred and Fifteenth New-York, and a portion of a Maryland regiment under Lieut.-Col. Downey.

Col. Ford made requisition for axes and spades to enable him to construct defences on the Heights, but obtained none. With ten axes belonging to some Maryland troops, hiring all that could be obtained, a slight breastwork of trees was constructed on the twelfth, near the crest of the Heights, and a slashing of timber made for a short distance in front of the breast-work.

The forces under Col. Ford were stationed at various points on the Maryland Heights, the principal force being on the crest of the hill near the breastwork and look-out.

Skirmishing commenced on Friday, the twelfth, on the crest of the hill. Early on the morning of the thirteenth the enemy made an attack on the crest of the hill, and after some time the troops retired in some confusion to the breast-work, where they were rallied. About nine o'clock a second attack was made, which the troops behind the breastwork resisted for a short time, and until Col. Sherrill, of the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth New-York, was wounded and carried off the field, when the entire One Hundred and Twenty-sixth regiment, as some witnesses testify, all but two companies, Major Hewitt states, broke and fled in utter confusion. Men and most of the officers all fled together, no effort being made to rally the regiment, except by Col. Ford, Lieut. Barras, Acting-Adjutant, and some officers of other regiments, directed by Col. Miles, then on the Heights.

Soon after the remaining forces at the breast-work fell back, under a supposed order from Major Hewitt, who himself says that he gave no such order, merely sent instructions to the captains of his own regiment that if they were compelled to retire to do so in good order. Orders were given by Col. Ford for the troops to return to their position. They advanced some distance up the Heights, but did not regain the breast-work.

That evening Colonel Miles was on Maryland Heights for some hours consulting with Colonel Ford. He left.between eleven and twelve o'clock, without directly ordering Col. Ford to evacuate the Heights, but instructing him, in case he was compelled to do so, to spike the guns and throw the heavy siege-guns down the mountain.

About two o'clock, perhaps a little later, by the order of Col. Ford, the Heights were abandoned, the guns being spiked according to instructions.

On Sunday, Col. D'Utassy sent over to Maryland Heights four companies under Major Wood, who brought off, without opposition, four brass twelve-pounders, two of which were imperfectly spiked, and a wagon-load of ammunition.

Gen. White, on his return to Harper's Ferry, on the twelfth of September, suggested to Col. Miles the propriety of contracting his lines on Bolivar Heights so as to make a better defence, but Col. Miles adhered to his original line of defence, stating that he was determined to make his stand on Bolivar Heights. General White also urged the importance of holding Maryland Heights, even should it require the taking the entire force over there from Harper's Ferry. Col. Miles, under his orders to hold Harper's Ferry to the last extremity, while admitting the importance of Maryland Heights, seemed to regard them as applying to the town of Harper's Ferry, and held that to leave Harper's Ferry, even to go on Maryland Heights, would be disobeying his instructions.

Gen. McClellan established his headquarters at Frederick City on the morning of the thirteenth of September. On the night of the thirteenth, after the evacuation of Maryland Heights, Col. Miles directed Captain (now Major) Russell, of the Maryland cavalry, to take with him a few men and endeavor to get through the enemy's lines and reach some of our forces--General McClellan if possible — and to report the condition of Harper's Ferry, that it could not hold out more than forty-eight hours, unless reinforced, and to urge the sending of reinforcements. Capt. Russell reached General McClellan's headquarters at Frederick at nine A. M. on Sunday, the fourteenth of September, and reported as directed by Colonel Miles. Immediately upon his arrival Gen. McClellan sent off a messenger, as Captain Russell understood, to General Franklin.

At ten A. M. Capt. Russell left for Gen. Franklin's command, with a communication to General Franklin from Gen. McClellan. He reached Gen. Franklin about three o'clock that afternoon, and found him engaged with the enemy at Crampton's Gap. The enemy were driven from the Gap, and the next morning, the fifteenth, Gen. Franklin passed through the Gap, advancing about a mile, and finding the enemy drawn up in line of battle in his front, drew his own forces up in line of battle. While thus situated, the cannonading in the direction of Harper's Ferry, which had been heard very distinctly all the morning — Harper's Ferry being about seven miles distant--suddenly ceased, whereupon Gen. Franklin sent word to Gen. McClellan of the probable surrender of Harper's Ferry by Colonel Miles, and did not deem it necessary to proceed further in that direction.

The battle of South-Mountain was fought on Sunday, the fourteenth.

On the same day, Sunday, during the afternoon, the enemy at Harper's Ferry attacked the extreme left of the line on Bolivar Heights, but after some time were repulsed by the troops under command of General White.

Sunday night the cavalry at Harper's Ferry made their escape, under Colonel Davis of the Twelfth Illinois cavalry, by permission of Colonel Miles, and reached Greencastle, Pa., the next morning, capturing an ammunition-train belonging to Gen. Longstreet, consisting of some fifty or sixty wagons. The Commission regard this escape of the cavalry, etc.

Several of the infantry officers desired permission

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D. S. Miles (18)
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