previous next

[441] to cut their way out at the same time the cavalry made their escape, but Col. Miles refused, upon the ground that he had never been ordered to hold Harper's Ferry to the last extremity.

On the morning of the fifteenth the enemy opened their batteries from several points--seven to nine as estimated by different witnesses — directing their attack principally upon our batteries on the left of Bolivar Heights. The attack commenced at daybreak. About seven o'clock Col. Miles represented to Gen. White that it would be necessary to surrender. Gen. White suggested that the brigade commanders be called together, which was done. Col. Miles stated that the ammunition for the batteries was exhausted, and he had about made up his mind to surrender. That was agreed to by all present, and General White was sent by Col. Miles to arrange terms.

The white flag was raised by order of Colonel Miles, but the enemy did not cease fire for some half or three quarters of an hour after. Colonel Miles was mortally wounded after the white flag was raised. The surrender was agreed upon about eight A. M. on Monday, the fifteenth of September.

The following was the testimony respectively of the officers commanding batteries: At the time of the surrender Capt. Von Schlen had some ammunition — could not tell what amount, but mostly shrapnel; had lost about one hundred rounds on Saturday, the thirteenth, by the explosion of a limber caused by one of the enemy's shells. Captain Rigby had expended during the siege of Harper's Ferry about six hundred rounds, with the exception of canister; had nothing but canister left. Captain Potts had expended about one thousand rounds, with the exception of canister; had only canister left. Capt. Graham had but two guns of his battery under his immediate command on the morning of the surrender; had probably one hundred rounds of all kinds, but no long-time fuses. Capt. Phillips had expended all his ammunition except some forty rounds of canister and some long-range shell too large for his guns. Capt. McGrath's battery had been spiked and left on Maryland Heights on Saturday.

It appears that during the siege, and shortly previous, Col. Miles paroled several confederate prisoners, permitting them to pass through our lines. During the week previous to the evacuation of Maryland Heights, a Lieutenant Rouse, of the Twelfth Vir<*>nia cavalry, who had been engaged in a raid upon a train from Harper's Ferry to Winchester a short time before, was captured and brought into Harper's Ferry. He escaped while on the way to the hospital to have his wounds dressed, but was retaken. He was paroled, but returned in command of some rebel cavalry on the morning of the surrender. The attention of Gen. A. P. Hill was called to the fact that Lieut. Rouse was a paroled prisoner, but no attention was paid to it. Lieut. Rouse himself, on being spoken to about it, laughed at the idea of observing his parole. On Saturday, the day of the attack upon and evacuation of Maryland Heights, Col. Miles directed that sixteen confederate prisoners be permitted to pass through our lines to rejoin the rebel army at Winchester. Other cases are testified to, but those are the most important.

Brigadier--General Julius White and Colonels D'utassy and Trimble.

Of the subordinate officers referred to in this case, the Commission finds, with the exception of Col. Thomas H. Ford, nothing in their conduct that calls for censure. Gen. Julius White merits its approbation. He appears from the evidence to have acted with decided capability and courage.

In this connection the Commission calls attention to the disgraceful behavior of the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth New-York regiment of infantry, and recommends that Major Baird should, for his bad conduct, as shown by this evidence, be dismissed the service. Some of the officers, after the wounding of the gallant Colonel, such as Lieut. Barras, and others not known to the Commission, behaved with gallantry, and should be commended.

Colonel Thomas Ford.

In the case of Col. Ford, charged with improper conduct in abandoning the Maryland Heights, the Commission, after a careful hearing of the evidence produced by the Government and that relied on by the defence, and a due consideration of the arguments offered by counsel, find:

That on the fifth of September Col. Ford was placed in command of Maryland Heights by Col. Miles. That Col. Ford, finding the position unprepared by fortifications, earnestly urged Col. Miles to furnish him means by which the Heights could be made tenable for the small force under his command should a heavy one be brought against him. That these reasonable demands were, for some cause unknown to the Commission, not responded to by the officer in command of Harper's Ferry. That subsequently, when the enemy appeared in heavy force, Colonel Ford frequently and earnestly called upon Col. Miles for more troops, representing that he could not hold the Heights unless reenforced. That these demands were feebly or not at all complied with. That as late as the morning of the thirteenth Col. Ford sent two written demands to Col. Miles for reinforcements, and saying that with the troops then under his command he could not hold the Heights, and unless relieved or otherwise ordered, he would have to abandon them. That as late as eleven o'clock A. M. of the thirteenth, a few hours previous to the abandonment of this position, Colonel Miles said to Col. Ford that he (Colonel Ford) could not have another man, and must do the best he could, and, if unable to defend the place, he must spike the guns, throw them down the hill, and withdraw to Harper's Ferry in good order.

The Court is then satisfied that Col. Ford was given a discretionary power to abandon the Heights, as his better judgment might dictate; and it believes from the evidence, circumstantial

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
D. S. Miles (26)
Thomas Ford (18)
Carr B. White (6)
Rouse (6)
Julius White (4)
William W. Trimble (2)
Schlen (2)
Rigby (2)
Potts (2)
Owen Phillips (2)
McGrath (2)
A. P. Hill (2)
L. P. Graham (2)
Thomas H. Ford (2)
Barras (2)
William H. Baird (2)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
13th (4)
September 15th (2)
September 5th (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: