the charges of disloyalty, and give the public a correct statement in regard to the above-mentioned lamented affair. Our first rumors of the enemy's crossing into Maryland near Noland's Ferry, at the mouth of the Monocacy River, seventeen miles below Harper's Ferry, was received on September first, from our pickets at that point who were driven in to Point of Rocks. Reinforcements were immediately received at that point. Col. Miles sent the Eighty-seventh Ohio regiment, with two twelve-pounder howitzers. The enemy crossed in very large force, cutting the canal at Seven-Mile Level, driving back our forces to Berlin, thence to Knoxville, Weaverton, and finally to Sandy Hook. Thursday, September eleventh, the enemy were nearly fifty thousand strong in Pleasant Valley, and forced their way through Solomon's Gap, and there “shelled out” our picket, who were thrown there by Col. Ford, of the Thirty-second Ohio, who commanded Maryland Heights. He then had the Thirty-second Ohio, six hundred; Rhode Island cavalry, three hundred and fifty; Maryland cavalry, two hundred; McGrath's artillery company, one hundred; battalion First Maryland infantry, three hundred; total, one thousand five hundred and fifty. Col. Ford represented if he had another regiment, he could hold the Heights against the whole rebel army. He was reenforced by the Garibaldi Guards, and subsequently, at his desire, the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth New-York, the One Hundred and Fifteenth New-York, and the Third Maryland. The last order he had from Col. Miles was a peremptory one to hold those Heights; on Saturday he evacuated and crossed to Harper's Ferry, spiking the siege-guns. Colonel Ford never received orders, either verbal or written, from Col. Miles to evacuate. The enemy did not make his appearance on the Heights for over four hours afterward. Col. Ford had the following force when he left the Heights: Thirty-second Ohio, six hundred; Capt. McGrath's company, artillery, Fifth New-York, (heavy,) one hundred; battalion First Maryland infantry, three hundred; Third Maryland infantry, five hundred and fifty; One Hundred and Twenty-sixth New-York volunteers, nine hundred and fifty; One Hundred and Fifteenth New-York volunteers, nine hundred and seventy-five; Thirty-ninth New-York, Garibaldi Guard, five hundred; total, three thousand nine hundred and seventy-five men. Colonel Ford's only reason for evacuating the Heights, when asked by Colonel Miles, was, “his regiments wouldn't fight” --a stigma upon his own Thirty-second Ohio and the Garibaldians, who alone could have held the Heights until Monday. Again, Harper's Ferry is represented as an immense stronghold--“a Gibraltar.” Harper's Ferry was a complete slaughter-pen — a small triangular position, contracted between two rivers, and surrounded on all sides by bluffs and hills. Gen. Jackson and Gen. Hill told me, personally, they had rather take it forty times than to under-take to defend it once. Col. Miles was wounded three quarters of an hour after the white hand-kerchief was displayed, emblematic of a cessation of hostilities, and not after the condition of surrender was settled. Again, I saw a statement that fifty-seven pieces of artillery were turned over, and three field-batteries besides, making seventy-five pieces — a falsity; also one hundred tons of ammunition and twenty days rations for fifteen thousand men — a base lie. Our men had been living on half-rations for three days previous to Gen. White's arrival, with three thousand five hundred men, from Martinsburgh. Col. Miles seized all the flour from the mills and stores in and around Harper's Ferry, to subsist his troops upon. The injustice done Col. Miles has emanated principally from the infantry troops, who had nothing to do with the engagements of Sunday and Monday, it being an artillery duel entirely, with the infantry in trenches five feet deep. As for ammunition, the enemy got about forty thousand rounds of musket-cartridges, and not a single shell nor round shot. They got about fifty rounds of canister shot, (three hundred yards range.) Colonel Miles would not and did not raise the white flag until his artillerists had all reported themselves entirely out of ammunition. The enemy did not get fifteen thousand stand of arms, but about seven thousand five hundred, and most of them the men had rendered useless by taking out the lock-springs. They got the following guns: six twenty — four pounder howitzers; twelve six-pounder Napoleons, smooth; six three-inch James's rifled-guns; four twenty-pounder rifled Parrotts; six smooth-bores, brass. Also the following guns, which were spiked and useless, on Maryland Heights: two nine-inch Dahlgrens; one fifty-pounder rifled Parrott; six twelve-pounder howitzers; four common rough; total, forty-seven. By publishing the above written items you will do justice to the public, and by stating that a more gallant and loyal officer does not exist in the States, nor does there exist a man who, under the circumstances, could have held out longer than did Colonel Miles. The Government knew his situation — knew he was pressed with one hundred thousand men who were determined to take the place — knew that the place was under a tremendous cannonade from daylight on Friday, September twelfth, till dark; again from day-break Saturday till dark; from half-past 2 P. M. Sunday, the fourteenth, till dark; and at last, before daylight on Monday, September fifteenth, until the last shell and round shot was expended, at nine o'clock A. M. Col. Miles's limb was not amputated; reaction did not take place sufficient to allow of it. He lingered until half-past 4 P. M. on Tuesday. On Wednesday his body was taken to Frederick in a rough box by his staff-officers, and a metallic case procured, and therein conveyed to Sweet Air, Baltimore County, near Baltimore, Md. I hope justice will be done by the proper report at headquarters of the army.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
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.