McLaws, with his own and R. H. Anderson's divisions, was ordered to seize Maryland Heights on the north side of the Potomac, opposite Harper's Ferry, and Brigadier-General Walker to take possession of Loudon Heights, on the east side of the Shenandoah, where it unites with the Potomac. These several commands were directed, after reducing Harper's Ferry and clearing the valley of the enemy, to join the rest of the army at Boonesboro or Hagerstown. The march of these troops began on the tenth, and at the same time the remainder of Longstreet's command and the division of D. H. Hill crossed the South-Mountains and moved toward Boonesboro. General Stuart, with the cavalry, remained east of the mountains, to observe the enemy and retard his advance. A report having been received that a Federal force was approaching Hagerstown from the direction of Chambersburgh, Longstreet continued his march to the former place, in order to secure the road leading thence to Williamsport, and also to prevent the removal of stores which were said to be in Hagerstown. He arrived at that place on the eleventh, General Hill halting near Boonsboro to prevent the enemy at Harper's Ferry from escaping through Pleasant Valley, and at the same time to support the cavalry. The advance of the Federal army was so slow at the time we left Fredericktown as to justify the belief that the reduction of Harper's Ferry would be accomplished and our troops concentrated before they would be called upon to meet it. In that event it had not been intended to oppose its passage through the South-Mountains, as it was desired to engage it as far as possible from its base. General Jackson marched very rapidly, and, crossing the Potomac near Williamsport, on the eleventh, sent A. P. Hill's division directly to Martinsburgh, and disposed the rest of the command to cut off the retreat of the enemy westward. On his approach the Federal troops evacuated Martinsburgh, retiring to Harper's Ferry on the night of the eleventh, and Jackson entered the former place on the twelfth, capturing some prisoners and abandoned stores. In the forenoon of the following day his leading division, under General A. P. Hill, came in sight of the enemy, strongly intrenched on Bolivar Heights, in rear of Harper's Ferry. Before beginning the attack, General Jackson proceeded to put himself in communication with the cooperating forces under Generals McLaws and Walker, from the former of whom he was separated by the Potomac, and from the latter by the Shenandoah. General Walker took possession of Loudon Heights on the thirteenth, and the next day was in readiness to open upon Harper's Ferry. General McLaws encountered more opposition. He entered Pleasant Valley on the eleventh. On the twelfth he directed General Kershaw, with his own and Barksdale's brigade, to ascend the ridge whose southern extremity is known as Maryland Heights and attack the enemy, who occupied that position with infantry and artillery, protected by intrenchments. He disposed the rest of his command to hold the roads leading from Harper's Ferry eastward through Weavertown, and northward from Sandy Hook; guarding the pass in his rear, through which he had entered Pleasant Valley, with the brigades of Semmes and Mahone. Owing to the rugged nature of the ground on which Kershaw had to operate, and the want of roads, he was compelled to use infantry alone. Driving in the advance parties of the enemy on the summit of the ridge on the twelfth, he assailed the works the next day. After a spirited contest they were carried, the troops engaged in their defence spiking their heavy guns and retreating to Harper's Ferry. By half-past 4 P. M., Kershaw was in possession of Maryland Heights. On the fourteenth, a road for artillery was cut along the ridge, and at two P. M. four guns opened upon the enemy on the opposite side of the river, and the investment of Harper's Ferry was complete. In the mean time, events transpired in another quarter which threatened to interfere with the reduction of the place. A copy of the order directing the movement of the army from Fredericktown had fallen into the hands of General McClellan, and disclosed to him the disposition of our forces. He immediately began to push forward rapidly, and on the afternoon of the thirteenth was reported approaching the pass in South-Mountain, on the Boonesboro and Fredericktown road. The cavalry, under General Stuart, fell back before him, materially impeding his progress by its gallant resistance, and gaining time for preparations to oppose his advance. By penetrating the mountains at this point he would reach the rear of McLaws and be enabled to relieve the garrison at Harper's Ferry. To prevent this, General D. H. Hill was directed to guard the Boonesboro Gap, and Longstreet ordered to march from Hagerstown to his support. On the thirteenth, General Hill sent back the brigades of Garland and Colquitt to hold the pass; but subsequently ascertaining that the enemy was near, in heavy force, he ordered up the rest of his division. Early on the fourteenth a large body of the enemy attempted to force its way to the rear of the position held by Hill by a road south of the Boonesboro and Fredericktown turnpike. The attack was repulsed by Garland's brigade after a severe conflict, in which that brave and accomplished young officer was killed. The remainder of the division arriving shortly afterward, Colquitt's brigade was disposed across the turnpike road; that of G. B. Anderson, supported by Ripley, was placed on the right, and Rodes occupied an important position on the left. Garland's brigade, which had suffered heavily in the first attack, was withdrawn, and the defence of the road occupied by it intrusted to Colonel Rosser, of the Fifth Virginia cavalry, who reported to General Hill with his regiment and some artillery. The small command of General Hill repelled the repeated assaults of the Federal army, and
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Foreign accounts of the fight.
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