Report of Major-General McLaws of operations below Richmond, Subseqent to battles of Richmond.
Charles City and Long Bridge roads, I moved with the brigades of Colonel Barksdale and General Semmes, and two regiments of the South Carolina brigades, (all with me.) Not long after reaching the Charles City road, the head of my column was halted, by coming up with that of General Ripley, moving in the same direction. I had not been informed of General Ripley's orders, nor, indeed, that he would move in that direction. The day was excessively warm, and the troops were marched slowly. Finding that General Ripley's column had halted about nine miles from here, a very considerable time, I rode forward, and found General Ripley at Fisher's. He informed me that he was constructing two rifle pits to strengthen his position. Shortly after my arrival, one of General Ripley's brigades was ordered forward to the junction, and the cavalry advanced. It was the general impression that the enemy had a very considerable force of cavalry on our left, and a large body of infantry in front. It was not until late in the day, that I discovered there was a regiment of two or three hundred, or more, of our own cavalry about the junction and Fisher's. The junction was occupied without opposition, nothing of the enemy being seen beyond their mounted pickets, which retired as our own advanced. The whole of Ripley's command was advanced, forming line of battle across the road at the junction, and having brigades supporting each other, at Fisher's house, where my whole division was in reserve. As night came on, the troops bivouacked in the woods in advance of the junction, and in position elsewhere to meet any emergency. On the seventh instant, there was some delay, owing to a portion of Ripley's troops not being supplied with rations. The advance was, however, commenced by a brigade being thrown forward, and occupying the vicinity of the creek, between the parsonage and Willis's Church — videttes and skirmishers occupying the parsonage and overlooking the battle-ground of July first. The other brigade of Ripley's and the whole command was ordered to march in easy supporting distance. A brigade also occupied Gatewood's to guard against any movement from the left. I then wrote to General Longstreet, and informing him of my movements, suggested that General Jones's command or a brigade be advanced from that side, taking its artillery. I did this because the road at the crossing of the creek, beyond Willis's Church, had been blockaded by the enemy, making it impassable for artillery. Shortly afterward, it was reported that the enemy had abandoned Malvern Hill, and our cavalry occupied it. General Longstreet coming up, I rode forward with him to the “heights,” and the brigades of Generals Rodes, Toombs, and Jones coming forward, occupied them at Dew's house, and to the right and left. During the sixth and seventh, between thirty and forty stragglers were brought in from the enemy. All that were questioned spoke of a very large force of infantry occupying Malvern Heights and the adjacent country, and of from three to six regiments of cavalry. More confidence was given to the reports of prisoners than otherwise would have been done, because it was believed they had purposely thrown themselves in the way of our pickets, wishing to be captured. Many stated that General Heintzelman was in command on Malvern Hill, etc., etc. I saw nothing to indicate an intention of the enemy to occupy Malvern Hill permanently, or if such was their purpose, they had neglected the usual precaution of fortifications. I returned to my old camp on yesterday. I saw several men on the way prostrated with sunstroke, and have understood that some of the cases proved fatal. The march would have been made during the night previous, but my commissary had estimated for subsistence stores, and they had been sent down to Fisher's, and unloaded in the field during his absence, the wagons in which they came returning to town. Very respectfully,
L. Mclaws, Major-General.
Report of Major-General McLaws of operations about Harper's Ferry.
Headquarters division, October 18, 1862.sir: On the tenth ultimo, in compliance with special order, No. 191, of September ninth, 1862, from your headquarters, I proceeded with my own and General Anderson's division, via Buckettsville, to Pleasant Valley, to take possession of Maryland Heights, and endeavor to capture the enemy at Harper's Ferry and vicinity. I reached the valley on the eleventh. Pleasant Valley runs north and south, and is bounded on the east by the Blue Ridge, on the west by Elk Ridge, the southern portion of which ridge being more specially designated as Maryland Heights. The distance across, in an air line, between the summits of the two ridges, being about two and a half or three miles. The valley itself is rolling and irregular, having one main road along or near the foot of the Blue Ridge, and there is another along the base of Elk Ridge; but it is very much out of repair, and not much used. The Potomac River runs along the south ends of both ridges, Harper's Ferry town being on the opposite side of the river, but entirely commanded by Maryland Heights, from which a plunging fire, from musketry even, can be made into the place. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the turnpike to Frederick, Maryland, through Middletown, and the canal to Washington city, pass along the south end of the Blue Ridge, there being just enough space for them between the mountains
Colonel B. H. Chilton, Adjutant-General:
Colonel B. H. Chilton, Adjutant-General: