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[630] were at once detailed and set to work to drill holes for blowing up the arches; but after several hours of labor, it was apparent that, owing to the insufficiency of our tools and the extraordinary solidity and massiveness of the masonry, the work we had undertaken was one of days instead of hours. The movement of our main army from Frederick toward Hagerstown, which I had been officially informed would take place on the tenth, would leave my small division in the immediate presence of a very strong force of the enemy, and, while it would be engaged in destroying the aqueduct, in a most exposed and dangerous position. I therefore determined to rejoin General Lee by way of Jefferson and Middletown, as previously instructed by him.

Before marching, however, I received instructions to cross the Potomac at Cheek's Ford and proceed toward Harper's Ferry, and cooperate with Major-Generals Jackson and McLaws in the capture of the Federal force at that point.

Early on the morning of the tenth, the aqueduct over the Monocacy was occupied by a large force of the enemy, with their artillery commanding the aqueduct and its approaches, as well as Cheek's Ford. I then determined to cross at the Point of Rocks, which I effected during the night of the tenth and by daylight on the eleventh, but with much difficulty, owing to the destruction of the bridge over the canal and the steepness of the banks of the Potomac.

My men being much worn down by two days and nights' marching, almost without sleep or rest, we remained in camp during the eleventh, and proceeded the next day toward Harper's Ferry, encamping at Hillsboroa. On the morning of the thirteenth, we reached the foot of the Blue Ridge, opposite the Loudon Heights, which I was instructed to occupy. From such reconnoissance as could be made from below, it seemed certain that Loudon Heights were unoccupied by the enemy. To ascertain if such was the case, I detached Colonel John R. Cooke with his regiment, (the Twenty-seventh North Carolina,) and the Thirtieth Virginia Volunteers, who took possession of the heights without opposition, and held them during the night.

In the mean time, the enemy was being attacked on the Maryland Heights by the forces under Major-General McLaws, and in the afternoon it became apparent that our forces had possession of the summit, which commands Harper's Ferry as well as Loudon Heights.

That night and the next, the entire division, except that portion of it occupying Loudon Heights, were placed in a strong position to prevent the escape of the enemy down the right bank of the Potomac. At daylight on the fourteenth, I sent Captain French, with two Parrott guns and two rifle pieces of Branch's battery, under Lieutenant Martin, to London Heights, where I immediately proceeded and placed them in position. I informed Major-General Jackson of this by signal, and awaited his instructions. In the mean time, we had attracted the notice of the enemy, who opened their batteries upon us; and it became necessary either to reply or withdraw our pieces. About one o'clock P. A., I therefore gave orders to open fire upon the enemy's batteries and the troops upon Bolivar Heights, beyond Harper's Ferry. Our guns were served admirably and with great rapidity, and in two hours we had silenced an eight-gun battery near the Barbour House, except one gun, which was so close under the mountain that we could not see it. What other effect our fire had we could not tell; but it evidently produced great consternation and commotion amongst the enemy's troops, especially the cavalry.

During the engagement, one of the enemy's caissons was blown up by a well-directed shot from French's battery. On our side we lost Lieutenant Robertson, of French's battery, killed; Major Wyatt, Forty-eighth North Carolina troops, and two privates of French's battery wounded. Our guns and horses sustained no injury.

Owing to a heavy mist, which concealed Harper's Ferry from view, we did not open our fire until after eight o'clock, in the morning of the fifteenth, the enemy replying very feebly at first, and finally, about nine o'clock, ceased firing altogether. About half past 9 o'clock, we observed a white flag displayed from a large brick building in the upper town, when our batteries immediately ceased their fire, although I was not satisfied that it indicated a capitulation.

It soon became apparent that such was the case, and after a short time we had the extreme satisfaction to see the head of Major-General A. P. Hill's column approaching the town, along the Charlestown turnpike.

My division, that evening, crossed the Blue Ridge and the Shenandoah River, and by day-light, on the sixteenth, reached Shepherdstown, and, early in the day, crossed the Potomac, and reported to General Lee, near Sharpsburg, Maryland.

I am, sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

J. G. Walker, Brigadier-General, commanding Division.


Report of Brigadier-General Walker of battle of Sharpsburg.

headquarters Walker's division, camp near Winchester, Va., October 14, 1862.
Major G. M. Sorrell, A. A. G., Right Wing, Army of Northern Virginia:
Major: I have the honor to make the following report of the part borne by the division under my command in the battle of Sharpsburg, Maryland, on the seventeenth of September last:

The division, composed of Ransom's and Walker's brigades, the latter commanded by Colonel Van H. Manning, to which was attached French's and Branch's light batteries, after participating in the capture of the Federal forces at Harper's Ferry, crossed the Blue Ridge, the Shenandoah, and the Potomac, the latter at Shepherdstown, and reached the neighborhood of


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