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[75] with my division commanders, I became satisfied that the assault, even if successful, would be attended with such great sacrifice as would insure the destruction of my whole force before the victory could have been made available, and if unsuccessful, would necessarily have resulted in the loss of the whole force. I, therefore, reluctantly determined to retire, and as it was evident preparations were making to cut off my retreat, and while troops were gathering around me, I would find it difficult to get supplies, I determined to retire across the Potomac to this county before it became too late. I was led to this determination by the conviction that the loss of my force would have had such a depressing effect upon the country and would so encourage the enemy as to amount to a very serious, if not fatal disaster to our cause.

My infantry force did not exceed 10,000, as Breckenridge's infantry, which, nominally much larger, really did not exceed 2,500 muskets. A considerable part of the cavalry has proved wholly inefficient. Sigel was at Maryland Heights. Hunter was making his way to get in my rear, and Couch was organizing a militia force in Pennsylvania.

If, therefore, I had met a disaster, I could not have got off, and if I had succeeded in the assault, yet my force would have been so crippled that I could not have continued the active operations, so necessary in an expedition like mine. All these considerations conduced to the determination to which I came, and accordingly, after threatening the city all day of the 12th, I retired, after night, and have moved to this place in entire good order and without any loss whatever. Late in the afternoon, of the 12th, the enemy advanced in line of battle against my smirmishers of Rodes's division, and the latter being reinforced, repulsed the enemy three times. When I reached the vicinity of Frederick, General Johnson was sent, with his brigade of cavalry, to cut the Northern Central and the Philadelphia and Baltimore railroads, which he succeeded in doing, destroying very important bridges. The bridges over the Gun Powder creek, on the latter road, two miles in length, having been burnt by Major Gilmer, who was detached for that purpose with the Maryland battalion. He also captured and destroyed two passenger trains, in one of which he found Major-General Franklin, but he subsequently escaped by reason of the carelessness of his guards.

Johnson also burnt a small bridge on the road between Washington and Baltimore, and was on his way to Point Lookout, when my determination to retire, made his recall necessary.

An immense amount of damage has been done the enemy. Our cavalry has brought off a very large number of horses. Over one

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Bradley T. Johnson (2)
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