previous next

[277] military success might afford us an opportunity to aid the citizens of Maryland in any efforts they should be disposed to make to recover their liberty. The difficulties that surrounded them were fully appreciated, and we expected to derive more assistance in the attainment of our object from the just fears of the Washington government than from any active demonstration on the part of the people of Maryland, unless success should enable us to give them assurance of continued protection. Influenced by these considerations, the army was put in motion.

It was decided to cross the Potomac east of the Blue Ridge, in order, by threatening Washington and Baltimore, to cause the enemy to withdraw from the south bank, where his presence endangered our communications and the safety of those engaged in the removal of our wounded and the captured property from the late battlefield. Having accomplished this result, it was proposed to move the army into western Maryland, establish our communication with Richmond through the Valley of the Shenandoah, and, by threatening Pennsylvania, induce the enemy to withdraw from our territory for the protection of his own.

General D. H. Hill's division, being in advance, crossed the Potomac, between September 4th and 7th, at the ford near Leesburg, and encamped in the vicinity of Frederick. It had been supposed that this advance would lead to the evacuation of Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry, thus opening the line of communication through the Shenandoah Valley. This not having occurred, it became necessary to dislodge the garrisons from those positions before concentrating the army west of the mountains. For this purpose General Jackson marched very rapidly, crossed the Potomac near Williamsport on the 11th, sent Hill's division directly to Martinsburg, and disposed of the rest of the command so as to cut off retreat to the westward. The enemy evacuated Martinsburg and retired to Harpers Ferry on the night of the 11th, and Jackson entered the former on the 12th. Meanwhile General McLaws had been ordered to seize Maryland Heights on the north side of the Potomac, opposite Harpers Ferry, and General Waller took possession of Loudoun Heights, on the east side of the Shenandoah where it unites with the Potomac, and was in readiness to open fire upon Harpers Ferry. But McLaws found the heights in possession of the foe, with infantry and artillery protected by entrenchments. On the 13th he assailed the works, and after a spirited contest they were carried; the troops made good their retreat to Harpers Ferry, and on the next day its investment was complete.

At the same time that the march of these troops upon Harpers Ferry began, the remainder of General Longstreet's command and the

Creative Commons License
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.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
McLaws (2)
T. J. Jackson (2)
D. H. Hill (2)
Waller (1)
James Longstreet (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
11th (2)
September 7th (1)
September 4th (1)
13th (1)
12th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: