under the long procession of heavy wheels, churning in the mud, they became canals of slush in which many vehicles were hopelessly stalled.
My command, between sunset and sunrise, was only able to cover about three miles — seldom moving more than a few yards at a time.
Large bonfires on the banks were kept up to light the entrance upon the bridge, but in spite of them a wagon loaded with wounded ran off into the river.
After daylight the weather cleared and better progress was made, the last of Hill
's corps crossing about 1 P. M. During the morning it was followed by the enemy who skirmished with our rear-guard and picked up stragglers.
In one of these skirmishes, a small body of Federal cavalry was allowed to approach within 200 yards of Heth
's division under Pettigrew
, who supposed them to be our own cavalry bringing up the rear.
These, however, had passed without giving notice that they were the last.
A Maj. Weber
, of the 6th Mich. Cav., seeing but a small portion of the Confederate
line, charged it with about 40 men. Weber
was killed and nine-tenths of his command shot down, but one of a few pistol-shots which they fired gave a mortal wound to Gen. Pettigrew
He had been wounded in the hand on the 3d, and was unable to manage his horse, which reared and fell with him. In the act of rising, the fatal shot struck him.
's corps reached Williamsport
by the Hagerstown turnpike
and commenced fording the river by midnight.
The artillery with an escort of one brigade was sent to cross the pontoon bridge.
's report describes the fording of the Potomac
, as follows:—
My division waded the river just above the aqueduct over the mouth of the Conococheague; the operation was a perilous one.
It was very dark, raining, and excessively muddy.
The men had to wade through the aqueduct, down the steep bank of soft and slippery mud, in which numbers lost their shoes and down in which many fell.
The water was cold, deep, and rising, the lights on either side of the river were dim, just affording enough light to mark the places of entrance and exit.
The cartridge boxes of the men had to be placed around their necks; some small men had to be carried over by their comrades; the water was up to the armpits of a full-sized man.