feel every blow at any of her sister States as an assault upon themselves, and give to them all that hearty good will, the expression of which is sometimes more important, under the infliction of calamity, than mere material aid. It is unnecessary to refer to the approach of the rebel army up the Shenandoah valley, on the third day of July last, to the defeat of General Wallace on the Monocacy, their approach to and threatening of the Capital, or their destruction of property and pillage of the counties of Maryland lying on our borders. These events have passed into history, and the responsibilities will be settled by the judgment of the people. At that time a call was made upon Pennsylvania for volunteers, to be mustered into the service of the United States, and to serve for one hundred days, in the States of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and at Washington and its vicinity. Notwithstanding the embarrassments which complicated the orders for their organization and muster, six regiments were enlisted and organized, and a battalion of six companies. The regiments were withdrawn from the State, the last leaving the twenty-ninth of July. I desire that at least part of this force should be confined in the service to the States of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and made such an application to the War Department. As this proposition did not meet its approbation, it was rejected,and the general order changed to include the States named and Washington and its vicinity. No part of the Rebel army at that time had come within the State. The people of the border counties were warned, and removed their stock, and at Chambersburg and York were organized and armed for their own protection. I was not officially informed of the movements of the Federal armies, and of course, not of the strategy of their commanders; but it was stated in the newspapers that the rebel army was closely pursued after it had crossed the Potomac, and was retiring up the valley of the Shenandoah. Repeated successes of our troops were also announced, and the people of the State had just cause to believe that quite sufficient Federal force had been thrown forward for its protection upon the line of the Potomac. On Friday, the twenty-ninth of July, the rebel brigades of Johnson and McCausland, consisting of from twenty-five hundred to three thousand mounted men, with six guns, crossed the Potomac at Clear Spring. They commenced crossing at ten o'clock A. M., and marched directly into Mercersburg. There were but forty-five men picketed in that direction, under the command of Lieutenant McLean, United States Army, and as the enemy succeeded in cutting the telegraphic communications, which from that point had to pass west by way of Bedford, no information could be sent to General Couch, who was then at Chambersburg. The head of this column reached Chambersburg at three o'clock A. M., on Saturday, the thirtieth ult. The rebel brigades of Vaughn and Jackson, numbering about three thousand men, crossed the Potomac about the same time, at or near Williamsport. Part of the command advanced on Hagerstown; the main body moved on the road leading from Williamsport to Greencastle; another rebel column of infantry and artillery crossed the Potomac simultaneously at Sheppardstown, and moved towards Leitersburg. General Averill, who commanded a force reduced to about twenty-six hundred men, was at Hagerstown, and being threatened in front by Vaughn and Jackson, and on his right by McCausland and Johnson, who also threatened his rear, and on the left by the column which crossed at Sheppardstown, he therefore fell back upon Greencastle. General Averill, it is understood, was under the orders of General Hunter, but was kept as fully advised by General Couch, as was possible, of the enemy's movements on his right and to his rear. General Couch was in Chambersburg, where his entire force consisted of sixty infantry, forty-five cavalry, and a section of a battery of artillery; in all less than one hundred and fifty men. The six companies of men enlisted for one hundred days remaining in the State, and two companies of cavalry, had, under orders from Washington, as I am officially advised, joined Averill. The town of Chambersburg was held until daylight by the small force under General Couch, during which the Government stores and train were saved. Two batteries were then planted by the enemy, commanding the town, and it was invested by the whole command of Johnson and McCausland. At seven A. M. six companies of dismounted men, commanded by Sweeny, entered the town, followed by mounted men under Gilmore. The main force was in line of battle, and a demand was made for one hundred thousand dollars in gold, or five hundred thousand dollars in Government funds, as ransom, and a number of citizens were arrested and held as hostages for its payment. No offer of money was made by the citizens of the town; and even if they had any intention of paying a ransom, no time was allowed, as the rebels commenced immediately to burn and pillage the town, disregarding the appeals of women and children, the aged and infirm; and even the bodies of the dead were not protected from their brutality. It would have been vain for all the citizens of the town, if armed, to have attempted, in connection with General Couch's small command, to defend it. General Couch withdrew his command, and did not himself leave until the enemy were actually in the town. General's Averill's command being within
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Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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