the 26th our corps and the Nineteenth were again in motion, westward.
, on the 23d, at Strasburg
, having learned that the Sixth Corps had returned to Washington
, and that only Crook
's forces were at Kernstown
, the Nineteenth Corps also having departed, he fell with his combined force upon the commands of Crook
at that place.
Of this affair Gen. Hunter
wrote: ‘It was only owing to the steadiness and good conduct of the infantry which came with us from the Kanawha
, that the army was saved from utter annihilation. . . . The refuse force sent from Washington
, representing twenty-seven different regiments, is said to have done more injury than service.’
It was the receipt of the news of the misfortune at Kernstown
that caused the hurried march of the Sixth Corps on the 26th; now, the soldiers who had been enjoying self-granted furloughs in the city, were hurried beyond the barriers, some of them reaching their commands just on the eve of their departure, some dropping in in knots on the first, second, and third days after.
Some came to their camps outside the fortifications just as the corps were moving out in column, looking a little worse for wear; others smiling and serene; some haggard and spiritless, dragging themselves wearily along; some alighted from hacks, quite stylish turnouts, which the soldiers had chartered to convey them to the outposts.
We made, in the next day and a half, another of those forced marches for which the Sixth Corps was memorable in the annals of the Maryland
and Northern Virginia
Reaching the vicinity of Frederick
on the 28th, we advanced to Jefferson
, halted there at midnight, rested there until dawn, then through Sandy Hook
to the foot of Maryland Heights
, into the gap where the Potomac
had some day cut its path through the monntain rock and made an awful gateway with frowning columns of dizzy height on either hand, and between them a rugged channel for its torrent, and a long, irregular shelf for the mountain road.
A halt in the deserted, half-obliterated hamlet of Harper's Ferry
, under Bolivar Heights; later, a march to Halltown
, where we bivouacked.
The following afternoon we countermarched; infantry and artillery were sweltering for hours in the motionless, heated,