It was during our tarry at Bakersville
, that our commander, Capt. Josiah Porter
, was compelled, by pressure of family bereavement, and business affairs growing out of it, to accept leave of absence.
As he never returned to this command, we wish to give testimony here to his worth as a gentleman and a citizen, and his honorable reputation as an officer of artillery and soldier of the Union
There was general regret at his departure.
We were, however, as a battery of light artillery, left in able hands, our first lieutenant commanding
being, in point of pluck, zeal, and what is called esprit de corps
, the equal of any volunteer battery commander in the service; this without disparagement to the gallant volunteer captains of this arm, in the various artillery brigades of this and other military departments.
Under his command we marched in the middle of October to Williamsport
, on the Potomac
, near the mouth of Conochocheague Creek.
Our guns were in position on the ridge west of the town, overlooking the Potomac
The infantry who accompanied us thither, and ourselves, seemed to have come there as a corps of observation, and to have taken a position that commanded the ford at this place.
How much force there might have been upon the heights beyond the river, we do not know; probably not a vast number, as it is now known that Lee
's main army was leisurely making its way to the Rappahannock
There were troops, however, visible over there, and citizens of the village who strolled out to our camp would point to them, and make some uncomplimentary remark.
But this was a possible gateway of invasion, inasmuch as Lee
subsequently crossed here; hence we presume a corps of observation, with additional troops within supporting distance, was despatched to this place.
This village in 1862 had a somewhat dilapidated and non-progressive appearance, this probably due to its unfortunate geographical situation.
Whiskey, which seems to be about the last supply to fail in the decadence of a village, was abundant here, and, notwithstanding strict orders forbidding the sale to privates, was obtained by some of them too frequently.
Our stay here was uneventful.
October was wearing away, and one evening, six weeks after the battle of Antietam
, after a two days march from Williamsport
, we found ourselves at Berlin
, below Harper's Ferry