at noon of the 18th, Harper
received orders from Letcher
to go on to Harper's Ferry
The two companies from Staunton
left by the Virginia Central railroad about sunset; at Charlottesville
they were joined by Capt. W. B. Mallory
's Monticello guards and Capt. R. T. W. Duke
's Albemarle rifles, and at Culpeper
by a rifle company. Manassas Junction
was reached at about sunrise of the 18th, when Harman
impressed a Manassas Gap railroad train to take the lead toward Strasburg
, followed by the other trains that had brought troops to the junction.
on the 16th to collect their cavalry companies, and those of the Black Horse
cavalry under Capts. John Scott
and R. Welby Carter
; these to march across the Blue ridge
and rendezvous near Harper's Ferry
sent men on the night of the 17th to cut the wires between Manassas
and keep them cut for several days, to prevent information of this movement reaching Washington
Before 10 a. m. of the 18th, the trains reached Strasburg
and the infantry companies took up the line of march for Winchester
, with great difficulty, secured horses for his battery, and by noon followed on to Winchester
, 18 miles, which he reached about dark.
The troops were coldly received by the majority of the people of that conservative town, quite unlike their conduct during the following years of heroic endurance.
, reaching Winchester
in advance, when the infantry arrived sent them forward by rail to Charlestown
, 8 miles from Harper's Ferry
, and then ordered back the train for the artillery.
About midnight the infantry marched to Halltown
, within 4 miles of Harper's Ferry
, to which point the artillery was taken by train and the guns run forward by hand to Bolivar heights and put in position to shell the place if necessary.
, who thought the Massachusetts
regiment had arrived at Harper's Ferry
, was making his arrangements to attack the armory and arsenal at daybreak of the 19th, when at about 10 p. m. of the 18th a brilliant light from the direction of the armory convinced him that the Federal
troops in charge had fired it and fled.
He promptly advanced and took possession, but too late to extinguish the flames, which destroyed nearly 20,000 rifles and pistols,