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General Lee, learning that the garrison at Harper's Ferry had not been relieved, formed plans for its capture, and when McClellan reached Frederick, General Lee was two days march distant. Jackson, with his own corps and McLaws' and Walker's divisions, was sent to capture Harper's Ferry. Jackson crossed above and Walker below the town, while McLaws moved by way of Middletown and attacked Maryland heights. Walker took possession of Loudoun heights, while Jackson attacked the town from the rear. In the meantime, General Lee moved to Hagerstown and awaited results. He expected Harper's Ferry would be reduced, and the army concentrated again before McClellan could reach him, but, through an act of carelessness on the part of some one, a copy of General Lee's order for the movement fell into McClellan's hands at Frederick, which enabled the latter to act intelligently and quickly. General Lee was advised of the rapidity of McClellan's movement, which seemed to have as its object to cut him off from Jackson.

McClellan, by the knowledge he possessed, should have been master of the situation, and would have been had he put the energy into his movements which Lee or Jackson would have shown.

McLaws left Frederick on September 10, and reached the foot of Maryland heights on the night of the 12th. Barkdale's Brigade moved forward the following morning, engaged the enemy and forced him back gradually. The ground was very rough, and in many places precipitous. Great boulders here and there had to be flanked, and the passage of other obstructions, like gulches and irregular formations, made the progress necessarily slow, with the enemy in front. From the top of the heights the enemy maintained a continuous fire from twenty or more cannon. The shot and shell, striking the boulders, would shatter the surface, throwing fragments of rock everywhere. The small particles would fall about us like hail. Many witty and amusing interchanges passed between the Mississippians as the rock rained down above them.

It was necessary to drive the enemy from Maryland heights, and Barksdale's Brigade pushed forward over the rocks, under fire every inch of the way for two days and nights, without food or water. The mountain was very steep and rocky, but the advance was made with much spirit, the light footed Mississippi boys leaping and springing up the slopes and ledges with the nimbleness of squirrels. The enemy's artillery, although handled with animation, did little hurt or damage, but their riflemen, fighting from behind rocks and trees, opposed a strenuous resistance. The Mississippians, however,

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Robert Edward Lee (6)
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