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[327] without any directions. Construing Halleck's orders literally, he obstinately shut himself up in the village of Harper's Ferry, and, in order to concentrate himself in this place more effectually, did not hesitate to sacrifice Maryland Heights, which formed its citadel.

On the morning of Saturday the 13th, McLaws attacked this position. The ridge of South Mountain, in stretching down to the Potomac, forms a succession of echelons. The last of these, which commands the river in front of Harper's Ferry, alone bears the name of Maryland Heights. At the same distance in the rear there is a more elevated ridge, which extends northward as far as Solomon's Gap. The Federals had intersected the ridge with a wooden breastwork, constructed in haste. The northern extremity was only occupied by a small detachment, which Mc-Laws drove back in taking possession of the defile. Following the ridge, he encountered the Federals, who had rushed forward to meet him, and drove them back to their entrenchments in disorder. After receiving some reinforcements, he renewed the attack about nine o'clock in the morning. The Union troops, protected by the breastwork, inflicted at first considerable losses upon the assailants, but soon gave way to a disgraceful panic and fled toward the lower echelon, abandoning to the enemy the position which they could have indefinitely defended with ease. Ford tried in vain to recapture it; his soldiers were unable to climb the acclivities, which their comrades had descended so rapidly, under the enemy's fire. He nevertheless remained in possession of Maryland Heights, while his adversaries, not profiting by the advantage thus acquired, suffered the rest of the day to pass without seriously molesting him. McLaws was unwilling to advance too far without being sure that Jackson was before Bolivar. It was well he acted thus; for during the night he was informed by Lee of McClellan's march, and received orders to dispute the mountain passes with the Federals. He therefore sent Cobb with a large portion of his forces to Crampton's Gap, where we have seen him contending with Franklin on the 14th, and he remained in person to watch Harper's Ferry with but the number of troops strictly necessary to occupy the heights he had so easily carried the day before. Meanwhile, by a strange coincidence, at the very

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