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[328] moment when McClellan's approach prevented McLaws from seizing the prey which he held almost within his grasp, Maryland Heights were spontaneously abandoned by their defenders. During the night of the 13th-14th, while McLaws' movement was being counter-ordered from headquarters, Ford was bringing back his troops to Harper's Ferry, astonished and mortified at so fatal a retreat. The greatest portion of the 14th, however, passed without any attempt on the part of McLaws to come out of the position he had conquered the day previous. Maryland Heights thus remained unoccupied between the two armies, and some Federal soldiers were enabled to scale them with impunity, to carry off the four guns that had been abandoned at the moment of retreat. It was only at two o'clock in the afternoon that McLaws decided at last to plant himself on the heights; he placed a few light field-pieces in position, not so much for the purpose of participating in the combat taking place on the other side of the river, as to be able to make Jackson aware of his presence.

The latter had, in fact, been waiting since the 13th for Harper's Ferry to be completely invested, and every avenue of egress closed against its defenders, in order to commence the attack. His officers of the signal corps had hitherto waved their little flags in vain; no answer had come from Maryland Heights. As soon as Mc-Laws had shown himself, Jackson gave orders for feeling the extreme left of the Bolivar works. But before attempting a decisive assault, it was necessary to wait until Walker had hoisted his guns upon the steep acclivities of Loudon Heights. This first attack, therefore, was not intended to be decisive. Toward sunset, however, Jackson, taking advantage of the fact that the enemy's line of defence along the ridge of Bolivar Heights was very much extended, and consequently very weak, carried a great portion of those heights. During the night he placed most of his fieldpieces in position himself; the remainder, having been conveyed across the Shenandoah, were planted at the foot of Loudon Heights, so as to take the Federals, whom the infantry were to attack in front, between the two rivers, in the rear. When the protecting shadows of night fell over the defenders of Harper's Ferry, the situation, as may be perceived, was extremely perilous; they had, however, one chance of safety still left, for they could prolong

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