We have information that the enemy evacuated Harper's Ferry
on the night of the 16th inst., after burning the foundry at the Gulf Mills
, and retreated to the Maryland
side.--A volunteer who participated in the late engagement under Colonel Ashby
furnishes us the subjoined account of that affair:
"On the anniversary of Brown
's raid, 16th of October, the gallant and brave Colonel T. Ashby
, with about 300 cavalry and 700 militia, (infantry,) and two pieces of artillery, marched down the turnpike to what has been called Moler's hill, (now the School-house
hill,) where the enemy had pickets the day before.
They fell back if they were there, when a company of cavalry, commanded by Captains Winfield
, wheeled to the right, and another company wheeled to the left, commanded by Captains Mason
A company of infantry, from Rockingham
, also went to the right.
Thus in order they were to cross a valley about one mile wide, and ascend a steep hill or mountain called Alistot's hill, on which were two forts or batteries of large pine logs, constructed by the Yankees
as their standing point of defence.
Our two cannon fired several rounds at them, they answering our fire, when the daring Col. Ashby
, with his officers and men — militia, infantry, and cavalry, made a gallant and hold charge across the valley and up a long and steep hill in the face of the enemy, and under their fire.
gave way, leaving their fortifications for shelter in the houses at Bolivar
and Harper's Ferry
That charge for the distance of near one mile up the hill, must have been a grand move to test the and courage of the troops.
It was equal to any charge in history.
The officers and men pressing up the mountain, driving the enemy before them from their strong fortifications, was a grand sight.
"The writer (sixty years of age) was with the cavalry that moved to the right, with a company of infantry from Rockingham
We crossed the valley to the railroad at Keye's switch or depot, then on the heights, and thence with cavalry and the company of infantry, descended the mountain to the railroad through the narrow pass at Bulls falls to the Gulf mills
; then up the mill road in the mountain to Bolivar
We captured some citizens on the hills giving signals to the enemy, and drove in a body of pickets.
"On reaching the open ground of Bolivar
, in the rear of the enemy's fortifications, we expected to cut off their retreat to the ferry, but were disappointed.
They were on their retreat, with Col. Ashby
's column after them, when our cavalry ordered a charge, and such a shout went up!
Away they dashed after the Yankees
under a heavy fire from their infantry, the balls passing us with a most singular sound — music that I never heard before.
Near by was Colonel Ashby
's artillery, with the infantry in Strider's field, both sides firing constantly.
After one hour's engagement the fire ceased, and the enemy returned on our left flank, north of Bolivar
The infantry formed near the breastworks in the woods, and when the enemy left their shelter in the houses and advanced on our force, a severe engagement, the heaviest firing of the day, occurred.
Our men must have thinned their ranks, as they retired a second time.
Just then I left my horse to aid in conveying the wounded from the field.
I saw persons passing with blankets, coats, and cartridge-boxes, left by the enemy; and along came young Mr. Pennybacker
with a prisoner he had captured in Smallwood's field.
I next met persons bearing along a young man wounded in the leg, also a prisoner.
I have since heard that there were about twenty-five of the enemy killed besides the wounded.
"At this time the artillery opened on the enemy from the Loudoun Mountain
, but again ceased a short space, when it was evident the enemy had been reinforced either by the railroad from Shepherdstown
The balls and bombs passed over and fell around us at a dangerous rate, and the outsiders, lookers on, commenced a hasty retreat.
This had a bad effect, making the artillery horses hard to manage; indeed, one team was running at large.
I think, in future, all persons not in active engagement should be excluded from the vicinity of an army or column of attack.
Our only loss was one noble soldier, from Woodstock
, killed, and ten wounded. I look at it as a miracle, or wonderful interposition of Divine Providence, that more were not killed or wounded.
We had to leave our large cannon, which broke down on Allstot's hill, just below the enemy's battery.
As the enemy had evidently been reinforced they pressed forward, when our troops retired to Moler's Hill, where they formed in line and let them hear from our artillery in several rounds, when they ceased firing for the night.