The Harper's Ferry fight.
Col. Ashby's order to march — the enemy's balls Flying thick and fast — coolness of Confederate officers — the Yankees repulsed with a loss of eighty killed, &c.
[correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Having been engaged in the battle on Bolivar hill on yesterday, the 16th inst., we have concluded to give you a true statement of the same.
Early on the evening of the 15th we received orders from Col. Ashby
to have one day's rations cooked, and placed in our haver- sacks, ready to take up the line of march at daybreak.
Accordingly we were all early on the line of march on the morning of the 16th, and ready to meet the enemy.
About 8 o'clk A. M., we came in sight of the enemy, who were encamped on Bolivar hill, having their breastworks made with heavy logs.
We planted our cannon, consisting of one twenty-four pounder and one six-pound rifle cannon, upon the hill about half a mile this side of Bolivar hill, and commenced firing upon the enemy, they firing upon us with their small arms without any effect.
We soon drove them from their breastworks.
We then attacked them on the right and left, the first regiment marching through the field to the right; the second, straight forward, at double-quick time, from our position to the ground the enemy occupied a few moment's before.
The second regiment then marched on through a strip of woods and a field, in plain view and in range of the enemy's guns, the bullets falling like hail in our midst and around us. But through the interference of a kind Providence
we all gained the cover of the hill, except one man, who received a slight wound upon the hip.
After gaining the cover of the hill, we all lay flat on the ground whilst the balls of the enemy were whistling fast and thick over our heads.
The cavalry that were with the second regiment, kept up a fire upon the enemy, whilst they were firing upon us from the windows of the buildings in Bolivar
It was (here) on this hill that several of the cavalry fell belonging to Col. Ashby
It is due here to state that Maj. Finter
and Adjutant Grayson
acted with the greatest coolness and bravery, riding backwards and forwards on the top of the hill in plain view and in range of the enemy's fire, watching the movements of the enemy.
here seeing the first regiment on the right retreating, gave orders for the second regiment to fall back to the ground we first drove the enemy from, and in a few moments the Yankees
came up the pike charging and yelling like so many devils.
The second regiment here being joined by two companies (Captains Mauck
's) of the first retreating regiment, opened fire on the Yankees
, and repulsed them with considerable loss, our regiment not losing a single man, and having only one slightly wounded.
It is due here to say that the men of the first regiment are not to blame for retreating, as they had orders from their Col.
, who retreated with them.
The enemy, by this time, having received reinforcements and cannon, commenced firing bombshells in our ranks, and our force being very much weakened by the greater portion of the first regiment retreating, the handful of men that were left, by order of Colonel Ashby
, fell back on the hill where we first made the attack in the morning.
We here opened fire upon them again with the small rifle cannon.
The enemy occupying the same ground that they did in the morning, commenced firing upon us again with bombshells.
Our ammunition in the meantime giving out, and the 24-pounder being of no more use to us, (its axletree having been broken in the commencement of the engagement,) was spiked, thus rendering it useless to those whom it fell in the hands of.--The evening being now far spent, we were ordered back to our encampment.
There was only one killed on the Confederate
side--a Mr. Zimmer
, of the militia, from Shenandoah
, and seven or eight wounded.--The loss upon the Federal
side, according to their own acknowledgment in the Baltimore Sun
, is about eighty killed. But for the accident to our gun, the enemy would have been cut to pieces.
As it was, however, they lost in their flight upwards of one hundred coats and blankets, besides other trappings, and a number of fire-arms.
The victory on the Confederate
side was complete, the enemy making tracks in hot haste to Maryland
The Confederate force was 300 militia and about 250 cavalry, and that of the enemy 800 or 900, but were subsequently reinforced to about 2,000.
We captured seven of the enemy in the engagement.
The prisoners say that "the d — d militia fooled them,"
and that "they fought like devils without any officers.
" The Yankees
took it for granted that we had no officers, as they had laid aside their uniforms, and taken guns as common soldiers.
J. J. P. & J. W. T. S.