From the Border.
fight near Harper's Ferry
--the Yankees Repulsed
— the Ferry
evacuated &c., &c.
[Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Shepherdstown, Jefferson Co., Va., October 19th, 1861.
On last Wednesday, the 16th inst., the loud-mouthed cannon echoed and reverberated throughout this section of the Confederacy
, plainly telling us that ‘"grim visaged war"’ had commenced hostile operations along the border.
Some 1,500 of the enemy had crossed the Potomac
(in scows) at Harper's Ferry
, marched out on the Charlestown turnpike
, about three miles, and entrenched themselves on Allstadt's hill. Col. Ashby
being apprized of the fact, marched with some 500 men, principally Virginia
militia, and two pieces of artillery, and took a position on a hill, having full view of the enemy.
About sunrise on the 16th, the gallant Colonel
opened the ball by letting loose his ‘"dogs of war"’--one a 24-pounder, which played havoc with Yankee fortifications.
The fight lasted about six hours. The militia charged the enemy's breast works and succeeded in driving him from his position, which was soon occupied by the Confederates
The Federals retreated down into the ferry, our cavalry hotly pursuing them as far as Bolivar
Meantime they were heavily reinforced.
's column being near at hand, with every facility for bringing his ‘"pigs to market"’ they rallied, and renewed the attack, and succeeded in gaining their original position on Allstadt's hill.
This could have been prevented, but for an unfortunate and unexpected casualty happening to the 24-pound cannon, which was disabled and rendered useless by the breaking of an axletree of the carriage. --With the loss of the use of the 24-pounder, and the odds being too great to contend against, our men deemed it prudent to fall back to their original position.
The enemy threw shot and shell from the Maryland Heights
with remarkable precision; but mistook the position of the Confederates
and overshot them.
The loss is variously estimated; but from the best information I can gather, the Federal
loss may be safely set down at fifty killed, eighty wounded, and two prisoners. Confederate loss trifling--one killed and ten wounded. A variety of rumors are flying about with regard to the mortuary results, and it is difficult to obtain the correct figures.
But the above is as near correct as any.
On the 17th the Yankees
evacuated the Ferry
; perhaps deeming ‘"discretion the better part of valor."’ However, before they left, it was necessary to ‘"show their hand"’--they set fire to a small foundry.
On the Loudoun Heights Gen. Evans
was stationed with two regiments to assist Col. Ashby
How much assistance was afforded from the Loudoun side cannot be ascertained, as it is thought his guns didn't reach far enough.
Of one thing we are certain, Gen. Evans
's men fired into a train of cars alled with Federal reinforcements, and knocked it all to pieces; the result of which will perhaps never be made known.
Too much praise cannot be awarded to the Virginia
militia for the bravery they displayed upon the battle field.
They actually fought like veterans; charged the enemy's fortifications, and drove him off. I am told, by an eye witness, that after all of our men had fallen back the militia still held the Yankee
entrenchments; and as they
advanced to retake it our militia slowly retired to the brow of the hill, taking the enemy's fire, and stood, defiantly flaunting the ‘"Stars and Bars"’ in his face.
At this point, on the other side of the river, the 1st Maryland regiment, of Plug Uglies has ‘"vamoosed the ranche,"’ but is replaced by the 12th Indiana regiment, Col. Link
Before the Maryland
scape gallowses left, they had to perform an act of daring as a remembrance.
So, on the morning of the 16th, they discharged their cannon some two or three times, and sent one ball into a private residence on this side.
Fortunately, the family escaped uninjured.
More Federal outrages.
Since the above was written, I have learned that the Yankee
mercenaries (about 200) made an incursion into this county, about four miles from this place, at a point called ‘" Terrapin Neck,"’ and committed unheard-of depredations.
About daylight this morning they visited the residence of Mr. Henry Shepherd
, an extensive farmer and wealthy citizen, and plundered at wholesale.
They stopped at nothing.
Besides rifling the house of nearly all the bed-clothes, breaking the furniture, robbing the smoke-house of all the bacon and lard, and stealing all the poultry, they ‘"captured
"’ and took away with them seven negroes, eight mules, twenty-two head of fattening hogs, and took two white persons prisoners.
's loss amounts to from $6,000 to $8,000. At the time none of the family were at home.
I suppose these depredations are to make up for the recent inglorious defeat and retreat at Harper's Ferry
P. S.--The negroes have since returned.--After taking them over into camp they were told that they were now freemen,
and if they consented to stay would be treated and protected as such.
They were allowed to choose for themselves, and when the question was put to them whether they would stay and be all freemen, or return to their comfortable quarters, they readily chose the latter.
What a striking commentary upon Fremont