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l brigades of Vaughn and Jackson, numbering about three thousand men, crossed the Potomac about the same time, at or near Williamsport. Part of the command advanced on Hagerstown; the main body moved on the road leading from Williamsport to Greencastle; another rebel column of infantry and artillery crossed the Potomac simultaneously at Sheppardstown, and moved towards Leitersburg. General Averill, who commanded a force reduced to about twenty-six hundred men, was at Hagerstown, and being threatened in front by Vaughn and Jackson, and on his right by McCausland and Johnson, who also threatened his rear, and on the left by the column which crossed at Sheppardstown, he therefore fell back upon Greencastle. General Averill, it is understood, was under the orders of General Hunter, but was kept as fully advised by General Couch, as was possible, of the enemy's movements on his right and to his rear. General Couch was in Chambersburg, where his entire force consisted of sixty in
Rebellion Record: a Diary of American Events: Documents and Narratives, Volume 11. (ed. Frank Moore), Doc. 93. the burning of Chambersburg. (search)
the same morning, Generals Vaughn and Jackson, with over three thousand mounted men, at Williamsport, and moved toward Hagerstown. General Averell fell back to Greencastle during the day, and a small column of the enemy advanced five miles this side of Hagerstown, where they encamped that night. Another column crossed at Shepherdg and his retreat to Charleston. While it seems clear that General Averell could have saved Chambersburg had he fallen back to this point instead of halting at Greencastle, we are unwilling to censure him, or to hold him responsible for the sad record that McCausland has given to the history of our town. If but one column had thr if possible and cover this point and save his flanks; but for reasons, which we believe will yet be satisfactorily explained, General Averell did not move from Greencastle until morning, and then he made a circuit by Mount Hope, doubtless to protect his left and save his command from a combined attack by the several columns which