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Edward Porter Alexander, Military memoirs of a Confederate: a critical narrative, Chapter 12: Boonsboro or South Mountain, and Harper's Ferry (search)
tam River, distant from Turner's Gap about 10 miles. D. H. Hill's troops were first withdrawn, and were followed by the rest of the infantry and artillery. Fitz-Lee's brigade of cavalry and Hood's and Whiting's brigades of infantry acted as rear-guard to the column. My reserve ordnance train, of about 80 wagons, had accompanied Lee's headquarters to Hagerstown, and had also followed the march back to Boonsboro. I was now ordered to cross the Potomac at Williamsport, and go thence to Shepherdstown, where I should leave the train and come in person to Sharpsburg. The moon was rising as I started, and about daylight I forded the Potomac, unaware of having had a narrow escape from capture, with my train, by Gregg's brigade of cavalry. This brigade had escaped that night from Harper's Ferry, and crossed our line of retreat from Boonsboro. It had captured and destroyed the reserve ordnance train, of 45 wagons of Longstreet's corps. It is now necessary to describe what took place
Edward Porter Alexander, Military memoirs of a Confederate: a critical narrative, Chapter 13: Sharpsburg or Antietam (search)
on the 16th, having forded the Potomac at daylight, at Boteler's Ford near Shepherdstown. McLaws extricated himself from Pleasant Valley by coming into Harper's Feon the 16th when his tired and hungry troops bivouacked within two miles of Shepherdstown. At midnight, summoned by Lee, he marched again, and, crossing the ford termaster and ordnance officer. Thus it happened that, when I arrived at Shepherdstown, about noon on the 16th, with my ordnance train, and rode across the river that the brigades of Gens. Lawton and Armistead, left to guard the ford at Shepherdstown, together contained but 600 men. This is a woful condition of affairs. hole situation. Until that time Lee had contemplated crossing the river at Shepherdstown, and he had directed Jackson to move to that vicinity to cover the crossingdistribute it to guard the fords of the Potomac at that point, and below to Shepherdstown. Hence it happened that on the morning of the 19th the hills on the Virgin
Edward Porter Alexander, Military memoirs of a Confederate: a critical narrative, Chapter 16: Gettysburg: the first day (search)
He, however, is scarcely to be blamed for suggesting the raid. Had he wasted no time paroling prisoners and saving wagons, his raid might have been successful, as raids go, for his whole casualties were but 89 killed, wounded, and missing. But the venture was a strategic mistake, for it resulted in the battle's being one of chance collision, with the Confederates taking the offensive, whereas the plan of the campaign had been to fight a defensive battle. Hill crossed the Potomac at Shepherdstown on June 23, and Longstreet began crossing at Williamsport on the 24th. Hooker was not far behind, for he crossed at Edward's Ferry on the 25th and 26th, and moved to the vicinity of Frederick. Here he threatened Lee's rear through the South Mountain passes, if he moved north, and, at the same time, covered Washington. Hooker had, meanwhile, been placed in command of the troops at Washington (some 26,000 men), and at Harper's Ferry, where there were about 11,000. It was a wise order,
Edward Porter Alexander, Military memoirs of a Confederate: a critical narrative, Chapter 22: the Mine (search)
either to attack, or to retreat by the way he had come. After a pause of two days he started, on June 19, through W. Va. via the Great Kanawha, the Ohio River, and the Baltimore and Ohio R. R. to Harper's Ferry. This left the valley open. Early at once moved down it to demonstrate against Washington. The only force available to oppose him was Wallace's command from Baltimore, with Ricketts's division of the 6th corps, which was the first to arrive. Early had crossed the Potomac at Shepherdstown and moved through the passes of South Mountain. On July 9, he attacked and defeated Wallace on the Monocacy. The next day he moved upon Washington, Wallace being driven toward Baltimore. Never before, probably, had Washington been as bare of troops as when Early arrived before it on the afternoon of July 11. But there were regular garrisons of infantry and artillery at many of the permanent forts, — District of Columbia volunteers, regiments of Veteran Reserves, many miscellaneous