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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 1. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Diary of Robert E. Park, Macon, Georgia, late Captain Twelfth Alabama regiment, Confederate States army. (search)
y, and near the spot where, last year, I saw Major A. Proskauer, our gallant German Hebrew Major, from Mobile, and Dr. Adams, our assistant surgeon, eat fried mushroons ( frog-stools ), a very novel sight to me. July 29th Marched to Williamsport, Maryland, where our cavalry crossed the Potomac and captured large quantities of commissary and quartermasters' stores. August 1st, 2d and 3d, 1864 Remained quietly at Bunker Hill, resting. This rest and quiet of three days, after our contit, loss of sleep by night marches and constant picketing, is genuinely enjoyed by us all. August 4th Left our quiet camp for Maryland, and passed through Martinsburg, halting six miles beyond. August 5th Waded across the Potomac at Williamsport, and marched towards Boonsboro, halting five miles from Funkstown. General Breckinridge's command crossed at Shepherdstown. The majority of the men took off their shoes, tied them to their knapsacks, and waded through, over the rocks and gra
us to push forward, and, if possible, drive the enemy into the Potomac. Hurrying forward towards Charleston, we found that Banks Had shaped his course towards Williamsport, and ere he had crossed over to that town, our advance was well up with him; while the number of dead, wounded, and prisoners along the road showed what havoc , and unmercifully thrashed them whenever they turned to fight. At last, totally prostrated from fatigue, and helpless as children, we reached the vicinity of Williamsport, on the evening of the twenty-sixth, and found that all who remained of the enemy had effected a passage across the river at different points, and were safe in documents of value, thousands of shoes, and had burned millions' worth of property for want of transportation. Throughout the whole route from Strasburgh to Williamsport, in every late and every field, booty still lay where the enemy had left it, and for many days after our arrival on the Potomac, cavalry had little else to do
he Ferry. Having started from Frederick on the eleventh, Jackson rapidly pushed ahead on the Hagerstown road, as if intending to occupy that place, but immediately branched off to the left towards the Potomac, and crossed it the same night at Williamsport. No opposition was met with, and the column still proceeded onwards, our cavalry advance having a few hours before handsomely driven Colonel White and the Federal cavalry from Martinsburgh, where many useful stores were discovered and appropr knapsacks and haversacks; regiments marching by with arms, returned in a few moments without them; wagons of every description, cannon of every calibre, officers of every grade, and troops from every State, were passing and repassing towards our headquarters, and within a few hours all had filed past on parole. Then, many of our troops began to move up the Potomac towards Williamsport to join Lee, and participate in the great engagement which was expected to take place between the two armies.
patience and ardor of our men, that scarcely one of the Pennsylvania brigade escaped death or capture. The stream was literally blocked up with dead, and although the enemy maintained a heavy cannonade upon us; it could not restrain the impetuosity and rapidity of our attack. Leaving heaps of slain behind, and unheeding the constant cannonade maintained from Maryland, our forces withdrew towards the Opequan, and drew up in line of battle on the west side of it, our left extending to Williamsport and the Potomac. Although we were in battle array many days in anxious expectation, the Federals remained quiet in Maryland, and made no attempts to disturb us. A large mass of our troops had gone up the Valley towards Winchester, and halted there, and by degrees the whole army followed in the same direction, carefully carting and conveying away every-thing that could be of use; so that large part of the harvests recently gathered fell into the hands of our commissaries and quartermaster
oldiers, they were a milksickly set of fellows, and would have died off probably without any help from us if they had been kept in the mountains a little longer. They were on their way to Staunton. General McClellan had very generously provided them with provisions for three days, and wagons to carry the sick and wounded; and so, footsore, weary, and chopfallen, they go over the hills. An unpleasant rumor is in camp to-night, to the effect that General Patterson has been defeated at Williamsport. This, if true, will counterbalance our successes in Western Virginia, and make the game an even one. The Southern soldiers mentioned above are encamped for the night a little over a mile from here. About dusk I walked over to their camp. They were gathered around their fires preparing supper. Many of them say they were deceived, and entered the service because they were led to believe that the Northern army would confiscate their property, liberate their slaves, and play the dev
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: The Opening Battles. Volume 1., Jackson at Harper's Ferry in 1861. (search)
Robert E. Lee had been placed in command of all the Virginia forces by the governor, and by an ordinance every militia officer in the State above the rank of captain had been decapitated, and the governor and his military council had been authorized to fill vacancies thus created. Harper's Ferry, from the Maryland side. The railway bridge was destroyed by the Confederates on the 13th of June, 1861. Two days later, on the approach of Union forces under General Robert Patterson, near Williamsport, and under Colonel Lew Wallace at Romney (see footnote page 127), General Joseph E. Johnston (who had succeeded Colonel Jackson in command on the 23d of May), considering the position untenable, withdrew the Confederate army to Winchester. This was a disastrous blow to the pomp and circumstance of glorious war at Harper's Ferry. Militia generals and the brilliant staff were stricken down, and their functions devolved, according to Governor Letcher's order of April 27th, upon Thomas J. Ja
d his horseartillery, to the little town of Williamsport, about fifteen miles higher up the Potomac, About noon we reached the Potomac opposite Williamsport, forded the river, and drove a squadron ofllage some six miles distant. A mile beyond Williamsport we halted, throwing out our pickets and vid had been fired off by a fair young lady of Williamsport, re-enacting the part of the Maid of Saragoards called by our artillerymen The girl of Williamsport. During the afternoon we drove the enemy bto guard a broad turnpike road leading from Williamsport into the interior of Maryland, along which dvancing upon all the roads leading towards Williamsport. In my opinion the time for our retreat har, which, occupying the high banks opposite Williamsport, was, in case of necessity, to cover our reth a lurid glare from the burning houses of Williamsport, which had been ignited by the enemy's shelad to cover the line along the Potomac from Williamsport to Harper's Ferry, Hampton's brigade being [1 more...]
n compliance with instructions from the Commanding General, Army of Northern Virginia, I proceeded on an expedition into Pennsylvania with a cavalry force of 1800 men and four pieces of horse-artillery, under command of Brig.-Gen. Hampton and Cols. W. H. F. Lee and Jones. This force rendezvoused at Darkesville at 12 o'clock, and marched thence to the vicinity of Hedgesville, where it camped for the night. At daylight next morning (October 10th) I crossed the Potomac at McCoy's (between Williamsport and Hancock) with some little opposition, capturing two or three horses of the enemy's pickets. We were told here by the citizens that a large force had camped the night before at Clear Spring, and were supposed to be en route for Cumberland. We proceeded northward until we reached the turnpike leading from Hagerstown to Hancock (known as the National Road). Here a signal station on the mountain and most of the party, with their flags and apparatus, were surprised and captured, and also
lance, Stuart would have been careless of his person; but in the Southern struggle he was utterly reckless. This indifference to danger was evidently a trait of blood, and wholly unaffected. Nor, for a long time, did his incessant exposure of himself bring him so much as a scratch. On all the great battle-fields of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, as well as in the close and bitter conflicts of his cavalry at Fleetwood, Auburn, Upperville, Middleburg, South Mountain, Monocacy, Williamsport, Shepherdstown, Paris, Barbee's, Jeffersonton, Culpeper Court-House, Brandy, Kelly's Ford, Spotsylvania — in these, and a hundred other hotly-contested actions, he was in the very thickest of the fight, cheering on the sharpshooters, directing his artillery, or leading his column in the charge, but was never hurt. Horses were shot under him, bullets struck his equipments, pierced his clothes, or cut off curls of his hair, as at Fredericksburg, but none ever wounded him. In the closest me
onthat his men would have given the Federal troops a reception such as they had given Pickett. The stubborn resolution of the Army of Northern Virginia was thus unbroken-but the game was played for the time. The army was moving back, slow and defiant, to the Potomac. The cavalry protected its flanks and rear, fighting in the passes of South Mountain, and holding obstinately the ridge in front of Boonsboro, while General Lee formed his line to cover the crossing at Falling Waters and Williamsport. Here, near Boonsboro, Stuart did some of his hardest fighting, and successfully held his ground, crowning every knoll with the guns of his horse artillery. When the infantry was in position, the cavalry retired, and took position on the flanks — the two armies faced each other, and a battle seemed imminent-when one morning General Meade discovered that General Lee was on the south bank of the Potomac. It is said that the Federal commander designed attacking Lee that day, against th
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