previous next

Rebel reports and narratives.

Gen. Jackson's official despatch.

headquarters valley District, September 16, 1862.
Colonel: Yesterday God crowned our arms with another brilliant success on the surrender, at Harper's Ferry, of Brig.-General White and eleven thousand troops, an equal number of small arms, seventy-three pieces of artillery, and about two hundred wagons. In addition to other stores, there is a large amount of camp and garrison equipage. Our loss was very small. The meritorious conduct of officers and men will be mentioned in a more extended report.

I am, Colonel, your obedient servant,

T. J. Jackson, Major-General. Col. R. H. Chilton, Assistant Adjutant General.

Richmond Dispatch account.

From a participant in the engagement, we have obtained some particulars with reference to the investment and subsequent surrender of Harper's Ferry. Our informant states that Gen. Jackson left Frederick on Thursday, taking the Hagerstown road, and at the same time the division of Generals McLaws and R. H. Anderson, moved from the vicinity of Frederick for the Maryland Heights, overlooking the town of Harper's Ferry. On Wednesday, the division of Gen. Walker was sent down to destroy the canal aqueduct at the mouth of the Monocacy, and arrived at that point during the night. The next morning early, before they had accomplished their purpose, an order was received from Gen. Lee directing Gen. Walker to proceed with his forces, by forced marches, to the Loudon Heights, via Point of Rocks, to prevent the enemy at Harper's Ferry from escaping in that direction.

The division crossed the river at Point of Rocks, nine miles below Harper's Ferry, and on Friday evening reached the position assigned to them. Gen. Jackson's force reached Williamsport, on the Potomac, on Friday morning, and immediately crossed and moved on Martinsburgh, twenty miles above Harper's Ferry, where there were some three or four thousand of the enemy's forces. On the approach of Gen. Jackson this force fell back and united with the force at Harper's Ferry, believed to number about five thousand. Gen. Jackson pursued, and on Saturday morning reached Halltown, four miles south-west of Harper's Ferry. From this point he despatched a courier to Gen. Walker, then in possession of the Heights south of the town, directing him not to open his guns on the enemy's fortifications until he (Gen. Jackson) got in position, of which he promised to notify Gen. Walker.

Meanwhile the divisions of McLaws and Anderson, after but little resistance, had become masters of the Heights on the Maryland side, the enemy leaving them, and joined the forces in [449] their intrenchments on the Virginia side of the river. On Saturday night Gen. Walker received orders from Gen. Jackson to open fire upon the enemy at daylight on Sunday morning. In obedience to this order, at day-dawn, the stillness of the Sabbath was broken by the opening of Walker's guns upon the fortifications of the enemy on Bolivar Heights, two miles above the railroad bridge at Harper's Ferry. At the same time the attack was made by the forces under Gen. Jackson, and the fight, which was desperate and determined, continued throughout the day — McLaws and Anderson shelling from the Maryland side.

The enemy resisted with great spirit, and the guns, of which they had a large number in position, were handled with great effect upon the columns of Gen. Jackson, which had to approach them through an open space, where their guns had unobstructed play. The shells from Walker's batteries and the impetuous attacks of Jackson's men rendered their intrenchments on Bolivar Heights too warm for the enemy, and late in the evening they fell back to Camp Hill, one mile in the rear of the Bolivar fortifications. Here they had their heavy guns planted and strong intrenchments thrown up, but within easy range of the batteries of McLaws and Anderson on the opposite heights. Night coming on, the struggle ceased, Jackson's forces occupying the deserted intrenchments on the hills of Bolivar. That night old “Stonewall” sent a message to Gen. Walker that his forces were in possession of the enemy's first line of intrenchments, and that with God's blessing, he would have Harper's Ferry and the Federal forces early next morning.

At daylight the next morning, (Monday,) the fight was renewed, the enemy still offering an obstinate resistance, until about seven o'clock A. M., when their colors were struck and a capitulation proposed. Of the terms of this capitulation we have learned no particulars, but conclude they involve the unconditional surrender of the whole force, negroes as well as Yankees. About nine o'clock our forces entered the second line of intrenchments, the enemy having surrendered every thing, guns, ordnance and commissary stores, etc. The number of the enemy is variously estimated at from seven to twelve thousand, and the negroes from fifteen hundred to two thousand.

Of our losses we are not apprised, but judge from reports that Gen. Jackson's column suffered pretty heavily. In Walker's division we had five killed, three of these by the accidental explosion of a shell. Among the killed in this division, we have heard the name of Lieut. Robertson, of French's battery.

later.--Since the above was written we have received the following additional particulars, contained in a letter to Gov. Letcher from Col. Francis H. Smith:

Winchester, September 16.
After the advance of our army to Frederick, and the issuing of the admirable proclamation to the people of Maryland by Lee, a movement took place with our troops, seemingly in the direction of Pennsylvania, but really for an important movement into Virginia. After sending a portion of his troops to occupy and hold the Maryland Heights, Gen. Jackson was directed by Gen. Lee to recross the Potomac at Williamsport, take possession of Martinsburgh, and then pass rapidly behind Harper's Ferry, that a capture might be effected of the garrison known to be there. The movement was admirably conducted. Martinsburgh fell, with a capture of one hundred and fifty prisoners and some stores, the most of which were being taken to the Ferry.

The investment of Harper's Ferry was effected on Saturday. Sunday morning there was some firing, and it was renewed yesterday morning, and the result was the unconditional surrender of the garrison--ten thousand men, with all the arms, fifty pieces of artillery, ammunition, one hundred wagons, quartermaster and commissary stores, and many cars, some of which were loaded, and nine hundred negroes. This important conquest was effected without the loss of a man on our side. So much is official. It is reported that the cavalry, one thousand in number, escaped by Shepherdstown.

Another account, received late last night, says that the surrender took place on Monday morning last, at ten o'clock. The firing commenced as early as five o'clock in the morning. Shortly after the Yankees sent out a flag of truce, proposing a conditional surrender; but our firing did not cease, when another flag was sent proposing an unconditional surrender, when the firing ceased. General Miles, the Federal commander, is reported to be wounded.

The results of the surrender, according to this last account, are as follows: Twelve thousand Yankees, thirteen thousand Enfield rifles, fifty cannon, one hundred four-horse teams, a number of fine artillery horses, a large quantity of ammunition, some quartermaster and commissary stores, and one thousand “contrabands.”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
September 16th, 1862 AD (2)
September 16th (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: