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Affairs at Williamsport — the fight for the Ferry boat.

A correspondent of the Baltimore American, writing from Williamsport, Md., June 3, gives the following details of the collision between the Virginians and Marylanders on Saturday and Sunday. The correspondence was doubtless written with an eye to giving an advantage to the Federal side:

‘ Camp Allen was broken up on Friday last, and gone, we don't know where. Two companies were left to guard Lemon's Ferry.--On Friday night the commander of the remaining companies evidently took fright, for he formed his soldiers at 12 o'clock at night, took his wife and child from their beds, and departed, as men do when in haste and fear, towards Martinsburg. On Saturday morning a company of cavalry, which were better adapted to running, and a company of riflemen, were sent in their place, with orders to sink the ferry boat.

The cavalry left about nine o'clock, and the rifle company (Capt. Patrick's) proceeded to sink the boat. They had accomplished their design before it was discovered on the opposite shore. As soon as it was discovered that they had sunk the boat, an officer of the Williamsport Guard stepped to the shore and commanded the Virginians to leave the boat in twenty minutes, or he would fire upon them. The twenty minutes passed; the fire was opened and returned. Captain Patrick sent a dispatch for aid. A brisk fire was kept up, the balls whistling over the men's heads, till some seventy shots were exchanged. A few toothpicks were knocked from the bridge and trees, but no one was injured. The men saw that they were wasting ammunition, of which they had but little, and the firing ceased.

Soon the Virginia cavalry was seen coming back down the turnpike at full speed. Well, you may believe that our little town was a boiling pot for a while. Pale faces were seen bobbing in and out of windows, crinolines were cutting the wind's eye in hasty flights across the streets.

It was known that the enemy had artillery and thousands of soldiers at no great distance. We had forty men and forty muskets. The town could have been riddled in thirty minutes from the hills across the river. Who could tell but that we had caught a Tartar? Our men stood as firm as the hills that backed them. Dispatches were sent to Clearspring and Sharpsburg for aid. But nothing more that was exciting happened till after dinner. Soon after dinner the Virginia soldiers were seen to enter the ferry boat and lighten her; soon she floated again. Some soldiers were put on board, and also three of the ferryman's sons, and they began to make their way down the river. It was evident that they intended to take her around to Falling Waters. The presence of the ferryman's three boys in the boat, who had been pressed into the service, prevented our men from firing into her; they were unwilling to kill them, so the boat passed on. She had proceeded about a quarter of a mile, when a squad of the Guards started in pursuit. The Virginia soldiers ran her nose against the Virginia bank and fled to the woods hard by.

Under a flag of truce (in the form of a man stripped to the skin and swimming the river) a message was sent to them that they could take that boat no farther, only at their peril. Reinforcement was then sent down to the Virginia soldiers with axes to cut the boat in pieces, when they were again informed that the first man who entered the boat with an axe in his hand would be shot dead on the spot. ‘"What shall we do?"’ asked the Captain of the Virginia soldiers. ‘"Sink the boat where she is, or take her back to the ferry and sink her there; but take her to Falling Waters you shall not!"’ was the reply. ‘"It is only that you have the advantage of us,"’ said the Captain, ‘"that we consent to do it.--Oh! that we had you at fair play!"’ ‘"That is just the way in which we are anxious to meet you at an early day,"’ was the response. But he did do it; took her back, knocked out the ping, sunk her, left her, and — the Williamsport boys felt better. A little later, a squad from Clearspring arrived, having dropped their tools, grasped their shootingirous and hastened to our aid, and at nightfall the Sharpsburg Rifle Company--brave boys those, of Harper's Ferry and John Brown notoriety — came in to back our Home Guards. All Saturday night and Sunday a guard was kept over the ferry boat; but an attempt was made to remove it, and the hours passed quietly away.

Our Martinsburg mail was taken from the driver and kept by the Virginia forces, near Falling Waters.

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Patrick (2)
John Brown (1)
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March, 6 AD (1)
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