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of my reginient from Point of Rocks, Pennsylvania Volunteers, was accidenttwo of which he ordered to report to ally taken by a few of the enemy, whom Major Gould, at Sandy Hook, and soon he mistook for Massachusetts men, their joined me with the others on the field. The uniforms corresponding in all respects, standard of the 28th regiment Pennsyl- to that of the latter. The four men who vania Volunteers—the flag of the Union were killed were afterward charged upon
-was then unfurled on the soil of Vir- by the cavalry and stabbed through the ginia, and planted on an eminence of body, stripped of all their clothing, not Bolivar Heights, and under its folds we excepting shoes and stockings, and left directed the fire of our artillery against in perfect nudity. One was laid out in the batteries and forces on Loudon the form of crucifixion, with his hands
, Heights, and soon succeeded in silencing spread, and cut through the palms with every gun and driving away every rebel a dull knife. This inhuman treatment
. that could be seen.
incensed our troops exceedingly, and I “The victory was complete. The loss fear its consequences may be shown in of the enemy in killed and wounded is retaliating acts hereafter. I visited the generally conceded to be about one hun- iron foundry at Shenandoah city, and asdred and fifty, which they carried back in certained that it was used by the rebels wagons and on horses as rapidly as they for casting shot and shell of all kinds. I fell. We took four prisoners, among ordered it to be burned, which was done whom is Rev. Nathaniel Green North, the same night. The acts of individual chaplain of Colonel Ashby's command. gallantry are so numerous in the whole He is said to have been present at every command that it would be impossible to battle that has occurred in Virginia. give to each an appropriate mention ; The fine thirty-two-pounder columbiad, but I do not hesitate to say that every mounted on an old-fashioned gun-car- corps behaved with the coolness and riage, was captured, together with a courage of veteran troops. quantity of ammunition for it, consisting “It affords me pleasure to mention that of ball, shell, and grapeshot, for the Hon. Daniel McCook (father of General transportation of which a wagon was McCook), as an amateur soldier, gun in used as a caisson. These were imme- hand, volunteered and rendered much diately transferred to the north side of service during the engagement. I also the Potomac, and the gun is placed in mention like services rendered by Benposition against its late proprietors. One jamin G. Owen, Esq., of St. Louis.
, of their small guns used at Bolivar Both of these gentlemen were greatly Heights was disabled, having one of the exposed during the action. I am inwheels shot from the gun-carriage by a formed by authority deemed reliable, well-directed shot from Lieutenant Mar- that the enemy's forces consisted of the tin. They succeeded in dragging it from following troops, viz: the 13th and 19th the field. Our loss is four killed, seven Mississippi regiments, the 8th Virginia wounded, and two taken prisoners, a list regiment of infantry, Colonel Ashby's of whom is hereto attached. The greater regiment of cavalry, and Roger's Richpart of the loss occurred in the Wisconsin mond battery of six pieces, and one companies, who gallantly sustained the thirty-two-pounder columbiad, commandposition of our left flank throughout the ed by General Evans in person. Bolivar contest. One of the soldiers taken by Heights was taken at half-past one P. M. the enemy was Corporal —-, 3d Wis- I directed our troops to rest there until consin regiment, who was wounded in evening, when we fired a farewell shot the action. The other Corporal, Benaiah into Hallstown, and as there was no Pratt, of Company A, 28th regiment longer any necessity to remain on that
RECONNOISSANCE OF LEESBURG.
side of the Potomac, our errand having despatch to General Stone of the fact, been crowned with the fullest success, I informing him that General McCall would marched my command to the ferry, and that day send out heavy reconnoissances in five hours it was safely landed in in all directions, and adding : "The GenMaryland."
eral desires that you keep a good lookThe enemy before Washington baving out upon Leesburg to see if this movefallen back from their positions immedi- ment has the effect to drive them away. ately in front of the formidable force col- Perhaps a slight demonstration on your lected within the Union lines, a recon- part would have the effect to move
, noissance was ordered by General Mc- them."* Acting immediately upon this Clellan to ascertain their strength on the order or suggestion, General Stone set right in the neighborhood of the Poto- on foot a movement of his troops which mac. The region in Maryland opposite led, the next day, to the fatal engagethat part of Loudon county commanding ment at Ball's Bluff. Early on the afterthe approaches to Leesburg, the capital noon of the 20th he proceeded with Genof the county and the key to the upper eral Gorman's brigade, 7th Michigan, two interior communication with the valley troops of the Van Alen cavalry and the of the Shenandoah, was held by the Putnam rangers, to Edward's Ferry, division of Brigadier-General Stone. where a section of Bunting's New York His headquarters were at Poolesville, battery was already on duty. To Harwithin easy striking distance of Conrad's rison's Island, where there was already and Edwards' Ferries, which, some four a company of the 15th Massachusetts miles from one another, afforded the volunteers, he sent four additional commeans of crossing the Potomac at this panies of the same regiment under Colpart of its course. Intermediate be- onel Charles Devens ; while he ordered tween the two ferries was Harrison's Is- to Conrad's Ferry, at that time defended land, about two hundred yards in width by a section of Ricketts' battery, Coland three miles in length, unequally di- onel Lee with a battalion of his 20th viding the stream between the two Massachusetts regiment, a section of shores. On the Maryland side the dis- Vaughan's Rhode Island battery and tance was about one hundred and fifty Colonel Coggswell's New York Tamyards ; on the Virginia side, where the many regiment. Several additional regicurrent was more rapid, about one hun- ments, including Colonel Baker's so dred. Conrad's Ferry was at the upper called California regiment, numbering end of the Island. The river was much in all about 3,000 men, were left as a swollen by the autumnal rains. On the reserve in the rear. " The movements 10th of October it was reported in the of General McCall,” remarks General papers of the day that the Upper Poto- Stone in his report, “had evidently atmac in a few days had risen fifteen feet tracted the attention of the enemy, a above the fording point, and that the regiment of infantry having appeared volume of water and the rapidity of the from the direction of Leesburg and taken current rendered the use of pontoon shelter behind a hill about a mile and a bridges a matter of extreme difficulty. half from our position at Edwards' Fer
On the 19th of October General Mc- ry.” To intimidate or disperse this Call, who held the advance command in party of the enemy, General Gorman Virginia on the right of the Union line, was ordered to deploy his forces in their in pursuance of instructions, moved for- view ; three flat-boats were put in moward and occupied Dranesville.
As soon as this was accomplished General * A. V. Colburn, Assistant Adjutant-General, by order McClellan, on the 20th, sent word in a 20, 1861.
of General McClellan, to Brigadier-General Stone, October
tion as if for crossing, and to confirm covered by a company of the Massachuthis impression, shell and shot were dis- setts 20th to be posted over the landing charged from the battery into the place place." Colonel Devens was ordered to of the enemy's concealment. This de- make close observation of the position, monstration caused the quick retirement strength, and movements of the enemy, of the enemy.
"In the course of this and in the event of there being no enemy affair,” General Stone tells us," three there visible, to hold on in a secure po
a boat loads of thirty-five men each from sition, until he could be strengthened the 1st Minnesota crossed and recrossed sufficiently to make a valuable reconnoisthe river, each trip occupying about six sance. At this time orders were sent to or seven minutes." At dusk General Colonel Baker to send the 1st California Gorman's brigade and the 7th Michigan regiment to Conrad's Ferry, to arrive returned to camp. The troops stationed there at sunrise, and to have the remainat Conrad's Ferry meanwhile remained der of his brigade ready to move early. awaiting the return of the scouting party Lieutenant-Colonel Wood, of the 15th which had been sent, by order of Gen- Massachusetts, was also ordered to move eral Stone, from Harrison's Island in the with a battalion to the river bank opdirection of Leesburg. In the afternoon posite Harrison's Island by daybreak. General Stone sent a dispatch to Gen- Two mounted howitzers, in charge of eral McClellan communicating these inci- Lieutenant French of Ricketts' battery, dents, and touching upon a point—the were ordered to the tow-path of the means of transportation at hand-which canal opposite Harrison's Island.” “To
Το presently became of the utmost impor- distract attention from Colonel Devens' tance in the conduct of the operations in movements, continues General Stone in progress. “I have means," he wrote, his report, “ and to make a reconnois“ of crossing one hundred and twenty- sance in the direction of Leesburg from five men once in ten minutes at each of Edwards' Ferry, I directed General Gortwo points. River falling slowly.” man to throw across the river at that
At ten o'clock in the night word was point two companies of the 1st Minnebrought to General Stone at Edwards' sota under cover of a fire from Ricketts' Ferry that Captain Philbrick of the 15th battery, and sent out a party of thirtyMassachusetts, who conducted the recon-one Van Alen Cavalry under Major Mix, noitering party, had returned to the is- accompanied by Captain Charles Stewland, having been within a mile of Lees- art, Assistant Adjutant-General, Captain burg and made the discovery in the edge Murphy, and Lieutenants Pierce and of a wood of an encampment of thirty Gouraud, with orders to advance along tents. There were no pickets out any the Leesburg road until they should distance and he had approached to with- come to the vicinity of a battery which in twenty-five rods without being even was known to be on that road, and then challenged.
turn to the left and examine the heights Upon receiving this intelligence, Gen- between that and Goose Creek, and see eral Stone instantly sent orders to Col- if any of the enemy were posted in the onel Devens on the island,“ to cross four vicinity, find out their numbers as nearly companies to the Virginia shore and as possible, their disposition, examine the march silently under cover of the night country with reference to the passage of to the position of the camp referred to, troops to the Leesburg and Georgetown to attack and destroy it at day-break, turnpike, and return rapidly to cover bepursue the enemy lodged there, as far as hind the skirmishers of the Minnesota would be prudent, and return immedi- 1st. This reconnoissance was most galately to the island, his return to be lantly conducted, and the party proceed
COLONEL DEVENS' MOVEMENT.
ed along the Leesburg road nearly two with Captain Philbrick and two or three miles from the ferry, and when near the scouts across this slope and along the position of the hidden battery came sud-other line of it, observing Leesburg, denly upon a Mississippi regiment, about which was in full view, and the country thirty-five yards distant, received its fire about it, as carefully as possible, and and returned it with their pistols. The seeing but four tents of the enemy. My fire of the enemy killed one horse, but force being well concealed by the woods, Lieutenant Gouraud seized the dismount- and having no reason to believe my preed man, and drawing him on his horse sence was discovered, and no large numbehind him, carried him unhurt from the ber of the enemy's tents being in sight, I field. One private of the 4th Virginia determined not to return at once, but to
. Cavalry was brought off by the party a report to yourself, which I did by directprisoner, who, being well mounted and ing Quartermaster Howe to repair at armed, his mount replaced the one lost once to Edwards' Ferry to state these by the fire of the enemy."
facts, and to say, that in my opinion I While this diversion of the enemy was could remain until I was reinforced. going on at the left, Colonel Devens was The means of transportation between executing the movement ordered by Gen- the island and the Virginia shore had eral Stone on the right. He began the been strengthened, I knew, at daybreak, passage of the river from Harrison's Is- by a large boat which would convey land to the Virginia shore about mid-sixty or seventy men at once, and as the night ; but so inadequate was the trans- boat could cross and recross every ten portation, having only three four-oared minutes, I had no reason to suppose boats, together conveying only about there would be any difficulty in sending thirty men, that it was nearly four over five hundred men an hour, as it o'clock on the morning of the 21st be- was known there were two large boats fore his small force of five companies, between the island and the Maryland numbering about three hundred, were shore, which would convey to the island lodged on the opposite side. They passed all the troops that could be conveyed down the river about sixty rods by a from it to the Virginia shore." path discovered by the scouts and then On receiving the message brought by ascended the bank known as Ball's Bluff, Lieutenant Howe, General Stone ordered where they found an open field sur- a non-commissioned officer and ten cavrounded by woods. Here they halted alry to join Colonel Devens for the purtill daybreak, being joined by the com- pose of scouring the country near him pany, 100 men accompanied by Colonel while engaged in the reconnoissance and Lee, of the Massachusetts 20th, ordered to give due notice of the approach of to protect their return. “At daybreak,” any force. He also ordered Lieutenantcontinues Colonel Devens in his report, Colonel Ward to proceed with a battal
we pushed forward our reconnoissance ion of the 15th Massachusetts to secure toward Leesburg to the distance of about a crossing higher up and protect the a mile from the river, to a spot supposed flank of Colonel Devens in his return. to be the site of the rebel encampment,For some reason,” adds Colonel Stone, but found, on passing through the woods, “never explained to me, neither of these that the scouts had been deceived by a orders was carried out. The cavalry line of trees on the brow of the slope, who were accompanied by Captain Canthe openings through which presented, dy, Assistant Adjutant-General, and in an uncertain light, somewhat the ap- General Lander, were transferred to the pearance of a line of tents. Leaving the Virginia shore, but were sent back withdetachment in the woods, I proceeded out having left the shore to go inland, and thus Colonel Devens was deprived Tammany regiment, besides the 19th and of the means of obtaining warning of part of the 20th regiments of Massachuany approach of the enemy. The bat- setts Volunteers, and I left it to his distalion under Colonel Ward was detained cretion, after viewing the ground, to reon the Bluff in the rear of Colonel Dev- tire from the Virginia shore under the ens instead of being directed to the cover of his guns and the fire of the right."
large infantry force, or to place our reinColonel Baker meanwhile, whom we forcements in case he found it practicable have seen ordered by General Stone to and the position on the other side favorbe at Conrad's Ferry with his regiment able. I stated that I wished no advance at sunrise, had received the summons at made unless the enemy were of inferior two o'clock in the morning in his tent, force, and under no circumstances to pass and quickly rising from his couch roused beyond Leesburg, or a strong position his brigade for an immediate march. between it and Goose Creek, on the Gum Sending forward a battalion of the Cali- Spring road, i. e., the Manassas road. fornians under Lieutenant-Colonel Wis-Colonel Baker was cautioned in refertar and urging on the remainder, he ence to passing artillery across the hastened at an early hour to the Ferry river ; and I begged if he did do so to whence he proceeded for further instruc- see it well supported by good infantry. tions to General Stone at Edwards' Fer- The General pointed out to him the posiry. “I directed him," says General tion of some bluffs on this side of the Stone in his report, “ to Harrison's Is- river, from which artillery could act with land to assume command, and in full con- effect on the other, and, leaving the matversation explained to him the position ter of crossing more troops or retiring as it then stood. I told him that Gen- what were already over to his discretion, eral McCall had advanced his troops to gave him entire control of operations on Dranesville, and that I was extremely the right. This gallant and energetic desirous of ascertaining the exact posi- officer left me about nine A. M., or halftion and force of the enemy in our front, past nine, and galloped off quickly to his and exploring as far as it was safe on the command.” right, towards Leesburg, and on the left The following written order, dated, toward the Leesburg and Gum Spring Headquarters, Edwards' Ferry, October road. I also informed Colonel Baker that 21, addressed by General Stone to ColGeneral Gorman, opposite Edwards' Fer- onel Baker, it is stated, was found on the ry, should be reinforced, and that I would person of the latter after his death : “ In make every effort to push Gorman’s troops case of heavy firing in front of Harricarefully forward to discover the best line son's Island, you will advance the Califrom that ferry to the Leesburg and Gum fornia regiment of your brigade or retire Spring road, already mentioned ; and the the regiments under Colonels Lee and position of the breastworks and hidden Devens, now on the Virginia side of the battery, which prevented the movement river, at your discretion-assuming comof troops directly from left to right, were mand on arrival.” also pointed out to him. The means of While these preparations were being transportation across, of the sufficiency made for reinforcing Colonel Devens, that of which he (Baker) was to be judge, was officer, in his forward movement, had disdetailed, and authority given him to make covered a company of riflemen on bis use of the guns of a section each of right whom he attempted to cut off when Vaughan's and Bunting's batteries, to- a skirmish ensued, in which one of his gether with French's mountain howitzers, men was killed and nine wounded. A all the troops of his brigade and the body of the enemy's cavalry then ap