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ton. At Holly Springs, pillaging and plundering were the order of the day, and to the utter disgrace of Van Dorn and his men, the armory hospital was burned, and the sick and wounded treated with shocking cruelty.
The principal effect of these attacks was to keep Grant within the borders
of Tennessee. Unacquainted with the peculiar difficulties in his way, public expectation had looked for the immediate reduction of Vicksburg; but that was a more serious matter than was contemplated, and was not brought about till the middle of the following summer.
LEE'S INVASION OF MARYLAND: BATTLES OP SOUTH MOUNTAIN AND ANTIETAM.
State of alFairs after Pope's exit — McClellan called on to fill the gap — Enters on command — Lee resolves to invnde Maryland — His army crosses the Potomac — Enter Frederick —Course pursued — Lee's address to the people of Maryland — How received—Miserable condition of the rebel army—Apprehensions — Action of governors of Maryland and Pennsylvania—McClellan sets out from Washington after Lee—Enters Frederick on 12th of September — Harper's Ferry held by Halleck's orders — Exposed condition — Jackson pent to capture it — Lee's order falls into McClellan's hands— Active movements in consequence—Feeble defence of Harper's Ferry — Invested by Jackson and captured — The surrender severely censured as disgraceful — Movement in advance to cross South Mountain — Conflict in forcing Turner's Gap and Crampton's Pass— Lee takes position on Antietam Creek, near Sharpsburg — Judiciously chosen — Preparations for the battle — Action of the 16th and 17th of September—Burnside's failure to move forward in time — Length and severity of the battle — Heavy loss — McClellan does not renew the attack on the 18th — Lee retires to Virginia— Invasion of Maryland a failure — McCleUan's and Lee's congratulatory addresses to their armies.
General Pope having made his exit, under the circumstances already narrated (see p. 214), it became a question at once of no little difficulty as well as delicacy, what was to be done? Affairs were in such a position that delay and inaction threatened the most serious consequences, and, on Pope's removal, it seemed almost of necessity that McClellan should again be called to the place he had filled, a month or so before, as commander of the Army of the Potomac. There was, in fact, hardly a choice in the matter. Among all the officers of merit and high standing there was no one especi
ally suited to the emergency, except McClellan. For he, however the directors of military operations at Washington may have acted towards him, however much also he may have failed to accomplish what was expected of him, was certainly immensely popular with the army. If any man could rouse them afresh, and nerve them to a spirited renewal of the contest against the rebels, now flushed with victory and threatening to carry fire and sword into the loyal states, it was McClellan; and, therefore, the president and his advisers turned to him in their present perplexities and trials. It deserv°?! to be
remembered, to McClellan's credit, that be promptly met the call of the government, and devoted his best energies to the important work before him.
Halleek, on the night of the 31st of August, wrote to McClellan, in camp at Alexandria, entreating his help: "I beg of you to assist me in this crisis, with your ability and experience. I am entirely tired out." On the 2d of September, the president and Halleek called upon McClellan, then in Washington, and placing before him the fact that Pope's army was in full retreat, that the road was filled with stragglers, etc., required of him to take command of the fortifications, and of all the troops for the defence of the capital. This he at once did, and endeavored as rapidly as possible to restore the morale of the troops, by effective drilling and disciplining for service against the rebels at the earliest moment.
The success of Lee in routing Pope, as he did, seems to have persuaded the rebel authorities that it would be safe and wise to seize the present moment foi invading, or, as they called it, delivering Maryland. When Lee left Richmond there was no purpose of the kind had in view, for it could hardly have been imagined what a termination of the campaign would be made by Pope, and how completely, by the abandonment of the Peninsula added to this. the way would be open for an advance into the loyal states. But the opportunity was now at hand, and though it vras something of a venture, still Lee acted with promptitude and decision. He had his choice, either to make an assault upon Washington, or
to cross the Potomac higher up, and so invade Maryland. The former was not to be thought of, as being entirely beyond Lee's capaci ty. He accordingly adopted the other alternative. Having advanced from Leesburg to the river, on the 4th of September, he managed, in two or three days, to cross his troops by fords near Point of Rocks.*
The advance of Lee's army, under Hill, skirting the eastern slope of Catoctin Mountains, marched toward Frederick, the capital of the state, a town of some importance, forty-four miles northwest of Washington, and sixty west of Baltimore. Much alarm was felt is6jj in Frederick, and many of the inhabitants hastily departed; the rebel troops, however, quietly entered the town and took possession on the 6th of September. Col. B. T. Johnson, a strong Maryland sympathizer in the rebel army, was appointed provostmarshal, to maintain order and to keep the hungry and ragged invaders within due bounds. Foraging parties were sent out for live stock and provisions, and large purchases were made of drugs, shoes, clothing and other articles, from shopkeepers of the town; but to the tradesmen's infinite disgust, payment was made in the worthless confederate
* The rebel Congress, on the 12th of September, praised Gen. Lee in tho highest terms not only for his brilliant victory, but also for his "masterly movement" in crossing the Potomac. Most of the members ivere filled with lofty expectations as to what was to be accomplished by Lee, and Jackson's opinion was quoted as decidedly in favor of an invasion of the North (see p. 150). Here and there a member pointed out the impolicy and danger of an attempted invasion; it was also noted that the entering Kentucky for a similar purpose turned out a failure (see p. 222); but remonstrance and argument were of no avail. Aggression was voted, 63 to 15.
currency. Beyond this compulsory traffic there appears to have been little if any violation of the ordinary rights and privileges of the inhabitants.
Anxious to conciliate, and acting on the baseless theory that the people of Maryland were desirous to join secession and rebellion, Lee, on the 8th of September, issued an address to the inhabitants of that state. It was well and temperately written, and appealed to the Marylanders to throw off tyranny, to regain their rights in connection with their southern brethren, and to secure, by his aid, their ancient freedom of thought and speech. Col. Johnson also begged the people to enlist at once, and stated that he had arms in abundance for instant use.
The invitations of Lee, though smoothly and temptingly expressed, were treated with almost entire indifference by the people of Maryland. There was no uprising, no enthusiastic reception of the deliverers, no disposition to cast in their lot with Jeff. Davis and his cempany. As a whole, the state was unquestionably loyal, and adhered to the Union from motives of principle more than those of interest. In addition to all this, the miserably squalid, filthy condition of the troops under Lee did not tend to recommend them or the professed object of their coming. It was enough to "smell" them, as a gentleman in Frederick said, to settle the matter. Barefooted, scant in clothing, and with plenty of vermin on their persons, they certainlj- offered small inducement for auy one to enlist in their ranks, however good they might be at hard fighting.
When the invasion became a settled fact, there was much apprehension lest the rebels should advance to the east toward Baltimore, to seize upon the city with the aid of sympathizing insurgents, and cut off Washington from its northern communications; there was also a rumor of a probable attempt on the Central Railroad, and movement up the Cumberland Valley into Pennsylvania. Governor Bradford issued a proclamation, calling upon the citizens to enroll themselves in voluntary military organizations of infantry and cavalry to meet the emergency, j General Wool, also, in command at Baltimore, gave earnest attention to de- i' fensive preparations against a possible advance of Lee's army.
In Pennsylvania, Governor Curtin, warned of impending danger by the rumored approach of the rebels to Hagerstown, called out all the ablebodied men of the state to organize ini. I mediately for its defence, and be ready for marching orders at an hour's notice The people freely responded to the call upon them, and hastened in great numbers to Harrisburg. The danger, in fact, appeared nearly equal to Penn- ,1 sylvania and Maryland, as the rebel army, unless speedily checked, might strike either at Harrisburg or Baltimore.
In this position of affairs, McClellan made his arrangements to follow Lee, and if possible defeat his probable purpose in entering Maryland. Uncertain as to the rebel general's intentions, McClellan moved cautiously from Wash ington. Gen. Banks was placed in command of the defences at the capital
and Gen. Heintzelman in charge of the forces on the Virginia side. The right wing consisted of the first and ninth corps, under Burnside; the centre, of the second and twelfth corps, under Sumner; and the left wing, of the sixth corps, under Franklin; the entire force being a little over 87,000. The advance was made by five parallel roads, and the columns were so disposed as to cover both Washington and Baltimore. The object of McClellan in this arrangement was, as he states, "to feel the enemy; to compel him to develop his intentions; to attack him should he hold the line of the Monocacy; or to follow him into Pennsylvania if necessary." The van of our army entered Frederick, on the 12th of September, after some severe skirmishing with the enemy's cavalry, and found that the main body of Lee's troops had left the town two days before, in the direction of Harper's Ferry.
Some time previous to this, McClellan had advised the evacuation of Harper's Ferry, as a point of no importance to hold, now that Lee had crossed the Potomac, and as being exposed, with its garrison, to imminent danger of capture. But Halleck, the general-in-chief, rejected McClellan's suggestions. Lee, however, who had supposed that, of course, there would be no attempt made to hold the place, now found it necessary to delay, for a few Jays, the carrying forward of his ulterior designs, until he should have taken Harper's Ferry, and opened his ?>mmunication with Richmond by miy of the Shenandoah Valley. The work was committed to Jackson, who
brought it to a conclusion as speedily as was possible. At this date, there was at Harper's Ferry, a garrison of about 9,000 men, under Col. D. H. Miles; there were also some raw troops and a body of about 2,000 cavalry doing outpost duty, under Gen. White at Winchester and Martinsburg, which came into Harper's Ferry on the 3d of September, thus making
the entire force some 13,000 in number. Jackson was ordered, on the 18th of September, to cross the Potomac above, and invest Harper's Ferry in the rear. Two other divisions, under McLaws and Walker, were, the one to seize Maryland Heights, the other to cross the river and take possession of Loudon Heights; both were to cooperate with Jackson. Longstrect was at the same time ordered, with Hill's division as a rear guard, to move toward Hagerstown, where they were to be joined by the forces sent against Harper's Ferry, after the latter had accomplished the objects of their expedition. The place was to be taken by the morning of the 13th of September, and the troops were to rejoin Lee immediately, and move upon Boonsborough or Hagerstown.
By a most opportune accident, McClellan found, on a table at Frederick, on the day of his arrival, a copy of Lee's official order, addressed to D. EL Hill, which directed the several movements above noted. This important document revealed to McClellan Lee's whole plan of operations, and what he intended and expected to accomplish. Heretofore McClellan had moved very slowly, for the reasons given on a previous page, so . slowly indeed that Lee calculated upon being able to capture Harper's Ferry, with its valuable stores, and to get his troops together again before he should be overtaken or interfered with by the Union general. Being possessed of knowledge so important at this juncture, McClellan acted with vigor and promptitude. He ordered a rapid movement towards Harper's Ferry, so as to save it, if possible, and, to Lee's surprise, he manifested a purpose of immediately forcing the passes of South Mountain, which, if accomplished, would enable him to relieve Harper's Ferry and also strike Lee's divided columns, with fatal effect. Lee, therefore, at once ordered Hill's division back from Boonsborough to guard the passes, and sent Longstreet from Hagerstown to Hill's support.
As things were now situate, McClellan expected to be able to carry out his plan of relieving Harper's Ferry, and by cutting the enemy in two, to beat him in detail; and had Miles at the Ferry, and Ford on Maryland Heights, displayed a fair share of soldierly intelligence and vigor, he might readily have succeeded. In consequence, however, of the feeble defence under Miles, and the hasty abandonment of the Heights, which, with astonishing fatuity, had not been fortified so as to resist the enemy, McClellan's proposed relief came too late. It is hardly needful to go into details of the capture of Harper's Ferry. Jackson was in position and ready to storm the place by noon on the 13th of September; but he waited for McLaws and Walker to act in concert. On this same day, Ford
gave up the heights to McLaws, retir ing to Harper's Ferry; and by the morning of the 14th, the investment was complete. The artillery was placed in position during the day on Bolivar and Loudon Heights, and at dawn, on the 15th of September, the combined attack began. In two hours the contest was settled. Miles raised the white flag, and Harper's Ferry nurrendercd. It deserves to be noted, however, that all the cavalry, numbering some 2,000, under command of Col . Davis, cut their way out on Saturday evening, the 13th, going by the road to Shaj-psburg, and capturing, on their march, Longstreet's train and over 500 prisoners. Miles was killed by a shell, after the white flag was raised; our loss besides, in killed and wounded, was about 200.* Immediately after the surrender, Jackson hurried off to rejoin Lee, and by an active night march, he reached Sharpsburg on the morning of the 16th of September.
McClellan, as we have before stated, was pushing forward to overtake Lee His line of advance across South Moun tain was, for the right and centre, under Burnside, by Turner's Gap, and for the left, under Franklin, by Crampton's Gap, six miles to the southward. The
* A military commission, of which Gen. Hunter was president, was appointed to inquire into this surrender. After fully reviewing tho circumstances, the commission decided that the defence of Maryland Heights was conducted by Col. Ford " without ability," and that he was unfit to hold any command in the army In respect to Miles, the commission were " unanimous upon the fact that his incapacity, amounting to almost imbecility, led to the shameful surrender of this important post." Col. Ford and Major Baird were cashiered. The commission also censured McClellan for not having relieved Harper's Ferry; respecting which, see McClellan's official report and defence.