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REPORT OF THE BRIGADE COMMANDER. 201
Lieutenant-Colonel Corning and Captain Babcock repulsed the enemy handsomely, and then took and held firmly their respective places in line of battle until relieved." •
Our loss during the engagement amounted to 11,426. That of the confederates has never been made known. Our captures in this battle and those of the mountain passes, amounted to thirty-nine colors, thirteen guns, fifteen thousand stand of small arms, and six thousand prisoners. The enemy's wounded were kindly provided for, and received the same attention as our own.
A very noticeable feature among the officers made prisoners, was the entire absence of shoulder straps. A narrow strip of cloth over the shoulder, or silver star on the coat collar, were the only insignia of rank.
Our Regiments of new troops covered themselves with glory in the fight. In factjtPea Ridge, Donaldson and Newbern had previously demonstrated that true courage and patriotism are more than a match for mere drill and discipline. Said a rebel officer,
while extolling their gallantry," them, they
didn't know when they were flanked."
202 THIETY THOUSAND MILITIA IN LINE.
Pennsylvania Militia.— Visit of the President.—Beautiful Scenery along the Potomac.— Harper's Ferry. — "Jefferson's Rock."
Two days after the battle, General Smith's Division moved up the river near to Williamsport, to reinforce General Couch, it being reported that the enemy were re-crossing the Potomac at that point. The Thirty-third commenced marching at ten o'clock in the evening, joining General Couch at daylight. Two thousand rebel cavalry had forded the river, but upon finding us in force, retired. About four miles in the rear, the Pennsylvania Militia were drawn up in line of battle across the turnpike leading to Hagerstown.
There were nearly thirty thousand of this extemporized army, who had hastened forward from every portion of the State, to assist in repelling the invader. Clergymen, lawyers, doctors, merchants, mechanics, and farmers made up the ranks. Among the privates, manning a howitzer, we recognized Congressman Kelly and Judge White of Philadelphia. The men were armed with Sharp's rifles, minies, flint-locked muskets, shot-guns, squirrel rifles, in short everything that could be classed under
ARRIVAL OF TWO HUNDRED RECRUITS. 203
the head of "shooting irons." They were equipped in every style, from the neat soldierly uniform of the Philadelphians to the raw homespun of the Mountain boys. It was truly an imposing militia turnout.
On the 23rd, the Regiment broke camp, and proceeding north on the Hagerstown turnpike, encamped near Bakersville, where it remained three weeks. About the 1st of October, the President again visited the army. Having reviewed the troops at Harper's Ferry, under General Sumner, he rode up to Antietam, and after inspecting the battle-field, reviewed Generals Burnside's and Porter's commands. He then proceeded up to Williamsport, and inspected the troops there, Smith's Division passing before him about three o'clock on the afternoon of the 2d. He was accompanied by General McClellan, and everywhere welcomed with cheers.
Monday, October 6th, Lieutenants Rossiter and Roach arrived with two hundred recruits for the Thirty-third, who were welcomed in a brief speech by the Lieutenant-Colonel. Part of them were apportioned to the various Companies, and the remainder formed into a new Company, D, that Company having been disbanded. The men very much enjoyed the time spent in Maryland. The surrounding country was very healthy and fertile, affording an abundance of everything for man and beast. Sickness and want, which had so decimated the ranks on the Peninsula, were unknown here.
Never did painter's eye rest upon more beautiful
204 STROLLING ALONG THE POTOMAC.
and picturesque scenery than that from Williamsport to Harper's Ferry. The wide but shallow Potomac winds gracefully among the hills and through the rich valleys, lined on either side with stately oaks, spreading elms and weeping willows, which furnished a refreshing shade during the heat of the day. Every few rods little rivulets come leaping and dashing down from the highlands, while an occasional larger stream, like the Antietam, gives variety to the scene. The canal runs nearly parallel with the river for the whole distance, divided from it by the narrow towpath. The boatmen must have loved to reach this part of their journey, where the tall trees hide out the sun, and their overhanging branches form one continuous arbor for the drivers.
Here officers and men used to come daily and recline upon the green banks, or wander up and down the stream. Occasionally a party would ride down ten miles to Harper's Ferry, and spend the day in visiting that wild scene of ruin.
No village has occupied a more prominent position in connection with this wicked rebellion. Certainly no other has experienced so many vicissitudes; for from the beginning of May, 1861, when the rebels seized upon the place, as a base of offensive operations against Maryland and Pennsylvania, it has changed hands with the changes of the seasons.
The fortunes of war have transformed it from one of the most beautiful and prosperous, to one of the most desolate and poverty stricken of villages. On »
rounding a spur of the Maryland Heights, it appears on the opposite side of the Potomac, clustering around the base of a precipitous hill, climbing its uneven sides and extending inland for some distance. A substantial bridge has taken the place of General Banks' pontoons, and trains pass to and fro hourly. Underneath, and scattered about the abutments, are seen the remains of the thirty-five cars and engines thrown into the river by Jackson's forces. The cars land you among the acres of ruins of government buildings. The black walls remain standing, and but little of the rubbish has been removed. A huge pile of gun-barrels, locks, &c., fused by the heat into a shapeless mass, is all that remains of the thirty thousand muskets deposited in the arsenal before the war. Large iron wheels are lying about, one of them originally costing thirty thousand dollars.
It is a singular fact, that of all the government buildings, John Brown's famous "engine-house" has alone escaped destruction. This is a brick struc. ture, some thirty feet square, fronting on the Potomac. It seems almost incredible that the misguided man could have held it such a length of time against such fearful odds, and then only to surrender when stormed by the marines. To have attempted it was unparalleled bravery, or down right insanity.
The port-holes which the old man dug through the walls have been filled, the engine removed, and John Brown's fortress is now used as a rebel prison house.
The harsh, severe weather of northern latitudes, is