Page:A Memoir of the Last Year of the War for Independence in the Confederate States of America.djvu/65

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61
RECROSSING THE POTOMAC.

ployed in making some arrangement, or removing some difficulty in any way, which it was necessary to make or remove, so as to enable me to advance with a prospect of success. I could not move across the Potomac and through the passes of the South Mountain, with any safety, until Sigel was driven from, or safely housed in, the fortifications at Maryland Heights.

After abandoning the idea of capturing Washington, I determined to remain in front of the fortifications during the 12th, and retire at night, as I was satisfied that to remain longer would cause the loss of my entire force.

Johnson had burned the bridges over the Gunpowder, on the Harrisburg and Philadelphia roads, threatened Baltimore, and started for Point Lookout, but I sent an order for him to return. The attempt to release the prisoners of which I was informed by General Lee, was not made, as the enemy had received notice of it in some way. Major Harry Gilmore, who burned the bridge over the Gunpowder on the Philadelphia road, captured Major-General Franklin on a train at that point, but he was permitted to escape, either by the carelessness or exhaustion of the guard placed over him, before I was informed of the capture.

On the afternoon of the 12th, a heavy reconnoitering force was sent out by the enemy, which, after severe skirmishing, was driven back by Rodes' division with but slight loss to us. About dark we commenced retiring and did so without molestation.[1] Passing through Rockville and Poolsville, we crossed the Potomac at White's Ford, above Leesburg in London County, on the morning of the 14th, bringing off the prisoners captured at Monocacy and everything else in safety. There was some skirmishing in the rear between our cavalry and that of the enemy which was following, and, on the afternoon of


  1. Grant says: "On the 12th, a reconnaissance was thrown out in front of Fort Stevens to ascertain the enemy's position and force. A severe skirmish ensued, in which we lost 280 in killed and wounded. The enemy's loss was probably greater. He commenced retiring during the night." In regard to the same affair, Stanton says: "By these troops (Wright's, Glilmore's, and Emory's) the enemy was driven back from Washington and retreated hastily to Virginia, pursued by our forces under General Wright." Grant's statement is correct, with the exception of the estimate he places on our loss. Comment on Stanton's is unnecessary when it is compared with that of Grant.