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Lt Henry M Binney's Official Report

Report of September 18, 1862 of Harpers Ferry

[author biography]

September 18, l862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit to you the following report of occurrences and events at Harper's Ferry, Va., behavior of artillerists, officers and men connected with the different arms, under the command of Dixon S. Miles, colonel Second Infantry, U. S. Army, from the 1st day of September and ending with the fall of Colonel Miles, on Monday, September 15, 1862, from an abbreviated journal, kept each day by Lieutenant H. M. Binney, aide-de-camp:

Monday, September 1, 1862.-Rumors reached Colonel Miles this p. m. of a demonstration of the enemy, to cross the Potomac into Maryland, near the mouth of the Monocacy River, at Noland's Ferry. Colonel Miles immediately communicates the rumor to headquarters at Baltimore and Washington, and sends to Point of Rocks the Eighty-seventh Ohio Volunteers (Colonel Banning), with two 12-pounder howitzers, with plenty of ammunition. The enemy's cavalry, 25 in number, under Lieutenant Baylor, dashed into Keys' Ferry this p. m., at 4 o'clock, and captured 6 pickets, in charge of a sergeant, and belonging to Captain H. A. Cole, First Maryland Potomac Home Brigade Cavalry. Colonel Miles was very busy all day and the previous night, doing all he could to prepare himself for the coming struggle, and placing himself to meet an attack at all points. Colonel Banning, Eighty-seventh Ohio, reports the enemy crossing at different points in the vicinity of the mouth of the Monocacy River.

Tuesday, September 2, 1862.-Colonel Banning advises us "The enemy have crossed a large force near Noland's Ford, below Point of Rocks". The One hundred and fifteenth New York Volunteers, Colonel Sammon; arrived and were sent to Charlestown, Summit Point, Opequon Bridge. and Halltown, to relieve the Eleventh New York State Militia (Colonel Maidhof), whose term of service had expired. Colonel Miles and staff rode to the front and examined the defensible points of Bolivar Heights. Received telegram 10 p. m. from General ilalleck, notifying Colonel Miles that General White had been ordered to evacuate Winchester. Colonel Miles sent his aide, Mr. Binney, to Halltown, to instruct one company of the One hundred and fifteenth New York, stationed there, in regard to throwing out pickets and vedettes on different roads and passes. Vedettes were placed on Charlestown road, Shepherdstown road, and on the road leading to Keys' Ford, on the Shenandoah River, 4½ miles distant from Halltown. Lieutenant Binney, with an orderly, went to Keys' Ford to ascertain the truth of the reported capture of Coles cavalry pickets, and ascertained the facts to be as follows: A party of 25 Con. federate cavalry dashed down the Kabletown or river road and captured the outer vedette a quarter of a mile from his comrades, and forced him to inform them of the position of the others, who were at that time in a corn-shed, dismounted. They dashed in and captured the party without resistance on the part of our pickets. This party of Confederate cavalry was led by a Lieutenant Baylor, son of the notorious Captain or Colonel Baylor who was killed at the battle of Winchester.

Wednesday, September 3, 1862.-Considerable excitement at this place on account of reports from Point of Rocks of the enemy having crossed, and driven in our pickets; their infantry are seen drawn up in line opposite Point of Rocks, on the Virginia side, up to 12 at night. Enemy are said to have crossed a large army into Maryland at Noland's Ferry. Telegraph lines are being molested somewhere between this place and Baltimore. Enemy appear near Point of Rocks.

Thursday, September 4, 1862.-Colonel Banning, Eighty-seventh Ohio, at Point of Rocks, falls back toward Berlin. Colonel Miles, on being advised of it immediately orders him back to his former position. Telegraph communications with Baltimore are considerably interrupted. Enemy have crossed in large numbers, under Lee, Jackson, and Longstreet; they cut the canal at Seven-mile level and run the water out, in order to cross their artillery. Brigadier General Julius White arrives with his brigade from Winchester-Thirty-ninth New York, Colonel D'Utassy; Thirty-second Ohio, Colonel T. H. Ford; Sixtieth Ohio, Colonel Trimble; Ninth Vermont, Colonel Stannard, with Rigby's and Potts' batteries; First Maryland Cavalry, Captain Russell, and battalion Rhode Island Cavalry, Major Corliss.

Friday, September 5, 1862.-Colonel Miles assumes command. General White goes to Martinsburg and assumes command of forces at that place. General A. P. Hill intrenches himself at Lovettsville, opposite Berlin. Enemy crossed last night into Maryland with cavalry, infantry, and artillery (Jackson, Lee, and others), with others, Brad. Johnson, &c., with from 40,000 to 60,000, and march toward Frederick City; destroy Monocacy Bridge. Jackson locates himself at Frederick City.

Colonel Miles brigades his troops as follows:

First Brigade (right wing, line of battle Bolivar Heights, Va.), Col. F. G. D'Utassy (Thirty-ninth New York) commanding: Thirty-ninth New York (Garibaldi Guard) Infantry; One hundred and eleventh New York Volunteers, Colonel Segoine; One hundred and fifteenth New York, Colonel Sammon; battery Fifteenth Indiana Volunteers, Capt. Von Sehlen.

Second Brigade (left wing, line of battle Bolivar Heights, Va.), Colonel Trimble (Sixtieth Ohio) commanding: Sixtieth Ohio Volunteers, Colonel Trimble; One hundred and twenty-sixth New York, Colonel Sherill; Ninth Vermont Volunteers, Colonel Stannard; Potts' battery (substituted Rigby's subsequently).

Third Brigade, commanding on Maryland Heights (including the heavy siege guns thereon), Md., Colonel Thomas H. Ford (Thirty-second Ohio) commanding: Thirty-second Ohio Volunteers, Colonel Ford; battalion First Maryland Potomac Home Brigade, Major John A. Steiner; Captain McGrath, company F, Fifth New York Heavy Artillery; Major Corliss' battalion Rhode Island cavalry; detachment First Maryland Cavalry, Captain Russell.

Fourth Brigade (commanding the entrenchments on Camp Hill, Va.), Colonel W. G. Ward (twelfth New York State Militia) commanding (three months): Twelfth New York State Militia, Colonel Ward; Captain Graham's company (A), Fifth New York Heavy Artillery; Captain Rigby's battery (Potts' substituted afterward); Eighty-seventh Ohio Volunteers, Colonel Banning (three months).

Independent commands: First Maryland Potomac Home Brigade Regiment, Colonel Maulsby, Sandy Hook, Md.; Eighth New York Cavalry, Colonel B. F. Davis, Harper's Ferry, Va.; detachments companies First Maryland Potomac Home Brigade Cavalry, under Captain Cole, Sandy Hook.

Captain Faithful, provost-marshal and commanding at Frederick City, Md., reports sending off all his commissary and quartermaster stores he could, and destroys the balance. Dr. Weir, in charge of hospital, succeeds in sending his sick and wounded to Gettysburg, and saves his most valuable medical stores and destroys the rest. Faithful retreats and forms a connection with his regiment (Colonel Maylsby's) at or near Sandy Hook, Md.

Saturday, September 6, 1862.-General Lee's army, in part, enter Frederick City. Colonel Banning, Eighty-seventh Ohio, with his two howitzers, falls back to Berlin and shells the rebels' advance guard, and on the opposite side of the Potomac. Colonel Banning again retreats before superior numbers to Knoxville; his guns are worked by a section of Captain Graham's company (A), Fifth New York Artillery. The sergeant refuses to leave his guns, and takes them from hill to railroad on a car pushed by hand to Sandy Hook, but leave one limber and equipments. Scouts and refugees report the enemy in large force, and advancing toward Knoxville. They advance toward Banning's position, who shells their advance and retires back to Sandy Hook, and forms a junction with Colonel Maulsby's Maryland regiment. Colonel Miles visits his outposts, and makes every preparation to meet the enemy and check their advance in every or any direction. He sends and engine and platform car to Berlin, and recovers the limber to howitzer, equipments, and ammunition left by Banning at Berlin. Our telegraphic communications eastward cut off; obliged to forward via Wheeling, Pittsburgh, &c. The operator receives the following dispatch: "How are you, General Pope? General Jackson's army." Quiet from dark until midnight. An alarm from Sandy Hook. Colonel Miles and his staff, Lieutenant Binney, aide-de-camp, and Lieutenant Willmon, go down to outer vedettes, and remain until day-break. Return.

Sunday, September 7, 1862.-Colonel Miles and staff again visit Sandy Hook, and go out as far as Weverton Mill, on road to Berlin and Point of Rocks. He directs a reconnaissance of cavalry under Major Markell, Eighth New York Cavalry; sends also Lieutenant Green, with a small party of Cole's Maryland cavalry, with instructions not to return until he had felt the enemy and ascertained something definite. Markell, with squadron Eighth New York Cavalry, goes as far as Berlin; hears rumors and returns. Lieutenant Green goes on past, and pushes through Petersville and Middletown to within 2½ miles of Frederick City, and "beards the lion in his den". He drives in the enemy's vedettes at five different points, and causes the enemy to beat the long roll along his whole line. Citizens of Middletown demonstrate their Union sentiments. Green returns, without loss, with several rebel prisoners. General White reports his cavalry pickets driven in. He send out Colonel Voss, with the Twelfth Illinois Cavalry, who meets the enemy, and, after a severe fight, routs them and takes 45 prisoners, horses, and equipments. The enemy lose 15 killed and large number wounded, Colonel Voss loses 2 killed and 12 wounded. Colonel Miles visits all the positions in and around Harper's Ferry, Maryland Heights, Sandy Hook, Bolivar Heights, and Camp Hill; sees all the commanding officers; tells them he expects they will do their duty in the coming struggle; encourages the men, and gives general instructions.

Monday, September 8, 1862.-Colonel Miles, with his aide, Lieutenant Binney, visits Maryland Heights; visits the different commanding officers and Colonel Ford, and gives his instructions in regard to their important position; encourages them, but gives them to understand that they must retain those heights at all hazards, as he considers them the key to his whole position, and represents that he could defy an army of 25,000 or 30,000 on his front or flank, by holding the Maryland Heights with the batteries thereon. He gives particular instructions to Colonel Ford, commanding, that he can and he must hold them, representing if he could hold on for five days after the general attack, he felt sure the Government would send him assistance. The enemy appear to be crossing Blue Ridge Mountains at Snicker's Gap; the same observed yesterday. The smoke and dust indicate a large encampment. This p. m. the appearances indicate a division of columns, one moving toward Cumberland, the other making a retrograde movement back through Snicker's Gap. We have unreliable reports of the Union forces coming up from Washington, on both the Virginia and Maryland side of the Potomac, but we can obtain no reasonable foundation or reliable information to that effect. General White writes from Martinsburg that he will make a reconnaissance in force toward Winchester. Colonel Miles orders Eighth New York Cavalry to meet him at Smithfield and co-operate with him in his reconnaissance; Colonel Downey, at Kearneysville, to do the same. Our party went out, but did not meet General White's party. Eighth New York Cavalry go to Bunker Hill, Smithfield, and as far as Summit Point; capture a few pickets. Colonel Miles, finding himself short of forage and subsistence, seizes all the flour in stores and the mills in the vicinity; also sends out foraging parties toward Charlestown for hay, &c.; hauls in considerable forage from the Washington estate, near Halltown. Colonel Miles instruct Colonel Downey, at Kearneysville, to remain and protect the road and bridge at Opequon, unless severely pressed by the enemy; in which case he will retreat to Shepherdstown, cross the river, and fall back on eastern bank of the Potomac to Maryland Heights, and report to Colonel Ford for duty there. Major Rodgers sent to Washington with dispatches. Major Corliss, Rhode Island cavalry, makes a reconnaissance into Solomon's [Gap]; thence down through Jefferson, drive in the enemy's pickets; captures 25 prisoners, and pushes on to within 2 miles of Jackson's main army; returns without loss. Scouts report (rebel) at Winchester, but report a large force marching through Snicker's Gap, destined for the valley of the Shenandoah.

Tuesday, September 9, 1862.-Colonel Miles, with his aide, visits Sandy Hook and Maryland Heights; returns, and goes out on left ridge of Bolivar Heights, toward the Shenandoah, and examines the points likely to be turned by the enemy on that flank. Telegraphs cut off westward near Sleepy Creek, west of Martinsburg; in working order again in afternoon. Colonel Miles and staff again visit Sandy Hook; visit Colonel Banning's outposts as far as Weverton. Jackson said not to be at Frederick, but General Lee's army, Longstreet, &c. General Anderson said to be at Lovettsville, with six guns and 3,00 men, with large army train. Cars arrive from Cumberland; met obstructions on railroad. Left at 7.30 p. m. for Martinsburg, taking empty cars, &c., for General White. Enemy reported at Boonsborough, Md., near Solomon's Gap.

Wednesday, September 10, 1862.-Captain Russell, First Maryland Cavalry, reports his dash on Frederick, what he did, and what he saw. One column of the enemy appears to be moving toward Baltimore, on Georgetown turnpike; the other moving toward Frederick City, from the Potomac. General White, at Martinsburg, writes: "The enemy will be whipped in Maryland, and we will be gobbled up in their retreat." Colonel Davis, Eighth New Your Cavalry, made a reconnaissance toward Winchester to-day, but saw no enemy. Colonel Downey, Third Maryland, scouts with a squad of Captain Shamburg's cavalry into Maryland; meets the enemy near Boonsborough, Md., 1,500 strong. Downey has but 19 cavalry, and boldly dashes into the enemy, who are composed of infantry, artillery, and cavalry. So suddenly does he come upon them that they are thrown into utter confusion, but soon rally on ascertaining Downey's small party, and charge on him with their cavalry. Colonel Downey's horse killed, and himself wounded in head; thinks he killed 9 or 10 of the enemy, and he lost himself but 1 killed and 3 wounded. Colonel Miles' staff (Major McIlvaine, Lieutenant Binney, and Lieutenant Willmon) visit the lookout or observatory on Maryland Heights. We see no indications of the enemy in any direction.

Thursday, September 11, 1862.-Colonel Miles and staff visit Maryland Heights. The enemy make their appearance at Solomon's Gap; cavalry go out to feel them and their intentions; reported in large force. Colonel Miles orders a strong picket force in that direction. Solomon's Gap is the key to Antietam Ford, on Potomac; also to Maryland Heights. The enemy advance in large force into Pleasant Valley, eastern slope Maryland Heights. They shell our pickets from Solomon's Gap, and advance in such force as to drive back our pickets. Quiet during the night; a general attack expected along our whole eastern front in morning. General White writes he is entirely surrounded. Colonel Miles sends him empty cars for his baggage; his baggage arrives here at midnight.

Friday, September 12, 1862.-Enemy advance during the night and throw into the woods up the eastern slope of Maryland Heights three whole brigades of infantry; musketry firing most all day. Captain McGrath opens his big guns in the direction of Solomon's Gap. The enemy advancing at Solomon's Gap; they throw thirty-eight shells into the observatory, but we repulse them with severe loss. Colonel Miles re-enforces the heights by sending Downey's Third Maryland Regiment. Our men hold the lookout all night. Colonel Miles directs Colonel Ford to hold these heights at all hazards, and he will send him another regiment, if wanted. Colonel Miles and Lieutenant Binney visit the outposts. General White arrives from Martinsburg. General White generously gives up all claims to command to Colonel Miles. Colonel Miles accepts. General White tenders his services to Colonel Miles. Colonel Miles issues a general orders accepting the trust, and orders that the troops will obey implicitly all orders given by General White. A general attack expected at all points at day-break.

Saturday, September 13, 1862.-The ball opens early by Captain McGrath on Maryland Heights; throws his shells into the gap and along edge of mountain with effect. The enemy gain ground in the woods; Colonel Ford calls for re-enforcement. One hundred and twenty-sixth Enemy press on; the One hundred and twenty-sixth New York break and fall back; Colonel Sherrill, while bravely rallying them, is wounded in the face, and they become panic-stricken. Colonel Miles and staff go upon the heights; his staff officers rally two or three companies of the One hundred and twenty-sixth New York. The regiment partially rally under the exertions of a meritorious officer of the regiment, First Lieutenant Samuel A. Barras, but again get the panic and retreat. Colonel Miles orders Colonel Ford, and if he can send him any more re-enforcements he will dos, provided he is not attacked on Bolivar in front. Enemy extend their lines to the Potomac. Colonel Ford fearful he cannot hold the heights, Colonel Miles tells him; "Your can and you must." The panic became so great in the One hundred and twenty-sixth New York that Colonel Ford could do nothing with them. The Garibaldians were ordered by Colonel Miles' aide to bayonet the panic-stricken men if they attempted to break through the Garibaldians' lines. Much praise is due the gallant Garibaldians, who were under their major, for their steadiness and discipline. Also the Thirty-second Ohio Volunteers deserve credit. Captain McGrath, commanding big guns, keeps up a constant cannonading. Captain Graham, with his 20-pounder Parrotts, on Camp Hill, also rapidly uses his effective guns on the rebels in the woods on Maryland Heights. The cannonading is tremendous since 2 p. m. Colonel Miles still hopes for assistance, but still determined to hold on until his last shell has been fired. Our subsistence short; our long-range ammunition exhausted almost, hardly enough for another day's defense. The enemy open about 11 o'clock a. m. on the Charlestown pike with two batteries; they are replied to by Rigby's and Von Sehlen's batteries. The cannonading is now terrific. Colonel Miles expressed a wish that he could be everywhere at the same time. General White was active, directing movements on the left. Enemy open still another battery upon Bolivar Heights. Colonel Miles, Lieutenant Binney, aide-de-camp, and Lieutenant Willmon, aide-de-camp, again visit Bolivar Heights; find General White active. He send Captain Rigby, with two pieces of artillery out on Charlestown road to play upon the enemy, putting a battery in position near Halltown. An officer overtakes Colonel Miles, from Colonel Ford, on Maryland Heights, who informs Colonel Miles that Ford says his regiment won't fight, and he cannot hold the heights. He sends back word that he can and he must Colonel Miles afterward wrote the following letter, which was the last order given by him in regard to that position:

September 13, l862.

Colonel FORD, Commanding Maryland Heights:

Since I returned to this side, on close inspection I find your position more defensible than it appears when at your station. Covered as it is at all points by the cannon of Camp Hill, you will hold on, and can hold on, until the cows' tails drop off.

Colonel Second Infantry, Commanding.

Major McIlvaine, chief of artillery, opens two 20-pounder Parrotts on Camp Hill upon the enemy on Maryland Heights. Colonel Miles and Lieutenant Binney, his aide, again visit Bolivar Heights, while Mr. Binney observes indications of a retreat at Maryland Heights, and calls Colonel Miles' attention. He looks and says, "My God, Colonel Ford is evacuating his position; we must stop it." Bolivar Heights are 2¼ miles from the Maryland Heights. Colonel Miles is very indignant. Colonel Miles and Lieutenant Binney start for the position, but on arriving at Camp Hill we saw that it was too late. The siege guns had been spiked, and the troops were leaving the heights by order of Colonel Thomas H. Ford, Thirty-second Ohio, in charge. Colonel Fords excuse was his men would not fight. In the opinion of all, the Thirty- ninth, D'Utassy's regiment, and the Thirty-second Ohio, with McGrath's battery, could have held the place at least that night. Colonel Ford's forces were as follows: Thirty-second Ohio, 700;Thirty ninth New York (Garibaldi Guard), 600; One hundred and twenty-sixth New your (useless), 1,000; One hundred and fifteenth New York, 1,000; Rhode Island and Maryland cavalry, 400; McGrath's battery, 100; battalion Maryland Potomac Home Brigade, First Regiment, 300; battalion Maryland Potomac Home Brigade, Third Regiment, 500; total, 4,600 men. The enemy had no artillery on the heights at the time, and could not have had over 5,000 or 8,000 men. Our forces had four 20-pounder Parrotts on Camp Hill, which completely covered our position on Maryland Heights. Enemy now attack in strong force from Sandy Hook.

Toward evening Lieutenant Binney sent to inform General White of this attack, which requires his presence, and leaves Bolivar Heights to General White. Enemy open with shell and solid shot on railroad bridge from Sandy Hook; some of shell strike near headquarters. Colonel Miles places two pieces on railroad, and responds to the enemy's fire. The enemy get the worst of it and fall back. Quiet all night.

Sunday, September 14, 1862.-The enemy are planting batteries on the Loudoun Mountain. Captain Graham, on Camp Hill, opens with his 10-pounder Parrotts to dislodge them. His fire very effective; he dismounts two guns. The enemy do not respond. McGrath's and Von Sehlen's batteries play upon Maryland Heights, where the enemy have planted a battery of two guns. Colonel Miles directs artillerists save their ammunition, unless they see the enemy. The firing kept up constantly. Two o'clock p. m., the enemy open at five different points-two full batteries on Loudoun Mountain, a battery of two pieces on Maryland Heights, a battery of two pieces of long range on Shepherdstown road and on Charlestown turnpike. The cannonade is now terrific; the enemy's shell and shot fall in every direction; houses are demolished and detonation among the hills terrible. It is kept up until dark; our long-range ammunition is expended; only 36 rounds left, which are distributed by Major McIlvaine to Captain Graham. Our cavalry-Eighth New York Cavalry, Twelfth Illinois Cavalry, First Maryland Cavalry, Cole's cavalry, and battalion Rhode Island cavalry, all under Colonel Voss, hold a consultation at Colonel Miles' quarters, and Colonel Miles issues an order for them to cross the pontoon bridge, and take Sharpsburg road and cut their way out to our army. They start at 8.30 p. m. Their escape proves Colonel Miles' good judgment as to the route taken. Throughout the day our gallant artillerists hold their own, and we have lost but 4 killed. Colonel Miles again expresses much anxiety, and fears if the enemy opens again in the morning he cannot hold out. No information can be obtained as to the whereabouts of army. Several attempts of Colonel Miles to open a communication had failed, and we hear of no effort being made to send us assistance. Several regimental officers advise him to surrender or evacuate. His reply was, "My at order from headquarters was to hold on at all hazards, and I shall hold on until my last shell is expended. O, where is McClellan and his army?" &c. Three full divisions are now in our front; we are entirely surrounded. Rebels in front are all under General Jackson and A. P. Hill. Everything quiet from dark until 9 p. m., when the enemy's infantry endeavor to flank us on left, near Shenandoah River. Lieutenant Binney, aide-de-camp, is sent out to post Colonel Banning, with a howitzer on Rifle Island, to repel any attempt in that direction. He throws out skirmishers, who connect with Colonel Downey's skirmishers from river to left ridge of Bolivar Heights. During the night the enemy in strong force, composed of General Pender's brigade of North Carolinians, attempt to turn our flank, which move Brigadier-General White shrewdly anticipates and repels with much slaughter. General White assists Colonel Downey's regiment, by sending him the Ninth Vermont and Thirty-second Ohio Volunteers. Here it was that Brigadier-General White was most active. His promptness of action, his personal bravery and firmness, saved this flank from being turned. General White repulsed them with severe loss to the enemy, and they retire and do not attempt the move again. Colonel Miles, aware that a desperate struggle must take place by day-break in the morning, advises with Major McIlvaine, chief artillery, and decides to remove the heavy artillery to Bolivar Heights and fight it out there, and determined to hold out as long as possible, in hopes that assistance may arrive. The enemy during the night change the position of their batteries, and on Monday a. m. by 5.30 o'clock open a terrific cannonade from seven different batteries, enfilading our position on Bolivar Heights.

Monday, September 15.-Colonel Miles and staff and General White and staff on Bolivar Heights; by day-break the enemy open on Camp Hill and Bolivar Heights from seven batteries, which renders Camp Hill almost untenable. Lieutenant Leek, Fifth New York Artillery, opens a cross-fire upon enemy's batteries on Loudoun Heights with much effect. This gallant officer is entitled to much credit for his brave conduct while surrounded with the enemy's missiles, working his guns in the most admirable manner. General White plants a battery of 20-pounder Parrotts on plateau near the Shenandoah, which does fearful and deadly execution to the enemy on Loudoun. We are surrounded by enemy's batteries; they open from Loudoun Mountain and Maryland Heights, Charlestown road, Shepherdstown road. Nothing could stand before such a raking cannonade. Colonel Miles was everywhere, exposing himself to danger with the bravest, encouraging his artillerists, and met with many narrow escapes from the bursting shells of the enemy. At 8 o'clock a. m. our battery officers report their ammunition exhausted. General White meets Colonel Miles on the crest of heights and consults. General White proposes a consultation of officers. Lieutenant Binney sent for Colonel Trimble, Second Brigade. Lieutenant Willmon sent for Colonel D'Utassy, First Brigade The consultation is held in the midst of shell and round shot, and conclude to signalize a cessation of hostilities by waving white handkerchiefs, while General White offers to go out and ask the conditions of the enemy. The white flag is exhibited, the artillery stops firing for about fifteen minutes when the enemy again open with a terrific cannonade. Colonel Miles, after having left General White, started with Lieutenant Binney to hunt for our horses and orderlies. Lieutenant Willmon went to hunt the orderlies, while Colonel Miles and Lieutenant Binney, aide-de-camp, started down the eastern slope of the heights, where every inch of ground was being torn up by the enemy's fire. Colonel Miles took Lieutenant Binney's hand, and remarked, "Well, rebels have opened on us again; what do they mean?" Immediately after a shell passed us, striking and exploding immediately behind us, a piece of which tore the flesh entirely from his left calf, and a small piece cutting his right calf slightly. Lieutenant Binney immediately tied his handkerchief above the knee, and called for assistance; put him in a blanket, and, obtaining six men, dragged him to an ambulance, and sent word to General White.

Colonel Miles, upon his death-bed, mentioned the following names as deserving credit: Brigadier-General White was everywhere where the danger was thickest, coolly giving orders and superintending things generally on the left, which was the most exposed. Colonel Miles expressed himself several times as being highly pleased with the assistance rendered by this valuable and gallant officer. Major H. B. McIlvaine, chief of artillery, was also mentioned as deserving much credit for bravery, and for his cool and firm manner of placing batteries under the galling fire of the enemy on Camp Hill and other places, where the most danger existed, encouraging the artillerists. To Captain Eugene McGrath, Company F, Fifth New York Artillery, and Captain J. H. Graham, Company A, Fifth New York Artillery, is due much praise for the masterly and gallant manner of handling their guns, and good conduct on several occasions; especially to Captain McGrath is due much praise, who commanded the siege guns on Maryland Heights on Saturday. To First Lieutenant Samuel A. Barras, One hundred and twenty-sixth New York, is due much praise in his gallant effort to rally his regiment on the Maryland Heights, after the fall of Colonel Sherrill. The orderly sergeant of Von Sehlen's battery and a sergeant of Captain Graham's battery were highly spoken of by Colonel Miles, and deserving of promotion; the batteries of Rigby, Potts, and Phillips, for the courage displayed against tremendous odds of guns and position.

Colonel Miles remarked on his death-bed, "He had done his duty; he was an old soldier and willing to die." It was a fit end for an old soldier. He had nothing to lose, he said, but he only regretted he could not live to do justice to the gentlemen so closely connected with him, for their bravery in carrying his orders over the field, and to his artillery officers. He said he could not understand why the Government was so slow in sending him assistance. He had held the position against an army of 40,000 for five days and a half two and a half of which were constantly engaged in a heavy artillery duel. He thought the army must know of his situation, and the tremendous cannonading must have been heard be McClellan. He lingered until 4.30 p. m. on Tuesday. His staff officers, at his request, staid by him. His death was easy, without a struggle. General Hill promised everything in the way of transportation for body, but he fulfilled nothing, and it was through the exertions of Major McIlvaine, Lieutenants Binney and Reynolds, that a team was procured, and his body was brought to Frederick, thence to Baltimore. On Friday, September 19, the remains were conveyed to Sweet Air and buried. Not being able himself to make a report, he requested me to make the above, and left to General White the duty of justice to his staff officers.

Respectfully submitted.

Lieutenant and Aide-de-Camp.

Brigadier Gen JULIUS WHITE,
Commanding Troops at Harper's Ferry.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS; Series 1, Volume 19, Part I (Antietam - Serial 27), Pages 532 - 540


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