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9th Vermont Infantry

Harper's Ferry

Memories of the Ninth Vermont at the
Tragedy of Harper's Ferry, Sept. 15, 1862.


powder. Even at that late hour D'Utassy was sure he could retake the Heights. All this time the roar o four batteries was incessant, but with a conspicuously ineffective fire and great waste of ammunition. Rigby in his evidence said that he arrived with six twenty-four pound howitzers with one hundred rounds to a gun, and at the moment of surrender he had but little canister left. Potts said he drew one thousand rounds and fired all but a few rounds of this canister.

On Saturday forenoon General Walker with his division appeared far above our heads on the crest of Loudon Heights. We tried to feel no apprehension from him, and to hope and believe he could get no guns there, but it was hard work to make light of it. Saturday afternoon A. P. Hill's division pressed us more closely on our left, and the 9th Vermont, with the 3d Maryland, was sent out to resist this advance. We held the line in the woods with some little fighting until about 9 o'clock in inky darkness. My Company B, on the extreme left flank, was deployed down the side of the bluff overhanging the river and railroad. As I was in a measure isolated in the darkness, the company connecting my right to the main line had orders to keep up a careful contact with me. After a while the firing seemed to drop back, as though our line had given way, and I heard great confusion. Creeping carefully up I found myself among the advancing rebels and our line gone. I slipped back, whispered to my men to slide silently down the slope. This was safely done, and we made our way back, by the river bank, to the new line after we were supposed to have been captured. Of this affair Jackson, in his report, says:

"The execution of the movement to gain the Union left and rear was entrusted to Pender's, Archer's, and Brockenborough's brigades. During Sunday night Lieutenant-Colonel Walker, Chief of Artillery, brought up the batteries of Pegram, McIntosh, Davidson, Broxton, and Crenshaw and established them in the position thus gained and daybreak found them in the rear of the enemy's line of defence. During the night also Colonel Crutchfield, my Chief of Artillery, crossed ten guns of Ewell's

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