17 Series I Volume XXXVIII-I Serial 72 - The Atlanta Campaign Part I

Page 17 Chapter L. GENERAL REPORTS.

breaks in the railroad, great delay was experienced in getting there. It became necessary, therefore, to find other troops to check this movement of the enemy. For this purpose the Sixth Corps was taken from the armies operating against Richmond, to which was added the Nineteenth Corps then, fortunately, beginning to arrive in Hampton Roads from the Gulf Department, under orders issued immediately after the ascertainment of the result of the Red River expedition.

The garrisons of Baltimore and Washington were at this time made up of heavy artillery regiments, 100-days' men, and detachments from the Invalid Corps. One division, under command of General Ricketts, of the Sixth Corps, was sent to Baltimore, and the remaining two division of the Sixth Corps, under General Wright, were subsequently sent to Washington. On the 3rd of July the enemy approached Martinsburg; General Sigel, who was in command of our forces there, retreated across the Potomac at Shepherdstown, and General Weber, commanding at Harper's Ferry, crossed the river and occupied Maryland Heights. On the 6th the enemy occupied Hagerstown, moving a strong column toward Frederick City. General Wallace, with Rickett's division and his own command, the latter mostly new and undisciplined troops, pushed out from Baltimore with great promptness and met the enemy in force on the Monocacy, near the crossing of the railroad bridge. His force was not sufficient to insure success, but he fought the enemy nevertheless, and although it resulted in a defeat to our arms, yet it detained the enemy and thereby served to enable General Wright to reach Washington with two divisions of the Sixth Corps, and the advance of the Nineteenth Corps before him. From Monocacy the enemy moved on Washington, his cavalry advance reaching Rockville on the evening of the 10th. 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 about 280 in killed and wounded. The enemy's loss was probably greater. He commenced retreating during the night. Learning the exact condition of affairs at Washington, I requested by telegraph, at 11.45 p.m. on the 12th, the assignment of Major General H. G. Wright to the command of all the troops that could be made available to operate in the field against the enemy,and directed that he should get outside of the trenches with all the force he could, and push Early to the last moment. General Wright commenced the pursuit on the 13th. On the 18th the enemy was overtaken at Snicker's Ferry, on the Shenandoah, when a sharp skirmish occurred;and on the 20th General Averell encountered and defeated a portion of the rebel army at Winchester, capturing four pieces of artillery and several hundred prisoners. Learning that Early was retreating south toward Lynchburg or Richmond. I directed that the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps be got back to the armies operating against Richmond, so that they might be used in a movement against Lee before the return of the troops sent by him into the Valley,, and that Hunter should remain in the Shenandoah Valley, keeping between any force of the enemy and Washington, acting on the defensive as much as possible. I felt that if the enemy had any notion of returning the fact would be developed before the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps could leave Washington. Subsequently the Nineteenth Corps was expected from the order to return to the James.

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Page 17 Chapter L. GENERAL REPORTS.