The War News.

The Battle At Harper's Ferry.

The Last Moments of Colonel Miles.

Volume Li - No. 106 Baltimore Friday Morning, September 19, 1862

August 25, 2002

The New York Times has received from its special correspondent details of the ... fighting at Harper's Ferry. The following, as sketched by the writer, will be read with great interest:

The Battle on Monday.

Monday morning the rebels opened fire on Bolivar Heights at five o'clock, which was replied to until eight, when our ammunition gave out. The rebel batteries were so arranged as to enfilade us completely. To hold out longer seemed madness.

A few minutes after eight a council of war was held. The brave Col. D'Utassy for one voted never surrender, and requested that he might have the privilege of cutting his way out. White flags were run up in every direction, and a flag of truce was sent to inquire on what conditions a surrender would be accepted.

Gen. A.P. Hill sent back word that it must be unconditional. Further parleying resulted in our obtaining the following liberal conditions, which were accepted:

Terms of Surrender.

The officers were to be allowed to go out with their side arms and private effects; the rank and file with everything save arms and equipments.

A murmur of disapprobation ran along the whole line when it became known that we had surrendered. Capt. McGrath burst into tears, exclaiming, "Boys, we have got no country now."

Other officers exhibited a corresponding degree of grief, while the soldiers were decidedly demonstrative in their manifestations of rage. Yet, what could be done? Rebel batteries were opened on us from seven different directions, and there was no hope of reinforcements reaching us.

I afterwards ascertained from Confederate officers that the forces which beleaguered us were not far short of one hundred thousand, Gen. D.H. Hill's army, consisting of several divisions, was posted on the Maryland Heights, and Gen. Walker, with several brigades, on Loudoun.

Those directly in front of us were commanded by Jackson and A.P. Hill, and consisted, among others, of Jackson's old division, now commanded by Gen. Stark, (at present under arrest) Ewell's Division, Gen. Gregg's South Carolina Brigade, numbering six regiments, Gen. Branch's Brigade of North Carolinians, Gens. Pindar's [Pender's] and Archy's [Archer's] Second Louisiana and Second and Third Virginia Brigades.

As soon as the terms of serrender were completed, Gens. A.P. Hill and Jackson rode into the town, accompanied by their staffs, and followed by a troop of Loudoun soldiers, who straightaway commenced looking for "those d-d Loudoun guerrillas," referring to Capt. Means' Union company, who were fortunately not to be found. Gen. Hill immediately took up his headquarters in the tavern stand, next to Col. Miles'.

Old "Stonewall," after riding down to the river, returned to Bolivar Heights, the observed of all observers. He was dressed in the coarsest kind of homespun, seedy and dirty at that; wore an old hat which any Northern beggar would consider an insult to have offered him, and in his general appearance was in no respect to be distinguished from the mongrel, barefooted crew who follow his fortunes.

The Force Surrendered.

As soon as Jackson returned from the village, our entire force was mustered on Bolivar preparatory to stacking arms and delivering over generally. They comprised 11,583 men, including 800 of the First Maryland Home Brigade and 500 of the Third Maryland Home Brigade.

All of the cavalry, numbering about 2,000, under the command of Col. Davis, cut their way out Saturday evening, going by the road to Sharpsburg, and capturing, on its way, Longstreet's train, and more than a hundered prisoners. ...

Wounding of Col. Miles.

Owing to a thick mist which hung over the mountains, the artillerists failed to see the white flags for some time after they were displayed, and continued throwing shell, whereby six were killed. Col. Miles was fatally wounded by one of them. He had ridden back and forth on the field, a target for the enemy, but fortunately met with no mishap until then.

While standing with his aide-de-camp, Lieut. Benning, on the left of Bolivar Heights, waiting for his horse, the balls fell thick around him. Turning to Lieut. Benning, he remarked: "Well, Mr. Benning, the ball is over. We have done our duty; but I don't understand why the rebel cusses keep shelling us."

Just then a piece of shell, which burst close by, took away a portion of his left calf. He immediately fell, exclaiming, "My God, I believe I am hit."

His aide immediately called upon Captain Lee, of the 126th New York, who came to his assistance with some men; and while they were bearing him off the field, another shell burst, taking off the colonel's hat and severely wounding Captain Lee in the thigh.

Col. Miles was conveyed to his headquarters in an ambulance, assisted by Dr. McKee. Dr. Ferguson, of the Eighth New York Cavalry, Dr. Barr, of the Twelfth, and Dr. Boone, of the First Maryland Home Brigade, attended him during the day.

He remained insensible most of the time, not reviving sufficiently to allow amputation.

Through the kindness of Lieut. Benning, who sat behind him, constantly holding his hand in his, I am permitted to copy from his memoranda some of the expressions which the dying colonel uttered during the day while his mind was wandering. They are valuable, if for nothing more as showing how cruel the insinuations which have constantly been thrown out against his loyalty. "Oh, where is General McClellan? Why don't he come forward and save me?" "Major, is our artillery at work?" "I have done my duty and can die like a soldier." "Don't let my staff leave me. Go on! Go on!" "I wish I could be in every place at once."

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