Tag Archive | harpersferry

“Colonel Raynolds can in no way do such service as he can do us”

mssEC_07_301 - getting snarky about artillery construction - SarahtheEntwife.jpg

3 PM  H Ferry June 15. 1863
Gen Schenck Balto.
Colonel Raynolds Should by all means
come here & superintend all of
the artillery construction I have no
time except to give orders I
think Colonel Raynolds can in no
way do such service as he
can do us I fear when
the blow is struck we shall
have to acknowledge that our preparations
were not in accordance with the
importance of the object Signed Tyler

Tyler is getting a little snippy with General Schenck about the building of artillery installments! If this is General Daniel Tyler, the urgency comes as little surprise, since he was in command of a force that surrendered to Confederate General Stonewall Jackson less than a year earlier, also at Harpers Ferry. Control of Harpers Ferry changed hands fourteen times between 1861 and 1865 (according to the fine folks at the Civil War Trust), and it’s hard to believe there was anything left when the war ended!

Thanks to Zooniverse user SarahtheEntwife for pointing out this fascinating message!

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Harpers Ferry Surrenders

mssEC_05_149 - harpers ferry surrendered to jackson.jpg

9 PM Col Stager  Frederick Sept 16th 1862
Jackson in person was in command
at Harpers Ferry Genl A P
Hill remained to conclude terms of
surrender Jackson left there in the
morning going up the Valley troops
were crossing the Potomac all last
night and going towards Winchester with
out stopping supposed about forty thousand
of all arms crossed during the
night passed their Pickets at Knoxville
Lounsbury

McClellan’s promise of rescue from the 14th came to nothing, and Colonel Miles’ troops surrendered to the combined forces of Major Generals Stonewall Jackson and A.P. Hill (though Miles himself may already have been dead by the time this telegram was sent). Jackson was on his way to Antietam, and the estimation that he was bringing 40,000 troops probably only fed McClellan’s belief that his side was outnumbered.

Harpers Ferry in Trouble

mssEC_05_145 - attack on harpers ferry.jpg

From Fredrick Sep 14
9 AM
For Abortion [insert]Genl Halleck[/insert] A courier from Col
Miles who left in the night
has just arrived and says Col
Miles is surrounded by a large
force of the Enemy but thinks
he can hold out two days
Genl White has joined him with
his command from Martinsburg Miles is
in possession of Harpers Ferry
& Loudon heights – if he
holds out today I can
probably save him – the whole
Army is moving as rapidly
as possible the Enemy is
in possession of Maryland Heights
signed Gel B McClellan – nice country this

The Battle of Harpers Ferry is generally overshadowed by the Battle of Antietam which took place a couple days later, but it probably occupied most of the thoughts of Colonel Miles, who was tasked with defending the fort against a substantial Confederate force. At this point the Union forces have already lost control of Maryland Heights, and it was only a matter of time before they were surrounded and forced to surrender.