The Raid into Maryland. July 1864
The Raid into Maryland
The most remarkable circumstance connected with the present raid in Maryland and along the Pennsylvania border, is the entire absence of any trustworthy intelligence in regard to the numbers engaged in it. Although the force has been variously estimated from five thousand to forty thousand men and although the military authorities are evidently acting upon the belief that the larger estimate is the correct one, it is, at least, singular that in no instance is there any evidence of the presence of infantry. Cavalry entered Martinsburg. Cavalry, mounted and dismounted were in the skirmish at Leetown. Cavalry took possession of Hagerstown and moved in the direction of Greencastle, and it was cavalry that made their appearance in the vicinity of Frederick. It may possibly be that the infantry supports are marching down the valley—or that the latter have really crossed the Potomac and occupy a position which it is not thought proper should as yet be made public.
Thus far we hear of nothing but small detachments of cavalry operating upon different points, moving quickly from place to place but rarely exceeding a few hundred men in a single body. A dispatch from Chambersburg, however, dated Thursday last, which furnishes the latest and apparently the most definite information in regard to the actual presence of the enemy at a given point, states, on the authority of a man from Hagerstown that McCausland's Confederate command, fifteen hundred strong consisting of cavalry, mounted infantry and one battery artillery, entered Hagerstown on Wednesday last, and subsequently left that place at eleven o’clock to join the main body of the Confederate forces on the Frederick pike. A requisition is said to have been made upon the authorities at Hagerstown for fifteen hundred outfits and twenty thousand dollars in money.— Under threats of burning the town, it is said that the demand was complied with. The small force mustered up to resist them at Hagerstown was found inadequate, and they fall back to Greencastle. Cole’s Maryland cavalry had a skirmish with a Rebel scouting party on Kelley’s Mountain, four miles west of Frederick, about two o’clock Wednesday afternoon. Cole, not knowing what might be the strength of the enemy beyond, fell back towards Frederick. It was ascertained subsequently, however, that the force was quite small. Gen. Sigel holds the Maryland heights, while the Confederates are in occupancy of the Bolívar Heights, on the south side of the Potomac. Gen. Wallace is at the Monocacy directing operations for guarding the lower fords, and has a good force of cavalry and mounted infantry waiting through the country in that direction.
A small portion of Gen. Wallace’s command had a fight Wednesday afternoon, commencing at four o’clock and closing at eight, in which the enemy were driven back.
The fight took place three-quarters of a mile west of Frederick, and the greater portion of Gen Wallace’s command was not in action.
Confederate prisoners captured at Hagerstown on Tuesday, stated that the present raid is not only to procure horses, but crops and provisions. That it is headed by Lee and composed, of Ewell’s and Longstreet’s corps and that it is an effort to invade Pennsylvania and other Northern States, the capture of Baltimore and the destruction of the National Capital are also aimed at.
Whilst Lee is thus operating against Washington City, Beauregard has been in left in command at Petersburg where he has sufficient force, so it is said the Confederates believe, to hold Grant in check and prevent his advancing on Richmond.
The railroad Company’s buildings have been destroyed in Harper’s Ferry and North Mountain. The road still continues open from Baltimore to Sandy Hook.
Gen. Hunter’s forces are being pushed eastward to attack the enemy’s rear.
Allegany College of Maryland
Allegany County (Md.), History. Civil War, 1861-1865; Cumberland (Md.), History, Civil War, 1861-1865.
Cumberland (Md.), 1864