Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 15, 1861 (Saturday): Rebels Gone to Winchester

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HAGERSTOWN, June 15, 1861-Received 11.15 p.m.
Col. E. D. Towsend, Assistant Adjutant-General:
I arrived and located my headquarters here at 6 p.m. Harper’s Ferry at 2 p.m. was occupied by five hundred men breaking camp. Everything destroyed; also depot, iron-works, &c., at Martinsburg. Rebels gone to Winchester.
Major-General, Commanding.

Johnston had retreated from Harper’s Ferry with 6,500 men, stopping along the way at Bunker Hill on the way to Winchester. In doing so, he maintained a presence on the flank of any Union force moving eastward. The Union forces, under Patterson, were proceeding cautiously, having initially believed the evacuation of Harper’s Ferry a trap. “The destruction of Harper’s Ferry is a decoy, I fear.”, Patterson had written earlier in the day.

Official Records, Series I, Vol. II, Page 689

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