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McCausland's impromptu and premature attack had served to attract Wallace's attention to that flank, with the result that surprise was impossible; by the time Gordon's men had splashed through the stream and slithered up the steep, muddy, and slippery bank on the eastern shore, Ricketts had wheeled his line at right angles to the river, facing south. Instead of a flank attack, the Confederates were forced to make the assault frontally and alone, no supporting troops having been considered necessary for the maneuver that had suddenly gone awry.

Early's force passed the 4th of July closing in on Harpers Ferry, driving the garrison into the village, and occupying Bolivar Heights. That night the Federals evacuated Harpers Ferry, burned the railroad and pontoon bridges behind them, and joined Sigel on Maryland Heights under the protection of his artillery, whose guns discouraged the occupation of the town of Harpers Ferry itself by the Confederates. Under cover of darkness, however, Early was able to gather in a considerable cache of supplies which the Federals in their haste had neglected to destroy.

Both had volunteered their services and assisted in staking out a defense line along the western edge of town. Accompanied by Hill, Early rode over the ground and decided that sounder tactics would be to place his own divisions well forward from the close-in defense, in order to avoid enemy shell fire directed against the buildings in Lynchburg. Hunter's Actions, June 8 to 16 The instructions Hunter had received from Grant afforded wide scope for his projected operations. His primary mission was to cause maximum damage to the railroads and the James River Canal.

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Abraham Lincoln by Tonya Leslie


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