The Battle of Martinsburg

June 14, 1863

On the fourteenth of June, the One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Regiment, with its Brigade was attacked at Martinsburg by the advance division of Gen. Lee's army, under Gen. Rodes. Gen. Lee's army was now moving northward to invade Pennsylvania. This invasion resulted in the battle of Gettsyburg. At eleven o'clock, A.M., the troops took position in line of battle, covering the Winchester and Charlestown Roads. Skirmishing ensued at eleven o'clock and was maintained during the afternoon, with a desultory fire of military. During the fight, Company I, which had been detached to guard a point on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, attempted to rejoin the Regiment and was captured entire by the enemy. At three o'clock an order was received to retreat by the Williamsport Road, which could not be executed, as the enemy in large force occupied all the roads except the Shepherdstown road, on which our troops were now posted. At an hour before sundown the enemy opened a terrific fire from fourteen pieces of artillery, and advanced in heavy lines of battle. Capt. Maltsby's battery opened on the enemy's advancing column with great spirit. The Brigade maintained its position as long as possible, while plunging shot and bursting shells shrieked and moaned and fluttered wrathfully around, but was compelled to evacuate Martinsburg at sundown and retreat by the Shepherdstown road, and so ended the battle of Martinsburg. Five pieces of artillery and about two hundred prisoners fell into the hands of the enemy. The enemy's cavalry followed close in the rear; and picked up many of the Regiment who were worn out with the fatigue of the long continued fight. The march was continued that night to Shepherdstown, where the Potomac River was waded, the water coming up to the men's armpits. After marching all night and until ten o'clock next morning, Harper's Ferry was reached. The One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Regiment went into position on Maryland Heights near the Ferry, and threw up earthworks. In the vicinity of Maryland Heights and Harper's Ferry, there were at this time eleven thousand troops under command of Gen. French. The Regiment was here assigned to the Second Division, Eighth Army Corps. At the evacuation of Harper's Ferry in the latter part of June, the One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Regiment, with its Division, was detached to guard a fleet of canal boats on the Ohio & Chesapeake canal, convoying heavy guns, ammunition and other Government property to Washington, D.C. The fleet left Harper's Ferry on the first of July and arrived at Washington on the fourth of July. Disembarking at Georgetown, the Regiment marched to Tenallytown and encamped.

This account was taken from the following source:
Gilson, J. H., Concise History of the One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry,
Salem, Ohio : Walton, Steam Job and Label Printer : 1883.

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