from The Worcester Spy, October 30, 1861 , (Volume 90 # 43), 

Terrible Fire Of A Company Of Massachusetts Sharpshooters

The Troops Withdrawn To The Maryland Shore

Edward's Ferry, Oct 23---Yesterday Captain Vaughn, of the Rhode Island battery, went over the river with a flag of truce to remove some of the dead, and ascertain the fate of others. He was detained by the enemy and not returned by nightfall.

About 5 P. M. today a rebel brigade was seen proceeding in the direction of Conrad's Ferry, and it disappeared behind a wood, where, it is states, they have an earthwork mounting seven guns. The point is between the river and Leesburg, two miles from the latter place, and about three miles from Edward's Ferry. It is supposed they are the same troops that attacked our pickets yesterday.

About the same hour Gen. Abercrombie sent word to headquarters that the enemies force was advancing towards his position, on the Virginia side, from above and below, and asking for reinforcements. His command was seen drawn up in line of battle near the shore, and orders were issued to push over a strong force to his relief. Up to the present hour, ten P. M. no attack has been made.

Five persons were arrested at Poolesville, today, on a charge of being secession spies. They were examined and remanded for safe keeping.

The skirmish of yesterday was fought on our side exclusively by the independent corps of Andrews' Massachusetts sharpshooters and Co. K. of the Nineteenth Massachusetts regiment. The enemy's force consisted of one regiment each from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia. The latter attempted to outflank our little force, but the terrible fire from the sharpshooters (a rebel falling at each shot) and the firmness of co. K. prevented the execution of their plan. The loss of he enemy was great, while only one of our men was killed. The skirmishers were aided by several shots from our batteries on the Virginia shore.

Edward's Ferry, Oct. 24.---Yesterday, on learning that a large force of the enemy were approaching and had arrived at two points above and below, and to the immediate vicinity of the ferry, it was judged advisable to withdraw the portion of our troops from the Virginia shore, both at Edwards Ferry and Harrison's island. This was rendered the more necessary from the high state of the water and the gale, which made it a matter of impossibility to throw over a sufficient force to make our positions perfectly secure against a general attack.

The force on Harrison Island were removed in the face of, and unmolested by, a large body of the enemy, who wisely, perhaps, forbore to make any demonstration. Gen. Stone commanded the division opposite Edward's Ferry and removed them during a tempestuous storm in the night, safely and without any accident, he being among the last to leave the shore. The numbers of the enemy are unknown to outsiders, but it is believed that they had become 15,000 and 30,000. Their positions were in dangerous proximity to the ferry, and a night attack would have been disastrous to the small numbers there. this morning none of their encampments or troops are visible, except perhaps one occasionally passing along the road through openings in the forest.



15th Massachusetts VI