War Between the States

This order is related to the capture of the entire Union command at Harpers Ferry in September 1862!

5 x 7 1/4, imprint.

War Department,
Adjutant General's Office,
Washington, January 26, 1863

General Orders,
No 21

By direction of the President, so much of "General Orders," No. 183, of November 8, 1862, as dismisses Colonel Thomas H. Ford, 32nd Ohio Volunteers, is rescinded, and he is discharged on the tender of his resignation, to take effect November 8, 1862.

By Order of the Secretary of War:

Adjutant General

Light age toning. Very fine.

Born in Virginia, Thomas H. Ford, was a Mexican War veteran, and lawyer before the Civil War. He served as Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, from 1856 to 1858. He was commissioned colonel of the 32nd Ohio Infantry on July 26, 1861, and fought with his regiment in the battles of McDowell, Cross Keys, and Port Republic, Va., in the 1862 Shenandoah Valley campaign. He took part in the evacuation of Winchester, Va., on September 2, 1862, and fought in the defense of Harpers Ferry from September 12-15, 1862. Commanding a brigade at the time, Colonel Ford fell ill on the morning of September 13th, and stayed behind the lines, leaving Colonel Eliakim Sherrill, the second ranking officer in command. When Colonel Sherrill was wounded by a bullet through his cheek, while rallying his men, and had to be carried off the field, his troops panicked and fled. Although Major Sylvester Hewitt ordered the remaining units to reform farther along the ridge, Colonel Ford sent orders to retreat. Ford had insisted to the commander at Harpers Ferry, Colonel Dixon Miles, that the position could not be held, to which Colonel Miles responded, "You can and you must!" When Miles looked up and saw his troops filing off the mountain, he cursed and shouted, "My God, Colonel Ford is evacuating his position; we must stop it." But it was already too late. The whole Union army at Harpers Ferry was forced to surrender on September 15th. They were paroled, but not exchanged until January 12, 1863. A court of inquiry was held and Colonel Ford insisted he had authority from Colonel Miles to withdraw, but the court concluded that he had "abandoned his position without sufficient cause," and recommended that he be dismissed from the Army, which was originally announced in General Orders, No. 183, dated November 8, 1862. However, that order was rescinded and Colonel Ford was allowed to tender his resignation from the army, which is announced in this order.

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