2nd Regiment Cavalry, NY Volunteers
Civil War Newspaper Clippings
THE ADVANCE ON FREDERICKSBURG.
About nightfall on Tuesday, the 15th instant, General Augur's brigade was ordered
to advance. The General and his staff preceded the troops, and arrived at
Catlett's Station late at night, after a most disagreeable ride in the darkness,
through sloughs and over bad roads, and with keen appetites for the evening
lunch at the headquarters of General McDowell.
General McDowell arrived on a special train at two o'clock, on Wednesday morning,
the 16th. The command was halted on that day for the arrival of the supply
train and the remainder of General King's division. In the mean time the rebels
placed a field piece upon the south bank of the Rappahannock, and entertained
our pickets with frequent shot and shell, without doing any damage.
On Thursday, with the first light of dawn, the command started. Lieut. Col.
Kilpatrick, with the Ira Harris Light cavalry, led the advance. Before starting
an order was issued directing the instant shooting of any one detected in the
act of pillaging, burning, or wantonly destroying property. No occasion was
found for the execution of the order. Late in the day the heat compelled the
men to relieve themselves of every thing not absolutely indispensable, and
overcoats and blankets strewed the road.
Six miles from Catlett's Station recent tracks of rebel cavalry were discovered.
Twelve miles beyond the enemy's picket was driven in. Gen. Augur pushed rapidly
forward with the cavalry and the Brooklyn Fourteenth regiment and a section
of artillery. A small rebel mounted force was discovered, which retired skirmishing.
The chase continued for eight miles, the Brooklyn Fourteenth, without a single
straggler, keeping up with the cavalry and artillery. Lieut. Decker, company
D, of the Ira Harris Light Cavalry, was killed while gallantly leading one
of the charges. He was shot through the heart. The rebel by whom he was killed
and fifteen others were almost at the same instant taken prisoners. Col. Kilpatrick
charged upon the camp of the enemy, driving them like frightened sheep, and
captured a large amount of forage. The command bivouacked for the night in
the enemy's camp after a march of twenty-six miles.
Few men were found on the farms along the road. Several of the families expressed
Union sentiments, but every man capable of performing military duty had been
pressed into the rebel service or made prisoners.
During the night the Ira Harris Cavalry continued to harass the enemy, and
in the morning, led by Col. Kilpatrick, charged gallantly upon the barricades
across the road and drove the enemy's advance back with considerable loss.
At daylight the command moved forward; forcing the enemy across the Rappahannock,
and compelled them to retreat beyond the heights south of Fredericksburg. In
their flight they set fire to the bridges, upon which had been placed heaps
of combustibles. The Chatham and railroad bridges were destroyed. The Hicklen
bridge was saved by the strenuous exertions of the Berdan Sharpshooters. The
little town of Falmouth, on the north bank of the Rappahannock, immediately
opposite Fredericksburg, was found almost entirely deserted. Several Union
families remained to welcome the advance of our troops. The people generally
received our soldiers in a friendly manner.
Our occupation of the place was a surprise. The mills were still running, and
women and children engaged in ordinary domestic avocations when our cannon
belched forth its thunder from the adjacent cliff. Gen. Augur and staff were
courteously entertained by a wealthy citizen of Falmouth, whose loyalty had
rendered him obnoxious to the rebels.
Immediate preparations were made for the repair of the bridge that had been
only slightly damaged. Fredericksburg is now in our possession. The enemy's
forces, composed of one regiment of infantry and one of cavalry, and a battery
of artillery, burned their camps and fled. We took nineteen prisoners. How
many of the enemy were killed and wounded in the skirmishing is not known.
Our loss was five killed and sixteen wounded.
The gallant achievement of General Augur in driving back from a strong position
an enemy consisting of three regiments of infantry, four of cavalry, and two
batteries of artillery, elicits the highest admiration, as does the brilliant
feat of the Brooklyn Fourteenth in keeping up with the cavalry and artillery
on a march of twenty-six miles, during the hottest day of the season, and then
with but three hours rest dashing on after the enemy's cavalry for four miles.
The Norfolk Day Book of Saturday, in mentioning the abandonment of Fredericksburg
by the Confederates, says:
At 4 o'clock on the afternoon of Thursday the Yankees appeared six miles from
Falmouth. Our pickets were driven in, several were wounded.
The enemy being in large force advanced, and our troops fell back to Fredericksburg
and set fire to three bridges across the river, also burnt three steamers and
twenty-two vessels loaded with one hundred thousand bushels of corn, and one
hundred bales of cotton at the depot.
The panic of the inhabitants was tremendous.
Our troops evacuated the city. The enemy sent shell after them, which struck
the cotton factory, doing much damage. The rolling stock of the railroad company
was all saved except eight cars."
A BRILLIANT RECONNOISSANCE.
THE CAPTURE OF WARRENTON.
Sixteen Hundred Rebels Taken Prisoners and Paroled.
The special correspondence of the Philadelphia Inquirer from Centreville, Virginia,
October 1, says:
A reconnoissance by a Cavalry brigade, consisting of the First New jersey,
Lieutenant-Colonal Karge, the First Pennsylvania, Major Falls, and the Harris
Light Cavalry, Major Harhouse, the whole being under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel
Karge, acting Brigadier-General, was made to Warrenton on the 29th ultimo,
via Bull Run, Gainesville, Buckland and new Baltimore, for the purpose of feeling
the position of the enemy in that quarter.
Every needful preparation having been made, at precisely six o'clock A. M.
the column moved. No obstacle being encountered to stop our progress, we kept
steadily on, and by two o'clock p. m. some cavalry pickets were discovered
about four miles this side of Warrenton, but our forces were so admirably disposed
that none of them escaped.
This was effected by keeping the flankers and skirmishers on either side of
the road, just far enough ahead of the advance guard to cut off their retreat.
Having approached the town quietly and unobserved, the bugles sounded a charge,
and the First New Jersey, with Lieutenant-Colonel Karge at their head, dashed
furiously forward through the main street, followed closely by the other regiments
composing the brigade.
Simultaneous with this, however, the skirmishers, under Captain Bristol, and
the advance, led by Lieutenant Hobensack (First New Jersey), moved rapidly
to the right and left, reaching the roads branching out in several directions
in time to prevent any one from getting away.
The surprise of the citizens and soldiers of Warrenton at such a sudden entrance
of our force may be imagined but not described. The weather being fine, nobody
appeared to be within doors, and in many instances the women and children seemed
petrified, and were too much frightened to run. It was soon discovered that
we had bagged a large number of soldiers who had been wounded in the recent
battles, while others amounting to several hundred sent there to hospital on
account of sickness and recovered, and were expecting the day following to
return to their regiments.
The whole force thus captured, amounting to sixteen hundred, were paroled;
and owing to this circumstance, I believe there was not an enlisted man among
the whole number who was not really glad that we had come. One of them in particular,
belonging to a Georgia regiment, was in high glee. 'To-morrow' he remarked,
'I will make Richmond, and providing
I can succeed in getting home, if they want me to fight any more, they will
have to come and bring me back.' The same sentiment, I think, was shared by
quite a number of others, although they wisely kept silent. The conversation
between our soldiers and the prisoners turned, of course, upon the battles
recently fought, and the probable result of the war. All the rebels claim,
without exception, so far as I heard an opinion given, that they are bound
to win and come off victors in the end.
Many of them seemed very exultant over their victory at Bull Run, but all admitted
that on the second day of the fight we had greatly the advantage of them on
their left wing. A negro, who had followed the army for some time, stated to
us that 'Stonewall' Jackson was severely wounded in Maryland, and he positively
asserts that he has heard officers say that from the effects of those wounds
he has since died. The only other information derived from the darkey was,
his 'Massa told him de reason why de 'sech army come away from Maryland was
kase dey could find nuffin dare to eat.' 'Golly,' said the old fellow, with
a broad grin, and shaking his head, 'I spects it is not much better here; soldiers
eat corn 'bout all da time.' He also further observed that the portion of the
rebel army now at Gordonsville were going to be sent back to Richmond.
There is a large accession to the female population of Warrenton from different
parts of the Southern Confederacy—those who have come to nurse their
relatives and friends in the hospitals—and it is a noticeable feature
that there is a great reduction in the degree of expansion that formerly attached
to their skirts, and. furthermore, by far the greatest number of them were
dressed in black. As a general thing they were rather civil, although one 'Mis
Impudence' remarked, loud enough for all to hear, 'Oh, if Stuart's cavalry
would only come here now.' "
Return of Regiments to Gloucester Point.
WASHINGTON, May 8.
The following was received at the headquarters of the army this afternoon;—
YORKTOWN, Va., May 7.
To Major General Halleck:—
Col. Fitzpatrick, with his regimen, the Harris Light Cavalry, and the rest
of the 12th Illinois, have just arrived at Gloucester Point, opposite this
They burned the bridges over the Chickahominy, destroyed three large trains
of provisions in the rear of Lee's army, drove in the rebel pickets to within
two miles of Richmond and have lost only one Lieutenant and thirty men, and
they have captured and paroled upwards of 300 men.
Among the prisoners was an aid of General Winder, who was captured with his
escort far within the entrenchments outside of Richmond.
This cavalry has marched nearly 200 miles since the 3d of May. They were inside
of the fortifications of Richmond on the 4th, and burned all the stores at
Aylett' s Station on the Mattapony on the 5th, and destroyed all the ferries
of the Pamunkey and Mattapony, and a large depot of commissary stores near
and above the Rappahannock, and came in here in good condition. They deserve
great credit for what they have done. It is one of the finest feats of the
(Signed) RUFUS KING,
Brig. Gen. Commanding this Post.
The Cavalry Raid.
WASHINGTON, May 11.-- The following was received at headquarters to-day:
YORKTOWN, Va., May 8.
To Major General Halleck:
GENERAL:--I have the honor to report that by direction of Major General Stoneman,
I left Louisa C. H. on the morning of the 3d instant with one regiment. The
Harris light cavalry of my brigade reached Hungary, on the Fredericksburg Railway,
at daylight on the morning of the 4th; destroyed the depot, telegraph wires
and railroad for several miles; crossed over to the Brook turnpike and drove
in the rebel pickets on the pike; crossed the brook, charged a battery and
forced it to retire within two miles of the City of Richmond; captured Lieut.
Brown, Aid-de-Camp of Gen Winder, and eleven men within the fortifications;
passed down to the left Meadow Ridge on the Chickahominy, which I burned; ran
a train of cars into the river; retired to Hanover Bar on the Peninsula; crossed
and destroyed the ferry just in time to check the advance of a pursuing cavalry
force; burned a train of thirty wagons loaded with bacon; captured thirteen
prisoners and encamped for the night five miles from the river.
I resumed my march at 1 A. M. on the 5th; surprised a force of three hundred
cavalry at Aylett's; captured two officers and thirty-three men; burned thirty-six
wagons and the depot, containing over 20,000 bushels of corn and wheat, quantities
of clothing and commissary stores, and safely crossed the Mettapony and destroyed
the ferry again, just in time to escape the advance of the rebel cavalry pursuit.
Late in the evening I destroyed a third wagon train and depot a few miles above
and west of Tappahannock, on the Rappahannock, and from that point made a forced
march of twenty miles, being closely followed by a superior force of cavalry,
supposed to be a portion of Stuart's, from the fact that we captured prisoners
from the 1st, 3d and 10th Virginia cavalry.
At sundown I discovered a force of cavalry drawn up in line of battle between
King and Queen Court House. Their strength was unknown, but I advanced to the
attack, only, however to discover that they were friends, a portion of the
12th Illinois cavalry, who had broke, separated from the command of Lieut.
At 10 A. M. on the 7th I found safety and rest under our brave old flag, within
our lines at Gloucester Point.
This raid and march about the entire rebel army, a march of two hundred miles,
had been made in less than five days, with a loss of one officer and thirty-seven
men, having captured and paroled upwards of three hundred men. I take great
pleasure in bringing to your notice the officers of my staff, Capt. P. Owen
Jones, Capt. Armstrong, Capt. Irving, Dr. Hackley, and Lieut. Estis, especially
the latter, who volunteered to carry a dispatch to Maj. Gen. Hooker. He failed
in the attempt, but with his escort of ten men he captured and paroled a Major,
two Captains, one Lieutenant, and fifteen men. He was afterwards captured with
his escort, and again recaptured by our own forces. He arrived this morning.
I cannot praise too highly the bravery, fortitude and energy displayed throughout
the march by Lieut. Col. Davis and the officers and men of the Ira Harris light
cavalry, not one of whom but was willing to lay down his life and liberty if
he could but aid in the great battle now going on, and win for himself the
approbation of his chiefs.
(Signed,) J. KILPATRICK,
Colonel Commanding 1st Brigade,
Third Division of Cavalry.
OUR MILITARY BUDGET.
CONCLUSION OF GEN. STONEMAN'S CAVALRY RAID.
ANOTHER BRILLIANT MARCH BY COLONEL KILPATRICK.
CAPTURE OF A LARGE AMOUNT OF REBEL PROPERTY.
The cavalry raid commenced by Gen. Stoneman just prior to the late battle of
Fredericksburg has terminated most brilliantly, the last act in the drama being
the march of Col. Kilpatrick and nine hundred men of the 2d New York Cavalry
from Gloucester's Point to Gen. Hooker's headquarters, right around the enemy,
and without the loss of a single man.
Colonel Kilpatrick left Gloucester Point on Saturday last, and passing in a
northeasterly direction through Gloucester county, crossed the Dragon river
at Saluta and thence through Middlesex county to Urbanna on the Rappahannock;
crossing that river to Union Point. Col. Kilpatrick proceeded through Westmoreland
and King George counties to near the headquarters of Gen. Hooker. No difficulty
was encountered in Gloucester county, but at Dragon river the bridges were
all found to be destroyed, and the rebel General Stuart having massed a force
in order to compel Kilpatrick to cross the Rappahannock at Leeds. Colonel Kilpatrick
avoided him by constructing a bridge, and crossing at a point on the Dragon
not at all anticipated by Stuart. The bridge was then destroyed, and to foil
the enemy, the command moved forward in several columns.
The principal one on the right, under Col. Hasbrouck Davis, took a southerly
direction, and went to Pine Tree, in the lower part of Middlesex county, taking
the people entirely by surprise; for this section was considered so secure
from Yankee invasion that parties from Richmond sent their negroes there for
safekeeping. Col. Jones, who commands all the bushwhackers in that section,
was captured. A few armed bushwhackers were seen, but they escaped into the
woods. A rebel mail was captured, but the letters were mostly of a private
character. There was one, however, from Gen. Stuart, wherein the latter promised
protection to the country from this very cavalry raid. This portion of the
command reached Urbana Sunday evening, having captured a large number of horses
and mules, and being followed by a motley group of contrabands of all ages
and both sexes. Among the captures by this portion of the command, was a Confederate
agent, with $13,000 in Georgia and Missouri money.
The left wing of the command went in a northeasterly direction, and reached
the road north of Urbanna Sunday evening. Here the picket of the enemy which
was to annihilate the whole force was encountered, but a detachment charged
and drove them across the Dragon River at Church Mill, and then burned the
bridge and retired; and on Monday morning the whole Federal command was at
Urbanna ready to cross the river. To protect this part of the movement, the
Tallaca, (ferry boat,) Star, William W. Frazer, Long Branch, (light draft steamboats
to transport the troops across the river,) and the gunboats Yankee, Freeborn,
Anacostia, Currituck, Primrose, Ella and Satellite, of the Potomac Flotilla,
were sent up the river, and the command crossed safely and in due time rejoined
Gen. Stoneman's command.
The immediate benefit of this raid, aside from the good effect upon our own
men, is the capture of 200 horses and mules, 40 wagons loaded with provisions,
and 1,000 contrabands. Among other articles captured was the flag of the 12th
The Raid of Gen. Stoneman.
Correspondence of the Cattaraugns Freeman.
HEAD QUARTERS CAVALRY CORPS,
May 16th, 1863.
I desire through the columns of the Freeman to let our friends at home know
exactly where we went and what we accomplished in the recent famous Cavalry
Raid. Monday, the 13th of April, the Cavalry Corps, except one Brigade of the
1st Division, and 2,500 dismounted men left with the Army of the Potomac, under
the command of Gen. Pleasanton, broke up their camps and marched for parts
unknown to any but “the powers that be.” Tuesday night a heavy
rain, the first of a succession of unprecedented storms, overtook us, and Wednesday
the steams were so swollen that further operations became not only impracticable
but impossible. Instead, however, of returning to our former camps, the command
proceeded to Warrenton Junction, established Railroad communications with Alexandria,
and were employed for a few days in clearing the country of bushwackers and
the “Black Horse Cavalry,” the commandant of the latter, Lieut.
Paine, being captured.
On the 28th of April, Gen. Stoneman, accompanied by his subordinate commanders,
Gens. Buford, Averill and Gregg, met Gen. Hooker at Morrisville. Then and there
the plan of the last campaign was communicated; Gen Stoneman was ordered to
move his command that night; to destroy the communications of the enemy with
Richmond; to hold his command between them and Richmond, and to harrass [sic]
them in their retreat from the victorious army of Hooker—being assured
that Lee's army would be destroyed in three days! In the midst of a heavy rain-storm,
and in almost total darkness, the command struck their tents and started upon
the expedition, on the success or failure of which depended the future reputation
of the Cavalry arm of our service.
The 29th of April we crossed the Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford, upon the bridge
used by the 5th, 11th and 12th Corps. At 4 P. M., Gen. Averill, with his Division
(the 2d) and Davis' Brigade of the 1st Division, and Tidball's
Battery of Flying Artillery, moved up the river road towards Brandy Station,
to divert the attention of the enemy from the real object of the expedition,
and lead them to believe that we were going to Culpepper and Gordonsville.
He had not proceeded more than three miles when he encountered a portion of
Lee's Cavalry with two guns; a slight skirmish ensued, when owing to the darkness,
his ignorance of the country and force of the enemy, Gen. Averill concluded
to await the coming of day before giving battle to the enemy. Gen. Stoneman
with the remainder of the command, Gregg's Division, Buford's Brigade and Robinson's
Battery, marched directly towards Stevensburg, and encamped at 12 o'clock (midnight)
3 miles from there. During the night the pickets were attacked in three directions,
but the attack being vigorously returned the enemy retired in every instance.—Previous
to our crossing the Rappahannock every wheel, ambulances not excepted, was
sent to the rear; and on the morning of the 30th the General decided not to
be encumbered with even pack mules, and they were also sent back to Falmouth.
The movements of our armies have always been embarrassed by an immense amount
of transportation, which not only impede progress, but present an object to
the cupidity of the enemy which they have not unfrequently attacked. Gen. Stoneman's
command is, perhaps, the only one of this army that ever moved entirely destitute
of transportation of every kind, that contained no more combatants [sic[, and
subsisted both man
and beast upon the country through which it passed.
Drenched with the water which had been falling in torrents all night, we took
up our march at 8 A. M. for Mitchel's Ford on the Rapidan, and arrived there
only to find it so swollen as to be impossible to ford it. The head of the
column was turned up the stream, and at dark, with great labor, the command
was crossed at Morton's and Raccoon Fords. It was the instruction to march
at 2 o'clock on the morning of the 1st, but the fog was so dense that we could
not move until 4:30. The march was made with great difficulty, the heavy rains
of the last few days havig [sic] made the roads in the argillaceous soil of
this country almost impassible. At night Buford encamped on the south bank
of the North Anna; Gregg pushed on to Louisa Court House. At the Court House
wee were busily employed Saturday, and destroyed the Richmond and Gordonsville
Railroad for eight miles. This is one of the principal thoroughfares of the
South. It passed through a beautiful country teeming with corn, bacon and tobacco,
and is one of Richmond's best feeders. Jeff. Davis sets his own price upon
these articles, and pays the wealthy planters $20. per bushel for their corn,
and $1.25 per lb. for their bacon. These miraculous prices do not arise from
a scarcity of the produce, but from the worthlessness of the money. There were
thousands of bushels of their corn, and thousands of pounds of their bacon
consumed by Stoneman's Cavalry, for which expensive diet the people did not
get "value received." At the Court House we had a skirmish with the
enemy in which we lost 1 man killed, 4 wounded, and 1 officer and 15 men captured.
The enemy were repulsed with about equal loss. From here Capt. Lord was sent
out with his Regiment, the 1st U. S., to destroy the bridges on the North Anna;
he rejoined us the next day, being eminently successful in his mission.
On the march from the Court House to Thompson's X Roads, where we encamped
at 10 P. M., Saturday, we captured 14 very fine new army wagons and over 60
mules, en route from Richmond to Gordonsville; also, the wagon, instruments,
maps and private property, love-letters not excepted, of Capt. Blackford, C.
S. A., engineer officer on the staff of Gen. Stuart. Being badly in need of
a change of underclothes, a few of us furnished ourselves from the wardrobe
of the Captain, for which we returned to him our sincere thanks by Major Johnston,
of Stuart's staff, who was subsequently taken prisoner.
Sunday, May 3d, from Thompson's X Roads, which was the point chosen for the
base of our operations, the following parties were sent out: Capt. Merritt,
2d Cavalry, with one squadron to destroy all the bridges on the South Anna
below the one at Yanceyville upon which we had crossed and of which we were
holding possession; Gen. Gregg with two Regiments to destroy both of the Railroad
bridges across the South Anna, and the track and telegraph in that vicinity;
Lt.-Col. Davis, with his Regiment, the 12th Illinois, was to strike the Railroads
lower down and destroy them and the government stores known to be there, and
if hard pressed by the enemy not to attempt to rejoin the command but to push
through to Glouster-point; Col. Kilpatrick with his Regiment, the 2d N. Y.,
was to visit the scene of last summer's campaign, the Chickahominy Swamp, destroy
the three Railroad bridges there, government stores, &c.;—Col. Wyndham,
with two Regiments, the 1st N. J. and 1st Md., was to proceed to the James
River, striking it and the Canal at Goochland, proceed up the Canal, destroying
it as he went along, until he reached the bridge across the James at Cartersville,
leave a portion of his; force there to hold it, and with the remainder go to
the Railroad bridge on the Richmond and Danville Road across the Appomatox
river, which he was to destroy and return. The remainder of the command was
put into position at the X Roads to await the return of the different detachments,
and hold the enemy in check. At 10 P. M. of the 4th, Wyndham returned. He destroyed
the canal and a large amount of stores, but did not cross the James as instructed—telling
his officers that the order had been countermanded by Gen. Stoneman; which
was simply a falsehood. Gen. Stoneman was not instructed or expected to take
the Railroad bridge across the Appamattox,
but thinking that it could be done, by a sudden and energetic movement, and
knowing its great value to the Confederacy, the Road being the main artery
connecting Richmond with the South, he instructed Wyndham to destroy it. "Sir
Percy Wyndham" is one of a large number of "foreign adventurers" who
have imposed upon the too credulous American people; and the only man who completely
failed in the expedition.
Gen. Gregg and Capt. Merritt returned at 5 p. m. on the 5th. Gen. Gregg found
the bridges across the river strongly guarded by infantry and artillery, but
succeeded in destroying some large culverts below them, and tearing up the
track for several miles A part of his command marched 90, and the remainder
68 miles, which with their severe labor almost exhausted the strength of both
men and animals. The success of Kilpatrick and Davis was complete and brilliant.
They destroyed both Railroads, burned three bridges, two trains of cars, and
precipitated another into the Chickahominy, entered the outer fortifications
of Richmond, and burned an immense amount of stores. So near were they to the
Capital that they captured over 40 livery horses, leaving the surprised occupants
of the carriages to haul them back to town by hand. Finally, there was accomplished
in this raid, substantially as follows:
The communications of the enemy by rail from Richmond to Fredericksbuog [sic]
were interrupted for 10 days, and this during and after a great battle. The
Richmond papers of the 14th state that the first train which went thro' from
there to Fredericksburg was on the 13th —the road was destroyed the 3d.
They will not be able to rebuild the road to Gordonsville in less than two
weeks, and it will take quite as long to repair the canal. There were millions
of dollars worth of subsistence stores and government property consumed and
destroyed. There was appropriated to the use of the U. S. at least 1500 horses
and 500 mules—among the former over 30 stallions. There were brought
away with the command from 300 to 500 able-bodied negroes. A large tract of
the most fertile and productive portion of Virginia has been deprived of both
animals and men necessary to till the soil. And more than all, it has placed
the Cavalry arm of the U. S. A. upon a proper standard. But its success was
not accomplished with ordinary obstacles to contend against, or without taxing
the strength of both men and animals to the uttermost.
After Friday, the 3d, when Gen. Averill was ordered back by Gen. Hooker, the
force of the enemy whose attention he had diverted, was immediately turned
upon us. And from that time until we returned we had an enemy numerically,
at least, our equal to contend with. And it was only by constant vigilance,
and resorting to every device to conceal our weakness that saved us from disaster
if not defeat. The untaught inhabitants magnified our little band of 4,000
into an army of 10,000, and by vigorously repelling every attack the impression
was confirmed with the enemy.—After two days and nights hard marching,
exposed to a cold rain storm, we reached Kelly's Ford at 9 p. m. on the 7th,
and we crossed the river the next morning, losing but one man and five horses
drowned. Had the remainder of the army gained the victory which they were to
have gained, and which I believe might have been achieved, it would have greatly
enhanced the value of our success. It is not proper for me to express an opinion
as to where the responsibility of the failure ought to rest; but instead of
being disheartened by it let us renew our efforts with a stronger determination
to succeed. The Cavalry accomplished much, and with a loss of not more than
300 officers and men killed, wounded and missing; a very small percentage being
killed and wounded.
Those of your readers who consider this hastily written letter worthy of perusal,
will read it more understandingly by refering [sic] to a map of the country
W. C. H., Capt. & A. D. C.
KILPATRICK'S LAST RAID.
DETAILS OF THE EXPEDITION FROM GLOUCESTER POINT TO FALMOUTH.
A LARGE AMOUNT OF REBEL PROPERTY CAPTURED.
WASHINGTON, JUNE 4.
The cavalry raid of Gen. Stoneman's command was concluded yesterday by Col.
Kilpatrick's brigade in one of the most brilliant acts of the war. He left
Gloucester Point on Saturday last, and passing in a north easterly direction
through Gloucester county, crossed the Dragon River at Saluta, and thence through
Middlesex county to Urbanna, on the Rappahannock. Crossing that river to Union
Point, Col. Kilpatrick proceeded through Westmoreland and King George counties
to near the headquarters of Gen. Hooker without losing a single man of his
The rebels had divined that this force was to attempt to rejoin the command
of Gen. Stoneman, and therefore took special pains to capture it. The command
was composed of about 900 men in all—the Second New York (Harris Light
Cavalry) and the Twelfth Indiana Cavalry. No difficulty whatever was encountered
in Gloucester county, but upon reaching Dragon River, it was found the rebels
had destroyed all the bridges, and a superior force of cavalry under Gen. Stuart,
had assembled at a higher point up the river, with the intention, no doubt,
of forcing the command to cross the Rappahannock at Leeds, a narrow place,
where the enemy themselves have been in the habit of fording without opposition
whenever occasion required; but Col. Kilpatrick was prepared for just such
an emergency, and his pioneers, without any unnecessary delay, constructed
a bridge, over which the Dragon River was crossed without difficulty. The bridge
was then destroyed.
Here, to foil the enemy, the command moved forward in several columns. The
principal one on the right, under Col. Hasbrouck Davis, took a southerly direction,
and went to Pine Tree, in the lower part of Middlesex county. The people of
this hitherto unrivalled region were completely taken by surprise; they did
not dream it possible that the much-hated Yankees would dare visit that spot;
in fact, it was a place so secluded that some of the large planters near Richmond
had sent their negroes there for safety. The house of Col. Jones who commands
and controls all the bushwackers in that section of the State, was approached
so suddenly that the redoubtable Colonel was himself capture, and last night
slept on one of the boats of the Potomac flotilla at Aquia Creek. He will probably
extend his visit to the National Capitol to-day.
No opposition whatever was met with in this direction, and but few armed men
were seen and those were bushwackers, armed principally with double-barreled
shot-guns. They fled precipitately, however, at sight of the bluecoats, and
as the country thereabouts is covered with a thick growth of pines, they succeeded
generally in making good their escape.
On the road the courier of a rebel mail was overtaken. An inspection of the
mail matter was forthwith instituted. The letters, for the most part, were
of a private nature, and some of them were addressed to persons living within
the loyal States. Their cases will doubtless be attended to by the proper authorities
in due season.
One letter, however, attracted particular attention. It was signed by the veritable
Gen. Stuart, and was addressed to Col. Jones, who a few hours before had been
taken prisoner in response to an appeal of the inhabitants to be protected
from the very cavalry force then in their midst.
Gen. Stuart, in the letter, promised the protection called for, and stated
that he would be there on Sunday, the day the mail was captured. He was not
there, however--at all events not seen in that vicinity by our troops. He had
laid a trap, as stated above, into which he expected the Yankee colonel would
fall without hesitation, but in this he was fortunately mistaken. This portion
of the command reached Urbanna Sunday evening, having captured a large number
of horses and mules, and being followed by a motley group of contrabands of
all ages and both sexes. Among the captures by this portion of the command,
was a confederate agent, with $13,000 in Georgia and Missouri money.
The left wing of the command went in a north-easterly direction, and reached
the road north of Urbanna Sunday evening. Here the picket of the enemy which
was to annihilate the whole force was encountered. A detachment charged and
drove this force in a northwesterly direction across the Dragon River, at Church’s
mill—the only bridge they had not destroyed. They here fell back upon
their reserves, strongly entrenched. The pursuing party having accomplished
the object of their mission, set fire to the bridge and slowly retired. They
were not pursued. Monday morning the whole command was in front of Urbanna,
ready to cross the river. To protect this part of the movement, Lieut. Commander
McGaw, of the Potomac flotilla, was present. He left Acquia Creek on Saturday
evening with the following named vessels, and was at the rendezvous the very
moment when ordered: Tallaca (ferry boat), Star, William W. Frazier, Long Branch
(light draft steamboats to transport the troops across the river), and the
gunboats Yankee, Freeborn, Anacosta, Carrituck, Primrose, Ella and Satellite.
Capt. Moffat, of the 94th New York Volunteers, with one hundred picked men,
was also taken down, and Captain J. C. Paine, the chief signal officer stationed
at Aquia Creek. The gunboats were immediately put in readiness for action.
Capt. Moffet’s command was landed at Urbanna, and were at once deployed
outside of the town as skirmishers. Capt. Paine secured an eligible position
just north of the town—the direction from which an attack was anticipated.
A detachment of the Fifty-second New York Volunteers (engineers) speedily constructed
a bridge across the mouth of the Urbanna Creek and repaired a wharf on the
opposite side of the Rappahannock, so that the boats could receive the troops
on one side and land them on the other without difficulty. These arrangements
perfected, the crossing was commenced at 9 o’clock Monday morning, but
it was not until Tuesday morning that the whole of Col. Kilpatrick’s
command was landed on the opposite shore, a distance of six miles from the
point of embarkation. Col. Kilpatrick immediately moved forward, and was met
by a cavalry force which had been sent down from headquarters to welcome him
and afford any assistance that might be necessary. Difficulty was anticipated
at Reed's Ford, but the rebels doubtless repented of their threats to annihilate
the command, and therefore did not attempt to interfere further.
Col. Kilpatrick has thus made the complete circuit of the most formidable army
the rebels have in the field--destroying millions of dollars worth of property,
in the shape of railroads and material; captured hundred of horses and mules;
brought away at least one thousand of the producing class of the South, and
by his visit so demoralized those who remain behind, that even the rebels will
not hereafter be willing to say that property mounted on two legs is the most
desirable to be had. More than this, he has visited some benighted regions
of the Confederacy, where the people believed the Yankees were anything but
civilised [sic] beings.
Among other articles captured was the flag of the Twelfth Virginia regiment.
While the wants of the soldiers were supplied on the road, the strictest orders
were given to protect the rights of those who were not in arms against the
government. Horses and mules, and whatever the soldiers and horses required
to eat were taken; but in all other respects the citizens have no cause to
complain. Indeed the citizens at several points, and especially in the largest
village, Urbanna, expressed their gratification at the good conduct of the
The country was almost entirely deserted of able-bodied men, and only the old
and decrepid [sic] of the male sex were to be seen. These as well as the women,
believing the exaggerated reports of their own soldiery, believed that the
Yankee troops never showed any mercy to anyone in rebeldom, and therefore were
filled with apprehension at our approach, expecting, as they did, to be murdered.
One family, consisting of a widow woman and three daughters, all highly cultivated,
concealed them selves in the woods, and when found by an officer, it was with
difficulty he could induce them to return to their house. They fully expected
to be murdered, but afterwards expressed much satisfaction at the conduct of
the Union troops.
On Monday night one of our advanced pickets from Urbanna saw in the dim distance
a force of some kind approaching. The picket made the usual challenge, but
there was no response, and he fired. The object fired at continuing to advance,
the picket fell back upon the reserve. On came the mysterious foe, and preparations
were being made by the reserve for a severe contest, when one man with stronger
eye sight than the rest, saw that the approaching force was composed of negroes.
Sure enough it proved that thirty or forty negroes were coming up in one gang.
When asked why they did not halt after being fired upon, the leader said they
thought the safest way would be to rush in and give themselves up; they believed
this to be the way soldiers surrendered in battle.
The immediate benefit of this raid, aside from the good effect upon our own
men, is the capture of two hundred horses and mules, forty wagons loaded with
provisions, 1,000 contrabands, and the demoralization of the blacks in three
or four counties—two of which have never been penetrated before by our
troops--and undeceiving the inhabitants as to the real character of the Union
To all appearances this residents of the counties passed through are better
supplied with the necessaries of life than in any other portion of the State
yet visited; economy in the consumption of food, however, is everywhere exercised
to enable each land proprietor to supply the army agents with large quantities
of food. To this end, by a special order from Jeff. Davis, the negroe's ration
has been reduced one third, so that a field hand barely receives enough to
sustain him. Regular rations, in fact, are no longer furnished the slaves.
Twice a day a small piece of corn bread and meat is dealt out to them, and
't night a piece of corn bread alone.
That a force of not exceeding nine hundred men could have passed from Gloucester
Point across two rivers not fordable, in the presence in fact of a much superior
force without having a man killed, is one of the remarkable events of this
From the Harris Light Cavalry.
We are permitted to make the following extracts from a private letter written
by a member of the Harris Light Cavalry, to his parents in this village:
CENTERVILLE, JUNE 16TH, 1863.
WE have been two days on the march after Stuart who threatens Pennsylvania
with 90,000 men. We expected to meet him at Bull Rub, but did not. We have
left all of our positions and moved nearer Washington. You ought to have seen
the hay, oats and pork we abandoned at Catlett’s and Warranton Junction;
too bad, but we could not carry it; burnt some hay and oats, but not all; are
now lying near the battle field of Bull Run, on the Bull Run creek, hoping
that Lee will again give us battle on the old field. Stuart by this time is
in Pennsylvania, stealing grain and horses. I suppose Col. Kilpatrick will
be after him soon again; don’t think Lee will get back safe. I have a
splendid little horse that I captured at Richmond. She is a dark bay, with
a bushy mane. In the brush at Brandy Station she jumped a ditch with me over
eight feet wide, where more than twenty missed, and were taken prisoners. A
six rail fence cannot stop her. Nights when we stop, I tie her to my boot and
go to sleep; if “saddle up” blows she will wake me by rubbing her
nose in my side, and rooting me like a hog. She knows my whistle and will follow
me anywhere. Col. Davies fought like a perfect hero at Brandy Station. At one
time he was surrounded by forty or fifty rebels, and cut his way out; they
fell before him like hail. I will always stand up for Col. Davies. Col. “Kil” sent
me and a young man by the name of Moore to search a man’s house (by the
name of Reed). Moore found $18 in secesh money, and I found 150 pounds of buckshot,
two or three dozen bottles Quinine, and some shot guns. Col. “Kil” was
so well pleased that he sent us back with an order for his arrest, and to search
his trunks for papers. I got his oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. He
proved to be a rebel agent for the purchase of stores and ammunition. He has
made his last purchase here. I have got so I can sit down and cook a piece
of pork on a sharp stick, and with a cup of coffee and some crackers make a
good meal. When we are near the railroad, we have fresh beef and soft bread,
and sometimes we cook beans, and I very often make a pork stew.
Middleburg, June 20th.—Since I commenced writing this letter, we have
marched to Aldie, and had a very severe fight at Aldie Heights. Lost five officers
and twenty-seven men. Our Adjutant (Whitaker) was shot and killed while leading
us on to a charge. We drove them from their position and occupied the town.
We were then relieved from the front, and rested from noon until the next morning,
when Pleasanton took the front, and then thought we would not have to fight
again that day, but Pleasanton met then in a dense wood, filled with sharpshooters
(at Middleburg), and charged the 1st Maine through them, and were repulsed
with heavy loss. He then ordered up the 16th Pennsylvania Regiment, who broke
and ran, then Col. Kill sung out "Where are my Harris Lights. Order up
the Harris Lights," and up we had to go on the gallop, and charged at
them with pistol, carbine, and sabre.
They broke and ran like devils, pursued by our boys, who totally dislodged
them and drove them from their battery, and won the position and held it through
a perfect storm of grape and canister until dark, when we were relieved by
the 10th. N. Y. We lost three men only. I have not been hit yet, but a piece
of shell knocked my hat clear from my head and tore the top out without touching
a hair of my head.—Do not think I am doomed to be shot in this war. At
Aldie I captured an Orderly Sergeant, and have his rifle for a prize. He surrendered
to me with his rifle loaded and cocked, but I covered him as I advanced, and
he gave in; I then conducted him to the rear, and delivered him to the Provost
Marshal, then returned to the front. We are now in possession of Middleburg,
and the rebels are slowly retreating. We did not go to Pennsylvania as we expected,
but are making for Thoroughfare Gap to cut off old Lee's retreat from Pennsylvania,
and young Lee and Stuart are trying to prevent it. I hope we will succeed in
capturing the two forces. We shot a Col. and Lieut.-Col. Yesterday of a N.
Upperville, June 23d.
Have again been in two fights, and not had a scratch in either. We have driven
the enemy steadily before us from Aldie to Ashby’s Gap, killing and capturing
a great many.
The Harris Light has been the only one put on the advance for four days. We
charged into Upperville and captured one of Moseby’s brass cannons, and
carried it to the rear; it was won by the loss of five men. We were resting
in a field nearly tired out, when Kilpatrick rode up and said, “Boys,
they want us to go to the front again.” Every man answered him with a
cheer, and dashed after him, and he led us to a charge, after the 6th regulars
broke and ran. I suppose you have heard that he has won his star; is now a
Brigadier, and commands six Regiments.
W. V. B.
ANOTHER GALLANT CAVALRY FIGHT.
The Rebels Driven and Badly Beaten
Army of the Potomac, June 19. (1863)
Gen. Gregg’s division of cavalry after marching within about a half mile
of Middleburg, from Aldie this morning, observed the enemy skirmishing in his
front. A section of Fuller’s battery was planted on the hill by Gen.
Kilpatrick and opened fire with considerable effect, driving the enemy back.
Gen. Gregg had previously driven the enemy from the hills with the 10th New
York and 1st Maine batteries. The Rebels formed their line of battle in about
fifteen minutes afterward. A squadron of the Harris Light Cavalry and a detachment
of the 4th New York Cavalry were detailed to scout that portion of the field
where the enemy were last seen. The enemy soon appeared and charged on these
two squadrons and were repulsed. They repeated this twice, but were handsomely
repulsed by our men, who captured in these three brushes about sixty prisoners.
Our last charge, together with the practice of our artillery, thoroughly repulsed
the enemy, who fled before us about a mile.
About 6 o'clock P. M. they attempted a flank movement on a portion of the brigade
under command of Maj. Whiting. They came with a force of about two cavalry
regiments, and made a desperate attempt to capture these men, evidently ignorant
of the fact that we had artillery. A desperate encounter again ensued, but
we repulsed them with little loss, although our artillery must have done them
great damage. We drove them beyond the town.
The 6th Ohio cavalry opened the fight, dismounted, and behaved nobly. The 1st
Maine cavalry, of Gen. Gregg's command, suffered severely in a charge made
by them just before the Rebels were finally repulsed.
Colonel Wilcox, of the 9th Virginia (Rebel) cavalry was killed, and a Rebel
Lieutenant Colonel was captured.
Republican & Sentinel.
Monday Afternoon, July 27, 1863.
JOB WORK of every description executed with neatness and despatch.
For Local News and Arrivals see Third Page.
The subjoined well writen [sic] letter, was not designed for publication. The
writer, as subsequent events have proved, was too sanguine in relation to the
fate of Gen. Lee's army; but youth is ever hopeful:—ED. REP. & SENT.
GLOUCESTER POINT, VA., July 14th, 1863.
We arrived safely at this place, on Friday afternoon last, and I would have
notified you of the same immediately upon my arrival, knowing that you were
in considerable suspense in consequence of my long silence, but I was so very
tired, having been seventeen days in the saddle, that I postponed all letter-writing
until Sunday. But I had barely commenced a letter to you on that day, when
we were unexpectedly called upon to take the place of the 4th Delaware Reg't.,
Col. Grimshaw, who have acted as picket-guard here for several months past,
and who were suddenly ordered to Washington. I was therefore obliged to lay
aside my pen and leave for the woods. As I am feeling quite well to-day, although
a severe toothache annoys me a little, I will make another attempt, and hope
to complete a letter to you unmolested.
The quiet and repose of our old quarters, we esteem the greatest of all luxuries,
after undergoing so much fatigue and exposure during our absence. Early on
the morning of Wednesday, June 24th, we were called up—and ordered to
get ourselves in readiness to march "On to Richmond." With as little
delay as possible, we embarked on board the government transport steamer, "City
of Albany," a vessel which once plied the Hudson, in the smiling days
of peace—freighted with a far different cargo, than upon this last voyage
up the sluggish rivers of Virginia. About 9 o'clock on Thursday morning, we
disembarked at the White House, situated at the head of navigation on the Pamnaky
river. Our force consisted of the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment of Cavalry—one
battalion 2nd Mass, and a small detachment from the 12th Illinois and Harris
Lights, the whole numbering about 1000 men, under command of Col. Spear, of
the 11th Pa. We did not commence marching from White House until late in the
afternoon; and as the rain had fallen during the day, the roads which lay through
never-ending forests and swamps—over slippery clay hills and stump obstructed
ravines, our progress was necessarily slow. Our horses would sink nearly to
their knees, and the mud bespattered us from head to foot, yet they struggled
on in the direction of Richmond, until dark, when we halted for the night.
Notwithstanding the drizzling rain which continued to fall during the night,
I managed to rest beside a rail-fence quite comfortably until daylight. We
were then not more than twelve miles distant from the Rebel Capitol.—Our
column, which was over a mile in length, was soon on the move, and during the
forenoon we made rapid progress. Near Hanover Court House, our advance guard
captured a rebel train of some thirty or forty wagons, the most valuable of
which we brouggt [sic] away, destroying, the remainder.
We also captured about twenty rebel soldiers, being a portion of the guard
over the train. Soon after, the rebel Gen. Fitz Hugh Lee, (a son of Robert
E. Lee, the commander of the confederate army,) fell into our hands.—About
two o'clock, we came in sight of the breastworks or earthworks, thrown up in
the neighborhood of the Virginia Central R. Road bridge, over the South Anna
river—the line of communication of Lee's army with Richmond.
Our advance-guard, consisting of the first platoon of our company, under command
of Lieut. Ramsey, numbering 300 men, were at once deployed as skirmishers,
and succeeded in drawing the fire of the enemy, posted near the bridge. They
(the rebels,) fell back to the head of the river and after exchanging a few
shots, skedaddled to the opposite shore altogether. We then sent down the two
12 pd. howitzers, from the 11th Pa., and endeavored to "shell them out," but
the shots did little damage. Col. Spear, then ordered a squadron of Pa. men,
to charge upon an earthwork; in which the greater part of the rebel force was
concentrated. They crossed the stream a short distance below the bridge, and
charged accordingly, but without success. At the first volley, they broke and
fell back. Had they charged firmly, the enemy must have surrendered, and the
fight would have closed. Our battalion was then ordered to the front, and Co.
A. and C., dismounted, and advanced as carbineer’s, under command of
Capt. Reed. We crossed the river a few rods below the bridge, upon a log, and
stationed ourselves in the thicket along the bank, which protected us from
the fire of the enemy. There was a block-house near the bridge, in which many
of the rebel sharpshooters and we exchanged lead with them quite familiarly
for about three quarters of an hour. Every man was ready with his carbine,
and woe to the unlucky man who exposed himself in his hiding place, as a volley
crashed through the bushes, and his exit from this into a better world was
heralded through the valley. During this while, arrangements were in progress
for a grand charge upon the enemy. The mounted cavalry were to charge from
the woods in the rear of the earthwork, and our little party were to charge
from the front upon the blockhouse. At a given signal, we gave a short dash
from the bushes in a body, and following our commander, rushed upon them. The
enemy were completely dumbfounded, and they afterwards assured us that they
were not expecting we would charge upon them. The cavalry in the rear, attracted
the attention of the men in the earthwork, and received a volley in their midst.
This undoubtedly was the cause of so little bloodshed in our party. A hand
to hand fight ensued at the house, but it lasted only a moment. "Cease
firing," was echoed by a dozen voices, and our carbines fell from our
hands. The prisoners were secured, and on we started for the breastwork. Only
a few steps, and behold—the muskets of the enemy were reversed, and planted
in the sand. They too had surrendered. We took about seventy-five men from
this place. A guard was placed over them, and they were marched away. I assisted
in gathering up the muskets, cartridge boxes and ammunition, which were scattered
over the ground, and walked back to the blockhouse.
And it was here that the full horrors of war first presented themselves. Men
in gray uniforms lay stretched upon the ground dead. A young boy not more than
fourteen years of age, was the first face I ventured to look upon. It made
me shudder. Blood was upon his face and head, and his clothing was dyed with
precious drops, which but a few moment's before, thrilled in his veins. And
I wondered who he was—his name, home and history. They were North Carolina
troops, and I could ascertain nothing mere. We killed ten, and wounded eighteen.
Our loss was but three killed, and five wounded;—among them, our company
suffered one killed and one wounded.
I was devoutly thankful that I was preserved on that day, although we did not
realize the danger; until it was entirely over. But to die in such a lonely
place, and where one's loss would never be known or felt. In the sad details
of battles, we read of ten killed, of a husband killed, of ten thousand killed;
and each one of them was the centre of some hope in the breast of father or
mother—to all but whom, their fame or name is all unknown.
Who is it that has called them the un-named heroes. When the Nation counts
her treasures, let her remember the unnamed; the devoted husband, brothers
and lovers, who turned from the quiet happiness of their lives, and marched
on to battle and to death, knowing that their fall must be unknown to all but
those whose homes it would darken, and whose hearts it must break.
The dead and wounded were properly cared for at the bridge, and we were soon "homeward
bound." Doubtless you have already seen and read the reports of our raid,
as they were published in the New York daily papers, I believe.
The 11th Pa., appear to receive from the press the entire credit for this successful
expedition through the enemies country, and the 2nd Mass. cavalry are scarcely
mentioned. As we were prominently engaged in the fight, and were always ready
through all emergencies, it is no more than right that we should claim a share
of the general praise, and it should not be withheld. But the selfish nature
of our Pennsylvania comrades has become so notorious, that we prefer to yield
them our portion, rather than share it with them.
We reached White House on Saturday evening, and were not a little surprised
to find an army of near 40,000 men encamped upon the ground which we had left
but three days previously, entirely deserted. I met many of my old friends
in New York regiments, and enjoyed a rest of three days in their midst in the
best manner possible.
On the following Wednesday, we started again with five days rations, on the
march. Ten thousand infantry, and about eighteen pieces of artillery with our
force of cavalry, left White House, under command of Gen. Getty, and on the
second day we encamped upon the extensive plantation of Mr. Taylor, which is
distant about ten miles from Hanover Junction. At the place there is a large
railroad bridge, the destruction of which would effectually cut of all direct
communication from Richmond, with Lee's army. But the enemy, once too wide
awake for us there, having built many strong earthworks around it, and garrisoned
it with about ten thousand men, several large seige pieces, and a number of
small guns. We were forced to retire, but not until we had destroyed about
six miles of the track, which would temporarily interrupt operations on that
road. Our impression was that we were more frightened than hurt, and our retreat
to the White House, we considered to be disgraceful and discouraging, but we
are happy to learn that the grand object of our advance was successful in its
results. Gen. Getty, I believe carried out his instructions to the full extent.
We were not sent there to fight; on the contrary, it was to alarm the inhabitants
of Richmond, and prevent any further reinforcements being sent to her. I understand
that about fifty thousand men, designed for Lee, were kept back--and Jeff Davis
sent many whining despatches to his commander-in-chief, who was then robbing
and plundering the innocent and helpless citizens of Pennsylvania—imploring
him to return to Richmond, with all possible haste, and protect that city from
Yankee Invaders. Poor Jeff will never again have the pleasure of beholding
the physiognomy of Old Uncle Lee, I am afraid. The grand army which he led
into loyal Pennsylvania, is sure to be annihilated. The news of Lee's surrender,
is buzzing through camp, but I hardly credit it as yet. But he must eventually
fall, and his army must be ruined, and the rebellion must be crushed very soon.
Grant's glorious achievements at Vicksburg, the reopening of the Mississippi—which
will be followed shortly by the downfall of Port Hudson, and the end of the
war in the south-west. Lee's surrender will be followed by the evacuation of
Richmond, and of Virginia—and Jeff must take a long ride south before
he will find "open arms" to welcome him, and if the waters of the
gulf are deep enough to drown so consummate a villain, as we all know him to
be, it will save a round of ammunition--or the trouble of hanging so worthless
a wreck of humanity.
We reached White House on Tuesday, and early on the following morning we sailed
for Yorktown, via New Kent Court House, Williamsburgh &c. We reached Yorktown
as I before mentioned, on Friday afternoon, and at once returned to our camp,
on Gloucester Point, where we are to remain until further orders.
We left home so unexpectedly that we were without a change of clothing during
the whole trip, and as the weather was either stormy or excessively hot, we
were most unqualifiedly dirty, and uncomfortable, and the sight of the broad
bay of clear blue water was the signal of great rejoicing among us all. After
a good bath and a clean suit, we felt like other men.
The trip was full of interest to me. I saw much that was sacredly dear to all
of us. The old St. Peter's Church on Gen. Lee's plantation, near White House,
in which George Washington was married, I shall never forget—on account
of its antiquity, association, and its rustic beauty. Its brick walls are nearly
hid by the ivy vines which affectionately cling around it, jealously shielding
it from observation—age has dealt lightly with it, and it will stand
another hundred years, unless accident destroys it.
THE LATE CAVALRY ADVANCE.
Cavalry on Picket Duty—Interesting Incidents, Personal and Otherwise.
From Our Special Correspondent.
VIRGINIA, September, 1863.
On Sunday morning, the 13th inst., the cavalry corps under Gen. PLEASONTON
crossed the Rappahannock River at three points—the First division, Gen.
Buford commanding, near the Orange and Alexandria Railroad bridge; the Second
division, Gen. Gregg, at Sulphur Springs; and the Third division, Gen. Kilpatrick,
at Kelly's Ford. Capturing a portion of the pickets, and driving the balance
before them, the several divisions moved forward to a point near Brandy station,
where a junction was formed. Here a considerable force of the enemy's cavalry
was met, and a brief but sharp engagement followed. The enemy was forced back
and rapidly pursued by the First division, skirmishing the whole time--the
Ninth New-York cavalry, Col. SACKETT, being in advance—until he made
a stand on an eminence near Culpepper. While the First division was hotly engaged,
the Second division made a detour to the right, and approached Culpepper from
a northerly direction, driving in before it upon the main body a brigade of
the enemy's forces. The Third division made a similar movement to the left,
and striking the Stevensburg road to the east, immediately advanced upon Culpepper
and the left of the enemy's position. Finding themselves flanked, the enemy
fell back precipitately into the town and to the left of it, taking a new position.
While the First division was hotly engaged in front of the town, Gen. Kilpatrick
ordered a charge to be made upon a troublesome section of artillery planted
near the railroad bridge, and supported by a brigade of cavalry. Col. DAVIES,
commanding a brigade, ordered the Harris Light (Second New-York) to advance.
The order was promptly obeyed, and the two guns—one, a rifled cannon
and the other a brass howitzer—were both captured, together with all
the men serving them and the horses attached. Just at the time another piece
of artillery further up the street became troublesome, when Gen. CUSTER, followed
by a Color-Sergeant and several Orderlies, led on the First Vermont cavalry.
Color-Sergt. M. BELUWAIR and four Orderlies--three of whom, with the Sergeant,
belong to the First Michigan cavalry—were a hundred yards or so in advance,
and made a flank movement upon the gun, and have the honor of first getting
possession of it. It was commanded by a Lieutenant and seven men, who, as their
own column was within two hundred yards, refused at first to surrender, and
fired several shots at the Sergeant's party, but without effect. The Orderlies
fired and wounded one man, when the gun was given up, and the rebel cannoniers
were made to mount, and the rebel drivers drove their horses, dragging the
prize to the rear. The Fifth New-York, immediately after this, attempted to
charge upon the rear of the enemy, but unexpectedly coming upon an impassable
railroad embankment, they were compelled to fall back. The enemy immediately
abandoned the town, retreating toward Raccoon Ford, and were followed by the
Third division for a short distance, when the First division was again advanced,
and the Third division took the left. There was some sharp fighting in the
vicinity of Pony Mountain, which was caused by a charge of the First Michigan
cavalry, under Lieut. Col. Stage. At nightfall the enemy had been driven four
miles from Culpepper toward the river, and here both forces bivouacked for
the night. Early Monday morning fighting was again resumed, and after a series
of skirmishes, the enemy in front of Gens. BUFORD and KILPATRICK were forced
across the Rapidan. From Culpepper, Gen. GREGG moved toward Rapidan Station,
driving a force before him, and drove all of them across the river, with the
exception of about two regiments huddled together upon a point of land, fully
protected by the enemy's guns and sharpshooters in position on the opposite
bank. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the river was picketed and guarded by
the cavalry, when they were relieved by the Second corps. During this time
the rebels made several attempts to make a stand upon the left bank of the
river, but they were on each occasion handsomely repulsed.
The whole of this movement was conducted in a masterly manner—officers
and men alike vied with each other in deeds of daring, and all moved forward
as if feeling their superiority—to the foe in front. As a result of this
unity of feeling and action, Culpepper was occupied before 1 o'clock P.M. of
Just after the enemy had retreated from Brandy Station, the First Michigan
was sent on a reconnoisance to Stevensburgh, but meeting Hampton's brigade
at that point they fell back, after a brief skirmish, and rejoined the main
A SHREWD ORDERLY.
After the First Michigan had left the main column, Gen. KILPATRICK desired
to communicate with it. Maj. COOK, Chief of Staff, with an Orderly, started
directly across the country to deliver the message, under the supposition
that the regiment had met with no opposition, and was quietly ensconced at
Stevensburgh. After going about four miles, a suspicious looking picket was
perceived, when the Orderly, who had on a light colored cap, advanced and
asked if they were "HOOD'S (rebel) men," to which they replied, "No,
we are ROBINSON'S." The Orderly, not disconcerted in the least, said, "Well,
we are all ordered in—the Yankees are in force just over yonder, and
advancing." The reserve of this picket was in sight, and seeing the
Lieutenant in command advancing the Orderly retired, and upon meeting Maj.
Cook told him what had occurred. They leisurely walked away, and it was not
until they had got out of sight of the picket that they deemed it prudent
to run their horses. The same Orderly was captured in Culpepper, but made
the rebels believe that he was "one of them," and escaped.
A HOT PLACE—TWO CITIZENS KILLED.
While the fight was raging at Rawson's crossroads—two miles southeast
of Culpepper—a party of the enemy's skirmishers occupied the upper part
two-story brick house, owned by JAMES INSKIP. It being the only brick house
in the vicinity, several families residing in the neighborhood sought safety
in the basement, and remained there during the fight, but not in safety; seven
shells, thrown by one of our batteries, went into or through the house, two
of which killed instantly JOHN J. CARTER and his son, 16 years of age. Mrs.
CARTER and Mrs. LARKIN RAWSON were also seriously wounded. A short time after
this lamentable affair, Mrs. C.'s wound's were attended to, and her young children—of
which she has several—it is to be hoped will be cared for. Several houses
were struck in Culpepper by shells, and one woman was seriously injured. Two
shells from a rebel battery passed through one house near the railroad depot.
A woman with a child in her arms had just left the spot where the first shell
ANOTHER NARROW ESCAPE.
A shell exploded near private Sileston, of the Fifth New-York cavalry, killing
his horse, and the pieces making fourteen holes through his clothing and blanket,
and, miraculously, his skin was no where broken; although considerable bruised.
A MEETING UNDER DIFFICULTIES
The officer commanding the three guns captured in Culpepper, and who was also
captured, was an own uncle of Lieut. Councilman, of Fuller’s battery—a
battery that rendered good service in the taking of Culpepper. Thus it is
that the Moloch of Slavery makes parricides of us all.
AT MOUNT PONY.
I have before stated that the First Michigan cavalry made a charge up the steep
sides of Pony Mountain. This one regiment drove a whole brigade of rebels
from a very strong position, and in getting at them, at several points, the
men were where the hill was so steep that the saddles, in several instances,
slipped off the horses. When the enemy were fairly running from this position,
the recall was sounded, but not heard, or at least not obeyed by all the
regiments. Capt. MAXWELL and Lieut. MATHEWS, with about fifteen men, dashing
along the side of the mountain through by-paths, fell upon the flank of the
flying enemy, and made sad havoc in their ranks, and turned the retreat into
a regular rout. A Sergeant of Company I, while alone, came across several
of the enemy. They raised their rifles to fire, when the Sergeant called
upon them to surrender, and at the same time calling out lustily, "Come
on boys," as if he had a force to back him. Two of his opponents surrendered,
and the balance left without firing a shot.
In the Culpepper fight, two brothers were killed. They belonged to different
regiments, from different States, and were killed in different parts of the
field. JOHN HENRY, the name of one, belonged to the First Vermont cavalry.
His brother was a member of the Fifth New-York cavalry.
PICKETING THE RAPIDAN.
To fully understand the strong position occupied by the enemy after they had
been forced across the Rapidan, and the dangers to which our brave troopers
were exposed in defending it, the reader must first have some knowledge of
the topography of the place. The banks of the Rapidan and the country immediately
adjacent, are peculiar to itself. The right bank, from the crossing of the
Orange and Alexandria Railroad to Germania, is almost one unbroken bluff,
from 50 to 100 feet high, save where here and there a roadway debouches to
one of the numerous fording places, or the rains have washed the bank away
and formed a ravine. Back of these bluffs are ranges of hills interspersed
with a wooded country. The left bank is comparatively low, rising but a few
feet above the river when at its height, and extending back for from one
half of a mile to one mile and a quarter is a level plain, over which the
eye can sweep without woods or hills to obstruct the view. It was across
this plain and the river the rebel cavalry and infantry were pursued by our
gallant troopers on Monday, the 14th, and held the same against all comers
until relieved as before stated. Notwithstanding, STUART'S frequent boasts
that no Yankee force could drive him out of the town of Culpepper, he had
sufficient foresight to prepare the right bank of the Rapidan for defensive
operations. Earthworks and parallels had been thrown up, and rifle-pits had
been dug for miles on the right bank of the river, and Blakely and some other
heavy guns were in position to sweep the plain crossed by the invading foe." Once
their favorite positions (the ditches) gained, the enemy rained shot and
shell upon their pursuers, and until nightfall on Monday was the river protected
under this fire by our men. At night working parties were sent out to the
river hank, and rifle-pits were dug at the points covering the different
fords. So elevated was the position occupied by the enemy, that our artillery
was of but little use. The position may be more fully understood by a little
transaction on Monday. At one time the enemy concentrated the fire of fourteen
guns upon one battery of the Third division. Gen. PLEASONTON directed Gen.
KILPATRICK to "silence that battery." Gen. KILPATRICK replied, "I
cannot do it, Sir." "Then," said the commanding General, "no
one can do it." Our battery was withdrawn. For four days a single soldier
could not show himself anywhere upon the plain without being fired at; and
there were some good shots made too. When in the rifle-pits, every man had
to lie flat upon the ground, or run the chance of being deliberately shot,
for the enemy would fire at the sight of head or limb. Several of the Ninth
New- York cavalry amused themselves, while on picket, by raising their caps
on sticks, just so the enemy could see them; this would draw a volley instantly.
Several caps held up in this way were pierced with bullets. These pickets
could only be relieved at night. Notwithstanding the dangerous position,
every man was eager to be one of the party on picket. The men seemed to enjoy
it as much as they would to go on a picnic at home. When the cavalry pickets
were finally relieved by infantry, the pickets in front of one division were
relieved in the day time. One trooper at a time would walk from the rifle-pits
to the rear and one of the relief would go in. The scene was an exciting
one; and notwithstanding dozens of shots were fired at each man in turn as
he crossed the plain, a majority of the men passed over the distance at a
walk. The fact that but few were wounded has led me to believe that possibly
the cool daring of the men aroused a little manhood in the enemy, and that
they did not try very hard to hit any one. The last to leave the rifle-pit
at this point was Lieut. EMERSON, of the First Michigan cavalry. He is a
man of commanding presence, and as he stalked across the plain, his long
beard sweeping the air, was the observed of all. When within a few rods of
cover two shots were fired at him. He at once made an offensive gesture,
when instantly a dozen bullets whistled past his head—one singeing
THE ENEMY ATTEMPT TO CROSS IN FORCE.
While holding these fords the enemy made several formidable attempts to cross
the river and obtain a footing upon the left bank. They did succeed in landing
small parties at several points, but were as often repulsed. The most serious
attempt was made on Tuesday, the 15th, when a. general movement along the
whole line took place.
At one point a picket of 40 men from the Fourth New York was completely surprised—the
enemy coming in upon their flank. Only a few men crossed, but they succeeded
in killing Capt. Hart, who commanded the picket, one private, wounding seven
others and capturing 17 more. Thus only 15 of the 40 escaped. Capt. HART lived
only three hours after he was shot. It appears that the enemy crossed the river
from the bottom of a thickly-wooded ravine, and landed in a cornfield at the
right of the picket, so that they were under cover all the time until the movement
had been executed. At an earlier hour in the day Capt. HART had stationed several
men in this, cornfield to watch the ravine, but they had been forced from the
position by the sharpshooters. The remainder of the Fourth acted as a support,
but it became necessary to order up the Seventeenth Pennsylvania cavalry to
aid in driving back the enemy at this point. The Commanding General took the
battle-flag and colors away from the Fourth, and they are not to be returned
until such time as in the opinion of Gen. BUFORD, they have redeemed their
reputation. The Ninth New-York relieved the Fourth that night, and Capt. HANLEY,
with his squadron, took the position formerly occupied by Capt. Hart. Capt.
HANLEY took the precautionary steps to cut down the corn-stalks as soon as
he reached his post, and that gave him a full view of the position so that
he could not be surprised. On the same day the picket of the Sixth Michigan,
under Lieut. LOVELL was flanked in a similar way, but Col. GRAY being on hand
drove the enemy back with the balance of his regiment. The Fifth Michigan,
Col. ALGER, came up promptly to their assistance, but fortunately their services
were not needed. In this affair the picket fought nobly—one man, ROBERT
TRONAX, with his seven-shooting Spencer rifle, killing six rebels while they
were crossing the river.
As an instance of the heartless treachery of the enemy, just at this point
I will relate the following fact, as one of many of a similar nature occurring
within a few days. On the morning of the above occurrence the rebel pickets
in front of the Sixth Michigan advanced in a friendly way to the bank of
the river, and were met in the same spirit by our men. A large number of
men washed themselves in the river on both sides, and there was the usual
jesting and bantering between the parties, the same as has frequently been
recorded of pickets when not shooting at each other. Lieut. Segrix and a
private named GEO. BROWN, of the Sixth Michigan, finally started for the
river to wash, and when near the bank the men on the opposite side, without
giving any notice whatever, fired a dozen shots at them. Lieut. SEGRIX escaped
uninjured, but his companion was wounded in the leg and arm, and GEO. C.
CHANDLER, of the same regiment, was killed. Not satisfied with this base
act of treachery, they fired at and hit one of the men who was carrying Brown
from the field.
While the cavalry was picketing in the vicinity of Falmouth before the recent
movement, one night five rebels crossed the river and engaged in a little
game of poker with some of the Union soldiers. The rebels, at a late hour,
having lost all the spare change about them, recrossed the river. They were
arrested and tried for communicating with the enemy, but before their sentence
had been promulgated, two of the parties escaped and came within our lines,
and were met by the same parties who had before played poker with them. They
related their experience, and furthermore stated that the division to which
they were attached—composed of Georgia troops—was to leave the
following morning for Tennessee. As a partial confirmation of the latter
statement, the next morning the infantry pickets had disappeared and troopers
were placed in their stead.
Upon leaving Falmouth, Drs. SMITH and RICHARDS —the former of the First
and the latter of the Sixth Michigan cavalry—were left behind with a
squad of men to picket the place and look after the sick and wounded, who were
in a hospital that had been established near Falmouth. For ten days or more
this party attended to this duty. Dr. Smith, acting in the double capacity
of commanding officer, while Dr. RICHARDS discharged the duties of chief Medical
Director of the Department. Dr. SMITH proved to be as efficient a military
commander as he is well known to be a surgeon, and succeeded by vigilance in
keeping the enemy at a respectable distance. On one occasion, learning that
a part of the enemy had crossed the river, and were luxuriating in the sunny
smiles of the fair ladies of Falmouth, he boldly charged into the place at
the head of six men, taking two prisoners, and causing twenty or thirty citizens
and soldiers to scamper across the river in great haste.
When relieved, this party made for Catlett's Station. A steward, and an attendant
attached to Dr. RICHARD'S department, asked and obtained permission to act
as an advance guard. Nothing more was seen of them until the day following
the arrival of the command at Catlett's, when the missing men came in and stated
that they had been captured, robbed of everything and then permitted to go.
Five of the enemy—a strolling party—were seen on the road, and
an unsuccessful attempt was made to capture them.
The Harris Light Cavalry.
To the Editor of the Newburgh Journal:
I have solicited for your paper the enclosed tract from a private letter written
by Sergant [sic] H. J. Brewer, a Cornwall boy, now of the Harris Light
Cavalry to his mother of this place, descriptive of the part taken by him in
the recent cavalry fight near Aldie. (1864)
We are proud to say that we have a number of Cornwall boys in the Harris Light
Cavalry, all of whom are distinguishing themselves by gallant conduct in this
war. They all entered as privates.—Two or three besides the writer of
this letter have already been promoted, and we Hope that their career of usefulness
will end only with the war, and a safe return to home and the friends that
are now watching their heroic efforts in behalf of our imperiled country.
NEAR ALDIE, Va., June 25. (1864)
Our regiment has been engaged in two days' fighting since my last letter—one
at Middleburgh last Friday, and the other on Saturday last. While you were
enjoying yourselves quietly at home or at church, we were risking our lives
in defence of our country's flag, amid the roaring and crashing of artillery
and musketry, which has awakened the people of Virginia many a Sunday morning.
I will tell you something about Sunday's fighting--as much as I know about
Our regiment had the honor to commence the fight. We advanced early in the
morning, and formed near Middleburgh, the whole brigade under Killpatrick.
Killpatrick then ordered our regiment out as skirmishers. We advanced and attacked
their position, and after fighting a little while the Rebels gave way. We were
dismounted at the time, and drove them over two miles, they taking positions
behind every stone fence (for there are stone fences here) or tree, firing
on us as we advanced.
After driving them over two miles we were relieved by the Fourth New York Cavalry,
and it was about time, for we were very near tired out, running so far. Our
battalion did not get engaged again till we got to Alpperville, but some of
the regiment got a great many horses killed before it got there. The Sixth
Ohio Cavalry charged through the village, our regiment supporting it. After
going through, the Rebels charged on them, the Ohio regiment wavered a little;
but Killpatrick rallied them, and after firing a volley of carbine shot, charged
the Rebels and drove them with great slaughter. It was a dear charge for the
Rebels, for the town is strewn with their dead and wounded, besides a great
many of them captured. The Colonel of the First North Carolina Cavalry was
wounded and taken by our men; he died that night.
After the Rebels were repulsed from their charge Killpatrick gave our regiment
a desperate job to do. He ordered Maj. Harhouse to go down and take Ashby's
Gap and hold it, and we would be supported by the First Maine cavalry; but
it did not come up, and a good thing it did not. Well, we had received our
orders, and the next thing was to fulfil [sic] them. We marched by platoons
down the road, Company G being ahead of the regiment, each company making one
platoon, Companies B and C on each side of the road as flanks. At the command
we marched forward, seeing nothing that looked like a "Reb," only
the top of a high hill ahead of us, but when we got near enough to that hill
a puff of smoke arose from it, and a cannon shot came plunging down the road,
then another came the same way, then a battery directly in the road ahead of
us unmasked itself and sent its iron hail toward us; shot after shot came plunging
down the hill from the battery in front of us, but on marched the regiment
steadily, disdaining to turn back without orders from Killpatrick. Was he going
to sacrifice us all? No; for here comes orders to fall back slowly; each platoon
left about wheel, and retired slowly and in perfect order.
I never expected to come back alive again; full well did I know what we might
expect in the Gap; there would not a man have escaped, but every man would
have followed their leader. One shell struck under my horse and had it burst
you would have been minus a brother, for it would have killed half of our company;
but thank God it did no other harm than to throw some stone and gravel in our
faces; one cut my face so it bled and drew blood from one of the horses on
the right of me. I was very thankful I was safe that night; to fight another
day was more than I expected at the time, but I always leave it with God, who
will bring me safe out of battles when I go in; he took care of us that day
and many more besides, and I trust to him for the future.
After a hard day's fight, and driving the Rebels to Ashby's Gap, our regiment
was sent to support the pickets. There was nothing happened through I the night,
and in the morning we began to fall back toward Aldie. As the Rebels had been
reinforced by Longstreet, they followed up to this side on Middleburgh, skirmishing
with some of our cavalry all the way, but I do not know what regiments were
engaged. After getting between Aldie and Middleburgh, we had infantry as well
as the Rebels, and they thought it prudent not to come any farther, for our
General was going to give them battle.
It has been quiet all day to-day; no fighting as I have heard of. I think our
regiment has done pretty well this month, as it has been engaged in four days'
fighting, and has fine prospects of more before the month is out.
The Rebels have got the worst of it in every engagement they have fought with
our cavalry. The regulars took between ninety and a hundred of them prisoners,
too, last night. In two of the fights there were drunken Rebels taken by our
men. No wonder they fight so when they are drunk. A man has a poor show for
his life if he gets in their hands while they are in such a state.
INTERESTING PRESENTATION OF FLAGS
A National Flag and Guidons for Maj. Richardson's Cavalry Battalion.
MANLIUS, Sept. 24th, 1864.
To the Editor of the Syracuse Journal:
A day, the remembrance of which will ever be cherished in the hearts of the
people, dawned and set in the beautiful village of Manlius yesterday. Rev.
H. S. Richardson, and the Battalion recently raised by him, were made the recipients
of a beautiful silk Flag and two Guidons, presented by Mrs. H. C. Van Schaack
in behalf of the Ladies of Pompey, Manlius and De Witt. The presentation by
Mrs. Van Schaack was brief but "mullum in parvo" decidedly. Mr. Tremain,
of Fayetteville, followed with a few well timed remarks, at the conclusion
of which, six young Misses dressed in white, with the National colors represented,
advanced and delivered the Flag and Guidons to Major Richardson, who responded
in a very feeling manner, pledging for himself and the Battalion, that "That
Flag should never be dishonored," and appealing to the soldiers who heartily
responded, "Never!" The Flag bears the following inscription:
Presented to Major Richardson, and the Battalion raised
by him for the Second Regiment of Cavalry,
New York Volunteers,
By the Ladies of Pompey, Manlius and De Witt."
At the close of Maj. Richardson's remarks Miss Hinsdell presented him with
a beautiful bouquet, wishing him "success as brilliant as the flowers
composing it." Altogether, the ceremony was one of the deepest interest;
such an one as Manlius never before witnessed. Gehm's Band, of Syracuse, discoursing
sweet music filling every heart with delight, added much to the occasion. Thus
while our brave boys are going forth with strong hands and stout hearts to
meet our country's foe, and manfully fight in her defence, the prayers of the
ladies go with them, as they bid them God speed in the discharge of their duty,
wishing them, "When this cruel war is over," a safe return to enjoy
once more, in peace, the homes they are now leaving. B.
FROM THE SECOND CAVALRY.
Moved to the Front--The Election in
Maryland--Novel Sights—Experiences in Camp.
IN CAMP WITHIN TWO MILES OF HARPER'S FERRY,
FOOT OF MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Nov. 9, 1864.
Dear Journal: I will try to bundle up again the experiences of the Onondaga
Battalion of the Second New York Cavalry. It is done by way of a lead pencil
for a gold pen, the bottom of a coffee canister for a desk, a heap of blankets
for a chair, and a "shelter-tent" four feet high for a "study." It
is raining very leisurely, and the clouds rise and fall like a wind-swept curtain,
over Maryland Heights. Mud--the historic mud, covers tents, dress, equippage,
blankets, and is not a very distant neighbor to rations. Here we rest for a
day to "shoe up" and prepare for our march throngh [sic] guerrilla-land
Last Sunday morning we left Camp Stoneman in a column six hundred strong, composed
of our battalion and detachments of other cavalry regiments proceeding to "the
front," all under the command of Major Birdseye. We passed through Washington
and Georgetown to Rockville, where we encamped for the night in a fairground.
During the night it began to rain, and has rained more or less since. Monday
night we encamped between Monocacy Junction and Frederick City. Yesterday,
while the nation was all excitement, our little band was moving soberly now,
as we trampled through mud and rain, by field and forest, and most jubilantly
then, as we passed through village and hamlet, by houses where some patriotic
girl waved the Stars and Stripes toward us, and by crowds of men where placards
headed "Beware of Perjury," indicated one of the spots where ballots,
like snow-flakes, were silently falling to form in one eventful day all over
the northern hills and western prairies a national avalanche which shall bury
rebels and copperheads forever. Though no soldiers were found about the polls,
yet we can assure you the response to cries and cheers for "Mac" were
few and far between, The rude plough share of war has run a furrow too deep
and too long through the memory of this region for men here to forget that
slavery drew and disunion drove that plough-share. Along the route "the
boys" were full of droll remark at sight of houses with chimneys and bake-ovens
built out doors, of heavy teams of four or six horses guided by a single line
held by the driver on the rear saddle-horse attached to the head of the leader-horse,
and doubtless the sight of the rich farms and wooded hills, started for the
first time in the minds of some of the men the thought of immigrating to the
South, which shall ere long be as free as she is fair.
Of our experiences at Camp Stoneman the friends of "the boys" have
already heard through "the boys" themselves. it was drill and drill
again; drill dismounted and drill mounted; drill with sabre and drill with
carbine. But it was to all the place of uncertainty and restlessness. All wished
to be in "the Valley," and the valley of death it will doubtless
be to some; still, all came along in the best of spirits. A few are sick of
fever or bowel complaints. The ride was a rude test of endurance to others.
For the information of our friends let me give the form of letter addresses
as follows: Mr. A. B., Co. __, 2d N. Y. Cav., 1st Brigade, 3d Division,
Washington, D. C.
To-morrow morning we cross the Potomac. May your prayers go up to the Lord
of Hosts for us.
Yours in confidence that Lincoln is President,
W. J. E.
FROM THE SECOND NEW YORK CAVALRY
Movements of the Onondaga Battalion --From Harper's Ferry to Winchester
--The First Experience of Battle--Death of Col. Hull--Major Birdseye
in Command--The Rebels Driven—List of Killed, Wounded and Missing.
In Camp, S. W. of Winchester, Va.,
Dear Journal:---We sent you a note concerning the march of the Onondaga Battalion
of the Second New York Cavalry from Camp Stoneman to Harper's Ferry. We reached
there just one week ago, when Union ballots were helping to finish the work
of Union bullets. On Thursday morning early, tents were struck, and the column
crossed the Potomac. On the height above Harper's Ferry, the troops were halted,
weapons inspected and prepared; and the thoughts of the men as they looked
down the Valley of the Shenandoah, and along the woody sides and rough notches
of the Blue Ridge, were of Mosby and his men, and of the possible adventures
through the guerrilla haunts to Winchester. It was a delightful autumn day,
and it seemed rather a ride of recreation than a march of armed men. We passed
through Halltown, where two hundred men of another regiment were placed under
the command of Major Birdseye. We soon reached Charlestown, and passed by the
court house where John Brown was tried and by the field where he was hung,
and verily, when we asked ourselves why we were there and in that troop of
men, it seemed as if "his soul"--the invisible spirit of his life
work--went "marching on" before us. Striking the limestone pike to
Berryville, we rode through this valley of desolation. The fences were gone,
the fields lie waste, the houses burned or tenantless, hardly a cow, or
pig or even a sheep can be seen, and every six or seven rods a dead horse is
food for countless crows and buzzards, and over as beautiful and gardenlike
Virginia Valley the sun ever shone upon rests an oppressive air of silence.
Hardly a score of men, and but few women and children were seen through a length
of way which in any part of your county would have been lined with more men
than our column numbered. On every side ran the ruts and well-worn tracks of
great armies of friend and foe, which have camped and picketed, and marched
and counter-marched, and battled over these once blooming fields.
But we cannot now stop to describe minutely our march to Winchester, nor the
city itself with its marks of the ravages of war on house and street and garden,
nor its camps, and all the military features, grim, dreadful, deadly, which
all this desolate country presents, but must hasten on to tell what is more
noteworthy, even though it be of fearful and sad interest to our friends. Already
have some of us been in the awful experiences of the battle-field, in its headlong
charge, and fierce whistling of bullets, and savage yell of desperate rebels.
On Saturday, Nov. 12th, Gen. Custer led our brigade of cavalry toward the Cedar
Creek battle-field, along whose western edge some of Rosser's cavalry had appeared
and driven in our pickets the day before. Our regiment, led by our young and
enthusiastic Colonel, Walter C. Hull, was in the advance, and the Fayetteville
company in the first squadron, commanded by Capt. Remmington. A line of battle
was formed, a fierce charge made, the air ringing with the shouts and cheers
of our men, and from behind a house on a hill a fierce hail of rebel bullets
greeted the charging squadron; the line wavered a moment, but recovering itself
swept over and down the hill and across the creek after the retreating rebels,
who fled for their favorite woods. And saddest of all to tell, our Colonel—young
in years, old in heroic deeds—leading his regiment to battle for the
first time since his promotion, fell at the head of the squadron, killed almost
instantly by a rebel bullet. Gen. Custer, standing a few moments afterward
by the body of the fallen hero, remarked, "There lies one of the bravest
of the brave."
The command then devolved on Major Birdseye, who railed the men from the effect
of this sudden loss with admirable presence of mind, and gallantly led them
on in the charge which drove the "Johnny Rebs" into the woods. Here
our men were dismounted and fought the enemy Indian-like. Each drove the other
in turn, with varying success, but finally the rebels fled in confusion. At
the same time the Second Brigade was fighting on our left, and in rear of the
rebels with whom we were engaged. The loss in the
Division is about one hundred and ninety in killed, wounded and missing. Our
regiment lost thirty-five in all—two killed and nine wounded. As one
of the killed was the Colonel, and seven of the wounded and three of the missing
out of Co. H, you can easily see who stood the brunt of the fight. Companies
F and G were not engaged, having been ordered to guard a cross-road on our
left, but doubtless they too would have given a good account of themselves.
Old Onondaga need not be fearful that these, the youngest sons she has sent
forth, will not follow in the heroic footsteps of those of the old 12th, 122d
and 149th. Col. Pennington, commanding our brigade, and Gen. Custer both highly
complimented the conduct of the "new men."
Next day (Sabbath) the 3d division made a reconnoissance in force beyond the
scene of this engagement and over the Cedar Creek battleground, but found the
rebels retired down the valley toward Strasburg. On our return from this cold
march most of the battalion were ordered out on picket for twenty-four hours.
Thus may our friends see we are introduced already to all the hardships of
war. What the brave boys endure is not too much for the great cause of Freedom
and Union; but your thanks are not enough, so send to them letters, papers,
pamphlets, tracts, and prayers to God for their present and eternal welfare.
And now, in conclusion, we turn to the other and sad side of this affair. Though
in the thickest of the fight the officers of Co. H escaped unhurt. Captain
Remmington had two horses shot under him. Lieutenants Mitchell,
Morse and Brooks—the latter in command of a company—and Orderly
Cole conducted themselves admirably, and with the brave men stood to their
work with unflinching courage. Joseph E. Cameron was taken prisoner in the
woods, while fighting bravely. John Dolan, and Albert L. Newton, of Co. H,
are also missing; likewise, James Hassett and Henry J. Bond, of Co. G, and
Frederick M. Pratt, of Co. F, who somehow were swept into the fight, are reported
missing. The wounded, all of Co. H, are as follows:—
Sergt. Theodore V. Robinson, left side.
" Joseph R. Butler, thrown from his horse.
Private Mic Talon " " " "
" William Cress, in shoulder.
" John N. Fisher, in left arm.
" Frederick Hatch, in shoulder.
" William Harrington, left thigh.
All are in the hospital at Martinsburg, except Robinson.
And thus, with the sick left in Camp Stoneman and in Pleasant Valley Hospital,
Maryland, near Harper's Ferry, our number is already lessening, and we cannot
expect to return as once we went forth; still, it is a noteworthy fact very
few, in deed, fall by the bullet, compared with those who fall by disease.
We would add, that if letters do not quickly or always reach you and us, it
is because our lines of communication with Harper's Ferry and the North are
frequently interrupted by guerrillas, and there is a rumor to-night of the
capture of a mail and ambulances near Winchester.
Yours, Thankful for Lincoln's Election, W. J. E.
FROM THE SECOND N. Y. CAVALRY.
The Battle of Rood's Hill—The Onondaga Boys in the Thickest of the
Correspondence of the Syracuse Journal.
CAMP NEAR WINCHESTER, HEADQUARTERS
Second N. Y. Cavalry, Nov. 25, 1864.
Dear Journal:--Again I chronicle a short chapter of our experience. In two
weeks we have been in two fights, on a three days' march, and exposed to danger
and death. We are fast becoming veterans. You have received a note of our fight
and losses on Cedar Creek, Nov. 12th. On Tuesday, Nov. 22d, we were in an engagement
of more importance, a half-mile south of Mt. Jackson. Monday night, in rain
and mud, darkness and cold we encamped near Woodstock. By dawn next morning
the two Divisions of Cavalry were marching in quest of the enemy. The long
column went streaming on in the cold air through this desolated valley, which
in the warm anticipation of our Northern "boys" was presumed to belong
to a "Sunny South," but snow covered the mountains, iced the water,
and the solid, frozen pike echoed to the measured tread of the horses. By noon
the enemy was found posted in a strong position, with superior numbers, and
with the advantage of infantry, of which we had none.
With shot and shell the fight began. Our regiment, distinguished for hard,
brave work, fought on our right, which the enemy endeavored to turn. Our Onondaga
boys were thus in the thickest of the fight. The balls cut tree twigs countless
over their heads; the woods swarmed with rebels, and it was very soon evident
that our cavalry stood no chance of success. The regiments were ordered to
fall back over the creek into the village. Our regiment covered the retreat,
making several gallant charges into the very storm of bullets and putting the
enemy to flight. The Divisions marched back to Woodstock to their camp of the
previous night, the rebels not daring to pursue. Their cavalry have been whipped
so often by ours, that they dare not engage us, except with infantry for their
On Wednesday the 23d, the march was resumed to this camp, which "the boys," with
a little irony, called "going home." But we are not all here. There
is Capt. Remington of Co. H, in hospital at Winchester with a bullet-graze
around the back of his head. And there is his Company clerk, Wm. Abbey, shot
in the bowels, and a prisoner. Charles Brooks, (private,) of Co. G, is severely
wounded; likewise, of Co. F, Sergeant James S. Murphy, in the leg slightly,
John C. Losey, in the hip severely, and Wm. Burns had a finger shot off. The
regiment lost about twenty. Many horses were disabled or killed. This continual
thinning of our ranks by sickness and death is very saddening. We have just
heard of the deaths of Henry J. Hammond and Fred. Ransier, at Camp Stoneman;
and our sick are in wayside hospitals from there to Winchester. But our cause
of national unity and human freedom is worth all this cost of anguish and suffering.
It is the old law of sacrifice—God requires the best: He, Himself, gave
the best, His Son, our Saviour. This nation is thus honored to suffer for all
nations, and to transmit those principles of civil government which are to
bless the ages to come. Nor man nor nation can safely attempt to live only
for themselves. The race is one, and in the eyes of devine law, is of one color,
whatever men may think, or however fume or fret; and saddest of all there must
needs be so much blood shed both North and South to wash the black man white,
and cement our dissevered nationality. Human law must at length agree with
divine, so the nation has just decided in its own case; and for this we are
Yours, in Thanksgiving, W. J. E.
THURSDAY EVEINING, DEC. 15, 1864.
FROM THE SECOND NEW YORK CAVALRY.
Cavalry Ride—Packing Up—The March —Pursuit of Raiders—Foraging, &c.
Correspondence of the Syracuse Journal.
CAMP RUSSELL, NEAR WINCHESTER,
Virginia, Dec 7, 1864.
Dear Journal:—During a few days' rest, and thawing out, after our return,
from the fight at Rood's Hill, the boys began to settle down into the belief
that they would now go into winter quarters, but on the Monday (Nov. 28) afternoon
following, all such hopes and fancies fled like dreams at the startling, quick,
sharp bugle blasts calling us to strike tents, boot, spur, saddle, and prepare
to mount and march away no one knew why or whither. These sudden calls to break
camp and march anywhither are in one sense most ludicrous. You have just struck
a last nail into a rude table or bunk, or arranged the straw more housewifely,
or scraped a "spider," or soaked hard tack for frying, or sat down
to write a good family letter, when hark! upon the startled ear breaks that
rapid, ominous rat-tat-tat of the bugle calling you to pack up, tent and all,
and be ready to go forth into night and darkness, and cold, and danger, and
Then, too, such calls summon cavalry generally at night-fall, when the darkness
robs one of his eyes, hands and feet, and when like an inner night there hangs
over the mind an uncertainty as to the intent of this sudden movement. But
go we must. Regiment after regiment moves to its place in the increasing column,
and seems to lose its identity in this one huge, moving organism composed of
men and horses, and, wagons, and ambulances, and artillery, its head and brains
presumably in the General, its hands and feet and body bristling with instruments
of death. All that follows the General; and in blind obedience too, for the
hands and feet never dare stop to ask the head to explain, but must do his
bidding, even though he blunder them into defeat and death. Out into the solemn,
silent midnight moves the shadowy column. It creeps over hills, along perilous
steeps, through defile, and forest, and stream. You, a single horseman, feel
yourself but an insignificant part of the one great body. In your weary, stupefying
sleepiness you hardly know which horse, or if any, you are riding; you feel
your personal identity losing itself, until a sudden halt of the column in
a narrow pass or watering stream wakes you to consciousness. The silence of
the men adds to this strange, brute-like feeling. But in due time the darkness
thins, the hum of voices floats on the freshening air, and soon "jocund
day stands tip-toe on the misty mountain top." These are the hills and
streams and valleys of Western Virginia. The surprisingly smooth, hard road
runs past field and hamlet, which have hardly felt the rude touch of war. The
eyes of the Onondaga boys are once more gladdened and refreshed at sight of
sheep and cattle, quietly grazing in fenced fields. Unlike the previous week,
the air is mild, the skies cloudless, and an Indian summer broods over the
land. In the night we had crossed the Little North Mountains, and now the Great
North, a part of the boundary line between Old and New Virginia, flank us on
the right. Soon we are climbing the oak-wooded sides on a road as good as any
part of the Genesee Pike. Gray old rocks frown upon us on one side, and on
the other pine groves greet us with their sighing, soul-like sounds. Here and
there are a few acres of cleared land, and the inevitable log-barn and barn-like
house, both tenantless. We descend to the Valley through the fresh, mountain
air, fragrant with bruised cedar. At noon the column halts to feed and rest
an hour. Rumors come to us of our intercepting at Moorefield rebel raiders
from New Creek and Piedmont. The great shadow of the Branch Mountains begins
to darken over us. Man and beast are weary, but the column is tireless. Horses
begin to "play out," and the rider leaving horse and saddle and all
overweight by the wayside, must "hoof it" himself until he can find
at the next encamping some stake-dragging, night wandering steed, whose main
and tail may have been most transformingly shortened by the next morning. But
this dropping a horse by the wayside whatever it may be to the horse, is certainly
to the man the occasion of a most convincing proof that one man is nothing
and the column everything, for it passes on its unfaltering, merciless, grinding
course, zig-zagging up the steep mountain sides, never halting for men sick,
to perish, or working hard in fearful sympathy with their jaded, drooping horses.
The camping ground on the summit is reached at last. Fires multiply far and
wide. Horses are unsaddled and fed. Lagging men come in. Suppers are cooked,
if you have anything to cook; and then rolled in a blanket, the earth for a
bed, the saddle for a pillow, the camp-fire for hot bricks, the stars for candles,
you try to sleep and dream, may it be of home and peaceful scenes. At earliest
dawn the column forms again, rounds the summit, and lo! all West Virginia lies
before you in the fresh, golden light. Mountain shoulders mountain to greet
the day with smiles. Blue mists float like veils over the fair valleys unto
the utmost bounds of the lasting hills. The magnificent, photograph is struck
at once upon the plate of memory; but words, however apt or multiplied, cannot
reproduce the vision to the stranger eye. But in a moment, the fearful thought
of our errand of battle and death glooms like a cloud over all the scene. You
look suspiciously at the smoke of picket fires and at spots moving in the distance.
Moorefield is entered at last, but the raiders have passed through just two
hours before. Our regiment is sent in vain search of them. Toward evening the
whole division retraces its course to another camp on the mountain. Two days
are spent in returning to this camp and in foraging. We must close this long
narration by giving a soldier's meaning to that word "foraging." As
the column moves along, you see parties of cavalrymen continually separating
from it, riding up to houses and barns, and again returning with hand, or sack,
or saddle filled with eatables for man or beast. Herr hurries by a trooper
with a pair of chickens, or turkeys, or geese dangling at his side; there are
two soldiers in a yard sabering a pig, and soon come galloping along with a
half or quarter stretched across the pommel of the saddle, over in that garden
are well-known heaps of straw and soil, which are no sooner seen than opened,
and out roll the buried apples and potatoes into the sacks of the boys, and
just behind the house a squad is emptying bee-hives with one hand, fighting
bees with the other, and besmearing horse and saddle with both, while the distracted
women run hither and thither, scolding, begging, weeping, or stand still, sullen,
fierce-eyed, haughty toward these "Yankee thieves and robbers." In
yonder field a drove of oxen, cows, calves, sheep is continually enlarging
as it goes from farm to farm before the coercive measures of a half-dozen cavalrymen,
and here, by the wayside, a gray-backed farmer has his confiscated team and
four faced about and incorporated with him in the relentless column; and thus,
at the next encampment what varied stores come to light:—bedquilts and
butter, axes and applejack, flour and sausages, apple-butter and cabbages,
canteened milk and plucked poultry, honey and hams, bread and frying pans,
copper-kettles and corn-meal, anything and everything upon which, by which
hungry soldiers passing through an enemy's country may live. This is one aspect
of war—grim, cruel war with its iron heart—these are acts excusable
only as war is excusable; and thus to cripple an enemy is certainly less cruel
than to kill him, if crippling can do the work of killing. And thus, mounted
and dismounted, some on foot, some in ambulances, empty and laden, weary and
cheerful, not having read a line or heard news for days, while a Sherman is
making colossal strides from mountain to sea, the long-drawn column reaches
the old camp, breaks into regiments, regiments into companies, companies into
tent-mates, until "Richard is him-self again," shakes off the horsey,
imbruting feeling which for days almost robs him of human identity and too
often of human sympathy, and leaving all, goes straightway to the Chaplain
and gives the soldier's first symptom of returning civic life by asking, "Is
there a letter for
me?" W. J. E.
A GROSS OUTRAGE UPON SOLDIERS OF ONONDAGA COUNTY.—Two of the companies
raised in the Eastern towns of Onondaga county, for the Second regiment of
New York cavalry, this morning took their departure for the seat of war, and
the third will follow to-morrow morning. At the Binghamton depot, as the train
was about to start, a scene occurred that deserves the attention of all loyal
citizens. According to the prevalent custom, and in respect to a proper deference
to the wishes of the soldiers, the members of these companies had made selection
of their line officers, and their choice had fallen with great unanimity upon
worthy and competent men. These officers had assumed the duties of their respective
positions, and had provided themselves with uniforms and equipments suitable
to their stations. Under these circumstances, to the astonishment of both the
soldiers and their friends who had attended to bid them god-speed in their
enterprise, there appeared in the midst of the men two notorious and odious
Copperhead politicians, brothers named Amos B. and James H. King, residents
of the town of DeWitt, who produced commissions for entirely different persons
for the several line offices in the companies, and with a formal display of
bravado and assurance befitting their part in this outrage upon the rights
and feelings of the soldiers, the Kings made a presentation of the commissions
to the persons named in them. These commissions, conferring offices upon men
who are not the choice of the companies, were procured of Gov. Seymour through
the influence of the John A. Green faction, who have the favor of the Executive,
and the manifest object of this unusual and remarkable proceeding is the manufacture
of political capital. We mistake the temper of the gallant soldiers from Eastern
Onondaga, if this gross and unwarrantable interference with their right of
preference in the choice of leaders, shall not recoil disastrously upon the
authors and abettors of this
high-handed partizan [sic] outrage.
The Cavalry Battalion from Eastern Onondaga--Note from Mr. A. B. King. To the
Editor of the Syracuse Journal:
An article appeared in the Journal of the 27th inst., under the head of "A
Gross Outrage Upon the Soldiers of Onondaga County," which calls for a
reply, so far as the town of DeWitt is concerned. As to personal attacks, we
do not deem it necessary to notice them, as we go for free speech and a free
press, and feel that we can allow great latitude to those who feel disappointed.
Having a call made upon the town for seventy-one men, and having to pay $71,000
in bounty money to raise them, the unsophisticated taxpayers of DeWitt supposed
they had a right to petition the Governor to officer these men. Accordingly,
a public meeting was held at Candee's Hotel in DeWitt, at 2 o'clock P. M.,
on the 10th day of Sept., inst. After being organized, a full and fair expression
of the meeting was made, and resolutions unanimously adopted by the meeting
recommending Loren Crofoot for Captain; John S. Crossett for First Lieutenant,
Geo. G. Doran for Second Lieutenant, and L. E. Cobb for Third Lieutenant. A
resolution was adopted requesting A. B. King to take the papers to Albany and
procure commissions from His Excellency, Gov. Seymour, for these men.
An election for company officers in D company, of which Loren Crofoot was First
Lieutenant and many of the enlisted men were members, was held on the same
day. Strong resolutions endorsing these appointments were unanimously adopted
by this company.
Petitions were then drawn up and circulated in the town, and the best men of
both parties united in recommending the above-named gentlemen to His Excellency,
Gov. Seymour, for appointment and commissions. Among the names signed to the
petitions were those of the largest tax-payers of the town. I give some of
the many on each side, to show that these appointments should not partake of
a partisan character: E. D. Cobb, Esq., Joseph Breed, J. G. Holbrook, L. Van
Valkenburg, Supervisor, G. C. Ferris, E. K. Reed, P. G. Grove, and others;
and on the other side, Robert Dunlop, Charles Nichols, Dr. Sherwood, L. Hawley,
Esq., Capt. Low, William Avery, Lester Avery, C. W. Avery, and many others.
These petitions were endorsed and the qualifications of the candidates certified
to by the DeWitt War Committee, and also by the Onondaga county War Committee.
Thus provided with the names of two Democrats and two Republicans for the officers
of the DeWitt Cavalry Company, and backed as their claims were by the petitions
of the strongest men we had in town of both political parties, we felt quite
sanguine that we had made a ticket which Gov. Seymour would be glad to appoint
On the 12th day of September I went to Albany and presented the papers to the
Governor. After a careful examination of the papers, the Governor asked if
the candidate for Captain had any military experience.
I informed him that he had served two years in the 121st regiment, was severely
wounded in the battle of Chantilly, being hit in the knee by a musket ball,
glancing and dropping down, could not be found by the surgeons until the flesh
fell off, when the ball was found. Then the wound healed in part, but soon
inflammation set in, and he had become so poor and weak that he was honorably
discharged and sent home to die. Soon alter he arrived home the flesh again
fell off from near where the ball entered the leg, and the surgeon found a
piece of blue woollen [sic] cloth, which was driven into the flesh by the ball.
The wound soon healed, and as soon as he could get onto his feet, enlisted
into D Co. N. G. S. N. Y., and being a well drilled man, was soon promoted
to 1st Lieutenant, for which he held a commission from his excellency Gov.
Seymour, and has been for over a year a most excellent and meritorious drill
officer in D Co., as has been witnessed by thousands of people who have been
attracted to the drills and parades, by his thorough discipline and gentlemanly
bearing. We were not disappointed. The Governor gave DeWitt what she asked
for, and what she had a right to expect.
Manlius and Pompey will strip the mask from the Rev. author of the article
of the 27th inst., and show that the appointments for those towns were made
in the same way as those of DeWitt.
DeWitt, Sept. 28, 1864. A. B. KING.
The Cavalry Battalion from Eastern Onondaga - - Statement of Facts.
To the Editor of the Syracuse Journal:
A communication published in the JOURNAL a few days ago, signed Amos B. King,
purporting to be the truth in relation to matters pertaining to the officering
of the three companies of cavalry raised in Eastern Onondaga, in which the
names of several prominent citizens were mentioned, as likewise the War Committee
of the town of DeWitt, as having given their sanction to the course pursued
by said King, was far from the truth, and I therefore desire to make a statement
of the facts.
First—I am informed by the persons referred to by Mr. King, that it was
represented to them that these commissions were for the purpose of officering
a fourth company, and not for the purpose of displacing any of the persons
who had already been selected by the companies then raised, and by the unanimous
recommendation of the War Committees of the towns of Manlius, DeWitt and Pompey;
that said fourth company was not raised nor tried to be raised, our quota being
full; and that the War Committee of DeWitt did not sign Mr. King's paper, nor
authorize any one else to do so.
Second—The "Public Meeting" of which he speaks was composed
of the "Home Guard" who happened to be out, and a few others who
are always to be found at the tavern whenever Mr. King wants them. I am told
that about a dozen attended the so-called "public meeting;" that
no other public meeting was held; that the War Committee knew nothing about
any such meeting, and I believe no other persons, except those in Mr. King's
secret, knew of t he "public meeting."
And now, "to all whom it may concern:" Neither the War Committee
of DeWitt nor any persons who have attended any of the war meetings, or been
in sympathy with those who were trying to support and strengthen the Government
by sending to the victorious Grant, Sherman and Sheridan reinforcements of
men that the rebellion might be speedily put down, have ever upon any occasion
endorsed this effort to aid the rebels by disorganizing one of the best battalions
ever raised in Central New York.
ONE OF THE WAR COMMITTEE.
DEWITT, October 3, 1863.
EASTERN ONONDAGA CAVALRY BATTALIONORIGINAL
OFFICERS REINSTATED.—We have highly satisfactory intelligence from Elmira,
brought by Mr. Thomas Mulholland, special agent of the Provost Marshal, who
returned from there this morning. He informs us that the disgraceful Copperhead
scheme to foist upon the Cavalry Battalion, raised in Eastern Onondaga, a set
of line officers not the choice of the men, has been defeated, and that the
officers originally selected by the soldiers themselves have been recognized
and mustered in. The persons commissioned by the Governor, through the exercise
of undue partizan [sic] influence, have been allowed to retain their parchments
in their pockets
This course was taken by direction of Maj.-Gen. Dix, and it is the second time
that partizan [sic] intermeddling of the same character has been rebuked and
defeated by that sturdy patriot. Under his instructions, Col. Tracy, commandant
at Elmira, mustered in the companies with the line officers they had selected
and recommended for commissions. Maj. Birdseye, who commands the Battalion,
gave his heartiest assent to the restoration of the overslaughed officers,
and in a short speech to his men assured them that so long as he was in command
no such outrage as that attempted, should be perpetrated upon them. A vote
was taken by companies, and the men voted unanimously in favor of the line
officers they had selected. This is a most fortunate and satisfactory termination
of proceedings that threatened to destroy the usefulness of one of the best
military organizations that has gone forth from New York,
Annexed will be found a pretty full list of the killed and wounded.
E. A. PAUL.
SECOND NEW-YORK CAVALRY (HARRIS LIGHT.)
Sergt. D. J. Underbill, Co. M—left arm.
Wm. R. Lane, Co. K—right shoulder and left breast.
G. Wells, Co. B—head and leg bruised.
Wm. Bailey, Co. K—left leg.
J. H. Grinton—horse killed and fell upon him.
First Sergt. T. F. Northrup, Co. G—right shoulder.
S. J. Cartwright. Co. B—left arm.
H. Frankbeyer, Co. H—left hand.
Sergt. P. C. Neher, Co. F—abdomen and head.
Lieut. Dan. Whittaker, Co. D-killed.
Jas. Ombreak, Co. K—arm.
Wm. Dash, Co. M—head and thigh.
S. M. Hendrickson, Co. H—arm.
Corp. Ed. Cragg, Co. M—leg.
W. F. Clayvenpool, Co. H—leg.
Corp, B. Ridard, Co. F—arm.
Sergt. J. Dunn, Co. H—abdomen.
W.H.White, Co. I--shoulder
E. M. Hendrickson, Co. H—left arm.
B. Richards, Co. F—left arm and abdomen.
Second Lieut. P. Homan, Co. I—right hip.
Horatio Mott, Co. H—abdomen.
John Flaherty, Co. D—groin.
S. Van Colt, Co. H—head.
Lieut. Dan. Raymond, Co. H—neck.
Lieut, Martinson, Co. M—killed.
Alfred Christener, Co. K—left hand and breast.
Wm. H. Claypole, Co. H—right hip.
J. E. Davis, Co. F—left elbow.
Second Lieut. A. Wilson, Co. G—sabre cut in head.
Jas. H. Perrin,Co. L—thigh.
Jas. Winebrake, Co. R—arm.
Jas. Harrold, Co. M—elbow.
Sanford S. Conwright, Co. B—arm and side.
S. Von Kopf, Co.H—temple.
Geo. E. Davis, bugler, Co. F—arm.
Corp. Alfred Chrisman, Co. K—breast.
The following is a partial list of the killed and wounded on Sunday:—
Gregg's division of cavalry, one killed.
A. A. McCullock, 4th Pennsylvania cavalry, wounded.
Mathew Conklin, Co. A, 4th Pennsylvania, abdomen.
Lieut. S. B. Barnes, Co. H, 16th Pennsylvania, right leg.
Also two others.
The following are in hospital near Brandy Station:—
Wm. Kena, Co. C, 3d Indiana, mouth.
Isaiah Elston, Co. C, 3d Indiana, foot and arm.
Martin Heath, Co. C, 3d Indiana, lung.
Martin Walk, Co. C, 3d Indiana, head, slightly.
Jas. Adams, Co. A, 3d Indiana, abdomen.
Lorenzo Strong, Co. A, 9th New York, right leg amputated.
Jas. Allen, Co. G, 9th New York, left arm.
Wm. P. Rhodes, Co. A, 13th Pennsylvania, foot bruised.
Lucius Christie, Co. I., 9th New York, shoulder.
Asa Foy, Co. E, 9th New York, left arm.
The following are in the hospital at Culpepper:—
Geo. W. Paris, Co. D, 5th New York cavalry, sabre cut in head after being taken
Jas. Stillwell, Co. M, 2d New York, leg.
Sergeant Thos. McCutcher, Co. F, 2d New York, shoulder.
Monroe Lyford, Co. C, 1st Vermont, shoulder.
Corporal Adam Boutelle, Co. H, 4th New York, arm,
Sergeant A. B. Haswell, Co. G, 1st Vermont, arm.
Thomas B. Neat, Co. M, 2d New York, bruise.
Thos. Weightman, Co. L, 1st Michigan, head.
David F. Cooper, Co. H, 2d New York, hip.
Jos. M. Stephen, Co. H, 2d New York, leg.
Frank A. Russell, Co. I, 1st Vermont, side.
Edward Bidwell, Co. F, 2d New York, leg.
Sylvester Meade, Co. C, 5th New York, back.
Captain Geo. Marsh, Co. C, 2nd New York, arm.
Wm. H. Ramsey, Co. L, 9th New York, thigh.
Wm. H. Ball, Co. M, 5th Michigan.
Geo. W. Peters, Co. K, 2d New York, chest—shot after taken prisoner.
The following is a list of the rebel prisoners taken, and the regiment to which
Buford's—A. Moore, Second Virginia cavalry; Corporal
Cowing, Thirteenth Virginia cavalry; and eight of the Seventh Virginia cavalry,
nine of the Sixth Virginia cavalry, one of the Second Virginia cavalry, four
of the Twelfth Virginia cavalry, ten of the Eleventh Virginia cavalry, one
of the Thirteenth Virginia cavalry, two of Griffith's battery, and one of Clew's
Kilpatrick's division took twenty-six prisoners besides the above.
Lieut. Robert Stuart, 2nd N. Y. Cavalry, who was accidentally drowned on the
30th ult., near Warrenton Junction, Va., was interred in the Cemetery, Roslyn,
on Friday last. He had volunteered at his country's call and served with credit
to himself in the army of the Union. His untimely death was not only a loss
to the military service, but a source of grief to a wide spread circle of friends.
He leaves a widow and two small children.
His remains were embalmed and brought on by Capt. O. J. Downing, to his late
residence at Roslyn, where solemn and appropriate funeral services were performed
by the Rev. Mr. Ely. Five of his companions in arms, and five of his fellow
citizens, acted as pallbearers. The coffin was placed in centre of the spacious
hall of his noble mansion, covered with the national flag under which had so
nobly served, over which was placed his sword, which had never been drawn but
in defence of that flag.
CAPT. O. J. DOWNING.—We last week had the pleasure of taking by the
hand our gallant friend, Capt. O. J. Downing of Mineola, who has rendered excellent
service in the cavalry for many months past. Capt. D. came home with the body
of his lamented friend, Lieutenant Robert Stuart of Roslyn, who died on the
31st ult., at Arrington, Va.
Capt. Downing is now the senior Captain of the Harris Light Cavalry, one of
the most efficient regiments in the service. He has been with it (in Kilpatrick's
brigade) in all of the battles in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and
has of course been much exposed. We are happy to state, however, that he has
escaped unharmed, and is both well and in excellent spirits. He gave us to
understand that the army felt the Rebellion to be upon its last legs, and that
without exception the troops were as eager as ever to wipe out rebels wherever
they are to be found. He thought, to use his own words, that they would a little
rather shoot a copperhead then a traitor in the field, deeming the former the
meanest of the two loathsome creatures.
In Hospital, at Washington, D. C., on the 23d inst., Sargt. Thomas McCutchen,
of the Harris Light Cavalry, aged about 38 years.
Brought HOME DEAD.—The body of Thomas McCutchcon was brought to this
village yesterday. He was wounded in the shoulder on the 13th inst., in the
successful attack upon Culpepper Court House, a bullet passing entirely through
his shoulder. He was taken to the hospital near Washington, where an operation
was performed, and he seemed to be doing well. A short time after, however,
what is termed hospital gangrene set in, and terminated his life on Tuesday,
the 22d inst. He was a brave young man, and performed his duties with great
courage and energy. His funeral will be preached in the 2d
Presbyterian Church to-morrow, and his body buried in the Old Church Cemetery.
Lieut. Robert Stuart, 2d N. Y. Cavalry, who was accidentally drowned on the
30th ult., near Warrenton Junction, Va., was interred in the Cemetery, Roslyn,
on Friday last. He had volunteered at his country's call and served with credit
to himself in the army of the Union. His untimely death was not only a loss
to the military service, but a source of grief to a widespread circle of friends.
He leaves a widow and two small children.
His remains were embalmed and brought on by Capt. O. J. Downing; to his late
residence at Roslyn, where solemn and appropriate funeral services were performed
by the Rev. Mr. Ely. Five of his companions in arms, and five of his fellow
citizens, acted as pall bearers. The coffin was placed in the centre of the
spacious hall of his noble mansion, covered with the national flag under which
he had so nobly served, over which was placed his sword, which had never been
drawn but in defence of that flag.—Jamaica,
MAJOR CLINTON H. MENEELEY, of West Troy, was on the staff of Gen. Wadsworth.
On the latter withdrawing temporarily, the Major was transferred to the staff
of Gen. Meade. His business interests would tempt most other young men to leave
the service, but he says he went in for the war and he intends to help fight
it out. He is conceded by all to be an excellent officer.
MILITARY AFFAIRS.—Capt. Chamberlin sent this morning to Elmira two hundred
and four recruits, one hundred and seventy-two of whom were from the Eastern
towns of the county for the Second N. Y. Cavalry. To-morrow one hundred more
recruits will be sent forward.
Ambrose Crowner, son of Joseph Crowner, of Carthage, a member of Co.
H, 2d New York Artillery, has died of wounds received in battle.
A MERITED PROMOTION.—Lieut. M. B. Birdseye, of the Second N. T. Cavalry,
has been promoted to the Majority in that regiment. He is to command the battalion
raised recently in Eastern Onondaga. Maj. Birdseye will be remembered as having
been taken prisoner in the Wilderness, and subsequently effecting his escape
from the rebel prison at Lynchburg, in company with Adj. Tracy, of the 122d.
Sad End of a Soldier.
Patrick Kilday, who was for some time employed as a brakesman on the Sussex
Railroad, was hung at Castle Thunder, Richmond, in the early part of last
year. He was a private in the Harris Light Cavalry, and was with that Regiment
in the great cavalry raid of May last, when our troopers swept within view
of the defences of Richmond, and passed on down the peninsula to Yorktown.
While stationed at the latter point, he accompanied an expedition across
the mouth of York River into Matthews county; and while on the excursion,
took occasion to enter a house where he found a woman, and forcibly violated
her person. He was said to have been intoxicated at the time, and having
been missed from the ranks, was examined when he came up to discover the
cause of his straggling. By means of this investigation the crime he had
committed was discovered.—He was tried for his offence at Yorktown,
and sentenced to be shot within a month. He was thereupon placed in a blockhouse,
but by collusion, as it is surmised, with his guard, he made his escape—stole
a boat and put out into Chesapeake Bay, with the design of crossing over
into Maryland. A strong wind, however, sprang up, and he was blown ashore
in Matthews county, not far from the scene of his crime. He was captured
by the rebel pickets, and as he was being escorted inland, was seen and recognized
by the very woman whom he had outraged. He was thereupon taken to Richmond,
and promptly hung as above stated.—
We are informed by a Captain of the Harris Light Cavalry, that Kilday had always
conducted himself well up to the time of the raid into Matthews county, and
was accounted one of the best and bravest soldiers in the regiment. His comrades
sincerely mourned his fate, but could not dispute the justice of his punishment.
Death of Col. Walter C. Hull.
The events of the last three years have darkened many households in this community,
and brought sadness and desolation to many hearts. With startling frequency
we have been called to mourn the loss of precious lives by the relentless and
insatiate exigencies of war, but none of these fearful sacrifices have inflicted
a shock of ____ poignant and unaffected sorrow than the death of Col. HULL.
He was so young, so full of life and hope and energy, so ready to encounter
the thousand besetting dangers of his calling, so confident of exemption from
its casualties, that it is hardly possible to realize his untimely and melancholy
end. But a few short weeks ago he was with us on a brief leave of absence—with
all his genial and manly qualities
in unabated action—free, generous, unreserved—all fervor and ambition
in his country's service—the beau-ideal of a frank and chivalrous soldier.
As such he left us, never to return alive.
COL. HULL entered the service in January, 1862, as a private in Company I,
37th Regiment, New York Volunteers. From the outset he felt and manifested
that pride and energy in his profession so essential to the promise of a brilliant
future. After remaining ten months in the ranks he was selected by Gen. STONEMAN
as a member of his staff. When the General was assigned to another field of
duty, his Aid received a commission as Captain in the 2d Regt. of N. Y. Cavalry,
where he was subsequently promoted to the position of Major, and shortly afterwards
and immediately before his death, to that of Colonel.
In all the various military places he filled he was conspicuous for his efficient
attention to their duties and his fiery and intrepid courage in the field.
As a private he bore a part in the terrible and disastrous battles of the Peninsular
campaign. As an Aid he rode fearless and unscathed through the storm of battle
at Fredericksburg, and with Stoneman’s daring riders penetrated the fortified
suburbs of Richmond. As Captain he led his men with distinguished bravery through
the marvelous series of cavalry encounters that followed the deadly struggle
at Gettysburg, and was wounded in Grant’s stubborn and bloody progress
from the Rapidan to the James. As Major he was ever in the van of battle during
Sheridan’s splendid succession of victories in the Shenandoah Valley.
As Colonel, with the laurels of his well earned promotion still green and fresh
upon him, in advance of his Regiment and while leading it to the charge, he
closed by a soldier’s death his brief but shining career.
Thus another young and gallant life has passed away. In years he was hardly
beyond the period of boy hood but in every element of genuine manhood, in courage,
energy and experience, in loyal zeal and distinguished services for the national
cause, in his robust contempt for perils oft encountered, in the steady resolution
with which he gazed into the very face of death unflinching, in tender filial
love, in warm and tenacious affection for his friends, he had long before attained
the full and perfect proportions of a man. His signal valor and efficiency
deserved and won the commendation of men high on the roll of American fame—of
Kilpatrick, Custer, Torbett and Sheridan. His open and generous demeanor concilinted
[sic] the warm regard of all with whom he came in contact. Beloved by his brother
officers, by his men, by the community in which he lived, the memory of his
gallant life, his noble character and his early and heroic death, will be cherished
and kept sacred with mournful and unforgetting love.
Resolutions Passed by the Officers of the 2s N. Y. Cav. in Relation to the
Death of Col. Walter C. Hull.
Regimental Headquarters Nov. 14th, 1864, the following resolutions were unanimously
Whereas, It has pleased an Allwise Providence suddenly to remove from us our
beloved leader, Col. WALTER C. HULL, who fell by a Rebel bullet while gallantly
leading his Regiment in a charge upon the enemy in an engagement at Cedar Creek,
Va., Nov. 12th, 1864.
Resolved, That we hereby express our profound sorrow over the loss of the bravest
and manliest spirit yet offered up on the altar of National Unity and Freedom:
of one who, though young in years, was old in heroic deeds and possessed of
that subtile power which shapes the various elements of a Regiment of men in
one efficient whole, and of that magnetic power and secret sympathy which thrills
a terrible strength along the nerves of armed men in the hour of battle.
Resolved, that by this sad event, we feel called upon to make greater exertions
for our beloved Country and thus emulate the noble deeds and generous enthusiasm
of him who has fallen.
Resolved, That a copy of these Resolutions be transmitted to the friends of
the deceased, and be published in the New York Herald, Albany Journal, Washington
Chronicle, Army & Navy Gazette, and the papers of Cattaraugus County.
THE HARRIS LIGHT CAVALRY.
Again this "famous" corps has covered itself with honor in their
recent fights. It appears that this regiment always receives the meed of praise,
and recruits of the very best material are pouring into its ranks, and but
a few days will elapse before it will be filled up to the number ordered by
the government. Adjutant Armstrong only takes men of fine physique, good character
and proficient horsemen. All the bounties of the old regiments are paid, and
every town from which the recruit comes receives the credit of the man. Recruiting
offices corner of Beekman and Nassau streets, No. 800 Broadway, and tent in
On Sept. 22d, the Harris Light Cavalry had a lively fight with the enemy about
seven miles from Gordonsville. A correspondent of the Press says that the
Connecticut men of the Harris Light did nobly, and met with the following
loss: Co. D, Ord. Sergt. Cronert badly wounded, privates Cooper and Jack
Lawson wounded; Corp. Kellogg and A. Andrews prisoners. Co. C. lost in prisoners,
Corp. Henry E. Johns, privates Wm. Mullens, H. Hemingway, John Kahl and Horace
Fish. Sergt. E. Norton, Co. D, was killed at Somerville Ford on the Rapidan
Reconnoisance From Fredericksburgh.
A reconnoitering force, commanded by Gen. Gibson, and consisting of two regiments
of his brigade, one of Gen. Patrick's brigade, two battalions of cavalry,
one from the Harris Light cavalry and one from the Indiana cavalry, with
a battery of artillery, all belonging to gen. King's division, pushed out
from Fredericksburgh in the direction of Gordonsville on Friday, and returned
last night. They advanced within 9 or 10 miles of Gordonsville, and nearly
to Orange Court House, which was occupied by a much superior force of the enemy.
Having discovered this fact and secured the object of the reconnoisance, they
returned hotly pursued by a hostile force of cavalry which attacked their rear
guard several times, but was repulsed on each occasion with loss. We hear of
no loss on our side.
Cavalry Going into Winter Quarters.
The Second Ira Harris Cavalry regiment—the Sixth of the New York volunteers—are
under marching orders, and will probably leave their encampment on Staten Island
on Friday next. It is understood that the destination of this regiment is York,
Pennsylvania, where it will go into permanent quarters for instruction and
final preparation for the field, the interests of the service permitting such
a disposition of the corps. Already as much cavalry is in the field as can
with advantage be employed. (Dec. 19, '61)
The regiment numbers about one thousand men, fully uniformed and armed with
regulation sabres. Pistols and carbines, will be furnished hereafter. Three
or four hundred horses are at the camp—a few of them, however, purchased
for the First regiment, now at Annapolis. The remainder of the number required
will be obtained at York. The regiment is under command of Colonel Devin, (formerly
Lieutenant-Colonel of the New York First state militia cavalry regiment). Lieutenant-Colonel
McVickar is second in command.
The Harris Light Cavalry.--The Second New York (Harris Light) cavalry goes
out of service to-day, after a most brilliant campaign of three years, in which
its achievements have been surpassed by no other command. This regiment was
organized by Col. Davies, under the auspices of Senator harris, and has, since
first taking the field, invariably won the highest encomiums for gallantry
and efficiency. Most of the men have reinlisted, and having been commanded
by Kilpatrick, Duffie, and Davies, are a valuable acquisition to the regiments
into which they have been mustered. A number of its officers and men are now
imprisoned by the rebels. (Alb. Knick., Aug. 30, '64)
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New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
July 9, 2007