Three Years in the Federal Cavalry

By Willard W. Glazier

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Title: Three Years in the Federal Cavalry

Author: Willard Glazier

Release Date: August 10, 2009 [EBook #29660]

Language: English


Produced by Chris Curnow, Barbara Kosker, Joseph Cooper
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


[Illustration: Willard Glazier]


  in the






  Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by
  In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.

  The Trow & Smith Book Manuf. Co.
  205-213 E. 12TH STREET,
  New York.











I have for a long time intended the publication of this book, for I
thought that such a work would not only be found interesting to the
public, but would do justice to the brave men with whom it was my
fortune to be associated during the dark hours of the rebellion. To
serve them is and ever will be my greatest pleasure.

The remarkable features and events of our late Cavalry movements in
Virginia and elsewhere, visible to me during the campaigns of the Army
of the Potomac, were noted daily in my journal. From that diary this
story of our raids, expeditions, and fights is compiled.

My descriptions of battles and skirmishes, in some cases, may seem too
brief and unsatisfactory; to which I can only say that scores of
engagements, which to the participants appear to be of vast importance,
have very little general interest. On the other hand, however, it is to
be regretted that where our gallant horsemen have done the most
brilliant things, it has been impossible for me, in many instances, to
secure reliable and detailed accounts with which to do them full

NEW YORK, _October 8th, 1870_.




1861.--Enthusiasm of the North.--Washington Threatened.--Bull Run,
    and Its Lessons.--General Scott and the Cavalry.--Enlistment
    under Captain Buel.--The Harris Light Cavalry.--Leaving Troy,
    New York.--Captain A. N. Duffié.--Drilling and Fencing at
    Scarsdale, New York.--Bound for the Seat of War.--Philadelphia.
    --Baltimore.--Washington.--Camp Oregon.                           19



1861.--Our unmilitary Appearance.--First Equipage.--My Black
    Mare.--Good and Evil Influences.--News-Boys.--Mail-Bag.--
    Letter-Writing.--The Bugle Corps.--Camp-Guard.--Guerillas
    under Turner Ashby.--Mounted Drill.--Laughable Experiences
    with Horses.--Southern Egotism.--Northern Fancies.                27



1861.--First Advance.--"Contrabands," their Hopes and Treatment.
    --Union Ranks Filling Up.--Promotion.--Foraging and its
    Obstacles.--Scouting and its Aim.--Senator Harris visits the
    Command.--Ball's Bluff.--Recruiting Service.--Interesting
    Incidents.--Camp Palmer.--"Contrabands" at Work.--Drilling
    near Arlington Heights.--Colonel George D. Bayard.--Fight at
    Drainesville.                                                     39



1862.--"All quiet along the Potomac."--Preparations.--Army of the
    Potomac Moves!--Capture of the "Quaker Guns" at Centreville.
    --Return to Defences.--Guerillas.--Their Attacks and Stratagems.
    --The Bovine Foe.--Picketing: how it is done.--Sufferings.--
    McClellan to the Peninsula.--Virginia Weather and the People.
    --General Augur's Advance to the Rappahannock.--Lieutenant
    Decker's Bravery and Death.--Night Charge on Falmouth Heights.
    --Fredericksburg Surrenders.--How Citizens regard us.--Guarding
    a Train to Thoroughfare Gap.--Fight and Captures at Flipper's
    Orchard.--Shenandoah Valley.--The Fifth New York Cavalry,
    First Ira Harris' Guard.--Death of Turner Ashby.--Strange
    Cavalry Tactics.--Personal Bravery of Captain Hammond.--End
    of the Peninsular Campaign.                                       49



1862.--Kilpatrick at Beaver Dam.--Captain John S. Mosby.--Return
    of the Raiders.--Complimentary Orders.--The Harris Light at
    Anderson's Turnout.--Rebel Account of the Scare.--General
    John P. Hatch, his Misfortunes and Justification.--
    Reconnoissances.--Battle of Cedar Mountain.--Hospital at
    Culpepper.--General Stuart in Close Quarters.--His Adjutant-
    General Captured.--Death of Captain Charles Walters.--Pope
    driven back and waiting for Reinforcements.--Kilpatrick's
    Fight at Brandy Station.--Waterloo Bridge.--Bristoe Station.
    --Manassas Junction.--Battle of Groveton.--Second Bull Run.
    --Chantilly and Death of Kearny.--General Pope resigns.           72



1862.--Result of Pope's Campaign.--Rest and Recruit at Hall's
    Hill.--"My Maryland;" Its Invasion.--Offensive Policy of
    the Rebellion.--Pennsylvania and the Whole Country Aroused.
    --Battle of South Mountain.--Harper's Ferry.--Colonel Miles.
    --His Treachery and Death.--Bloody Battle of Antietam.--
    Drilling Recruits.--The Harris Light again at the Front.--At
    Chantilly.-- Sudley Church.--Leesburg.--McClellan again
    Relieved from Command.                                            95



1862.--Burnside's First Campaign.--Army of the Potomac in Three
    Divisions.--Advance from Warrenton to Falmouth.--General
    Stahel's Raid to the Shenandoah.--Laying Pontoons across
    the Rappahannock under Fire.--Battle of Fredericksburg.--
    Daring Feats and General Heroism.--Death of General Bayard.
    --The Hospitals.--Sanitary and Christian Commissions.--Camp
    "Bayard."--Camp-Fires.--Winter Quarters.--Friendly Relations
    of Pickets.--Trading.--Pay-Day.--"Stuck in the Mud."             105



1863.--General Hooker assumes Command of the Army of the
    Potomac.--Demoralization.--Reorganization.--A Cavalry Corps.
    --General George D. Stoneman in Command.--Death of Sergeant
    May.--Forests of the Old Dominion.--The Cavalryman and his
    Faithful Horse.--Scenes in Winter Quarters.--Kilpatrick.--
    His Character.--Qualifications of the True Soldier.--A New
    Horse.--A Mulish Mule.--Kilpatrick's Colored Servants in
    Trouble.--Terrific Hail-Storm.--Major E. F. Cooke Honored.
    --Colonel Clarence Buel.                                         124



1863.--Rebel Raids by Stuart, Imboden, and Fitz-Hugh Lee.--John
    S. Mosby, Guerilla Chief.--His Character.--His Command.--
    Daring and Plunder.--Aided by Citizens.--Condition of the
    Country Favorable for their Depredations.--Our Picket Lines
    too Light.--Attacks on Pickets at Herndon Station, Cub Run,
    and Frying-Pan Church.--Miss Laura Ratcliffe, Mosby's
    Informant.--Mosby at Fairfax Court House.--Capture of General
    Stoughton.--Fight at Chantilly.--Mosby lauded by His Chiefs.
    --Mosby beaten at Warrenton Junction.--Severely whipped at
    Greenwich, where he loses a Howitzer captured from Colonel
    Baker at Ball's Bluff.                                           143



1863.--Review of the Army by the President.--Deserters Punished.
    --Sports and Pastimes.--Stoneman's First Move.--Storm.--
    Reconnoissance to Warrenton.--Another Move.--Other Storms.
    --Catching "Rabbits."--Stoneman's Great Raid on Lee's
    Communications.--On the Virginia Central Railroad.--
    Kilpatrick at Louisa Court House.--He Marches upon
    Richmond.--Bold Advance near the City.--Important Captures.
    --Retreat over Meadow Bridge.--Destructions.--Bushwhackers.
    --Happy Rencounter.--Safe Arrival at Gloucester Point.--
    Public Prints.--Battle of Chancellorsville.--Heroism and
    Defeat.--Stonewall Jackson Falls.--Hooker Injured.--Retreat.
    --Orders.                                                        161



1863.--Curiosity Satisfied.--Pastimes on the York River.
    --Religious Services; their Influence.--Raid to Mathias
    Court House.--Sickness and Recovery.--From Gloucester
    Point to Falmouth.--Exciting Details.--Correspondence of
    Mr. Young.--The Press.--With the Army of the Potomac
    again.--Cavalry Fight at Brandy Station.--Bold Charge of
    the First Maine Cavalry.--The Chivalry fairly Beaten.--
    Death of Colonel B. F. Davis, Eighth New York Cavalry.--
    Interesting Letter of a Rebel Chaplain.--Casualties.--
    What was Gained by the Reconnoissance.--Pleasonton and
    Kilpatrick Promoted.--Rebels Raiding in Maryland.                203



1863.--Invasion of the Northern States.--Kilpatrick at Aldie.
    --The Bloody Battle.--Daring Deeds.--Colonel Cesnola,
    Fourth New York Cavalry.--Incidents.--Victory.--Advance
    to Ashby's Gap.--Pleasonton's Official Report.--Rebel
    Movements on Free Soil.--Difficulties in the North.--The
    Cavalry Corps Crosses the Potomac at Edward's Ferry.--
    General Meade succeeds Hooker.--Orders.--Changes in the
    Cavalry.--Movements.--Kilpatrick's Fight with Stuart at
    Hanover Junction.--Solemn and Laughable Scenes.--Buford's
    Division Opens the Fight at Gettysburg.--Death of General
    Reynolds.--First Day's Repulse.--Second Day.--Rebel
    Advantages.--Third Day.--Last Grand Effort.--Death of
    General Farnsworth.--The Republic just Saved.                    225



1863.--National Rejoicing.--The Enemy Retreating.--Feebly
    Pursued.--Reconnoissances.--Kilpatrick Gives the Enemy a
    Fourth of July Entertainment at Monterey Pass.--Storm and
    Terror.--Immense Train Destroyed, and Hosts of Prisoners
    Taken.--Pitiable Condition of Stuart's Cavalry.--Battle of
    Hagerstown.--Captains Penfield and Dahlgren Wounded.--
    Wonderful Exploits of a Union Scout.--Kilpatrick and Buford
    at Williamsport.--Cavalry Fight at Boonsboro'.--Stuart
    Defeated.--Hagerstown Retaken.--Orders to Advance, One Day
    Too Late.--Kilpatrick Chases the Flying Foe.--Fight at
    Falling Waters, Last Act in the Drama.--Great Bravery of
    Union Troops.--Last Vestige of the Invaders Wiped Out.--
    Bivouac and Rest.                                                267



1863.--Escape of Lee into Virginia.--Reasons.--Cavalry Advance into the
Valley _via_ Harper's Ferry.--Riot in New York and other Northern
Cities.--Again Across the Potomac on "Sacred Soil."--Blackberries and
Discipline.--Mails.--Battle of Manassas Gap.--Mosby Again, and His
Bands.--Kilpatrick's Gunboat Expedition on the Rappahannock.--Cavalry
Captures Navy.--Complimented by Superiors.--General Advance of the
Army.--Third Cavalry Battle at Brandy Station.--Stuart's Cavalry Worsted
at Culpepper Court House.--Sharp Artillery Practice at Raccoon Ford, on
the Rapidan.--Special Duties and Special Dangers.--Good Living Along
the Hazel and Robertson Rivers.--Important Reconnoissance and Raid.
--Hard Fighting and Narrow Escape.--Needed Rest Received.--The
Paymaster.--Rebel Plan of Attack Foiled by a Citizen Informer.
--Suspicious Activity on Our Front. 298



1863.--Fight at James City.--Music of Retreat.--Fourth Cavalry
    Fight at Brandy Station.--Critical Situation.--Kilpatrick
    Undaunted.--Davies and Custer.--The Grand Charge.--The
    Escape.--The Scene.--Subsequent Charges and Counter-charges.
    --The Cavalry Routed.--The Rappahannock Recrossed in Safety.
    --Infantry Reconnoissance to Brandy Station.--Comical Affair
    at Bealeton Station.--Thrilling Adventure of Stuart.--His
    Escape.--Battle of Bristoe.--Casualties.--Retreat Continued.
    --Destruction of Railroad by the Rebels.--Kilpatrick at
    Buckland Mills.--Unpleasant Surroundings.--Sagacity and
    Daring.--The Author's Capture.--Fall, Insensibility, Change
    of Scene.--The End.--Introduced to Prison Life.                  327

List of Illustrations.


 1. Portrait of the Author,                                Frontispiece.

 2. Our Cavalry Leaders,                                              17

 3. Cavalry Column on the March,                                      37

 4. Night Attack on Falmouth Heights,                                 61

 5. Burial of Captain Walters at Midnight, during Pope's
    Retreat,                                                          87

 6. Federal and Rebel Pickets Meeting on the Rappahannock,           119

 7. Cavalry Scouting Party Halting for the Night,                    173

 8. Cavalry Fight at Brandy Station,                                 215

 9. The Cavalry Bivouac,                                             277

10. Cavalry Battle at Buckland Mills, Va., and Capture of
    the Author,                                                      323



J.A. O'Neill,




1861.--Enthusiasm of the North.--Washington Threatened.--Bull Run, and
    Its Lessons.--General Scott and the Cavalry.--Enlistment under
    Captain Buel.--Harris Light Cavalry.--Leaving Troy, New York.--
    Captain A. N. Duffié.--Drilling and Fencing at Scarsdale, New York.
    --Bound for the Seat of War.--Philadelphia.--Baltimore.--
    Washington.--Camp Oregon.

The eleventh of April, 1861, revealed the real intention of the Southern
people in their dastardly assault upon Fort Sumter. The thunder of Rebel
cannon shook the air not only around Charleston, but sent its thrilling
vibrations to the remotest sections of the country, and was the
precursor of a storm whose wrath no one anticipated. This shock of arms
was like a fire-alarm in our great cities, and the North arose in its
might with a grand unanimity which the South did not expect. The spirit
and principle of Rebellion were so uncaused and unprovoked, that
scarcely could any one be found at home or abroad to justify them.

President Lincoln thereupon issued a call for seventy-five thousand men
to uphold and vindicate the authority of the Government, and to prove,
if possible, that secession was not only a heresy in doctrine, but an
impracticability in the American Republic. The response to this call was
much more general than the most sanguine had any reason to look for. The
enthusiasm of the people was quite unbounded. Individuals encouraged
individuals; families aroused families; communities vied with
communities, and States strove with States. Who could be the first and
do the most, was the noble contention which everywhere prevailed. All
political party lines seemed to be obliterated. Under this renovating
and inspiring spirit the work of raising the nucleus of the grandest
army that ever swept a continent went bravely on. Regiments were rapidly
organized and as rapidly as possible sent forward to the seat of
Government; and so vast was the number that presented themselves for
their country's defence, that the original call was soon more than
filled, and the authorities found themselves unable to accept many
organizations which were eager to press into the fray.

Meanwhile the great leaders of the Rebellion were marshalling the hordes
of treason, and assembling them on the plains of Manassas, with the
undoubted intention of moving upon the national capital. This point
determined the principal theatre of the opening contest, and around it
on every side, and particularly southward, was to be the aceldama of
America,--the dreadful "field of blood."

The first great impulse of the authorities was in the direction of
self-defence (and what could be more natural and proper?), and
Washington was fortified and garrisoned. This done, it was believed that
the accumulating forces of the Union, which had become thoroughly
equipped and somewhat disciplined, ought to advance into the revolted
territory, scatter the defiant hosts of the enemy, and put a speedy end
to the slaveholders' Rebellion. But the hesitation and indecision which
prevailed in our military circles were becoming oppressive and
unendurable, and hence the cry of "On to Richmond!" was heard from the
Border States to the St. Lawrence, precipitating the first general
engagement of the war. Our defeat at Bull Run was a totally unexpected
disaster, which, for a time, it was feared, would chill the enthusiasm
and greatly weaken the energy of the North. But though the South was
much strengthened and emboldened by their victory, our defeat had its
own curative elements: it taught us that the enemy was determined and
powerful, and that to overcome him the ranks of the Union army must be
filled with something besides three months' men, or men on any very
limited term of enlistment. Other lessons were also gained: our men had
formed some acquaintance with the citizens and the country; they had
learned the importance of a more thorough discipline and organization;
and those who had gone forth as to a picnic or a holiday, sat down "to
count the cost" of "enduring hardness as good soldiers." The nation
discovered that this struggle for life was desperate and even dubious,
and it was thoroughly aroused.

Under the military régime of General Winfield Scott, the cavalry-arm of
the service had been almost entirely overlooked. His previous campaigns
in Mexico, which consisted mainly of the investments of walled cities,
and of assaults on fortresses, had not been favorable to extensive
cavalry operations, and he was not disposed at so advanced an age in
life materially to change his tactics of war. What few regiments of
cavalry we had in the regular army were mostly broken up into small
detachments for the purpose of ranging our Western frontiers, while a
few squads were patrolling between the outposts of our new army,
carrying messages from camp to camp, and pompously escorting the
commanding generals in their grand reviews and parades.

But the Black Horse Cavalry of Virginia, at Bull Run, unmatched by any
similar force on our side, had demonstrated the efficiency and
importance of this branch of the service, and our authorities began to
change their views. The sentiment of the people at large seemed to turn
in the same channel, and a peculiar enthusiasm in this direction was
perceptible everywhere. It was as though the spirit of the old
knight-errantry had suddenly fallen upon us.

I was in Troy, New York, when the sad intelligence of the reverse to our
arms at Bull Run, was received. This was followed quickly by another
call for volunteers, and I decided without hesitation to enter the army.
In accordance with my resolve I enlisted as a private soldier at Troy,
on the sixth day of August, 1861, in a company raised by Captain
Clarence Buel, for the cavalry service. To encounter the chivalrous
Black Horse Cavalry, of Bull Run fame, it was proposed to raise a force
in the North, and as Senator Ira Harris, of New York, was giving this
organization his patronage and influence, a brigade was formed, whose
banners should bear his name.

Originally the regiment to which my company was assigned was intended
for the regular army, and was for some time known as the Seventh United
States Cavalry; but the Government having decided to have but six
regiments of regular cavalry, and as New York had contributed the
majority of the men to the organization, we were denominated the Second
Regiment of New York Cavalry, "Harris Light." This regiment was
organized by J. Mansfield Davies, of New York, as colonel, assisted by
Judson Kilpatrick, of New Jersey, as lieutenant-colonel. The men were
mostly from the States of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont,
Pennsylvania, and Indiana.

_August 13._--To-day Captain Buel's company of Trojans was summoned
together for the purpose of leaving for the South. Under a severe,
drenching rain we were drawn up in line fronting the residence of
General John E. Wool, when the old veteran delivered a most heroic
address, which led us quite to forget the pelting rain, and prepared us
for our departure. The boys then found a very pleasant shelter on board
the Vanderbilt, bound for New York City. The day following all the New
York State men rendezvoused at 648 Broadway, and were mustered into the
service of the United States by Lieutenant-colonel D. B. Sackett, of the
regular army. At four o'clock P. M. we were ordered aboard a
train of cars, and told that our destination was Camp Howe, near
Scarsdale, twenty-four miles north of the city, between the Harlem and
East rivers. We reached the place just in time to pitch our tents for
the night--an operation which was not only new and strange, but
performed in any thing but a workman-like manner. We had every thing to
learn, and this was our first lesson in soldiering.

Captain A. N. Duffié, of Co. A, a Frenchman and graduate of the military
school of St. Cyr, France, is in command of the camp, and is to be the
superintendent of our discipline and drill. He is undoubtedly well
qualified for this position.

_August 16._--This morning we commenced the inevitable drill on foot, as
we are still without horses. We find this exercise very severe, and yet,
in view of its great importance, we accept it with a good degree of
relish. Our drill-master is thorough and rigidly strict, after the
fashion of the French schools. We cannot avoid learning under his
tuition. In the afternoon we were set to policing camp. This comprises
the cleaning of one of the roughest farms in the country of stone. And
as a remuneration to the owners for the use of this most unsightly of
God's forsaken ground, we are compelled to build stone fences--a very
unpleasant introduction to military life, and an occupation which by no
means accords with our ideas of a soldier's duties. But our hands toil
with a protest in our hearts, and with a certain resolve that this kind
of fencing must not long continue.

After a week spent in drill and the stone-wall enterprise, we were all
surprised one morning with an order to fall into line to receive a
Napoleonic harangue from Captain Duffié. So many and even loud had been
our protests, and so glaringly manifest our rebellious spirit on the
subject of fortifying a farm in the State of New York, that the captain
undoubtedly feared that he might not be very zealously supported by us
in his future movements, and so, like Napoleon, on assuming command of
the army of Italy, he sought to test the devotion of his men. After
amusing us awhile in his broken English, and arousing us by his touching
appeals to our patriotism and honor, at length he shouted, "Now as many
of you as are ready to follow me to the cannon's month, take one step to
the front." This _dernier resort_ to pride was perfectly successful, and
the whole line took the desired step. We were then ordered to be ready
to leave camp at eleven o'clock that morning, which was on the twentieth
of August, assured that Washington, D. C., was our destination.

Our ranks were quickly broken, and all due preparation made for our
departure. After marching to Scarsdale we took cars and were soon landed
in the metropolis, through the principal streets of which our command
passed to the Jersey City ferry. Without much delay we reached
Philadelphia in the evening, where we were bountifully supplied with
rations by her proverbially generous and patriotic people. True to the
instinct of "Brotherly Love," the citizens are making arrangements such
as would indicate that millions of Union soldiers might be fed at their
tables. Here we spent the night. The next morning at 6.30 we were on our
way southward. A brief halt was made in Baltimore, whose streets still
seem to be speaking of the blood of the brave Massachusetts men. And as
we march along, we can but recall the poet's prophesy:

    "And the Eagle, never dying, still is trying, still is trying,
        With its wings upon the map to hide a city with its gore;
    But the name is there forever, and it shall be hidden never,
        While the awful brand of murder points the Avenger to its shore;
        While the blood of peaceful brothers God's dread vengeance doth
                          Thou art doomed, O Baltimore!"

At 4 o'clock P. M. we beheld the dome of the nation's capitol,
and, after landing, we were marched to the eastern part of the city, and
pitched tents near Camp Oregon--named thus in honor of Colonel Edward D.
Baker, who represented that Territory in the Senate of the United
States, previous to his acceptance of a military commission, and who is
now in command of the famous California regiment which occupies this



1861.--Our unmilitary Appearance.--First Equipage.--My Black Mare.--Good
    and Evil Influences.--News-Boys.--Mail-Bag.--Letter-Writing.--The
    Bugle Corps.--Camp Guard.--Guerillas under Turner Ashby.--Mounted
    Drill.--Laughable Experiences with Horses.--Southern Egotism.--
    Northern Fancies.

Drill! drill! and camp-police are the order of the day. Indeed we have
nothing else to do, and to do nothing at all is the hardest kind of
work. We expect soon to have some accoutrements to enable us to drill
something besides our feet. Our preparations for war have commenced at
the extremities; for thus far nothing but our heads and feet have been
instructed. However, as we become better acquainted with this part of
our duty we enjoy it better than at first, and we think we are making no
very mean progress.

For some time after our arrival here, the Government was unable to
supply us with uniforms, or weapons of war, and our appearance was far
from being _à la militaire_, as Captain Duffié would have it. Coming as
we did from colleges and schools, from offices and counting-rooms, from
shops and farms, and some from no occupation at all, each with the
peculiar dress he wore when he enlisted, and already pretty well worn
out by our labors at Camp Howe and extensive travelling, we were a most
unsightly, heterogeneous mass of humanity, and were a subject of no
little sport to our better-clad fellow-soldiers. Especially was this the
case when on a certain day General B. F. Butler reviewed the troops of
this department, and we were made to appear before him and the multitude
with our hats and caps, our coats and jackets, in nearly all colors, and
many of them in rags and shags. We certainly had nothing to recommend us
to the consideration of military men, except the courageous spirit that
throbbed in our generally robust frames. But we were hopeful of better
days, when we might have the appearance and equipage as well as the
internal qualities of soldiers.

But the Government was so wholly unprepared for war, that our supplies
were received very slowly. First came our uniforms, which every man
donned gladly, and yet with a feeling that the last link to civil life,
for the present, was severed, and that henceforth in a very peculiar
sense we belonged to our common country.

A few days after our arrival at Camp Oregon, we were joined by the men
who belonged to our regiment from other States. This added fresh
enthusiasm, as well as new strength, to our ranks. However, there is as
yet nothing in our _tout ensemble_ to distinguish us from infantry or
artillery, except the yellow trimming of our blue uniforms, whereas the
infantry has the light-blue trimming, and the artillery bright red.

_August 23._--To-day I am happy to make the following entry in my diary,
namely: the regiment was furnished with sabres, Colt's revolvers and
all the necessary appendages, consisting of belts and ammunition-boxes.
Every man has now a new care and pride--to keep his sabre bright, and
his entire outfit clean, that he may wear them with pleasure to himself
and honor to his comrades. The morning and evening of the 24th were
spent in sabre exercise, with which we were all delighted. This is the
first development in us of the cavalry element as such, and we begin to
feel our individuality. We desire to have this growth continue
uninterruptedly, and in aid of it, in the early part of September, came
quite a large installment of horses and equipments. This occurred while
the regiment occupied a camp about three miles from Washington, on the
Bladensburg road, which we named Sussex, in honor of Sussex county, New
York, our colonel's native county. As the number of horses furnished us
at this time was not sufficient to mount the whole command, the number
received by each company was proportioned to the maximum roll of its
men. After the non-commissioned officers of each company, including all
the sergeants and corporals, had drawn their horses according to rank,
the privates were made to draw lots for the remainder--a performance
which produced no little amount of excitement.

Several of our comrades were of course unfortunately compelled for
several days to march on foot, though much against their wishes; for
nothing could be more humiliating to a dragoon than to be trudging
through the mud and dust, while his companions were gliding past him
with their neighing steeds, on their way to the drill-grounds, or to
any other post of duty. It was my good fortune to be the recipient of a
beautiful black mare, only five years old, full of life and fiery metal,
fourteen hands high, and weighing ten hundred pounds. She was a gem for
the cavalry service, or any thing else, and a friendship was to grow up
between us worthy of historic mention.

We are now fairly out upon the ocean of our new life, and are beginning
to feel its influence. It does not take the careful observer long to
notice the effects which outward changes and circumstances have upon the
characters of most men. Indeed, no man remains unaffected by them; he
either advances or retrogrades, and it is very apparent already among us
that while soldiering does make some men, it _un_ makes many. The very
lowest stratum of life among us, such as represents the loungers in the
streets and lanes of our cities,--those who have neither occupation nor
culture, is amazingly influenced for the better by military discipline.
These men now find themselves with something to do, and with somebody to
make them do it. The progress is very slow, it is true, and in some
cases exceptional, but this is evidently the general tendency.

But on the other hand, our regiment is made up partly of young men from
respectable families, reared under the influences of a pure morality;
but they find that the highest standard of morality presented here is
much lower than they were wont to have at home, and they soon begin to
waver. Thus having lost their first moorings of character, they start
downward, and in many instances are precipitated to horrible depths.

    "When once a shaking monarchy declines,
    Each thing grows bold and to its fall combines."

Only a very few have sufficient force in themselves to effectually
resist these evils. It must be remembered that the wholesome and normal
restraints of virtuous female society are wholly removed from us. And
from what we daily see around us we are convinced that a colony of men
only, however virtuous or moral, would in a short time run into utter
barbarism. No candid observer can doubt the teaching of the old
scripture, that "it is not good for man to be alone."

Moreover, the friends and associates of our childhood's innocence, whose
presence always calls forth the purest memories, are not with us; nor do
we feel the almost omnipotent influences of the old school-house
gatherings, of the church-going bell, and of the home-fireside. When you
sever all these ties and helps to a moral life, and throw a man in the
immediate association of the vicious, he must be only a little less than
an angel not to fall. Here we are all dressed alike, live alike, and are
all subject to like laws and discipline. The very man who shares our
blanket and tent-cover, who draws rations from the same kettle, who
drinks from the same canteen, and with whom we are compelled to come in
contact daily, may be the veriest poltroon, whose diploma shows
graduation at the Five Points, and whose presence alone is morally
miasmatic. Consequently our camp is infested more or less with gambling,
drunkenness, and profanity, and all their train of attending evils, and
at times we long for campaigning in the field, where it seems to us we
may rid ourselves of this demoralization. Hannibal's toilsome marches
across the Alps and through Upper Italy only gave hardihood and courage
to his legions, who came thundering at the very gates of Rome, and
threatening its immediate overthrow; but a winter's camp-life at Capua
left them shorn of their strength.

But then we have remedial influences even in camp, and we hail them with
no little delight. Daily the news-boys make their appearance, calling
out: "Washington Chronicle and New York papers!" They enjoy an extensive
patronage. With these sheets many moments are pleasantly spent, as their
columns are eagerly perused. Then, following hard on the track of the
news-boys, comes our adjutant's orderly or courier with a mail-bag full
of letters, precious mementos from the loved ones at home. These
messages are the best reminders we have of our home-life, especially
when they are brim-full, as is usually the case, with patriotic
sparkling, and with affection's purest libations. These letters have a
double influence; while they keep the memories of home more or less
bright within us, and at times so bright that as we read we can almost
see our mothers, wives, and sisters in their tender Christian solicitude
for us, they also stimulate us to greater improvements in the epistolary
art. Men who never wrote a letter in their lives before, are at it now;
those who cannot write at all, are either learning, or engage their
comrades to write for them, and the command is doing more writing in
one day than, I should judge, we used to do in a month, and, perhaps, a

No sooner are the contents of the mail-bag distributed, and devoured by
the eager newsmongers, than active preparations are made for responding.
Some men carry pocket-inkstands and write with pens, but the majority
use pencils. Here you see one seated on a stump or fence, addressing his
"sweet-heart" or somebody else; another writes standing up against a
tree, while a third is lying flat on the ground. Thus either in the
tents or in the open air, scribbling is going on, and the return mail
will carry many sweet words to those who cannot be wholly forgotten. I
suppose in this way we are not only making, but writing history.
Camp-life then is not entirely monotonous.


Sights and sounds of interest may be seen and heard at almost every hour
of the day. The morning is ushered in with the shrill reveille, which
means awake and arise. This is well executed by our bugle-corps, which
Captain Duffié has organized, and is drilling thoroughly. All our
movements are now ordered by the bugle. By its blast we are called to
our breakfast, dinner and supper. Roll-call is sounded twice a day, and
the companies fall into line, when the first sergeants easily ascertain
whether every man is at his post of duty. The bugle calls the sick, and
sometimes those who feign to be, to the surgeon's quarters, and their
wants and woes are attended to. By the bugle we are summoned to
inspections, to camp-guard, to the feeding and watering of our horses
and to drill. A peculiarly shrill call is that which brings all the
first or orderly sergeants to the adjutant's quarters to receive any
special order he may have to communicate.

Thus call after call is sounded at intervals throughout the day, ending
with "taps," which is the signal for blowing out the lights, and seeking
the rest which night demands.


Our principal duties now are camp guard and drill, which we perform by
turns. Every morning quite a large force is detailed, with a
commissioned officer in command, for guard duty. These form a line of
dismounted pickets, or vedettes, around the entire camp. They are
stationed within sight and hailing distance of each other, enabling them
to prevent any one from leaving or entering camp without a written pass
in the day-time, or the countersign at night. The rule is to have each
man stand post for two hours, when he is relieved. This is the maximum
time, and is sometimes made less at the discretion of the commandant.

We are told, as we perform this duty, that it is not very unlike the
picketing that will be required of us if we are ever permitted to take
the field which confronts the enemy. Indeed, this is picketing on a
small scale. And our enthusiasm in this branch of our work increases, as
we are almost daily in receipt of accounts of attacks on our pickets
along the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the Cumberland
Canal. It appears that a certain Colonel Turner Ashby, with a force of
cavaliers (?) acting as guerillas, singly and in squads, is nightly
endeavoring to sever our telegraph wires, to burn our railroad-bridges,
and to destroy the canal, or fire at our men on the passing boats; and
not unfrequently we read of skirmishes in which several of our pickets
have been either captured, wounded, or killed. Of course, we expect
before long to face Mr. Ashby and his confederates, and we are preparing
ourselves for it.


But this we do specially in the drill. Recently the balance of our men
were gladdened with a full supply of horses. Mounted drill is now the
general order, and nearly all our time not otherwise occupied is devoted
to this exercise. At first we had some exciting times with our young and
untrained horses. One of our men received a kick from his horse which
proved fatal to his life. Several of our wildest and seemingly
incorrigible ones we have been compelled to run up the steepest hills in
the vicinity, under the wholesome discipline of sharp spurs, until the
evil has been sweated out of them. We find, however, that the trouble is
not only with the horses, but frequently with the men, many of whom have
never bridled a horse nor touched a saddle. And then, too, these curbed
bits in the mouths of animals that had been trained with the common
bridle, produced a most rebellious temper, causing many of them to rear
up in the air as though they had suddenly been transformed into
monstrous kangaroos, while the riders showed signs of having taken
lessons in somersets. Some of the scenes are more than ludicrous. Horses
and men are acting very awkwardly, also, with the guiding of the animal
by the rein against the neck, and not by the bit, as we were accustomed
to do at home.

We do not wonder much that the chivalrous Black Horse gentry have
expressed their contempt of Northern "mudsills and greasy mechanics,"
and have made their brags that we could never match them. But then it is
said that these Southrons were born in a saddle, and were always trained
in horsemanship. They generally perform their pleasure excursions, go on
their business journeys, and even to church, on horseback. They were
therefore prepared for the cavalry service, before we had so much as
_thought_ of it. But let them beware of what they think or say, for _we
can learn_, and it does frequently occur that somewhere in the
experience of contending parties, "the first is last, and the last

We are improving rapidly. There is so much exhilaration in the shrill
bugle-notes which order the movements of the drill, and so much life in
its swift evolutions, that the men and horses seem to dance rather than
walk on their way to the drill grounds, and both are readily learning
the certain sounds of the trumpet, and becoming masters of motions and
dispositions required of them. Like all other apprentices, of course, we
occasionally indulge in the reveries of imagination, and we think we are
laying the foundation of a career which is destined to be important and
glorious. Be this as it may, we do not mean to be outstripped by any one
in our knowledge and practice of cavalry tactics, and of the general
manoeuvrings of war.




1861.--First Advance.--"Contrabands," their Hopes and Treatment.--Union
    Ranks Filling Up.--Promotion.--Foraging and its Obstacles.--Scouting
    and its Aim.--Senator Harris visits the Command.--Ball's Bluff.
    --Recruiting Service.--Interesting Incidents.--Camp Palmer.--
    "Contrabands" at Work.--Drilling near Arlington Heights.--Colonel
    George D. Bayard.--Fight at Drainesville.

October 15, 1861.--The Harris Light broke camp at eight o'clock, A. M.,
and marched proudly through Washington, crossed the famous Long
Bridge over the Potomac, and moved forward to Munson's Hill, in full
view of our infantry outposts, where we established a new camp, calling
it "Advance." For the first time our horses remained saddled through the
night, and the men slept on their arms. To us this was a new and
exciting phase of life.

Since our retreat from Bull Run, the Rebel army has made itself
formidable on this line, and though no active movements have been
attempted on Washington, we are, nevertheless, apprehensive of such a
measure on their part. Hence our picket lines are doubly strong and
vigilant, while every means is resorted to to ascertain the position,
strength, and intention of our wily foe.

Frequently "contrabands" feel their way through the enemy's pickets
under cover of the night, and through the tangled brushwood which
abounds, and reach our lines safely. From them we gain much valuable
information of the state of things in "Dixie." Some of them, we learn,
were employed by Rebel leaders in constructing forts and earthworks, and
in various ways were made to contribute muscle to the Southern
Confederacy. They have strange and exciting stories to tell us, and yet
it seems as though they might be of great service to us, if we saw fit
to employ them, as guides in our movements. Their heart is with us in
this conflict. They hail us as friends, and entertain wild notions about
a jubilee of liberty, for which they are ever praying and singing, and
look upon us as their deliverers. How they have formed such opinions is
somewhat difficult to conjecture, especially when we consider the
anomalous treatment they have received from our hands. The authorities
have seemed to be puzzled with regard to them; and there are cases where
they have even been returned to their former owners. And yet there seems
to be an instinctive prophecy in their natures, which leads them to look
to Northmen for freedom. Their presence in our camps becomes a sort of
inspiration to most of us, and we only wish that their prayers may be
answered, and that every chain of servitude may be broken. This
sentiment at times breaks out in such as the following poetic strain:

    "In the beauty of the lily Christ was born across the sea,
    With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me
    As He died to make men holy, let us die to make them free."

And as slavery was the cause, and not, as some say, the pretext, of the
war, if the Union arms succeed, this "irrepressible conflict" and
villanous wrong must come to an end.

Our confidence in the ultimate success of our arms is daily increasing.
Since the first of August our ranks have been wonderfully swelled; and
now regiment after regiment, battery after battery, is pouring in from
the North, filling the camps of instruction, and manning the
fortifications around Washington. Meanwhile, earthworks are being
constructed on all the high hills and commanding positions; strong
abatis are made of the forest-trees, and every thing done that can give
the city an air of security, and the country round about the appearance
of a bristling porcupine. Should this influx of troops continue, we
shall be compelled to advance our lines for very room on which to
station them. We have some intimations that our advance to this point
to-day is preparatory to such a movement.

The day following our advance I was promoted to the rank of corporal, on
the recommendation of Captain Buel, my appointment to date from the
fifteenth. On the sixteenth our lines were advanced to Vienna, a station
on the Leesburg Railroad, and on the seventeenth as far as Fairfax Court
House, the Confederates falling back toward Centreville and Manassas
without offering the least resistance.


We are spending our time mostly in foraging, scouting, and patrolling.
In consequence of imperfect transportation, the cavalry especially is
compelled to seek its own forage, with which, however, the country
abounds. Corn is found in "right smart heaps," as the natives say,
either in the fields or barns, and hayricks dot the country on every
side. But there is a certain degree of scrupulousness on the part of
some of our commanders with regard to appropriating the produce of the
"sacred soil" to our own use, which greatly embarrasses our foraging
expeditions, and exasperates not a little those of us who are needy of
the things we are at times ordered not to take. It is no uncommon thing
to find one of our men stationed as safeguard over the property of a
most bitter Rebel--property which, in our judgment, ought to be
confiscated to the use of the Union, or utterly destroyed. We do not
believe in handling Rebels with kid gloves, and especially when we know
that the very men whom we protect are constantly giving information to
the enemy of all our movements, and using their property whenever they
can to aid and comfort the cause of treason. We are too forcibly
reminded of the fable we used to read in our schoolboy days, of the
Farmer and the Viper. We are only warming into new life and strength
this virus of Rebellion, to have it recoil upon ourselves. We hope our
authorities will soon discover their error, and change their tactics.

Our scouting is on a limited scale, though it affords considerable
exercise and excitement. Thereby we are learning the topography of the
country, and making small maps of the same. We are traversing the
forests, through the wood-roads and by-paths which run in every
direction; strolling by the streams and ravines, and gaining all the
information which can be of use to us in future manoeuvrings. We
scout in small squads over the entire area occupied by our forces, and
often beyond; and, now and then, more frequently in the night, we patrol
between our picket posts, to ascertain that all is well at the points
most exposed to danger. The principal object of scouting is to learn the
strength and position of the enemy, while the object of patrolling is to
learn our own.

_October 20._--To-day the regiment was honored by a visit from its
patron, Senator Ira Harris. After witnessing a mounted drill and parade,
which pleased him much, he presented us a beautiful stand of colors,
accompanied by an appropriate and eloquent address. He made especial
reference to the object of the organization, the hopes of its friends,
and their earnest prayers for its future usefulness and success. He
dwelt enthusiastically upon the work before us. At the close of the
speech the command responded with a rousing round of cheers, expressive
of their thankfulness for the banner and of their determination to keep
it, to stand by it, and to defend it even with their lives. The occasion
was one to be remembered.


Another great pall of sadness has fallen upon our soldiers. The papers
bring intelligence of our terrible disaster at Ball's Bluff, and the
promising Colonel E. D. Baker has fallen, while gallantly leading his
noble Californians. Discussions as to the cause or causes of that fatal
advance and bloody retreat are going on throughout our camps. It does
seem to many as though gross incompetency or treachery must have
influenced the authorities having immediate oversight of the affair, and
that our fallen braves have been needlessly immolated upon their
country's altar.

    "Big Bethel, Bull Run, and Ball's Bluff,
      Oh, alliteration of blunders!
    Of blunders more than enough,
      In a time full of blunders and wonders."

But the boys are enthusiastic over the bravery of our nineteen hundred,
who fought against a force more than twice their number, with all the
advantage of position and knowledge of the country. All our battles have
proven that our men can fight, and, though Providence seems to have been
against us thus far, for reasons most inscrutable, we will not waver in
our determination to dare or die in the contest. Our chief difficulties
are not in the rank and file of the army, but in the general management
of the forces, and we trust that ere long right men will be found to
take the places of incompetent ones.


_October 28._--To-day I was detailed by Colonel Davies to proceed to New
York with Lieutenant Morton, on recruiting service. We went on to
Newburgh, near the lieutenant's native home, where we spent a few days
together, but on the first of November I was ordered to Troy, to act
independently. I spent several weeks in this peculiar work, and with
good success.

Though recruiting offices could be found on all the principal streets
of our cities and villages, yet a good business was done by them all,
such was the enthusiasm which prevailed among the people. War-meetings
were frequently held, and addressed by our best orators. The press, with
few exceptions, poured forth its eloquent appeals to the strong-bodied
men of the country to range themselves on the side of right against
wrong. Violence would be done to truth did we not mention, also, that
the pulpits of the land were potent helpers in this work, by their
religious patriotism and persistent efforts to keep the great issue
distinctly before the people. Thus the mind and heart of the North were
kept alive to the great problem of the nation's existence, and men were
rallying to our standard. It was no uncommon thing to receive
applications to enter our lists from young men or boys too young and
slender to be admitted, who left our offices in tears of disappointment,
unless we could find for them a position as drummers and buglers.

A single instance of enlistment under my observation might be mentioned,
as it gives a specimen of the manner in which our work went on. Having
taken passage on the cars one day from one point of my labors to
another, I fell in with a young man who was on his way to college, where
he expected to be matriculated the following day. His valise was full of
books and other students' requisites, and his heart full of literary
ambition. Attracted to me by my uniform, he soon learned my business,
and, after a few moments of pensiveness, to my surprise, he told me to
inscribe his name among my recruits. Then turning to a friend on board
the car, he said, "Take this trunk to my home, and tell my mother I have
enlisted in a cavalry regiment."

_December 4._--To-day I returned from recruiting service, bringing with
me our enlisted men who had not been sent previously to the regiment. I
found the Harris Light occupying Camp Palmer, on Arlington Heights, the
confiscated property of the Rebel General Robert E. Lee. On arriving in
camp I found that the papers from Washington contained a letter of
Secretary Seward, directing General McClellan not to return to their
former owners contrabands in our lines. This order, when fully
understood by our colored friends, will undoubtedly increase their exit
"from Egypt," as many of them style their escape from bondage. The
government will probably adopt measures to give these fugitives
systematic assistance and labor, that they may be of use to us. Already
I find that a goodly number of our officers have adopted them for cooks
and hostlers, in which positions they certainly excel; and there is no
good reason why we may not employ them as teamsters on our trains and
helpers in our trenches. They are generally very powerful, and show
signs of great endurance. Nor do we find them unwilling to labor, as we
have been so often told they were. However, we do not wonder much that
they have acquired the "reputation" of being lazy, for what but a thing
or an animal could take pleasure in unrequited toil? Now they have a
personal interest, and take a peculiar delight in what they do for us.
Their great willingness and ability to work for Uncle Sam or any of his
boys, would indicate that they will become eminently useful in the
service of their country.

From Camp Palmer the regiment had gone out to drill for some time; and
here we continued through the month, generally occupying the large plain
which lies between the Arlington House and the Potomac, and in full view
of Washington. On this field Kilpatrick, Davies, Duffié, and others,
began to develop their soldierly qualities, infusing them into their
commands, and imparting that knowledge of cavalry tactics which would
prepare us for the stern duties of war. We have recently been greatly
encouraged by the movements of Colonel George Dashiel Bayard, of the
First Pennsylvania Cavalry, who, on the 27th of November, while on a
scout on the road to Leesburg, Loudon county, met a band of the Chivalry
near Drainesville, with whom he had a spirited skirmish. The whole
affair would indicate that Colonel Bayard is destined to be no mean
cavalry leader. Cavalry regiments from most of the loyal States have
been organized, and are now in camps of instruction. Occasionally they
go out scouting, picketing, etc., and are thus preparing for the coming

_December 20._--To-day a brigade of Pennsylvanians, including two
squadrons of Colonel Bayard's cavalry regiment, the whole force under
command of General E. O. C. Ord, while foraging in the vicinity of
Drainesville, were attacked by a Rebel force nearly equal in numbers,
with General J. E. B. Stuart commanding in person. A lively contest
followed, in which the Rebels were thoroughly beaten and driven from the
field, losing, according to their own accounts, about two hundred and
fifty in killed, wounded, and captured. They left twenty-five dead
horses on the field, with the débris of two caissons, disabled and
exploded by the well-directed fire of Easton's battery, which
accompanied the expedition. The Rebels, who had undoubtedly come out for
the purpose of forage as well as ourselves, having a long wagon train,
retreated toward Fairfax Court House, with their wagons laden with their
wounded. Our loss includes only nine killed and sixty wounded.
Unimportant as this victory might seem, it caused an immense rejoicing
in the Union ranks. It was a fitting answer to the calumny heaped upon
us from both North and South, that our soldiers could not fight, and
were no match for their boastful enemy.



1862.--"All quiet along the Potomac."--Preparations.--Army of the Potomac
    Moves!--Capture of the "Quaker Guns" at Centreville.--Return to
    Defences.--Guerillas.--Their Attacks and Stratagems.--The Bovine
    Foe.--Picketing; how it is done.--Sufferings.--McClellan to the
    Peninsula.--Virginia Weather and the People.--General Augur's Advance
    to the Rappahannock.--Lieutenant Decker's Bravery and Death.--Night
    Charge on Falmouth Heights.--Fredericksburg Surrenders.--How Citizens
    regard us.--Guarding a Train to Thoroughfare Gap.--Fight and Captures
    at Flipper's Orchard.--Shenandoah Valley.--The Fifth New York
    Cavalry, First Ira Harris' Guard.--Death of Turner Ashby.--Strange
    Cavalry Tactics.--Personal Bravery of Captain Hammond.--End of the
    Peninsular Campaign.

The winter was one of preparation, not of operation. Why we were kept
"all quiet along the Potomac," until the announcement, reiterated
through the press, elicited only disdainful merriment among our friends,
was never satisfactorily explained. The month of December had been
beautiful, the roads in excellent condition, the army well supplied and
disciplined, so that nothing but hesitancy in our leaders stood in the
way of army movements. The North and West, which had supplied myriads of
men and millions of money, were becoming very impatient with such a
state of things. This feeling was intensified by the fact that it was
known that the enemy was tireless in his efforts to increase his army
and to fortify his strongholds, while he was also gaining the sympathy
of foreign powers, and, by means of blockade-running, was adding not a
little to his munitions of war. The army shared largely this general
discontent. "Why do we not advance?" was every where the interrogation
of eager officers and men.

However, we were not wholly unemployed; for while we waited for
reinforcements and cannon, as demanded by the general in command, and
for the leaves to fall from the trees to facilitate movements in a
country so thickly wooded as is Virginia, we were kept busy with the
camp curriculum, namely, the drill, the guard, the inspection, and
parade. General Lee's plantation, on Arlington Heights, and the
surrounding country, was thoroughly trodden by loyal feet, as men and
horses were acquiring the form and power of military life.


But our quiet was to be broken by our grand advance, which commenced on
the 3d of March. The Harris Light broke camp at three o'clock in the
morning, and, with several regiments of cavalry, under the command of
Colonel W. W. Averill, led the advance, the Harris Light having the
position of honor as vanguard. We were ordered to move slowly and
cautiously, which we did, on the main thoroughfare known as the Little
River Turnpike, and, at four o'clock, P. M., we arrived at Fairfax Court
House, having marched only about fourteen miles.

What was our surprise to find the place entirely deserted by the enemy,
who had left the day previous with the design of retiring beyond the
Rappahannock. This change of affairs seemed so sudden as to be full of
mystery, and was wholly unknown even to our secret corps. We could not
doubt but that this movement was performed in anticipation of some of
our contemplated manoeuvrings, of which the Rebel leaders are
generally informed by their spies in Washington and all through our
lines, even before they are known to our army.

Our march was resumed the following day at ten o'clock A. M., and early
in the afternoon we captured the "Quaker Guns" at Centreville. The enemy
had actually placed in the earthworks or forts which commanded the road,
large trunks of trees, resembling cannon of heavy calibre, which frowned
down upon us from the heights. Had it not been for the information we
had received from contrabands on the march, that the enemy had evacuated,
a report confirmed by the curling smoke which rose from various parts of
the field, this formidable array of threatening cannon would have
terrified us all, and greatly retarded our progress. Indeed, it was not
till after the suspicious works had been thoroughly scanned with
field-glasses that we were ordered to advance, when the strong position
was carried without the snapping of a cap, or a sabre stroke. Chagrin
was written upon every face. Not a sign of the enemy was visible, save
the deserted remains of their winter-quarters, which fell into our hands.

A very brief halt was here made, and, hurrying our steps, we soon
crossed the memorable Bull Run, and came up with the rearguard of the
retiring army at Manassas Junction. Here we pitched into them, and
kicked up a little dust on the road to Bristoe. This expedition, or
wild-goose chase, was continued to Warrenton Junction, where General
George D. Stoneman found the enemy in force, but returned without
attacking them. Having loitered about these historic fields a few days,
our whole force began to fall back towards its old position on the
Potomac, establishing our advanced picket-lines, however, as far forward
as Centreville, with Fairfax Court House as headquarters. Our line of
pickets intercepts the Leesburg turnpike at Drainesville and extends to
the Potomac, a distance of about twenty miles.


As guerillas and their brethren, the bushwhackers, infest the country
more or less, picketing is dangerous as well as difficult. Between the
Rappahannock and the Potomac lies a vast territory which abounds in
creeks, marshes, deep, dark forests, with only here and there a village
or settlement. A little to the west of this plain extend the Bull Run
Mountains, with their ravines and caverns. This is a very fit
hiding-place for mischief-makers. The guerillas consist mostly of
farmers and mechanics, residents of this region, who, by some means, are
exempt from the Rebel conscription. Most of them follow their usual
avocations daring the day, and have their rendezvous at night, where
they congregate to lay their plans of attack on the pickets.

They resort to every stratagem which a vile and savage spirit could
inspire. Sometimes a picket is approached by the stealthiest creeping
through the dark thickets, when the unfortunate sentinel is seized and
quickly despatched by a bowie-knife, or other like weapon, which a
Southron can always use most dexterously. When mere stealth cannot
accomplish the task, other methods are used. For instance, on a dark
night, a vedette, stationed by a thick underbrush, heard a cow-bell
approaching him, and supposing that the accompanying rustle of leaves
and crackling of dry limbs was occasioned by a bovine friend,
unwittingly suffered himself to be captured by a bushwhacker. But the
boys soon learned to be suspicious of every noise they heard; so much
so, that one night a picket, hearing footsteps approaching him, cried
out, "Halt! Who comes there?" His carbine was instantly brought to a
ready, and as no halt occurred nor answer was made, a second challenge
was given; but failing to effect any thing, he fired in the direction of
the noise, when he distinctly heard a heavy fall, and then groans, as of
somebody dying. The sergeant of the post, running up to ascertain the
cause of the alarm, found that an unfortunate ox, that had been grazing
his way through the forest, lay dying, with his forehead perforated by
the faithful sentry's bullet. The incident caused considerable
merriment, and the pickets were supplied with poor Confederate beef
during the remainder of their term of duty.

But the attacks are frequently of a more disastrous character, resulting
in the killing of men and horses, in wounds and in captures. The utmost
care and strictest vigilance cannot secure us perfectly from
depredations. Our general plan is as follows: The major part of the
regiment or picket detail establishes what we denominate the "main
reserve" within a mile or two in rear of the centre of the line of
vedettes, or at a point where their assistance, in case of an attack,
can be secured at any place in the line, at the shortest possible
notice. About midway between the main reserve and the picket line are
stationed two, three, or four picket reliefs, so situated as to form,
with the line of vedettes for a base, a pyramid, with its apex at the
main reserve.


The boys will not soon forget the long, dreary, dangerous hours they
spent along this line. Here we find ourselves shivering around a
miserable fire among the sighing pines (though in times of special
danger we are not permitted to have even this slight comfort, for fear
of detection), often compelled to sit or lie down in snow or mud, or to
walk about smartly to prevent freezing to death. Sometimes, when much
exhausted, we have laid ourselves down on the damp and muddy ground,
which was frozen stiffly all around us when we awoke. Frozen fingers and
toes are no uncommon things.

In this wretched plight we hear the summons to get ready to stand post.
We go out upon our shivering horses, to sit in the saddle for two hours
or more, facing the biting wind, and peering through the storm of sleet,
snow, or rain, which unmercifully pelts us in its fury. But it were well
for us if this was our worst enemy, and we consider ourselves happy if
the guerilla does not creep through bushes impenetrable to the sight,
to inflict his mortal blows. The two hours expire, relief comes, and the
vedette returns to spend his four, six, or eight hours off post, as best
he may.

Once, at least, during the night, we are visited by the grand guard,
which consists of the officer of the day, accompanied by others, whose
duty it is to make a thorough, though usually swift, inspection of the
picket line. Most of our time is spent in this duty.

_March 29._--Considerable excitement prevailed among us to-day, as
Colonel Bayard was dispatched with a detachment of his regiment to
repulse a dastardly raid made by some of General J. E. B. Stuart's men,
on the house of a Mrs. Tenant, a Union lady, residing near Difficult
Run, about six miles from Chain Bridge. Colonel Bayard reached the place
a few moments too late, and the raiders succeeded in taking Mrs. Tenant
as a prisoner, and making off with their prey.

For several weeks the main portion of our grand army has been sent by
transports to the Peninsula, with the evident intention of moving upon
Richmond by shorter land routes than by way of Manassas. This change in
our plans of attack was probably known by the Rebels before they were
matured at Washington, and we now understand why they so quietly
evacuated their positions on our front.

General McDowell remains in command of the defences of Washington, with
a force sufficient, it is believed, to give safety to the Capital, and
to harass the Rebels who continue before us. With the departure of
General McClellan to the Peninsula, our picket lines were withdrawn to
Annandale and Falls Church, within a few miles of the fortifications of


_April 4._--The Harris Light and the First Pennsylvania Cavalry were
recalled from the picket lines and sent out on a reconnoissance in
force, with a division in command of General McDowell. Our march led us
through Fairfax Court House and Centreville, near which we bivouacked
for the night.

Already, at this early spring time, a luxurious vegetable growth of
green is beautifully carpeting the fields through which we pass and in
which we halt. Flowers of great beauty and variety of hues and sweetness
of perfume greet us on every hand. It would seem as though Nature were
struggling to hide the desolations which war has made, and were weaving
her chaplets of honor around the graves of our fallen brothers. And it
really seems as though Destruction himself had contributed to this
lavish growth. Thus,

    "Life evermore is fed by death,
      In earth, or sea, or sky;
    And, that a rose may breathe its breath,
      Something must die."

On the fifth we continued on our march to Bristoe Station, on the Orange
and Alexandria Railroad, where we encountered one of the most furious
snow storms ever known in this region of country. The wind which bore
the snow was cold and cutting. It was a season never to be forgotten by
those who were quartered in mere shelter tents, or had no tents at all.

So sudden are the changes of the atmosphere here that "no man knoweth
what a moment may bring forth." Yesterday we sought shelter from the
sun's heat under the budding trees, while grass and flowers and singing
birds indicated settled weather. To-day the storm howls music through
the bending pines, and snow several inches deep covers the earth.

We are thoroughly convinced that the character of the people here
greatly partakes of the nature of these surroundings. Is not this the
case everywhere? But we see it here more plainly than we ever did
before. The people are fitful, and their spasms are terrible; and yet we
find them at times to be as kind and hospitable as any we have ever
found elsewhere. After one has witnessed their beautiful days, cooled
with a gentle sea-breeze, which generally blows from about nine o'clock
in the morning till six at night, and then their cool, calm evenings, he
can see why there are so many lovely traits in the nature of the people.
But if he experience some of their sudden and terrific snow storms and
showers, when the thunder and the lightning are such that a Northerner
feels that all the storms he has ever witnessed are only infantile
attempts, he is inclined to extenuate, on mere climactic principles, the
outbursts of wrath, and "fire-eating" propensities of the people. He who
is gendered of fire and brimstone must have some vim in his composition.
We believe this study is not unworthy the Christian philosopher and

The day following the storm, the sun came out warmly, and the snow
suddenly disappeared, but left us in a bed of mud. The soil, naturally
rich and tender, consisting of a reddish loam, trodden by many feet, and
cut by the wheels of heavy vehicles, became almost impassable. But it
has this advantage, that it soon dries. So the soil, as well as the
atmosphere and the people, is suddenly changeable.

_April 7._--To-day our expedition continued its march to Catlett's
Station, a few miles south of Bristoe. General Augur commands the
advance, which consists of a brigade of infantry and two regiments of

On the eighth of the month a detachment of the Harris Light was ordered
out on picket at six o'clock P. M., and we enjoyed a quiet, pleasant
trip on this usually unpleasant duty. Here we spent a few days picketing,
scouting and patrolling, and on the seventeenth we advanced from
Catlett's in the direction of Falmouth, on the Rappahannock.


Our march was rapid and lay through a country altogether new to us,
which, however, presented no very interesting features. The Harris Light
had the advance, and was followed by the Fourteenth Brooklyn. As our
infantry comrades became foot-sore and weary, we exchanged positions
with them, for mutual relief, until at last one half of the regiments
were bearing one another's burdens. This incident paved the way for a
strong friendship to grow up between us.

Seventeen miles were travelled quietly, when a sudden fire on our
advance-guard brought every cavalry man to his horse and infantry man to
his musket. Every thing assumed the signs of a fight. Kilpatrick, who
was in command of the regiment, ordered his band to the rear. This
precaution of the commander was no sooner taken than the vanguard, in
command of Lieutenant George Decker, was making a furious charge upon
Field's Cavalry, which was doing outpost duty ten miles from Falmouth.
On the very first assault Lieutenant Decker fell from his horse, pierced
through the heart with a fatal bullet. He was a daring young man, well
formed, light complexion, blue eyes, and about twenty-three years of
age. He was much lamented by his many friends. His fall, shocking as it
was to the command, being our first fatal casualty, only seemed to nerve
the men for bold revenge. And we had it. Like chaff before the whirlwind
the outpost was quickly scattered, and the whole regiment entered upon
its first charge with a will, a charge which continued for several miles
with wild excitement. Picket reliefs and reserves were swept away like
forest trees before the avalanche, and we fell upon their encampment
before time had been afforded them for escape. Here we captured several
men and horses, with large quantities of stores, and then rested our
tired steeds and fed them with confederate forage. The men enjoyed the
captured rations. It was near night, and as the sun disappeared the
infantry force came up to our newly-possessed territory.

The cavalry was ordered to "stand to horse," and a strong picket was
thrown out to prevent any surprise attack or flanking movement of the
enemy. In the early part of the evening one of our pickets was surprised
by the friendly approach of a citizen of Falmouth, who had come, as he
said, "to hail once more the 'old star-spangled banner,' and to greet
his loyal brethren of the North."

Such a patriotic and fearless individual among the white population of
that section of country was a great rarity, and his protestations of
friendship were at first received with some suspicion. He was, however,
brought to General Augur's headquarters, where he gave satisfactory
proof of his kind intentions, and then gave the General a full
description of the position and strength of the enemy.


A plan for a night attack was thereupon laid and committed to Bayard and
Kilpatrick. Our instructions were conveyed to us in a whisper. A
beautiful moonlight fell upon the scene, which was as still as death;
and with a proud determination the two young cavalry chieftains moved
forward to the night's fray. Bayard was to attack on the main road in
front, but not until Kilpatrick had commenced operations on their right
flank by a detour through a neglected and narrow wood-path. As the
Heights were considered well nigh impregnable, it was necessary to
resort to some stratagem, for which Kilpatrick showed a becoming

Having approached to within hearing distance of the Rebel pickets, but
before we were challenged, Kilpatrick shouted with his clear voice
which sounded like a trumpet on the still night air.


"Bring up your artillery in the centre, and infantry on the left."

"Well, but, Colonel," replied an honest, though rather obtuse captain,
"we haven't got any inf----"

"Silence in the ranks!" commanded the leader. "Artillery in the centre,
infantry on the left."

The pickets caught and spread the alarm, and thus greatly facilitated
our hazardous enterprise.

"Charge!" was the order which then thrilled the ranks and echoed through
the dark, dismal woods, and the column swept up the rugged Heights in
the midst of blazing cannon and rattling musketry. So steep was the
ascent that not a few saddles slipped off the horses, precipitating
their riders into a creek which flowed lazily at the base of the hill;
while others fell dead and dying, struck by the missiles of destruction
which at times filled the air. But the red field was won; and the enemy,
driven at the point of the sabre fled unceremoniously down the Heights,
through Falmouth, and over the bridge which spanned the Rappahannock,
burning the beautiful structure behind them to prevent pursuit. Quite a
number of prisoners and various materials of war fell into our hands.
Kilpatrick and Bayard were both highly complimented for their personal
bravery on the occasion.

_April 18._--This morning, at eight o'clock, General Augur took peaceful
possession of Falmouth; and here, with military honors, the remains of
Lieutenant Decker and about fifteen others, who fell in the late
struggle, were interred. Later in the day, and after considerable
hesitation, the mayor of Fredericksburg formally surrendered the city to
the Yankee General, whose guns on Falmouth Heights commanded obedience.

A bridge of canal boats, similar to a pontoon, was constructed across
the river, and we took possession of this beautiful, proud city. This
was the first appearance of Yankees in this Rebel locality, and we were
the subject of no little curiosity. Many of the people, who, by the
misrepresentations of their licentious press and flaming orators, had
been led to believe that Yankees were a species of one-eyed cyclops, or
long-clawed harpies, or horned and hoofed devils; who had been deceived
into the notion that President Lincoln was a deformed mulatto,
degenerated into a hideous monkey, and that all his followers were of
that sort, on seeing us, expressed great surprise and wished to know "if
we were specimens of the Lincoln army." They had forgotten that our
fathers fought side by side in our common country's early struggles, and
that now we, their children, as brothers, ought all to sit unitedly
under the tree of liberty which they had planted in tears and nourished
with blood.

But it is painful to observe how the spirit of secession has blotted out
the memories of past days and deeds, and filled their hearts with
bitterness toward us. A few Union families in these parts, whose
acquaintance we have made, assure us that their neighbors, who were
formerly most hospitable and humane, have become, through this Rebel
virus, incarnate fiends. To secede from the Union was evidently to
secede from the God of virtue and charity.

_April 25._--After spending a few days of tolerable quietness on the
banks of the Rappahannock, with our camp near the Phillips House,
Falmouth, a most lovely spot, we were to-day ordered out as escort or
guard to a train destined for the Shenandoah Valley. Such a job is
generally any thing but pleasant to a cavalry force, for the movement is
altogether too slow, especially when bad roads are encountered. And in
case a team becomes balky or gives out, or a wagon breaks down
(incidents which occur frequently), the whole column is in _statu quo_
until the difficulty or disability is removed. And so we are halting,
advancing, halting and advancing again, with this monotonous variety
repeated _ad libitum_, while the halts are often longer than the
advances. But our slow motion gives us some opportunity to scout the
country through which we pass, and to obtain any quantity of rations and
forage for man and beast. By this means we are not compelled to consume
much, if any, of the contents of our train.

On the twenty-eighth we reached Thoroughfare Gap, through which the
Manassas Gap railroad finds its way over the Bull Run mountains. Here we
met a force from General Nathaniel P. Banks' army, to whose care we
delivered the train. We remained a few days to scout through the

On the first of May we started back toward Falmouth, but stopped several
days at Bristersburg, a small town, where we spent our time very
pleasantly, scouting through the country and living upon its rich
products. Here we are very much isolated from the rest of our army. We
seldom get a mail or receive any papers, except from rebel sources, and
these are so meagre of literary taste and especially of reliable army
news, that we dare not put much trust in their representations. However,
we are satisfied from what we read, that our grand Peninsular army is
making some telling demonstrations toward Richmond, and that the Rebel
General Thomas J. Jackson, surnamed "Stonewall," since his famous defeat
by General James Shields at Kernstown, near Winchester, is still in the

_May 25th._--We reached Falmouth to-day and took possession of our old
camping ground in front of the Phillips House. We have but little to do
except to graze our horses in the surrounding fields, and to recruit our
strength. We also have the usual camp work, namely, policing, drilling,
etc. This department is very quiet, though we hear of active movements

On the thirtieth we had a severe rain storm, with thunder and lightning,
_à la Virginie_. The streams were greatly swollen, and mud was abundant,
so as to retard movements before Richmond.

_June 6._--The Harris Light crossed the Rappahannock and advanced six
miles beyond Fredericksburg, where we got only a glimpse of some of
Field's cavalry, who had not forgotten us. They kept themselves at a
very respectful distance from us, and made themselves "scarce" whenever
we made signs of an attack. For several days we bivouacked on that side
of the river, and on the twelfth we returned to our old camp at Falmouth
Heights. On the sixteenth we were again thrown across the river, and
made a reconnoissance several miles south, without finding any force of
the enemy.

Nothing of importance occurred until the Fourth of July, when the Troy
company of the Harris Light, commanded by Lieutenant Robert Loudon, was
sent out to celebrate this national holiday by a reconnoissance on the
Telegraph Road, south of Fredericksburg. We left camp at eight o'clock
in the morning, and soon came in sight of a detachment of Bath Cavalry,
doing patrol duty. After following them for some time, though not
rapidly, we halted a few moments, and they lost sight of us, concluding
doubtless that we had retired. This was just what we wanted.


On the south bank of the Po river, about twenty miles from
Fredericksburg, was a beautiful orchard, owned by a Dr. Flipper. This
lovely spot had been chosen by our Bath friends for their outpost, their
main reserve being a few miles farther south. On arriving at the
orchard, with its luscious fruit and inviting shade, the squad we were
still pursuing unsuspectingly unsaddled their horses, began to arrange
preparations for their dinner, and to make themselves generally
comfortable. Of this state of things we were informed by a contraband we
chanced to meet. We then resolved either to share or spoil their coffee;
so, moving forward at a trot until in sight of them, we swooped down
upon the orchard like eagles. The surprised and frightened cavaliers
fired but a few shots, and we captured twelve men and nine horses, and
escaped with our lawful prey without having received a scratch. It was
my good fortune to take prisoner Lieutenant Powell, the officer in
command, and to receive as my own a fine silver-mounted revolver, which
he reluctantly placed in my hand. It will be a fine souvenir of the war
and of this Fourth of July.


Sometime in May Colonel Bayard with his regiment and a large portion of
General McDowell's division were sent to the Shenandoah Valley to share
in the shifting military panorama which was there displayed. With the
removal of the Army of the Potomac to the Peninsula the Confederate
authorities despatched General Jackson to the Valley, to threaten the
upper Potomac and Maryland, thus making it necessary for a large Federal
force to remain in these parts. General Banks was in command of that

After the battle of Kernstown, in which Jackson received the sobriquet
of "Stonewall" and a sound thrashing, General Banks, who had set out for
Warrenton, returned to the Valley, and pursued Jackson, but was unable
to bring him to bay. The enemy's cavalry under Colonel Turner Ashby was
frequently attacked by the Union Cavalry under General John P. Hatch. On
the sixth of May, the Fifth New York Cavalry, First Ira Harris Guard,
had a hand to hand encounter with Ashby's men near Harrisonburg, where
Yankee sabres and pluck had established a reputation. A portion of the
same regiment under Colonel John R. Kenly, at Front Royal, added new
lustre to their fame, on the twenty-third of the same month, during
"Stonewall's" flank movement on General Banks at Strasburg, and fought
bravely during that memorable retreat to Maryland.

At this juncture of affairs, a division of General McDowell's forces,
under General Shields, was dispatched to the valley to intercept
Jackson, while General John C. Fremont was ordered by telegraph to the
same scene from the Mountain Department. But unavoidably detained by
almost impassable mountain roads and streams enormously swollen by
recent rains, Fremont reached Strasburg just in time to see Jackson's
last stragglers retreating through the town. His pursuit was very rapid,
though no engagement was brought about until the fifth of June, at
Harrisonburg. Here Colonel Percy Wyndham, on our side, and Turner Ashby,
now a general, on the Rebel side, distinguished themselves in the
cavalry. Ashby was killed. His loss was greatly lamented by his
comrades. He always fought at the head of his men, with the most
reckless self-exposure, and for outpost duty and the skirmish line he
left scarcely an equal behind him in either army. His humaneness to our
men who had fallen into his hands caused many of them to shed tears at
the intelligence of his death. Men of valor and kindness are always
worthy of a better cause than that in which the Rebels are engaged; but
their merit is always appreciated.

Upon the heel of this fight followed the battles of Cross Keys, and Port
Republic, where Jackson eluded the combined Union forces which had been
directed against him.

During this memorable campaign, a curious military _modus operandi_ had
been resorted to in the Luray Valley, in which the cavalry had made
itself doubly useful. A small force of our infantry and cavalry were
surrounded by the enemy on the south bank of the Shenandoah River, which
was so high as to be unfordable. As a last resort the cavalrymen plunged
into the stream, swimming their horses, and towing across the
infantrymen, who clung to the animals' tails!

A striking case of personal daring in this Valley campaign, is worthy of
record here. During Banks' retreat from Winchester, on the twenty-fourth
of May, four companies of the Fifth New York Cavalry, under command of
Captain Wheeler, were moving on the left flank of our retreating
columns, to protect them from any attacks by the Rebel cavalry, which
infested the wooded hills that lay along our route. Emerging from a
thick wood, Captain John Hammond, who had the advance with eight or ten
men, suddenly came upon a squad of mounted Rebels, and immediately
called on them to surrender. However, they fled, firing as they went,
but were closely pursued. Captain Hammond was riding a powerful horse,
which he had taken from his home, and as his blood was up, he determined
to capture one of the party at least, at all hazard. He soon came up to
the hindmost, a strong man, with whom he exchanged several shots at
close quarters, but without effect on either side, owing to their
fearful gait through the timber and down a hill. Hammond's pistol became
fouled by a cap, and the cylinder would not revolve. The Rebel had two
charges left. Quick work was now necessary. Another spurring of his
horse brought him within arm's length of the flying Rebel, whereupon he
seized his coat collar with both his hands, and dragged him backward
from his saddle. Holding firmly his grasp, both horses went from under
them, and they fell pell-mell to the ground. Luckily Hammond was
uppermost, with one hand at the enemy's throat and the other holding the
band of the pistol with which the Rebel was trying to shoot him. As the
two men were powerful, a fearful struggle ensued for the mastery of the
pistol. Meantime up rode one of Hammond's boys, who, by his order, fired
at the upturned face of the obstinate foe, the ball grazing his scalp
and causing him to relinquish his hold of the revolver, when he was
forced to surrender. Thus ended one of the roughest yet amusing contests
of the war.

The prisoner proved to be one of Ashby's scouts, and the remainder of
the party were all captured. But notwithstanding the personal bravery of
our men, disaster and defeat had attended our operations in the Valley.
Nor was this the only field of disastrous changes. On the Peninsula
sieges had been laid and raised, terrible battles fought, won, and lost,
and thousands of our brave comrades had succumbed to the impure water
and miasmatic condition of the country. The rebel General J. E. B.
Stuart had astounded every body by a raid around our entire army,
cutting off communications, destroying stores, and capturing not a few
prisoners. On the second of July this jaded army found a resting place
at Harrison's Landing on the James River.



1862.--Kilpatrick at Beaver Dam.--Captain John S. Mosby.--Return of the
    Raiders.--Complimentary Orders.--The Harris Light at Anderson's
    Turnout.--Rebel Account of the Scare.--General John P. Hatch, his
    Misfortunes and Justification.--Reconnoissances.--Battle of Cedar
    Mountain.--Hospital at Culpepper.--General Stuart in Close Quarters.
    --His Adjutant-General Captured.--Death of Captain Charles Walters.
    --Pope driven back and waiting for Reinforcements.--Kilpatrick's
    Fight at Brandy Station.--Waterloo Bridge.--Bristoe Station.--
    Manassas Junction.--Battle of Groveton.--Second Bull Run.--Chantilly
    and Death of Kearny.--General Pope resigns.

Our prospects as a nation were any thing but promising about the fourth
of July, 1862. Our operations in the Shenandoah Valley had been very
expensive and fruitless. The Peninsular campaign, which promised so much
at its beginning, which had proceeded at so fearful a cost of treasure
and blood, was pronounced a failure at last, and the great armies,
depleted and worn, were well nigh discouraged. The celebration of the
anniversary of our national birthday was observed throughout the loyal
North in the midst of gloomy forebodings, and only the pure patriotism
of governors of States, and of the President of the United States, gave
the people any ground of hope for success. In the army changes of
leaders were occurring, which produced no little amount of jealousy
among the "stars," and upon which the opinion of the rank and file was

On the fourteenth of July, General John Pope, having been called from a
glorious career in the West, took command of the Army of Virginia, which
was a consolidation of the commands of Fremont, Banks, and McDowell.

Before General Pope left Washington, he ordered General Rufus King, who
was in command at Fredericksburg, to make a raid on the Virginia Central
Railroad, for the purpose of destroying it at as many points as
possible, and thus impede communications between Richmond and the
Valley. This work was committed to our regiment.

_July 19._--About six o'clock this evening the Harris Light was set in
rapid motion almost directly south. By means of a forced march of forty
miles through the night, at the gray dawn of the morning we descended
upon Beaver Dam dépôt, on the Virginia Central, like so many ravenous
wolves upon a broken fold. Here we had some lively work. The command was
divided in several squads, and each party was assigned its peculiar and
definite duty. So while some were destroying culverts and bridges,
others were playing mischief with the telegraph wires; others still were
burning the dépôt, which was nearly full of stores, and a fourth party
was on the lookout. During our affray we captured a young Confederate
officer, who gave his name as Captain John S. Mosby. By his sprightly
appearance and conversation he attracted considerable attention. He is
slight, yet well formed; has a keen blue eye, and florid complexion;
and displays no small amount of Southern bravado in his dress and
manners. His gray plush hat is surmounted by a waving plume, which he
tosses as he speaks in real Prussian style. He had a letter in his
possession from General Stuart, recommending him to the kind regards of
General Lee.

After making general havoc of railroad stock and Rebel stores, we
started in the direction of Gordonsville, but having ascertained that a
force of Rebels much larger than our own occupied the place, we turned
northward, and reached our old camp at midnight, having marched upward
of eighty miles in thirty hours.

Some of us will not soon forget the ludicrous scenes which were acted
out, especially in the latter portion of the raid. In consequence of the
jaded condition of our horses it was necessary to make frequent halts.
To relieve themselves and animals, when a halt was ordered, some men
would dismount, and, sinking to the ground through exhaustion, would
quickly fall asleep. With the utmost difficulty they were aroused by
their comrades when the column advanced. Calling them by their names,
though we did it with mouth to ear, and with all our might, made no
impression upon them. In many instances we were compelled to take hold
of them, roll them over, tumble them about, and pound them, before we
could make them realize that the proper time for rest and sleep had not
yet come.

Others slept in their saddles, either leaning forward on the pommel of
the saddle, or on the roll of coat and blanket, or sitting quite erect,
with an occasional bow forward or to the right or left, like the swaying
of a flag on a signal station, or like the careerings of a drunken man.
The horse of such a sleeping man will seldom leave his place in the
column, though this will sometimes occur, and the man awakes at last to
find himself alone with his horse which is grazing along some unknown
field or woods. Some men, having lost the column in this way, have
fallen into the enemy's hands. Sometimes a fast-walking horse in one of
the rear companies will bear his sleeping lord quickly along, forcing
his way through the ranks ahead of him, until the poor fellow is
awakened, and finds himself just passing by the colonel and his staff at
the head of the column! Of course, he falls back to his old place
somewhat confused and ashamed, and the occurrence lends him just
excitement enough to keep him awake for a few minutes.

It is seldom that men under these somnambulic circumstances fall from
their horses, yet sometimes it does happen, and headlong goes the
cavalier upon the hard ground, or into a splashing mud-puddle, while
general merriment is produced among the lookers-on. But as no one is
seriously injured, the "fallen brave" retakes his position in the ranks
and the column proceeds as though nothing had happened. We had all these
experiences in one form or another in our raid, and on reaching camp we
found that several men had lost their caps by the way.

The day following our arrival at camp the general in command issued his
complimentary message, namely:

      Washington, July 21.

      _To Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War_:

      SIR: The cavalry expedition I directed General King to send
      out on the nineteenth instant has returned.

      They left Fredericksburg at seven P. M., on the nineteenth,
      and after a forced march during the night made a descent at
      daylight in the morning upon the Virginia Central Railroad at
      Beaver Dam Creek, twenty-five miles north of Hanover Junction
      and thirty-five miles from Richmond. They destroyed the
      railroad and telegraph line for several miles, burned the
      dépôt, which contained forty thousand rounds of other musket
      ammunition, one hundred barrels of flour, and much valuable
      property, and brought in the Captain in charge as a prisoner.

      The whole country round was thrown into a great state of
      alarm. One private was wounded on our side. The cavalry
      marched eighty miles in thirty hours. The affair was most
      successful, and reflects high credit upon the commanding
      officer and his troops.

      As soon as full particulars are received I will transmit to
      you the name of the commanding officer of the troops

      I am, Sir, very respectfully,
      Your obedient servant,
      JOHN POPE,
      _Major-General Commanding_.

The above order was received with great gladness by the boys of the
Harris Light, and Kilpatrick had just reasons to feel proud of his brave
boys and their noble deeds. As we had done so well in this branch of
business, it was natural for the commanding general to be looking out
for more similar jobs for us, and, indeed, they came.

_July 24._--Kilpatrick was again launched out with his men on another
raid upon the Virginia Central Railroad, which, this time, we struck at
Anderson Turnout. However, we did not reach the railroad before we had
surprised a camp of Rebel cavalry, with which we had a sharp skirmish on
the south bank of the North Anna River. But having the advantage of the
enemy, we defeated them, captured their camp, with several prisoners and
horses. A large quantity of camp and garrison equipage fell into our
hands, which we burned. Unfortunately for us we did not come just in
time to take the cars, but we created an alarm quite as extensive as
that which prevailed at Beaver Dam, on our former visit. The _Richmond
Examiner_, commenting upon the affair, gave the following truthful


"When the train from the west on the Central Railroad reached
Frederick's Hall, a station fifty miles from this, it was met by a rumor
that the Yankee cavalry had made another raid from Fredericksburg, and
had possession of the track at Anderson Turnout, ten miles below Beaver
Dam, and thirty miles from Richmond. The telegraph wire not being in
working order, there was no means at hand of ascertaining the truth of
this report. Under the circumstances the conductor, not choosing to risk
the passengers and train, took an extra locomotive and ran down to
Anderson's on a reconnoissance. When he reached this place he found the
report of the Yankees at that point correct, but they had left several
hours previous to his arrival. He learned the following particulars:

"At a quarter past nine A. M., just a quarter of an hour after the
passage of train from Richmond, the Yankee cavalry, several hundred in
number, made their appearance at the Turnout. Having missed the train,
they seemed to have no particular object in view, but loitered about the
neighborhood for a couple of hours. They, however, before taking leave,
searched the house of Mr. John S. Anderson, which is near the railroad,
and took prisoner his son, who is in the Confederate service, but at home
on sick furlough. They also took possession of four of Mr. Anderson's
horses. They made no attempt to tear up the railroad, having no doubt
had enough of that business at Beaver Dam last Sunday. They did not
interfere with the telegraph wire through prudential motives, shrewdly
guessing that any meddling with that would give notice of their presence.

"Of the movements of our troops occasioned by this second impudent foray
it is unnecessary to say any thing. The Central train reached this city
at eight o'clock, three hours behind its usual time."

It is evident that we are greatly embarrassing the Rebel travelling
public by our raids, destroying public property, capturing prisoners and
horses, and gaining some valuable information. We have learned from
contrabands and other sources that Rebel forces in considerable numbers
are being transported westward over this route. Some grand movements are
undoubtedly on foot.

We have received word that on the fourteenth General John P. Hatch, with
all his cavalry, was ordered by General Banks to proceed at once upon
Gordonsville, capture the place and destroy all the railroads that
centre there, but especially to make havoc of the Central road, as far
east as possible, and west to Charlottesville. For some reason General
Hatch was too slow in his movements, and General Ewell, with a division
of Lee's army, reached the place on the sixteenth, one day ahead of
Hatch. Thereupon Hatch was ordered to take from fifteen hundred to two
thousand picked men, well mounted, and to hasten from Madison Court
House, over the Blue Ridge, and destroy the railroad westward to
Staunton. He commenced the movement; but after passing through the
narrow defiles of the mountains at Swift Run Gap, he felt that there was
no hope of accomplishing any thing, and returned. General Pope
immediately relieved him from command, and appointed General John
Buford, General Banks' chief of artillery, in his place.

After some months had elapsed, the following correspondence between
General Hatch and his former command will partly vindicate, if it does
not fully justify, his course:

      Near Fort Scott, Va., ---- 1862.

      _To Brigadier-General John P. Hatch_:

      GENERAL: The accompanying sabre is presented to you by the
      officers of the First Vermont and Fifth New York Cavalry.

      We have served under you while you commanded the cavalry in
      Virginia--a period of active operations and military
      enterprise--during which your courage and judgment inspired
      us with confidence, while your zeal and integrity have left
      us an example easier to be admired than imitated.

      We, who have passed with you beyond the Rapidan and through
      Swift Run Gap, are best able to recognize your qualities as
      a commander.

      Accept, therefore, General, this testimonial of esteem
      offered long after we were removed from your command,--when
      the external glitter of an ordinary man ceases to affect the
      mind, but when real worth begins to be appreciated.

      On behalf of the officers of the Fifth New York,

      _Lieutenant-Colonel, Fifth New York Cavalry_.

      _To the Officers of the Fifth New York and First Vermont
      Regiments of Cavalry_:

      OSWEGO, N. Y., ---- 1862.

      GENTLEMEN: A very beautiful sabre, your present to myself,
      has been received. I shall wear it with pride, and will never
      draw it but in an honorable cause.

      The very kind letter accompanying the sabre has caused
      emotions of the deepest nature. The assurance it gives of
      the confidence you feel in myself, and your approval of my
      course when in command of Banks' Cavalry, is particularly
      gratifying. You, actors with myself in those stirring
      scenes, are competent judges as to the propriety of my
      course, when it unfortunately did not meet with the approval
      of my superior; and your testimony, so handsomely expressed,
      after time has allowed opportunity for reflection, more than
      compensates for the mortification of that moment.

      I have watched with pride the movements of your regiments
      since my separation from you. When a telegram has announced
      that "in a cavalry fight _the edge of the sabre_ was
      successfully used, and the enemy routed," the further
      announcement that the First Vermont and Fifth New York were
      engaged, was unnecessary.

      Accept my kindest wishes for your future success. Sharp
      sabres and a trust in Providence will enable you to secure
      it in the field.

      Your obedient servant,
      JOHN P. HATCH,

_August 5._--The Harris Light was again sent out on a reconnoissance to
the Central Railroad, which we struck on the sixth, about ten o'clock
A. M., at Frederick's Hall. The dépôt, which contained large supplies of
commissary and quartermaster stores, was burned. The telegraph office
was also destroyed, with considerable length of wire, while the railroad
track was torn and otherwise injured, principally by the fires we built
upon it. In a factory near the station were found huge quantities of
tobacco. The men took as much as the jaded condition of their horses
would permit, and the remainder was wrapped in flames.

All this was accomplished without loss on our side. These daring and
successful raids made Kilpatrick very conspicuous before the army and
country. He was complimented by the general commanding both in orders
and by telegraph, and his name became a synonym of courage and success.
This gave wonderful enthusiasm to his men, and their devotion to him was
unbounded. Wherever he led us we gladly went, feeling that however
formidable the force or dangerous the position we assailed, either by
main force we could overcome, or by stratagem or celerity we could
escape. This gave our young hero a double power.

_August 8._--To-day Kilpatrick was ordered with his regiments to
reconnoitre in the direction of Orange Court House. He advanced by way
of Chancellorsville and old Wilderness Tavern; but on approaching the
Court House we found it occupied by a heavy force of the enemy. It is
evident that the Rebel army is advancing with a show of fight towards
the upper fords of the Rapidan, where, we understand, Generals Buford
and Bayard are picketing. After ascertaining all we could about present
and prospective movements, we returned to our old camp, having made a
swift and tedious march.


On the ninth was fought the memorable battle of Cedar or Slaughter's
Mountain, in which both sides claimed the victory. The Confederates
certainly had the advantage of position, having taken possession of the
wooded crest before the arrival of our advance; and they also greatly
outnumbered the Union ranks. But their loss was nearly double our own,
and nearly the same ground was occupied by the combatants at night,
which each held in the beginning of the fight. The cavalry was not
conspicuously engaged in this bloody fray, except such portions of it as
were escort or body-guard to officers in command, and among these some
were killed. The main cavalry force watched the flanks, doing good
service there.

_August 10._--At an early hour of the day the Harris Light was ordered
to report at Culpepper Court House, and we were soon on the march. On
arriving at our destination we found the place well nigh filled with our
wounded from the battle of yesterday. It is estimated that not less than
fifteen hundred of our men were killed and wounded, about a thousand of
the latter having found a refuge here. The seventh part of the
casualties of a battle, on an average, will number the killed and
mortally wounded; the others claim the especial attention of their
comrades. It is heart-sickening to witness their bloody, mangled forms.
All the public buildings and many private residences of this village are
occupied as hospitals, and the surgeons with their corps of hospital
stewards and nurses are doing their work, assisted by as many others as
have been detailed for this purpose, or volunteer their services. The
Rebel wounded who have fallen into our hands receive the same attention
that is bestowed upon our own men, many of them acknowledging that they
are far better off in our care than they would be among their

These hospitals are all much more quiet than one would naturally
suppose. How calmly the brave boys endure the wounds they have received
in defence of their beloved country! Only now and then can be heard a
subdued sob, or a dying groan; while those who are fully conscious,
though suffering excruciating pain, are either engaged in silent prayer
or meditation, or reading a Testament or a last letter from loved ones,
and patiently awaiting their turn with the surgeon or the nurse.

In the most available places tables have been spread for the purpose of
amputations. We cannot approach them, with their heaps of mangled hands
and feet, of shattered bones and yet quivering flesh, without a shudder.
A man must need the highest style of heroism willingly to drag himself
or be borne by others to one of these tables, to undergo the processes
of the amputating blade. But thanks be to modern skill in surgery, and
to the discoverer of chloroform; for by these the operations are
performed quickly and without the least sensation, until the poor brave
awakes with the painful consciousness of the loss of limbs, which no
artificer can fully replace. Thus the skill displayed and the care taken
greatly mitigate the horrors of battle. Men here are wounded in every
conceivable manner, from the crowns of their heads to the soles of their
feet, while some are most fearfully torn by shells. It had been thought
that men shot through the lungs or entrails were past cure, yet several
of the former have been saved, and a few of the latter. Indeed, it would
seem as though modern science was measuring nearly up to the age of

We found that a large force of cavalry was concentrating at Culpepper,
awaiting new developments. Reconnoissances are of frequent occurrence,
and all of them reveal that the enemy is in motion, concentrating on our
front. Our picket lines are made doubly strong, and the utmost vigilance
is enjoined. Scouts and spies are on the rampage, and more or less
excitement prevails everywhere.


_August 16._--To-day a small detachment of cavalry under Colonel
Broadhead, of the First Michigan Cavalry, was despatched on a scout in
the direction of Louisa Court House. Having penetrated to within the
enemy's lines, and not far from the Court House, they made a swift
descent upon a suspicious looking house, which proved to be General
Stuart's headquarters. The general barely escaped through a back door,
as it were "by the skin of his teeth," leaving a part of his wardrobe
behind him. His belt fell into our hands, and several very important
despatches from General Lee. Stuart's adjutant-general was found
concealed in the house and captured. General Pope, in his official
reports, speaks of this affair as follows:

"The cavalry expedition sent out on the sixteenth in the direction of
Louisa Court House, captured the adjutant-general of General Stuart, and
was very near capturing that officer himself. Among the papers taken was
an autograph letter of General Robert E. Lee to General Stuart, dated
Gordonsville, August fifteenth, which made manifest to me the
disposition and force of the enemy and their determination to overwhelm
the army under my command before it could be reënforced by any portion
of the Army of the Potomac."

Had it not been for the timely discovery of this Rebel order, General
Pope's army, only a handful to the multitudes which were gathering
against him from the defences of Richmond, would have been flanked and
probably annihilated. Assured, however, that reënforcements from
McClellan's army could certainly reach him before long, General Pope
held his advanced position to the last, our pickets guarding the fords
of the Rapidan. On the eighteenth, the entire force of cavalry relieved
the infantry pickets, and evident preparations were being made for a
retreat. On the day following a sharp skirmish took place with Rebel
cavalry which appeared across the narrow, rapid river. In this
engagement Captain Charles Walters, of the Harris Light, was killed,
and his remains were interred at midnight just as orders were received
to retreat on the road to Culpepper.

The cavalry under General Bayard is acting as rear guard to our
retreating columns. Stuart's cavalry, with whom we are engaged at almost
every step, is vanguard of the Rebel army, which is advancing as rapidly
as possible. The prospect before us is exceedingly dark. Nothing is more
discouraging to a soldier than to be compelled to retreat, especially
under a general whose first order on assuming command contained the
following utterances:

"Meantime, I desire you to dismiss from your minds certain phrases which
I am sorry to find much in vogue among you.

"I hear constantly of taking strong positions and holding them--of lines
of retreat and of bases of supplies. Let us discard such ideas.

"The strongest position a soldier should desire to occupy is one from
which he can most easily advance against the enemy.

"Let us study the probable lines of retreat of our opponents, and leave
our own to take care of themselves. Let us look before, and not behind.
Success and glory are in the advance. Disaster and shame lurk in the

We all felt that the moment we begin to turn our backs to the enemy,
that moment we acknowledge ourselves either outgeneraled or whipped, a
thing most disheartening, and to which pride never easily condescends.
Our only hope was based on early reënforcements. Should these fail us
we saw nothing but defeat and disaster in our path.


_August 20._--While our cavalry forces were feeding their horses on the
large plains near Brandy Station, about six o'clock this morning, a
heavy column of Stuart's cavalry was discovered, approaching from the
direction of Culpepper. Kilpatrick was ordered to attack and check this
advance, which he did in a spirited manner. The Harris Light added fresh
laurels to its already famous record, and made Brandy Station memorable
in the annals of cavalry conflicts. Stuart's advance was not only
retarded, but diverted; and it was made our business to watch closely
his future movements.

On the twenty-first we reached Freeman's Ford, on the Rappahannock,
which we picketed, preventing the enemy from effecting a crossing. As
the fords of the river were generally heavily guarded up to this point,
the enemy kept moving up the stream toward our right, evidently
designing to make a flank movement upon us.

On the twenty-second a notable cavalry engagement, with light artillery,
took place at Waterloo Bridge. During this fight a Rebel shell took
effect in our ranks, killing instantly the three horses ridden by the
three officers of the same company, dismounting the braves very
unceremoniously, but injuring no one seriously. Through the darkness of
the night following, Stuart, with about fifteen hundred picked cavalry,
effected a crossing of the river, and after making quite a _détour_ via
Warrenton, came down unperceived through the intense darkness and the
falling rain upon General Pope's headquarters near Catlett's Station.
He captured the general's field quartermaster and many important
documents, made great havoc among the guards, horses, and wagons, and
finally escaped, without injury to himself, with about three hundred
prisoners, and considerable private baggage taken from the train. His
victory was indeed a cheap one, but we all felt its disgrace, which the
darkness to some extent explained, but did not fully excuse.

_August 23._--A severe contest occurred to-day at Sulphur Springs. The
enemy is pressing us hard at every crossing of the river, and continues
to move towards our right. Skirmishing occurs at nearly every hour of
the day and night, occasioning more or less loss of life. Yesterday in a
skirmish led by General Sigel, who had crossed the river, General Bohlen
was killed, and our forces driven back to the north side of the river.
While this manoeuvring was going on along the Rappahannock, General
Lee had despatched Stonewall Jackson, to pass around our right, which he
did by crossing about four miles above Waterloo, and, on the
twenty-fifth, he struck our forces at Bristoe Station, where a severe
contest took place, the losses in killed and wounded being heavy on both
sides. But the enemy was successful in taking possession of the
railroad; and in the evening a portion of Stuart's cavalry, strengthened
by two regiments of infantry, advanced to Manassas Junction, where they
surprised and charged our guards, capturing many prisoners, also ten
locomotives, seven trains loaded with immense quantities of stores,
horses, tents, and eight cannon. They destroyed what they could not
take away. The Rebel General Ewell, having followed closely in the track
of Jackson, also came upon the railroad in rear of General Pope's army.

Our commander, greatly astonished at this embarrassing juncture of
affairs, began to make the best disposition of his forces, to extricate
himself from the toils that had been carefully laid for him; still
hoping that new forces would come to his aid from McClellan's army via
Alexandria. But "hope deferred made his heart sick," and he was
compelled to encounter the immense Rebel hosts, not only massed on his
front, but also lapping on his flanks, and penetrating, as we have seen,
even to his rear. The situation was critical in the extreme; and had not
the available forces behaved themselves with undaunted courage and, at
times, with mad desperation, the disaster would have been unprecedented.

Several unimportant and yet hotly contested battles were fought at
Sulphur Springs, Thoroughfare Gap, Bristoe Station, etc., and early on
the morning of the twenty-ninth commenced the battle of Groveton, by
some called the second Bull Run. The Rebels were in overwhelming
numbers, though driven badly during the earlier hours of the day; and
had Fitz-John Porter brought his forces into the action, the victory
must have been ours. The cavalry, though quiet most of the day, made an
important charge in the evening. The carnage had been terrible, and the
fields were strewn with the dead and dying. It is estimated that the
casualties would include not less than seven thousand men on our side
alone; and it is fair to suppose that the enemy has lost not less than
that number.

_August 30._--Our lines having fallen back during the night, the battle
was renewed to-day on the field of the first Bull Run. But the fates
were again against us, and, though not panic-stricken, our men retired
from the field at night, until they rested themselves on the heights of
Centreville. The enemy did not follow us very closely, not attempting
even to cross Bull Run.

On the thirty-first General Pope expected to be attacked in his strong
position at Centreville, but the enemy was too cautious to expose
himself in a position so advantageous to ourselves, where the repulse of
Malvern Hill might have been repeated. Quiet reigned along our entire
line during the day.


_September 1._--Becoming aware that a flank movement was in operation,
General Pope started his entire army in the direction of Washington. But
his army had not proceeded far, before one of his columns, which had
been sent to intercept the Little River Turnpike, near Chantilly,
encountered Stonewall Jackson, who had led his weary, yet intrepid
legions entirely around our right wing, and now contested our farther
retreat. General Isaac J. Stevens, commanding General Reno's Second
division, who led our advance, at once ordered a charge and moved with
terrible impetuosity upon the foe; but he was shot dead, on the very
start, by a bullet through his head. His command was thereupon thrown
into utter disorder, uncovering General Reno's First division, which was
also demoralized and broken.

Just at this critical moment, General Philip Kearny, who was leading one
of General Heintzelman's divisions, advanced with intrepid heart and
unfaltering step upon the exultant foe. This was during a most fearful
thunder-storm, so furious that with difficulty could ammunition be kept
at all serviceable, and the roar of cannon could scarcely be heard a
half dozen miles away. The Rebel ranks recoiled and broke before this
terrible bolt of war. Just before dark, while riding too carelessly over
the field and very near the rebel lines, Kearny was shot dead by one of
the enemy's sharpshooters. His command devolved upon General Birney, who
ordered another charge, which was executed with great gallantry, driving
the enemy from the field, and defeating the great flanker in his
attempts farther to harass our retreating columns. But our success had
been dearly bought. Two generals had been sacrificed, and Kearny
especially was lamented all over the land. Of him the poet sings:

                             "Our country bleeds
    With blows her own hands strike. He starts, he heeds
    Her cries for succor. In a foreign land
    He dwells; his bowers with luxury's pinions fanned,
    His cup with roses crowned. He dashes down
        The cup, he leaves the bowers; he flies to aid
        His native land. Out leaps his patriot blade!
    Quick to the van he darts. Again the frown
    Of strife bends blackening; once again his ear
        War's furious trump with stern delight drinks in;
    Again tho Battle-Bolt in red career!
        Again the flood, the frenzy, and the din!

    At tottering Williamsburg his granite front
    Bears without shook the battle's fiercest brunt.
    So have we seen the crag beat back the blast,
    So has the shore the surges backward cast.
    Behind his rock the shattered ranks re-form;
    Forward, still forward, until dark defeat
    Burns to bright victory!

           *       *       *       *       *

                               Fame commands
    The song; we yield it gladly; but the glow
    Fades as we sing. The dire, the fatal blow
    Fell, fell at last. Full, full in deadliest front
    Leading his legions, leading as his wont,
    The bullet wafts him to his mortal goal!
        And not alone War's thunders saw him die;
    Amid the glare, the rushing, and the roll,
        Glared, crashed, the grand dread battle of the sky!
    There on two pinions,--War's and Storm's,--he soared
    Flight how majestic! up! His dirge was roared
    Not warbled, and his pall was smoke and cloud;
        Flowers of red shot, red lightnings strewed his bier,
    And night, black night, the mourner.

           *       *       *       *       *

                                Now farewell,
    O hero! In our Glory's Pantheon
    Thy name will shine, a name immortal won
    By deeds immortal! In our heart's deep heart
    Thy statued fame, that never shall depart,
    Shall tower, the loftier as Time fleets, and show
    How Heaven can sometimes plant its Titans here below."

General Pope, during all the day, and most of the night, hastened his
retreat, and on the second of September, his broken and demoralized
columns found rest and rations within the fortifications which guard the
approaches to Washington. Thus ended General Pope's brief and trying
career as commander of the Army of Virginia. Here he resigned his
command, and was succeeded by General McClellan.



1863.--Result of Pope's Campaign.--Best and Recruit at Hall's Hill.--"My
    Maryland:" Its Invasion.--Offensive Policy of the Rebellion.--
    Pennsylvania and the Whole Country Aroused.--Battle of South
    Mountain.--Harper's Ferry.--Colonel Miles.--His Treachery and Death.
    --Bloody Battle of Antietam.--Drilling Recruits.--The Harris Light
    again at the Front.--At Chantilly.--Sudley Church.--Leesburg.--
    McClellan again Relieved from Command.

By the almost continual fighting of General Pope's campaign, our ranks
had been greatly depleted. Of the cavalry in general one correspondent
makes the following remark: "They picket our outposts, scout the whole
country for information, open our fights, cover our retreats, or clear
up and finish our victories, as the case may be. In short, they are
never idle, and rarely find rest for either men or horses." We had felt
the influence of this wear and tear so sadly, that our once full and
noble regiment was now reduced to about three hundred and fifty men,
scarcely one third of our original number. Nearly every regiment of
cavalry which had participated in the misfortunes of the campaign, had
suffered a like decimation. To replenish our weakened ranks and to
infuse new vigor and discipline into the various commands, became a
question of no little moment. Consequently a large number of regiments,
under the direct supervision of General Bayard, were ordered to Hall's
Hill, about ten miles from Washington, where we established camps of
instruction and drill.

During the disasters of the Peninsular campaign, and the subsequent
defeats and retreats from the Rapidan to the Potomac, the country had
awakened to the importance of increasing the army by new organizations,
and of filling up the broken ranks by fresh levies of recruits. This
feeling was greatly intensified by the exposure of Washington to the
victorious and advancing enemy, and by the invasions of Northern soil,
which the triumphs of the Rebellion made imminent. Hence multitudes of
recruits were pouring into Washington principally, and into other
places, gladly donning the uniform, and eager to learn the duties, of
the soldier. Camps of instruction were, of course, necessary. And as the
attention of young men was turning very favorably to the cavalry
service, our camps at Hall's Hill were the scenes of daily arrivals of
fine specimens of patriots, whose hands were warmly grasped by us; and
gladly we initiated them into the mysteries of this new science. We were
not a little elated at the epithet of "Veteran," which these recruits
lavished upon us.

The experiences and labors of our old camps "Oregon" and "Sussex" were
repeated with somewhat of new combinations and interests, as we sought
to prepare ourselves and others more thoroughly than before to meet the
foe in coming campaigns.

We had scarcely reached our new camps and entered upon our new labors,
when we learned that General Lee was marching his confident hosts into
Maryland. This movement at first was regarded as a feint only, with the
intention of uncovering Washington; but as column after column was known
to have crossed the Potomac, and to be advancing through the State with
more or less rapidity, the tocsin of alarm was sounded everywhere, and a
general movement was made to repel the invaders. Pennsylvania was
thoroughly aroused, and her loyal and true governor issued a
proclamation calling upon all the able-bodied men of the Commonwealth to
organize for defence. The militia promptly responded to the call, and
military preparations were going on, not only in the old Keystone State,
but throughout the land.

Up to this time the attitude of the Rebels had been defensive, but their
recent great victories had led them to change their tactics, and
thinking that ultimate success was almost within their grasp, they now
assumed the offensive policy. Aside from this consideration they
doubtless hoped to awaken in the Border States a sympathy and an
enthusiasm on their behalf, which thus far they had failed to create;
and that their brilliant march northward would not only carry a strong
political influence, but that their ranks would be greatly swollen by
accessions of recruits from those States. This indication of Rebel
thought is evidently found in the address which General Lee issued to
the people of Maryland on the eighth day of September. In it are found
the following sentences:

"The people of the Confederate States have long watched with the
deepest sympathy the wrongs and outrages that have been inflicted upon
the citizens of a Commonwealth allied to the States of the South by the
strongest social, political, and commercial ties, and reduced to the
condition of a conquered province. * * *

"Believing that the people of Maryland possess a spirit too lofty to
submit to such a Government, the people of the South have long wished to
aid you in throwing off this foreign yoke, to enable you again to enjoy
the inalienable rights of freemen, and restore the independence and
sovereignty of your State.

"In obedience to this wish, our army has come among you, and is prepared
to assist you with the power of its arms in regaining the rights of
which you have been so unjustly despoiled."

But the fond hopes which prompted this address were destined to be
blasted. Lee's advancing columns met no resistance, and marched directly
upon Frederick City, where recruiting offices were opened under the
superintendence of General Bradley T. Johnson, who had left this city,
at the beginning of the war, to serve in the Rebel army. But the
Confederate chiefs were disappointed. The number who were marshalled
under their stars and bars did not exceed the number of those who, tired
of training in Rebel gray, deserted their banner.

The enemy's peaceful march through the State and its quiet possession
were not of long duration; and the invaders soon found other work to do,
than to make political orders and harangues, and to increase their ranks
by recruits. From Washington the Union army began to advance with
considerable strength and determination, compelling General Lee to
relinquish his design of penetrating into Pennsylvania. Initiatory steps
were now being taken for a great battle, the first encounter of which
took place, under General Pleasonton, who commanded our cavalry during
this campaign, at the Catoctin Creek, in Middletown, Maryland. The
enemy's rearguard, consisting of cavalry, was struck with some force,
the prelude of the battle of South Mountain, at Turner's Gap. The enemy
having taken possession of this mountain pass, was driven from it only
after the most obstinate resistance and severe loss, and forced to leave
only before superior numbers. This occurred on the fourteenth; and the
victory, though somewhat dearly bought, inspired our troops with new
courage, and gave them a foretaste of better days.


But during the day we have received sad tidings from Harper's Ferry, a
point of no little importance to the invaders. Unfortunately for us the
place was under the command of Colonel Miles, who, for his drunkenness
and general incompetency, had made himself conspicuous during the first
battle of Bull Run. Why such a man was left in command of at least ten
thousand men, and at a place of so much interest, cannot well be
accounted for.

Aware as he must have been several days ago, that this position was a
coveted prize and would undoubtedly be assailed, he neither retreated,
nor fortified himself as he easily could have done to hold out for a
long time against a superior force. Nothing but imbecility or treachery
could have controlled his conduct. On the eleventh his command was
increased largely by a force under General Julius White, who had
evacuated Martinsburg on the approach of Stonewall Jackson.

But to-day he was attacked from various positions, and his forces
driven; and on the fifteenth, being attacked from at least seven
commanding positions, early in the day the white flag was raised, which
the enemy failing to see, continued to fire for several minutes, during
which time Colonel Miles was killed, some say by a Rebel shell, others
assert by some of his own men. By this shameful surrender there fell
into the hands of the enemy nearly twelve thousand men, half of them New
Yorkers, who had just entered the service; also seventy-three guns good
and bad; thirteen thousand small arms; two hundred wagons, and a large
supply of tents and camp equipage.

Stonewall Jackson, who had commanded the expedition from Frederick to
Harper's Ferry, now moved forward to join Lee's main army, which he did
on the sixteenth. From South Mountain General McClellan began to collect
his forces well in hand and to move towards Boonsborough. Here General
Pleasonton again struck the Rebel cavalry rearguard, capturing two
hundred and fifty prisoners and two field-pieces. Infantry supports were
following our cavalry very closely, and, after marching about twelve
miles, they discovered the Rebels in force posted on the south bank of
Antietam Creek, just in front of the little village of Sharpsburg. Our
troops entered into bivouacs for the night, expecting to attack the
enemy early next morning. But the morning and most of the day passed in
idleness, while the Rebels were fortifying their positions, and
gathering their forces which had been more or less scattered. Had
McClellan ordered an advance that morning early, the sixteenth of
September, 1862, would have witnessed a comparatively easy and complete

At four o'clock P. M., General Joseph Hooker was sent out on the right.
Moving at a sufficient distance to keep out of sight of the Rebel
batteries, he forded the Antietam, and, soon afterward turning sharply
to the left, came down upon the enemy near the road to Hagerstown. But
darkness soon coming on put a speedy end to the conflict.

_September 17._--This day has witnessed the grand and glorious battle of
Antietam, the particulars of which I need not record. It is enough to
say, that the daring of our men and their heroic deeds upon this field,
wiped out forever, in Rebel blood, the disgrace and foul stain cast upon
our arms in the momentous military blunders and defeats which have
followed us since the beginning of this great American conflict.

The losses were heavy on both sides, but the enemy was fairly beaten,
and driven from his chosen positions; and night closed the most
sanguinary day ever known to the American continent. McClellan ought to
have followed up his victory early next morning, but hesitating, the
enemy made good his escape across the Potomac, leaving only his dead
and desperately wounded, the latter numbering about two thousand, in
our hands.

_October 4._--We are still in our camps at Hall's Hill, teaching and
learning the tactics of war. To-day Kilpatrick detailed me to act as
drill-master, and gave me the command of a detachment of recruits. This
gives me a new phase of army experience, and though it has its
difficulties, as one will always find when he endeavors to control "men
of many minds," yet I find a good exercise of my little knowledge of
human nature, and realize that the influence of my new labor upon myself
is very salutary. I had thought that I was master of all the preliminary
steps of the science and art of a soldier's discipline, but in
endeavoring to teach the same to others, I have learned so much myself,
that it now seems to me that what I knew before was the merest rudiment.
This I learn is the experience of others who are engaged in similar
work. Helping others has a wonderful reflex influence upon ourselves. I
often wonder if this may no explain in part the philosophy of that
passage of Holy Writ, which says, "It is more blessed to give than to
receive." In this exercise of drilling, and in the comparative monotony
of camp life, we spent the month of October.

All was quiet along the entire lines of the great armies. Our ranks had
been greatly swollen by new accessions; yet General McClellan was
constantly calling for reënforcements, and all kinds of supplies,
alleging that the army was in no condition to move. At length about the
twenty-sixth of October a feeble advance was made across the Potomac.
Several days were spent in putting the Federal army on the sacred soil
and under marching orders. No opposition was encountered in the march.
Our forces moved along the east side of the Blue Ridge, the enemy still
occupying the Shenandoah Valley, and moving southward on a line parallel
with our own.

_November 2._--The Harris Light broke camp at Hall's Hill and advanced
to the Chantilly Mansion, bivouacking on its beautiful grounds. This
property is said to be owned by one of the Stuarts, who is reported to
be a quartermaster-general in the Rebel service. Pleasant as was the
place, with its fine walks, bordered with flowers and evergreen
shrubbery; its fruitful gardens and groves, the cold of the night made
our stay not the most agreeable. The next morning we pursued our line of
march to Sudley Church, near Bull Run, where we encountered a strong
force of Stuart's cavalry. After a sharp conflict, in which Yankee
ingenuity and grit were fairly tested, the chivalry retired
southwestwardly, acknowledging themselves badly defeated.

_November 4._--To-day the regiment was ordered to move to Leesburg, near
which we pitched our shelters. This is an old, aristocratic village, the
shire-town of Loudon County. It is situated in a lovely valley, at the
terminus of the Loudon and Hampshire Railroad, and is only about two
miles from the Potomac, and an equal distance from Goose Creek, which is
a considerable stream. Though this county sent many brave men into the
Union ranks, probably more than any other county of the same population
in Virginia, yet Leesburg is almost a _fac-simile_ of Charlestown, the
capital of Jefferson County, the scene of John Brown's execution, where
all the people, including women and children, are "secession to a man."

All this while the Grand Army of the Potomac was moving southward at a
snail's pace; and on the seventh of November, just after reaching
Warrenton, General McClellan was relieved from command, and directed to
report to the authorities by letter from Trenton, New Jersey. Thus ended
another indecisive campaign, which though it had witnessed a greater
victory than ever won before, yet had failed to reap the fruits



1862--Burnside's First Campaign.--Army of the Potomac in Three Divisions.
    --Advance from Warrenton to Falmouth.--General Stahel's Raid to the
    Shenandoah.--Laying Pontoons across the Rappahannock under Fire.--
    Battle of Fredericksburg--Daring Feats and General Heroism.--Death of
    General Bayard.--The Hospitals.--Sanitary and Christian Commissions.
    --Camp "Bayard."--Camp-Fires.--Winter Quarters.--Friendly Relations
    of Pickets.--Trading.--Pay-Day.--"Stuck in the Mud."

Upon General Ambrose Burnside fell the choice of the Executive for
commander of the great Union army. He assumed it with great reluctance
and unfeigned self-distrust, and only as a matter of obedience to
orders. This change in the commanding officer, deleterious and dangerous
as it might be upon the morale of the army, was nevertheless considered
necessary and expedient.

Having secured, by somewhat formidable forces, the principal gaps or
passages of the Blue Ridge, which had been occupied by the enemy since
their advance into the Valley, General Burnside began to make
preparations to move his army to Fredericksburg, as being the most
feasible and direct line from Washington to Richmond. To mask as long as
possible his real design, he threatened an attack upon Gordonsville; but
General Lee, by the aid of his emissaries and raiders, soon ascertained
his plans, and moving his army across the Blue Ridge, through the
western passes, he took his position on the south bank of the
Rappahannock, to prevent Burnside's crossing.

_November 8._--The Harris Light broke camp at Leesburg early in the
morning, and advanced to White Plains, where we encountered and defeated
a detachment of Rebel cavalry, driving them towards the mountains.
Continuing our journey through this pleasant valley between the Blue
Ridge and the Bull Run mountains, we soon joined our main army, whose
headquarters were at Warrenton. This is the most beautiful village in
this region of country, situated on the crest of fruitful hills, and
elegantly laid out. It is the shire-town of Fauquier County. Here a few
days were consumed in effecting the alterations incident upon a change
of commander, and on the fourteenth the Army of the Potomac was
constituted into three grand divisions, to be commanded respectively by
Generals Sumner, Franklin, and Hooker. The following day Warrenton was
abandoned, and the army swept down towards the Rappahannock. The sight
was a grand one. On our march, orders were received from President
Lincoln enjoining a stricter observance of the Sabbath in the army and
navy, than had been done before. As a general thing the Sabbath had not
been regarded as any more than any other day. Indeed, very few men in
the rank and file kept any calendar of time, and seldom knew the date or
day. This was occasionally the case even with officers. The only
possible way of keeping pace with flying time in the army, is by
writing a diary. But even when it was known that the Sabbath had been
reached, no regard was taken of its sacred character. One of the causes
of our disaster at the first battle of Bull Run was supposed by many to
be, that we had desecrated the holy Sabbath by our attack. However true
or false such a view may have been, the order we received to-day from
Washington was universally felt to be opportune.

Two days' march brought our advance to Falmouth, and on the twenty-first
General Patrick, our provost-marshal general, was directed to repair to
Fredericksburg under a flag of truce, and request the surrender of the
city. The authorities replied, that while its buildings and streets
would no longer be used by Rebel sharp-shooters to annoy our forces
across the river, its occupation by Yankee troops would be resisted to
the last. Had the means of crossing the river been at hand, General
Burnside would have made hostile demonstrations at once; but through
some misunderstanding between himself and General Halleck, at
Washington, the pontoons were not in readiness.

_November 28._--A strong force of Rebel cavalry, under General Wade
Hampton, dashed across the river at some of the upper fords, raided up
around Dumfries and the Occoquan, captured several prisoners and wagons,
and returned to their side of the river without loss. As a sort of
offset to this, on the twenty-ninth, General Julius Stahel, who
commanded a brigade of cavalry at Fairfax Court House, commenced an
expedition of great daring and success, to the Shenandoah Valley.
Having advanced to Snicker's Gap in the Blue Ridge, a strong Rebel
picket-post was captured by our vanguard. Pressing forward on the main
thoroughfare, they soon reached the Shenandoah river, and were not a
little annoyed by Rebel carbineers, hidden behind old buildings across
the stream. Captain Abram H. Krom, commanding a detachment of the Fifth
New York Cavalry, and leading the advance, dashed across the river,
though deep and the current swift, closely followed by his men. On
reaching the opposite bank, a charge was ordered, and executed in so
gallant a manner that several Rebels were made prisoners, and the
remainder of the squad was driven away at a breakneck speed. Our men
pursued them in a scrambling race for nearly three miles, when they came
upon a Rebel camp, which was attacked in a furious manner. Our boys made
noise enough for a brigade, though only a squadron was at hand. The
enemy attempted a defence, but utterly failed. Reënforcements coming to
our aid, the Rebels were thoroughly beaten and driven away, leaving in
our hands one captain, two lieutenants, thirty-two privates, one stand
of colors, and several wagons and ambulances. Most of these were laden
with booty taken by White's guerillas in a recent raid into Poolesville,
Maryland. Sixty horses and fifty heads of cattle were also captured in
this gallant charge. With all their spoils the expedition returned, via
Leesburg, arriving at their camps in safety.

But all eyes were turned expectantly towards Fredericksburg, with its
two vast armies preparing for a grand encounter. Nearly all the
citizens of the city had left their homes and fled southward. While
General Burnside waited for his pontoons, General Lee was fortifying the
Heights in rear of the city, and concentrating his forces for the
anticipated onset. This state of things was greatly regretted.

_December 11._--The laying of the pontoons commenced in the night, but
the task was only partially performed when daylight made the sappers and
miners at work a fair mark for the sharpshooters, who were hidden among
the buildings which lined the opposite shore, and whose numbers had
largely increased within a few days. Battery after battery was opened on
Falmouth Heights, until not less than one hundred and fifty guns, at
good range, were belching fire and destruction upon the nearly
tenantless city, and still the sharpshooters prevented the completion of
the pontoons, and disputed our crossing. At this critical moment the
Seventh Michigan regiment of infantry immortalized their names. Failing,
after some entreaty, to secure the assistance of the engineer corps to
row them across, they undertook the perilous labor themselves, and amid
the rattling of bullets and the cheers and shouts of our own men, they
reached the opposite shore, with five of their number killed, and
sixteen wounded, including Lieutenant-Colonel Baxter. They immediately
dashed through the streets of the city, and being quickly reënforced by
other regiments, they soon cleared the rifle-pits and buildings adjacent
to the stream of all annoyance. Foremost among the noble men who
performed this heroic work was the Rev. Arthur B. Fuller, chaplain of
the Sixteenth Massachusetts infantry, who was killed by a rifle-shot.

Our pontoons were now laid in quietness to the city; and about three
miles below General Franklin laid his pontoons without opposition.
Several bridges were thus constructed, and before night the main body of
infantry and cavalry filed across the river, preparatory to a grand
engagement. On the twelfth General Bayard moved his cavalry down the
river six miles, and was posted on picket. Several shots were exchanged
with the Rebel pickets during the day, and the demon of fight seemed to
exist everywhere.

_December 13._--The night had been cold, and the morning was dimmed by a
heavy fog which covered friend and foe. But orders for an attack upon
the formidable works of the enemy had been given, and even before the
mist arose, General Gibbon opened fire with his heavy artillery, which
was responded to, but without much effect, owing to the fog, which,
however, disappeared about eleven o'clock. The engagement now became
general, and the fighting was of a character more desperate and
determined than ever known before.

The line of Rebel fortifications was so far back from the river, that
our artillery, posted on the Falmouth Heights, was out of range, and
made more havoc in our advancing ranks than in the ranks of the enemy,
until the fire was silenced by order of General Burnside. About one
o'clock, one of the most brilliant movements of the day was performed by
General George G. Meade's division, which by a terrific charge, gained
the crest of the hill, which was near the key of the position. But not
being sufficiently supported, they were compelled to retire, bringing
away several hundred prisoners with them.

Another masterpiece of gallantry was presented nearer the town, at
Marye's Heights, where General Meagher's Irish Brigade repeatedly
charged the Rebel works, until at least two-thirds of his stalwart men
strewed the ground, killed and wounded. Brigade after brigade was
ordered to take these heights, and though their ranks were mown down
like grass before the scythe, in the very mouth of Rebel guns the effort
was again and again made. Midway up the Heights was a heavy stone wall,
behind which lay the hosts of the enemy, who delivered their fire with
scarcely any exposure, sweeping down our columns as they approached.
This hillside was completely strewn with our dead and disabled, and at
length our assailing ranks retired, compelled to abandon their futile
and murderous attempts. But in the language of General Sumner, "they did
all that men could do." This could be applied to all the troops engaged.

Night at length threw her sable mantle over the bloody field, covering
in her sombre folds the stiffened corpses and mangled forms of not less
than fifteen thousand dead and wounded, including the casualties of both

Not one of all our dead fell more lamented than Major-General George D.
Bayard, who was struck by a shrieking shell, dying early in the evening.
He was only twenty-eight years of age, of prepossessing appearance and
manners, with as brave a heart as ever bled for a weeping country, and a
capacity of mind for military usefulness equal to any man in the
service. Gradually he had arisen from one position of honor and
responsibility to another, proving himself tried and true in each
promotion, while his cavalry comrades especially were watching the
developments of his growing power, with unabating enthusiasm. But "death
loves a shining mark," and our hero, with his own blood, baptized the
day which had been appointed for his nuptials. The recital of his early
death brought tears to many eyes, and caused many a loving heart to

    "Death lies on him like an untimely frost--
    Upon the sweetest flower of all the field."

The night following this bloody conflict was horrible in the extreme.
Every available spot or building in the city was sought for a hospital,
to which the wounded were brought on stretchers by their companions. Now
and then there came a poor fellow who was able to walk, supporting with
one hand its bloody, mangled mate. At times two men might be seen
approaching through the darkness, supporting between them their less
fortunate comrade, whose bloody garments told that he had faced the foe.
But many of our hospitals proved to be very unsafe refuges, into which
Minié balls and broken shells would come rattling, and in some instances
destroying the precious lives that had escaped--though not without
suffering--the terrible and deadly shock of battle. Many of the wounded
were taken across the river, and made perfectly safe and as comfortable
as circumstances would permit. The Sanitary and Christian Commissions
rendered very effective service, enshrining themselves in the memory of
a grateful people. Their deeds of charity and mercy can never be
forgotten. By their timely supplies and personal labors many lives were
saved, and thousands of the wounded were comforted.

_December 14._--The light of this holy Sabbath was hailed with gladness
by many a poor soldier, who had suffered from the chill of the night
alone upon the bloody field. The weather, however, is unusually clement
for this season of the year. A little firing occurred this morning, but
no general engagement resulted. This was greatly feared, for had General
Lee advanced upon us, it is difficult to see how our men, though
somewhat covered by the fire of our batteries from Falmouth Heights,
could have recrossed the stream without fearful loss. But both armies
spent most of the holy day in the sacred task of caring for the wounded
and burying their dead. Monday was also spent mostly in the same
employment, and in the night, so skilfully as to be unknown even to the
Rebel pickets, our whole army was withdrawn to the north side of the
river in perfect order and without loss. Our pontoons were then taken

General Burnside was not willing to remain totally idle, and, after some
time had elapsed, he planned another grand movement, which, with more or
less opposition from his subordinates, who did not confide in his
judgment, he endeavored to execute. But he had just taken the first step
in the programme when he was signaled to desist by a telegram from the
President, who had been informed that the temper of the army was not
favorable to a general move under its present commander.

With the battle of Fredericksburg terminated the campaign of 1862, and
the two great armies established their winter quarters facing each other
along the line of the Rappahannock. Our camps extend for several miles
along the northern shore above and below Falmouth, and the enemy occupy
the south bank above and below the Heights of Fredericksburg. Indeed,
nearly the whole territory between the Rappahannock and the Defences of
Washington, a dark, forsaken, wilderness region, with only here and
there a plantation or a village, was soon converted into a vast camping
ground, and became the most populous section of Virginia.

To avoid the distant transportation of forage, the greater portion of
the cavalry is encamped near Belle Plain, where government transports
land with supplies from Washington. The Harris Light has established its
camp on the Belle Plain and Falmouth Turnpike, about four miles from the
former place, and has named it "Bayard," in honor of our lamented
commander, whose fall at Fredericksburg is still a subject of universal

It is wonderful to witness how the forests are disappearing in and
around our camps. From morning till night the chopmen's axes resound
from camp to camp, echoing dolefully along the river-shore and far back
into the dense, dark woods. Soon after the battle of Fredericksburg, as
we had no quarters, and nothing but worn and torn shelter-tents, our
only way to prevent freezing at night was to cut and heap together a
large number of logs, which, though green, when fully ignited made a
rousing fire. These fires, numerously built in rows throughout the
streets of our camps, presented, especially at night, a most beautiful
and lively scene. The few trees which still remained as shelters were
generally lighted up by our fires into grand chandeliers, reflecting
upon our white tents a weird light of gold and green, which might have
furnished the pen of the romancer, and the pencil of the artist, their
most interesting plots and designs.

Around these fires gathered the comrades of many a march and battle, to
discuss the experiences of the past, to applaud or censure certain men
and measures, and to lay plans, and to entertain rumors with regard to
future operations. The gallantry and merits of companions fallen in
strife were presented by those most intimate with them; and otherwise
dreary hours were pleasantly whiled away with narratives of personal
encounters, of terrible sufferings of prisoners while in the hands of
the enemy, and of hair-breadth escapes. These accounts were generally
enlivened with extra coloring drawn from the enchanting and fairy-like
scenes which surrounded the speaker, and an entire group was thrilled
and electrified until frequently the night was made to ring with
uproarious applause. Occasionally the friends and home scenes we have
left behind us became the subjects of conversation, and it is
astonishing how that word "home," with its hallowed associations,
touches the tender feelings of our hearts. These colloquies often ended
with the good old hymn, "Home, sweet home," and with the sound of the
last bugle-call we hastened to our rest, to spend, it may be, a
miserable night of cold and storm.

No soldier can ever forget these camp and bivouac scenes, for they are
deeply photographed upon his memory. He will often recall their
ludicrous as well as romantic side, when the mud was knee-deep and over,
up to within a few feet of the fire, compelling him often to stand so
near the burning pile as to set his clothes on fire. In very cold
weather he would freeze one side while the other burned, unless he
frequently performed that military feat, changing "his base of
operations." If the wind blew, making his fantastic gyrations among the
tents, so that you never knew whence he would come nor whither he would
go, you were sure to get your face smoked horribly.

With thousands of camps thus circumstanced, it may be conjectured that
no little amount of fuel would suffice us. At first the trees were cut
down without much regard to the height of the stumps, but as the forest
receded from the camps, making transportation difficult, the stumps were
dug up by the roots, leaving the ground perfectly smooth, and made ready
for the ploughman, whenever our swords are beaten into ploughshares and
our battle spears into pruning hooks. And besides the consumption of
wood for fires, no little amount is used for the construction of our
houses or huts. Nearly every man has suddenly become a mason or a
carpenter, and the hammer, the axe, and the trowel are being plied with
the utmost vigor, if not with the highest skill. Many of us, however,
are astonished at the ingenuity that is displayed in this department.
Large logs, notched at the ends so as to dovetail together, and
sometimes hewn on the inside, compose the body of the hut. By the
careful application of mud--that Virginia mortar or plaster with which
every soldier is so familiar--to the crevices between the logs, a very
comfortable structure is made ready for its covering and occupancy.
Shelter-tents, buttoned or sewed together, form the roof, which, by the
aid of talmas or ponchoes, is generally made water-proof.

Three or four men usually unite in the construction of a hut, and share
one another's skill and stores. If they can afford it, they purchase of
the sutlers small sheet-iron stoves, which will keep them very
comfortably warm, and afford them an opportunity to do their own cooking
on extra occasions, such as come with the issues of supplies from the
Christian or Sanitary Commissions, or the reception of boxes from
friends at home. The ordinary cooking of a company is done by men
detailed for that purpose. Often good fire-places and chimneys are
erected in the tents. These are sometimes made of sticks of wood laid in
thick mud, or of stones or bricks taken from the foundations and remains
of buildings that have been destroyed in the neighborhood of our camps.
Every means is resorted to which Yankee ingenuity can devise to make our
soldier-homes as comfortable and convenient as possible. Punch says,
"that a Yankee baby will creep out of his cradle, take a survey of it,
invent an improved style and apply for a patent, before he is six months
old," and this he said some time ago; what he would say now, we cannot
tell. If a house has been abandoned by its inmates anywhere within our
lines, it is taken as _prima facie_ evidence that the owners must be
Rebels--and it matters but little whether they are or not so long as the
house stands alone; and in nearly as short a period of time as it takes
to tell the story, the building is torn in pieces, and the materials are
used in the construction of our huts and the stables of our horses.

The dying year left us engaged in these labors.

_January 1, 1863._--The Harris Light was ordered to the Rappahannock,
where we were posted on picket near Port Conway.

The Federal and Rebel pickets have mutually arranged that there shall be
no firing on either side, unless an advance is undertaken. This
agreement is of course among ourselves, neither approved nor disapproved
at headquarters. For several days the most perfect harmony has prevailed
between the blue and the gray. Yankees and Johnnies wash together in the
same stream, procure water to drink and for culinary purposes from the
same spring, and, curious to relate, often read the news from the same
papers. Squads of soldiers from both armies may be observed seated
together on either side of the Rappahannock, earnestly discussing the
great questions of the day, each obstinately maintaining his views of
the matters at issue.

On one occasion a soldier from our ranks took from his pocket a copy of
the _New York Herald_, and read the Union account of one of the great
battles to an attentive crowd of Rebel soldiers. When he had concluded,
up sprang one of the chivalry, who brought to view a dingy copy of
the _Richmond Examiner_, and proceeded to read his side of the story. No
one was offended, and all relished the comparison of views, and then
began to discuss the merits of the two accounts.


During all these interviews trading was the order of the day, and a
heavy business was carried on in the tobacco, coffee, and hard-tack
line. There was also a special demand on the part of the Rebels for
pocket-knives and canteens, these articles evidently being very scarce
in Dixie.

_January 12._--The weather has been very uneven since the year began.
Wind, rain, sleet, and snow, singly and combined, have been our portion,
and as a natural consequence, oceans of mud have thus far given Camp
Bayard a most unwelcome appearance. Our only remedy is to corduroy our
streets, which we do by bridging them with the straightest timber we can
find. Usually this is pine, with which thousands of acres of Virginia
are covered. As it is mostly of a recent growth, averaging about six
inches in diameter, and shooting up to an immense height before you can
reach the branches, it is well suited to our purpose.

Rough as these corduroyed streets are, they are very passable, and
prevent us from sinking with our horses into a bottomless limbo. On the
fourteenth of the month our picket details returned to camp, after being
several days on duty. The weather is becoming delightful. The sun is
often so brilliant and warm that we are compelled to seek shelter in our
tents or in the fragrant shades of the woods. We are reminded of
pleasant April weather in Northern New York. Under this _régime_ of old
Sol, the roads are rapidly improving, and should no adverse change
occur, we may look for some important army movement.

_January 21._--To-day we received two months' pay, and, as is usually
the case on pay-day, the boys are in excellent spirits. Whatever trouble
or difficulty the soldier may have, pay-day is a wonderful panacea, at
least if his pay-roll and accounts are all satisfactory and right. But
the men do not all make the same use of their money. Many on receiving
the "greenbacks" hasten to Adams' Express or despatch an agent, and send
home all the money we can spare. Some repair at once to their tents and
enter upon gambling schemes with cards generally, or other games; and it
is no uncommon thing to hear that some one has lost all he had, and has
gone so far even as to borrow more, in less than twelve hours of the
time he was paid. A small portion of the men visit the sutlers, those
army vampires, whose quarters are converted into scenes of dissipation,
drunkenness, and folly. Men whose families at home are waiting for means
to live, thus waste all their wages, disgrace themselves, and cast their
dependents upon the charities of the cold world.

_January 22._--For about two days the army has been prepared for an
advance across the Rappahannock. To-day the grand movement was
commenced. Several regiments, supposing that they never again would need
their winter huts, have burned or otherwise demolished them. But the
weather, which was fine at the outset, has suddenly changed, and about
ten o'clock at night there poured upon us, untented and unprotected, a
furious storm of rain, sleet, and snow, making our condition almost
unendurable. We are now left in a bed of almost fathomless mire. None of
the men who flounder through these oozy roads, under the inclement sky,
will ever forget the "Muddy March." We had scarcely reached the
river-shore before we were compelled to return. In one instance a piece
of artillery with its horses had to be abandoned, submerged so deeply in
the mud that it was considered impracticable to extricate them. Men are
frequently compelled to assist one another, unable to proceed alone. The
ground is covered with snow, and yet the mud is so deep that it is
almost an impossibility to move artillery or supplies. All our forage
and rations are brought from Belle Plain on horses and pack-mules, all
wheeled vehicles being entirely shipwrecked.

The Rebels appear to understand what had been our designs, and know
fully the cause of our failure in the expedition. Consequently, to
tantalize us, they have erected an enormous sign-board on their side of
the river, but in full view of our pickets, bearing the inscription:
"Stuck in the mud!"

General Burnside, beset on every hand with misfortunes and disasters,
tendered his resignation, but was simply relieved, as at his own
request, from the command of the Army of the Potomac.



1863.--General Hooker assumes Command of the Army of the Potomac.
    --Demoralization.--Reorganization.--A Cavalry Corps.--General
    George D. Stoneman in Command.--Death of Sergeant May.--Forests of
    the Old Dominion.--The Cavalryman and his Faithful Horse.--Scenes
    in Winter Quarters.--Kilpatrick.--His Character.--Qualifications
    of the True Soldier.--A New Horse.--A Mulish Mule.--Kilpatrick's
    Colored Servants in Trouble.--Terrific Hail-Storm.--Major E. F.
    Cooke Honored.--Colonel Clarence Buel.

On the twenty-sixth of January, General Joseph Hooker assumed command of
the Army of the Potomac, whose vicissitudes and defeats have well-nigh
broken its spirit and wiped out its efficiency. The patriotic fire is
burning dimly in shrines where it has blazed brightly before. The tide
of military life has possibly reached its lowest ebb, and the signs of
the times are ominous of ill. Desertions are reported to be fearfully
large. For this many of our friends at the North are responsible. Not
only do their letters speak discouraging words to the soldier, but many
of them sent by express citizens' clothes, with which many of the boys
quickly invest themselves, throwing away the blue, and thus disguised
find their way to their false friends at home. I esteem him false to me
who would thus rob me of my honor. I would rather say, "despoil me of my
life, but my integrity never." Discouraging as all this depression of
mind and dispersion of comrades may be, many still remain steadfast at
their trust and unflinchingly go ahead in the discharge of their duty.

General Hooker's first work seems to be in the direction of checking
this loosening of discipline, and in reorganizing and strengthening the
bands of military order. As the infantry needed but little further
solidification, the commander-in-chief turned his attention to the
cavalry. In the possible efficiency of this arm of the service the
general seems to have full faith. But it is currently reported that the
general has said "that he has yet failed to see or hear of a dead
cavalryman." Of course this cannot be strictly true, for we could cite
him multitudes, including our noble Bayard, whose bravery and sacrifice
of themselves upon their country's altar, are worthy of recognition at
the hand of their commander. But it is quite evident that the cavalry
has not yet come up to the beau-ideal of the general. And, indeed, it
has been a source of wonderment to us, that while the efficiency of the
infantry is known to depend largely upon its organization into brigades,
divisions, and corps, with their general commander, the same may not be
true of the cavalry.

General Bayard, the great cavalry chief of the Army of the Potomac
during General Burnside's administration, made several efforts at
consolidation, resulting, however, in no very permanent changes. It was
reserved for General Hooker to bring about the desired result; and, at
last, the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac is organized, with
General George D. Stoneman for its commanding officer. By this change
regiments which have been scattered here and there on detached service
are brought together, and made to feel the enthusiasm which numbers
generally inspire, especially when those numbers are united into a
system, with a living head, whose intelligence and authority control the

Under this new _régime_ some very beneficial changes have been wrought.
Schools or camps of instruction have been established, with a more rigid
discipline than before, and boards of examination, with all the
experience of the past before their eyes, have been organized. Old and
incompetent officers have been dismissed, or have slunk away before this
incisive catechism, giving way generally to intelligent, young, and
efficient men, who, placed at the heads of regiments and brigades, give
promise of success in the struggles that await us.

The Rebel cavalry under Stuart has long been organized into an efficient
body, which, at times, has sneered at our attempts to match them; and
yet they have been made to feel, on some occasions, that we are a
growing power, which time and experience may develop into something
formidable. But the general successes of the Rebel army have made them
all very insolent, in the hope that final victory is already in their

_February 11._--My old friend and comrade, Sergeant Theodore May, of
Pittstown, New York, died this afternoon at two o'clock, after a brief
illness, of typhoid fever, which is a great scourge throughout the army.
The death of this valiant fellow-soldier casts a deep gloom over the
entire command, in which he has so faithfully served. When we entered
the army together at the organization of the regiment, he came a perfect
stranger, but his gentle manners and soldierly deportment soon made for
him hosts of warm friends. By his gallantry on the field of battle, as
well as by the gentleness of his manners and his unblemished conduct in
camp, he has won the respect, and even admiration, of all who knew him.

The patriotic motives which induced Sergeant May to quit his pleasant
home in the beautiful valley of the Tomhannock, for the privations,
hardships, and dangers of military life, have always proved him to be a
true and warm sympathizer in his country's cause. It was evidently not
the mere love of adventure, or the mere pageantry or glory of war, that
led him to make the great sacrifice. He has been with us in every
conflict, and shared with us the varied fortunes of the Harris Light.
His death, which he would rather have met on the field of strife,
battling manfully against traitors, was reserved for the calm and quiet
of the camp, where he spent his last moments urging his comrades to
"cheer up and fight on," offering as his dying reason, that "our cause
is just, and must triumph." Such a death is a rich legacy to a command.
"He being dead, yet speaketh." We would emulate his virtues.

_February 12._--On recommendation of Lieutenant Frederick C. Lord, I was
to-day appointed by Colonel Kilpatrick First Sergeant of Company E, vice
Henry Temple, promoted to Sergeant Major. My appointment is to date from
the first of January, making me a very desirable New Year's gift, which
I shall strive to honor.

_February 22._--Snow has been falling uninterruptedly the livelong day,
and yet the boys have been unusually merry, as they were wont to be on
this anniversary before the war. Our celebration has been on a scanty
scale, and yet we have felt the patriotic stimulus which comes from the
great men and days of the past. And truly, the birth of the great
Washington gives birth to many interesting thoughts, especially at this
period of our history. A national salute has been fired from our
fortifications on the Potomac, and the whole country round about us has
been made to reverberate with the sound that welcomes in the day.

But all these patriotic manifestations have not prevented the snow-storm
and the cold. When we left our home in the North for what was termed
"the sunny South," we little expected to find such storms as this here.
While the summers are much cooler than we expected to find them, the
days being generally fanned by a beautiful sea-breeze, the winters
exceed for cold our highest expectation. The cold is not continuous, but
very severe. We have seen the soft ground and water-puddles freeze
sufficiently in one night to bear a horse; and in several days and
nights the frost has penetrated the earth several inches deep. The
snow-storm of to-day is as severe as most storms experienced in the
North. The wind has howled from the north-west, burdened with its cold,
feathery flakes, which to-night lie at least twelve inches deep in
places undisturbed. It is such a storm as our suffering pickets, and
indeed our entire army, cannot soon forget.

It may be that the vast forests of Virginia have much to do with its
peculiar temperature. As we travel from place to place we are strongly
impressed with the vastness of the wilderness, which covers thousands of
acres of as fine arable soil as can be found on the continent. How
different is this from the notions we had formed of the _Old_ Dominion,
while reading of its early settlements, and of its great agricultural
advantages. But when we look into its system of land-owning, and find
that one individual monopolizes a territory sufficient for a dozen
farms, and consequently neglects eleven twelfths of his acres; and then
look into its even worse system of labor, we need search no farther for
the causes of this backwardness in agricultural pursuits. The implements
made use of here on the plantations are such as were rejected by New
England farmers over half a century ago; and the _methods_ of
cultivation are a century behind the times. Slavery and land-monopoly
are the incubus.

Who does not sincerely hope that the time is not far distant, when the
rich acres of this great State shall be properly shared by its
inhabitants, and when, freed from a burden and curse which have long
paralyzed their energies, instinct with new life and enterprise, the
people will realize the dignity of labor? Then will the almost
interminable forests disappear, and in their stead the industrious
yeoman will behold his rich fields of waving grain. Then, too, along the
now comparatively useless streams and swift water-courses, will spring
up the factory and the mill, whose rolling wheels and buzzing spindles
will bring wealth and prosperity to the nation. We are convinced, from
what we have seen, that Virginia has water-power enough to turn the
machinery of the world. With these changes the school-house will be
found by the side of every church, and intelligence and virtue will
bless the home of the Presidents.

We have also many times been led to think, while lying in these chilly
woods, that a greater warmth would be imparted to the atmosphere if the
forest-trees were felled and the land put under cultivation,--a change
sufficiently great to be appreciable throughout the State.


_Sunday, March 1._--The usual Sunday morning inspection was omitted on
account of rain. Rain, rain had fallen for many days almost incessantly.
The regiment has been earnestly at work throughout the day in building
stables for the horses, which have suffered greatly from being kept
standing too long in the mud. Under these circumstances our horses are
afflicted with the scratches, many of them so badly as to render them
unserviceable, and occasionally they lose their lives.

By this cause and through hard work my little black mare, which I drew
by lot at Camp Sussex in the autumn of 1861, has at last succumbed, and,
with a grief akin to that which is felt at the loss of a dear human
friend, I have performed the last rite of honor to the dead. The Indian
may love his faithful dog, but his attachments cannot surpass the
cavalryman's for his horse. They have learned to love one another in the
most trying vicissitudes of life, and the animal manifests affection and
confidence quite as evidently as a human being could.

The cavalier, it is true, is often compelled to drive at a most fearful
rate, as when bearing hurried despatches, or making a charge, frequently
causing almost immediate blindness to the animal. Or, may be, he
continues on a march for many days and nights in succession, as on a
raid, averaging at least sixty-five miles in twenty-four hours, with
little water and less forage; unable to remove the saddle, which has to
be tightly bound, until the animal is so badly galled that the hair
comes off with the blanket at its first removal.

Sufferings like these often cause the death of a large proportion of a
command; and to a careless looker-on these things would appear to be
mere neglects. But these cruel military necessities only develop more
perfectly the rider's sympathy for his suffering beast, and bind them in
closer and more endearing bonds.

Some men had rather injure themselves than have their horses harmed, and
the utmost pains are taken to heal them in case they are wounded. Each
regiment has its veterinary surgeon, whose skill is taxed to the utmost
in his branch of the healing art.

Among the most touching scenes we have witnessed, are those in which the
mortally wounded horse has to be abandoned on the field of carnage.
With tearful eyes the rider and perhaps owner turns to take a last look
of the "unchronicled hero," his fellow-sufferer, that now lies weltering
in his blood, and yet makes every possible effort to follow the
advancing column. The parting is deeply affecting.

Often the cavalryman finds no object to which he may hitch his horse for
the night save his own hand; and thus with the halter fast bound to his
grasp he lies down with a stone, or perhaps his saddle, for a pillow,
his faithful horse standing as a watchful guardian by his side. At times
the animal will walk around him, eating the grass as far as he can
reach, and frequently arousing him by trying to gain the grass on which
he lies; yet it is worthy of note, that an instance can scarcely be
found where the horse has been known to step upon or in anywise injure
his sleeping lord. Such a scene the poet undoubtedly had in his mind
when he sang:

    "The murmuring wind, the moving leaves
    Lull'd him at length to sleep,
    With mingled lullabies of sight and sound."

Such experiences as these had taught me to love my faithful and true
friend. But I found I was not the only man in the command who was
bereaved of his _first_ love. Only a few horses of the original number
which we drew still remain, and several of them are either partially or
totally blind, though yet serviceable. The hardships of the camp and the
campaign are more destructive of animal than human flesh. Men are often
sheltered from the storm when the horses are exposed, and the men are
sometimes fed when the horses have to go hungry.

In battle the horse is a larger mark than the man, and hence is more
frequently hit, so that more than twice the number of horses fall in
every engagement than men. The cavalryman is more shielded from the
deadly missile than the infantryman. The horse's head and shoulders will
often receive the bullet which was intended for the rider's body. This
is true also of the elevated portions of the saddle, with the rolls of
blankets and coats and bag of forage. A difference has also been noticed
between the casualties in cavalry and infantry regiments under equal
exposure. This difference is wholly explained when we consider the
jolting and swift motion of the man as his horse leaps forward in the
fray, making him a very uncertain mark for the enemy.


_March 3._--This is the first bright day we have seen in more than three
weeks. The mud around our camps, especially in the neighborhood where we
water our horses, is terrible, and the roads are almost bottomless.
However, long trains of forage and commissary-wagons may be seen passing
to and fro, with horses and mules in mud from "stem to stern."
Cavalcades of mudded horses and riders traverse the camps and adjoining
fields in various directions.

Large flocks of crows--the most soldier-like bird in the world--with
their high-perched vedettes when alighted, and their military line of
march when on the wing, afford some lessons of diversion and
instruction. It would seem as if all the ravens of the United States had
congregated here, having been attracted by the carrion of battle-fields
and the refuse of camps. Turkey buzzards, birds which are always on the
wing, and that none of us ever yet saw alighted, wheel through the air
like eagles, gazing down upon us with seeming defiance. The sights are
of daily occurrence.


To-day several details were made from the regiment for brigade
headquarters, where Kilpatrick, the senior colonel in the brigade, now
commands. In the afternoon we raised the "stars and stripes" in front of
his tent, after which three cheers were given for the flag and three for
the Union. Kilpatrick was then called upon for a speech, and responded
in his usually felicitous style. He is certainly an orator as well as a
warrior. He speaks, too, as he fights, with dash and daring. What he has
to say he says with such perspicuity that no one doubts his meaning.
Frequently there are flashes of eloquence worthy of a Demosthenes. His
voice and diction seem to be well-nigh faultless. His speech to-day
elicited frequent outbursts of applause, and the men cheered him
enthusiastically at the close, and left his quarters with a deeper
affection for him than before. Strict as he is to enforce discipline,
and thorough, yet he is not severe; and the men love him for his
personal attention to their wants, and for his appreciation of their
labors. If he gives us hard work to do in march or battle, he endures or
shares with us the hardship. If by the losses of men he has sustained he
is truly entitled to the nickname of "Kill Cavalry," which has been
quite generally accorded to him, his men know that these casualties
have fallen out in the line of duty, in bold enterprises that cost the
enemy dearly, the wisdom of which will ever exculpate our loved
commander from the imputation of rashness with which, by uninformed
parties, he is sometimes charged.

In preparation for, and during, a battle, none can excel him. His plans
are quickly made and executed, while all possible contingencies seem to
have been foreseen. His selection of positions and disposition of forces
always exhibits great sagacity and military genius. He generally holds
his men under perfect control. His clarion voice rings like magic
through the ranks, while his busy form, always in the thickest of the
fight, elicits the warmest enthusiasm. His equanimity of mind seems
never to be overcome by his celerity of motion, but are equally
balanced. Rarely is so great prudence found blended with so undaunted
courage. He has an indomitable will that cannot brook defeat. The word
_impossible_ he never knows, whatever difficulties intervene between him
and duty. He feels like Napoleon, "that _impossible_ is the adjective of

Added to all these mental qualifications, is that perfect _physique_,
which makes Kilpatrick the model soldier. As an equestrian we have never
seen his superior. He rides as though he had been made for a saddle.
Rocks, stumps, fallen trees, brooks, and fences are nothing before him.
His well-trained steeds understand him perfectly, and are never at a
loss to know what is meant by the sharp spurs on their sides, whatever
obstacles stand in their path. We have seen him leap over barriers
where only few could follow him. To accomplish such feats the horse must
have confidence in the rider as well as the rider in the horse. While in
a charge, Kilpatrick has more the appearance of an eagle pouncing upon
his prey, than that of a man pouncing upon a man. Then, too, he has a
wonderful power of endurance. Though somewhat slender in form and
delicate in mould, with complexion and eyes as light as a maiden's, yet
it would seem as though his bones were iron and his sinews steel, while
the whole is overlaid with gold. He is certainly compactly built. He has
undoubtedly his faults, but his men fail to see them, so that to them he
is as good as perfect.

What so young a champion of the right may yet achieve for his country,
is a matter of much hopeful conjecture among us. He is now only
twenty-five years of age, having had his birth in the beautiful valley
of the Clove, in Northern New Jersey, in 1838. He entered the Military
Academy at West Point on the twentieth of June, 1856, and graduated with
honors in 1860, just in time to be ready for the great conflict then
impending. He was present at Baltimore when the mob endeavored to stop
the trains for Washington, and the blood of Massachusetts men was spilt
upon the streets. He there exhibited that bold intrepidity which has
ever characterized his actions. He was wounded at the battle of Big
Bethel, one of the first engagements of the war, where as a lieutenant
he commanded Duryea's Zouaves, June eleventh, 1861. He had just
recovered from his wound when he entered upon the organization of the
Harris Light, and became its lieutenant-colonel.

_March 5._--We had regimental drill at the usual time this morning. I
rode my black pony recently drawn in place of my little black mare,
deceased. This was his first experience in cavalry discipline; and I
infer that the men in the front rank of the platoon, which I commanded,
hoped it might be his last entry; for it must have been most
emphatically evident to those who followed him that he was determined to
introduce a new system of tactics, in which heels were to go up in no
gentle manner at every change of movement. He is certainly the most
ungovernable horse on drill I ever mounted; and nothing but long marches
and raids can effectually subdue his kicking propensities. I am
encouraged, however, with the consideration that such fiery metal, when
properly controlled and moulded, is usually very valuable.

The rain fell so fast on the sixth, that we were prevented from drill,
and recall was sounded immediately after drill-call.

_Sunday, March 8._--Details from the regiment were ordered out on
picket. The night had been stormy, but the day has been lovely. At such
times, were it not for the mud, we would feel that we are very
comfortably circumstanced.

On the eleventh, in the morning, the ground was covered with snow which
had fallen in the night. A brilliant sun soon dissolved the pure mantle
and left us in much mire. But our attention was diverted from the going
by a novel scene which we were called to witness in camp. The regiment
was instructed in the best method of packing a mule, by one who has had
experience in the business. The most mulish mule in the whole braying
family was selected for the operation, and if we did not have some tall
fun I will admit that I am no judge. A hog on ice or a bristling
porcupine are bad enough, but an ugly mule outstrips them all. It seems
as if the irascible animal tried to do his prettiest, flouncing around
in a most laughable manner, pawing and kicking at times furiously. But
the desperate Yankee teacher was not to be outwitted, and conquered him
at last, when the pack was satisfactorily poised, and the ornamented
mule was promenaded about camp as in triumph.

We are informed that it is the intention of the authorities to have
pack-mules used in the cavalry corps henceforward in place of army
wagons. The reason of this change seems to be to facilitate rapid
movements or forced marches. It is the prevailing opinion, however, that
the experiment will prove a failure. Too many mules would be required
for this purpose, and our forage and rations would be very insecure,
especially from the storms. But we will see how the thing works. At
times it may be expedient.

_March 12._--I had the misfortune to have my quarters burned this
morning while getting out a detail for picket. All my extra clothing,
equipments, and some little mementoes or valuables were speedily
converted into ashes. But I immediately went to work, and with some kind
assistance, which every brother-soldier is so ready to bestow, I put up
a new establishment which in every respect is superior to the old. Our
homes, it is true, are easily destroyed, but they are as easily

_March 13._--Details from the regiment, with pack-mules, were sent out
to the Rappahannock, to carry rations and forage to our pickets. The
mule-train looks oddly enough, and yet through these muddy roads it
seems to be a necessity.

_March 14._--To-day I am doing regimental guard duty. The guard has been
not a little amused by the arrest of Kilpatrick's colored servants. It
was their misfortune to be discovered by Captain Southard, the officer
of the day, while engaged in a fierce contest, in which their heads were
used as the chief weapons of attack and defence. The blows they dealt
upon each other were most terrible, reminding one of the battering-rams
of old, used for demolishing the walls of forts or cities. Such ancient
modes of warfare, of course, could not be tolerated here, especially as
no order for battle had been promulgated from headquarters, and the
captain arrested the offenders and brought them to the guard-house,
where they were placed in my charge. I immediately ordered them out
under guard to police camp as a punishment for their bad conduct.

While thus engaged, Kilpatrick happened to see them, and, not wishing to
have his faithful servants subjected to such humiliating labor, issued
an order for their immediate release from durance vile, asserting that
he would be responsible for their fighting in the future, if at least
they did not put their heads together more than half a dozen times a

The day following this laughable farce, in the afternoon, we experienced
one of the most terrific storms ever known in this part of the country.
The day had been quite pleasant until about two o'clock, when dark
clouds began to obscure the sky, and the wind shifted from the south to
the north-west. At four o'clock the elements were ready for battle, and
a fierce engagement commenced. Gleaming and forked lightnings cleft the
canopy, while booming thunder shook the trembling earth. The artillery
of Heaven had not long been opened before the musketry commenced, and
down poured a shower of hail, which came near demolishing our tents, and
brought suffering and sorrow upon all unsheltered heads. Mules brayed
horribly, vying with the hoarse, muttering thunder, making the camp most
hideous and lonely. The wind and cold increased with every passing hour,
the hail fell faster and more heavily, and night came suddenly down to
hide, though not to prevent, the storm. The night was one of great
suffering, especially on the lines of picket--it was bad enough

_March 23._--A beautiful sabre was presented to Major E. F. Cooke this
afternoon, by the members of his old company, for his gallantry and
soldierly character, which have earned his promotion. Captain O. J.
Downing, of company B, made the presentation speech, in which he
beautifully alluded to the happy relation which always exists between a
faithful commander and his men. As a token that such relation existed
between the major and those whom he had often led through perilous
scenes and conflicts, their gift was presented. An appropriate response
was made by the major, in which he very humbly attributed his military
success thus far to the bravery of the noble men who had always stood by
him, and whose gift he accepted not only as a mark of their appreciation
of himself as a man, but of their devotion to the cause which he hoped,
by the edge of the sabre and trust in Providence, we may yet win.

_March 24._--Kilpatrick's brigade was reviewed this morning by General
Gregg, who commands the Second division of the cavalry corps. Kilpatrick
commands the First brigade, which is composed of the First Maine, the
Tenth New York, and Harris Light. On the twenty-fifth General Gregg
again reviewed us. We were ordered to turn out in "heavy marching
orders," that is, with all our clothing, rations, forage or grain, and
fully equipped. For some reason inspections and reviews are frequent of
late. The Harris Light maintains its established reputation, as being
second to none in the corps, for its efficiency in drill and discipline,
and in its general appearance. The men take pride in keeping up the
_morale_ of the regiment.

_March 28._--Colonel Clarence Buel is paying us a visit to-day. This
gallant and noble officer, who organized and formerly commanded the Troy
company of the Harris Light, has recently been promoted to the colonelcy
of the Hundred and Sixty-ninth New York Infantry. The colonel has taken
a temporary leave of absence from his new command for the purpose of
making us a friendly call; and he is again surrounded by his old tried
friends and comrades. Company E hails with pleasure its former loved
captain, and though sad at his loss, still rejoices in his well-earned
and merited promotion. All the men of the company showed their respect
and admiration for him by falling into line upon the announcement of his
arrival in camp, and thus greeted the Christian soldier. It was a very
delightful and enjoyable occasion.

As a soldier, Colonel Buel stands among the bravest and the best. Always
attentive to the wants of his command, his men are always the last to be
out of supplies of rations or clothing. He generally exercised that
fatherly care over us which called forth in return a filial love. He is
dignified, and yet perfectly affable. As a commander, he is intrepid and
cool, and manages his troops with admirable skill. He possesses a
naturally well-balanced mind, thoroughly cultivated, and a heart always
full of Christian hopefulness and benevolence. We wish him great success
in his new field of labor and responsibility.



1863.--Rebel Raids by Stuart, Imboden, and Fitz-Hugh Lee.--John S. Mosby,
    Guerilla Chief.--His Character.--His Command.--Daring and Plunder.--
    Aided by Citizens.--Condition of the Country Favorable for their
    Depredations.--Our Picket Lines too Light.--Attacks on Pickets at
    Herndon Station, Cub Run, and Frying-Pan Church.--Miss Laura
    Ratcliffe, Mosby's Informant.--Mosby at Fairfax Court House.--
    Capture of General Stoughton.--Fight at Chantilly.--Mosby lauded by
    His Chiefs.--Mosby beaten at Warrenton Junction.--Severely whipped
    at Greenwich, where he loses a Howitzer captured from Colonel Baker
    at Ball's Bluff.

The Rebel cavalry has been very active all winter, as may be seen by the
many raids which they have made, beginning as far back as December
twenty-fifth, when their chief, J. E. B. Stuart, anxious to obtain
something suitable with which to celebrate the holidays, crossed the
Rappahannock, advanced on Dumfries, where it would seem that our boys,
freezing dumb (Dumfries), suffered the raider to capture not less than
twenty-five wagons, and at least two hundred prisoners. Moving boldly
northward, he struck the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, burning the
bridge across the Accotink Run, and from Burke's Station he swung around
Fairfax Court House, and returned, by long, circuitous route, into their
lines with their hard-earned spoils.

A lull of operations followed this bold holiday enterprise, until the
sixteenth of February, when a party of General John D. Imboden's
rangers, in the Shenandoah Valley, made a rapid raid to Romney, farther
west, where they captured several men, horses, and wagons, having taken
our forces entirely by surprise. The success which characterized these
forays was not only disgraceful to ourselves, and very disheartening,
but it gave the Rebels an audacious effrontery and malignant boldness,
which led them into more frequent and reckless movements. But our men
were a little more on the alert, and thus averted, to a great extent,
the injury which was intended.

_February 25._--To-day Fitz-Hugh Lee, almost in the very face of our
pickets, crossed the Rappahannock near Falmouth, attacked by surprise a
camp, where he captured one hundred and fifty prisoners, but was not
able to return without some loss. The next day General W. E. Jones
marched with a brigade into the Valley, attacked and routed two
regiments of General Milroy's cavalry, and, with slight loss from his
command, escaped with about two hundred prisoners. The most daring,
however, of all these raids was made by Major White, with his band of
Loudon County rangers, which differs not much from guerillas, into
Maryland, where they captured a few prisoners, but spent most of their
time and strength in plunder. Poolesville was the scene of their

It did seem as though nearly every Rebel cavalry officer had been
touched with a magic wand which filled him with the most weird and
romantic views of warfare, and led him into enterprises almost as wild
as any of Dick Turpin's. Fauquier County was the theatre of several of
these movements by Captain Randolph, of the Black Horse Cavalry. And in
these days appeared another partisan, whose name for the first time
flashes out in big capitals in the official as well as other bulletins,
amid most startling manoeuvrings: it is John S. Mosby. To the Harris
Light this gentleman was not wholly unknown, and we distinctly remember
the time when he was a prisoner in our hands. It appears that he was
then sent to Old Capitol Prison at Washington. Not long thereafter he
was released; and, being bent on revenge, and naturally fitted for
guerilla operations, he soon received permission from his chief, to
operate on an independent plan.

This Mosby, as we have been informed by an acquaintance of his, a Rebel
soldier who has known him from early life, has always been a sort of
guerilla--deserting from his father's house in mere boyhood--fighting
duels as a pastime--roving the country far and wide in search of
pleasure or profit--a thorough student of human nature and of the
country in which he operates--bold and daring to a fault and romantic in
his make--and finding now his chief delight in the adventures of
guerilla life.

His commission is a roving one, and his command seems to be limited
neither to kind or number. Many of his men are citizens, who spend a
portion of their time in their ordinary business, and who hold
themselves in readiness for any movements indicated by their
commander-in-chief. Occasionally he is accompanied and assisted in his
forays by daring men from various commands, who are at home on leaves
of absence or furloughs, while a few seem to be directly and continually
under his control. The principal stimulus of the entire party (except
the bad whiskey which they are said to use), is the plunder which they
share. It is their custom at times to parole their prisoners and send
them back to our lines, though often, when large numbers are taken, they
are sent to Richmond; but all horses and equipments, which now command
enormous prices in Dixie, are the property of the captors.

The region of the country they have chosen for their operations is
certainly well adapted to facilitate their designs. Deep ravines
traverse the country, skirted with dense, dark foliage, which affords
them shelter, and through which they pass like so many wild turkeys or
wild boars, knowing, as they do, all the roads and by-paths. Indeed,
some of their parties are dwellers in these regions, and are acquainted
with every nook and corner, where they can hide securely with their prey
and elude their pursuers. When the immediate neighborhoods of their
depredations do not offer a sufficient asylum, they fly to the
fastnesses and caverns of the Bull Run Mountains.

Then, too, there is a certain degree of carelessness on the part of our
own men, which merits censure and causes trouble. For instance, they
frequently call at the homes of bitter Rebels for the purposes of
pleasure, or to get articles of food, which they purchase or take, and
while at these places they are too free to talk about the condition of
our army, the position of our picket lines and posts, etc.--information
which is grasped with wonderful avidity and as readily transmitted to
Mosby and his men. Scarcely does any important event transpire among us,
that is not fully understood immediately by the Rebel families within
our lines, and is very easily borne to those outside the lines between
two days. Thus movements even in contemplation have been heralded before
the incipient steps had been taken, and consequently thwarted. Our only
safety from this source of trouble would be to drive out of our lines
all Rebel families, thus preventing the means of communicating the news
to the outer world.

Another simple statement will explain the chances of the enemy and the
causes of many of our casualties. Our picket-lines are too much
extended, covering too wide a territory to make them as strong as they
should be. Only a brigade is doing the work of a division, and
consequently the picket-posts are not sufficiently near each other.
Thus, in the night, it requires no very great dexterity to creep through
the bushes between the pickets unobserved, and, once within our lines,
any amount of mischief may be done by the miscreants. The method
indicated here is usually the one employed by these active guerillas,
and it forms the chief stratagem of all their movements upon us.

Their first important attack upon our pickets took place on or about the
tenth of January. A small Federal picket was doing duty at Herndon
Station, on the Loudon and Hampshire Railroad. Mosby determined to
effect their capture. Led by a skilful guide, he dismounted his command
some distance from the picket-lines. Then they all crept cautiously
between the vedettes, until they reached the rear of the post, and from
that direction advanced upon the unsuspecting boys, whose forms could be
distinctly seen by the flaring light of their bivouac fire. While the
pickets were thus a fine shot and mark for the enemy, the attacking
force was concealed perfectly by the darkness of night and the shades of
the thick pines. A pistol-shot from the guerillas was followed by a
charge, when our boys were suddenly surrounded and captured.

This attack and capture was followed by another similar enterprise a few
nights afterwards at Cub Run, near the Little River Turnpike. The picket
relief was captured by a charge made in their rear, and only the two
vedettes made their escape. Later in the same night a similar assault
was made upon our post at Frying-Pan Church. Not far from this church
resides a Miss Laura Ratcliffe, a very active and cunning Rebel, who is
known to our men, and is at least suspected of assisting Mosby not a
little in his movements. The cavalry brigade doing picket duty at this
point is composed of the First Virginia (many of whose men were raised
in these parts), the First Vermont, the Fifth New York, and the
Eighteenth Pennsylvania. The latter of these regiments has but recently
been mustered into the service, is poorly drilled and worse equipped,
and is by no means fitted to picket against so wily a foe as Mosby.
Though great caution is exercised by Colonel Percy Wyndham, who is in
command of the brigade, to arrange and change the alternation of the
pickets, so that the regiments to picket at a given point may not be
known beforehand; yet by means of Miss Ratcliffe and her rebellions
sisterhood, Mosby is generally informed of the regiment doing duty, and
his attacks are usually directed against the unskilled and unsuspecting.

Having approached, under cover of the night above alluded to, within a
few hundred yards of the pickets, whose position and strength he knew
very well from information received by the neighbors, the horses were
left in charge of one man, while the party skulked along through the
thick underbrush, until they could approach the post from the direction
of the Union camp. The picket relief was mostly quartered in an old
house near by, with a single sentinel stationed at the door. Seeing the
Mosby party approaching, he supposed that they were a patrol, and
consequently allowed them to come within a few paces of the house before
he challenged them. But it was now too late; and springing forward like
panthers, the guerillas presented their pistols at his head, ordering a
surrender. The house was immediately surrounded and the assailants began
to fire through the thin weather-boarding upon the men shut up within.
This fire, however, was vigorously returned for a time, but yielding at
last to superior numbers, who had greatly the advantage, the whole party
was compelled to surrender.

The success with which Mosby carried on his operations made him a sort
of terror to our pickets, while it attracted to him from all quarters of
Rebeldom a larger and more enthusiastic command. They became wonderfully
skilled and bold, as may be seen by the following daring exploit. On
the night of the eighth of March, during rain and intense darkness,
Mosby led a squadron of his conglomerate command through the pines
between the pickets near the Turnpike from Centreville to Fairfax Court
House. Striking through the country, so as to avoid some infantry camps,
he soon reached the road leading from Fairfax Station to the Court
House. Moving now with perfect confidence, as no pickets along this
route would suspect the character of such a cavalcade several miles
inside our lines, about two o'clock in the morning he entered the
village and began operations. The first thing was to capture the pickets
stationed along the streets in a quiet manner, so as to arouse no one
from their slumbers, and this was easily accomplished. The way was now
fully open to the Confederate band. Divided into parties, each with its
work assigned, they quickly accomplished the mischief they desired.

Mosby, with a small band, proceeded to General Stoughton's headquarters,
in the house of a Dr. Gunnel. Dismounting, he soon stood knocking at the
door. A voice from an open window above demanded their business at such
an unseasonable hour. "Despatches for General Stoughton," responded
Mosby. The door was quickly unlocked, and the guerilla chief stood by
the bedside of the sleeping general, who had but a few moments before
retired from a dancing and convivial party. Fancy now the reënactment of
the scene in old Ticonderoga fort, when Ethan Allen, by stratagem, stood
in the presence of His Majesty's sleeping commander.

Stoughton was soon apprised of the character of his nightly visitors,
and quickly making his toilet, he was hurried away with a portion of his
escort, and several other prisoners, including Captain Augustus Barker,
of the Fifth New York Cavalry. Fifty-eight of the finest horses from the
officers' stables were also captured; and Mosby retraced his sinuous
route through our lines of pickets so rapidly, that he escaped all his

The morning light of the ninth of March revealed the boldness and
success of the raiders, and no little excitement prevailed. Several
parties of cavalry were ordered out in pursuit of the flying partisans,
but all returned at night unsuccessful. This was an occasion for great
humiliation on the part of our troops, stationed about the Court House,
while in Washington and throughout the nation not a little humor was
drawn from the remark made by the President when some one told him of
the loss we had sustained; "Yes," he characteristically replied, "that
of the horses _is_ bad; but I can make another general in five minutes."

Suspicious that Rebel citizens within our lines were more or less
implicated in this and other raids, quite a number of arrests were made
among them, which cleared the country of the most flagitious cases.
However, it is very probable that some innocent ones were made to
suffer, while the most guilty were allowed to escape.

_March 23._--The pickets near Chantilly had been quiet for several days,
but toward night a company of cavaliers, mostly dressed in blue
uniforms, emerged from a piece of wood within a mile of the Chantilly
mansion, and moved directly toward the picket post stationed near a
small run on the Little River Turnpike. The picket, supposing them to be
Union troops, watched their approach without suspicion; and when they
had come within a few feet of him they introduced themselves by shooting
him through the head. The alarm being thus given, the nearest reserve
made a sudden descent upon the attacking party, which proved to be
Mosby's, and the guerillas retreated for some distance up the turnpike,
closely pursued. Having followed them about three miles, they came to a
barricade of trees which had been fallen across the road. Back of this
obstruction Mosby had formed a large part of his command, and our column
was stopped by a heavy fire from carbines and pistols in their front and
also by a flank-fire from the woods. At this inopportune moment Mosby
made a charge which broke our column. The boys were driven back at a
furious rate, and had not strength to rally. Some horses giving out, the
hapless riders were captured.

But as Rebels and Yankees were uniformed much alike, it gave some of our
boys an opportunity for stratagem. For instance, one of our fellows
finding himself overtaken by the enemy, began to fire his pistol in the
direction of his flying comrades (with care not to harm them), but with
sufficient vim to be taken by the enemy, in their haste, as one of their
number. In this way they passed him by, and he effected his escape.

This scrambling race continued for about three miles, back to the ground
where the affair commenced, when our men were reënforced by the reserve
from Frying-Pan Church. The Mosbyites were now compelled to halt, and a
charge made upon them drove them back up the pike. They were pursued
several miles, but night came on and our men were compelled to return.
Three of our men were killed, and about thirty-five were taken
prisoners, including one lieutenant. Several horses were also taken
away. The enemy suffered no appreciable loss.

Mosby's plans were certainly made with great wisdom and forethought, and
executed with a dash and will which were at times very astonishing. His
men must have been warmly attached to him as their leader, while the
gain they made by their plunder greatly increased their zeal. The
command was truly _unique_ in its leader, its composition, and its
_modus operandi_, while its results, assisted as they were by the
topography of the country, and the Rebel sympathizers within and just
without our lines, attracted no little attention. The orders of General
Stuart and even those of General Lee associated the name of Mosby with
consummate daring and continual success, stimulating the band to greater
deeds. We append one specimen of those orders, furnished us by one of
their own number:

      Army of Northern Virginia, March 27, 1863.

      CAPTAIN--Your telegram, announcing your brilliant achievements
      near Chantilly, was duly received and forwarded to General
      Lee. He exclaimed upon reading it, "Hurrah for Mosby! I wish
      I had a hundred like him!"

      Heartily wishing you continued success, I remain your
      obedient servant,

      J. E. B. STUART,
      Major-General Commanding.

      Captain J. S. MOSBY, commanding, etc., etc.

But it is not often permitted one man always to prosper in his
enterprises, and even the wonderful Mosby was destined to meet equals,
and to be worsted in engagements. Later in the season, while General
Stahel's cavalry division was picketing the line of the Orange and
Alexandria Railroad, Mosby made a sudden descent one morning upon the
First Virginia Cavalry at Warrenton Junction. Unfortunately, these Union
Virginians, who were one of the best regiments in our service, were just
then unprepared for any such manoeuvring. They had just been relieved
from duty, and were taking their rest. Many of the men were lounging
about under the shade of trees, or quartered for the time in a few block
buildings situated in an angle formed by the two railroads. Their horses
were mostly "unsaddled and unbridled, and hence not fit for a fight,"
while many of them were grazing loosely and quietly in the adjoining

Mosby advanced upon them from the direction of Warrenton--was at first
mistaken for a squadron of our own cavalry, which had been sent out on a
scouting expedition. The error was soon corrected by a fierce charge
made by the guerillas. Such of the men as were roaming about the
premises, mostly unarmed, of course immediately surrendered; but about
one hundred of them fled for refuge in one of the largest buildings,
resolved to sell themselves (if it came to that) at the dearest price.
And now commenced a fearful struggle. The Confederates would ride up
near the windows and discharge their pieces at the men within, while the
brave fellows inside, commanded and inspired by Major Steele, one of
the bravest of the brave, defended themselves with a noble
determination. All efforts of Mosby to make them surrender were in vain.
Finding at last that he could not intimidate them with bullets, he
ordered the torch to be applied to a pile of hay near by, and the house
was set on fire. Just at this juncture of affairs a strong party of
Mosby's gang, having dismounted from their horses, rushed against the
door of the building with such force as to burst it open. Surrounded now
by the flames, which were spreading rapidly, and attacked with
desperation by the foe, the whole party was compelled to surrender.

Flushed with success, the guerillas were making preparations to retire
from the field with their booty, when the Fifth New York Cavalry, which
had been bivouacked in a grove not far from Cedar Run Bridge, arrived at
the Junction, whither they had been attracted by the firing, and
immediately fell upon the foe like an avalanche. Major Hammond commanded
in person. Mosby was heard to exclaim, "My God! it is the Fifth New
York!" A hand-to-hand encounter now took place, in which bravery was
fired with desperation, and Yankee sabres were used with fearful effect.
The Rebels soon broke and fled in every direction, demoralized and
panic-stricken, leaving behind not only the captures they had made, but
many of their own number. Some Rebel heads were fearfully gashed and
mangled, one of them exhibiting his lower jaw-bone not only dislocated,
but almost entirely severed with one determined blow from the strong
hand of a cavalryman.

General Stahel, in his despatch to General Heintzelman, says: "The
Rebels, who fled in the direction of Warrenton, were pursued by Major
Hammond, Fifth New York Cavalry, who has returned, and reports our
charge at Warrenton Junction as being so terrific as to have thoroughly
routed and scattered them in every direction. I have sent in
twenty-three prisoners of Mosby's command, all of whom are wounded--the
greater part of them badly. Dick Moran (a notorious bushwhacker) is
among the number. There are also three officers of Mosby's. The loss of
the enemy was very heavy in killed, besides many wounded, who scattered
and prevented capture. I have no hopes of the recovery of Major Steele,
of the First Virginia. Our loss is one killed and fourteen wounded."

Templeman, one of Stonewall Jackson's best spies, was killed; and the
partisans confessed themselves thoroughly whipped. They were wont to
call this their first retreat, in which they did some tall running. The
following complimentary order was issued:

      Fairfax Court House, Va., ----, 1863.


      When soldiers perform brave deeds, a proper acknowledgment
      of their services is justly their due. The commanding
      general, therefore, desires to express his gratification at
      the conduct of the officers and men of Colonel De Forest's
      command, who were engaged in the fight at Warrenton
      Junction, on Sunday, ----, 1863. By your promptness and
      gallantry the gang of guerillas who have so long infested
      the vicinity has been badly beaten and broken up. The heavy
      loss of the enemy in killed, wounded, and prisoners, proves
      the determination of your resistance and the vigor of your
      attack. Deeds like this are worthy of emulation, and give
      strength and confidence to the command.

      By command of

Thoroughly as Mosby had been whipped on this occasion, and diminished as
was his command, it was not long before he was again heard from. It must
be confessed that he possessed remarkable recuperative powers. His
qualities of heart and mind seemed to attach his men to him peculiarly,
while his mode of warfare was calling many young and daring Virginians
to his standard. By this means his numbers were soon recruited, and he
was again on the rampage.

At this time the government was sending supplies to the army on the
Rappahannock _viâ_ the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. Each train was in
charge of a guard, and all the principal bridges and exposed places on
the route were under pickets. Besides this, frequent patrols were sent
from one picket post to the other, so that the entire road was under a
close surveillance. One morning, between seven and eight o'clock, the
cavalry pickets and reserves about Catlett's Station were startled by
artillery firing just below them on the railroad. A train laden with
rations and forage had just passed on its way to the Rappahannock. It
was soon ascertained that during the night the guerillas had carefully
unfastened one of the rails in the woods, and by means of a wire
attached to it and extended to some distance from the road, in a manner
to be unobserved by the patrols, a man concealed behind a tree had
drawn the rail out of place just as the engine was approaching it,
throwing it off the track. A mountain howitzer, which had been placed in
position, immediately plunged a shell through the engine, and at the
same time a charge was made upon the guard. This consisted mostly of men
whose term of service expired that very day, and their resistance
amounted to nothing. They soon fled in shameful confusion, leaving the
ground to the Rebels, who, after taking such plunder as they could
carry, fired the train, and then started on the road to Haymarket.

But the cavalry had been aroused, and detachments of the First Vermont
and Fifth New York, each in separate routes, commenced a vigorous
pursuit. Mosby, who commanded in person, evidently had not reckoned on
so sudden and sharp an encounter. He had not proceeded two miles before
he espied the boys in blue eagerly flying after him. His howitzer was
quickly brought into position, and a shell was accurately thrown among
his pursuers, suddenly dismounting one of the officers, whose horse was
killed. But the detention of the column was only temporary, the boys
being determined once more to cross sabres with the chivalry. The nature
of the ground was unfavorable for a cavalry charge, and the enemy showed
no disposition to fight, but fled as rapidly as possible, firing an
occasional shell, but without inflicting any injury. Eagerly the boys
spurred on their chargers, and were soon joined by the Vermonters, who
added fresh excitement to the chase.

Mosby, finding himself too closely followed for his comfort, and
knowing that something desperate must be done, determined to sell his
howitzer as dearly as possible. Having reached the head of a narrow
lane, near the house of a Mr. Warren Fitzhugh, he wheeled the piece into
position and commenced a rapid fire. There was no way for our boys to
reach the howitzer except through the lane, the whole length of which
was raked by every discharge. "That gun must be captured," exclaimed
Lieutenant Elmer J. Barker, of the Fifth New York, "and who will
volunteer to charge it with me?" About thirty brave fellows responded
promptly, and suiting the action to the words, "charge, boys!" he rushed
furiously forward at their head, while the fields rang with their
maddening yell. But the brave lieutenant fell severely wounded before a
murderous discharge of grape and canister, which killed three of his men
and wounded several. The lieutenant's faithful horse was also mortally
wounded. But before the piece could be reloaded with its only one
remaining shell, the surviving comrades were crossing sabres with the
gunners over the gun. The conflict here was desperate, but of short
duration. Mosby's lieutenant, Chapman, fought with the rammer of the
gun, but fell wounded and was captured. At length those who could not
escape surrendered, and the howitzer was ours. It bore an inscription
which showed that it had been captured by the Rebels from the lamented
Colonel Baker, at Ball's Bluff.

Among the enemy's wounded and captured was a Captain Hoskins, formerly
of the British army, who had run the blockade and espoused the Rebel
cause. He received his death-wound as follows: having wounded a private
soldier in a hand-to-hand encounter, he roughly cried out, "Surrender,
you d----d Yankee!" "I'll see you d----d first," was the characteristic
reply, while the Yankee boy lodged a pistol ball in the captain's neck,
from which he did not long survive. An interesting diary was found in
Captain Hoskins' possession, describing mainly his private life since
entering Mosby's command.

Mosby himself barely escaped being captured on this occasion, and he
carried the mark of a sabre-cut on his arm. The fight had been desperate
on both sides, but the guerillas were badly worsted, and driven away as
far as the jaded condition of our horses would permit us to pursue them.
In their flight the spoils, which had been taken from the captured
train, were left behind, strewn in every direction. This fight occurred
near the little village of Greenwich, and gave Mosby a blow quite as
severe as any he had ever received.



1863.--Review of the Army by the President.--Deserters Punished.--Sports
    and Pastimes.--Stoneman's First Move.--Storm.--Reconnoissance to
    Warrenton. --Another Move.--Other Storms.--Catching "Rabbits."--
    Stoneman's Great Raid on Lee's Communications.--On the Virginia
    Central Railroad.--Kilpatrick at Louisa Court House.--He Marches upon
    Richmond.--Bold Advance near the City. --Important Captures.--Retreat
    over Meadow Bridge.--Destructions.--Bushwhackers.--Happy Rencounter.
    --Safe Arrival at Gloucester Point.--Public Prints.--Battle of
    Chancellorsville.--Heroism and Defeat.--Stonewall Jackson Falls.
    --Hooker Injured.--Retreat.--Orders.

April 1.--April-fool day always brings its trains of fun and broods of
annoyances, the boys being determined to make the most of it. The usual
plan is to induce a comrade to believe that either the colonel, his
captain, or lieutenant, wants to see him. This scheme is generally
successful; for the victim dare not refuse to report whenever called
for, and as he is unable to learn whether he is really wanted or
otherwise, he finds it necessary to call upon his superior to ask his
pleasure. Receiving the assurance that nothing is wanted of him, he sees
that he has been "sold," and returns to his comrades in the midst of
their hilarity at his expense. But he is generally determined to have
revenge, and to get the "laugh" on them before the day is spent.
Sometimes these jokes are carried rather too far for sport, and recoil
upon their perpetrators with unpleasant force.

But, then, this soldier-life of ours is so grave and solemn that our
buoyant natures seek relief in all such means as the above. The bow,
always bent to its utmost tension, would soon break or become useless;
it must be straightened to send the arrow. So our natures would break
were they not elastic, and were there no opportunities for reaction as
well as action. Then, too, there is a kind of monotony to our life in
winter-quarters, to which it is difficult to accustom ourselves. And he
who can suggest any thing laughable is a great benefactor to his
comrades; for then the monotony is broken, and we enjoy a little
sprinkling of variety, which is truly said to be "the spice of life." A
good joke, that runs through the command like a bubbling brook along the
flowering meadows, is worth more to us than a corps of nurses with
cart-loads of medicine.

On the second of April, from nine to eleven o'clock in the morning, we
had a mounted brigade-drill. Colonel Kilpatrick was in command. He
appeared well pleased, at the close, with the proficiency of his men,
and they are all enthusiastic over him. There seems to be a wonderful
unanimity of feeling in the brigade, all regarding Kilpatrick as the
right man in the right place.

_April 6._--To-day the Cavalry Corps, consisting of twenty-five
regiments, well filled and drilled, was reviewed by President Lincoln
and Generals Hooker and Stoneman. A salute of twenty-one guns was fired
upon the arrival of the Presidential party. The review took place on
Falmouth Heights, in full view of the Rebel encampment in rear of
Fredericksburg. The scene we presented to our enemies must have been
grand, for we appeared in our best uniforms and with flying colors. It
was an occasion not to be forgotten, the sight being one of the most
magnificent many of us ever saw. The column was between three and four
hours passing in review. It seemed to do us all good to get a glimpse of
the solemn, earnest face of the President, who reviewed us with apparent

_April 7._--Picket details returned from the river to-day. In the
afternoon several horse-races came off near our camp, between the First
Pennsylvania, the First New Jersey, and Harris Light. One of
Kilpatrick's favorite horses was badly beaten, much to his
mortification, owing, as was alleged, to the stupidity of the rider, who
was sent off the ground in disgrace. We are frequently training our
horses for swift motions, and teaching them to jump ditches and fences.
These are occasions of excitement and amusement. Men are frequently
thrown from their horses while endeavoring to jump them beyond their
ability, though seldom is any one hurt. Much practice is necessary to
make perfect in this exercise.

The papers bring us good news of a "Great Union Victory in Connecticut."
Such victories, though bloodless, have a powerful influence upon the
rank and file of the army. Every ballot cast to sustain the
administration is equal to a well-directed bullet against the foe.

_April 8._--The brigade was called out this morning on the old
drill-ground to witness a somewhat sad and novel scene, namely, the
branding and drumming out of service of two deserters from Company K.
The command was formed into a hollow square, facing inward. Upon the
arrival of the blacksmith's forge, the deserters were partially stripped
of their clothing, irons were heated, and the letter "D" was burnt upon
their left hip. Their heads were then shaved, after which they were
marched about the square under guard, accompanied by a corps of buglers
playing "the rogue's march." It was a humiliating and painful sight, and
undoubtedly it left its salutary impression, as it was designed, upon
all who witnessed it. A deserter should be regarded as only next to a
traitor, and when the military law against such offenders is enforced
with becoming rigor, we will probably have fewer infractions. This part
of our army discipline has thus far been evidently too loosely
administered, giving occasion for demoralization.

In the afternoon we enjoyed a very pleasing change of programme, when
true merit was rewarded. A beautiful sabre was presented by the officers
of the brigade to Kilpatrick. Affairs of this kind are much enjoyed by
the major part of the command; and when night came on we all felt that
to-day, at least, we have learned that "the way of the transgressor is
hard," and also that

    "Good actions crown themselves with lasting days;
    Who deserves well needs not another's praise."

_April 9._--To increase the variety of our experience, and to give it a
pleasing tone, Kilpatrick's brigade-band made its first appearance in
front of headquarters this evening. They discoursed national airs in a
manner that thrilled and elated us, making the welkin ring with their
excellent music. As the last echoes of a plaintive air died over the
distant woods, and I crept into my lowly quarters for my rest, the
poet's verse seemed full of hallowed potency:

    "Music exalts each joy, allays each grief,
    Expels diseases, softens every pain,
    Subdues the rage of poison and of plague."

_April 11._--An exciting game of "base-ball" was played to-day near our
camp, between boys of the Fourteenth Brooklyn and the Harris Light. The
contest resulted in a drawn game, so that neither could claim the
victory. Our time, of late, is slipping rapidly along. The weather is
warm and beautiful, the mud is disappearing, and flowers and birds
remind us that winter is over and gone.

For several weeks preparations have been evidently made for the opening
of the Spring campaign. Each branch of the service has been thoroughly
recruited and drilled, and the entire force is computed to be at least
one hundred and twenty-five thousand strong. All seem to be anxious for
a good opportunity to advance upon the enemy.

_April 13._--On the evening of the twelfth, at regimental inspection,
orders were received to be ready for march at daylight the next day.
Consequently, early this morning our winter-quarters were abandoned, and
General Stoneman, at the head of about thirteen thousand cavalry, took
up a line of march in the direction of the upper fords of the
Rappahannock, in the neighborhood of the Orange and Alexandria

General Hooker's order to his cavalry-chief had the ring of bright metal
in it, and contained the following terse sentences:

"Let your watchword be fight, and let all your orders be _fight!_
FIGHT! FIGHT! bearing in mind that time is as valuable to the
Federal as the Rebel authorities.

"It devolves upon you, General, to take the initiative in the forward
movement of this grand army; and on you and your noble command must
depend, in a great measure, the extent and brilliancy of our success.
Bear in mind that celerity, audacity, and resolution are every thing in
war; and especially is it the case with the command you have, and the
enterprise on which you are about to embark."

We moved at a sufficient distance from the Rappahannock to screen our
columns from the enemy's posts of observation. We marched to the
vicinity of Elkton, where we bivouacked for the night. The next morning
we resumed our march, and soon struck the railroad at Bealeton, where we
met and drove a detachment of Rebel cavalry. After a sharp skirmish they
fell back to Beverly Ford, where their crossing was covered by artillery
and sharpshooters. A neat little fight enabled us to advance carbineers
down to the ford, which we held, though subjected to the fire of rifled
cannon on the opposite bank.

At another of the numerous fords of the river (Sulphur Springs), which
was not guarded, an entire division was forded across before night. But
during the night a heavy rain-storm set in _à la Virginie_, which so
suddenly raised the stream, that the order for crossing more troops was
not only countermanded, but the forces already across were ordered to
return. This was not very easily done. Meanwhile the separated division,
by rapid movement and some fighting through the rain, had swung down the
river to Beverly Ford, where they commenced recrossing, without
pontoons, and with the ford unfordable. The enemy, taking advantage of
this unhappy predicament, attacked the rearguard with furious
determination, killing and capturing quite a number. As our artillery
could not be brought into position, the only help we could afford to our
unfortunate comrades was to play on the Rebels with our carbines, which
kept them somewhat at bay. In the haste and difficulty of crossing,
where horses were compelled to swim a considerable distance through the
strong current, several animals and men were drowned and borne down the
stream. It was certainly a very sad experience--a disheartening
commencement of operations.

_April 16._--The Harris Light was relieved from picket, and moved to
Bealeton, leaving Beverly Ford at four o'clock A. M. The roads are
almost impassable. The rain has continued almost uninterruptedly for
forty-eight hours, making our sojourn in these parts very disagreeable.
But, notwithstanding the mud, on the seventeenth a squadron of the
Harris Light, composed of Companies E and F, in command of Captain
Charles Hasty, left our bivouac at Bealeton, early in the morning, with
instructions to proceed to Warrenton, and, if possible, to occupy the
place until four o'clock P. M. When we had approached to within three
miles of the place the Captain learned that the famous Black Horse
Cavalry, under Captain Randolph, was in possession of the village, and
would undoubtedly give us a splendid entertainment.

The boys were unanimously pleased at the prospect of an opportunity to
cross sabres with those heroes of Bull Run, and, concluding from their
worldwide reputation that nothing short of a desperate fight would
ensue, we made preparations accordingly. The squadron was formed in
column of platoons, and two detachments, consisting each of a sergeant
and eight men, were instructed to advance upon the town from two
parallel streets, thus giving our small force the appearance of being
only the vanguard of a very large army.

It was my privilege to command one of these detachments; and, on
entering the village, we found the foe formed into line of battle on
Main street, with the apparent intention of giving us a warm reception.
They had been notified of our approach by a sentinel posted in a
prominent church-steeple, and were, therefore, ready for us. We
immediately drew sabres and bore down upon them with the usual yell;
and, strange as it may seem to those who laud the daring of the Southern
Black Horse, they advanced to receive us, fired a few shots, unsheathed
their bloodless sabres, but wheeled about suddenly and dashed away to
the rear at a breakneck pace, without even halting to pay us the
compliment of an affectionate farewell. Actually it seemed as though
they did not so much as look behind them until fairly out of the range
of our best carbines. It was quite evident to us that they agreed
perfectly with that most ungallant poet, who sings:

    "He who fights and runs away,
    Will live to fight another day."

The beautiful and aristocratic village was now in our possession. Being
informed that the proprietor of the Warrenton House was a conspicuous
Rebel, Captain Hasty decided to try his hospitality and sound his
commissary department. Accordingly he accosted the chivalrous gentleman,
and ordered a dinner for the entire squadron. When all had partaken
freely of the good things provided, our Rebel landlord showed signs of
uneasiness in his desire to ascertain who would foot the bill. After a
while the Captain politely directed him to charge it to Uncle Sam. This
ended all controversy on the subject. We left Warrenton in accordance
with instructions, at four o'clock, and, well satisfied with our
excursion, rejoined the regiment during the following night.

_April 18._--The enemy "opened the ball" this morning by shelling the
cavalry pickets in the woods near Rappahannock Station. Under this fire
we advanced some distance toward the river, and then retired slowly with
a view of drawing the Rebels across to our side. But they were too wily
to be caught in such a trap, and our attempt failed. A stream is a great
barrier, between two contending forces, and no careful leader will place
his men with a stream behind them, unless he is quite certain of
victory. We had a sad lesson of this in the battle of Ball's Bluff.

On the day following this useless cannonade, each regiment of the corps
had dress-parade at six o'clock P. M. Orders from General Stoneman were
read by the adjutants of their respective regiments, informing them that
the entire cavalry force would move at an early hour next day. A portion
of the evening was spent in preparation. However, when in the bivouac,
as we have been for some time, it takes but a few moments to prepare for
a move. All surplus baggage, which naturally accumulates during
winter-quarters, has been disposed of, either by sending it home, or to
some quartermaster dépôt, established for the purpose, as at Alexandria,
or by destruction; and each man carries only what little articles he can
stow away in his saddle-bags and roll up in his blanket. His inventory
might run as follows: A shirt, a pair of socks (and often he has only
those he wears), a housewife or needle-book, paper and envelopes, a tin
cup, and bag which contains his coffee and sugar mixed together. Some
men carry a towel and soap. The great effort is to learn to get along
with the very least possible.

At first the soldier thinks he must have this article of luxury and the
other, until he finds that they are positive burdens to himself and
horse, and gradually he throws off this weight and that incumbrance,
until his entire outfit is reduced to nearly "the little end of nothing,
whittled to a point!" Possessed of a coffee-bag and cup and a hard-tack
or biscuit, the most essential things, he seldom now borrows much
trouble about the rest of men and things.

_April 20._--We commenced march at four o'clock this morning on the
road to Sulphur Springs. Scarcely had we gone out of our bivouacs before
a drenching rain-storm set in, and continued incessantly until we were
forced to halt, the mud being really oceanic. The day being quite warm,
we experienced but little discomfort from the wet until night. The
weather then became cold, and every thing being so wet, it was difficult
to make fires; consequently we had a very tedious night. A fellow
considered himself fortunate, if, after toiling long through the cold
and dark, he could succeed to cook a little coffee. But the soldier will
have his coffee, if it be possible, and then he is quite contented with
his lot.

On the twenty-first, all we could do was to change our position, to get
out of the very deep mud, which one night's treading of the horses' feet
produced. On the following day in the afternoon the Cavalry Corps moved
from Waterloo Bridge to Warrenton Junction. The day was pleasant, though
the roads are still in a fearful condition. Our infantry is engaged in
repairing the railroad to Rappahannock Station. We are evidently on the
eve of some important movements.

Before night, many of the boys were made glad by the reception of a
large mail from the North, which is the first we have received since we
left our winter-quarters on the thirteenth instant. Nearly every man had
a letter, and there was general contentment all around. The mail-bag is
always a welcome visitor, especially in times like this, and it is not
the least of the instrumentalities which mould our character and give
tone to our _morale_.

_April 23._--Another drenching rain set in this morning and continued
without cessation throughout the day. We were all drowned out of our
little shelter-tents, and many preferred to take the chastisement face
to face with the merciless elements. We were a sorry looking company of
men, drenched with the rain, bespattered with mud, and chilled with the
cold. Our fires, well-nigh quenched by the falling floods, were of very
little use to us. Men and horses all suffered together. Thus far the
month has been very wet, and this April is certainly entitled to be
classed among the Weeping Sisters.

We spent the dreary night hoping for a better morrow. But the
twenty-fourth followed the example of its predecessor, and rain poured
upon us in torrents.

The yielding clay of this region of country is soon trodden into a soft
mud, under so many hoofs, until it seems quite impossible to find a dry
spot large enough to lie down upon at night. This makes our bivouacs
very dreary and uncomfortable. And yet under these melancholy
circumstances we are not totally bereft of pleasant entertainment. The
woods and fields in this vicinity abound with quails and rabbits, whose
presence has been the cause of some excitement and not a little fun.

Ever and anon a sportive cavalier starts up a nimble rabbit and chases
the frightened little creature through the camp, crying at the top of
his voice, "stop him! stop him! catch that rabbit," etc. Poor pussy
comes flying down the road, pursued by a throng, of men, while the
shouts are caught up and repeated along the entire line of escape, men
jumping up at every bound of the animal, and joining in the sport.
Occasionally the rabbit is so perfectly surrounded as to be compelled at
last to surrender, when the trembling prisoner is caught, but carefully
treated. At this time of the year they are so very small and lean as to
be scarcely eatable, and yet now and then they are shot, as well as
quails, to increase our commissary supplies, and the cooks display
considerable skill in dressing and preparing them _à la Delmonico_.


_April 27._--Colonel Davies, after quite a lengthy absence from us,
rejoined the regiment at ten o'clock A. M. He reported having a narrow
escape from guerillas near Elkton, where he was fired at and pursued for
some distance, while on his way from Falmouth. Details were ordered out
immediately to those infested regions, with instructions to capture every
thing in the shape of a bushwhacker. Captain Coon, of the Connecticut
squadron, was put in command of the reconnoitring party. We had a rich
and delightful ride, but did not succeed in overhauling the offenders.

On the twenty-eighth the first battalion of the Harris Light, commanded
by Captain Samuel McIrvin, was ordered to reconnoitre as far as
Brentsville. We went via Elkton and Bristersburg, at which places we
captured several guerillas, who were not looking for us. The first part
of the day was very pleasant, but from eleven o'clock till night we had
a continually drizzling rain, which made our march exceedingly

We had but just halted for the night, when an order was received from a
messenger, to rejoin the regiment without delay. Through the rain, mud,
and darkness we hastened back to Catlett's Station, where we found
every thing in motion, preparing for some grand movement.

With the gray light of the morning of the twenty-ninth, after marching
most of the night, we reached the banks of the Rappahannock at Kelly's
Ford. In addition to the Cavalry Corps we found here the Fifth, Sixth,
Seventh, and Twelfth Corps of the Army of the Potomac, making
preparation to cross the river. The Engineer Corps soon laid the
pontoons, and the grand columns effected a passage without material
resistance or difficulty.


We are credibly informed that other columns of our army are crossing the
river at other points, and that a great battle is imminent. There has
been occasional skirmishing, on the front, during the day. The Rebels,
however, seem to have been taken wholly by surprise and are not making
the demonstrations we had good reason to anticipate; but we shall be
greatly disappointed if they do not soon awake, and come to their work.

The going is far from pleasant, though to-day the weather is favorable.
The streams are dreadfully swollen and nearly all bridgeless, compelling
us to ford them. This process, through the cold, high water, is attended
with more or less difficulty and suffering.

Soon after crossing the river the Cavalry Corps broke away from the
infantry, in the direction of Stevensburg; and it is rumored among us
that a grand raid upon the enemy's communications is contemplated,
while the two armies engage in deadly combat, it is thought not far from
the river.

_April 30._--This afternoon our column reached the Rapidan at Raccoon
Ford, and began to cross over. The water being much above the fording
mark and very rapid, we had an exciting time. Several horses and men
were swept down the stream by the swift current and were drowned; and
none of us escaped the unpleasant operation of getting wet.

After reaching the high plateau on the south bank of the river, the
entire corps were formed in line of battle, in which hostile position we
were ordered to spend the night. For more thorough protection, pickets
had been sent out in every direction, and posted with much care. It was
a season of considerable anxiety to all, and of great fatigue especially
to those of us who had been in the saddle several consecutive days and
nights. Standing to horse as we were compelled to do, very little rest
could be obtained, though many were so exhausted, that, dropping to the
earth, with bridle and halter in hand, they fell asleep, while their
comrades wished for the morning, which came at last.

After our frugal breakfast, which consisted mostly of hard-tack and
coffee, a thorough inspection of the command was made, and all men
reported to have unserviceable or unsafe horses, were sent to the rear.
The weather is perfectly charming to-day, although quite too warm, in
the midday heat, to be comfortable marching.

_May 2._--Early in the morning our column reached the railroad, in the
rear of General Lee's army, and, with slight opposition from scattered
pickets, the work of destruction began. Culverts and bridges, telegraph
lines and posts, disappeared like the smoke of their burning.


While this work was going on, Kilpatrick was ordered to lead the Harris
Light into Louisa Court House, which he did in a gallant manner. The
inhabitants, taken by surprise, were greatly terrified at our approach
and entry into the place, but finding themselves in the hands of men,
and not fiends, as they had been wont to regard us, and receiving from
us neither disrespect nor insult, soon dispelled their needless fears.
We remained in town until two o'clock P. M., tearing railroad track and
destroying railroad property, as well as commissary and quartermaster
stores found in public buildings.

At the hour above named we were ordered out to support the First Maine
Cavalry in a spirited skirmish with Rebel cavalry. In this engagement
our Troy company had one sergeant wounded, and one corporal and four men
taken prisoners.

By eleven o'clock at night General Stoneman's forces had reached the
neighborhood of Thompson's Cross Roads, where the command was broken up
into several independent expeditions to scour the country in every
direction, and to destroy as completely as possible all the enemy's
means of supply. Colonel Percy Wyndham, with the First New Jersey and
First Maine, was sent south to Columbia on the James River, to destroy
the great canal which feeds Richmond from the west. Lieutenant Colonel
Davis, with the Twelfth Illinois, was despatched to the South Anna
River, in the neighborhood of Ashland Station, on the Fredericksburg and
Richmond Railroad, to destroy the important bridges in that vicinity.
General Buford was to march westward and do all the mischief he could.
But it was reserved to Kilpatrick to advance upon Richmond, enter the
Rebel capital, if possible, and lay waste the public property and
communications there.

_Sunday, May 3._--We marched steadily after leaving General Stoneman,
long into the night, halting only long enough for a little refreshment
and rest. At two o'clock this afternoon the command, which consists only
of about three hundred men, well mounted, was marched into a pine
thicket, where we were ordered to destroy or throw away all our extra
clothing and blankets, with every thing which we could possibly spare,
to lighten the burdens of our horses. This halt in the shade of the
pines was very refreshing both to men and beasts. The sun is very warm
and shelter is very agreeable.

Leaving the fragrant shade, we moved on until night. We are now within
fifteen miles of Richmond, where vigilance is the price, not only of
liberty, but of life. Sergeant Northrup, while on a scout to the front,
was fired upon by a guerilla undoubtedly, and wounded. Colonel
Kilpatrick and Major Henry E. Davies, Jr., slept on their arms in the
road with the men. Very little sleep was had through the night, but what
we did get was precious.

At two o'clock on the morning of the fourth we resumed our hazardous
journey toward the rebellious city. Had it not been for the intrepidity
of our leader, and the utmost confidence of the men in his ability to
accomplish whatever he undertook, it would have been impossible to
proceed. Fearing as we did the desolation and sorrows of "Libby Prison,"
ignorant of the forces we might soon encounter, and the ambuscades that
might be laid for us, we nevertheless pushed bravely on, because we were
bound to follow our chief, be the consequences what they might.

Soon after day-break we came down upon Hungary Station, on the
Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad. Here we destroyed the telegraph
lines, tore up the track, and burned the dépôt. Near the station we ran
into the enemy's pickets, the first we have encountered since leaving
our main column. Only two of them were discovered, and they fled so
rapidly that it was useless for us to try to overtake them with our
jaded horses. They kept generally about three hundred yards ahead of us,
and as we had orders to fire on no one unless positively necessary, they
proceeded unmolested, in the direction of Richmond.

Having arrived within five miles of the city, we advanced more
cautiously. There was good reason for this, for our condition was
critical. There we were, only a remnant of a regiment, many miles away
from any support, with no way to retreat, as we had burned all the
bridges and ferries in our rear, nearer to the Confederate capital than
ever any Union troops were before, and ignorant of the forces that
garrisoned it. Still on we moved, looking only to our leader, who
seemed especially inspired for the work assigned him.

We soon arrived in sight of the outer line of fortifications, and moved
steadily upon them. To our surprise, we found them unmanned, and we
safely passed in towards the second line of defence. We had scarcely
entered these consecrated grounds, when General Winder's assistant
adjutant-general pompously rode up to the head of our column, and
inquired, "What regiment?" Astonishment and blight accompanied the
answer of Kilpatrick, who said, "The Second New York Cavalry," adding,
"and you, sir, are my prisoner." Ceremonies were short, and Kilpatrick
very quickly appropriated Winder's favorite charger, upon which the
captured adjutant was mounted when he made his fatal challenge.

We continued still to advance, until the smoke from workshops, and the
church steeples were plainly visible, and we began to think that we were
about to enter Richmond without opposition. We were now within _two
miles_ of the city, and yet we halted not until we had reached the top
of a hillock just before us. Here was an interesting scene. There stood
a handful of cavalrymen, far within the fortifications of a hostile
city, almost knocking at the door of her rebellious heart. On every hand
were frowning earthworks, and just ahead of us the coveted prize.

But just at the foot of the hill on which we stood, we discovered a
battery of artillery, drawn up in the road, supported by infantry, ready
to receive us. It became evident that we had advanced as far as
prudence would permit us. We had also reached and secured the road to
the Meadow Bridge across the Chickahominy, over which we were expected
to escape, and which it was very desirable to destroy. These facts or
circumstances decided the direction of our march. We moved leisurely on
our way, the cavalry refusing to give us even the semblance of a

Having crossed Meadow Bridge, it was set on fire. Following the railroad
a little distance, a train of cars was met and captured, much to the
astonishment of the bewildered conductor, who was in charge of
government stores _en route_ for Richmond. After firing the cars, the
engine was set in motion under a full head of steam, and the blazing and
crackling freight went rushing on until it reached the burning bridge,
when the whole thing well-nigh disappeared in the deep mud and water of
the sluggish stream.

No particular line of escape seemed to have been agreed upon. Our main
object was to do all the mischief in our power to the Rebel cause. The
men were much exhausted for want of rations and rest, but you could not
hear a word of complaint from one of them. They were all inspired with
the greatness of the deeds which they were required to perform, feeling
much as Napoleon's legions must have felt, when he said to them: "The
eyes of all Europe are upon you." Sustained by such considerations, and
cheered by the voice and still more potent example of their leader, they
pressed onward, resolved to do all within their power, and then, if the
worst came, they could go to "Libby" or "Belle Isle," with the pleasing
consciousness that they had done their duty.

All night we marched with only an occasional and brief rest. On the
morning of the fifth we arrived at the Pamunkey River. Here we captured
a Rebel train laden with commissary stores, just the prize we coveted.
After appropriating a generous supply for the day, the remnant was
reduced to ashes. All the serviceable animals captured were added to our
cavalcade, and the prisoners paroled and sent on their way rejoicing.
The river was crossed on a one-horse platform ferry-boat, whose capacity
was only twenty horses and their riders. Considerable precious time was
consumed in this tedious operation. When the last man had reached the
desired shore, the ferry-boat was destroyed, and the column resumed its
line of march.

About four o'clock in the afternoon a cold rain-storm set in, borne on
the flapping wings of a chilly wind. Cold, hungry, and fatigued, we
still pressed onward, suffering not a little. Fearful of encountering
heavy forces of the enemy on the main thoroughfares, we filed along the
by-ways and neglected paths, where we were frequently immersed in almost
impenetrable bushes dripping with rain.

_May 6._--To-day we crossed the Mattapony, at Aylett's, burning the
ferry behind us. We then took the road to Tappahannock, a small village
on the Rappahannock. We had not proceeded far in this direction before
we met and captured another wagon-train, laden with ham and eggs and
other luxuries, which had been smuggled across the Rappahannock. This,
of course, was thoroughly confiscated, appropriated, and destroyed. A
consultation of officers was here instituted, and it was decided to try
to reach Gloucester Point, opposite Yorktown, which we knew was in
possession of Union forces.

Not far from King and Queen Court House we captured and burned a dépôt
of ordnance and several wagons. We have been much annoyed by
bushwhackers on the way to-day. Their plan is to hide in the thick
bushes, and fire upon the rear of our column as we pass, in places where
it is not possible to pursue them without much loss of time, which is
too precious to be wasted thus. Several men and horses have been wounded
by these skulkers during the day. As night was settling down upon us, we
discovered a body of cavalry in our front, and quickly made preparations
to meet them. Kilpatrick deployed skirmishers and advanced in column of
squadrons. Our supposed enemies were also prepared for fight, and a
spirited conflict was anticipated. Several shots were exchanged, when
the contending parties discovered their mutual mistake. Our opponents
proved to be the Twelfth Illinois, which, after leaving the main column
at Thompson's Cross Roads, had swept down through the enemy's
communications about Ashland Station, destroyed several important
bridges and some stores, and was now, like ourselves, endeavoring to
reach Gloucester Point.

This rencounter was very pleasing. Our column was greatly increased and
encouraged. We needed this stimulus exceedingly, for we had been
marching all day through a cold drizzling rain, which had dampened our
ardor somewhat, and chilled our blood. Many of our horses had given out
by the way, and were killed to prevent their falling into the enemy's
hands. A few days of rest and care will so recruit such horses that they
become again serviceable. Their places were filled by those horses and
mules which were brought to us by the contrabands, which all along our
journey flocked to our standards, and by such other animals as were
captured by our flankers and advance guards. Exhausted as most of us
were, no bivouac fires were kindled until we reached our lines of
pickets from Gloucester Point, where we were received by our Union
comrades in the midst of demonstrations of admiration and joy. Here we
had a splendid rest.

_May 7._--This morning, after a more sumptuous breakfast than we had had
for many days, we crossed the York River to Yorktown, where we encamped.
We are now, as it may well be supposed, the "lions of the day." Nothing
is too good for us. We have the freedom of the town, and the subject of
our raid is the theme of private and public speculation.

In our travels we have captured and paroled over three hundred
prisoners, burned five or six railroad bridges, destroyed all the
ferries on our route, captured and demolished two wagon-trains, burned
five or six dépôts of stores, destroyed one railroad train, besides
stations and telegraph offices, and have torn several miles of track. We
have taken over one hundred and fifty horses, some of them the finest in
the country.

The following extract from the _Yorktown Gazette_ will more fully
explain the importance of our expedition:

"We have heard startling accounts of the prodigies of valor performed by
Stuart's Cavalry in Virginia, and the bands of Morgan in the West. That
they showed true valor, nice discretion, and great powers of endurance,
we will not for a moment question. But the exploits of our cavalry, in
the late expedition in the rear of Lee's army, surpasses any thing ever
achieved on this continent. Especially are the adventures of the Second
New York (Harris Light Cavalry) and the Twelfth Illinois almost
incredible. But they bear with them trophies that fully confirm the
record of their daring.

"They penetrated within the outer lines of fortification at Richmond, to
within less than two miles of the city, and captured prisoners and
trophies there. They cut all the communications between that city and
Lee's army, travelled two hundred miles, and lost only thirty men. Many
of them have changed horses a number of times on the route. Whenever
theirs got tired, they laid hold of any thing that came in their way
that suited them better. The contrabands flocked to them from every
quarter. They would take their masters' teams from the plough and their
best horses from the stables. Some of them were almost frantic with
delight on the appearance of the Yankees. Over three hundred found their
way to this place. Their services are all needed at this present time."

The following report of Brigadier-General King will be read with

      YORKTOWN, Virginia, May 7, 1863.

      _To Major-General Halleck_:

      Colonel Kilpatrick, with his regiment (the Harris Light
      Cavalry) and the rest of the Twelfth Illinois, have just
      arrived at Gloucester Point, opposite this post.

      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, having
      captured and paroled upwards of three hundred prisoners.

      Among the prisoners was an aid of General Winder, who was
      captured with his escort far within the entrenchments
      outside of Richmond.

      The cavalry have marched nearly two hundred miles since the
      third of May. They were inside of the fortifications of
      Richmond on the fourth; burnt all the stores at Aylett's
      Station, on the Mattapony, on the fifth; destroyed all the
      ferries over the Pamunkey and Mattapony, and a large dépôt
      of commissary stores near and above the Rappahannock, and
      came here in good condition.

      They deserve great credit for what they have done. It is one
      of the finest feats of the war.

      _Brigadier-General Commanding Post_.

Another print contained the following remarks:

Two regiments of Stoneman's Cavalry, the Second New York (Harris Light
Cavalry) and the Twelfth Illinois, after accomplishing the duty assigned
them of cutting the railroads near Richmond, made their way through the
country to this place. The boldness and success of their movements
surpass any thing of the kind ever performed in this country.

Various opinions are entertained with regard to General Stoneman's
expedition as a whole, some believing it to have been a grand success,
and others a conspicuous failure. The former look only at what was
actually accomplished, the latter only at what they think might have
been done. While all admit that the destruction of property and the
severance of communications were a serious blow to the enemy, most
persons agree that the General made a mistake in dividing his command.
Had he kept his forces together he was amply sufficient to have broken
all railroad and telegraphic connection between Lee and Richmond at
least for a whole week, and he could have routed any cavalry force which
could have been brought against him. As it was, by dividing his
strength, he made each party too weak to effect very great damage, and
exposed them to great danger of capture.

The following is a summary, in tabular form, as clipped from the _New
York Herald_, of the work accomplished by General Stoneman's expedition:

  Bridges destroyed                 23
  Culverts destroyed                 7
  Ferries destroyed                  5
  Railroads broken, places           7
  Supply-trains burned               4
  Wagons destroyed                 122
  Horses captured                  200
  Mules captured                   104
  Canals broken                      3
  Canal-boats burned                 5
  Trains of cars destroyed           8
  Storehouses burned                 2
  Telegraph-stations burned          4
  Wires cut, places                  5
  Dépôts burned                      3
  Towns visited                     25
  Contrabands liberated            400

  Besides the destruction of large quantities of pork, bacon,
  flour, wheat, corn, clothing, and other articles of great
  value to the Rebel army.


But it must be borne in mind that General Stoneman's grand raid and ride
were only the background of a bloody tableau in the wilderness country
around Chancellorsville. The last days of April witnessed the stratagem
and skill of General Hooker, in his advance upon the enemy's position. A
feint of crossing his entire army to the south side of the Rappahannock
below Fredericksburg completely deceived the enemy, who at once withdrew
his forces from the upper fords of the river. This was Hooker's desire
and expectation.

Three corps, commanded respectively by Generals Howard, Slocum, and
Meade, had been sent up the river, but marched at a sufficient distance
from the hostile southern bank to avoid all observation. Arriving at
Kelly's Ford, they began to cross, though it was in the night, and the
men were compelled to wade in water up to their armpits. The moon, which
shone brightly, assisted them most of the night, but went down before
the entire force had crossed, when crossing had to be suspended until
morning. Pontoons were brought up and laid, and so the remainder of the
infantry and the cavalry corps crossed pleasantly.

The column advanced towards the Rapidan, and Generals Howard and
Slocum's commands crossed this stream at Germania Mills, and General
Meade's at Ely Ford, below, and then all marched on roads which converge
to the Chancellorsville House, a large brick edifice, which was used as
a mansion and tavern, situated in a small clearing of a few acres, and
which, with its few appendages of outbuildings, constituted the village
known by that name. Other forces, including General Pleasonton, with
nearly a brigade of cavalry, who guarded the flanks of the advancing
columns, had crossed the river, and taken their position near

By this wily movement General Lee's position on the Rappahannock had
been entirely flanked; and, flushed with incipient success, General
Hooker followed his great captains, and in the evening of the thirtieth
of April he established his headquarters in the historic brick mansion
above described. So completely absorbed was our general with the
brilliancy of his advance that, in the moment of exultation, he forgot
the dangers of his situation, and issued the following congratulatory

      Camp near Falmouth, Virginia, April 30, 1863.

      It is with heartfelt satisfaction that the commanding
      general announces to the army that the operations of the
      last three days have determined that our enemy must either
      ingloriously fly or come out from behind his defences and
      give us battle on our own ground, where certain destruction
      awaits him. The operations of the Fifth, Eleventh, and
      Twelfth Corps have been a succession of splendid

      By command of MAJOR-GENERAL HOOKER.

      S. WILLIAMS, _Assistant Adjutant-General_.

It would seem as if the general had overlooked the fact that his army
had but eight days' supplies at hand; that a treacherous river flowed
between him and his dépôts; that he was surrounded by a labyrinth of
forests, traversed in every direction by narrow roads and paths, all
well known to the enemy, but unknown even to most of his guides; and
that many of his guns of heaviest calibre, and most needed in a deadly
strife, were on the other side the river.

General Lee had undoubtedly been outgeneraled by Hooker in this
movement, but he appeared not to have been disconcerted. Leaving the
Heights of Fredericksburg with a small force, he advanced towards

_May 1._--The first collision between the contending forces took place
to-day. General Sykes, with a division of regulars, was despatched at
nine o'clock in the morning on the Old Pike to Fredericksburg. He was
followed by a part of the Second Corps. Sykes had not proceeded far
before he encountered Lee advancing, and a sharp contest ensued, with
heavy losses on both sides. The Rebels having the best ground, and being
superior in numbers, compelled our men to fall back, which they did in
tolerable order, bringing away every thing but their dead and badly
wounded. But the enemy followed our retreating column, though
cautiously, and filled the woods with sharpshooters. They also planted
their heavy batteries on hills which partially commanded the clearing
around the Chancellorsville House. This gave them great advantage. They
were also greatly elated with the success which had crowned the first
onset. This was Hooker's first misfortune or mistake. The first blow in
such an engagement is quite as important as the last. This first
movement ought to have been more powerful, and ought to have given to
our men a foretaste of victory. But we had lost prestige and position
which undoubtedly weakened us not a little. The night following passed
quietly away, except that the leaders were laying their plans for future

About eight o'clock on the morning of the second, it was reported that a
heavy column of the enemy was passing rapidly toward our right, whither
the Eleventh Corps had been stationed. This movement was hidden by the
forests, though the road over which the column passed was not far from
our front. A rifled battery was opened upon this moving column, which,
though out of sight, was thrown into disorder, at which time General
Birney made a charge upon them with such force as to capture and bring
away five hundred prisoners. By successive and successful advances, by
sunset our men had broken this column and held the road upon which they
had been marching to some scene of mischief. But the evil was not cured,
as other roads more distant and better screened were followed by the
wily foe.

Just before dark Stonewall Jackson, with about twenty-five thousand
veterans, fell like a whirlwind upon the Eleventh Corps, which he had
flanked so cautiously and yet so rapidly that our German comrades were
taken by surprise while preparing their suppers, with arms stacked, and
no time to recover. It is not at all wonderful that men surprised under
these circumstances should be panic-stricken and flee. Let the censure
rest not upon the rout, but upon the carelessness that led to the

Whole divisions were now overwhelmed by the Rebel hordes, that swept
forward amid blazing musketry and battle-shouts which made the
wilderness resound; and a frantic stampede commenced which not all the
courage and effort of commanding generals, or the intrepidity of some
regiments could check, and which threatened to rout the entire army.
This unforeseen disaster changed the whole programme of the battle and
greatly disheartened our men.

However, the ground was not to be abandoned so ingloriously, and though
our lines were broken, and the enemy had gained a great advantage,
heroism was yet to manifest its grand spirit, and to achieve undying
laurels. The sun had gone down, refusing to look upon this Union defeat
and slaughter, but the pale-faced moon gazed with her weird light upon
the bloody scene, while the carnage still continued.

With the disaster of the Eleventh Corps General Sickles, who was
stationed in the front and centre of our lines and had been preparing to
deal a heavy blow upon the enemy, was left in a critical position. His
expectation of assistance from General Howard was not only cut off, but
he was left with only two divisions and his artillery to meet the shock
of the advancing hosts. General Pleasonton, with his small force of
cavalry, being under Sickles' command, was ordered to charge the proud
columns of the enemy, with the hope of checking them until our batteries
could be suitably planted.

Pleasonton, addressing Major Keenan of the Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry,
said, "You must charge into those woods with your regiment, and hold the
Rebels until I can get some of these guns into position. You must do it
at whatever cost."

"I will," was the noble response of the true soldier, who, with only
about five hundred men, was to encounter columns at least twenty-five
thousand strong, led by Stonewall Jackson! The forlorn charge was made,
but the martyr-leader, with the majority of his dauntless troopers, soon
baptized the earth upon which he fell, with his life blood. But the
precious sacrifice was not in vain. The Rebel advance was greatly
checked, as when a trembling lamb is thrown into the jaws of a pursuing
pack of ravenous wolves.

The two determined generals improved these dear-bought moments in
planting their own batteries, and getting in readiness also several guns
which had been abandoned by the Eleventh Corps in its flight. All these
guns were double-shotted, and all due preparation was made for the
expected stroke. It was a moment of trembling suspense. Our heroes
waited not long, when the woods just in front of them began to swarm
with the advancing legions, who opened a fearful musketry, and charged
toward our guns. Darkness was falling; but the field where the batteries
were planted was so level that the gunners could do wonderful execution.
And this they did. The Rebel charge had just commenced when our guns
simultaneously opened with a withering fire, which cut down whole ranks
of living flesh like grass. As one line of embattled hosts melted away,
another rushed forward in its place to meet the same fate. Three
successive and desperate charges were made, one of them to within a few
yards of the guns, but each was repulsed with terrible slaughter. In
many places the dead were literally in heaps. Our resistance proved

A little later in the night, and right in front of these batteries, fell
Stonewall Jackson, mortally wounded by our scathing fire, as was at
first supposed, but more likely by the fire of his own infantry, as one
of their writers alleges. Speaking of Jackson, he says, "Such was his
ardor, at this critical moment, and his anxiety to penetrate the
movements of the enemy, doubly screened as they were by the dense forest
and gathering darkness, that he rode ahead of his skirmishers, and
exposed himself to a close and dangerous fire from the enemy's
sharpshooters, posted in the timber.

"So great was the danger which he thus ran, that one of his staff said:
'General, don't you think this is the wrong place for you?' He replied
quickly: 'The danger is all over; the enemy is routed. Go back, and tell
A. P. Hill to press right on.' Soon after giving this order General
Jackson turned, and, accompanied by his staff and escort, rode back at a
trot, on his well-known 'Old Sorrel,' toward his own men. Unhappily, in
the darkness--it was now nine or ten o'clock at night--the little body
of horsemen was mistaken for Federal cavalry charging, and the regiments
on the right and left of the road fired a sudden volley into them with
the most lamentable results. Captain Boswell, of General Jackson's
staff, chief of artillery, was wounded; and two couriers were killed.
General Jackson received one ball in his left arm, two inches below the
shoulder joint, shattering the bone and severing the chief artery; a
second passed through the same arm, between the elbow and wrist, making
its exit through the palm of the hand; a third ball entered the palm of
his right hand, about the middle, and, passing through, broke two of the

"He fell from his horse, and was caught by Captain Wormly, to whom he
said, 'All my wounds are by my own men.'"

The loss of this heroic chieftain, this swift flanker and intrepid
leader, was undoubtedly the greatest yet felt by either army in the fall
of a single man. Some report that, on hearing of the sad fall of his
chief Captain, General Lee exclaimed, "I would rather have lost twenty
thousand men!"

Admitting that the Rebels gained in this battle a great victory, its
advantages were dearly purchased by the loss of Thomas Jonathan Jackson.
About midnight a fierce charge was made by General Sickles' forces,
which proved successful, enabling our boys to recover much of the ground
formerly occupied by the unfortunate Eleventh Corps, and they brought
back with them some abandoned guns and other valuable articles from the
_débris_, which the Rebels had not time or disposition to disturb.

General Hooker then ordered this exposed position to be abandoned, and
by daylight our lines were falling back in good order towards
Chancellorsville, but were closely pursued by the enemy, who filled the
woods. Several determined charges were made upon our retreating
columns, which, however, were repelled mostly by the fire of our
artillery, which mowed down hundreds as they rushed recklessly almost to
the cannon's mouth. But these batteries had been played and worked so
incessantly for the last twelve hours, that ammunition began to fail,
and General Sickles sent a message to Hooker that assistance must be
granted him, or he would be compelled to yield his ground. The officer
who brought the despatch, found General Hooker in a senseless state,
surrounded by his hopeless attendants, while general confusion had
possession of the headquarters. A few minutes previous to this a
cannon-ball had struck the wall of the mansion upon which the General
was incidentally leaning, the concussion felling him to the floor. For
some time he was supposed to be dead, but soon giving signs of returning
consciousness, General Couch, who was next in rank, refused to assume
command, and hence about one hour of precious time was lost. This was a
fatal hour. Had General Hooker been able to receive Sickles' message,
and ordered a heavy force to his assistance, it is thought that a great
disaster could have been prevented, and probably a victory might have
been gained.

But the golden opportunity, which is seldom duplicated in a given crisis
or a life-time, was lost; and the enemy, though somewhat disorganized
and badly disheartened by our well-managed batteries, had time, during
this lull, to recover strength. They then advanced again with such power
as to compel our men to retire from Chancellorsville toward the
Rappahannock, leaving the brick mansion a mass of ruins, made such by
the fire of the enemy.

By noon General Hooker had recovered his consciousness sufficiently to
order the movements of his troops. The fighting on his front was now
nearly over, but his position was critical. General Sedgwick, who had
been directed to cross the Rappahannock below Fredericksburg, with
orders to advance thence against all obstacles until he could fall upon
General Lee's rear, while the grand army engaged him in front, found it
impossible to proceed as rapidly as was expected of him, and was finally
repulsed with such slaughter and pursued with such vigor as to be
compelled to recross the river, leaving at least five thousand of his
men killed, wounded, and captured in the hands of the enemy.

No alternative seemed now left to the Army of the Potomac but to beat a
retreat and recross the river. On the evening of the fifth, General
Hooker held a council of war with his commanders, at which, however,
nothing was decided upon; but in the night he took the responsibility of
ordering all his forces to recross the Rappahannock, which they did in
good order and without molestation; and thus ended the disastrous battle
of Chancellorsville, with a loss of about eighteen thousand men on each
side, and our remaining troops returned to bivouac on their old
camping-ground on the north bank of the river near Falmouth.

This retrograde movement was undoubtedly considered to be necessary in
consequence of the impending storm, which set in about four o'clock of
the afternoon of the fifth, and rendered the march and night
exceedingly disagreeable. The river was swollen so rapidly as to set
adrift several of our pontoons, and the act of recrossing, though
orderly, was by no means pleasant. The storm was cold and violent, and
the roads soon became so bad as to remind the boys of Burnside's
unfortunate advance in January. It is supposed by some that the rain
explains satisfactorily the conduct of the enemy, who seemed to make no
attempt whatever to follow our returning troops.

While yet the rain was drenching our weary boys, on the sixth, General
Hooker issued a congratulatory order to them and the country, in which
are to be found the following characteristic passages:

"The Major-General commanding tenders to this army his congratulations
on its achievements of the last seven days. If it has not accomplished
all that was expected, the reasons are well known to the army. It is
sufficient to say they were of a character not to be foreseen nor
prevented by human sagacity or resources.

"In withdrawing from the south bank of the Rappahannock before
delivering a general battle to our adversaries, the army has given
renewed evidence of its confidence in itself and its fidelity to the
principles it represents. In fighting at a disadvantage, we would have
been recreant to our trust, to ourselves, our cause, and our country.
Profoundly loyal, and conscious of its strength, the Army of the Potomac
will give or decline battle whenever its interest or honor may demand.
It will also be the guardian of its own history and its own honor.

"By our celerity and secrecy of movement, our advance and passage of the
rivers was undisputed, and, on our withdrawal, not a Rebel ventured to

"The events of the last week may swell with pride the heart of every
officer and soldier of this army. We have added new lustre to its former
renown. We have made long marches, crossed rivers, surprised the enemy
in his intrenchments, and, wherever we have fought, have inflicted
heavier blows than we have received. We have taken from the enemy five
thousand prisoners and fifteen colors; captured and brought off seven
pieces of artillery; placed _hors de combat_ eighteen thousand of his
chosen troops; destroyed his dépôts filled with a vast amount of stores;
deranged his communications; captured prisoners within the
fortifications of his capital, and filled his country with fear and
consternation. We have no other regret than that caused by the loss of
our brave companions; and in this we are consoled by the conviction that
they have fallen in the holiest cause ever submitted to the arbitrament
of battle."

This order, if not perfectly satisfactory to the country and to the
authorities, was generally hailed with applause by the army, which
recognized in its sagacious rendering of our difficulties and
humiliations the meed of praise awarded where it was due.

General Lee's order respecting this campaign is also very modest and
unique, and is worthy of a place in this record. In it he says:

"With heartfelt gratification the General commanding expresses to the
army his sense of the heroic conduct displayed by officers and men
during the arduous operations in which they have just been engaged.

"Under trying vicissitudes of heat and storm, you attacked the enemy
strongly intrenched in the depths of a tangled wilderness, and again on
the hills of Fredericksburg, fifteen miles distant, and, by the valor
that has triumphed on so many fields, forced him once more to seek
safety beyond the Rappahannock. While this glorious victory entitles you
to the praise and gratitude of the nation, we are especially called upon
to return our grateful thanks to the only Giver of victory for the
signal deliverance He has wrought.

"It is, therefore, earnestly recommended that the troops unite on Sunday
next in ascribing to the Lord of Hosts the glory due His name. Let us
not forget in our rejoicings the brave soldiers who have fallen in
defence of their country; and, while we mourn their loss, let us resolve
to emulate their noble example. The army and the country alike lament
the absence for a time of one [Jackson] to whose bravery, energy, and
skill they are so much indebted for success."

The two great armies once more confronted each other from either bank of
the river, as they had done during all the winter and spring months. On
the seventh of May, President Lincoln visited the camp near Falmouth,
conferred with his generalissimo on movements past and future, appeared
pleased with the spirit and _morale_ of the troops, and returned to
Washington to continue his earnest toil for the nation's life and

During the month quite a depletion of the rank and file of the army took
place, by the mustering out of large numbers of three months' and two
years' men. And such had been the depressing influences of
Chancellorsville upon the country, that the places of these men were not
very easily filled. To the sagacious leaders in political and military
circles this state of things was not a little alarming. But to the Rebel
leaders the times were affording opportunities for grand schemes, and
for the execution of movements most startling.



1863.--Curiosity Satisfied.--Pastimes on the York River.--Religious
    Services; their Influence.--Raid to Mathias Court House.--Sickness
    and Recovery.--From Gloucester Point to Falmouth.--Exciting Details.
    --Correspondence of Mr. Young.--The Press.--With the Army of the
    Potomac again.--Cavalry Fight at Brandy Station.--Bold Charge of the
    First Maine Cavalry.--The Chivalry fairly Beaten.--Death of Colonel
    B. F. Davis, Eighth New York Cavalry.--Interesting Letter of a Rebel
    Chaplain.--Casualties.--What was Gained by the Reconnoissance.--
    Pleasonton and Kilpatrick Promoted.--Rebels Raiding in Maryland.

Long raids and general engagements or campaigns are usually followed by
a few days of comparative rest. This is necessary both for animals and
men. Vacancies which are generally made during such vicissitudes, in the
staffs of commissioned and non-commissioned officers, have to be filled,
and reorganization takes place. This was the experience of the Army of
the Potomac after its Chancellorsville campaign, as well as our own
after our return from Richmond.

On the eighth of May, Kilpatrick's command left Gloucester Point in the
morning, and, after crossing the York River, amid the cheers of General
Keyes' command, we were provided with tents in an encampment within the
fortifications of Fort Yorktown. Here was a fine opportunity for
repose, which we were all in a condition to relish. Like the prince of
poets, we could realize that

    Can snore upon the flint, when rusty sloth
    Finds the down-pillow hard.

On the day following our arrival here, soldiers and citizens from the
town were flocking into our camp in droves, from réveille till taps,
eager to learn from us the particulars of our recent raid. Groups of
attentive hearers could be seen in various parts of the grounds
surrounding some of our talkative comrades who discoursed eloquently to
them of the sufferings and fatigue, of the daring and danger, of the
stratagem and endurance which attended the expedition. No little amount
of yarn was spun, and not a little imagination was employed to paint the
scenes as vividly as possible.

_May 10._--A dress-parade was ordered at ten o'clock this morning, at
which time a complimentary order to the regiment from the Secretary of
War was read by the adjutant. The occasion was very interesting, and
every man seemed to feel proud of himself, his deeds, and especially of
his leader. In the afternoon our cup of delight was made to run over by
the appearing of our paymaster with his "stamps," as the boys call the
greenbacks. "We received two months' pay. The usual scenes of pay-day
were reënacted, and the occasion passed away amid the untempered follies
of some and the conserving wisdom of others.

The weather is warm and beautiful. Many of us are improving the
opportunity of bathing in the York. This, though not a military, is
certainly a very salutary, exercise, and one which we very much enjoy.
Boat-rides are occasionally participated in, and lots of sport is found
in raking the river-bed for oysters. "Two birds are here killed with one
stone," for there is pleasure in catching, and a double pleasure in
eating, these bivalvular creatures of the brine. Some days we live on
little else but oysters--a diet which is very rapidly recuperating our
overtasked powers.

_Sunday, May 17._--This has been a beautiful day, and this evening a
large meeting for religious services was held near the spot where Lord
Cornwallis surrendered his sword to General Washington. The place seemed
hallowed with the memory of those events; and it certainly ought to have
witnessed the surrender of many rebellious hearts to the "King of kings
and Lord of lords." The exercises of the meeting were conducted by the
officers of the post, and were full of interest.

Wild and rude as soldiers often are, they generally attend with pleasure
all religious services when they are pleasantly invited to do so. And I
think no one ever beheld more attentive audiences than here. So great is
the contrast between the spirit of such a meeting and the general tenor
of our work, that the transition is relieving. Then there is so much in
the life and character of a true soldier that suggests the experience
and principles of a soldier of the Cross, that a versatile and
interesting speaker in a religions assembly here finds ample
illustrations from our every-day observations for the unfolding of
Christian themes. And yet the main influence of Christianity here lies
back even of these statements; it is found in the ready response which
memory brings from the fireside religion of our homes, and the early
instructions of the Sunday-school and church. The "stirring up of our
pure minds by way of remembrance," which is done so easily in the
company of American soldiers, is one of the most potent elements of
heroism and right discipline which can be found.

The history of this country borrows so much light from the cross which
Columbus bore as an ensign, and planted here, from the prayers of the
Pilgrim Fathers, and from the Christian devotion of Washington and
others who laid the foundation of this great Republic, that a _true_
American cannot be destitute of reverence for the religion of the Bible.
Hence over us especially these religious assemblies cannot fail to exert
a salutary influence. And yet we observe that not more than one regiment
in five is provided with a chaplain, or with means of religious
instruction. To a certain extent this deficiency is supplied by the
benevolent agents of the Christian Commission, who, however, are not
able to fill the place of a faithful chaplain. But if it were not for
these, many of our sick and dying would be utterly destitute of
Christian influence, and our dead would be buried more like dogs than
like Christian heroes. We fear that the Government does not properly
appreciate the importance of the chaplaincy in the army, and hence does
not give sufficient inducement for true men to enter this difficult
field of labor. Only a man of stalwart character is fit for the
position--a man of physical, mental, and moral daring. And so far as our
observations extend, with very few exceptions, this is the class of men
who occupy the position of chaplains among us.

_May 19._--Several days have been spent pleasantly within Fort Yorktown,
and we are becoming somewhat eager for more lively experiences and

    "Variety's the source of joy below,
    From which still fresh revolving pleasures flow."

During the day we abandoned Fort Yorktown, and Kilpatrick established a
camp for the regiment in the old peach-orchard, famous for the battle
which occurred within its limits during McClellan's Peninsular Campaign.
It is a lovely spot, which, however, shows signs of the conflict above
referred to. There is scarcely a tree but presents marks of the bloody
drama, in broken bark and splintered trunk, and in wounded branches
which hang danglingly over our heads.


During the day a detail of the regiment, sufficient in number to mount
all the serviceable horses, was ordered out in an expedition against
Mathias Court House. A detachment of infantry and a battery of artillery
accompany the cavalry, and Kilpatrick is in command of the entire force.
The line of march is through a rich and beautiful region of country.
Mathias county is a lovely peninsula, encompassed by the waters of the
Piankatank River, on the north, the Chesapeake Bay, on the east, and Mob
Jack Bay, on the south. The North River forms a portion of its boundary
on the west, against Gloucester county, and nearly severs it from the

Kilpatrick was favored with fine weather in his expedition, and returned
on the twenty-second crowned with success. A multitude of slaves was
liberated, hailing our forces everywhere as their friends and
protectors. Large numbers of fine horses and mules, with which that
country abounds, were also captured. No Rebel force of any importance
was encountered, and the boys greatly enjoyed their visit to the
well-stocked plantations of the wealthy farmers, many of whom had never
before seen a Yankee.

_May 24._--I was taken very suddenly ill during the night. Dr. Kingston
came to see me at three o'clock, and so skilfully treated my case, that
I was quickly relieved of pain. In three hours from the time the surgeon
came to my quarters, I was well enough to be up and on duty, so that at
six o'clock I was able to call the roll of my company as usual, and to
attend to other duties.

The day after my illness I began to make out muster and pay rolls for my
company. This work was undertaken by all the first-sergeants of the
regiment. But our task is unusually difficult, as nearly all our
company-books and papers were captured by guerillas at the commencement
of the spring campaign. "Patience and perseverance" is our motto; and
yet many times, as we endeavor to unravel the snarls and untie the
knots, we find that the above virtues almost forsake us.

_May 26._--This afternoon we had mounted regimental drill, and this was
followed by dress-parade. Our time is now devoted mostly to drilling, in
preparation, as we all think, for some movement.

_May 29._--Orders for an advance have at length reached us. At five
o'clock this afternoon we struck our tents, broke camp, and crossed the
York by ferry, halting for the night near Fort Keyes, at Gloucester
Point. There is much discussion among us as to the point of destination,
but nearly all agree that we are to rejoin the Army of the Potomac.
Soldiers seldom know the object of their movements. All we need is to
receive the order or command, and we go, "asking no question for
conscience' sake."

_May 30._--We moved from Gloucester Point early in the morning, and made
a forced march to the Piankatank River. The rising smoke announced to us
that the bridge across this stream had been burnt before us. After
considerable searching and sounding, a place so nearly fordable was
found as to enable a portion of the command to cross over. Others
meanwhile constructed a temporary bridge over which they effected a
crossing. Guerillas are very numerous in these parts. One of our
vedettes was fired upon and wounded by them early this evening. All our
attempts to capture such culprits are in vain. The forests are so dense,
and ravines so deep and dark, that a man acquainted with every secret
nook and corner, can hide away in perfect security, after committing his

_Sunday, May 31._--The Troy company is on picket duty to-day. A
detachment from the company made a reconnoissance this morning beyond
the outposts, and brought in two citizens of a suspicious character.
They undoubtedly belong to the gang of bushwhackers that has hung upon
our flanks and rear, and inflicted the injuries we have sustained for
the past few days. Rich supplies of bacon and corn, of sorghum and
honey, are found along our path. The country has never been visited by
Federal troops, and is as full of provisions for us as it is filled with
consternation and alarm at our approach. We have spent the day in
scouting the country.

_June 1._--Our march was resumed at an early hour in the morning, and we
advanced to Urbanna, a town on the Rappahannock. Here several important
captures were made, including Colonel E. P. Jones and Captain Brown, of
the Virginia militia. Here we spent the night pleasantly. During the
night Kilpatrick managed to establish communication with our gun-boats
on the Rappahannock, and in the morning early we were taken across on
transports, protected by the gun-boats. After a short halt to feed our
horses from the corn-ricks which dot the country, we resumed our march,
and with the setting sun reached a place called Litwalton, where we
bivouacked for the night.

_June 3._--To-day we had a very pleasant march through a pleasant
country and with pleasant weather. Richmond Court House was reached for
our bivouac to-night; but we left early in the morning of the fourth,
and by good marching arrived at Port Conway at four o'clock P. M. Here
we unsaddled our horses for the first time since leaving Yorktown,
after the marches of six days.

_June 5._--We reached Falmouth. Upon meeting our old acquaintances in
the Army of the Potomac, cheers upon cheers were heartily vociferated
for Kilpatrick and the Harris Light, and our march was a continual

The following quotations will show the consideration that was accorded
to Kilpatrick's movements:

"Colonel Kilpatrick, with the Harris Light Cavalry and the Twelfth
Illinois Cavalry, left Yorktown at twelve o'clock Friday night, reaching
Gloucester Point at one A. M., and Gloucester Court House at half-past
five A. M., Saturday. They left again at eight o'clock, and at four P. M.
on the same day arrived at Saluda, leaving there at half-past four Monday
morning, and reaching Urbanna at half-past six A. M., where the wharves
were found to be partially destroyed by fire.

"The bridge on the Piankatank River, near Dragon Ordinary, had been
destroyed by the citizens, and, as there were no fords, a squadron of
the Twelfth Illinois swam their horses over the river, while another
portion of Kilpatrick's command--the Colonel and his staff-officers
assisting--constructed a floating bridge of felled trees and fence-rails
in about half an hour, over which the remainder of the cavalry crossed
in safety.

"At Saluda the colors of the Twelfth Virginia Infantry were captured by
the cavalry. From there the country was scoured for a distance of ten
miles, resulting in the capture of horses, mules, and carriages, and in
the emancipation of numerous slaves.

"Between Montague and Bowler's Ferry the Rebel pickets were driven in as
far as the barricades which they had constructed of felled trees, within
three miles of the ferry.

"Occasionally guerilla skirmishing was encountered on the road; but
there was no fighting with any considerable force of the Rebels, though
they had infantry and artillery at Kings and Queens Court House and
about two hundred cavalry at Bowler's Ferry.

"A letter from Stuart was intercepted, addressed to a secessionist named
Fontleroy, in Middlesex County, assuring him that he would have a
sufficient force of cavalry in that neighborhood by Sunday evening to
relieve the anxiety of the people of the county and stop the raids of
the Yankees.

"Among the prisoners captured by Kilpatrick's cavalry was Captain Brown,
of the Fifth Virginia cavalry, and the guerilla, Colonel E. P. Jones.
The only man wounded was Orderly-Sergeant Northrup, of Company G, Harris
Light Cavalry, who was hit with a buckshot-charge fired by a

"The transports Long Branch, William N. Frazier, Star, and Tallaca,
under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Dickinson, of General Hooker's
staff, conveyed the cavalry and the captured horses and mules across the
Rappahannock from Urbanna to Carter's wharf, six miles higher up than
the former place, and subsequently conveyed the contrabands to Aquia

"The gun-boats Freeborn, Yankee, Anacostia, Jacob Bell, Satellite,
Primrose, and Currituck, convoyed the transports up and down the river,
and the Jacob Bell covered the landing at Carter's Creek. These vessels
of the Potomac flotilla were under the command of Commodore Samuel

"There was a small force of infantry under Colonel Dickinson, being
picked men; and the cavalry, with the aid of this infantry at Urbanna,
despoiled the Rebels between Yorktown and the Rappahannock of nearly one
thousand contrabands and about three hundred horses and mules, besides
depleting their granaries and poultry-yards.

"Colonel Kilpatrick, Colonel Dickinson, and Commodore Magaw, and those
in their commands, are entitled to commendation for the energy
exhibited, as is also the engineer corps of the Fiftieth New York, under
Captain Folwell, which promptly repaired the bridge at Carter's wharf.
Lieutenant-Colonel Dickinson, Captain John B. Howard, acting
assistant-quartermaster, formerly of the Brooklyn Fourteenth, and other
military gentlemen and civilians, rode out to Saluda, and were
hospitably entertained at the residence of the Clerk of the Courts, who
tendered his assurances of respect with generous plates of strawberries
and cream."

From another periodical we clip the following:

"We have an account of Colonel Kilpatrick's recent successful raid back
from Gloucester Point. He crossed the country between the York and
Rappahannock Rivers, making an extensive circuit through the garden-spot
of Virginia--a section where our troops have never before penetrated.
Colonel Kilpatrick made a large haul of negroes, horses, &c., and has
arrived safely at Urbanna with them. He spread general terror among the
Rebels. His forces were taken across the Rappahannock by our gun-boats,
and proceeded at once to our lines."

A brief item from the _Troy Times_ will complete the journal of this
important event:

"Colonel Kilpatrick is the hero of another great raid through the
enemy's country. At the conclusion of Stoneman's raid, it will be
remembered, Colonel Kilpatrick's command remained at Gloucester Court
House. Last week he was ordered to again join the main army, and, on the
thirtieth ultimo, he started on the march to Urbanna, on the Lower
Rappahannock. He returned to the Army of the Potomac on the fifth
instant, after travelling over a large extent of territory and
destroying an immense amount of property."

A little rest was enjoyed at Falmouth. But our experience convinces us
that the cavalryman must write history in haste if he would write as
rapidly as it is made.

_June 7._--The bugles sounded réveille at three o'clock A. M. "Boots and
saddles" followed at four; "lead out" at four-and-a-quarter, and the
column was in motion towards Warrenton Junction at four-and-a-half. We
went _viâ_ Catlett's Station, which place we reached at two o'clock P. M.
Nearly every step of the march was on familiar ground, where we had
passed and repassed many times. It seemed like meeting old friends, and
nearly every object we saw suggested thoughts and experiences of the past.

[Illustration: CAVALRY FIGHT AT BRANDY STATION, JUNE 9th, 1863.]

At Warrenton Junction we rejoined the Cavalry Corps, now under the
command of General Alfred Pleasonton.

_June 9._--At two o'clock P. M. the whole Cavalry Corps moved from
Warrenton Junction towards the Rappahannock. We are marching in two
columns, one towards Beverly and the other towards Kelly's, Fords. The
Harris Light moves with the latter column. Two brigades of infantry
under Generals Ames and Russell accompany the expedition, each with a
battery of artillery.


Early on the morning of the ninth we arrived at the river, where it was
evident we were not expected in force, for we found nothing but a strong
picket-guard to contest our advance. A brief though brisk skirmish took
place at the ford, but the Rebel pickets were soon driven back and our
column began to cross over, the Harris Light being in the van. On
reaching the south bank of the stream, the column was re-formed, and we
advanced for some distance at a gallop.

The column at Beverly Ford, commanded by General Gregg, had been engaged
since early in the morning, and the roaring of light arms and the
booming of cannon clearly indicated to us that hot work was being done
by our comrades below. It had been hoped that that column would be able
to strike the enemy in flank at Brandy Station, in the early part of the
day, giving us an opportunity to rake them furiously in front. Hence we
were somewhat retarded in our movements, waiting or expecting the
combinations and juxtapositions which had been planned. But, failing in
this, at length we advanced towards the station, where, at ten o'clock,
we engaged a regiment of Stuart's cavalry. As soon as we reached the
field which they had evidently selected for the fight, we charged them
in a splendid manner, routing them completely, and capturing many
prisoners. Light artillery was used briskly on both sides.

By twelve o'clock Pleasonton's entire force had effected a union, after
much severe fighting, on the left, and the engagement became general.
The infantry fought side by side with the cavalry. There was some grand
manoeuvring on that historic field, and feats were performed worthy of

One incident should be particularized. At a critical moment, when the
formidable and ever-increasing hosts of the enemy were driving our
forces from a desirable position we sought to gain, and when it seemed
as though disaster to our arms would be fatal, Kilpatrick's battle-flag
was seen advancing, followed by the tried squadrons of the Harris Light,
the Tenth New York, and the First Maine. In echelons of squadrons his
brigade was quickly formed, and he advanced like a storm-cloud upon the
Rebel cavalry which filled the field before him. The Tenth New York
received the first shock of the Rebel charge, but was hurled back,
though not in confusion. The Harris Light met with no better success;
and, notwithstanding their prestige and power, they were repulsed under
the very eye of their chief, whose excitement at the scene was well-nigh
uncontrollable. His flashing eye now turned to the First Maine, a
regiment composed mostly of heavy, sturdy men, who had not been engaged
as yet during the day; and, riding to the head of the column, he
shouted, "Men of Maine, you must save the day! Follow me!" With one
simultaneous war-cry these giants of the North moved forward in one
solid mass upon the flank of the Rebel columns. The shock was
overwhelming; and the opposing lines crumbled like a "bowing wall"
before this wild rush of prancing horses, gleaming sabres, and rattling

On rode Kilpatrick with the men of Maine, and, on meeting the two
regiments of his brigade, which had been repulsed and were returning
from the front, the General's voice sang out like clarion notes above
the din of battle, "Back, the Harris Light! Back, the Tenth New York!
Re-form your squadrons and charge!". With magical alacrity the order was
obeyed, and the two regiments, which had been so humbled by their first
reverse, now rushed into the fight with a spirit and success which
redeemed them from censure, and accounted them worthy of their gallant
leader. The commanding position was won; a battery lost in a previous
charge was recaptured, and an effectual blow was given to the enemy,
which greatly facilitated the movements which followed.

But the Rebel cavalry was greatly emboldened and strengthened by
reënforcements of infantry which were brought in railroad cars. We,
however, continued to press them closely until six o'clock, when, by a
grand charge of our entire force, we gained an important position, which
ended the contest.

Heavy columns of Rebel infantry could now be distinctly seen advancing
over the plains from the direction of Culpepper, to the rescue of their
fairly-beaten cavalry. But it was too late for them, for we had won a
splendid victory, and had gained all the information of Rebel movements
which we desired to obtain. Under cover of the night we recrossed the
Rappahannock in safety.

The whole command had lost about five hundred men, and we brought over
with us one hundred prisoners. In the early part of the engagement fell
Colonel B. F. Davis, of the Eighth New York Cavalry, who was instantly
killed. His loss was a subject of general lamentation. He had
distinguished himself for great sagacity, wonderful powers of endurance,
and unsurpassed bravery. He it was who led the cavalry safely from
Harper's Ferry just before Miles' surrender of the place, and who, on
his way to Pennsylvania, captured Longstreet's ammunition-train.

Among our wounded was Colonel Percy Wyndham. The enemy's killed included
Colonel Saul Williams, of the Second North Carolina Cavalry, and
Lieutenant-Colonel Frank Hampton, of the South Carolina Cavalry; General
W. H. F. Lee and Colonels Butler and Harmon were among their wounded.
They acknowledge a loss of six hundred men.

From the _Richmond Sentinel_ we clip the following account of the
battle, by a Rebel chaplain:

      June 10, 1863.

      Tuesday, the ninth of June, will be memorable to General
      Stuart's command as the day on which was fought the longest
      and most hotly-contested cavalry battle of the war. At an
      early hour skirmishing commenced, and soon the commands of
      Hampton, the two Lees, Robinson, and Jones, were engaged
      along the whole Culpepper line, from Welford's Ford, on the
      Hazel, down to Stevensburg. Each command acted nobly, and
      the Yankees were forced, after a fight of nearly twelve
      hours, to recross the river with great losses. We have to
      lament the loss of many gallant officers and privates, some
      killed and others permanently disabled. The forces under W.
      H. F. Lee, that worthy descendant of "Old Light Horse
      Harry," bore no mean part in the fray. We have to regret the
      temporary loss of our general (W. H. F. Lee), who was
      wounded in the thigh, and the death of Colonel Williams (of
      our brigade), than whom a more elegant gentleman or braver
      soldier never lived.

      Being connected with the Tenth Virginia Cavalry, under
      Colonel J. Lucius Davis, and, therefore, better cognizant of
      its conduct, it is not invidious to allude to it, though not
      claiming any superiority over other regiments, all of which
      did nobly. Early in the morning this regiment was dismounted
      for sharp-shooting, and, until ordered off, held its ground,
      though exposed to an incessant and galling fire from the
      Fifth United States Regulars, who were snugly ensconced
      behind a stone fence. At this point many of the casualties
      in our regiment occurred. In the afternoon the Tenth, led by
      Colonel Davis, made a splendid charge on the Second United
      States Regulars, who, after a hand-to-hand conflict, broke
      and fled incontinently. Our General (Stuart), whose praise
      is not to be despised, paid a high compliment on the field
      to the Tenth for its conduct in holding Welford's Hill, and
      for its dashing charge.

      I append a list of casualties:

      Company A (Caskie Rangers), commanded by Captain Robert
      Caskie.--Killed: None. Wounded: Second Lieutenant J. Doyle,
      slightly in head; Private, Eytel, in breast; English, in
      foot; Hubbell, in breast; Gill, in arm and shoulder; Wilson,
      in hip. Missing and taken prisoners: Privates Burton,
      Charles Childress, Joseph Childress, Fulcher, Hudnall, and
      Parker.--Total, 12.

      Company B, Captain W. B. Clements.--Killed: Corporal N. B.
      Ellis. Wounded: Privates Anderson Foster, severely in thigh;
      P. J. Cape, in thigh; H. Foster, slightly in foot; R. P.
      Brewbaker, slightly in head; A. Caton, in hand.--Total, 6.

      Company C, commanded by Lieutenant Richardson.--Killed:
      None. Wounded: Lieutenant N. Richardson, seriously through
      breast; Sergeant J. Mason, in leg; Corporal Brown, in arm;
      Privates J. B. King, slightly in thigh; W. B. Saw, seriously
      in hip; M. Potter, in hand. Missing: J. Shumate. --Total, 7.

      Company D, absent on detached service.

      Company E, commanded by Captain J. Tucker.--Killed: Private
      H. T. Bourgois. Wounded: Corporal F. S. Labit, in shoulder;
      S. H. Lamb, in hand. Missing: Sergeant Peter Smith (wounded
      and captured); Sergeant Stromburg (wounded and captured);
      Private Enoch Pelton.--Total, 6.

      Company F, commanded by Captain J. H. Dettor.--Killed: G.
      Wescott. Wounded: Privates John White, in thigh; John E.
      Edge, in thigh; J. R. Giles, in arm; Sergeant J. Durret,
      arm.--Total, 5.

      Company G, commanded by M. S. Kirtley.--Killed: None.
      Wounded: Corporal J. M. McConn, seriously in arm; Private
      Jonathan Shepherd, slightly in head. Missing: Private S.
      Hartley.--Total, 3.

      Company H, commanded by Lieutenant S. K. Newham.--Killed:
      None. Wounded: Privates James O'Connor, mortally; M. Neff,
      seriously in leg. Missing: J. P. Martz, R. F.
      Koontz.--Total, 4.

      Company I (Henrico Light Dragoons), commanded by Lieutenant
      J. H. T. McDowell.--Killed: Private Louis Ottenburg.
      Wounded: Sergeant S. L. McGruder, slightly in shoulder;
      Corporal J. C. Mann, slightly in leg; Privates Walter
      Priest, mortally in breast; George Waldrop, slightly in
      shoulder; B. J. Duval, slightly in head; W. T. Thomas, in
      shoulder slightly.--Total, 7.

      Company K, commanded by Captain Dickinson.--Killed: None.
      Wounded: Corporal J. L. Franklin, in right shoulder; Private
      J. M. Craig, head, left arm severely; R. V. Griffin, right
      shoulder severely; C. P. Preston, slightly in nose; W. T.
      Arrington, breast slightly; T. R. Gilbert, left arm
      slightly. Missing: Sergeant T. S. Holland; Privates E. A.
      Haines and S. R. Gilbert.--Total, 9.

      Total killed, wounded, and missing, 59.

      J. B. TAYLOR, JR., _Chaplain Tenth Virginia Cavalry_,
      W. H. F. LEE'S _Brigade_.

Two important ends were reached by this advance, namely, first, a
cavalry raid contemplated by Stuart, who had massed his forces near
Culpepper, was utterly frustrated; and second, General Pleasonton
ascertained conclusively that General Lee was marching his army
northward, with the evident design of invading the Northern States.
Indeed, it was a suspicion of such a movement that led General Hooker to
order the reconnoissance.

The day following this glorious fight, in which the men of the North had
proved themselves to be more than a match for the boasted Southern
chivalry, and had gained a name which placed Pleasonton's command at the
head of the world's cavalry forces, Pleasonton was made a Major-General,
and Kilpatrick a Brigadier. Their stars were well-deserved and proudly

During the day the Cavalry Corps moved to Warrenton Junction, leaving
strong guards at the fords of the Rappahannock to prevent any crossing
which might be attempted by the enemy.

_June 11._--At two o'clock this afternoon General Gregg inspected our
division. The day was beautiful, and the troopers made a splendid
appearance. To heighten the interest of the occasion, the colors
captured by the Harris Light at Urbanna, and those taken by the First
Maine in their memorable charge at Brandy Station on the ninth instant,
were displayed amid the cheers of the enthusiastic cavalrymen, whose
past deeds give encouraging promise for the future.

_Sunday, June 14._--We are still encamped on the plains near Warrenton
Junction. On the twelfth the regiment was inspected by Captain
Armstrong, of Kilpatrick's staff. The following day we had an
interesting mounted-drill. We cannot keep idle. This afternoon, at two
o'clock, we received orders to prepare to move at a moment's notice.
Cannonading is distinctly heard in the direction of Warrenton.

For several days it has been expected that General Lee, with his forces,
would make his appearance on the banks of the Potomac, somewhere below
Harper's Ferry. But as they have failed to do so, the inquiry is very
general among us, "Where are they?" and, "What do they intend?" To work
out the answer to such interrogations is generally the work of the
cavalry; so that, when our orders for readiness to move were received,
we saw before us a reconnoissance in force. We understand that already
Rebel cavalry is raiding more or less in Maryland, and some exciting
times are expected before long.



1863.--Invasion of the Northern States.--Kilpatrick at Aldie.--The Bloody
    Battle.--Daring Deeds.--Colonel Cesnola, Fourth New York Cavalry.--
    Incidents.--Victory.--Advance to Ashby's Gap.--Pleasonton's Official
    Report.--Rebel Movements on Free Soil.--Difficulties in the North.--
    The Cavalry Corps Crosses the Potomac at Edward's Ferry.--General
    Meade succeeds Hooker.--Orders.--Changes in the Cavalry.--Movements.
    --Kilpatrick's Fight with Stuart at Hanover Junction.--Solemn and
    laughable Scenes.--Buford's Division Opens the Fight at Gettysburg.
    --Death of General Reynolds.--First Bay's Repulse.--Second Bay.--
    Rebel Advantages.--Third Bay.--Last Grand Effort.--Death of General
    Farnsworth.--The Republic just Saved.

For nearly two days we were prepared to march, and awaiting orders, when
at last they came. At about six o'clock on the morning of the sixteenth
we took up our line of march, which was mostly along the railroad in the
direction of Manassas. Having arrived at these celebrated plains, we
struck off a little to the left towards Centreville, where we arrived at
ten o'clock, weary with the long journey. Here we ascertained that
General Hooker's headquarters are at Fairfax Court House, or in the
vicinity, and that his army covers the approaches to Washington.

_June 17._--After a refreshing night's rest, we were up early in the
morning, and resumed our march at six o'clock, taking the Warrenton
Turnpike. Kilpatrick has the advance of the corps. We soon crossed the
memorable fields of the two Bull Run battles, passed the famous field of
Groveton, and there deflecting to the right, and pushing forward
rapidly, we arrived by noon in sight of the hills which partially
surround the village of Aldie, on the north side of the Bull Run
Mountains. Kilpatrick had been directed to move through Aldie, and
thence to and through Ashby's Gap, in the Blue Ridge, learn all he could
of the enemy's movements, and, then returning, to rejoin the corps at
Nolan's Ferry on the Potomac. Colonel Duffié, with his regiment, the
First Rhode Island, was ordered to move through Thoroughfare Gap, and to
join Kilpatrick in Pleasant Valley beyond. These plans were laid with
the presumption that no very heavy force of Rebels remained north of the
Blue Ridge, and none at all north of the Bull Run Mountains. But this
was a great mistake.


James Moore, M. D., Surgeon of the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry, thus
describes what occurred to Kilpatrick and his command at this place:

"Scarcely had his advance reached the town of Aldie, when it came
directly upon the advance-guard of W. H. F. Lee. It was entirely
unexpected. No enemy was supposed to be on the Aldie side of the Bull
Run Mountains.

"The general rode to the front, ran his eye over the field for a moment,
and then rapidly gave his orders. He had taken in the whole field at
one rapid glance, and saw the important points that must be gained. The
Harris Light Cavalry was directed to charge straight down the road,
through the town, gain and hold the long, low hill over which runs the
road from Middleburg. With anxious eye he watched the charge, on which
so much depended, saw that it was successful, and quickly and resolutely
pushed in one regiment after another on the right of the Harris Light,
till the high hills far on the right of Aldie were gained.

"This fine disposition was made, and important position won, before the
Rebel General Fitzhugh Lee could make a single effort to prevent it,
although he had a division of cavalry at his back.

"He soon recovered, however, from the temporary surprise, and for two
hours made most desperate efforts to regain the position lost. He struck
the right, left, and centre in quick succession, while his battery of
Blakely guns thundered forth their messengers of death.

"But all in vain! Kilpatrick's gallant men--the heroes of Brandy
Station--met and hurled back each charge, while Randall's battery,
ignoring entirely the Rebel guns, sent his canister and shells tearing
through the heavy columns of the enemy.

"On this day Kilpatrick did wonders. He fought under the eye of his
chief, and where bullets flew the thickest, and where the shock came the
heaviest, there rang his cheering voice and there flashed his sabre. His
own regiment, the Harris Light, had failed to meet his hopes on the
plains of Brandy Station. This was known to the officers of that
splendid organization, and on that very morning they had petitioned
their general for an opportunity to retrieve their reputation. The
opportunity was at hand.

"A large force of the enemy occupied a strong position behind rail
barricades encircling large stacks of hay. For a long time Rebel
sharp-shooters, from this secure position, had baffled every attempt to
advance our lines on the left. The general ordered up a battalion of the
Harris Light. Quickly they came! Addressing a few encouraging words to
the men, and then turning to Major McIrvin, the officer in command, he
said, pointing to the barricades: 'Major, _there_ is the opportunity you
have asked for. Go, take that position!' Away dashed this officer and
his men. In a moment the enemy was reached, and the struggle began. The
horses could not leap the barricade, but the men dismounted, scaled
those formidable barriers, and, with drawn sabres, rushed upon the
hidden foe, who quickly asked for quarter.

"Another incident occurred worth mentioning. Colonel Cesnola, of the
Fourth New York Cavalry, had that morning, through mistake, been placed
under arrest, and, his sword being taken from him, was without arms. But
in one of these wild charges, made early in the contest, his regiment
hesitated. Forgetting that he was under arrest, and without command, he
flew to the head of his regiment, reassured his men, and, without a
weapon to give or ward a blow, led them to the charge. This gallant act
was seen by his general, who, meeting him on his return, said: 'Colonel,
you are a brave man; you are released from arrest;' and, taking his own
sword from his side, handed it to the colonel, saying: 'Here is my
sword; wear it in honor of this day!' In the next charge Colonel Cesnola
fell, desperately wounded, and was taken prisoner.

"The Rebel general, being foiled at every point, resolved to make one
more desperate effort. Silently and quickly he massed a heavy force upon
our extreme right, and, led by General Rosser, made one of the most
desperate and determined charges of the day. Kilpatrick was aware of
this movement, and satisfied that his men, exhausted as they were, could
not withstand the charge, had already sent for reënforcements.

"Before these could reach him the shock came. The First Massachusetts
had the right, and fought as only brave men could to stem the tide that
steadily bore them back, until the whole right gave way. Back rushed our
men in wild confusion, and on came the victorious Rebel horsemen. The
general saw, with anguish, his flying soldiers, yet in his extremity
retained his presence of mind, and proved himself worthy the star he had
won at Brandy Station.

"Sending orders for the centre and left to stand fast, he placed himself
at the head of the First Maine, sent to his assistance, and coolly
waited till the Rebel charging columns had advanced within fifty yards
of Randall's guns. He then shouted 'Forward!' and the same regiment that
saved the day at Brandy Station was destined to save the day at Aldie.
Rosser's men could not withstand the charge, but broke and fled up the
hill. The general's horse was killed in the charge, and here the brave
Colonel Doughty fell.

"The general determined now to complete the victory, and, mounting a
fresh horse, he urged on the First Maine and First Massachusetts, sent
orders for his whole line to advance, and then sounded the charge. Lee
struggled for a few minutes against this advance, and then ordered a
retreat, which ended in a rout. His troops were driven in confusion as
far as Middleburg, and night alone saved the remnant of his command.

"This was by far the most bloody cavalry battle of the war. The Rebel
chivalry had again been beaten, and Kilpatrick, who was the only general
on the field, at once took a proud stand among the most famous of our
Union cavalry generals. The fame of our cavalry was now much enhanced,
and caused the greatest joy to the nation."

_June 18._--General Pleasonton was anxious to press the Rebel cavalry
back upon their infantry, to ascertain minutely their movements; hence,
to-day, Kilpatrick was ordered to advance through the Bull Run
Mountains, and to occupy Middleburg. Jaded as we were, as well as our
horses, with the fearful yet glorious labors of the previous day, with
mercury up to 98° Fahrenheit in the shade, and 122° in the sun, with an
atmosphere unusually oppressive for Virginia, and through dust which
many tramping hoofs made almost intolerable, we marched into Pleasant
Valley. The outpost of the Rebel cavalry was met near the town, but they
were driven from the streets, and we took possession of Middleburg.

About three o'clock in the afternoon a heavy wind arose, betokening
rain, which began to fall about five o'clock, mingled with hail. For
this atmospheric change we had earnestly prayed. The heat had become so
oppressive, and the roads so dusty, as to make our movements very
unpleasant and disastrous to men and beasts, especially to the latter.

In this beautiful region of country we spent a few days very pleasantly,
recruiting our strength and awaiting orders.


_June 21._--The Cavalry Corps, with General Pleasonton at its head,
moved, at eight o'clock this morning, in the direction of Ashby's Gap,
in the Blue Ridge. We had not proceeded far before we encountered the
Rebel pickets, which we drove steadily before us. Their strength,
however, greatly increased as we advanced. Quite a large force contested
our progress when we entered Carrtown, and from this place to Upperville
the engagement was a little too heavy to be called a skirmish.
Nevertheless, we pushed ahead without being seriously retarded until we
reached Upperville. Here our advance was met with great desperation, the
enemy charging us handsomely, but with no great damage. When our forces
had been properly arranged, and the right time had come, Kilpatrick was
ordered to charge the town. With drawn sabres--weapons in which the
general always had great confidence, and generally won success--and with
yells which made the mountains and plains resound, we rushed upon the
foe. The fray was terrible. Several times did the Rebels break, but,
being reënforced or falling back upon some better position, again
endeavored to baffle our efforts. But they were not equal to the task,
and we drove them through the village of Paris, and finally through
Ashby's Gap, upon their infantry columns in the Shenandoah Valley. In
these charges and chase we captured two pieces of artillery, four
caissons, several stand of small arms, and a large number of prisoners.

It was my misfortune, in one of those desperate encounters, to have a
favorite horse shot under me. But it was also my fortune to escape from
the deadly missiles which filled the air, and from my fallen horse,
unhurt. Another animal was soon provided for me from the captures we had

Our scouts, during this engagement, had managed to gain an entrance into
the Valley, where they ascertained that the Rebel army, in heavy
columns, was advancing towards the Upper Potomac.

This fight was of sufficient importance to call forth from the commanding
general the following official document:

      Camp near Upperville, 5.20 P. M., June 21.

      _Brigadier-General S. Williams_:

      GENERAL: I moved with my command this morning to Middleburg,
      and attacked the cavalry force of the Rebels under Stuart,
      and steadily drove him all day, inflicting a heavy loss at
      every step.

      I drove him through Upperville into Ashby's Gap.

      We took two pieces of artillery, one being a Blakely gun,
      and three caissons, besides blowing up one; also, upwards
      of sixty prisoners, and more are coming; a
      lieutenant-colonel, major, and five other officers, besides
      a wounded colonel and a large number of wounded Rebels left
      in the town of Upperville.

      They left their dead and wounded upon the field; of the
      former I saw upward of twenty.

      We also took a large number of carbines, pistols, and
      sabres. In fact, it was a most disastrous day to the Rebel

      Our loss has been very small both in men and horses.

      I never saw the troops behave better, or under more
      difficult circumstances.

      Very heavy charges were made, and the sabre used freely, but
      always with great advantage to us.


The day following this decided victory by force of arms, and by the
stratagem of scouts, who obtained all needful information as to the
intentions of the enemy, the Cavalry Corps retired from Ashby's Gap and
established its headquarters at Aldie. Our outposts are near Middleburg.
We are now receiving some exciting news from Maryland and the North. It
appears that Rebel cavalry was raiding through Maryland, destroying
railroads and bridges, telegraph lines and dépôts, and making havoc on
the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal as early as the fifteenth instant; and
that General Ewell, with a corps of infantry, crossed the Potomac at
Williamsport on the sixteenth, and advanced _via_ Hagerstown towards

A sad and distressing alarm seems to have aroused the North. General
Lee's advance thus far, excepting the repulses of his cavalry on his
right flank, has been a perfect success. It is true that Washington, the
glittering prize before him, has been protected by General Hooker's
cautious movements. But this protection of the Capital has consumed time
and given the enemy a decided advantage in other quarters. He had
already entered the Free States before we fairly understood his

Winchester, an important post in the Shenandoah Valley, guarded by
General Milroy, was nearly surrounded by the advancing Rebel hordes,
before our general even dreamed that he was in jeopardy. The few of our
men who escaped from that garrison, were greatly demoralized, while
about four thousand were made prisoners, and many heavy guns, small
arms, wagons, horses, and stores of all kinds fell into the enemy's

These blunders on our part and losses, together with the prowess and
boast of the Rebel legions, gave the malcontents of the North, and
political tricksters, a coveted opportunity to rail against the
Administration, and to weaken, as far as their influence could be felt,
the confidence which had been reposed in it. The President was
represented as an imbecile, utterly devoid of statesmanship. The army
was berated with no measured terms. Every reverse of fortune was
attributed to a want of brains and heart in the heads of departments.
The Republic had certainly fallen upon dark days.

General Lee, undoubtedly, expected to make capital out of this state of
things, and hoped that by winning a grand victory on Northern soil, so
to cripple the Administration and to demoralize the political party in
power, that he could secure the aid and comfort of the opposing party,
and thus compel the North to submit to any terms of peace which the
anomalous Confederacy might dictate.

Notwithstanding the threatening posture of military affairs, and that
the Government was thoroughly alarmed and ordered out the militia of
Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, and other States,
the call being faithfully reëchoed by the Governors of those States, the
responses were comparatively faint and fell far short of the numbers
which had been demanded. New York City alone responded generously. The
uniformed and disciplined regiments there generally and promptly went to
the contest, and appeared where they were needed. For this the Governor
of the State was publicly thanked by the Secretary of War.

_June 25._--We are informed that our infantry and artillery, with small
detachments of cavalry, are advancing through Maryland to meet and repel
the invaders, who are reported to be crossing the Potomac in two heavy
columns at Shepherdstown and Williamsport. Every department of the
service seems to be in commotion, and great things are expected. A heavy
rain set in early this evening.

_June 26._--At six o'clock this morning we broke camp at Aldie and
advanced towards Leesburg, spending the night near this place. Most of
our time has been spent in the saddle. This is becoming not only our
seat, but also our bed and pillow.

_June 27._--At five o'clock A. M. our corps commenced its march towards
Edward's Ferry, on the Potomac. On our way to the ferry we crossed the
famous battle-field of Ball's Bluff, where Colonel Baker and many of his
gallant Californians became an early and costly sacrifice to the cause
of the Union.

On reaching the river we found the two pontoon bridges over which
already a large portion of our army had passed on before us. They had
been much retarded by the heavy rains and mud. The approaches to the
pontoons had been so trodden by the myriad feet of men and beasts, and
cut by the heavy wheels of laden wagons and artillery, that we found the
roads almost bottomless. But as we had seen mud many times before, we
moved forward undismayed, though somewhat retarded, and were soon on
Northern soil. A somewhat strange feeling came over us on finding
ourselves marching mainly towards the North Star to meet the enemy,
whereas we had so long been accustomed to look and march only southward
for this purpose.

Our march lay through a fine and fertile section of country. The vast
fields of grain are ripening for the harvest, and their appearance
indicates that thus far the labors of the husbandman have not been in
vain. The peacefulness of the fields and flocks presents a striking
contrast to the warlike preparations which are now being made for what
must be the most decisive and bloody contest of the war. The rebellion
seems to have risked its very existence in the coming conflict, which
cannot be many days hence. Determination and desperation seem foremost
in the movement. On our side a solemn decision seems to be actuating
the masses. We know that should the "Stars and Bars" be victorious
again, and at this crisis of our national affairs, as they were at the
two Bull Run battles, and at Chancellorsville, our "Stars and Stripes"
will not only be shamefully humbled, but suffer cruel elimination. In
such an event some of our stars must fall and some of the beams of our
light must be obscured.

    "But conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto, 'In God is our trust.'
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave."

_Sunday, June 28._--All night long we were on the march, arriving in the
vicinity of Frederick City early in the morning. The whole country for
miles seems to be covered with soldiers. This is one of the most
beautiful spots in the world. However, the city does not show the thrift
and prosperity which are evidenced in Northern cities enjoying similar
advantages. This is the capital of Frederick County, one of the richest
in the State. Looking southward from the city we behold an almost
interminable stretch of beautiful rolling land, nearly every inch of
which is not only arable but richly productive. On the east, at a
distance of several miles, the eye rests upon a range of hills which
sweep downward toward the Potomac, terminating in the lofty peak called
Sugarloaf. Westward rises the loftier chain of the Catoctin, which is
but a continuation of the Bull Run Mountains, severed by the river at
Point of Rocks. All the highest peaks of these hills and mountains are
now used for signal stations, where wave the signal flags by day and
flash the signal fires by night. One seldom wearies in watching these
operations, though he may not understand their significance.


This has been a day of much interest among us and of no little
excitement--a day of changes and reorganization. An exciting rumor was
bandied from man to man this morning, that General Hooker was about to
be relieved from the command of the grand army; and the day was only
partly spent when the strange rumor resolved itself into the astounding
truth. The facts which led to this result may not be perfectly
understood among us, but appear to be about as follows: On discovering
that the enemy had actually invaded the Northern States, General Hooker
requested the authorities to send him all the forces which could be
spared from General Heintzelman's command in and about the Defenses of
Washington. This was done. But, having crossed the Potomac, General
Hooker visited Harper's Ferry with its strong garrison, and immediately
urged upon the Government the importance of placing this force also
under his command. Upon this subject there sprang up a sharp controversy
between Hooker and Halleck. The latter rejoined to the former in these

"Maryland Heights have always been regarded as an important point to be
held by us, and much expense and labor incurred in fortifying them. I
cannot approve of their abandonment, except in case of absolute

General Hooker's reply to this shows him to have been in the right, and
to have comprehended the relative importance of the position in

"I have received your telegram in regard to Harper's Ferry. I find ten
thousand men here in condition to take the field. Here they are of no
earthly account. They cannot defend a ford of the river; and, so far as
Harper's Ferry is concerned, there is nothing of it. As for the
fortifications, the work of the troops, they remain when the troops are
withdrawn. This is my opinion. All the public property could have been
secured to-night, and the troops marched to where they could have been
of some service. Now they are but a bait for the Rebels, should they
return. I beg that this may be presented to the Secretary of War, and
his Excellency, the President."

Receiving no direct reply to this announcement, and goaded by the
pressure of fast-moving events, our General yielded to do what many of
us heartily condemn, by sending the following message:

      SANDY HOOK, MD.,
      June 27, 1863.

      _Major-General H. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief_:

      My original instructions require me to cover Harper's Ferry
      and Washington. I have now imposed upon me, in addition, an
      enemy in my front of more than my numbers. I beg to be
      understood respectfully, but firmly, that I am unable to
      comply with this condition, with the means at my disposal,
      and earnestly request that I may at once be relieved from
      the position I occupy.

      JOSEPH HOOKER, _Major-General_.

To-day came the order relieving General Hooker, who issued the
following characteristic farewell address to the troops, many of whom
were taken, wholly by surprise, and all of them appeared greatly

      Frederick, Md., June 28, 1863.

      In conformity with the orders of the War Department, dated
      June 27, 1863, I relinquish the command of the Army of the
      Potomac. It is transferred to Major-General George G. Meade,
      a brave and accomplished officer, who has nobly earned the
      confidence and esteem of the army on many a well-fought
      field. Impressed with the belief that, my usefulness as the
      commander of the Army of the Potomac is impaired, I part
      from it, yet not without the deepest emotions. The sorrow of
      parting with the comrades of so many battles is relieved by
      the conviction that the courage and devotion of this army
      will never cease nor fail; that it will yield to my
      successor, as it has to me, a willing and hearty support.
      With the earnest prayer that the triumph of this army may
      bring successes worthy of it and the nation, I bid it

      JOSEPH HOOKER, _Major-General_.

Such a change of _régime_ on the eve of a great battle, with the command
in the hands of one less known and trusted, at first seemed to threaten
disaster. But the modest, earnest words with which the new commander
framed his first order to the troops allayed all fears, renewed
confidence, and greatly attached to him the hearts of his subordinates.

      June 28, 1863.

      By direction of the President of the United States I hereby
      assume command of the Army of the Potomac. As a soldier, in
      obeying this order --an order totally unexpected and
      unsolicited--I have no promises or pledges to make. The
      country looks to this army to relieve it from the
      devastation and disgrace of a hostile invasion. Whatever
      fatigues and sacrifices we may be called to undergo, let us
      have in view constantly the magnitude of the interests
      involved, and let each man determine to do his duty, leaving
      to an all-controlling Providence the decision of the
      contest. It is with just diffidence that I relieved, in the
      command of this army, an eminent and accomplished soldier,
      whose name must ever appear conspicuous in the history of
      its achievements; but I rely upon the hearty support of my
      companions in arms to assist me in the discharge of the
      duties of the important trust which has been confided to me.

      _Major-General Commanding_.

This change of commanders was followed by others in various branches of
the service, not excepting the Cavalry Corps. Our force has been
increased by General Julius Stahel's division, which has been employed
for some time in the vicinity of Fairfax Court House, and along the line
of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. In the reorganization, the corps,
which continues under the efficient command of General Pleasonton, is
arranged into three divisions, the First, Second, and Third, commanded
respectively by Generals Buford, Gregg, and Kilpatrick. A more effective
cavalry force was never organized on this continent, and probably on no

The Harris Light is assigned to General Gregg's division, which
separates us, for the first time, from our former beloved commander. But
we are not among those who desire to shirk responsibility for any such
cause as this. After the division had been reorganized and reviewed, in
the afternoon we took up our line of march to New Market. Some rain
fell towards night, which laid the dust and allayed the heat. Men and
horses are living well upon the rich products of the country. Upon such
supplies we rely mainly, though our trains are not wholly destitute.

We are received with more or less enthusiasm and demonstrations of
patriotism in nearly all the towns we visit, making a very striking
contrast with our former receptions in cities and towns of Virginia.
This gives our men additional courage, and nerves us for the conflicts

_June 29._--We have been in the saddle nearly all day, scouting the
country in the neighborhood of Westminster. On the morning of the
thirtieth, about nine o'clock, the regiment entered this pleasant town,
the citizens flocking from all directions to pay us their respects, and
to show their devotion to the cause of the Union. After a short halt we
advanced to Manchester.

_July 1._--To-day we marched to Hanover Junction, Pennsylvania, where we
met the enemy's cavalry under General John Jenkins, and, after a
spirited skirmish, they were forced to retire.

The Pennsylvanians welcomed us with glad cheers, and showed their
appreciation of our presence and services by driving several "huckster's
wagons" into our midst, well laden with a great variety of eatables,
which were donated to us by the good citizens of the surrounding
country. It is true that some of the inhabitants made their gifts very
sparingly and not without grudging, while others charged enormous
prices for such articles as we were willing to purchase; but justice
demands that we state that such inhospitable, unpatriotic, and niggardly
souls were the exception.

While here we learned the particulars of important movements made by
other portions of our cavalry. Kilpatrick, with his vigorous division,
left the vicinity of Frederick on Monday; and, striking northward, he
passed through Taneytown, reaching Littletown about ten o'clock at
night, where he was received in the midst of great rejoicing. A large
group of children and young ladies, gayly attired, on the balcony of a
hotel, waving handkerchiefs and flags, greeted their defenders with
patriotic songs, while the heroic troopers responded with cheers which
made the welkin ring. The command bivouacked in the vicinity of the
village, where the citizens brought abundant forage for the horses, and
the cavalrymen rested till morning. The march was then resumed in the
direction of Hanover.

The column, which was several miles in length, entered this beautiful
town, and was passing through, while the citizens were regaling the men
sumptuously from their bountifully provided larders, and interchanging
friendly and patriotic greetings, neither party suspecting the presence
of the enemy. Nearly one half the column had already passed through,
when suddenly the quiet, social scene was disturbed by the opening of a
Rebel battery concealed on a wood-crowned hill, and so posted as to rake
a portion of the road upon which the Union forces entered the town. This
was immediately followed by a charge of Rebel cavalry, which had been
drawn up in line of battle just behind a chain of hills which ran near
and parallel to the highway. There they had quietly waited until the
train was passing before them, with the hope that this might be captured
or stampeded, and a glorious victory be won. General Stuart commanded in
person, and the attack was certainly well planned. But Kilpatrick's boys
were not to be disconcerted nor panic-stricken by any such or any other
trap. The main force of the charging column happened to be in the rear
of the Fifth New York, commanded by Major Hammond. Quick work was
necessary. Rapidly moving out of the street into the open park near the
railroad dépôt, Major Hammond drew his regiment in line of battle, and
in nearly as short time as it takes to record it, charged with drawn
sabres the Rebels, who then possessed the town. The charging columns met
on Frederick street, where a fierce and bloody hand-to-hand contest
ensued. For a few moments the enemy made heroic resistance, but soon
broke and fled, closely pursued. They rallied again and again as fresh
regiments came to their aid, but they were met, hurled back, and pursued
with irresistible onsets, which compelled them to retire not only from
the town, but also behind the hills under cover of their batteries.

In less than fifteen minutes from the time the Rebels charged into the
village they were driven from it, leaving the streets strewn with their
dead men and horses, and the _débris_ which always accompanies such a
conflict. The dead of both parties lay promiscuously about the street,
so covered with blood and dust as to render identification in some
cases very difficult. The _blue_ of the Union and the gray of Rebellion
were almost entirely obliterated, and, in many instances, the contending
parties mingled their blood in one common pool.

This work of destruction had but just commenced when Generals Kilpatrick
and Farnsworth, who, though some miles distant at the head of the column
when the booming cannon announced the bloody fray, arrived in hot haste
and took personal charge of the movements. These were ordered with
consummate skill, and executed with promptness and success. Elder's
battery, well posted on the hills facing the Rebels, and well supported,
soon silenced the guns of the enemy, and drove him in the direction of
Lee's main army. He was thoroughly punished for his audacious attack,
and left many dead, wounded, and captured. The colors of the Thirteenth
Virginia Cavalry were captured by a sergeant of the Fifth New York.
About seventy-five prisoners, beside the wounded, fell into our hands,
including Lieutenant-Colonel Payne, who commanded a brigade.

The particulars of his capture are worthy of historic record. In one of
the charges made in the edge of the town, one of our boys, by the name
of Abram Folger, was captured by Colonel Payne, and marched toward the
rear. Just outside the town was a large brick tannery, the vats of which
were not under cover, and close alongside of the highway. Folger was
walking beside the Colonel's orderly. As they approached the tan-vats he
espied a carbine lying on the ground. Quick as thought he seized it,
fired, and killed Payne's horse. The animal, in his death-struggle,
plunged over towards the vats, and Payne was thrown headlong into one of
them, being completely submerged in the tan-liquid. Folger, feeling that
the Colonel was secure enough for the moment, levelled his piece on the
orderly, who, finding that his pistol was fouled and hence useless,
attempted to jump his horse over the fence, but not succeeding,
surrendered. It happened, however, that Folger had expended the last
shot in the carbine on the Colonel's horse; but, as the orderly did not
know it, it was just as well for Folger as though more ammunition had
been on hand.

The recently-made prisoner was compelled to assist his Colonel from the
vat. His gray uniform, with white velvet trimmings, his white gauntlets,
and his face and hair had received a brief but thorough tanning. Folger
marched the two in front of him to the market-place in the centre of the
village, where he delivered his captives to the authorities. In one hand
the brave soldier-boy carried his empty carbine, and in the other a good
strong stick. It was a most ludicrous and interesting scene. Folger was
captured by Payne's command, in Virginia, the winter before this affair,
and his feelings may be imagined at having so nicely returned the

The citizens of Hanover, who so nobly cared for our wounded in the
hospitals during and after the battle, and assisted us in burying our
dead, will not soon forget that terrible last day of June. Our brave
boys, who, though taken by surprise, had so valiantly defeated the
enemy, built their bivouac fires and rested for the night on the field
of their recent victory. Stuart's cavalry was now losing caste, while
our troopers were not only adding fresh laurels to their chaplet of
renown, but also new fibres of vitality to the hearts and hands which
loved and defended the sacred Tree of Liberty.


General Buford, with his division, had moved from Frederick City
directly to Gettysburg, the capital of Adams County, a rural village of
about three thousand inhabitants, beautifully situated among the hills,
which, though quite lofty, are generally well cultivated. The general
found the borough very quiet, and passed through; but he had not
proceeded far beyond before he met the van of the Rebel army under
General Heth, of Hill's Corps. The dauntless troopers charged furiously
the invading hordes, and drove them back upon their supports, where our
boys were driven back in their turn before overwhelming numbers. As
Providence would have it, our infantry advance, under General James S.
Wadsworth, marching from the village of Emmitsburg, hearing the familiar
sound of battle, went into a double-quick, and, hastening through
Gettysburg, struck the advancing Rebel column just in time to seize and
occupy the range of hills that overlooks the place from the north-west,
in the direction of Chambersburg.

General John F. Reynolds, a true Pennsylvanian, was in command of our
entire advance, which consisted of the First and Eleventh Corps, about
twenty-two thousand strong. As General Wadsworth was placing his
division in position, General Reynolds went forward quite alone to
reconnoitre, when he discovered a heavy force of the enemy in a grove
not far distant. Dismounting quickly he crouched down by a fence through
which he sought to survey the force and its position by means of his
field-glass, when a whistling ball from a sharpshooter's musket struck
him in the neck. He fell on his face and baptized with his life-blood
the soil which had given him birth. His untimely fall, especially at
this crisis and almost in sight of his childhood's home, was generally
lamented. His lifeless form was borne away to the rear just as the
Rebels in heavy force advanced upon not more than one-third their

General Abner Doubleday had to assume command of our forces under this
galling fire, having arrived with a portion of the First Corps, the
remainder of which and the Eleventh Corps, not being able to join them
until two hours of fearful destruction had gone on. Our feeble advance
was compelled to fall quickly back upon Seminary Hill, just west of the
village, and were pursued very closely, so much so that one portion of
our line, seeing its opportunity, swung around rapidly, enveloping the
Rebel advance and capturing General Archer the leader and about eight
hundred prisoners. On the arrival of the Eleventh Corps, General O. O.
Howard, being the ranking officer present, assumed command, giving his
place to General Carl Schurz. Our men, now emboldened by these fresh
arrivals of helpers, and having alighted upon a fine commanding
position, renewed the fight with spirit and wonderful success. This
prosperous tide of things continued until about one o'clock P. M., when
their right wing was assailed furiously by fresh troops, which proved
to be General Ewell's Corps, which had been marching from York, directed
by the thunder of battle.

Thus flanked and outnumbered by the gathering hosts, the Eleventh Corps,
which was most exposed to the enfilading fire of the newly arrived
columns, began to waver, then to break, and soon fled in perfect rout.
The First Corps was thus compelled to follow, or be annihilated. The two
retreating columns met and mingled in more or less confusion in the
streets of the town, where they greatly obstructed each other, though
the First Corps retained its organization quite unbroken. In passing
through the town the Eleventh Corps was especially exposed to the fire
of the enemy, who pressed his advantage and captured thousands of
prisoners. Our wounded, who, up to this time, had been quartered in
Gettysburg, fell into the enemy's hands, and scarcely one-half of our
brave boys, who had so recently and proudly passed through the streets
to the battle lines, had the privilege of returning, but either lay dead
or dying on the well-fought fields, or were captives with a cruel foe.
The number of killed and wounded showed how desperately they had fought,
and the large number captured was evidence of the overwhelming numbers
with which they had contended.

General Buford, with his troopers, covered our retreat, showing as bold
a front as possible to the enemy, who, it was feared, would follow
fiercely, as they were very strong and several hours of daylight yet
remained. But doubtless fearing that a trap might be laid for them if
they advanced too far, they contented themselves with only a portion of
the borough, their main force occupying the hills which form a grand
amphitheatre on the north and west. It would be difficult to refrain
from saying, that those Rebel forces were prevented from advancing by
some mighty unseen hand--the hand of Him who "watches over the destiny
of nations."

Our feeble and decimated forces took possession of Cemetery Hill, south
of the town, and being reënforced by General Sickles' Corps, they began
to intrench themselves with earthworks and rifle-pits, to extend their
lines to right and left, and to select the best positions for our
batteries. This work was continued quite late into the evening, the
broad moonlight greatly facilitating the operations.

General Meade, who had selected his ground for the impending battle
along the banks of Pipe Creek, and who at one o'clock P. M. was at
Taneytown when the news of the fight, and the death of the brave
Reynolds at Gettysburg, reached him, despatched General Hancock to the
scene of conflict to take command, and to ascertain whether Gettysburg
afforded better ground than that which had been selected. Hancock
arrived at Cemetery Hill just as our broken lines were hastily and
confusedly retreating from the village; our advance, however, had
already taken this commanding position and was making some preparation
for resistance. The newly arrived general began at once to order the
forces which had been engaged and others which were occasionally
arriving. He ordered the occupancy of Culp's Hill on our extreme right,
and extended the lines to our left well up the high ground in the
vicinity of Round Top, a rocky eminence about two miles from Gettysburg,
and nearly equi-distant from the Emmitsburg and Taneytown roads. The
line having been made as secure as possible, Hancock wrote to Meade that
the position was excellent. His despatch had scarcely gone, when he was
relieved by General Slocum, a ranking officer, and so, leaving the
field, Hancock hastened to report in person to his chief the condition
of things at Gettysburg. On arriving, Meade informed him that he had
decided to fight at Gettysburg, and had sent orders to the various
commands to that effect; then together they rode to Gettysburg, arriving
about eleven o'clock at night.

All night long our forces were concentrating before this historic
village, where they were all found on the morning of the second of July,
except the Sixth Corps, General Sedgwick's, which did not arrive until
two o'clock in the afternoon, after marching nearly all the previous


Until three o'clock all was quiet along the battle lines, except an
occasional picket or sharpshooter's fire. However, there had been
considerable manoeuvring. On our left General Sickles, in his
eagerness for a fight, had advanced his corps across the Emmitsburg
road, and on a wood-crowned ridge in the immediate vicinity of the main
portion of the Rebel army. General Meade, in his inspection of the
lines, remonstrated against the perilous position which Sickles had
taken the liberty to gain. He, however, intimated that, if desired, he
would withdraw to the ridge which Meade had justly indicated as the
proper place where our forces would be better protected, and would be
able to cover Round Top, a point which it was considered essential to
retain. General Meade thereupon expressed his fear to Sickles that the
enemy would not permit him quietly to retire from the trap in which he
had placed his foot; and the last words had scarcely fallen from his
lips, when the Rebel batteries were opened with fearful accuracy and at
short range, and the infantry came on with their fierce charging yell.
General Longstreet was in command.

With so long and strong lines of infantry in his front, which lapped
over his flanks on either side, and a fearful enfilading fire from the
heavy batteries on Seminary Hill, Sickles and his brave men were torn,
shattered, overwhelmed, and with terrible loss and in great confusion,
fell back to the ridge from which he ought not to have advanced. In the
struggle the Rebels made a desperate attempt to reach and possess Round
Top, which they came near doing before General Sykes, who had been
ordered to advance and hold it, had gained the elevation. But their
failure to possess this coveted prize proved a great disaster; for
before they could withdraw their charging columns across the plain
between Round Top and the ridge where Sickles stood at the beginning of
the fray, they were attacked by General Hancock with a heavy force, and
driven almost like chaff before the wind. Their loss was terrible. At
the close of this encounter our lines stood precisely where General
Meade desired they should be before the fight commenced, with Round Top
fully in our possession and now strongly fortified with heavy artillery
and good infantry support.

On our right General Ewell had succeeded in pushing back some portions
of our lines under Slocum, who occupied Culp's Hill, and some of our
fortified lines and rifle-pits were occupied by the Rebels. Night came
on to close the dreadful day. Thus far the battle had been mostly in the
advantage of the Rebels. They held the ground where Reynolds had fallen,
also Seminary Ridge, and the elevation whence the Eleventh Corps had
been driven. They also occupied the ridge on which Sickles had commenced
to fight. Sickles himself was _hors de combat_, with a shattered leg
which had to be amputated, and not far from twenty thousand of our men
had been killed, wounded, and captured! The Rebels had also lost
heavily; but, as they themselves believed, they were the winners.

General Lee, in his official report, says: "After a severe struggle,
Longstreet succeeded in getting possession of and holding the desired
ground. Ewell also carried some of the strong positions which he
assailed; and the result was such as to lead to the belief that he would
ultimately be able to dislodge the enemy. The battle ceased at dark.
These partial successes determined me to continue the assault next day."

During these days of deadly strife and of unprecedented slaughter, our
cavalry was by no means idle. On the morning of the first, Kilpatrick
advanced his victorious squadrons to the vicinity of Abbottstown, where
they struck a force of Rebel cavalry, which they scattered, capturing
several prisoners, and then rested. To the ears of the alert chieftain
came the sound of battle at Gettysburg, accompanied with the
intelligence, from prisoners mostly, that Stuart's main force was bent
on doing mischief on the right of our infantry lines, which were not far
from the night's bivouac.

He appeared instinctively to know where he was most needed; so in the
absence of orders, early the next morning he advanced to Hunterstown. At
this point were the extreme wings of the infantry lines, and as
Kilpatrick expected, he encountered the Rebel cavalry, commanded by his
old antagonists, Stuart, Lee, and Hampton. The early part of the day was
spent mostly in reconnoitring; but all the latter part of the day was
occupied in hard, bold, and bloody work. Charges and counter-charges
were made; the carbine, pistol, and sabre were used by turns, and the
artillery thundered even late after the infantry around Gettysburg had
sunk to rest, well-nigh exhausted with the bloody carnage of the weary
day. But Stuart, who had hoped to break in upon our flank and rear, and
to pounce upon our trains, was not only foiled in his endeavor by the
gallant Kilpatrick, but also driven back upon his infantry supports, and
badly beaten.

In the night, Kilpatrick, after leaving a sufficient force to prevent
Stuart from doing any special damage on our right, swung around with the
rest of his troopers to the left of our line, near Round Top, and was
there prepared for any work which might be assigned him.


_Friday, July 3._--The sun rose bright and warm, and looked down upon
the blackened corpses of the dead, which were strewn over the bloody
earth; upon the wounded who had not been cared for, and upon long
glistening lines of armed men, ready to renew the conflict. Each
antagonist, rousing every slumbering element of power, seemed to be
resolved upon victory or death. The fight commenced early by an attack
of General Slocum's men, who, determined to regain the rifle-pits they
had lost the evening before, descended like an avalanche upon the foe.
The attack met with a prompt response from General Ewell. But after
several hours of desperate fighting, victory perched upon the Union
banners, and with great loss and slaughter the Rebels were driven out of
the breastworks, and fell back upon their main lines near Benner's Hill.

This successful move on the part of our boys in blue was followed by
ominous lull or quiet, which continued about three hours. Meanwhile the
silence was fitfully broken by an occasional spit of fire, while every
preparation was being made for a last, supreme effort, which, it was
expected, would decide the mighty contest. The scales were being poised
for the last time, and upon the one side or the other was soon to be
written the "_Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin_." Hearts either trembled or
waxed strong in the awful presence of this responsibility.

At length one o'clock arrived; a signal-gun was fired, and then at least
one hundred and twenty-five guns from Hill and Longstreet concentrated
and crossed their fires upon Cemetery Hill, the centre and key of our
position. Just behind this crest, though much exposed, were General
Meade's headquarters. For nearly two hours this hill was ploughed and
torn by solid shot and bursting shell, while about one hundred guns on
our side, mainly from this crest and Round Top, made sharp response. The
earth and the air shook for miles around with the terrific concussion,
which came no longer in volleys, but in a continual roar. So long and
fearful a cannonade was never before witnessed on this continent. As the
range was short and the aim accurate, the destruction was terrible. But
the advantage was decidedly in favor of the Rebels, whose guns were
superior in number to ours, and of heavier calibre, and had been
concentrated for the attack. A spectator of the Union army thus
describes the scene:

"The storm broke upon us so suddenly, that soldiers and officers--who
leaped, as it began, from their tents, or from lazy siestas on the
grass--were stricken in their rising with mortal wounds, and died, some
with cigars between their teeth, some with pieces of food in their
fingers, and one at least--a pale young German, from Pennsylvania--with
a miniature of his sister in his hands. Horses fell, shrieking such
awful cries as Cooper told of, and writhing themselves about in hopeless
agony. The boards of fences, scattered by explosion, flew in splinters
through the air. The earth, torn up in clouds, blinded the eyes of
hurrying men; and through the branches of trees and among the
gravestones of the cemetery a shower of destruction crashed ceaselessly.
As, with hundreds of others, I groped through this tempest of death for
the shelter of the bluff, an old man, a private in a company belonging
to the Twenty-fourth Michigan, was struck, scarcely ten feet away, by a
cannon-ball, which tore through him, extorting such a low, intense cry
of mortal pain as I pray God I may never again hear. The hill, which
seemed alone devoted to this rain of death, was clear in nearly all its
unsheltered places within five minutes after the fire began."

A correspondent from the Confederate army thus describes this artillery
contest: "I have never yet heard such tremendous artillery-firing. The
enemy must have had over one hundred guns, which, in addition to our one
hundred and fifteen, made the air hideous with most discordant noise.
The very earth shook beneath our feet, and the hills and rocks seemed to
reel like a drunken man. For one hour and a half this most terrific fire
was continued, during which time the shrieking of shell, the crash of
fallen timbers, the fragments of rocks flying through the air, shattered
from the cliffs by solid shot, the heavy mutterings from the valley
between the opposing armies, the splash of bursting shrapnel, and the
fierce neighing of wounded artillery-horses, made a picture terribly
grand and sublime, but which my pen utterly fails to describe."

Gradually the fire on our side began to slacken, and General Meade,
learning that our guns were becoming hot, gave orders to cease firing
and to let the guns cool, though the Rebel balls were making fearful
havoc among our gunners, while our infantry sought poor shelter behind
every projection, anxiously awaiting the expected charge. At length the
enemy, supposing that our guns were silenced, deemed that the moment for
an irresistible attack had come. Accordingly, as a lion emerges from his
lair, he sallied forth, when strong lines of infantry, nearly three
miles in length, with double lines of skirmishers in front, and heavy
reserves in rear, advanced with desperation to the final effort. They
moved with steady, measured tread over the plain below, and began the
ascent of the hills occupied by our forces, concentrating somewhat upon
General Hancock, though stretching across our entire front.

Says a correspondent of the _Richmond Enquirer_: "Just as Pickett was
getting well under the enemy's fire, our batteries ceased firing. This
was a fearful moment for Pickett and his brave command. Why do not our
guns reopen their fire? is the inquiry that rises upon every lip. Still,
our batteries are silent as death!" And this undoubtedly decided the
issue--was God's handwriting on the wall. The Rebel guns had been
thundering so long and ceaselessly that they were now unfit for use, and
ceased firing from very necessity.

"Agate," correspondent of _The Cincinnati Gazette_, gives the following
graphic description of the struggle:

"The great, desperate, final charge came at four. The Rebels seemed to
have gathered up all their strength and desperation for one fierce,
convulsive effort, that should sweep over and wash out our obstinate
resistance. They swept up as before: the flower of their army to the
front, victory staked upon the issue. In some places they literally
lifted up and pushed back our lines; but, that terrible position of
ours!--wherever they entered it, enfilading fires from half a score of
crests swept away their columns like merest chaff. Broken and hurled
back, they easily fell into our hands; and, on the centre and left, the
last half hour brought more prisoners than all the rest.

"So it was along the whole line; but it was on the Second Corps that the
flower of the Rebel army was concentrated; it was there that the
heaviest shock beat upon, and shook, and even sometimes crumbled, our

"We had some shallow rifle-pits, with barricades of rails from the
fences. The Rebel line, stretching away miles to the left, in
magnificent array, but strongest here--Pickett's splendid division of
Longstreet's corps in front, the best of A. P. Hill's veterans in
support--came steadily, and as it seemed resistlessly, sweeping up. Our
skirmishers retired slowly from the Emmitsburg road, holding their
ground tenaciously to the last. The Rebels reserved their fire till they
reached this same Emmitsburg road, then opened with a terrific crash.
From a hundred iron throats, meantime, their artillery had been
thundering on our barricades.

"Hancock was wounded; Gibbon succeeded to the command--an approved
soldier, and ready for the crisis. As the tempest of fire approached
its height, he walked along the line, and renewed his orders to the men
to reserve their fire. The Rebels--three lines deep--came steadily up.
They were in point-blank range.

"At last the order came! From thrice six thousand guns there came a
sheet of smoky flame, a crash, a rush of leaden death. The line
literally melted away; but there came the second, resistless still. It
had been our supreme effort; on the moment we were not equal to another.

"Up to the rifle-pits, across them, over the barricades--the momentum of
their charge, the mere machine-strength of their combined action, swept
them on. Our thin line could fight, but it had not weight enough to
oppose to this momentum. It was pushed behind the guns. Right on came
the Rebels. They were upon our guns--were bayoneting the gunners--were
waving their flags over our pieces.

"But they had penetrated to the fatal point. A storm of grape and
canister tore its way from man to man, and marked its track with corpses
straight down their line! They had exposed themselves to the enfilading
fire of the guns on the western slope of Cemetery Hill; that exposure
sealed their fate.

"The line reeled back--disjointed already--in an instant in fragments.
Our men were just behind the guns. They leaped forward upon the
disordered mass; but there was little need of fighting now. A regiment
threw down its arms, and, with colors at its head, rushed over and
surrendered. All along the field smaller detachments did the same.
Webb's brigade brought in eight hundred: taken in as little time as it
requires to write the simple sentence that tells it. Gibbon's old
division took fifteen stand of colors.

"Over the fields the escaped fragments of the charging line fell
back--the battle there was over. A single brigade, Harrow's (of which
the Seventh Michigan is part), came out with fifty-four less officers,
and seven hundred and ninety-three less men, than it took in! So the
whole corps fought; so, too, they fought farther down the line.

"It was fruitless sacrifice. They gathered up their broken fragments,
formed their lines, and slowly marched away. It was not a rout; it _was_
a bitter, crushing defeat. For once the Army of the Potomac had won a
clean, honest, acknowledged victory."

General Pickett's division was nearly annihilated. One of his officers
recounted, that, as they were charging over the grassy plain, he threw
himself down before a murderous discharge of grape and canister, which
mowed the grass and men all around him, as though a scythe had been
swung just above his prostrate form.

During the terrific cannonade and subsequent charges, our ammunition and
other trains had been parked in rear of Round Top, which gave them
splendid shelter. Partly to possess this train, but mainly to secure
this commanding position, General Longstreet sent two strong divisions
of infantry, with heavy artillery, to turn our flank, and to drive us
from this ground. Kilpatrick, with his division, which had been
strengthened by Merritt's Regular brigade, was watching this point, and
waiting for an opportunity to strike the foe. It came at last. Emerging
from the woods in front of him came a strong battle-line followed by


To the young Farnsworth was committed the task of meeting infantry with
cavalry in an open field. Placing the Fifth New York in support of
Elder's battery, which was exposed to a galling fire, but made reply
with characteristic rapidity, precision, and slaughter, Farnsworth
quickly ordered the First Virginia, First Vermont, and Eighteenth
Pennsylvania in line of battle, and galloped away and charged upon the
flank of the advancing columns. The attack was sharp, brief, and
successful, though attended with great slaughter. But the Rebels were
driven upon their main lines, and the flank movement was prevented. Thus
the cavalry added another dearly-earned laurel to its chaplet of
honor--_dearly earned_, because many of their bravest champions fell
upon that bloody field.

Kilpatrick, in his official report of this sanguinary contest, says: "In
this charge fell the brave Farnsworth. Short and brilliant was his
career. On the twenty-ninth of June a general; on the first of July he
baptized his star in blood; and on the third, for the honor of his young
brigade and the glory of his corps, he yielded up his noble life."

Thus ended the battle of Gettysburg--the bloody turning-point of the
Rebellion--the bloody baptism of the redeemed Republic. Nearly twenty
thousand men from the Union ranks had been killed and wounded, and a
larger number of the Rebels, making the enormous aggregate of at least
forty thousand, whose blood was shed to fertilize the Tree of Liberty.

In the evening twilight of that eventful day General Meade penned the
following interesting despatch to the Government:

      Near Gettysburg, July 3, 8.30 P. M.

      _To Major-General Halleck, General-in-Chief_:

      The enemy opened at one o'clock P. M., from about one hundred
      and fifty guns. They concentrated upon my left centre,
      continuing without intermission for about three hours, at the
      expiration of which time he assaulted my left centre twice,
      being, upon both occasions, handsomely repulsed with severe
      loss to them, leaving in our hands nearly three thousand
      prisoners. Among the prisoners are Major-General Armistead,
      and many colonels and officers of lesser note. The enemy
      left many dead upon the field, and a large number of wounded
      in our hands. The loss upon our side has been considerable.
      Major-General Hancock and Brigadier-General Gibbon were

      After the repelling of the assault, indications leading to
      the belief that the enemy might be withdrawing, an armed
      reconnoissance was pushed forward from the left, and the
      enemy found to be in force. At the present hour all is

      The New York cavalry have been engaged all day on both
      flanks of the enemy, harassing and vigorously attacking him
      with great success, notwithstanding they encountered
      superior numbers, both of cavalry and artillery. The army is
      in fine spirits.

      GEORGE G. MEADE, _Major-General Commanding_.

On the morning of the Fourth of July, General Meade issued an address to
the army:

      Near Gettysburg, July 4.

      The commanding general, in behalf of the country, thanks the
      Army of the Potomac for the glorious result of the recent
      operations. Our enemy, superior in numbers and flushed with
      the pride of a successful invasion, attempted to overcome or
      destroy this army. Utterly baffled and defeated, he has now
      withdrawn from the contest.

      The privations and fatigues the army has endured, and the
      heroic courage and gallantry it has displayed, will be
      matters of history to be ever remembered.

      Our task is not yet accomplished, and the commanding general
      looks to the army for greater efforts, to drive from our
      soil every vestige of the presence of the invader.

      It is right and proper that we should, on suitable
      occasions, return our grateful thanks to the Almighty
      Disposer of events, that, in the goodness of His providence,
      He has thought fit to give victory to the cause of the just.

      By command of MAJOR-GENERAL MEADE.
      S. WILLIAMS, _A. A.-General_.

It is fitting we should close this chapter with President Lincoln's
brief yet comprehensive announcement to the country:

      WASHINGTON, D. C., July 4, 1863, 10 A. M.

      The President of the United States announces to the country,
      that the news from the Army of the Potomac, up to ten
      o'clock P. M. of the third, is such as to cover the army
      with the highest honor--to promise great success to the
      cause of the Union--and to claim the condolence of all for
      the many gallant fallen; and that for this he especially
      desires that on this day, "He whose will, not ours, should
      ever be done," be everywhere remembered and reverenced with
      the profoundest gratitude.




1863.--National Rejoicing.--The Enemy Retreating.--Feebly Pursued.
    --Reconnoissances.--Kilpatrick Gives the Enemy a Fourth of July
    Entertainment at Monterey Pass.--Storm and Terror.--Immense Train
    Destroyed, and Hosts of Prisoners Taken.--Pitiable Condition of
    Stuart's Cavalry.--Battle of Hagerstown.--Captains Penfield and
    Dahlgren Wounded.--Wonderful Exploits of a Union Scout.--Kilpatrick
    and Buford at Williamsport.--Cavalry Fight at Boonsboro'.--Stuart
    Defeated.--Hagerstown Retaken.--Orders to Advance, One Day Too Late.
    --Kilpatrick Chases the Flying Foe.--Fight at Falling Waters, Last
    Act in the Drama.--Great Bravery of Union Troops.--Last Vestige of
    the Invaders Wiped Out.--Bivouac and Rest.

The victory at Gettysburg, though purchased at so dear a price, when
announced to the people, produced a deep and widespread joy, which
contributed to make the Fourth of July doubly memorable. The gallant
behavior of our men furnished a theme for general exultation, and the
removal of the threatened disaster foreshadowed in the pompous and
successful invasion, made every true American breathe more freely.

But the work of the soldier was not yet done. The feet of the invaders
were still upon free soil; and though his ranks had been thinned by
desertions, and by unprecedented casualties in battle, and he had been
thwarted in all the important minutiæ of his plan, he was still
formidable, and compelled to fight with desperation, if attacked, to
prevent utter destruction.

Some apprehension that the enemy was at least contemplating a speedy
retreat was entertained during the night that followed the third bloody
day. General Pleasonton, chief of cavalry, urged General Meade to
advance in force upon the beaten foe, alleging that they were not only
greatly weakened by their losses, but undoubtedly demoralized, in
consequence of repulse and probable scarcity of ammunition. To ascertain
positively what could be of these probabilities, Pleasonton was directed
to make a reconnoissance toward the Rebel rear. Accordingly, several
detachments of cavalry were thrust out on different roads, where they
rode all night. General Gregg, on our right, went about twenty-two miles
on the road to Chambersburg, and returning early on the morning of the
fourth, reported that the road was strewn with wounded and stragglers,
ambulances and caissons, and general _débris_, which indicated that the
enemy was retreating as rapidly as possible, and was passing through a
terrible season of demoralization. The testimony of the mute witnesses
of disaster was corroborated by that of the many prisoners which easily
fell into Gregg's hands. Other expeditions, returning later in the day,
had similar reports to render of what they had seen and heard. And now
came the time for energetic cavalry movements. While our infantry was
resting, or engaged in burying our own and the Rebel dead within our
lines, the cavalry was despatched to do all the damage it could upon
the retreating Rebel columns.


Kilpatrick, having assembled his immortalized division on the plain at
the foot of Round Top, on the morning of the fourth, discoursed to them
eloquently for a few moments on the interests of the times. He assured
his men that their noble deeds were not passing by unnoticed, nor would
be unrequited, and that they were already a part of a grand history. He
trusted that their future conduct would be a fair copy of the past. But
his pathetic and patriotic accents had scarcely died upon the ear of his
brave command, when the shrill bugle-blast brought eager men and grazing
horses in line of march. Orders had been received by Kilpatrick to
repair as swiftly as possible to the passes in the Catoctin Mountains,
to intercept the enemy now known to be flying southward at a rapid rate.

The command had gone but a short distance when rain began to fall in
torrents, as is usually the case after great battles, especially when
much artillery is used. But through mud, in places to the horses'
bodies; through brooks swollen enormously, and through the falling
floods, the troopers pressed forward to the accomplishment of their
task. About five o'clock P. M. Kilpatrick reached Emmitsburg, where he
was joined by portions of General Gregg's command, including the Harris
Light, which had been kept mostly in reserve during the conflicts of the
past few days. Thus reënforced, this intrepid leader marched directly
toward the Monterey Pass, arriving at the foot of this rocky defile in
the mountains in the midst of pitchy darkness.

As was anticipated, a heavy Rebel train was then trying to make its
escape through the gorge, guarded by Stuart's Cavalry, with light
artillery. This artillery was planted in a position to rake the narrow
road upon which Kilpatrick was advancing. But the darkness was so
intense that the guns could be of little use, except to make the night
terribly hideous with their bellowings, the echoes of which reverberated
in the mountain gorges in a most frightful manner. To add to the horrors
of the scene and position, the rain fell in floods, accompanied with
groaning thunders, while lightnings flashed from cloud to cloud over our
heads, and cleft the darkness only to leave friend and foe enveloped in
greater darkness in the intervals of light. By these flashes, however,
we gained a momentary glimpse of each other's position, and as we dashed
forward in the gloom, we were further directed by the fire of the
artillery and the desultory fire of the cavalry.

Surgeon Moore gives the following account of this affair: "We do not
hesitate in saying, and have good reason to know, that had any want of
firmness on the part of the leader, or any indecision or vacillation
appeared, and a mischance occurred, this splendid command would then and
there have been lost.

"But with unflinching and steady purpose, bold bearing, and a mind equal
to the emergency, the general rode to the head of the column, reassured
his frightened people, and, notwithstanding the intense darkness that
hid friend from foe, made such skilful dispositions, and then attacked
the hidden foe with such impetuosity that he fled in wild dismay,
leaving his guns, a battle-flag, and four hundred prisoners in the
victor's hands.

"The pass was gained, and Pennington's and Elder's guns were soon
echoing and reëchoing through the mountain defiles. The artillery opened
thus on the flying columns of the routed foe, who, with wagons,
ambulances, caissons, and the _débris_ of a shattered army, were rushing
in chaotic confusion down the narrow mountain road, and scattering
through the fields and woods on the plains below."

All night long Kilpatrick and his successful followers were gathering
the spoils of their evening work. Wagon after wagon was overtaken,
captured, and destroyed, while hundreds of prisoners were easily
captured. This daring exploit placed Kilpatrick in advance of the Rebel
army, giving him a fine opportunity to obstruct their pathway of
retreat, and to destroy whatever could be of any use to them. Had he not
been cumbered with so many prisoners, it is not in the power of any one
to estimate the damage he would have done. In his official report he
says: "On this day I captured eighteen hundred and sixty prisoners,
including many officers of rank, and destroyed the Rebel General Ewell's
immense wagon-train, nine miles long."

It should be stated that these wagons were mostly laden with the ripened
and gathered crops of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and with the plunder of
private and public stores, including dry goods and groceries of every
variety and quality. None who saw it will ever forget the appearance of
that mountain road the day following this night's foray.

Stuart, who was ingloriously defeated at Monterey, retired towards
Emmitsburg with about fifty prisoners that he had captured during and
after the fight. He then moved southward until he struck an unfrequented
road which leads over the mountain _viâ_ Wolfe's Tavern. By this turn he
avoided immediate contact with our cavalry. But about five o'clock
P. M., as he was about to debouch into the valley, Kilpatrick, who was
watching for him as a cat does a mouse, attacked him with artillery and
fought him till dark. This fight occurred near Smithburg, whence the
prisoners in Kilpatrick's hands were sent to South Mountain, guarded by
the Harris Light.

Darkness having put an end to the contest, Kilpatrick marched through
Cavetown to Boonsboro', where he bivouacked for the night. Stuart, it
was ascertained, marched till about midnight to the small town of
Leitersburgh, where he rested his worn and wearied command. His
condition was really pitiable. A large number of his men were mounted on
shoeless horses, whose leanness showed that they had made many a long
march through and from Virginia. Or, as was the case with a large
proportion of them, they had fat horses, which were stolen from the
fields and stalls of the invaded States, but, being entirely unused to
such hard and cruel treatment as they were now receiving, were well-nigh
unserviceable. Lameness and demoralization were prominent
characteristics among animals and men.

_July 6._--This morning, at an early hour, Kilpatrick's crowd of
prisoners were turned over into the hands of General French, and then
his command marched to Hagerstown, taking possession of the place in
advance of Stuart, whose approach about eleven o'clock was met with
determined resistance, and, at first, with great success. A heavy battle
was fought, in which Kilpatrick's men showed their usual prowess and
strength. Had not Rebel infantry come to the aid of his cavalry, Stuart
would have suffered a stunning blow. For several hours the contest was
wholly between cavalry and light artillery. Charges of great daring and
skill were made. One reporter says: "Elder gave them grape and canister,
and the Fifth New York sabres, while the First Vermont used their

In one of those charges, made in the face of a very superior force,
Captain James A. Penfield, of the Fifth New York, at the head of his
company, had his horse killed under him, and, while struggling to
extricate himself from the animal, which lay upon him in part, he was
struck a fearful blow of a sabre on the head, which came near severing
it in twain. Thus wounded, with blood streaming down upon his long beard
and clothes, he was made a prisoner. In a similar charge the gallant
Captain Ulric Dahlgren lost a leg, though not his valuable life.

It appeared as though the Rebels were afforded an opportunity to avenge
themselves in part for the shameful losses which they had sustained in
this very place by the strategic operations of a Union scout, by the
name of C. A. Phelps, during the incipient step of the invasion. We will
let the scout relate his own story, which is corroborated by a
signal-officer, who, from one of the lofty peaks of the mountains,
witnessed the exciting denouement. The scout proceeds to say:

"I was very anxious to learn all about General Stuart's force and
contemplated movements, and resolved to see the general himself or some
of his staff-officers, soon after he entered Hagerstown.

"Accordingly I procured of a Union man a suit of raglings, knocked off
one boot-heel to make one leg appear shorter than the other, and put a
gimblet, a tow-string, and an old broken jack-knife in my pockets. My
jewelry corresponded with my clothes. I adopted the name of George Fry,
a harvest-hand of Dr. Farney, from Wolfetown, on the north side of the
mountain, and I was a cripple from rheumatism. Having completed
arrangements with Dr. Farney, Mr. Landers, and other Union men, that
they might be of service to me in case the Rebels should be suspicious
of my character, I hobbled away on my perilous journey, and entered the
city by leaping the high stone wall which guards it on the north side
near the dépôt. This occurred just as the town-clock struck one.

"It was a clear, starlight night, and the glistening sabres of the
sentries could be seen as they walked their lonely beat. Scarcely had I
gained the sidewalk leading to the centre of the town when the sentry
nearest me cried, 'Halt! who goes there?' 'A friend,' I replied.

"'A friend to North or South?'

"'To the South, of course, and all right.'

"'Advance, then,' was the response. On reaching him, he asked me what
could be my business at this hour of the night. I told him I had come in
to see our brave boys, who could whip the Yankees so handsomely, as they
had done especially at Bull Run and Chancellorsville. We fell at once to
the discussion of the war-questions of the day. In the midst of our
colloquy up came the officer of the guard on his 'grand rounds,' who,
after probing me thoroughly, as he thought, with many questions, finally
said, 'Had you not better go with me to see General Stuart?'

"'I should reelly like ter git a sight of the gin'ral,' I quickly
replied, 'for I never seen a reel gin'ral in all my life.'

"I was soon in the presence of the general, who received me very
cordially. I found him to be a man a little above the medium height, and
fine looking. His features are very distinct in outline, his nose long
and sharp, his eye keen and restless. His complexion is florid and his
manners affable. I told him who I was and where I lived when at home.
'Wolfetown!' exclaimed the general, 'have not the Yankees a large
wagon-train there?' I told him they had; and then, turning to one of his
staff-officers, he said, 'I must have it; it would be a fine prize.'

"I noted his words and determined, if I possessed any Yankee wit, to
make use of it on this occasion.

"'Gin'ral,' said I, '_you all_ don't think of capterin' them are Yankee
wagons, do you?'

"'Why not? I have here five thousand cavalry and sixteen pieces of
artillery, and I understand the train is lightly guarded.'

"I saw that he had been properly informed, and I told him they came
there last evening with twelve big brass cannon and three regiments of
foot-soldiers, and if he was to try to go through the gap of the
mountain they would shoot all the cannon off right in the gap, and kill
all his horses and men. The general smiled at my naïve answer, and said
I had a strange idea of war if I thought so many men would be killed at
once, and added that I would not be a very brave soldier. I replied that
many times I had felt like going into the Confederate army, but my
rheumatism kept me out.

"After a while the general concluded not to try the train, and I was
heartily glad, for he would have taken at least two hundred wagons
easily, as they were guarded by not more than three hundred men.

"He then gave orders to have the main body of his cavalry move towards
Green Castle; and I distinctly heard him give orders to the Major to
remain in town with fifty men as rearguard, and to send on the army
mail, which was expected there about six the next evening. I made up my
mind that it would be a small mail he would get, as I proposed to myself
to be postmaster for once.

"After seeing the general and his cavalry move out of town, I went
directly for my horse, which I had concealed in a safe place some
distance from the city, meanwhile surveying the ground to see which way
I could best come in to capture the mail, and determined to charge the
place on the pike from Boonsboro', and made my arrangements to that
effect. I got a Union man, by the name of Thornburgh, to go into the
town and notify the Union people that, when the town-clock struck six
P. M., I would charge in and capture the Rebel mail, at the risk of
losing my own life and every man with me. I had now but eight men, two
having been sent to General Stahel with despatches.

"I then returned to Boonsboro', and found my men waiting for me. I told
them my intentions, and offered to send back to his regiment any man who
feared to go with me. But every one bravely said he would not leave me,
nor surrender without my order. I then ordered them to bring out their
horses, and we were soon on the road. It was a moment of thrilling
interest to us all, as we approached Hagerstown, and lingered to hear
the signal-strokes of that monitor in the old church-tower. At the
appointed time (we had already entered into the edge of the town), with
a wild shout we dashed into the streets, and the Major and his fifty
braves fled without firing a shot. We captured sixteen prisoners,
twenty-six horses, several small-arms, and a heavy army mail, which
contained three important despatches from Jeff. Davis, and two from the
Rebel Secretary of War to General Lee. All this substantial booty we
safely carried within our own lines, without the loss of a man or a

"Many thanks are due to Dr. C. R. Doran and Mr. Robert Thornburgh, for
their kind and timely assistance, and also to Misses Susie Carson and
Addie Brenner, who did so much for the comfort of our brave men. I still
have in my possession some choice flowers, preserved from a bouquet
presented to me by Miss Carson the evening we captured the Rebel mail;
and though the flowers have faded, the good deeds done by the giver
will ever grow bright through coming time. All honor to the brave Union

In these same streets, where Captain Briggs with his telescope witnessed
the successful charge of the scouting party, raged the battle hotly on
the sixth of July. But, as the Rebel infantry was advancing with heavy
artillery to the aid of Stuart's cavalry, Kilpatrick was sorely pressed,
and, at length, compelled to retire. His ears were now saluted with the
sound of artillery in the direction of Williamsport, and a messenger
arrived with the intelligence that General John Buford, who had advanced
through the South Mountain Pass, was now attempting to destroy Lee's
immense supply train, which was packed near Williamsport, and not very
heavily guarded.

Kilpatrick desired no better work than to assist his brave comrade, and
he at once hastened down the main road, and soon joined Buford in the
work of destruction. These combined commands were making fearful havoc
in the Rebel commissary and quartermaster stores. Many wagons were
burned, and the whole train would have shared the same fate had not the
united infantry and cavalry of the enemy come down upon us in
overwhelming force. But we were not to be driven away very suddenly nor
cheaply. Long and desperately we contended with the accumulating forces,
until darkness came on, when we found ourselves completely enveloped by
the foe. Nothing but splendid generalship and true bravery on the part
of our officers and men saved us from capture and destruction. Some of
our number were made prisoners, but our losses were very small
considering the amount of depredations we had committed, and the great
danger to which we were exposed. As it was, the commands were
successfully withdrawn from their hazardous position, and through the
darkness of the night we crossed Antietam Creek, and bivouacked in
safety on the opposite bank. Several prisoners were captured from the
Rebels during the fights of the day. They were mostly from Alabama and
Louisiana regiments; and they state that their army is all together, and
well on its way to the river. They speak doubtfully of Lee's recrossing
the Potomac.

[Illustration: THE CAVALRY BIVOUAC.]

_July 7._--Our cavalry is in the vicinity of Boonsboro', and is acting
mostly on the defensive. The enemy in force is in our front, and an
attack is momentarily expected. At six P. M. "to horse" was sounded
throughout our camps; and, after waiting two hours in rain, ready for
a move, orders were received to return to our quarters. Rain is now
falling in torrents, accompanied with fearful thunderings and lightnings.
Unpleasant as it is, we welcome its peltings, hoping that the storm will
raise the Potomac above the fording mark, and thus give Meade an
opportunity to attack Lee before he has time to recross the river into
Virginia. We know that his pontoons at Falling Waters have been totally
destroyed by our cavalry and by the high water, and that the only ford
available is at Williamsport, and hence we welcome the falling floods.
Many of us have to lie down in water, which, however, is not very cold.
But the night is very tedious.

_July 8._--The sun came out bright and warm this morning, enabling us in
a few moments to dry our drenched blankets and garments. The roads,
however, abound in mud, and the streams are enormously swollen. Early in
the day our pickets were driven in along the Antietam, and the enemy
advanced with such force that by noon the plains around Boonsboro' were
the scene of a furious cavalry engagement.


Dr. Moore, from whose excellent reports we have before quoted, gives the
following graphic description of this cavalry duel: "Buford had the
right and Kilpatrick the left. The movements of the cavalry lines in
this battle were among the finest sights the author remembers ever to
have seen. It was here he first saw the young general (Kilpatrick), and
little thought that one day the deeds he saw him perform he would
transmit to paper and to posterity. Here, all day long, the Rebel and
the Union cavalry-chiefs fought, mounted and dismounted, and striving in
every manner possible to defeat and rout the other. The din and roar of
battle that, from ten A. M. until long after dark, had rolled over the
plains and back through the mountains, told to the most anxious generals
of them all, Meade and Lee, how desperate was the struggle--Stuart and
his men fighting for the safety of the Rebel army, Buford and Kilpatrick
for South Mountain's narrow Pass.

"Just as the setting sun sent his last rays over that muddy
battle-field, Buford and Kilpatrick were seen rapidly approaching each
other from opposite directions. They met; a few hasty words were
exchanged, and away dashed Buford far off to the right, and Kilpatrick
straight to the centre; and in less than twenty minutes, from right to
centre, and from centre to left, the clear notes of the bugles rang out
the welcome charging, and with one long, wild shout, those glorious
squadrons of Buford and Kilpatrick, from right to left, as far as the
eye could see, in one unbroken line, charged upon the foe. The shock was
irresistible; the Rebel line was broken--the routed enemy confessed the
superiority of our men as they fled from the well-fought field, leaving
their dead and dying behind them; and our heroic chiefs led back their
victorious squadrons, and, while resting on their laurels, gave their
brave, wearied troops a momentary repose."

Thus far our cavalry had done much to obstruct the retreat of the Rebel
army, and had inflicted incalculable losses of men and materials. But
the pursuit of our main army was not correspondingly vigorous. Two
pretty good reasons may be assigned for this seeming incompetency or
want of energy. The first reason is found in the fact that scarcely more
than a brigade of infantry had been kept in reserve during the great and
destructive battle of Gettysburg, while the three days of struggle had
well-nigh exhausted our entire strength. Rest was therefore greatly
needed, and a general engagement was to be guarded against. It should
also be remembered that nearly one fourth of our entire army was _hors
de combat_. The second reason may be found in the heavy rains which
fell, "impeding pursuers," as one writer says, "more than pursued,
though they need not." But the retreating army has this advantage; it
usually chooses its own route, which it can generally cover or hide by
means of stratagem, so that it requires time as well as study to
effectually pursue. Perhaps a third reason for our tardiness of pursuit
should be presented. Does it not appear to be an overruling act of
Providence? Had General Meade advanced, as it seems he might have done
with the resources at his command, against the demoralized, decimated,
and flying army, with its ammunition quite exhausted, and a swollen
river, unfordable and bridgeless, between it and safety, Lee could not
have escaped annihilation. But the public sentiment of the country,
though forming and improving rapidly, was not yet prepared for such a
victory. We needed to spend more treasure, spill more blood, sacrifice
more precious lives, to lift us up to those heights of public and
political virtue, where we could be safely entrusted with so dear a
boon. We were not then prepared for peace, that sovereign balm for a
nation's woes.

The tardiness with which our movements were made enabled the enemy to
reach a good position near Hagerstown, which he began to fortify in such
a manner as to cover his crossing. Meantime we understood that
successful efforts were made to rebuild the bridge at Falling Waters.

General Meade, in his official report, gives the following account of
his pursuit: "The fifth and sixth of July were employed in succoring the
wounded and burying the dead. Major-General Sedgwick, commanding the
Sixth Corps, having pushed the pursuit of the enemy as far as the
Fairfield Pass and the mountains, and reporting that the pass was very
strong--one in which a small force of the enemy could hold in check and
delay for a considerable time any pursuing force--I determined to follow
the enemy by a flank movement, and, accordingly, leaving McIntosh's
brigade of cavalry and Neil's brigade of infantry to continue harassing
the enemy, I put the army in motion for Middletown, and orders were
immediately sent to Major-General French, at Frederick, to reoccupy
Harper's Ferry, and send a force to occupy Turner's Pass, in South
Mountains. I subsequently ascertained that Major-General French had not
only anticipated these orders in part, but had pushed a cavalry force to
Williamsport and Falling Waters, where they destroyed the enemy's
pontoon bridge, and captured its guard. Buford was at the same time sent
to Williamsport and Hagerstown. The duty above assigned to the cavalry
was most successfully accomplished, the enemy being greatly harassed,
his trains destroyed, and many captures of guns and prisoners made."

_July 10._--This morning, at five o'clock, the cavalry advanced from
Boonsboro', passed through Keedysville, and crossed the Antietam about
ten o'clock. At twelve o'clock we engaged the enemy at Jones' Cross
Roads. The Harris Light led the advance, dismounted. The Rebels were
driven three consecutive times from as many positions which they had
chosen. Their resistance was by no means strong nor determined. Before
night Buford moved his command to Sharpsburg, on the extreme left of our
lines, and Kilpatrick advanced to a position on the extreme right, in
the vicinity of Hagerstown, where he covered the road to Gettysburg. On
the eleventh only picket skirmishes occupied the time. But on the
twelfth Kilpatrick, supported by a brigade of infantry under the command
of Brigadier-General Ames, of Howard's Corps, advanced upon the enemy
near Hagerstown, drove them from their works, and then out of the
streets of the city, and took permanent possession. This successful
movement greatly contracted our lines, and brought our forces into a
better position. At the close of this enterprise, as we are informed,
General Meade called a council of war, at which was discussed earnestly
and long the propriety of attacking the enemy. Notwithstanding the
anxiety of the chief commander to advance and reap fully the fruit of
Gettysburg, five of his corps commanders, out of eight, argued against
the measure, and as Meade did not desire to assume the grave
responsibility of a movement against such protests, no move was
immediately attempted.

This statement may modify the condemnatory judgments which were formed
against General Meade, and may prepare our minds rightly to interpret
General A. P. Howe's report of the general pursuit. In narrating its
spirit and progress, he says: "On the fourth of July it seemed evident
enough that the enemy were retreating. How far they were gone we could
not see from the front. We could see but a comparatively small force
from the position where I was. On Sunday the Fifth and Sixth Corps moved
in pursuit. As we moved, a small rearguard of the enemy retreated. We
followed them, with this small rearguard of the enemy before us, up to
Fairfield, in a gorge of the mountains. There we again waited for them
to go on. There seemed to be no disposition to push this rearguard when
we got up to Fairfield. A lieutenant from the enemy came into our lines
and gave himself up. He was a Northern Union man, in service in one of
the Georgia regiments; and, without being asked, he unhesitatingly told
me, when I met him as he was being brought in, that he belonged to the
artillery of the rearguard of the enemy, and that they had but two
rounds of ammunition with the rearguard. But we waited there without
receiving any orders to attack. It was a place where, as I informed
General Sedgwick, we could easily attack the enemy with advantage. But
no movement was made by us until the enemy went away. Then one brigade
of my division, with some cavalry, was sent to follow after them, while
the remainder of the Sixth Corps moved to the left. We moved on through
Boonsboro', and passed up on the pike-road leading to Hagerstown.

"After passing Boonsboro' it became my turn to lead the Sixth Corps.
That day, just before we started, General Sedgwick ordered me to move on
and take up the best position I could over a little stream on the
Frederick side of Funkstown. As I moved on, it was suggested to me by
him to move carefully. 'Don't come into contact with the enemy; we don't
want to bring on a general engagement.' It seemed to be the current
impression that it was not desired to bring on a general engagement. I
moved on until we came near Funkstown. General Buford was along that
way with his cavalry. I had passed over the stream referred to, and
found a strong position, which I concluded to take, and wait for the
Sixth Corps to come up. In the meantime General Buford, who was in
front, came back to me, and said, 'I am pretty hardly engaged here; I
have used a great deal of my ammunition; it is a strong place in front;
it is an excellent position.' It was a little farther out than I
was--near Funkstown. He said, 'I have used a great deal of my
ammunition, and I ought to go to the right; suppose you move up there,
or send up a brigade, or even a part of one, and hold that position.'
Said I, 'I will do so at once, if I can just communicate with General
Sedgwick; I am ordered to take up a position over here, and hold it, and
the intimation conveyed to me was, that they did not want to get into a
general engagement; I will send for General Sedgwick, and ask permission
to hold that position, and relieve you.' I accordingly sent a
staff-officer to General Sedgwick with a request that I might go up at
once and assist General Buford, stating that he had a strong position,
but his ammunition was giving out. General Buford remained with me until
I should get an answer. The answer was, 'No; we do not want to bring on
a general engagement.' 'Well,' said I, 'Buford, what can I do?' He said,
'They expect me to go farther to the right; my ammunition is pretty much
out. That position is a strong one, and we ought not to let it go.' I
sent down again to General Sedgwick, stating the condition of General
Buford, and that he would have to leave unless he could get some
assistance; that his position was not far in front, and that it seemed
to me that we should hold it, and I should like to send some force up to
picket it at least. After a time I got a reply that, if General Buford
left, I might occupy the position. General Buford was still with me, and
I said to him, 'If you go away from there I will have to hold it.'
'That's all right,' said he, 'I will go away.' He did so, and I moved
right up. It was a pretty good position when you cover your troops. Soon
after relieving Buford, we saw some Rebel infantry advancing. I do not
know whether they brought them from Hagerstown, or from some other
place. They made three dashes, not in heavy force, upon our line to
drive us back. The troops that happened to be there on our line were
what we considered, in the Army of the Potomac, unusually good ones.
They quietly repulsed the Rebels twice, and the third time they came up
they sent them flying into Funkstown.

"Yet there was no permission to move on and follow up the enemy. We
remained there some time, until we had orders to move on and take a
position a mile or more nearer Hagerstown. As we moved up we saw that
the Rebels had some light field-works--hurriedly thrown up,
apparently--to cover themselves while they recrossed the river. I think
we remained there three days; and the third night, I think, after we got
up into that position, it was said the Rebels recrossed the river."

_Sunday, July 12._--I had the misfortune to be kicked off my pins last
night, just before we were relieved at the front. Approaching my sorrel
pony from the rear, in a careless manner, for he could not see me until
I got within short range, when he raised his heels very suddenly, and,
without ceremony, planted them in my breast, laying me, not in the most
gentle manner, flat upon the ground. Medical aid is considered necessary
to-day, as I am suffering not a little. But, as the conflict was purely
caused by my own folly, I endure my pains with becoming patience.

To-day I found the following despatches in some Northern paper, and I
record them to show what contradictory reports will often find their way
into the public press concerning men and measures:

"_Mountain-House, near Boonsboro', July 9._--There has been no fighting
this morning. The fight of yesterday, near Boonsboro', was between
Generals Buford and Kilpatrick's cavalry and Rebel infantry, principally
on the bushwhacking style. Our troops fell back early in the day, but
subsequently reoccupied the ground. Artillery was used on both sides.

"There is no truth in the reported death of General Kilpatrick."


"_Boonsboro', July 9_, 8 P. M.--There have been no active operations on
our front to-day. After the cavalry fight of yesterday the enemy drew in
their forces towards Hagerstown, and formed a line on elevated ground from
Funkstown on the right to the bend of the river below Williamsport on the
left, thus uncovering the Shepherdstown crossing. Scouts and reconnoitring
parties report that Lee is entrenching his front and drawing from his
train on the Virginia side, and making general preparations for another
battle. It is contradicted, to-night, that we have a force on General
Lee's line of retreat in Virginia."

_July 13._--All has been quiet along our lines to-day. The army, being
pretty well rested by this time, is waiting impatiently for the command
to advance. Our position is also a good one, though not better than that
of the enemy. We have every reason to believe that the Rebel army is
still on the north bank of the Potomac. The recent rains have raised the
river above the fording mark. However, Lee will undoubtedly fall back
into Virginia if he finds a good opportunity. During the latter part of
the day General Meade finally decided to assault the position of the
invaders. Very much to the delight of the rank and file of the army,
orders were promulgated to the effect that a strong and simultaneous
advance must be made early on the morning of the fourteenth.
Preparations were immediately begun.


Kilpatrick and his cavalry were sent out on picket, and advanced as near
the enemy's lines as it was prudent. Not many hours of the night had
passed away when Kilpatrick discovered certain movements which indicated
that the enemy was leaving his front. Prepared as he was to attack them
by the morning light, he was ready to follow up any movement which they
might make. Hence, at three o'clock in the morning of the fourteenth,
his advance-guard moved forward upon the retiring enemy. While
information of this unexpected movement of the enemy was despatched to
General Meade, Kilpatrick advanced towards Williamsport with his usual
rapidity and power, driving and capturing every thing before him.
Informed by citizens that the rearguard of the retreating army had but a
few moments before started from the river, he followed closely in their
tracks, and struck them at Falling Waters, where, after a brilliant and
sharp conflict, he bagged a large number of prisoners. Many a poor
fellow never reached the long-looked-for Virginia shore.

General Meade then sent the following despatch to Washington:

      July 14, 3 P. M.

      _H. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief_:

      My cavalry now occupy Falling Waters, having overtaken and
      captured a brigade of infantry, fifteen hundred strong, two
      guns, two caissons, two battle-flags, and a large number of
      small-arms. The enemy are all across the Potomac.

      GEORGE G. MEADE, _Major-General_.

Later in the day he sent the following:

      July 14, 3.30 P. M.

      _Major-General Halleck, General-in-Chief_:

      My cavalry have captured five hundred prisoners, in addition
      to those previously reported. General Pettigrew, of the
      Confederate army, was killed this morning in the attack on
      the enemy's rearguard. His body is in our hands.

      G. G. MEADE, _Major-General_.

These despatches were afterward denied by General Lee in a letter to his
authorities, as follows:

      July ----, 1863.

      _General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector-General C. S. A._:

      GENERAL: I have seen in the Northern papers what purports to
      be an official despatch from General Meade, stating that he
      had captured a brigade of infantry, two pieces of artillery,
      two caissons, and a large number of small-arms, as this army
      retired to the south bank of the Potomac on the thirteenth
      and fourteenth instant. This despatch has been copied into
      the Richmond papers; and, as its official character may cause
      it to be believed, I desire to state that it is incorrect.
      The enemy did not capture any organized body of men on that
      occasion, but only stragglers, and such as were left asleep
      on the road, exhausted by the fatigue and exposure of one of
      the most inclement nights I have ever known at this season
      of the year. It rained without cessation, rendering the road
      by which, our troops marched toward the bridge at Falling
      Waters very difficult to pass, and causing so much delay
      that the last of the troops did not cross the river at the
      until one A. M. on the morning of the fourteenth.

      While the column was thus detained on the road a number of
      men, worn down with fatigue, laid down in barns and by the
      roadside, and though officers were sent back to arouse them
      as the troops moved on, the darkness and rain prevented them
      from finding all, and many were in this way left behind. Two
      guns were left on the road; the horses that drew them became
      exhausted, and the officers went back to procure others.
      When they returned, the rear of the column had passed the
      guns so far that it was deemed unsafe to send back for them,
      and they were thus lost. No arms, cannon, or prisoners were
      taken by the enemy in battle, but only such as were left
      behind, as I have described, under the circumstances. The
      number of stragglers thus lost I am unable to state with
      accuracy, but it is greatly exaggerated in the despatch
      referred to.

      I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

      R. E. LEE, _General_.

This was evidently an attempt, on the part of the Rebel leader, to
disparage our victories and to wipe out of his record, with a sort of
legerdemain, the disgraceful and disastrous denouement of his invasion.
In the following important statement General Meade confirms his position
by incontestable facts, and shows how the matter stood:

      Aug. ----, 1863.

      _Major-General Halleck, General-in-Chief_:

      My attention has been called to what purports to be an
      official despatch of General R. E. Lee, commanding the Rebel
      army, to General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector-General,
      denying the accuracy of my telegram to you, of July
      fourteenth, announcing the result of the cavalry affair at
      Falling Waters.

      I have delayed taking any notice of Lee's report until the
      return of Brigadier-General Kilpatrick, absent on leave, who
      commanded the cavalry on the occasion referred to, and on
      whose report from the field my telegram was based. I now
      enclose the official report of Brigadier-General Kilpatrick,
      made after his attention had been called to Lee's report.
      You will see that he reiterates and confirms all that my
      despatch averred, and proves most conclusively that General
      Lee has been deceived by his subordinates, or he would
      never, in the face of the facts now alleged, have made the
      assertion his report claims.

      It appears that I was in error in stating that the body of
      General Pettigrew was left in our hands, although I did not
      communicate that fact until an officer from the field
      reported to me he had seen the body. It is now ascertained,
      from the Richmond papers, that General Pettigrew, though
      mortally wounded in the affair, was taken to Winchester,
      where he subsequently died. The three battle-flags captured
      on this occasion, and sent to Washington, belonged to the
      Fortieth, Forty-seventh, and Fifty-fifth Virginia regiments
      of infantry.

      General Lee will surely acknowledge these were not left in
      the hands of stragglers asleep in barns.

      GEORGE G. MEADE, _Major-General Commanding_.

Kilpatrick, in his letter of explanation, referred to in the above
despatch, gives the following graphic account of this last scene in the
great drama of the invasion:

      Warrenton Junction, Va., Aug. ----.

      _To Colonel A. J. Alexander, Chief of Staff of Cavalry Corps_:

      COLONEL: In compliance with a letter just received from the
      headquarters of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac,
      directing me to give the facts connected with the fight at
      Falling Waters, I have the honor to state that, at three
      A. M. of the fourteenth ultimo, I learned that the enemy's
      pickets were retiring in my front. Having been previously
      ordered to attack at seven A. M., I was ready to move at

      At daylight I had reached the crest of hills occupied by the
      enemy an hour before, and, a few minutes before six, General
      Custer drove the rearguard of the enemy into the river at
      Williamsport. Learning from citizens that a portion of the
      enemy had retreated in the direction of Falling Waters, I at
      once moved rapidly for that point, and came up with this
      rearguard of the enemy at seven-thirty A. M., at a point two
      miles distant from Falling Waters. We pressed on, driving
      them before us, capturing many prisoners and one gun. When
      within a mile and a half of Falling Waters, the enemy was
      found in large force, drawn up in line of battle on the crest
      of a hill, commanding the road on which I was advancing. His
      left was protected by earthworks, and his right extended to
      the woods on our left.

      The enemy was, when first seen, in two lines of battle, with
      arms stacked within less than one thousand yards of the
      large force. A second piece of artillery, with its support,
      consisting of infantry, was captured while attempting to get
      into position. The gun was taken to the rear. A portion of
      the Sixth Michigan Cavalry, seeing only that portion of the
      enemy behind the earthworks, charged. This charge was led by
      Major Webber, and was the most gallant ever made. At a trot
      he passed up the hill, received the fire from the whole
      line, and the next moment rode through and over the
      earthworks, and passed to the right, sabring the Rebels
      along the entire line, and returned with a loss of thirty
      killed, wounded, and missing, including the gallant Major
      Webber, killed.

      I directed General Custer to send forward one regiment as
      skirmishers. They were repulsed before support could be sent
      them, and driven back, closely followed by the Rebels, until
      checked by the First Michigan and a squadron of the Eighth
      New York. The Second brigade having come up, it was quickly
      thrown into position, and, after a fight of two hours and
      thirty minutes, routed the enemy at all points and drove him
      toward the river.

      When within a short distance of the bridge, General Buford's
      command came up and took the advance. We lost twenty-nine
      killed, thirty-six wounded, and forty missing. We found upon
      the field one hundred and twenty-five dead Rebels, and
      brought away upward of fifty wounded. A large number of the
      enemy's wounded were left upon the field in charge of their
      own surgeons. We captured two guns, three battle-flags, and
      upward of fifteen hundred prisoners.

      To General Custer and his brigade, Lieutenant Pennington and
      his battery, and one squadron of the Eighth New York
      Cavalry, of General Buford's command, all praise is due.

      Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

      J. KILPATRICK, _Brigadier-General_.

In his official report of operations from the twenty-eighth of June,
when he assumed command of the Third division, Kilpatrick says: "In this
campaign my command has captured forty-five hundred prisoners, nine
guns, and eleven battle-flags." Never before, in the history of warfare,
has it been permitted to any man commanding a division to include, in a
report of about forty-five days' operations, such magnificent results.

As the last foot of the invaders disappeared from the soil where they
had never been successful, our gallant boys built their bivouac fires
and rested themselves and their weary animals near the scene of their
recent victory.

The telegraph lines, which had so often been burdened with news of
disaster, now sang with joyful intelligence from all departments of our
vast armies. Gettysburg was soon followed by Vicksburg, then Port
Hudson, the names being emblazoned upon many a glowing transparency, to
the honor of the heroes who had planned, and the braves who had fought,
so successfully and well. The news was welcomed with salutes of
artillery and bonfires in most of the Northern cities and villages,
while the whole mass of our people was jubilant and rejoicing.

On the fifteenth the President issued a proclamation of Thanksgiving, in
which he recognized the hand of God in our victories, and called upon
the people to "render the homage due to the Divine Majesty for the
wonderful things He has done in the nation's behalf, and to invoke the
influence of His Holy Spirit to subdue the anger which has produced, and
so long sustained, a needless and cruel rebellion." In the midst of
these rejoicings we end our chapter.



1863.--Escape of Lee into Virginia.--Reasons.--Cavalry Advance into the
    Valley _via_ Harper's Ferry, and Fight.--Riot in New York and
    other Northern Cities.--Again Across the Potomac on "Sacred Soil."
    --Blackberries and Discipline.--Mails.--Battle of Manassas Gap.--
    Mosby Again, and His Bands.--Author's Birthday.--Kilpatrick's Gunboat
    Expedition on the Rappahannock.--Cavalry Captures Navy.--Complimented
    by Superiors.--General Advance of the Army.--Third Cavalry Battle at
    Brandy Station.--Stuart's Cavalry Worsted at Culpepper Court House.
    --Sharp Artillery Practice at Raccoon Ford, on the Rapidan.--Special
    Duties and Special Dangers.--Good Living Along the Hazel and Robertson
    Rivers.--Important Reconnoissance and Raid.--Hard Fighting and Narrow
    Escape.--Needed Rest Received.--The Paymaster.--Rebel Plan of Attack
    Foiled by a Citizen Informer.--Suspicious Activity on Our Front.

This sudden and masterly movement of the Rebels was a cutting surprise
to General Meade, and a source of mortification and chagrin to all.
Gloriously successful as we had been, it was evident that hesitation and
indecision had greatly detracted from our laurels. We had won a
world-renowned victory, but we had failed to reap all the legitimate
fruits which our situation placed within our reach.

General Lee had been terribly punished, but his escape was quite
marvellous. One writer says: "When his shattered columns commenced their
retreat from Gettysburg, few of his officers can have imagined that
they would ever reach Virginia with their artillery and most of their
trains." And though their trains were severely handled and greatly
injured, yet the old Rebel army of Northern Virginia, with nearly all
its artillery, made its exit from soil too sacred to freedom for a Rebel
victory. Their losses, however, had been immense, and they were only too
glad to escape in a manner very unlike the audacious way in which they
had advanced but a few weeks previous into the Northern States.

It now became the policy of our leader to follow the fugitives as
closely as the changed circumstances of affairs would permit, and to
give the Rebels no rest, while he endeavored to press them determinedly,
and watched them by means of scouts and signal-stations with a jealous
eye. "There is, however, a limit to the endurance which men and horses
are capable of, and, beyond this, the overtaxed powers give way, and
exhausted nature claims her rights. Few there are, except those who have
had experience, who know how much privation the brave soldier and his
general suffer in the toils of the field, on the rapid march, the hasty
bivouac, the broken slumbers, the wakeful watchings, and the scanty
fare." It must be remembered, also, that our army had made many forced
marches, describing in its route a line somewhat resembling the
circumference of a great circle, as a careful survey of the map of
movements will show; while the route of the enemy, who had several days
the start of us, was more like the diameter of that circle. Our cavalry
had not only fought and defeated the Rebel cavalry on many sanguinary
fields, but it had met the serried lines of their infantry also, as at
Gettysburg, where the brave Farnsworth fell. Owing to this fatigue of
our forces, our pursuit of the enemy was not as vigorous, it would seem
in a cursory glance, as it should have been.

As soon as it was ascertained that the Rebel army was in full retreat, a
force of our cavalry was sent across the Potomac at Harper's Ferry,
bivouacking, the night of the fourteenth of July, on Bolivar Heights.
Early the next morning we advanced on the Winchester Turnpike as far as
Halltown, where we deflected to the right on the road to Shepherdstown.
We had not proceeded far before we encountered the enemy's cavalry under
Fitzhugh Lee, with which we were soon involved in a spirited contest. At
first our troopers were worsted and driven back a short distance. But,
having found a good position, we rallied, and repulsed several desperate
charges, inflicting heavy losses, until the Rebels were glad to give up
the game, and consequently retired. Colonel Drake (First Virginia) and
Colonel Gregg were among the Rebel slain, while on our side the highest
officer killed was Captain Fisher, of the Sixteenth Pennsylvania. The
fighting was done principally on foot.

While these things were transpiring, Kilpatrick moved his division from
Falling Waters to Boonsboro' by way of Williamsport and Hagerstown. Sad
evidences of the recent battles and marches, in dead animals and general
_débris_, were seen all along the way. Having reached our bivouac near
Boonsboro', our men and horses came to their rations and rest with a
wonderful relish.

During the day we have been reading of the murderous riots made in
Northern cities, especially in New York, where men in mobs have
ostensibly leagued against the authority of the Government. The bloody
accounts are stirring the rank and file of our army terribly. A feeling
of intense indignation exists against traitorous demagogues, who are
undoubtedly at the bottom of all this anarchy. Detachments from many of
the old regiments are now being sent North to look after Northern
traitors. This depletion of our ranks we cannot well afford, for every
available man is needed in the field. Many of our regiments are much
reduced. The Harris Light now musters but one hundred men fit for duty,
scarcely one tenth the number with which we entered upon the campaign.
Our horses are also much used up. Hundreds of them have been killed and
wounded in battle, and not a few have "played out," so that they are
utterly unserviceable. The author of these records has worn out
completely two horses since he had a second horse shot under him in the
cavalry fight near Upperville.

_July 16._--"Boots and Saddles" sounded at four o'clock, and before
daylight we were on our way toward Harper's Ferry. We revisited
Rhorersville, crossed Crampton's Gap, and at last reached the Potomac at
Berlin, where the division was separated, a portion of it moving to
Harper's Ferry, where they bivouacked at night in the yard of the
destroyed United States arsenal. Pontoons at Harper's Ferry and Berlin
were used for crossing the army into Virginia. The crossing was being
effected as rapidly as possible, yet for so vast an army it is always
slow and tedious.

Our troops are daily crossing and advancing, but all is otherwise quiet.
We are now receiving an issue of clothing, which we greatly need. Our
ranks are putting on a new-revived appearance. The first sergeants of
the Harris Light have received orders to finish their pay-rolls. General
Lee is reported to be falling back to the Rappahannock.

_Sunday, July 19._--Our cavalry left Harper's Ferry at two o'clock
P. M., crossed the river on pontoons at Sandy Hook, and advanced into
Virginia. Monthly returns for June were made before our march commenced.
The weather is very warm and sultry. On the twentieth we resumed our
march at ten A. M., and advanced to Leesburg, where we fed our horses
and rested. In the decline of the day we marched to Goose Creek, on
whose grassy banks we bivouacked for the night.

The whole cavalry force is moving towards the Rappahannock. On the
twenty-first we advanced _viâ_ Gum Spring and Centreville to Manassas
Junction. The boys have had some gay times to-day after blackberries,
which we found in great abundance all along our line of march. General
Gregg was compelled to dismount several men in the forenoon, and ordered
them to march on foot, for the offence of leaving the ranks for berries,
without permission. A command would soon be totally demoralized, if such
tendencies to unsoldierly conduct were not checked. And though at times
discipline seems severe, yet, especially with us, it is absolutely

_July 22._--To-day we marched to the vicinity of Gainesville. We fell in
with Scott's Nine Hundred as we were marching across the old field of
Bull Run, among whom we found several old acquaintances. We spent a few
very interesting moments together.

_July 23._--Our command was cheered to-day by the arrival of a large
mail, which brought a message to nearly every man. During active
campaigning, as in the invasion of Pennsylvania and Maryland, it is
difficult to keep up postal connections with the civil world, and, with
the very best efforts which can be made, our mails are greatly delayed,
sometimes even for weeks together. But when they do come, they are
hailed with a delight which is almost frantic. The post-boys are cheered
as far as they can be seen, as they wend their way from camp to camp,
with their horses loaded down with the enormously swollen mail-bags.
Several bushels of letters are sometimes brought by one carrier, as was
the case to-day.


During the day we have heard very heavy cannonading in the direction of
White Plains. It appears that General Meade, misled by the information
brought by some of his scouts, expected to engage the Rebel army in
Manassas Gap, or west of that, where General Buford found the enemy in
force. Our army was accordingly concentrated upon this point. The Third
Corps, under General French, which occupied Ashby's Gap, was sent
forward rapidly to Buford's support, where its First Division,
commanded by General Hobart Ward, pushed through the Gap, driving the
enemy before it, but with mutual loss. Here the New York Excelsior
Brigade, General F. B. Spinola commanding, greatly distinguished itself,
by making three heroic charges up the frowning steeps, where the Rebels
were strongly posted. Their general was twice wounded. But the effort
was a success.

On the morning of the twenty-fourth our soldiers pushed forward as far
as Front Royal, but found no enemy. They then learned that they had been
fighting only a portion of Lee's rearguard, which in the night had
slipped away in the trail of their main army southward. By this move
General Meade's army lost about two days' march; and when again we
reached the bank of the Rappahannock, the old foe was facing us in
threatening attitude from the opposite shore.

This afternoon the Harris Light was sent on a scout to Thoroughfare Gap.
From the heights beyond the Gap we saw the wagon-train of the Eleventh
Corps moving toward Warrenton. This was a portion of the force which had
expected a fight at Manassas Gap.

_July 25._--Our cavalry force reached the vicinity of Warrenton
Junction, when we went into bivouac. The second squadron of our
regiment, under Captain O. J. Downing, moved to Thoroughfare Gap and
returned to Gainesville, where it joined the regiment, and then marched
with us to the Junction _viâ_ Bristoe and Catlett's. Before night we
were sent out on picket in the vicinity of Catlett's Station, where we
relieved the First Virginia Cavalry. We continued on picket through the
twenty-sixth, but all was quiet along the lines.

An inspection of horses was made this morning, when a large number were
condemned as utterly unserviceable; and they were started off toward
Washington, to be exchanged for better ones.

_July 27._--I have the responsibility and honor of being in command of a
company. This afternoon a detachment of our forces was sent out on a
sort of bushwhacking expedition. A portion of Company F was captured by
the Fourth Virginia Cavalry, while patrolling the road near

We are not doing much these days, except picketing, scouting,
recruiting, resting. On the twenty-ninth our entire brigade was marched
to within three miles of Warrenton, and then countermarched to the old
camp; and on the last day of the month we advanced to Warrenton in heavy
force, where General Meade has had his headquarters for several days.

_August 1._--To-day General Meade moved his headquarters to Rappahannock
Station. The heat is excessive. Two men of the Harris Light were
sunstruck during the day. We left Warrenton at seven o'clock A. M., and
moved very slowly. At night we bivouacked not far from New Baltimore. On
the following day we were sent out on picket, which here is neither
difficult nor dangerous.

Our Colonel, Otto Harhaus, is ill, and is awaiting his documents for a
leave of absence from the regiment.

_August 3._--The colonel received his papers to-day, and started
forthwith for New York. Captain L. H. Southard, the senior officer, is
in command. The regiment was sent to Thoroughfare Gap, where we encamped
in an apple-orchard.

Our infantry lines now extend down the Rappahannock as far as
Fredericksburg, which we hold. The cavalry is picketing and patrolling
all this territory. However, as there are so many regiments to engage in
this work, the duty is comparatively light. "Many hands make light

_Sunday, August 9._--We still continue near Thoroughfare Gap.
Occasionally, as our turn comes, we picket along the Manassas Gap
Railroad. Major E. F. Cooke, who has been absent for some time, returned
to us to-day and took command. My old company, E, shows the following
report: Present, thirty-two; fit for duty, twenty-two.

On Monday the regiment left camp at nine A. M., and, separating into
several detachments, moved upon White Plains and Middleburg from
different directions. These places have been occupied for some time past
by Mosby's guerilla bands. We did not succeed, however, in bringing them
into an engagement, as they were sharply on the lookout, and studiously
kept beyond the reach of our carbines. Occasionally our pickets are
attacked by them, and some lively times are experienced.

_August 13._--I was detailed by the adjutant this morning to act as
sergeant-major in place of Sergeant Temple, who is assigned to the
command of a company. Very few commissioned officers are with the
regiment at present. This leaves the command of several companies to
enlisted men. Some of our officers are out on detached service, while
not a few, during the lull of army operations, have asked and received
leaves of absence, and are visiting their friends in the North. It might
indeed be said that we are all rusticating; and, were it not for the
guerilla bands that infest the country, attacking our outposts, and
frequently disturbing our lines of communication with our bases of
supply as well as the outer world, our condition would be one of
pleasing rest.

On the fourteenth a little excitement was afforded us, to relieve us
from the monotonous life which we are spending. A detachment of the
regiment, commanded by Captain Griggs, made a bold dash upon an
ill-starred portion of Mosby's band, near Aldie, where we captured three
men and twenty horses and equipments, most of which had formerly
belonged to our service, having been taken by these wily guerillas.
Nearly every horse had the familiar "U. S." upon his shoulder; and the
saddles, with very few exceptions, were of Northern manufacture.

_August 15._--The Harris Light moved from Thoroughfare Gap at ten A. M.
We reached Hartwood Church at eight in the evening, _viâ_ New Baltimore
and Greenwich. A considerable halt was made at Warrenton Junction,
where we drew rations and forage.

Henry E. Davies, Jr., just promoted to the colonelcy of the regiment,
joined us at the Junction, and took command. He is immensely popular
with the men, especially with those who admire bravery and heroism, and
who covet to be thoroughly drilled and disciplined.

_August 17._--We continue at Hartwood Church, with our camp located very
near General Kilpatrick's headquarters. During the day Colonel Davies
appointed me second lieutenant, and assigned me to the command of
Company M, as both the captain and first lieutenant of the company are
absent on detached service.

Late in the evening I received orders to report, with my company, at an
early hour next day, to Captain Meade, division quartermaster. At five
o'clock on the morning of the eighteenth we made our bow to the captain,
who despatched us as an escort or guard to a train from Hartwood to
Warrenton Junction.

During the march we made an exciting dash upon a band of guerillas, who
were watching for us, expecting to make some captures. But they were
disappointed, for we were not only prepared to resist them, but would
have captured them but for the superior fleetness of their horses. After
accomplishing the work we were sent out to do, and resting one night, we
returned to the regiment.

_August 22._--This is my natal day. I find myself twenty-two years of
age. I am not surrounded on this anniversary, as in former years, by the
friends of my childhood. But memories of the past come trooping up in
such vivid lines, as to make the day one of deep interest.

_August 28._--My company, which forms a part of Captain Mitchell's
battalion, is doing picket-duty at present with the battalion on the
Rappahannock between Banks and United States Fords. My company is at the
captain's headquarters, and acts as grand guard.

_Sunday, August 30._--To-day I accompanied the division and brigade
officers of the day in their visit to and inspection of the pickets
along the Rappahannock. Our ride was very pleasant. Captain Barker, of
the Fifth New York Cavalry, dined with Captain Mitchell and myself. He
is a lively companion; was in the hands of Mosby last Spring; and has a
fund of amusing and interesting incidents of army-life with which to
enliven his conversation.

On the last day of August, Captain Mitchell was ordered to report to the
regiment at Hartwood Church, with his reserves. The pickets are to
remain on the river until attacked by the enemy or recalled by orders
from division headquarters.


_September 4._--To break the monotony of picketing and to subserve the
cause of freedom, a most novel scheme was lately undertaken, known as
Kilpatrick's Gunboat Expedition. The object was to destroy a portion of
the Rebel navy anchored in the Rappahannock, near Port Conway, opposite
Port Royal. This peculiar kind of warfare, which required genius and
dash, was waged by the troopers with complete success, and they returned
to their bivouac fires to enliven the weary hours with stories of their
long march down the river, and their destructive charge upon the
gunboats of the enemy. The expedition set out about two o'clock on the
morning of September first.

Doctor Lucius P. Woods, Surgeon-in-Chief of the First Brigade, Third
Division, gives the following interesting description of the above raid
in a letter to Mrs. Woods:

"I returned yesterday after a three days' expedition after gunboats! We
all laughed at the order sending cavalry after such craft, but I am
happy to say that the object of the expedition was accomplished. We left
camp at two o'clock A. M., marched all day and all the following night,
till three o'clock next morning, when we made a furious charge upon
Rebel infantry. They ran so fast as to disarrange the general's plan of
attack. The morning was so dark that we could not see one rod in advance.

"We captured twelve or fifteen prisoners, and General Kilpatrick gave
orders in their hearing to have the whole command fall back, stating
that the gunboats would be alarmed and the expedition be a failure. The
general took particular pains to allow half the prisoners to escape and
to get across the Rappahannock. After falling back two miles, we were
countermarched toward the river, near which we were formed in line of
battle. We sat there on our horses waiting for daylight. Then the flying
artillery of ten guns, supported by the old Fifth New York and First
Michigan, dashed at a full run down to the river-bank, wheeled into
position, and gave the Rebels a small cargo of hissing cast-iron, which
waked them up more effectually than their ordinary morning-call. They
soon came to their senses, and for half an hour sent over to us what I
should think to be, by the noise they made, tea-kettles, cooking-stoves,
large cast-iron hats, etc. But our smaller and more active guns soon
silenced theirs, and drove the gunners away, when we turned our
attention to the boring of holes in their boats with conical pieces of
iron, vulgarly called solid shot. I am sure I can recommend them as
first-class augers, for they sank the boats in time for all hands to sit
down to breakfast at half-past nine o'clock. The repast consisted of
muddy water, rusty salt-pork, and half a hard cracker, termed by us "an
iron-clad breakfast." We were absent from camp three days, and had only
nine hours' sleep."

Further interesting particulars were given in a New York daily, as

"The expedition under General Kilpatrick, sent out a few days since to
recapture, in conjunction with the navy, the gunboats Satellite and
Reliance, which recently fell into the hands of the Rebels, was, so far
as the cavalry is concerned, successful.

"On Tuesday evening General Kilpatrick arrived on this side the river,
at Port Conway, and brilliantly dashed upon the enemy's pickets under
Colonel Low. The Rebels did not even make a show of resistance, but
rushed into a number of flat-boats in the wildest confusion, and landed
safely on the opposite bank. If they had made a show of fight, they
would have most likely been captured.

"After the escape of the enemy, General Kilpatrick waited two hours for
the coöperation of the navy, which is understood to have been agreed
upon. The vessels did not arrive, and General Kilpatrick ordered a
battery to open fire upon the gunboats Reliance and Satellite. This was
done at the distance of six hundred and fifty yards. The enemy
immediately abandoned the gunboats--very fortunately for themselves, for
only a few moments elapsed before the Satellite was in a sinking
condition, and the Reliance rendered useless. Both boats were completely
riddled by shot and shell. The force under Kilpatrick consisted of
cavalry and two batteries of artillery. The Satellite is sunk, and the
Reliance so completely disabled as to be beyond hope of being repaired
by the Rebels."

On our return from Port Conway we passed through Falmouth, where we
halted a short time. It was pleasant to survey the scenes of former
labors and conflicts. Much alarm appears to have been created among the
Rebels by our gunboat disturbance. A large force of Rebel cavalry can be
distinctly seen approaching Fredericksburg on the Telegraph Road, and
more or less commotion prevails across the river. From Falmouth we
marched directly to Hartwood Church. On arriving here, Captain
Mitchell's battalion was ordered back to its old position on picket, to
relieve the infantry which took our places before the expedition to Port

_September 5._--We continue on picket near United States Ford. This
morning the regiment was mustered in for pay by Major McIrvin, who is
temporarily in command, Colonel Davies having been placed in command of
a brigade.

At ten o'clock A. M. I received my commission of second lieutenant. It
was brought from the headquarters of the regiment by the bugler of
Company H. It dates back to the cavalry fight at Aldie, which occurred
on the seventeenth of June.

On this line of pickets we have continued uninterruptedly for a week. On
the seventh, Colonel Davies, with his assistant adjutant-general,
visited our post. It was very gratifying to Captain Mitchell and myself
to receive the colonel's compliments for promptness and vigilance in our
work, especially as he has the reputation of never bestowing praise
where it is not deserved.

I rode down to Lieutenant Temple's picket-reserve, at Richard's Ferry,
on the eighth. I found the lieutenant in excellent humor, but decidedly
opposed to picketing as a permanent occupation. We were, however,
consoled with the hope of relief ere long.

In the afternoon the brigade officer of the day called at the bivouac of
the "grand guard," and expressed himself as being highly pleased with
the disposition and management of the pickets. The enemy's pickets
confront ours at all the fords of the river, and appear in heavy force.

For some time past we have understood that General Lee's headquarters
are at Orange Court House, while his infantry occupies the south banks
and bluffs of the Rapidan. Stuart occupies Culpepper Court House, and
pickets and patrols the territory between the Rapidan and the
Rappahannock, a region shaped much like an old-fashioned harrow.

_September 13._--An advance of the Union army was ordered yesterday by
its Chief, in which the cavalry was to take a prominent part. Orders
were issued accordingly last evening, and every needed preparation made
for our work. At an early hour this morning the entire cavalry corps was
on the march. In order that the enemy might not be prematurely warned of
our design, the several commands were ordered to make as little noise as
possible. Consequently the bugle-calls were dispensed with, and
commanders made use of their voices, and in some instances the orders
were conveyed from rank to rank in a whisper. The three great divisions
of the corps were to cross the river as follows: Gregg's, at Sulphur
Springs; Buford's, at Rappahannock Bridge; and Kilpatrick's, at Kelly's


At six o'clock the Harris Light plunged into the river at Kelly's Ford,
leading the advance. A strong detachment of Stuart's cavalry, consisting
of pickets and reserves, opposed our crossing with dogged pertinacity,
but finally, yielding to our superior numbers and to the deadly accuracy
of our carbines, gave way. He then advanced in the direction of Brandy
Station. The farther we advanced the stronger grew the ever-accumulating
force of the enemy, who disputed every inch of ground with great
stubbornness. On arriving near the Station we found the enemy in strong
force, with artillery posted on the surrounding hills. We saw clearly
that a third cavalry fight was destined to be fought on this historic
field, and we began to make preparations for the onset. It was my
fortune to lead the advance company in the first charge. Three men and
four horses were killed and wounded in this company by the first
discharge of the enemy's artillery, whose fire was terribly accurate.

But we had not been fighting long before the other divisions joined us.
At their approach great enthusiasm among our boys prevailed. Before our
combined force the enemy was swept from those plains like chaff before
the whirlwind. They fled in the direction of Culpepper, a naturally
strong and now fortified position, where we knew we must soon encounter
the Rebel chivalry _en masse_ upon their chosen field.


From Brandy Station General Pleasonton directed Kilpatrick to make a
détour _viâ_ Stevensburg, in order to operate as a flanking column upon
the enemy at the proper time. With the First and Second divisions
Pleasonton pushed straight on to Culpepper, driving the enemy before him
without much resistance until within about a mile of the town. Here our
advance was effectually checked. A fearful duel now took place with
varying fortunes. For some time the enemy baffled all our efforts to
dislodge him from his strong position, and our men began to look
wishfully for the flankers, when lo! Kilpatrick's flags were seen
advancing from the direction of Stevensburg, and his artillery was soon
thundering in the enemy's flank and rear. Under this unexpected and
well-directed fire, that portion of the enemy which had kept our main
column at bay fell back in confusion into the town; and, before they
had time to re-form their broken lines, the Harris Light, Fifth New
York, First Vermont, and First Michigan, led by General Custer, dashed
upon the "Johnnies" in the streets, throwing the boast of the chivalry
into a perfect rout. Many prisoners were captured, more or less material
of war, and three Blakely guns. The Rebels retreated hastily in the
direction of Pony Mountain and Rapidan Bridge, whither they were closely
pursued by our victorious squadrons. The day following this brilliant
advance Pleasonton occupied all the fords of the Rapidan, extending his
pickets on our right as far forward as the Robertson and Hazel Rivers.

The way having been thus prepared by his heroic _avant-couriers_,
General Meade advanced the Army of the Potomac across the Rappahannock,
and took his temporary residence in Culpepper.

_September 15._--Kilpatrick's division advanced from Culpepper to
Raccoon Ford on the Rapidan. Colonel Davies' brigade supported a battery
of artillery a short distance from the ford from one till four P. M. The
shelling from the enemy's batteries was terrific. Their position was
admirable on the high bluff south of the ford, and the range was just
right for execution. Their artillery was of a heavy calibre, and
supported by infantry. They were finely screened by earthworks, while
our forces were almost entirely exposed, and protected only here and
there by a little knoll. In the unequal duel which took place, two of
our guns were dismounted and disabled, while several artillerymen and
horses were killed. It was not at all pacticable for us to attempt a

Before night we retired from the ford, and the divisions took up their
headquarters, Gregg's, at Rappahannock Bridge; Buford's, at Stevensburg;
and Kilpatrick's, on the extreme right, at James City.

_September 16._--To-day we are picketing the fords of the Robertson
River, a branch of the Rapidan. At five o'clock P. M. the Fifth New York
pickets were attacked and driven to within a few rods of their reserve;
but being reënforced by ourselves, who were ordered to relieve them, the
enemy was compelled to retire hastily, and we reoccupied the line which
was taken up by the Fifth in the morning.

At ten o'clock in the night I received orders to take four men and
communicate with Major McIrvin at Newman's Ford, two miles above our
post on the Robertson. This was by no means an easy task, as the
wilderness country was almost wholly unknown to us, and the Rebel
pickets in this quarter had not been sounded. Through the darkness,
however, I advanced with my men as cautiously as possible, and yet at
several points along our line of march we drew the fire of the Rebel
pickets. At length we espied a force of cavalry approaching us, which
proved to be a detachment under Major McIrvin on their way to the ford.
We challenged one another simultaneously, each supposing the other to be
an enemy. The major was on the point of ordering his command to fire
upon me, when I recognized his voice and quickly gave him my name. The
discovery was timely, and mutually enjoyable.

_September 17._--The enemy advanced his picket lines this morning across
the river, pushed ours back with considerable precipitancy, when a
general skirmish occurred along the lines for a distance of about two
miles. Captain Hasty was chief in command of our skirmishers. I assisted
him, riding my sorrel pony, the only horse on the skirmish line, as all
the men fought dismounted. At nine o'clock Colonel Davies arrived with
his brigade and took command. The Rebels were not able to withstand our
accumulated power, and rapidly retreated across the river, enabling us
to reëstablish our lines where they were before the onset.

Picket-firing is very common. "Give and take" is the game we play, and
sometimes the blows are as severe as they are unexpected. The cavalry is
almost constantly on duty, scouting, patrolling, and very often
fighting. Thus we are kept ever in motion.

The only relief for our excessive labors is our good living. Seldom are
soldiers permitted to live in a country of which it may be said as
emphatically as of this, that it "flows with milk and honey." The
numerous flocks of sheep and herds of cattle in the neighborhood are
made to contribute the basis of our rations, while the poultry-yards,
larders, and orchards are made to yield the delicacies of the season.
The country abounds with sorghum, apple-butter, milk, honey, sweet
potatoes, peaches, apples, etc.; so that kings are not much better fed
than are the cavaliers of this command.

_September 19._--The weather is becoming cold and wet. Yesterday this
brigade retired from the Robertson to the vicinity of Stevensburg,
where we bivouacked in the pine woods.

Henry E. Davies, Jr., formerly Colonel of the Harris Light, and for some
time past in command of the First brigade of Kilpatrick's division, was
congratulated to-day by his friends upon his promotion to
brigadier-general. No promotion was ever more fitly made, and the "star"
never graced a more perfect gentleman or more gallant soldier. The
general feeling in the command is, long may he live in the service of
his country and for the honor of her flag.

_Sunday, September 20._--This morning very appropriate and solemn
funeral services were held, conducted by Chaplain Edward P. Roe, in
honor of the officers and soldiers of the Harris Light, who were killed
in our recent advance to, and skirmishes along, the Rapidan and
Robertson Rivers.


On the morning of the twenty-first, at day-break, an important movement
was commenced by Generals Kilpatrick and Buford, while General Gregg
remained on the picket lines. The object of the advance was mainly to
reconnoitre the position and strength of the enemy, and at the same time
to do all the mischief we could. We made a forced march directly upon
Madison Court House, meeting but little opposition. The tired troopers
rested themselves and their animals at night, preparatory to another
early advance.

_September 22._--We were early in the saddle, with our steps turned
southward in the direction of Orange Court House. The two divisions
advanced upon different but nearly parallel roads. We had not proceeded
far before messengers from General Buford informed us that, by a rapid
movement across the country between the two roads, Kilpatrick might
intercept a brigade of the enemy's cavalry, which Buford was engaging
and pursuing. The Harris Light had the advance of the division, and we
soon came in contact with the retreating Rebel force in a dense oak
forest, through which we were compelled to approach the pike by a wood
road, which was so narrow as to necessitate our moving in columns of
twos. Upon gaining the main road we found the entire force of the enemy
advancing with skirmishers deployed, and a battery of light artillery in
position, which instantaneously opened upon us with grape and canister.
The situation of our regiment was extremely critical and embarrassing.


Generals Kilpatrick and Davies were at the head of the column, and by
them we were ordered and encouraged to present a bold front and make a
desperate resistance, in order to give the division time to file out of
the forest and to get into a fighting position along the road. At this
juncture I was in command of the first company of the first squadron,
and consequently was ordered to cross the pike, and to check the advance
of the enemy in that quarter, while the balance of the regiment was to
hold the pike and a small opening to the left. We had barely time to
deploy as skirmishers, when the Rebel commander, seeing that his only
hope of escape from the trap we were laying for him lay in a quick and
decisive charge, came down upon us like an avalanche, crushing through
the force that was on the road, and sweeping a clean path for his
escape. The resistance of the regiment, however, was so desperate that
the killed and wounded from both sides strewed the hotly-contested
ground in every direction. Not more than twenty minutes elapsed from the
time we first saw the enemy before the contest was decided; and yet, in
this brief period of time, the Harris Light lost several of its most
gallant officers and many of its bravest men. Our loss was principally
in wounded and prisoners, while that of the enemy was in killed and

By this sudden and unexpected charge of the enemy upon the force on the
pike, myself and company were completely cut off from our main column.
For one whole hour we were entirely enclosed within the lines of the
Rebel cavalry. It is true that they had about all they could do to take
care of themselves, and yet they might have bagged and gobbled our small
force. But by swift and careful movements we succeeded in eluding the
vigilance of the Rebels, and finally we made our exit from their lines
unhurt, and with much valuable information which we had obtained. As
soon as possible I reported to General Kilpatrick, who was much
surprised at seeing me, having come to the conclusion that myself and
men were already on our way to "Richmond!"

The forces of Stuart were ultimately routed and fell back from Liberty
Ford, near which the fight occurred, upon their infantry reserves at

My escape from the toils of the enemy was regarded as almost miraculous.
General Davies sent an aid to me with his compliments, inviting me to
his headquarters, where he expressed his surprise at my safe return, and
complimented me for the dexterity, wisdom, and success of my movements.

The day following this engagement and adventure our forces returned to
the vicinity of Culpepper, where we spent a few days in comparative
rest--rest which we all needed and greatly enjoyed.

_September 25._--I received an order this afternoon from Major McIrvin,
commanding the regiment, directing me to take command of Company H,
which is without a commander.

On the twenty-sixth the paymaster made his appearance among us, much to
the satisfaction of the command. Owing to the continuous movements of
the Cavalry Corps, and its generally exposed condition, no opportunity
has been afforded the Government to pay us for the last six months. Very
little money was in the regiment, even officers as well as men being
pretty well reduced. The paymaster's "stamps" were more than usually

_September 28._--Four companies, namely, B, F, H, and M, commanded by
Captain Grinton, were ordered on picket to-day along the Hazel River.
One half of this force occupies the picket line, the other half patrols
the country. The captain commands the post, and I have the special
charge of the pickets. We do not want, at present, for fresh meat and
vegetables. We live almost entirely from the country, and we live well.
Our bill of fare is varied and rich. Forage for our horses is also
abundant in all the neighboring plantations. Picketing under these
circumstances is more like a picnic than any thing else which we can

_October 8._--We are still in _statu quo_, picketing on the Hazel River.
However, yesterday Captain Mitchell relieved Captain Grinton in command
of the post. The reserve companies fell in line to hear the orders of
the War Department, concerning veteran volunteers. They produced quite
an excitement among us. The three years' enlistment of a large portion
of the army is nearly expired, and the Government, in its anxiety to
avail itself of the experience of the veteran troops to the end of the
conflict, is now offering extra inducements, in the way of furloughs and
bounties, to secure the reënlistment of these men to the end of the war.
The orders propounded to us meet with universal favor, and the cry runs
like wild-fire from rank to rank, "let us go in, boys!" This will be an
element of great power.

A citizen-youth, of manly bearing, who professes loyalty to our cause,
came to our pickets to-day, and from thence to headquarters, bringing
information of a Rebel plan to surprise our picket lines to-night. We
will give them a warm reception if they undertake the execution of their
scheme. A regiment of infantry, and one squadron of cavalry arrived
before dark, and are in readiness for the night's entertainment. The
pickets are doubly strong, and are under special orders to be vigilant.

_October 9._--The enemy did not venture an attack last night, but
doubtless contented themselves with the maxim that "discretion is the
better part of valor." Possibly they were informed of our preparation
for them. Spies and informants are numerous and active on both sides.

Lieutenant Houston and privates Donahue and Pugh were captured this
morning while scouting just beyond the pickets. Much activity is
manifested on our front. Indeed, it is quite generally understood among
us that General Lee is taking the initiatory steps of a flank movement
upon us. Our scouts so report, and the suspicious movements of the
pickets and forces before us corroborate the information.




1863.--Fight at James City.--Music of Retreat.--Fourth Cavalry Fight at
    Brandy Station.--Critical Situation.--Kilpatrick Undaunted.--Davies
    and Custer.--The Grand Charge.--The Escape.--The Scene.--Subsequent
    Charges and Counter-charges.--The Cavalry Routed.--The Rappahannock
    Recrossed in Safety.--Infantry Reconnoissance to Brandy Station.--
    Comical Affair at Bealeton Station.--Thrilling Adventure of Stuart.
    --His Escape.--Battle of Bristoe.--Casualties.--Retreat Continued.
    --Destruction of Railroad by the Rebels.--Kilpatrick at Buckland
    Mills.--Unpleasant Surroundings.--Sagacity and Daring.--The Author's
    Capture.--Fall, Insensibility, Change of Scene.--The End.--Introduced
    to Prison Life.

Early in the morning of October tenth the enemy, in heavy force, came
down upon our pickets along the Robertson River, driving us back in
haste and occupying the fords. The flank movement of General Lee was
fully understood. He had crossed the Rapidan, advanced to Madison Court
House, and was lapping around our right wing, threatening it with
destruction. Quick work on our part was now necessary. Swift messengers
from officers high in command brought orders to retire with promptness,
but in good order, if possible. Our boys, in many instances, were
compelled to leave uneaten and even untasted their palatable
preparations for breakfast of roast lamb, sweet potatoes, fine wheat
bread, milk and honey, &c., to attend to the stern and always
unpleasant duties of a retreat, with the enemy pressing very closely
upon us.

Sharp skirmishing took place at the river, and the successive crack of
carbines afforded the music of our march to James City, where the
conflict deepened into a battle, which raged with fury and slaughter.
The enemy, conscious of having outgeneraled us in this instance, and
having at least a temporary advantage, was bold and defiant. He was met,
however, with corresponding vigor. Those contesting legions, which had
so often measured sabres in the fearful charge, and hand-to-hand
encounter, again appealed to the God of battle, and wrested with
Herculean strength for the mastery. Night came on at length to hush the
strife, and the weary men and horses sought repose from the bloody fray.

_October 11._--With the first pencilings of the morning light we took up
our line of march toward the Rappahannock. Skirmishing continued nearly
every step of the way. On the Sperryville pike to Culpepper we were
closely pursued and heavily pressed. At Culpepper the corps separated.
Gregg, who had come by way of Cedar Mountain, passed out on the road to
Sulphur Springs. Buford moved in the direction of Stevensburg, leaving
Kilpatrick alone on the main thoroughfare along the railroad line.

Kilpatrick, accompanied by Pleasonton, had scarcely left Culpepper, when
Hampton's Legions made a furious attack upon his rearguard, with the
hope of breaking through upon the main column to scatter it, or of so
retarding its progress that a flanking column might fall upon him ere
he could reach the safe shore of the Rappahannock. Our infantry, which
yesterday occupied this ground, had retired, leaving the cavalry to
struggle out of the toils of the enemy as best it could.

Gallantly repelling every attack of the enemy, our command moved on,
without expending much of its time and material, until opposite the
residence of Hon. John Minor Botts, where a few regiments suddenly
wheeled about, and, facing the pursuing foe, charged upon them with
pistols and sabres, giving them a severe check and an unexpected
repulse. On arriving at Brandy Station Kilpatrick found himself in a
most critical situation, with an accumulation of formidable difficulties
on every hand, which threatened his annihilation.

Buford, who had been sharply pursued by Fitzhugh Lee's division over the
plains of Stevensburg, had retired more rapidly than Kilpatrick, and,
unaware of his comrade's danger, had suffered Lee to plant his batteries
on the high hills which commanded Kilpatrick's right, while the Rebel
troopers, in three heavy lines of battle, held the only route by which
Kilpatrick could retreat. Lee's sharpshooters also occupied the woods in
the immediate vicinity of Kilpatrick's columns, where they were making
themselves a source of damage and great annoyance. To increase the
danger of the situation, Stuart, by hard marching, had swung around to
Kilpatrick's left, and had taken possession of a range of hills, planted
batteries, and was preparing to charge down upon the surrounded division

This was a situation to try the stoutest hearts. Nothing daunted,
however, by this terrific array of the enemy, Kilpatrick displayed that
decision and daring which have ever characterized him as a great cavalry
leader, and he proved himself worthy of the brave men who compose his
command. His preparation for the grand charge was soon completed.
Forming his division into three lines of battle, he assigned the right
to Davies, the left to Custer, and, placing himself with Pleasonton in
the centre, he advanced with unwavering determination to the contest.
Having approached to within a few yards of the enemy's lines on his
front, he ordered his band to strike up a national air, to whose
spirit-stirring strains was joined the blast of scores of bugles ringing
forth the charge.

With his usual daring Davies was foremost in the fray, leading his
command for the fourth time on this memorable field. To his men he had
addressed these stirring words: "Soldiers of the First Brigade! I know
you have not forgotten the example of your brave comrades, who, in past
engagements _here_, were not afraid to die in defence of the old flag."

Custer, the daring, terrible demon that he is in battle, pulled off his
cap and handed it to his orderly, then dashed madly forward in the
charge, while his yellow locks floated like pennants on the breeze.
Pennington and Elder handled their batteries with great agility and
success, at times opening huge gaps in the serried lines of the enemy.

Fired to an almost divine potency, and with a majestic madness, this
band of heroic troopers shook the air with their battle-cry, and dashed
forward to meet the hitherto exultant foe. Ambulances, forges, and
cannon, with pack-horses and mules, non-combatants and others, all
joined to swell the mighty tide. Brave hearts grew braver, and faltering
ones waxed warmer and stronger, until pride of country had touched this
raging sea of thought and emotion, kindling an unconquerable principle,
which emphatically affirmed every man a hero unto death. So swiftly
swept forward this tide of animated power, that the Rebel lines broke in
wild dismay before the uplifted and firmly-grasped sabres of these
unflinching veterans, who, feeling that life and country were at stake,
risked them both upon the fearful issue.

Kilpatrick thus escaped disaster, defeated his pursuers, captured
several pieces of the enemy's artillery, and presented to the beholders
one of the grandest scenes ever witnessed in the New World.

    "By Heaven! it was a splendid sight to see,
    For one who had no friend or brother there."

No one who looked upon that wonderful panorama can ever forget it. On
the great field were riderless horses and dying men; clouds of dust from
solid shot and bursting shell occasionally obscured the sky; broken
caissons and upturned ambulances obstructed the way, while long lines of
cavalry were pressing forward in the charge, with their drawn sabres,
glistening in the bright sunlight. Far beyond the scene of tumult were
the quiet, dark green forests which skirt the banks of the Rappahannock.
The poet Havard, in his "Scauderberg," has well described the scene:

    "Hark! the death-denouncing trumpet sounds.
    The fatal charge, and shouts proclaim the onset.
    Destruction rushes dreadful to the field
    And bathes itself in blood: havoc let loose,
    Now undistinguish'd, rages all around;
    While Ruin, seated on her dreary throne,
    Sees the plain strewed with subjects, truly hers,
    Breathless and cold."

The Rebel cavalry, undoubtedly ashamed of their own conduct and defeat,
reorganized their broken ranks, and again advanced upon Kilpatrick and
Buford, whose divisions had united to repel the attack. For at least two
long hours of slaughter these opposing squadrons dashed upon one another
over these historic fields. Charges and counter-charges followed in
quick succession, and at times the "gray" and the "blue" were so
confusedly commingled together, that it was difficult to conjecture how
they could regain their appropriate places. Quite a number of prisoners
were made on both sides. It was a scene of wild commotion and blood.
This carnival continued until late at night, when the exhausted and
beaten foe sank back upon safer grounds to rest, while our victorious
braves, crowned with undying laurels, gathered up their wounded and dead
companions, and, unmolested, recrossed the Rappahannock.

_October 12._--To-day a portion of our infantry was thrown across the
Rappahannock. They advanced by a forced march to reconnoitre as far as
Brandy Station, where they met the enemy in force and engaged him in a
sharp contest. They returned, however, without serious loss. Our main
army is retreating toward Washington.

On the evening of the thirteenth, while bivouacking near Bealeton
Station, a serio-comical scene diverted for a time the attention of our
officers and men. By a strange accident an ammunition wagon took fire,
which caused the rapid explosion of its contents. Shells flew and burst
in every direction, and the apparent musketry was terrible. The
consequence was a widespread alarm, which brought every trooper to his
horse ready to engage the foe, who was supposed to have made a furious
onset. Great merriment and relished rest followed the discovery of the
cause of disturbance, especially as no one was seriously hurt.

Since our last reconnoissance to Brandy Station, Stuart has been very
active, following our rear very closely, and committing all the
depredations possible. In his hands have fallen many stragglers, who, it
is true, were of very little use to us, but who would count as well as
true men in the Rebel lists of exchanges of prisoners. Some of Stuart's
performances were exceedingly hazardous, as the following well-described
narrative from a well-known pen will clearly show:

"Stuart, with two thousand of his cavalry, pressed our rear so eagerly
that, when near Catlett's Station, he had inadvertently got ahead, by a
flank movement of our Second Corps, General Warren acting as rearguard,
and was hemmed in, where his whole command must have been destroyed or
captured had he not succeeded in hiding it in a thicket of old
field-pines, close by the road whereon our men marched by: the rear of
the corps encamping close beside the enemy, utterly unsuspicious of
their neighborhood, though every word uttered in our lines, as they
passed, was distinctly heard by the lurking foe. Stuart at first
resolved to abandon his guns and attempt to escape with moderate loss,
but finally picked three of his men, gave them muskets, made them up so
as to look as much as possible like our soldiers, and thus drop silently
into our ranks as they passed, march awhile, then slip out on the other
side of the column, and make all haste to General Lee, at Warrenton, in
quest of help. During the night two of our officers, who stepped into
the thicket, were quietly captured.

"At daylight the crack of skirmishers' muskets in the distance gave
token that Lee had received and responded to the prayer for help, when
Stuart promptly opened with grape and canister on the rear of our
astounded column, which had bivouacked just in his front, throwing it
into such confusion that he easily dashed by and rejoined his chief,
having inflicted some loss and suffered little or none."


The above manoeuvre was a great and unexpected or unsought risk,
which, however, did not prove disastrous to the authors, but which might
not again be ventured with similar results. A performance resembling it
somewhat was enacted by the Rebels, but with very different issue. Early
in the morning of the fourteenth A. P. Hill's corps left Warrenton, with
orders to strike our rear at Bristoe Station. They moved up the
Alexandria Turnpike to Broad Run Church, where they deflected on the
road to Greenwich, and soon after struck our trail just behind the
Third Corps, and eagerly pursued it. They were busy picking up
stragglers and making some preparation for an attack upon our
unsuspecting corps, when about noon General Warren's Second Corps, which
was still behind, and bringing up the rear, made its appearance on the
tapis, and materially changed the programme of the scene. Hill, finding
himself nicely sandwiched or trapped by his own indiscretion, turned
away from the retreating Third Corps, to fight, and, if possible, drive
back the advancing Second. Warren's surprise in finding an enemy in
force before him was not less than Hill's in finding one behind him; but
it took Warren only about ten minutes to adjust himself to this
unexpected position of affairs, when his batteries opened with such
precision and effect, aided by the musketry of his infantry, that the
Rebels fell back in much greater haste than they had advanced, leaving
six of their guns in our hands and multitudes of dead, wounded, and
prisoners. Five of the captured guns, still serviceable, were at once
seized and used against the disappointed foe with telling power. One
historian says, "Our loss in killed and wounded was about two hundred,
including Colonel James E. Mallon, Forty-second New York, killed, and
General Tile, of Pennsylvania, wounded; that of the enemy was probably
four hundred (besides prisoners), including Generals Posey (mortally),
Kirkland, and Cooke, wounded, and Colonels Ruffin, First North Carolina,
and Thompson, Fifth North Carolina Cavalry, killed."

This Bristoe fiasco was a stunning blow to the Rebel pursuit, and
greatly checked their incursions. But our soldiers held the field so
lately won only until dark, and "then followed the rest of the army,
whose retreat they had so effectually covered."

General Meade continued his retreat to Centreville, and then, seemingly
ashamed--as well he might be--of his flight, would have retraced his
steps and pushed back the insolent foe, but he was prevented from
executing his plans by a heavy rain-storm, which began on the sixteenth.
While he was awaiting the arrival of pontoons to enable him to recross
Bull Run, which was enormously swollen, the enemy, after some daring
skirmishes along his front, and some feints of attack, retreated quite
rapidly, completely destroying the Orange and Alexandria Railroad from
Manassas Junction to the Rappahannock. A more thorough work of
destruction was never witnessed. Scarcely a tie even remained. The ties
were generally heaped together, and set on fire, and the rails were laid
upon the heaps cross-wise. As the middle of the rails became heated, the
ends lopped down, forming a graceful bow. They were thus effectually
ruined. In many instances the rails thus heated were twisted around the
trees. The road and the telegraph lines and posts were utterly

For a few days the Harris Light was bivouacking near Sudley Church, and
the cavalry was picketing, scouting, and patrolling on either side of
Bull Run; and, on one occasion, while endeavoring to ford the swollen
stream, several men and horses were drowned.

_October 18._--To-day Kilpatrick advanced with his division, which
consists of Custer's and Davies' brigades, to within a half-mile of
Gainesville, where we bivouacked for the night. A terrific rain-storm
raged nearly all night, making our condition very uncomfortable, and
rendering the going impracticable, except upon the turnpikes. At this
time of the year these night-storms in Virginia are very cold, and the
sufferings of men mostly unsheltered, as we were, are beyond
description. On such a night one will naturally recall such passages as
the following, from Byron's "Childe Harold:"

    "The sky is changed, and such a change! oh, night,
    And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong,
    Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light
    Of a dark eye in woman! far along
    From peak to peak, the rattling crags among,
    Leaps the live thunder! not from one lone cloud,
    But every mountain now hath found a tongue,
    And Jura answers through her misty shroud,
    Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud!
    And this is in the night: most glorious night!
    Thou wert not sent for slumber! let me be
    A sharer in thy fierce and far delight,--
    A portion of the tempest and of thee!"

It is true that the poet, looking out upon the storm and listening to
its mutterings from his comfortable studio, may call such a night
"glorious," and may find in it depths of inspiration and delight; but to
us poor soldiers it seemed more appropriate to take up Shakespeare's

    "The tyranny of th' open night's too rough
    For nature to endure,"

while every one felt to say,

    "The gathering clouds, like meeting armies,
    Come on apace."--_Lee's "Mithridates."_

All night long our pickets along Cedar Run were confronted by Stuart's
pickets, though no disposition to fight us was manifest in the morning.
Dripping with wet and somewhat stiffened with cold, we were ordered in
battle array early in the morning, and the command, about two thousand
strong, advanced toward Buckland Mills. The Rebel pickets were quickly
withdrawn, and their whole force slowly and without resistance retired
before us. With some degree of hesitation, yet unconscious of imminent
danger, we advanced on the main turnpike toward Warrenton. Our
advance-brigade had just passed New Baltimore, when Fitz-Hugh Lee, who
had surprised and cut his way through a small detachment of our infantry
at Thoroughfare Gap, then had swiftly swung around our right by an
unpicketed road, fell upon our rearguard at Buckland Mills, and opened
upon our unsuspecting column with a battery of flying artillery. At this
signal Stuart, who had hitherto retired before us quietly, now turned
about and advanced upon us in front with terrible determination. Thus
unexpected troubles were multiplying around us. Scarcely had we time to
recover our senses from the first shock of attack upon our rear and
front, when General Gordon, with a division of infantry, until now
concealed behind a low range of hills and woods on our left, appeared
upon the scene, and advanced upon our flank with a furious attack, which
threatened to sever our two small brigades and to annihilate the entire
command. We were now completely surrounded by a force which outnumbered
us at least four to one.

This was a critical situation; but "Kil" (as the general is familiarly
styled among us) seemed to comprehend it in a moment. All thought and
effort now centralized into a plan of escape from the snares which the
enemy had laid for us, and into which we had too easily thrown
ourselves. Kilpatrick is supposed by some to have unnecessarily exposed
himself, in which he suffered his first defeat, though escaping with a
remarkably small loss.

Quickly ordering his force to wheel about, he led them back in a
determined charge upon Lee's columns and artillery, now planted on the
banks along Cedar Run. This timely order, executed with masterly skill,
saved his command from utter disaster, and justified his course. As it
was, however, he lost nearly three hundred men, including quite a number
who were drowned in the creek while endeavoring to escape. The scene was
one of great confusion and distress.


By the sudden evolution of the command, when the order was first
executed, the Harris Light, which was in front, while advancing, was
thrown in the rear, and was thus compelled to meet the desperate charges
of the enemy in pursuit, and to defend itself as best it could from fire
on the flank. Having reached a slight elevation of ground in the road,
we made a stand, and for some time checked the advancing columns of the
Rebels by pouring into their ranks rapid and deadly volleys from our
carbines and revolvers. Stuart, who commanded in person, saw clearly
that the quickest and almost only way to dislodge us was by charging
upon us, and, consequently ordering the charge, he came with a whole
brigade amid deafening yells. Our men stood firmly, almost like rocks
before the surging sea. We were soon engaged in a fierce hand-to-hand
conflict with the advancing columns.

In Byron's "Corsair" we find a description of the scene:

    "Within a narrow ring compressed, beset,
    Hopeless, not heartless, strive and struggle yet,--
    Ah! now they fight in firmest file no more,
    Hemmed in--cut off--cleft down--and trampled o'er,
    But each strikes singly, silently, and home,
    And sinks outwearied rather than o'ercome,
    His last faint quittance rendering with his breath,
    Till the blade glimmers in the grasp of death."

At this important juncture my faithful horse was shot under me, and we
both fell to the ground. Meanwhile our little party, outnumbered ten to
one, was hurled back by the overpowering shock of the Rebels, who rode
directly over me. Injured somewhat by the falling of my horse, and
nearly killed by the charging squadrons, which one after the other trod
upon me, I lay in the mud for some time quite insensible. How long I lay
there I cannot tell; but when I returned to consciousness the scene had
changed. I was in the hands of a Rebel guard, who were carrying me
hastily from the hard-fought field. My arms had been taken from me, and
my pockets rifled of all their valuables, including my watch. I was
unceremoniously borne to the vicinity of an old building, where I met a
number of my comrades, who with me had shared the misfortunes of the
day. And thus ended three years and more of camping and campaigning with
the Harris Light.

What I saw and endured, thought and experienced, during a little more
than a year among the Rebels, in several of their loathsome prisons, may
be found recorded in a volume I published in 1865, entitled "The
Capture, Prison-Pen, and Escape."


    | Transcriber's Note:                                  |
    |                                                      |
    | Some inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in        |
    | the original document have been preserved.           |
    |                                                      |
    | Typographical errors corrected in the text:          |
    |                                                      |
    | Page  xii  Hull's changed to Hall's                  |
    | Page   21  pic-nic changed to picnic                 |
    | Page   41  Leesburgh changed to Leesburg             |
    | Page   41  patroling changed to patrolling           |
    | Page   73  Fredericksburgh changed to Fredericksburg |
    | Page   74  Gordonville changed to Gordonsville       |
    | Page   99  Pleasanton changed to Pleasonton          |
    | Page  100  Pleasanton changed to Pleasonton          |
    | Page  175  Bristerburg changed to Bristersburg       |
    | Page  182  bad changed to had                        |
    | Page  189  mast changed to must                      |
    | Page  193  Pleasanton changed to Pleasonton          |
    | Page  238  Heintzleman's changed to Heintzelman's    |
    | Page  241  Stahil's changed to Stahel's              |
    | Page  257  shrapnell changed to shrapnel             |
    | Page  263  Hallech changed to Halleck                |
    | Page  300  Leesburgh changed to Leesburg             |

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Three Years in the Federal Cavalry, by 
Willard Glazier


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