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´╗┐Title: History of the Twelfth West Virginia Volunteer Infantry - The Part It Took in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865
Author: Hewitt, William
Language: English
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Transcriber's Note:

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.
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  [Illustration: WM. HEWITT 1860]

  [Illustration: WM. HEWITT, FIRST LIEUT. 1868]

  [Illustration: WM. B. CURTIS, COLONEL]



HISTORY OF THE

Twelfth West Virginia Volunteer Infantry


The Part It Took in the War of the Rebellion

1861-1865


_By_

_WILLIAM HEWITT_


_Published by the Twelfth West Virginia Infantry Association_


To the Surviving Comrades and the Families of
the Fallen of the Old Twelfth this work is
Respectfully Dedicated



PREFACE


COMRADES:

You conferred upon me at our reunion, held at New Cumberland, in 1889,
the honor of selecting me to compile a history of the Twelfth. The
matter was taken into consideration afterward by me, and owing in part
to the magnitude, burden and difficulty of the proposed task, my
inexperience in this kind of undertaking, and because I believed that
there were other survivors of the regiment much better qualified to
write the history, it was concluded to forego the undertaking. But at
our next reunion, because Col. Curtis was disappointed that nothing
had been done in the matter of the history, and was anxious that it be
written, and for the reason that the comrades present again expressed
a desire that I should undertake the work, I promised to attempt it
and do the best I could. Laboring under the unavoidable difficulties
that it has been thirty years since the old Twelfth was making its
history in the field, the almost total lack of official records
pertaining exclusively to the regiment, and the uncertainty of memory
at this late day, I have tried with reasonable fidelity to fulfill my
promise. In reason more should not be expected.

If you, the survivors of the Twelfth, be pleased with the history,
this fact will be a sufficient reward for my labors; but, on the other
hand, if it shall not come up to your expectations, you should be
charitable to its faults and short comings, remembering that however
great its imperfections you, yourselves, are largely responsible, for
the task was not one of my own seeking, but was rather thrust upon me.

The plan aimed at in writing the history is to not go outside of our
own organization in what is related, except to give a brief account of
the operations of the various armies to which we belonged, and to
intersperse the work with incidents, anecdotes, and matters mainly
personal to the members of the regiment.

Whatever possible merit may be found in the history is largely due to
the assistance of comrades in furnishing valuable data. Some of them
were quite liberal in their contributions. And where there is failure
to make mention of incidents worthy of record, or of daring deeds of
individuals or detachments, it is because they were not known, or are
not remembered by the compiler. Reasonable effort was made to get all
such details. A card was inserted in various newspapers, and letters
were written to different comrades asking that they be furnished. If
comrades shall fail to find, as no doubt they shall, a record herein
of certain incidents worthy of mention, they will be forbearing toward
the historian when they consider that there is a number of such
matters herein given that they did not know of or have forgotten.

The comrades will all feel like thanking Mrs. McCaffrey, formerly Mrs.
Bengough, wife of the late Lieut. Bengough of the Twelfth, for the
vivid and stirring story of the capture, detention and final release
of herself and sister-in-law as prisoners by the Rebels, kindly
furnished for this history.

Surviving Comrades, this attempted record of the history of the old
Twelfth is now submitted to your charitable consideration, and may
your days be long, peaceful, pleasant and prosperous.

WILLIAM HEWITT.

June 20th, 1892.



INDEX


CHAPTER I.

The Circumstances Under Which the Twelfth Was Organized--The Character
of the Men Composing it--The Organization.

CHAPTER II.

March to Clarksburg--Marches and Operations in West Virginia in the
Fall of '62--Incidents.

CHAPTER III.

The Movement into the Shenandoah Valley--Stationed at Winchester Under
Gen. Milroy--Moved to Berryville--The Capture of Capt. Lapole--Joke on
Sergt. Porter--From Berryville to Clarksburg--The March Through
Charlestown.

CHAPTER IV.

The Battle of Winchester--The Retreat--The North Mountain Girl--
Halted at Bloody Run, Pa.--Marched to Bedford--Left Bedford for
Loudon--Milroy's Men Capture One of Lee's Trains and Many Prisoners--
Marched to Hagerstown--Anecdotes--Marched to Sharpsburg--Thence to
Martinsburg.

CHAPTER V.

Col. Klunk's Resignation Accepted--Troops Pass from the Army of the
Potomac to Grant--An Incident about Van and Tom--Capt. Bristor's
Capture of Spy--Capt. Moffatt's Capture of Gilmore's Men--Lieut.
Blaney's Observation--An Incident Concerning Adjt. Caldwell--Mrs.
Bengough a Prisoner--Her Story.

CHAPTER VI.

An Attack Expected--March to Maryland Heights--Incidents--Brigaded
with the Thirty-fourth Mass.--A Move up the Valley--Incidents--The
Return--Incidents--Followed by Early-Threatened Attack at Harper's
Ferry--Moved to Cumberland, Md.--Comrade Haney's Story--Gens. Kelly
and Crook Captured.

CHAPTER VII.

Under Gen. Sigel--March to Beverly, via Webster--March back to
Webster--The Story of the Camp on the Rebel Farm--The March up the
Valley--Two of Company C Captured--The Battle of New Market--Gen.
Sigel's Letter--Corpl. De Bee's Scout--An Incident--Comrades Miller
and W. C. Mahan as Prisoners--Their Stories.

CHAPTER VIII.

Sigel Relieved--Hunter in Command--The Lynchburg Campaign--The Battle
of Piedmont--List of Killed and Wounded--Marched to Lynchburg--
Anecdote--The Battle--The Retreat to the Kanawha--Hunter's Loss of
Artillery on Way--The Men Hard Pressed for Food.

CHAPTER IX.

Back in the Valley--Threatening Early on His Retreat from Washington
--Battle of Snicker's Ferry--Marched to Winchester--Battle of
Kearnstown--Our Retreat via. Martinsburg and Sharpsburg to
Halltown--An Incident--R. W. Mahan's Prison Trials--A Large Army
Concentrates at Halltown--The Wild-goose Chase Into Maryland.

CHAPTER X.

Sheridan in Command--The Move up the Valley--The Twelfth Charges Rebel
Skirmishers--Sheridan Retreats to Halltown--Early Demonstrates Against
Him--Early Withdraws--Sheridan Moves to Charlestown--The Fight at
Berryville--Grant's Visit to Sheridan--The Battle of the Opeguon
--Anecdote of Sheridan--Battle of Fisher's Hill--Pursuit of the
Enemy up the Valley--Destruction by Sheridan--He Falls Back to
Strasburg--Battle of Tom's Brook--Our Brigade Starts for Martinsburg
--Mosby Attacks an Ambulance Guard--The Twelfth Starts for the
Front--Early Shells Thoburn's Camp--The Battle of Cedar Creek--The
Twelfth on the Way to the Front--Sheridan on His Ride--Col. Thoburn
Killed--Capt. Phil Bier Killed--The Twelfth Marches to Cedar
Creek--Thence to Newtown.

CHAPTER XI.

The Army Moves Back to Kearnstown--Early Follows Far as Middletown
--Sheridan's Cavalry Drives the Rebel Cavalry--Early Returns to New
Market--Anecdotes--The Twelfth Moves to Stephenson's Depot--Salutes
for Gen. Thomas's Victories--The Twelfth Sent to the Army of the
James--Put into the Twenty-fourth Corps--The Opposing Pickets--Lieut.
Col. Northcott's Resignation--The Sinking of Rebel Gun Boats--Rebel
Deserters--The Peace Commission--Grant Reviews Our Corps--Gen. Turner
Commands the Division--It Moves to Aid Sheridan--Asst. Surg. Neil's
Lecture.

CHAPTER XII.

Part of Our Army Crosses the James--The Second Division at Hatcher's
Run--The Capture of Fort Gregg--The Enemy Evacuates Richmond and
Petersburg--The Pursuit--The March to Cut off Lee's Retreat--An
Incident--The Second Division and One Other Were the Infantry Forces
Cutting off the Retreat--The Surrender--Both Armies Cheer--Lieut.
McCord--The Col. and Citizen McLean Talk--An Incident--Marched to
Lynchburg and Back--Thence to Richmond--Some of the Boys Presented
with Medals--Mustered Out--Sent Home--Memorial--Conclusion.



CHAPTER I.


(1) The great War of the Rebellion had gone on for more than a year,
and had assumed proportions of a grand scale, dwarfing any other ever
fought on this continent, so far as there is any history; in fact,
making all other wars on this side of the ocean appear, by comparison,
to be Lilliputian in character; and so far as the magnitude of its
theater or geographical extent was concerned, the greatest war in the
history of the world.

(2) Previous to our great war it had been supposed that modern times
had only one man surely--possibly others--capable of efficiently
handling a hundred thousand men--Napoleon Bonaparte. But this mighty
conflict was developing more than one man fully able to command that
number of men in action; and at least one man capable of having a
general supervision over fully a million of men in the field. We were
exhibiting to the world new methods of warfare both on land and sea,
and showing it that we had the most effective and intelligent soldiers
in the world.

(3) Several hundred thousand men had been called into the field, armed
and equipped. Men and money had been lavishly expended. There was a
willingness on the part of the loyal people to spend the last dollar
and furnish the last man, if they could see any evidence of progress
on the part of our arms, or have any assurance of final success in the
suppression of the Rebellion.

(4) The war on the part of the Government, however, had been begun
with an entirely inadequate idea of the magnitude of the undertaking.
It is well known that one[1] high in the councils of the nation had
predicted before hostilities actually began that there would be peace
in sixty days, and even the good President seemed to think that all
the threatening aspect of affairs would pass away if a little time
were allowed for the passions of the people to cool. There seemed to
be a want of comprehension on the part of the loyal people generally,
and not less so on the part of those holding the reins of government,
of the terrible earnestness and deadly determination of those who had
taken up arms to disrupt the Government.

          [1] Secretary Seward.

(5) Hence the first call for troops to cope with what was to prove to
be the most determined and formidable rebellion recorded in history,
was for only seventy-five thousand men, and what was worse, for only
the short terms of three months, as though the suppression of the
Rebellion was comparatively a trivial affair.

(6) There was some reason, however, aside from the supposed
sufficiency of the first call for troops, for not calling out a
greater force, namely, the lack of arms and other munitions of war;
but this excuse could not be offered for the deplorable blunder, which
all now can see, of making the term of the first enlistment only three
months, many regiments' time expiring when they were sorely needed.

(7) In the outset of hostilities and actual conflict of arms, there
was a remarkable lack of earnestness and the customary severity, which
is generally supposed to characterize grim-visaged war, shown by some
of our generals in the field. In some instances the first prisoners
were merely sworn to not take up arms again against the Government and
then let go--"a process," says Greeley in his _American Conflict_,
"about as imposing and significant, in their view, as the taking of a
glass of cider." This treatment of prisoners soon became a by-word and
jeering jest among the soldiers. It is related that during the Three
Months' service, when a comrade had captured a snake and was holding
it up by the tail, a fellow soldier called out to him to swear him and
let him go.

(8) There was great tenderness, too, in the beginning of the war,
shown by professed friends of the Union, for the people of those
States which assumed to be out of the Union; and for the people of the
States which were nominally within the Union, yet whose loyalty was of
an exceedingly questionable kind, as was manifested by their objecting
to the soldiers of our country marching under our common flag, setting
foot upon their soil. It was alleged by these professed friends that,
by treating the Rebels with severity, the people of the seceded States
would be so exasperated thereby that all hope of restoring the Union
would be forever destroyed. Just as though they were not already
inflamed to the highest pitch, and enraged to the last degree, when a
timid, halting policy of being afraid of hurting them, was only
bringing the Government into disrespect, encouraging the enemy, and
making more Rebels every day; and when a decided, vigorous course
toward the traitors was needed to sharply draw the line between the
enemies and friends of the Government.

(9) There was also a halting, half-hearted policy shown in the
disposition and handling of the eastern army--a dissipation of its
strength which resulted in bringing only little more, if any force, on
the Union side, than about one-half of the available strength in the
first battle of Bull Run, fought July 21st, 1861, and resulting in a
humiliating defeat, which defeat had the effect of stimulating and
vitalizing the Rebellion into tremendous vigor, and giving it high
hope and great energy.

(10) This defeat at the time was universally regarded as a great
calamity, though it is now seen, in view of the fact that it
necessitated the prolonging of the war, thereby compelling more
extreme and radical measures for the suppression of the Rebellion, and
consequently making a more substantial and durable peace, that that
reverse to our arms was a blessing in disguise.

(11) It was followed by the calling out of five hundred thousand more
troops, and the next spring, by General McClellan's dilatory, sluggish
and worse than abortive attempt to take Richmond with the Grand Army
of the Potomac. And this failure of this magnificent army tended to
still further encourage the Rebellion. At the end of that campaign the
Rebels were as full of the spirit of determination and as sanguine as
ever. And although some substantial progress had been made by our arms
in the Southwest, yet the results of the war so far were not
satisfactory, nor at all equal to the great expenditure of men and
money.

(12) Under this condition of affairs, and in this exigency, "Father
Abraham" called on July 1st, 1862, not for "three hundred thousand
more," but for six hundred thousand additional soldiers. And it was in
response to this call for more defenders of the Union that the Twelfth
West Virginia enlisted and was mustered into service along with the
other reinforcements, to do what it might to keep the Old Flag aloft,
and "that government of the people, by the people, and for the people
might not perish from the earth."

(13) The Twelfth was made up of exceptionally good material. The men
were mainly American born and native Virginians. They were a hardy,
robust, vigorous, self-reliant class of men, mainly from the farming
districts, of more than average size, many of them mountaineers. They
enlisted under trying and embarrassing circumstances, and in great
measure from patriotic impulses, their surroundings and circumstances
in many cases tending to lead them to join their fortunes with the
Rebel cause. It was a common thing for a West Virginia Union soldier
to have friends and relatives in the Rebel army, and in some cases for
brother to fight against brother.

(14) One of our faithful and efficient surgeons, of the Twelfth, F. H.
Patton, now having the important and responsible position of being in
charge of the Soldiers' Home at Dayton, Ohio, at a reunion at Wheeling
in 1886 paid the boys of the Twelfth the compliment of relating that
he was sometimes asked why it was that there were so few West Virginia
soldiers found in the Soldiers' Home at Dayton, and said that he
replied to that question, that the boys of West Virginia were a
self-reliant class of men, used to and feeling themselves fully
capable of looking after and taking care of themselves during the war,
and that he thought the same trait, characterizing them yet, of
looking out for themselves, accounted for so few West Virginia
soldiers being found in soldiers' homes.

(15) Another incident will further illustrate the character of the men
of this regiment. During the winter of 1864-5, the Tenth, Eleventh,
Twelfth and Fifteenth West Virginia regiments, along with some other
regiments, were sent from the Valley of Virginia to the Army of the
James, and organized into a small division, General T. M. Harris,
commander. This division was afterward known as the Independent
Division. It so happened that members of some of the regiments of the
corps to which our division was assigned were so inclined to desert to
the enemy when on the picket line, that it was not considered safe to
put those regiments on picket. Shortly after arrival, General Harris
was asked by his commanding officer if he would be responsible for his
men's deserting from the picket line. Harris replied that he would
guarantee that not a man of his would desert. His confidence was not
misplaced. The men were put on picket and not a man of the Twelfth
deserted. The same is true, it is believed, of the other regiments of
Harris's command. Of course the Twelfth, like other regiments, had its
deserters; but that class was long since weeded out, and those left,
the men in general, were determined to stand by the old flag to the
end of their enlistment. They would rather die than desert.

(16) The Regiment was made up from the counties named below, as
follows: Cos. A, B and C, in Marshall; Co. D, in Ohio County; Cos. E
and G, in Harrison; Co. F, in Marion; Co. H, in Taylor; Co. I, in
Hancock, and Co. K, in Brooke County.

(17) The Twelfth West Virginia Volunteer Infantry was mustered into
the United States Service August 30th, 1862, at Camp Willey on
Wheeling Island, and the organization completed as follows:


FIELD AND STAFF.

(Mustered in August 30th.)

    Colonel--JOHN B. KLUNK                   Grafton
    Lieut. Colonel--R. S. NORTHCOTT          Clarksburg
    Major--F. P. PIERPONT                    Harrisville
    Adjutant--GEO. B. CALDWELL               Wheeling
    Quartermaster--N. U. THURBER             Moundsville
    Surgeon--JOHN FRIZZELL                   Wheeling
    Asst. Surgeons {DWIGHT RUGGLES           Moundsville
                   {S. P. BRYAN              Limestone
    Chaplain--THOMAS H. TRAINER              Moundsville


NON-COMMISSIONED STAFF.

    Sergeant Major--JAS. W. DUNNINGTON       Fairmont
    Q. M. Sergeant--DAVID B. FLEMING         Independence
    Com. Sergeant--WM. A. SCOTT              Fairview
    Hospital Steward--CHARLES H. ODBERT      Wheeling
    Principal Musician--GEORGE HAMMOND       Grafton


COMPANY A.

(Mustered in August 16th.)

    Captain--HAGER TOMLINSON                 Moundsville
    First Lieut.--T. S. MAGRUDER             Moundsville
    Second Lieut.--WILLIAM BURLEY            Moundsville
    Five Sergeants, eight Corporals.


COMPANY B.

(Mustered in August 20th.)

    Captain--MARTIN P. BONAR                 Rosby's Rock
    First Lieut.--NATHAN S. FISH             Rosby's Rock
    Second Lieut.--JOHN C. ROBERTS           Moundsville
    Five Sergeants, eight Corporals.


COMPANY C.

(Mustered in August 23rd.)

    Captain--ERASTUS G. BARTLETT             Rosby's Rock
    First Lieut.--WM. L. ROBERTS             Moundsville
    Second Lieut.--JOHN B. LYDICK            Rosby's Rock
    Five Sergeants, eight Corporals.


COMPANY D.

(Mustered in August 25th.)

    Captain--W. B. CURTIS                    West Liberty
    First Lieut.--WM. A. SMILEY              West Liberty
    Second Lieut.--DAVID M. BLANEY           West Alexander, Pa.
    Five Sergeants, eight Corporals.


COMPANY E.

(Mustered in August 26th.)

    Captain--CORNELIUS MERCER                Clarksburg
    First Lieut.--OSCAR H. TATE              Clarksburg
    Second Lieut.--JAS. R. DURHAM            Clarksburg
    Five Sergeants, eight Corporals.


COMPANY F.

(Mustered in August 26th.)

    Captain--AMOS H. PRICHARD                Mannington
    First Lieut.--THOS. A. FLEMING           Fairmont
    Second Lieut.--THOS. H. HAYMOND          Fairmont
    Five Sergeants, eight Corporals.


COMPANY G.

(Mustered in August 27th.)

    Captain--JAMES W. MOFFATT                Shinnston
    First Lieut.--VAN B. HALL                Shinnston
    Second Lieut.--ELAM F. PIGOTT            Shinnston
    Five Sergeants, eight Corporals.


COMPANY H.

(Mustered in August 27th.)

    Captain--J. H. BRISTOR                   Grafton
    First Lieut.--DAVID POWELL               Flemington
    Second Lieut.--THOMAS H. MEANS           Grafton
    Five Sergeants, eight Corporals.


COMPANY I.

    Captain--R. H. BROWN                     Fairview
    First Lieut.--JOHN H. MELVIN             Fairview
    Second Lieut.--THOS. W. BRADLEY          New Cumberland
    Five Sergeants, eight Corporals.


COMPANY K.

(Mustered in August 30th.)

    Captain--THOMAS WHITE                    Wellsburg
    First Lieut.--JOHN B. JESTER             Wellsburg
    Second Lieut.--J. R. BRENNEMAN           Wellsburg
    Five Sergeants, eight Corporals.



CHAPTER II.


(18) The Regiment did not remain long in Camp Willey. On the day after
its completed organization it was ordered to Clarksburg, W. Va., which
place was then threatened by a force under the Rebel General, Jenkins,
who was then on a raid through West Virginia. Clarksburg is an old
town, the county seat of Harrison County, situated on the Baltimore &
Ohio Railroad, and distant by rail 122 miles from Wheeling. Clarksburg
will be remembered by the great abundance, in its vicinity, of
blackberries during the early fall of that year. They were so
plentiful that there seemed to be enough for the Twelfth and the
citizens of the town, too.

(19) The regiment arrived by rail at Clarksburg September 2nd, and on
that day a detachment of four companies under command of Lieut. Col.
R. S. Northcott was ordered to Beverly, the county seat of Randolph
County, lying in a southeast direction, and distant from Clarksburg 60
miles. The detachment arrived at Beverly September 5th. This place is
a small town situated on the Tygarts Valley branch of the Monongahela
River, at the western base of Cheat Mountain.

(20) The remaining six companies under command of Col. John B. Klunk
were ordered September 4th to Buckhannon, W. Va., the county seat of
Upshur County, distant 28 miles. Buckhannon is pleasantly situated in
apparently a good country.

(21) The detachment under command of Col. Northcott marched from
Beverly September 13th for Webster, Taylor County, distant 42 miles,
arriving at the latter place the 15th. On this march the detachment
was followed by slaves, some half dozen, who were striking for
freedom, saying that they had run away because their master had
threatened to sell them. They seemed to attach themselves to Capt.
Brown's Company (I), and appeared inclined to remain with it during
the stay at Webster. One or two of these slaves were nearly white, and
some of the boys inclining to talk to and hang around them, Capt.
Brown concluded to get rid of them; so in a few days two of the boys
going to Grafton, a few miles distant, he sent them with the boys.

(22) When the boys got to Grafton, a train of Ohio soldiers was about
to start for Wheeling. One of the boys informed the colonel of the
presence of the slaves and their story, and asked him if he would take
them aboard of the train. He refused peremptorily. It looked blue for
getting them off in that way. However, the Twelfth boys in passing to
rear of the train--a long freight--caught sight of, as it appeared,
some of the non-commissioned staff in the rear car. They were told
what was wanted. One of them having an eye to the main chance, wanted
to know how much money would be given to take the "darks" on board. In
a few moments some money was paid, the Twelfth boys contributing in
part, and quickly and slyly the fugitives were hustled aboard; and a
little later the train was off. They were never heard of afterward. It
is to be hoped, however, that the sweets of freedom were not a
disappointment to them.

(23) The detachment left Webster on the 22nd and marched to
Clarksburg, distant 18 miles, arriving there the same day. It remained
at this place until October 1st, when it marched to Buckhannon,
rejoining the other companies there. There was considerable rejoicing
when the boys all got together again. In fact, the detachment met on
its arrival with quite an ovation, the band coming out to greet it
with stirring martial airs.

(24) The regiment remained at Buckhannon, doing guard and picket duty,
and drilling until the 19th. It was at this place that a drill-master
appeared, and he put the regiment through quite a course of drilling,
having it out every day practicing, while he stayed. Among the other
exercises, he practiced the regiment considerably on forming a correct
equipment. He would place the Sergeants, two from each company, in a
line, say ten steps in advance of the regiment; the Colonel or the
Major would then march the men forward to the line of the Sergeants;
and when a particularly good alignment was made in this way, the
drill-master was in the habit of remarking, to the amusement of the
boys, "I say, Colonel," or "I say, Major, that is a capital line."

(25) It is remembered that more than half of the companies, while
having company drill at this time and place, would, on moving by
different flanks on the march, in marching to the rear, have the order
of the men reversed, so that No. 1 was on the place of No. 2, and vice
versa. But it was never observed that this circumstance in any way
interfered with the efficiency with which the boys afterward moved
upon the enemy, or in case of an emergency, with the celerity with
which they could "limber to the rear," as one boy expressed it. A
little story, as "Father Abraham" would have said, relating to a later
period of the war, will perhaps be not impertinent in this place.

(26) We were in the Valley under Gen. Sheridan. The Twelfth and Fourth
West Virginia Infantry, under command of Lieut. Col. Northcott, had
been to Martinsburg, and was returning to the camp at Cedar Creek, on
a four-days' round trip. The Battle of Cedar Creek was fought while we
were on the return. It is a matter of history that the Army of West
Virginia, or the Eighth Corps, was surprised in that battle. It was
attacked before daylight, its works carried, and it put to rout almost
before it knew it. The men not captured "fled to the rear, as the only
thing they could do." In order to the better appreciation of the
story, it may be well to say that Gen. Sheridan had employed this
corps, doubtless on account of its celerity of movement, to flank the
enemy at both the Battle of Opequon and the Battle of Fisher's Hill.
The Twelfth and Fourth reached the camp at Cedar Creek with a supply
train on the forenoon after the battle. It should have been said that
these two regiments belonged to the Eighth Corps. Just as they were
getting into camp, while passing some of the Sixth Corps, one of the
latter yelled out, seemingly in allusion to the formers' flanking
movements, and its rout at Cedar Creek, "There goes some of that
d----d Eighth Corps. They are always running one way or the other!"

(27) On the 19th six companies under command of Col. Klunk marched to
Beverly, and November 1st they were rejoined there by the other four
companies. At this period of our service we had Sibley tents, which
were circular in form, having a center pole, and a hole at the top of
the center of the tent. They were capable of holding about sixteen
men. We had tin-plates, tin-cups, knives and forks, one of each for
each soldier, and a camp-kettle for, say each mess of ten or fifteen
men. We had also a mess-box, in which to pack the plates, etc., for
transportation. When in camp during pleasant weather the boys would
eat in the open air on tables erected for that purpose. In fact, there
was considerable style put on in the outset of the regiment's service.
It took time to pack mess-boxes, strike tents and get ready to march.
It took six wagons to carry the camp equipage. A large army having a
proportionate number of wagons would have had enough to seriously
embarrass it, and it might be, to whip it, in an engagement. Later
in the war, the last year or more, the camp equipage for the men
was reduced to a piece of shelter-tent and a tin-cup. This was a
deprivation, but it had its advantages, for the men did not have to
wait on the wagons, as they had to do sometimes when the camp equipage
was hauled; but they could pitch their tents and make their coffee
whenever and wherever they stopped, for they carried their tents and
tin-cups in which to make their coffee.

(28) At the time of this second march to Beverly, the regiment was
pretty nearly full, not having been reduced by sickness or otherwise,
there being not far from 800 men present for duty, and it made rather
a formidable showing on the route. The impression that it made at that
time upon a private soldier, as to its formidableness, may be here
spoken of. "I used to think," said he later in the war, when he had
had more experience, "that when I would take a survey of our regiment
on the march, from some point on the route, we were not likely to meet
any enemy that could withstand us." This shows that he, like thousands
of others, who were under a mistake in a less degree as to the
magnitude of the Rebellion, had a ridiculously inadequate idea of the
numerical strength of the enemy, or of the vastness of the force
necessary to overcome it, there being, if not just then, not long
afterward, the equal of more than a thousand such regiments required
to achieve that purpose.

(29) On our way to Beverly we passed over the battlefield of Rich
Mountain, the first view we had of the sad havoc of war. Quite a
number of Union and Rebel dead were buried here at the side of the
road. It was said that when our forces drove the enemy from this
position they found a trench dug at the side of the road over which
this inscription was placed: "TO HOLD DEAD YANKEES." But the trench
was utilized by filling it with dead Johnnys, about sixty of whom were
buried here. A few of our men belonging to Ohio and Indiana regiments
were buried in the corner of a garden nearby. The surrounding trees
gave evidence of the struggle at this place.

(30) The regiment as a whole remained at Beverly only a few days. The
stay at this place of the six companies first there was over two
weeks. The Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania Infantry and the Ninth West
Virginia Infantry were there with us at the same time. The
Eighty-seventh and the Twelfth were camped near together, a short
distance north of the town on the bank of the Tygart's Valley River.
Col. Hay of the Eighty-seventh was a very pleasant man, and a good
tactician; and while we were here used to drill the Twelfth; and a
friendship sprang up between his boys and ours that was strengthened
and never lost by after association in the same brigade or division.

(31) While we were at this town an unfortunate occurrence took place.
A detail of the Ninth West Virginia was on guard in the town with
orders to not allow any soldiers enter it without a pass. Some of the
Eighty-seventh boys undertook to force past the guards, when one of
the former was shot, it is not remembered whether fatally or not. When
the news of the shooting came to camp there was a great commotion,
like that of a disturbed hive of bees, in the camp of the
Eighty-seventh. The boys went rushing to their tents, many of them
from the river where they were washing clothes, to get their guns to
avenge the shooting of their comrade. The aspect of things looked
quite threatening for awhile. Finally, however, the officers of the
regiment managed to quiet the men down, and further trouble was
prevented.

(32) Sergeant Thomas J. Orr of Company D thus relates a couple of
incidents of our stay at Beverly:

(33) Provisions being a little short, our larders were sometimes
replenished from surrounding flocks and herds. An effort in this
direction came near being attended with serious consequences. Jake
McCormick of Company K concluded that bull-beef was a great deal
better than no beef; so he and a chosen comrade or two walked
deliberately down to the river, where a herd of cattle was quietly
grazing, and selecting the patriarch of the herd, proceeded to extreme
measures by shooting him to death, after which they dispossessed him
of his hide, quartered and divided him among their hungry chums.
Shortly an order was issued for Jake's arrest, but as the whole
regiment was _particeps criminis_, the authorities concluded that
it was too big a contract, and Jake escaped punishment, and went his
way rejoicing.

(34) On another occasion a fine flock of sheep was reported a mile or
two down the river. A squad from Company D concluded to sample the
mutton of that part of the country. Selecting a fine moonlight night,
and led on by Tegard and King, who located the flock, they soon
arrived at the objective point. But here a difficulty arose that they
had not anticipated. How would they get the sheep captured? For they
were wild as deer. After thinking the matter over and discarding many
proposed plans, King, who stuttered, said: "B-b-b-boys, I have it.
Tegard and I will go down to the lower end of the field, make a gap in
the fence, and the rest of you drive the sheep through. Tegard and I
will lie down just inside the gap and catch our sheep as they go
through." This being a feasible plan, the boys proceeded to carry
it into execution. Tegard and King laid down the fence and laid
themselves down just inside, to await coming events, or rather the
coming of the sheep. They had not long to wait; the sheep, frightened
by the other boys, made a drive for the gap in the fence, the largest
and strongest, of course in the van. Now here was where the fun
commenced. King was greedy and concluded that one would not be quite
enough for him; so he grabbed two of the first that came through by
the legs. Being large and strong, they dragged him a short distance
from the fence, where the rest of the flock would light on him as they
jumped through the gap. King held on to the mutton, but he was a sorry
looking King when he got straightened up. And an inventory being taken
of him, it stood something like this:

    G. W. King + two sheep.
    G. W. King + two black eyes.
    G. W. King + countenance demoralized generally.
    G. W. King - cap, coat and half his pants.

(35) After dressing three sheep the boys returned to camp in safety.
But it was fun to hear King tell the boys the next day in his
stuttering way how he got his black eyes.

(36) If there was anything a soldier would stake his all on, it was on
something good to eat; and this further remark is ventured while on
this subject: that there were members of the regiment who contented
themselves with Government rations, but if any article of food was
placed before them not found in "Uncle Sam's" bill of fare, they ate
what was put before them, asking no questions for conscience's sake.

(37) The circumstance of the killing of the bull is well remembered,
and it is not forgotten that the officers of the Twelfth, accompanied
by the owner of the bull, went through the camp pretending to search
the tents for that bull-beef, all the while trying to assume a serious
face; but at the same time betraying in their countenances a manifest
consciousness that the whole proceeding was a glaring farce. They did
not want very much to find any part of the remains of the defunct
bull. In fact, the whole performance gave the impression that it was a
vigorous attempt at "how not to do it" and that the undertaking was
succeeding admirably.

(38) Our stay at Beverly now came to a close. On November 5th three
companies, F, D and I, with a detachment of the Ringgold Cavalry, a
battalion of Pennsylvania troops under command of Major Pierpont of
the Twelfth, were ordered on a scout through Pocahontas and Bath
Counties, by way of Elkwater and Huntersville, to Monterey, the county
seat of Highland County, W. Va., where they joined the other companies
of the regiment, they, the latter, having started from Beverly one day
late, and marched a different route, through Pocahontas and Pendleton
Counties, under command of Col. Klunk, arriving at Monterey on the
9th.

(39) As there is no data at hand regarding events or incidents in
connection with the seven companies, on this expedition to Monterey,
the account given will relate exclusively to the three companies under
command of Major Pierpont.

(40) On this scout the detachments of the three companies and the
small cavalry force, traversed a section of country where Yankees had
not been seen before. The opportunities for foraging here were good,
and the boys improved them. One day an incident occurred that gave an
intimation of the licentiousness and hardships of war. A citizen was
met in the road. He wore a fur overcoat made of coonskin, and one of
the cavalry men made him take it off and surrender it to him. The
citizen passed on minus his overcoat, and in a predicament that should
have enabled him to realize, in some measure, the beauties of
secession.

(41) Camp was made one night at a place called Mingo Flats. While here
a laughable affair occurred, for the relating of which as follows
Sergeant Orr is drawn upon once more:

(42) There was not house room for all the command, so Company F and
part of each of the other two companies, D and I, went into a meadow
where there was a bunch of hay stacks. The men took the fence from
around the stacks, and built square pens four or five rails high,
leaving the side next the fire open. Then filling the pen up with hay
they placed rails over the top, and covered all with hay, making
excellent quarters for ten or a dozen boys.

(43) Capt. Prichard of Company F, and Lieut. Melvin of Company I, were
both with this squad. The former was very much opposed to foraging;
while the latter didn't care whether school kept or not, so they
didn't bother him too much, and he got enough to eat. There was also
in this squad a character of Company I we called "Nosey." Now it
happened that there was a drove of calves in the meadow. And after we
had our quarters prepared and fires built, some of the boys were
peering around to see if there was anything in view appropriable.
Among the number was "Nosey," who spied the drove of calves. Visions
of fresh veal at once began to dance through his brain. With "Nosey"
to think was to act. He made at once for the calves, selected his
veal, grabbed it by the tail, and then the circus began. The calf was
large and strong, but "Nosey" had a splendid hold. The calf broke for
the fires at a 2:40 gait, "Nosey" keeping on his feet as best he
could. Capt. Prichard, hearing the racket, drew his "cheese-knife,"
and ran out to intercept the culprit, whoever he might be. The first
thing he saw was "Nosey" and his calf coming at full speed, whom he
greeted with "Hold on, there! Hold on there!" "Nosey" replied: "I
will, by ----." Just then a member of Company D, catching on, snatched
an ax and relieved the breathless "Nosey" by tapping the calf gently
on the head. We had veal for supper.

(44) On the second day out we passed over the Elkwater battlefield,
where the Rebel Col. John A. Washington was killed. At Huntersville we
surprised a number of Johnnys, who were sleeping off heavy potations
of apple-jack, and took them along as prisoners, passing, on our way,
up Knap's Creek Valley in Pocahontas County, a section of country of
rich farm land, abounding in fine cattle and horses. It was a fine and
amusing sight to see Acting Quarter Master Lieut. Bradley of Company I
sailing over the broad meadows on horseback, endeavoring to capture
the splendid horses grazing on the luxuriant pastures there. Some of
the horses were too fleet to be captured, and maintained their
freedom.

(45) The boys fared well on this raid, getting milk, honey, apples,
etc., in abundance. The apples were buried in holes, as is frequently
done with potatoes. And it was a laughable sight to see the boys
fairly tumbling over each other, and almost standing on their heads,
as they dived into the apple holes, trying to not get left in their
attempts at getting a fair share of the apples.

(46) Sergeant Orr has the floor once more for the narration of an
incident said to have occurred here, for the truth of which, however,
he does not vouch. He tells it thus:

(47) "Two men of the expedition went into a house to get something to
eat. It happened that the male folks were all away from home, as was
generally the case in that section when the Yanks were about, leaving
only two single ladies of uncertain age in charge of the premises.
When our two Yanks made their appearance, the two ladies became
frantic with terror; and holding up their hands exclaimed, 'Take our
money, take everything we have, but do not harm us personally'! 'You
personally be damned,' said the Yanks, 'have you any corn-bread?' That
soothed them."

(48) On this raid of the three companies we captured 60 head of horses
and mules, 300 head of cattle, 41 prisoners and a wagon load of fine
butter on its way to Staunton, Va. The owner of the butter was sent to
Camp Chase. Where the bulk of the butter went is not known, but the
boys made use of some of it.

(49) We arrived at Monterey on the night of the 9th, rejoining here
the other seven companies, as before stated, which had accompanied an
expedition under command of Gen. R. H. Milroy, to this point. The
regiment remained here but one day, when we started on our return, by
way of Crab Bottom, resting one day there in the old Rebel winter
quarters. We resumed our march on the morning of the 13th, by way of
Franklin, the county seat of Pendleton County; thence by way of
Circleville and Hunting Ground Mountain, back to Tygart's Valley
River, five miles below Beverly, our starting point.

(50) A sad accident occurred while crossing the mountain. A member of
the Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania, who was along with the expedition,
was accidentally shot by a comrade. His comrades attempted to carry
him, but they could not do so, and they were compelled to bury him on
the lonely mountain, using their bayonets to dig his grave.

(51) Leaving our camp below Beverly, we marched to Webster, on the
Parkersburg branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, where we arrived
on the 18th, marching a distance of 238 miles in fourteen days during
the most inclement season of the year, fording mountain streams,
swollen by melting snow and rain, many of the men barefooted, and the
roads half knee-deep with mud. It is not to be wondered at that many
of the men succumbed to this severe ordeal, and were candidates for
the hospital on our arrival at Webster.

(52) One more incident of this raid will perhaps bear relating. Some
of the boys took the measles on the route. On the return to Beverly a
sergeant was sent in charge of an ambulance containing four sick boys,
something in advance of the regiment, and over a different route, it
is believed, from that taken by it. One evening, the second out,
perhaps, after ascending and descending Cheat Mountain, the driver
halted the ambulance just at its base on the west side, where there
was a hotel.

(53) Now it happened that Gen. Milroy and his Adjutant General, Capt.
McDonald, if his name is not mistaken, were going to put up at that
hotel. The boys being quite sick, the Sergeant spoke to the landlord
to procure beds for them. He seemed reluctant to comply with the
request, and perhaps, to baffle the Sergeant, he told him to see Capt.
McDonald about the matter, saying it would be just as the Captain
said.

(54) It often is the case that a man holding an inferior rank or
position assumes an air of more importance, and more of "the insolence
of office," than do his superiors. This Captain was no exception to
this rule. In fact, he was a specimen of the type of fellows
represented by the fellow who was "a bigger [sic] man than old Grant."
So when the Sergeant spoke to him regarding the getting of the beds,
he put on a forbidding and repellant air and said sarcastically that
"he was not quarter-master." The Sergeant replied with somewhat of
offended dignity that he would not have come to him at all, only that
the landlord had referred him, the Sergeant, to him, the Captain.

(55) Here Gen. Milroy spoke up in a courteous and considerate manner,
quite in contrast with that of the Captain, saying "We do not assume
to have the disposition of the landlord's beds; they are entirely at
his own disposal. As for myself, I can sleep on the floor." The
Sergeant, being thus left to his own resources, secured those beds for
the sick boys.

(56) The regiment left Webster on the 19th, going over the Baltimore &
Ohio Railroad to New Creek, in Hampshire County, West Virginia,
distance 89 miles, arriving there the same day. There were other
troops besides the Twelfth. One of the regiments of these was the
Twenty-third Illinois Infantry, Col. Mulligan's regiment. This command
was made up almost if not entirely of men of Irish birth, Mulligan
himself being of that nationality. He was a fine, tall, erect man,
with a military air, and a general mien and bearing that would attract
attention anywhere. For this reason, and because of his national
reputation, no doubt, and, it may be, the circumstance that he wore a
green shirt, he attracted considerable attention from our boys.

(57) As the weather was now pretty cold, and severe winter was
approaching; and as we had established a camp here with
regularly-laid-out streets, it looked as though we might winter here.
But we staid here only three weeks. On the 11th of December our
regiment marched by way of Burlington and Petersburg to Moorefield,
the county seat of Hardy County.

(58) On the march to this place Lieut. Col. Northcott, stopping at a
house on the way between Petersburg and Moorefield and getting thus
behind the command, was taken prisoner by a Rebel scout. One of our
scouts, however, followed the Rebel and his prisoner, and recaptured
the Colonel, after, it was said, a severe hand-to-hand fight, in which
each scout surrendered alternately, the Union scout coming out final
victor.



CHAPTER III.


(59) At Moorefield the Twelfth was assigned to Gen. Cluseret's brigade
of Milroy's division, and on the 17th Gen. Cluseret started on an
expedition to Strasburg, Va., the Twelfth being part of his command.
We marched 26 miles the first day, camping on Lost River, four miles
from Wordensville. That night was cold and stormy. The wind blew so
that it made the soldiers' blankets flap as they lay under them trying
to get a little sleep, and it was so cold that in some cases they had
to get up in the night to go to the large fires they had made to get
warm. That night it froze so hard that the creek was frozen so as to
bear up a horse, but not quite the artillery. There was some
difficulty in getting it over the creek. It was to this bleak and
inhospitable place that the eccentric genius, "Barney" Wiles of
Company D, alluded when he spoke of "the place where fire froze and
turkeys chewed tobacco."

(60) The second day the command marched through Wordensville to Capon
Springs, 18 miles, encamping there for the night in the Mountain
House, a magnificent building of 410 well finished rooms, situated
right in the midst of rather a dense forest. Owing to the torturous
mountain roads we were close to this building before observing it.
Making a sharp turn in the road, its grand proportions flashed upon us
suddenly, as if by magic. The water in these springs is quite warm,
and much steam was arising from it that cold weather.

(61) We had good quarters that night, having nice mattresses on which
to sleep. But we had to get up very early in the morning to resume our
march to Strasburg. Surgeon Bryon of the Twelfth, in a half-jocular
and half-earnest way, protested against getting up so early, saying
"It's not the ideal thing, and I don't believe in it--this thing of
getting up at midnight to stuff victuals and start out on a Rebel
hunt."

(62) After "stuffing victuals" we pushed out for Strasburg, a distance
of 18 miles, where the Rebel Gen. Jones was, with a small force, which
retired before the advance of Cluseret's brigade, leaving only his
rear-guard to skirmish with the advance, as it entered the town.

(63) Gen. Cluseret was a spirited, dashing Frenchman, who afterward
figured prominently in belligerent affairs in Paris, after its
evacuation by the Prussians, in the late Franco-Prussian War. And it
was a picturesque sight to see him in his corduroy pantaloons, on
nearing the town, dashing ahead of the infantry with a very small
body-guard, while some skirmishing was going on with the cavalry. Some
prisoners were taken here.

(64) On nearing Strasburg we got our first sight of the far-famed
Shenandoah Valley, which had already been the scene, so far in the
war, of some bloody battles, and was destined to be the scene of some
far more bloody. And at the same time we got our first view of the no
less famed Blue Ridge.

(65) We camped at Strasburg that night. This was a small town of quite
ancient appearance, situated on the north bank of the North Branch of
the Shenandoah River, and at the base of the Massanutten Mountain,
lying to the south. The next day the command marched six miles to
Middletown. We remained here until the 24th.

(66) Our movement from Moorefield had been a rapid one, and all
subsistence and camp equipage had been left behind, except what the
men could carry. So we had, in part, while at Middletown, to live off
the country, regular foraging details being sent out for the purpose
of getting subsistence, which were fairly successful. And we had to
extemporize such quarters as best we could, while staying at
Middletown. We built up rail-pens, filling them in and covering them
over with straw for quarters. They answered very well for that
purpose, as the weather was then quite fine for that season of the
year.

(67) On the 24th the command marched to Winchester, Va. For a little
while, until our tents arrived, we occupied the abandoned Rebel winter
quarters at that place, made of cedar brush. It appeared that when the
Johnnys vacated their quarters they were not entirely abandoned--we
found other occupants of them. It was here that we made our first
acquaintance with "grey-backs." We found them companions whose
acquaintance was hard to cut. They seemed to be no respectors of
persons. It was not an uncommon sight to see a Colonel with his shirt
off looking industriously for the little enemy, just the same as
though the said Colonel were a fellow of low degree. As Artemas Ward
would perhaps have said, he, the "grey-back," was a "little cuss," who
seemed to love war against the human species for its own sake, not
caring a continental whether he attacked a Union soldier or a Reb.

(68) When the regiment started on the raid by way of Strasburg, a part
of it was left behind at Moorefield. This detail of about 75 men, and
about the same number of the Tenth West Virginia Infantry, the latter
under command of Capt. Darnell of the latter regiment, and the whole
under command of Capt. J. W. Moffatt of Company G of the Twelfth,
struck tents and started for Winchester with a wagon train of supplies
for Cluseret's command, leaving Moorefield the 28th. At Wordensville,
four miles out, they were attacked by Rebel cavalry. The _Wheeling
Intelligencer_ of June --, 1865, in a sketch of the history of the
Twelfth, said of this affair: "They were attacked by about 300 of
Imboden's cavalry, and, notwithstanding the largely superior force of
the enemy, Capt. Moffatt repulsed them handsomely, driving them
several miles, and conducted the train safely to Gen. Cluseret at
Winchester."

(69) The _Intelligencer's_ statement regarding this affair is not
strictly correct, for the Rebels captured 52 horses from the train. No
blame attaches to Capt. Moffatt, however, as he was a brave and
faithful officer.

(70) After this attack and repulse Capt. Moffatt and his train-guard
had no further trouble. On the route they crossed the south branch of
the Potomac, passed through Romney, crossed Lost River, passed through
Blue Gap, crossed Capon River, and on the fifth day out, January 1st,
1863, arrived at Winchester, the train-guards of the Twelfth rejoining
here their regiment. This was the day on which the President's
Emancipation Proclamation was to take effect, but strange to say the
colored people of Winchester seemed utterly ignorant of the fact that
there was such a thing as any proclamation of freedom.

(71) One was struck with the number of colored people in this town
with white blood in them. They were of all shades of color, from, say
half white to nearly white. An incident in this connection is perhaps
deserving of a place. After we had been in Winchester for some time,
and had begun to get a little acquainted, Surgeon Bryan of the Twelfth
one day got into a conversation with a lady of the city, and,
pertinent to the subject of the conversation, remarked that he could
scarcely distinguish the negroes from the whites.

(72) "How is that," inquired the lady, "are the white people so dark?"

(73) "Oh, no;" he replied, "it is not that the whites are so dark, but
that the blacks are so white."

(74) To go back a little, some skillful maneuvers by Gen. Cluseret,
shortly after his arrival at Winchester from Strasburg, should be
mentioned. One day there seemed to be some signs of an attack by Gen.
Sam Jones. And it appeared as though our General wished to avoid, at
that time, an attack from the enemy; so he moved the bulk of his
brigade, consisting in all of about 2,500 men, over a ridge to the
north, a half mile distant, out of sight; then he brought them in view
again, on the ridge several hundred yards to the right, marched them
along the southern slope of the ridge, and passed over it out of
sight, at the same place as before. Thus making it appear that two
columns had crossed the ridge instead of one.

(75) This maneuver was calculated to deceive the enemy if he viewed it
from a distance, for some of our own men looking on from a distance,
thought we were getting reinforcements. Some of the citizens of the
town remarked afterward, it was said, that they thought that Gen.
Cluseret's strategic handling of his brigade on that occasion was well
done.

(76) Winchester at the time of our occupancy of it was a rather pretty
old town pleasantly situated, and of about 6,000 inhabitants. It was a
place of historic associations, among which may be named the fact that
it was the burial spot of Gen. Daniel E. Morgan of Revolutionary fame,
and it was destined to have still further historic associations.

(77) The citizens were almost universally disloyal; and the women
especially took particular pains, on our coming among them, to show
their hostility toward, and aversion for, the Yankees, by pulling
their veils over their faces on passing the men on the street, and
other like demonstrations. But time and association have their
influence, and after awhile these manifestations of dislike and enmity
almost entirely ceased. In fact, on entering their houses the women
would treat you courteously, and in some instances, it is remembered,
that they used, in a half pleasant, half tantalizing way, to sing for
and at us their Rebel songs, such as "The Bonny Blue Flag," etc., and
then apologetically ask us to not be offended at their doing so.

(78) The women here were notably handsome and fine looking, so much so
as to be the subject of remark among our soldiers to that effect. A
little incident may be here pertinently given. There was an old
colored woman in the town, who used to work for the boys. On one
occasion there was an allusion by some of them, in her presence, to
the fact that there was a general concurrence of opinion among both
officers and men that the white women of Winchester were quite
handsome. The old colored woman did not quite relish this compliment
to the white women, and said that if they were handsome in appearance
they were not pretty in disposition, adding, "Indeed, honey, they
could just cut your hearts out." Perhaps it was not without reason
that this negress entertained this opinion.

(79) There were more than 1,000 Rebel dead buried here, many of whom
had been wounded at the Battle of Antietam, and died of their wounds
at this place.

(80) This post was destined to be our winter quarters for the
remainder of the winter. We spent the time here in guard, picket and
fatigue duty, the latter duty being in part, work on the
fortifications; and in drilling, target practice, and an occasional
scout, filling in the interims growling, playing cards, corresponding,
reading the papers, and occasionally talking on politics and disputing
about the Emancipation Proclamation. Something about this last matter
will be mentioned further along.

(81) The arrival of the mail was always looked forward to with
especial anxiety and interest by the boys. So eager were they to hear
the news from home, some of the men in some of the companies, who
could not write, inducing others to help them in their efforts, so
applied themselves to learning to write that they were enabled to do
their own corresponding before the war was over. The army was in this
particular, as well as in some others, a good school for some of the
boys.

(82) Citizens used to come into camp at this place to sell pies,
cakes, etc., to the soldiers, and the boys would sometimes cheat them
shamefully. In one instance at least, a soldier passed a label taken
from a bottle of Perry Davis's Pain-killer for money. Where a peddler
of pies could not read and the boys paid in scrip they, in making
change, would very likely take more money than they gave. It is not to
be wondered at, in view of the simplicity and lack of intelligence on
the part of many of the whites of the South, that they manifested the
ignorance they did, implied in the question "What are you alls coming
down here to fight we alls for?"

(83) Even the citizens of apparently general intelligence seemed to
have very hazy ideas of the real nature of the war. On one occasion a
lady of Winchester, who did not seem to be of the ignorant class,
asked the question, "How long do you intend to carry on the war
against us?" and when told that the war would be prosecuted until the
people of the South submitted to the authority of the United States,
she seemed to regard the idea with horror and repugnance, and as a
thought not to be entertained for a moment, throwing up her hands and
exclaiming "Oh! Oh!"

(84) Possibly this lady's conception of the war, and that of thousands
of others in the South, was that it was a fight to satisfy a spite or
grudge, and after a sufficient revenge should be taken the war would
stop. They seemed to have very little idea of the deep devotion to the
old flag, on the part of the Union soldiers, and the loyal citizens
generally, that made them willing to stand by it at any sacrifice; and
perhaps no understanding of the demands of the future welfare of the
nation, requiring the maintenance of the Union, and appealing to all
Unionists to fight the war to a successful issue, if it was among
human possibilities.

(85) Our present occupancy of Winchester continued for three months.
During that time little of important interest took place. The cavalry
here had some brushes with the Rebel cavalry. On one or two occasions
some Pennsylvania cavalry (either the Twelfth or Thirteenth) was sent
down the valley from the direction of Strasburg, pell-mell into
Winchester by the Rebel cavalry, some of the former, in one instance
at least, losing their hats in their hasty retreat.

(86) A reference to a diary kept by one of the boys, under date of
February 27th, says that on that day our cavalry had an engagement
with the Rebel cavalry ten miles out on the Strasburg road, in which
our force was rather worsted, losing about 200 men.

(87) During March we received some reinforcements, three regiments and
a twelve-gun battery of Regulars. On March the 17th the voters of the
West Virginia troops marched to the nearest point of that proposed
State, to vote on the question of the adoption of the constitution.

(88) On the 27th we struck tents and marched to Berryville, about ten
miles distant. This was a small town, on the road to Harpers Ferry,
and near the Shenandoah River. Two days later two regiments, the Sixth
Maryland and the Sixty-seventh Pennsylvania Infantry, reinforced us at
this place.

(89) There were guerrillas, whose retreat was just across the
Shenandoah River in the Blue Ridge, that were very bold and annoying
at this place, frequently firing on the outposts. On the night of
April 8th they captured two cavalry pickets and five horses of our
command. On the night of the 21st a detail of 40 men under command of
Lieut. David Powell of Company H, all of the Twelfth, crossed the
river into Loudoun County, Virginia, and captured the desperate and
dangerous Capt. Lapole and seven of his men of these daring
guerrillas, bringing them in safe to camp as prisoners, receiving
therefore the hearty thanks and commendation of the commander of the
post at Berryville.

(90) A comrade tells the story of the capture as follows:

(91) While the Twelfth West Virginia Regiment lay at Berryville, Va.,
during the months of March and April, 1863, the pickets, outposts and
reconnoitering parties were constantly annoyed and harassed by
frequent attacks from guerrilla bands, under command of Capt. Lapole,
a noted desperado belonging to Mosby's command. Quite a number of men
had been killed by this Captain and his party. To capture them was no
trifling undertaking.

(92) Lieut. David Powell of Company H had been made provost marshal of
the command. In this position he had an opportunity to quiz and learn
from all parties who came to his office the whereabouts of Capt.
Lapole and his men. At length a negro man, name forgotten, came and
wished a permit to buy some sugar and coffee of the post Sutler.

(93) On inquiry Lieut. Powell learned that he was from the east side
of the Shenandoah River, where Capt. Lapole and his men always made
their escape after making their attacks. At once the Lieut. suspected
that the negro man had been sent to obtain the articles he desired,
and took him into a back room to question him. The negro stoutly
denied that he had been sent by Lapole or any of his men, but admitted
that he knew Lapole and quite a number of his men, and after close
questioning said that Capt. Lapole and seven of his men were at his
master's home and would remain there for the night.

(94) At this Lieut. Powell told him if he would give such information
as would lead to Capt. Lapole's capture he would give him $50. This
was increased to $80 by Gen. Milroy. The negro at once acceded to the
proposition, and agreed to join in the work of his capture, and
admitted that Capt. Lapole and his men had sent him for the coffee and
sugar. He was allowed to purchase his articles and return to his home,
with the understanding that if Capt. Lapole and his men remained at
his master's he would come to the eastern bank of the river and light
three matches in succession. Then someone would cross the river and
learn all the facts respecting Lapole and his men. At the appointed
time the lights flashed across the river and Lieut. Wycoff of the
First New York Cavalry crossed the river, and learned that Lapole and
his men were there at his masters and would remain all night.

(95) Lieut. Powell accompanied by Lieut. Thos. H. Means of Company H,
came to the river, and while there signals were displayed from an
upper window of a farm house, which display Lieut. Powell with a part
of his command, went to the house to put a stop to. On going to the
house he found quite a number of the fair sex collected, and a
bounteous supper prepared for the boys on the other side of the river.

(96) Lieut. Powell allowed his men to eat at the first table and then
after giving strict orders that no lights should be exhibited from the
house that night, he took from the house a negro guide and made for
the river again. But on his return, Lieut. Means and his men could not
be found, and no one dared to make a noise to call him.

(97) Presently he came across Lieut. Wycoff, who had secured a leaky
old boat and was waiting for Lieut. Powell and his men. As soon as
Lieut. Powell came he, Wycoff, told him what the negro had done and
said. At once Lieut. Powell entered the boat with three other
men--Samuel McDaniel and Harvey Haddox (the latter was afterward
killed in the assault on battery Gregg, in front of Petersburg, Va.)
as rowers of the boat. The other soldier was Elijah McIntosh, all of
Company H, (McIntosh died at Winchester, October, 1864, from an
overdose of morphine given him by a drunken doctor of the regiment.)
Then the oarsmen returned and brought two others over until there were
twenty-eight men in all on the east side of the river. With these
twenty-eight men Lieut. Powell pushed on to where Lapole and his men
were lodging for the night.

(98) McDaniel and Haddox took charge of the boat and started down the
river, which was fearfully high and rabid, and the night was so dark
that no one could see an object ten feet away. Thus three miles had to
be traveled down the river, before coming to the house where the men
sought, were to be found.

(99) Before reaching the house the chickens were crowing for day and
already the dawn of light was beginning to show above the mountain
height. (Blue Mountain.)

(100) The negro guide made a mistake and led to the wrong house, not
more than four hundred yards away. The noise here in bursting open the
door was loud, but fortunately not loud enough to waken the sentinel,
who, not more than twenty minutes before had been permitted by his
Captain to lie down and sleep, for he had announced the dawn of day
and all quiet.

(101) Lieut. Powell had divided his men into two sections--the first,
was to move on to the house, and then open order and quickly move
around the house, so as to enclose it. The other section was to rush
with all their force against the door, and if possible mash it in upon
the men who were sleeping on the floor. The first crash, the door flew
from its hinges and fell within upon the now frightened foe.

(102) Without firing a shot, the whole crew cried for quarter. A light
was struck and just as the light flamed up, one of the men fled up a
stair way. When pursued he was found close in by the side of a fat
chubby girl who had been sleeping alone upstairs. When requested to
come forth, he quickly obeyed and begged for quarter. The girl was
heartily scared. Some of the men were for capturing her, but on closer
view they decided that she was a woman and ought to be left to finish
her morning nap.

(104) All the prisoners, Capt. Lapole and seven men were properly
searched, their arms secured, and a rapid fall back upon the river was
made, where the two men with their boat was in waiting. Lieut. Wycoff
had also secured another boat.

(105) Lieut. Means and his men were on the other side; also, two
pieces of artillery were planted to secure a safe crossing of the
river, against an attack from Mosby and his men, who were only a mile
or so distant.

(106) Lieut. Powell saw all his men and his prisoners safely across,
then he the last of all, came across, having with his brave men,
accompanied one of the most daring feats of the war. The crossing of
the river alone, was one of the most perilous adventures one could
undertake.

(107) After crossing the river, and forming his men, Lieut. Powell
marched with his prisoners to Berryville, where he securely placed
them in the county jail, under a vigilant guard. He and his men
received the complimentary notice of Col. McReynolds, commanding post;
of Gen. R. H. Milroy, commanding at Winchester, Va., and of Gen.
Robert Schenck, who commanded the northern part of Virginia and of
Maryland.

(108) Lapole, the morning after his capture, proposed that if he could
be allowed fifty yards, and then a chance for escape, he would allow
six or eight men to shoot at him. But when told there were that many
men in the command who could kill a deer 100 yards running, he gave up
the matter as a dangerous undertaking.

(109) He was afterward tried by a military court at Fort McHenry at
Baltimore, and was sentenced to be hung, which sentence was executed
on the 8th of May, 1864, one year and one month after his capture.

(110) The negro who informed, was literally shot to pieces afterward,
by Lapole's comrades in their guerrilla warfare.

(111) The men who crossed the river and captured Lapole, did their
duty nobly. Not one of them failing in a single duty assigned them.

(112) It was a mortification to Lieut. Means, that he did not get to
cross the river and to share the danger with others.

(113) The men who participated in the capture of Lapole and his men,
were largely volunteers from the several companies of the regiment.
There was never any need of a detail when it was known that Lieut.
Powell was to command.

(114) A company of the Twelfth, on the night of the twenty-ninth went
out from camp a few miles to a house to capture some "bush-whackers"
supposed to be there; but they failed to get any.

(115) In this connection may be told a little joke on Sergeant James
Porter, who was of the detachment. There was a beautiful girl at the
house, whom the sergeant got to see, and with whose beauty he was it
seemed, much impressed. It appeared that the matter rested upon his
mind; and the next day, though a quiet man, he referred to her beauty
in evident admiration, saying, "Boys that was a mighty pretty girl
that we saw last night, and I have a notion to go back there."

(116) Our stay at Berryville now May ninth, came to a close. The
regiment at this date received orders to proceed to Clarksburg, W.
Va., to protect that place, which was threatened with an attack by a
rebel force under Gen. Jones, who was raiding the country about there
generally.

(117) We started on our march to Clarksburg in the afternoon, to go by
way of Harpers Ferry to take the cars there, to the former place. We
marched through that old town of Charlestown, W. Va., near Harpers
Ferry, which old town is destined to be historic, and a noted place
for long years to come, because of its association with the name of
John Brown, of Osawatomie, whose memory is world-wide. As showing the
extent of the name and fame of John Brown, an incident is here given
in substance, as related some years ago by the late Thomas Hughes,
"Tom Brown of Rugby," then ex-member of parliament.

(118) It was after our late Civil War that he, Thomas Hughes, was one
day walking along in London, not far from London bridge, when he heard
a sound of voices that arrested his attention. He listened and soon
discovered that the sound proceeded from a regiment of British
soldiers crossing the bridge singing, "John Brown's body lies
mouldering in the tomb," etc. In writing about this occurrence he
indulged in this reflection. That when such men as he should be
forgotten, the name of John Brown would still be remembered.

(119) It was perhaps between nine and ten o'clock at night--that night
in May--when we passed through the old town. The lights were out, the
streets deserted, the citizens apparently had retired for the night;
and the town seemed wrapped in slumber. There was nothing to disturb
the quiet of the night, and the solemn stillness of all about, but the
monotonous tramp, tramp of the soldiers as they marched; when suddenly
the quiet was broken; Company A, at the head of the regiment struck up
the song of "John Brown," and other companies taking it up soon all
were singing.

(120) Pretty soon windows were hoisted, shutters were thrown open and
lights flashed out on the streets. It seemed as if the citizens of the
old town were startled! Possibly they thought the spirit of John Brown
had come back from the spirit world to haunt them.

(121) A few years before the soldiers of Virginia was here to see that
John Brown should be hanged, that human servitude in the land might be
made more secure. Then the moral atmosphere of our land was murky with
greed, selfishness and prejudice. Men's understandings were perverted;
they called wrong right, and preached it as a holy thing. It was
almost true, that he had no friend, that dared proclaim the fact, and
that none were so poor as to do him reverence. Then, too, there were
distant rumblings of a coming storm, but the cloud on the horizon was
no larger than a man's hand.

(122) Today the storm of war had burst upon the land with threatening
fury. The whole country was turned into a field of war. There were
other soldiers on duty now. They were fighting to maintain the Union
of their fathers, "shouting the battle cry of freedom," and every step
they took was leading to the doom of slavery.

(123) The thunder and lightning of war was clearing the moral
atmosphere. Men saw things differently now; and while the men of the
old Twelfth, like many others, gave a sort of superficial disapproval
of the conduct of John Brown, deep down in their hearts, in these
perilous times which were anew trying men's souls, they felt an
admiration for the old hero who died bravely, in an insane attempt to
free from bondage a despised race; and hence, they sang with gusto the
John Brown war song, as they marched through that town in the Valley
which will suggest his name for generations to come.

(124) Considering the wonderful contrast between the spectacle of this
regiment's then singing the battle hymn whose refrain is, "But His
Soul Goes Marching On," and that which was to be seen there only a few
years before, the incident was a most extraordinary and impressive
one.

(125) On the eleventh, we arrived to within five miles of Clarksburg,
where the enemy had destroyed a railroad bridge. We got off the cars
here, got our dinner and marched the same day to Clarksburg. The Rebel
Gen. Jones made no attack on the place. During this stay at this
place, Mr. Nathaniel Wells, of Brooke county, brought tickets out from
Hancock county, for the soldiers of the latter to vote.

(126) We remained at this place doing picket duty, and drilling nearly
every day, with nothing particular occurring, until June second, when
we had orders to march, taking a freight train for Grafton on the
Baltimore and Ohio railroad, where we were paid on that day two months
pay. The next morning we took the cars at this place for Martinsburg,
arriving there the following night; and in the morning following, we
started on the march up the Valley Pike for Winchester, more than
"Twenty miles away" arriving on the fifth at that place. We camped on
the southwest of the town. Here at this time we drew shelter tents.
This appeared like getting down to business--looked like stripping for
a fight.



CHAPTER IV.


(127) The time for the taking place of important events was
approaching. The near future was pregnant with events for the Twelfth;
the time for the battle of Winchester under Gen. Milroy was not far
off. And an important crisis for the entire nation in the progress of
the war was almost at hand, involving the welfare of the country and
the better interests of mankind generally; for the battle of
Gettysburg, the greatest battle of the war, and the greatest battle
ever fought on American soil--a battle which is now regarded as the
turning point of the war, was about to be fought.

(128) We had now been in the service for nearly ten months and the
regiment, as a whole, had never been in an engagement. We sometimes
wondered whether we should ever get into a battle. It is safe to say
that most of the boys were anxious to see, at least, one fight; and
some of them were want to say somewhat boastfully, that they were
"spoiling for a fight." Any doubts, however, as to whether we were to
see a battle were soon to be dispelled; and the desire to see one, or
to be engaged in it, was destined to be more than satisfied, at a
later period.

(129) "Coming events cast their shadows before." There are frequently
harbingers of future occurrences; but the difficulty is to measure
their significance, and to know what is best to do in view of them.
There began to be signs of a coming conflict in this field of
operations. The next day after our return to this place we had orders
to lie on our arms the succeeding night; and the next night. Sunday,
the seventh, at 10 o'clock three companies, D, E, and I, were sent out
on the Strasburg road to reinforce the picket there. The three
companies stayed out till morning, when they returned to camp. Two
days later the situation was becoming more threatening. Companies F,
I, C, and H, under command of Col. Northcott were ordered out to
support, at night, a section of artillery, which at the time was
placed in position every night to be ready in case of an attack.

(130) In the morning, no enemy having appeared, the four companies
returned to camp. This day, the eleventh, Major Pierpont gave us a
farewell address, he having resigned as mayor, to accept the office of
adjutant general of West Virginia. He left much to the regret of the
Twelfth, being a general favorite.

(131) The bloody ordeal of a general battle for the whole command was
just now at hand. The next day the Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania with
some cavalry and artillery went out the Strasburg road five miles, and
ambushing a force of Rebel cavalry, they killed and wounded some fifty
of them, and captured about forty prisoners without the loss of a man
of the Eighty-seventh. The boys of that regiment came back in good
spirits saying, that they had "skunked them."

(132) That night four companies of the Twelfth were again ordered to
support a battery. They returned from doing that duty at 7 o'clock
next morning; but before they got their breakfast, the whole regiment
was ordered into line. After standing in line for awhile, we got
orders to fill our canteens with water and get one day's rations in
our haversacks; and about 11 o'clock we marched out on the Strasburg
road. At the same time, cannonading commenced on our left, which told
us the battle was on.

(133) We changed our position several times until we got into a piece
of woods. Here we were ordered to take off and pile up our knapsacks,
which we did. The Rebels were advancing a heavy skirmish line in
front; and soon were heard those peculiar sounds, the whistling of the
minnie-balls, to which the men afterward became quite accustomed. So
unaccustomed were they to the whistling sounds, that they began to
question among themselves as to what they were, some saying that they
were the sounds of flying bullets; others that they were not. An
officer hearing the talk said: "Boys those are bullets as sure as you
live." This assurance together with the increasing frequency of the
sounds, settled the matter in their minds; and they never afterward
had any doubts as to what it was, when they heard the whistle of
bullets.

(134) We opened on the advancing enemy, and for about an hour we kept
up a heavy fire. We held the Rebels in check in our front. After a
while Adjt. Caldwell reporting that the enemy was flanking us on our
right, Company A, under command of Lieut. Burley was ordered to form a
skirmish line, and move to that flank to protect it. The force there,
however, moving against us was too heavy to be kept back by one
company of skirmishes; so the Colonel ordered us to fall back behind a
small creek which position we held till dark.

(135) When we retired from the woods to the creek, the Colonel marched
us to the rear by file, instead of in line of battle, which latter
order under the circumstances, military tactics, it is taken, would
demand. We filed off the field by the left flank, and in doing so the
right had to march the length of the regiment before gaining a step to
the rear. It was while thus marching to the point of filing left to
the rear, Lieut. Bradley, of Company I, was shot dead. We left our
knapsacks in the woods, where we had unslung them. They, of course,
fell into the hands of the Johnnys, who, no doubt, examined them with
a good deal of interest. This, our first engagement, was the only one
in which we met with anything like a general loss of equipments.

(136) Col. Curtis, then Captain of Company D, used to tell this
anecdote concerning this day's fighting. There was an Irishman in his
company whose name was Tommy Burke, who, like his nationality in
general, was quick-witted and humorous. During the fighting in the
woods the hammer was shot off his gun, and about the same time he
missed his haversack, Tommy believed--no doubt correctly--that it had
been shot away too. Being thus completely knocked out as it were, he
turned to the Captain saying, with reference principally, it is
presumed to the loss of his haversack, "Captain, Captain, the bloody
Rebels have cut ahff my supplies."

(137) After dark we fell back from the creek to a stone wall at the
outskirts of town, when it began pouring down rain in torrents. At 2
o'clock in the morning, Sunday the 14th, we marched up into the
fortifications, remaining there till 7 o'clock. At this time while in
the fortifications, Lieut. Melvin of Company I, arrived from home,
showing that the rear was still open till near that Sunday morning, at
least.

(138) Our regiment was the first to go out of the fortifications that
morning. We took a position behind a stone wall between the Strasburg
and Romney roads, and about a mile from the main fort, which we held
till ordered back. A little later two companies as skirmishers took
position behind the stone wall we had just left. The left wing was
held in reserve, while the right supported a battery placed at about
900 yards from the Rebel lines.

(139) In front of this battery off to the southwest the Johnnys were
behind a stone wall. Our artillery did some very accurate shooting,
knocking several holes in the wall behind which the Johnnys were,
causing them, when the wall was struck, to scatter in a lively manner,
and thus affording for the time being, at least, great sport for our
boys, though they were quite worn out from want of sleep, having had
little or none the night before. Occasional shots from the enemy
reached this battery. It was one of these that struck and killed
Lieut. Beugough of Company F, who was lying sleeping at the time,
being overcome by want of sleep.

(140) About 5 o'clock P.M. the whole regiment advanced to the stone
wall. A half hour later the Rebels opened a tremendous fire with their
artillery, which heretofore, during the day had been quiet, on our
fortifications. The whole force then fell back to the forts, the
Rebels having shortly before this captured battery L, of the Regulars.
Thus practically ended this day's fighting. However, our siege guns
replied to the Rebel guns till about night, the roar of our heavy guns
being deafening.

(141) The Rebel artillery fire came from a ridge southwest of our
forts, and was directed seemingly to the flag staff of the main fort;
and when Gen. Milroy climbed the flag staff, as he did, in order to
get a view of the Rebel batteries, it may be, or to note the effect of
our fire, the boys cheered him lustily.

(142) Greeley in the _American Conflict_ says in regard to this
capture of Winchester by the Rebels, that our men took a prisoner
Saturday night the 13th, "who rather astonished Milroy by the
information that he belonged to Ewell's corps; and that Longstreet's
also was just at hand--the two numbering about 50,000 men."

(143) In regard to the operations of the next day, Sunday, 14th, he
says that at 4 P.M. they (the Rebels) made a charge up the Front Royal
road to the edge of town, but were repulsed. A little later they
opened fire from two eight-gun batteries on the northwest, hardly a
mile from town; and forthwith Ewell's infantry swept up to and over
our breast works, disregarding the fire of our guns, driving out the
110th Ohio with heavy loss, and planting their colors on our defenses.
Meantime, the city had been substantially invested on every side, and
was now virtually lost; though an attempt to storm the main fort from
the position first gained was repulsed.

(144) Referring to the foregoing alleged attempt to storm the main
fort, if there was any made, it was after dark. It is remembered that
there was heavy firing from the fort, on the northwest side, as though
the enemy was making an attack, but it never seemed quite clear that
he was, as it was so dark at the time that an object could be seen but
a short distance.

(145) At 1 o'clock A.M. Monday, 15th, Milroy held a council of war
which decided to evacuate our force of all arms being only 10,000, and
not all of it effective, against a corps of 25,000 and more if
necessary. The artillery was spiked, the harness cut up, the axles and
wheels sawed to pieces, and at 2 o'clock, the whole command began
moving out to evacuate the fort, the soldiers hastily breaking some
boxes of crackers (conveniently placed for the purpose) with the butts
of their muskets, and putting some of the crackers in their
haversacks, as they marched out.

(146) We started on the road leading to Martinsburg. A mile or two
from the fort, Gen. Milroy rode along the road past the men telling
them to push along; that he wanted to get as far out the road as
possible before daylight. The Twelfth was somewhere about the middle
of the line. Four miles from Winchester our advance was attacked by a
division of Rebels holding the road in our front. It was at this time
just breaking day. There was very heavy firing for about a half
hour--heavier than at any time during the two proceeding days.

(147) We were halted when fighting began in our front; and stood in
line seemingly waiting on orders, but none coming we filed to the left
of the pike, and started in the direction of North Mountain. It was
just here where we left the pike, that Lieut. Col. Northcott, getting
separated from the regiment, was captured. We encountered no enemy
until we got to the base of the mountain several miles distant. Here
we were fired upon by some Rebel cavalry, from a road running along
the base of the mountain. Company A, being at the head of the regiment
opened fire in return upon the Johnnys, pouring it in briskly, and
they soon got out of the way. We had now got outside of the Rebel
ring. None of our men were hit at this place.

(148) The One Hundred and Sixteenth Ohio, the First New York cavalry
and the Twelfth West Virginia, were the only regiments that came out
of the fight retaining their organizations. We lost no men as
prisoners except those who had in some way got separated from the
regiment; though our loss in prisoners was considerable, about 200.
Among these were, Lieut. Col. Northcott, Asst. Surgeon, F. H. Patton,
and Lieut. Henry F. Anshultz. Among the killed were, Lieut. Thomas W.
Bradley of Company I, and Lieut. John T. Beugough of Company F; and
among the wounded was Lieut. James R. Dunham of Company E.

(149) This fight at Winchester was a disastrous one for the Union
cause. Milroy lost between 3,000 and 4,000 men, all his artillery and
some 400 wagons, the troops coming out of it, retaining their
organizations, had only their small arms.

(150) It was an opinion entertained by many of Milroy's men, that this
disaster to our arms was largely compensated for, by the alleged fact
that his stubborn resistance at Winchester had so detained Lee in his
invasion of Pennsylvania, that Hooker and Meade were the better
enabled to concentrate their forces to protect Washington and meet him
in battle. There is seemingly not much in this view; for it was only a
part of Lee's army that was detained; the bulk of it kept moving on,
not being detained, in the least, by Milroy. Days after his rout the
enemy was still on the road south of Winchester, marching down the
Valley, as will appear further along.

(151) It was more than two weeks after Milroy's defeat that the battle
of Gettysburg was fought. He could have got out his entire command, if
he had started one day sooner. Considering the length of time after
the defeat, before the battle of Gettysburg took place, this detention
of the advance of Lee's army for only one day longer than was
consistent with his escape, was of not very great importance. Greeley
says, "Milroy's great mistake was holding on just one day too
long--his communications with Schenck and Halleck having already been
served." This will doubtless be the verdict of history. It was for
this blunder and its consequences, evidently, that he was relieved
from command of his army.

(152) Going back a little, Col. Curtis tells this story about Lieut.
Phil Bier of Company A, in reference to our being fired upon by the
Rebels at the foot of North Mountain. When our men began returning the
fire, some one shouted, "You are shooting the cattle." Lieut. Bier
replied, "D----n it! whoever heard of cattle shooting--give it to them
boys."

(153) In this connection it is proper to speak of the conduct of
Sergt. Henry Spear, of Company D, at this time. When we were fired
upon, some of the boys, not knowing, of course, the strength of the
enemy, and being taken by surprise, began shying off to one side of
the road into the woods. Sergt. Spear, however, walked toward the
Johnnys, so as to get a good view; and spying a fellow behind a fence,
took deliberate aim at him and fired. He got from behind the fence
quickly. Spear had unknowingly exchanged guns with a comrade at night
in the fortifications. He insisted that if he had had his own gun, he
would have shot the Johnny.

(154) In closing any reference to the fighting of our regiment at this
battle of Winchester, it is but simple justice to say that the manner
in which Company B, acquitted itself on the first day's engagement, as
skirmishers, called forth deserved praise.

(155) Here is an incident of our retreat copied almost verbatim from
an old letter written at the time, well worthy of a place. After we
had driven off the cavalry at the foot of the mountain, and were
ascending it along a road, through a sort of defile, near the top a
girl of some fourteen or fifteen years, barefooted, bareheaded, her
hair hanging loosely down over her shoulders came out from a humble,
unpretentious dwelling near by, and with a coolness and confidence
calculated, under the circumstances, to excite admiration, inquired
for the Colonel telling him that she thought it best to not take the
road he was on; that she had heard that the Rebels held it at the
point where it intersected the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, about 35
miles distant; and when inquiry was made of her as to whether she
could show us another route that was open, she said that she thought
she could.

(156) When the Colonel told her that we would burn their house if she
deceived us intentionally, and got us to take a road on which we would
be intercepted by the Rebels, she showed no alarm, and was not in the
least disconcerted. She went with us about four miles along a path on
the mountain crest, where we had to walk in single file. Striking
another road here, she left us. Before she left, however, each of
several officers gave her some money.

(157) This young heroine talked very rapidly--was not bold, but had a
simple confidence--and was not a bit afraid of the soldiers. Her hair
was blonde, her forehead high, she was intellectual in appearance, and
had native beauty of person. This mountain maid needed only a little
polish to make her highly attractive. It is to be hoped that she never
had to suffer at the hands of the Rebels for giving aid and comfort to
the enemy. The soldiers of the Twelfth who met her that morning on the
mountain will long remember her.

(158) We continued our retreat in a somewhat northerly direction,
camping at night in the mountain. At about midnight we renewed our
march and in the forenoon of the next day, crossed the Potomac into
Maryland, at a placed called Millstone point, wading the stream.
Passing on up the river five miles farther we reached Hancock on the
Baltimore and Ohio railroad about noon. The men, of course, by this
time were much exhausted from two or three days' fighting, little
sleep since the fight began three days before, little to eat for the
last day or two, and hard marching. It is believed that the men
generally, got something to eat here.

(159) The One Hundred and Sixteenth Ohio, which arriving on another
road, and portions of the First New York, and Twelfth Pennsylvania
cavalry, with some stragglers from various commands, joined us at this
place. Scouts reporting that some Rebel cavalry coming from the
direction of Martinsburg were going to receive them; but no attack was
made however. We stayed here till 10 o'clock at night, when we marched
to Little New Orleans, eighteen miles distant, arriving there sometime
the next day. We expected to take the car here for Cumberland, Md.,
but no cars came.

(160) We waited here till dark, when Col. Washburn of the One Hundred
and Sixteenth Ohio, receiving a dispatch from the colonel of the First
New York, that the enemy held Cumberland, we went a little back on a
hill and camped for the night in some woods. Having got some coffee,
meat and flour at Little New Orleans we managed to make out of these
articles a slim breakfast in the morning, and began our march for
Bloody Run, Pa., about thirty-five miles distant, arriving there the
19th.

(161) When we got into Pennsylvania we struck a new atmosphere. If
hitherto, when we were in the so-called Confederacy there was always a
feeling present, that we were out of our country, we now felt that we
were once more in the land of the "stars and stripes," the United
States of America. The people all along the road gave us a hearty
welcome, and freely gave us food. There was no danger of being
bush-whacked here, if you should chance to become separated from your
command.

(162) When we arrived at Bloody Run, we met Gen. Milroy there. This
meeting was the first knowledge we had, that he had escaped from
Winchester. He proceeded to reorganize his command, but was soon
relieved because of his disastrous defeat. The members of the Twelfth
generally, regretted very much to part with their brave old commander,
who was familiarly known in his command as the "Old Grey Eagle," as he
was a general favorite with them. They felt that he had been harshly
dealt with, considering that the last order he had received from Gen.
Schenck at Baltimore, commander of the department, communication being
soon thereafter cut off was to "hold the place until further orders."
They thought that his fault, if it was such, was in too literally
obeying orders.

(163) Col. Pierce of the Twelfth Pennsylvania cavalry being the senior
of the officers present, took command of the remnant of Milroy's
demoralized force after Milroy was relieved of his command; and Col.
Plunk of the Twelfth West Virginia, was put in command of the
infantry. We remained at Bloody Run till the 30th, when we marched to
Bedford, Pa., starting in the morning and passing up the Juniata
river, we arrived here about 1 o'clock P.M. of that day. Here we drew
blankets and clothing the first after leaving Winchester.

(164) We stayed at Bedford till July 3rd, when we had orders to march
starting in the direction of Gettysburg, but too late to participate
in the battle that was then going on there. We passed through Bloody
Run and Connellsburg, arriving at London, Franklin county, the 5th,
making a distance of about forty-five miles. Somewhere on the road
perhaps on the 4th, we got of a daily paper of the date of July 3rd,
which gave a vague, indefinite, unsatisfactory mention of the battle,
taking place at Gettysburg; which, of course, made us exceedingly
anxious for more news.

(165) Most of the infantry went on six miles farther to Mercersburg to
meet 200 or 300 of our cavalry who had captured a Rebel train of
wagons, with the guards, hauling wounded and plunder to the crossing
of the Potomac at Williamsport, Md. There were 110 wagons and
ambulances, and about 600 prisoners, half of whom were wounded in this
capture. The wagons were loaded up with quartermaster's stores, and
all kinds of plunder of which they had robbed the people on their
invasion. There were several thousand dollars worth of fine cloths,
cassimeres, silks, and etc., in whole bolts in this plunder.

(166) Hospitals were established at Mercersburg, and the Rebel wounded
were cared for. They were in a horrible condition, having been there
from three to five days without having had their wounds dressed. The
next day the infantry returned to London bringing back the unwounded
prisoners, about 300 in number, and the wagons and etc. The wagons,
ambulances and stolen goods were turned over to the quartermaster's
department.

(167) We remained at London until the 13th, when we were ordered at
3 o'clock A.M., to prepare one day's rations and get ready to march.
We started at 6 o'clock A.M., marching through Mercersburg and
Greencastle, we reached Hagerstown, Md., the next day. Passing through
the town, we camped about two miles south of it in the middle of the
afternoon, having marched thirty-two miles.

(168) The battle of Gettysburg had been fought, the Rebels had met "a
bitter crushing defeat," and "the Army of the Potomac had won a clean,
honest, acknowledged victory." Lee's army had retreated as far as the
Potomac; but when it reached there it found its pontoons gone, they
having been destroyed by some of our forces, sent up from Harpers
Ferry for that purpose and the river was so high from recent rains
that it could not be forded. Lee was compelled to halt until he could
restore his means of crossing. In the meantime the Army of the Potomac
had come up and was again facing its old enemy. Gen. Meade, however,
was hesitating to make an attack, when he received orders from
Washington to do so, and accordingly he would have attacked the Rebels
the day, the 14th, we of the remnant of Milroy's army passed through
Hagerstown in the vicinity of which place the two armies confronted
each other; but on the previous night, Lee got his army across the
river; not however, without considerable loss, Kilpatrick having,
after a sharp engagement, captured 1,500 of the Rebel rearguard. If
there had been a battle there, as Meade expected, it is more than
probable that the Twelfth would have been on the ground in time to
have engaged in it.

(169) Here is an anecdote of Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania, heard at
the time of his retreat, that should not be lost. A Rebel officer, as
Lee was marching north through the state stopped at a private house
for some purpose. The woman of the house with some curiosity asked him
where they were going, which presumably, he did not know, and would
not have told if he had known. But he replied, "We are going to
Boston." The woman said to him, "You'll get 'Boston' before you get
back."

(170) When Lee's army was retreating the same officer stopped at the
same house and reminded the woman that he had stopped there before,
saying to her, "Madam, I have just called to say that we got
'Boston.'"

(171) The next day after Lee crossed the Potomac, the First Corps of
the Army of the Potomac passed our camp en route to Harpers Ferry.
They had been on the go marching and fighting for about a month, with
no time to do any washing or to get new clothes; and, of course, they
were covered with dust and dirt, and were hard looking generally. A
large part of Milroy's men had new uniforms and were pretty bright and
clean looking, and the First Corps boys tantalizingly called us Sunday
soldiers.

(172) The Sixteenth, we of Milroy's late command, marched to
Sharpsburg, Md., ten miles distant. Some time during the latter part
of July, while we were at Sharpsburg, Capt. W. B. Curtis of Company D,
received his commission as major of the regiment, to rank as such from
June 17th, 1863.

(173) This vicinity is Maj. Curtis's birth place, having been born
here April 18th, 1821. He migrated from here in 1827 to West Virginia.
He recognized the old log house in which he was born. It was pierced
with cannon balls in several places during the battle of Antietam. He
met several of his relatives who were loyal and made him welcome,
while we remained here.

(174) Maj. Curtis on the receipt of his commission was immediate put
in command of the regiment, as the Lieutenant Colonel was still held a
prisoner of war, and the Colonel was in command of a brigade. For more
than two weeks we remained at this old village, which is indeed, a
very old one apparently; there being one or more old-style churches in
it gone into disuse, and tumbling down. It is historically interesting
too, as being the scene of the bloodiest battle (at the date of it)
ever fought on American soil, the battle of Antietam; and is today the
site of one of the great National Soldiers cemetery.

(175) On August 4th, we were ordered to Martinsburg, W. Va. We started
in the morning and marched to Harpers Ferry, a distance of ten miles,
took the cars there which carried us to within two miles of
Martinsburg, they being prevented from going any further by reason of
the railroad's having been torn up by the enemies, got out of the cars
when they stopped and marched the rest of the way to town in the
evening and camped for the night.

(176) In the morning we moved our camp to a pretty lawn of some five
acres at the edge of town, filled with fine young shade trees, the
property of the Hon. Chas. James Faulkner, who held in all about 800
acres of valuable land adjacent to town. As the weather was very warm
we wanted to camp on this lawn to get the benefit of the shade there.
No doubt our doing so was not altogether agreeable to Mrs. Faulkner
and daughters who still occupied the fine mansion at the rear of the
lawn. But as Mr. Faulkner had seen fit to join his fortune with that
of the Rebellion, it was hardly any part of our business to be
consulting his interests, or the wishes of his household, though Mrs.
Faulkner used to claim to be a good Union woman. She protested that
she was such, to the Union soldiers, at least, fortifying this claim
on one occasion, by saying that she "would not give a cent for a woman
that did not have a mind of her own--would you?" Subsequent events
seemed to show that the lady did protest too much.

(177) Martinsburg at this time was a thrifty town of several thousand
inhabitants, situated in the Shenandoah Valley on the Baltimore and
Ohio railroad, and was noted for the general loyalty of its
inhabitants. There was always an air of welcome to us about the place.



CHAPTER V.


(178) Col. Klunk during the time the regiment was straggling about in
the Cumberland Valley, sent in his resignation, upon the plea of
sickness in his family, and while stationed at Martinsburg he received
notice that it had been accepted. This left the regiment with Major
Curtis as the only field officer with it, Lieut. Col. Northcott being
still a prisoner.

(179) Our regiment remained on the Faulkner lawn until the 25th, when
we moved our camp to the northwest side of the town, where the other
troops were encamped. We stayed at Martinsburg about two and a half
months. While we were here Quartermaster Gen. Meigs inspected the
troops at this place. Also while at this place there was a grand
parade and review of the troops on the occasion of the presentation of
a flag to the First New York Cavalry. Col. McReynolds of that regiment
making on that occasion a short speech.

(180) September 25th, fifty men of the regiment were detailed to cook
rations for the troops passing from the Army of the Potomac to Gen.
Grant's army at Chattanooga. The next day part of the Eleventh Corps
passed through by rail going to join Grant. The next day after that,
Gen. Howard, commander of the Eleventh Corps, passed over the railroad
following his troops. A salute was fired in his honor as he passed.
One day later some more troops from the Army of the Potomac (part of
the Twelfth Corps) followed on after the others.

(181) While we were at this point a considerable number of the boys of
the Twelfth got furloughs. Pertinent to the subject of furloughs may
be mentioned here an incident of the many illustrating the humors of
camp life. There were two brothers in Company I, Van and Tom. While we
were in Pennsylvania during Lee's invasion of that state, Van became
sick and we left him behind on leaving there; and during our stay at
Martinsburg Tom, not having heard from Van, and not knowing whether he
was alive or not, became uneasy about him. So he made an application
to get a furlough to go to hunt his brother up; but he failed to get
it. Some days after this Tom, it seemed, had been in too close
proximity to some fellow who had been looking on the wine, when it was
red (or something of that kind) getting a sniff perhaps of his breath,
and Tom's sensibilities were somewhat aroused. In this condition Tom
got to thinking about the case of Van, and becoming somewhat desperate
he said that he was going to apply again for a furlough to hunt him
up. Adding that if he did not get one he would go anyhow. "I'm going
by thunder," said he, "I don't care if the war stops!"

(182) It happened that Tom's second application failed. He thought
better of it, and concluded that he would not go without a furlough
and the war went on. It should be said that in due time Van returned
to the regiment.

(183) Referring to a diary kept by one of the boys of the Twelfth, it
is seen that a number of prisoners was captured "near North Mountain"
on October 16th. These are doubtless the prisoners referred to by Maj.
Bristor, then Captain of Company H, in the following account, after
his first telling about the capture of a Rebel captain, a spy.

(184) I was in command of the post at Kearneysville, Jefferson county,
West Virginia, for about two months during the summer and fall of '63.
While in command at that post a loyal citizen came to my headquarters
about 11 o'clock one night and informed me that the Rebel spy Capt.
Anderson was at a farm house some three miles distant, and near Col.
Porterfield's house. I at once had sixteen of my men wake up, and
called for two men to volunteer to go on a very hazardous expedition.
To my surprise the entire sixteen volunteered to go. I was not very
much surprised, however, for my men were always ready for duty when
called upon.

(185) I selected two of the youngest of the Sixteenth, whose names I
believe were James P. Murphy and William Watkins, I then started these
two men directing them to follow the citizen to the house where
Anderson was, about a mile beyond our outer pickets. The men were told
by their guide that he thought Anderson was in a certain room. The two
brave young soldiers carefully and quietly worked their way into the
room, up to the bed where Anderson was sleeping, and demanded his
surrender, before he knew a Union soldier of a soul was near him. They
forbade his speaking a word above a low whisper, at the risk of his
life. They took him out of the house without ever waking the family,
and brought him to my quarters about 3 o'clock in the morning.

(186) When they awoke me I questioned the prisoner who was represented
to me as a Rebel spy, and he claimed to be a private citizen from
London county Virginia, and said that he was coming the next day to
give himself up. I asked him why he would give himself up if he was a
private citizen. He replied that he had got a Yankee suit from a
friend and he thought that he had better come and tell me about it for
fear that he might be taken for a spy or something.

(187) But he was identified by citizens of that county (Jefferson) as
a spy, whose name was Anderson. I sent him to Martinsburg, and turned
him over to Col. McReynolds, who was then in command at that point. He
sent him to Fort McHenry where he (Anderson) was tried, and, I have
been informed hanged.

(188) A few nights after this, one of the "Louisiana Tigers," who had
been disbanded on account of their officers not being able to do
anything with them, was strolling about through the country foraging
and etc., and finally got caught in the dark, and when at a house near
that of Col. Porterfield, in which neighborhood Maj. Gilmore was
camped, he inquired the way to his camp. The lady being a Union woman,
directed him right towards my camp. He came to my outerpickets, and
one of them came into camp with him talking all the time as if he, the
picket, was a Rebel. A corporal by the name of A. H. Hull, brought him
in.

(189) As soon as the Rebel came to my quarters, everything being
rather gloomy and dark, he thought he knew my voice, calling me
Captain, taking me for a Rebel captain. I talked to him and asked him
if he had not been lost, and he said he had and impressed his delight
in getting back to camp, for he wanted to go the next night on that
expedition to blow up Back Creek bridge "and send a lot of Yankees to
hell," expecting by blowing up the bridge to cause the Baltimore and
Ohio railroad train to pitch headlong into the creek, as it thundered
along, with all on board unconscious of their danger, and thus cause
great loss of life. I told him that I would see that he should go.

(190) This Rebel was somewhat intoxicated and gave the whole thing
away. Just as I finished telling him that he should go along with the
party, the 4 o'clock train from the east blew its whistle. The
prisoner laughed, and said he knew he was in the hands of the Yankees,
but thought he would see how much he could fool them or draw them on.
I said, "all right my good fellow you have drawn us on and we shall
draw Maj. Gilmore on."

(191) He told me during the conversation that Gilmore was to take
thirty men and he was to be one of them and blow up Back Creek bridge.
I placed him under close guard, and soon as daylight came I sent a
message to Col. McReynolds giving him all the essential details of the
foregoing account, and asked him to send a detachment of men
sufficient to capture Gilmore's men; requesting him also to send an
officer of the Twelfth West Virginia regiment in charge of the
detachment; and if my memory serves me rightly, he sent Capt. Moffatt,
of Company G.

(192) Our men got to the bridge about two hours before Gilmore's band
came and were secreted or in ambush, when they arrived and began to
drill holes in the abutments of the bridge. At this our men hollowered
out, "What are you doing there, you Rebel sons of b----h's?" They
surrendered to our men. The captures were four lieutenants,
twenty-five men, and thirty-one horses. Major Gilmore it seems, had
stayed at a neighboring house to get something to eat, and his orderly
or adjutant was there also. So we captured all that were at the
bridge. Lieut. Billings of Shepherdstown, W. Va., was one of the
prisoners.

(193) The First New York Cavalry reported this capture, and their
regiment got the credit of it, when not a man of that organization,
except one, who went along as a messenger or orderly, was in the party
making the capture.

(194) During the latter part of September going back a little, the
Eighty-Seventh Pennsylvania, the One Hundred and Twenty-Second and the
One Hundred and Twenty-Third Ohio regiments, at this point, were
ordered to join the Army of the Potomac. The Eighty-Seventh had been
in the same command with the Twelfth for about a year. There had
always been a friendly feeling between the two regiments, so the night
before the former left for the Army of the Potomac, some of the boys
from it came over to bid our boys good-bye--and it was good-bye
forever for some in either command.

(195) The election for governor of Ohio was soon to take place, and
the Eighty-Seventh boys having learned that a considerable number of
the above named Ohio troops, say a tenth, were going to vote for
Valandigham for governor, were not at all pleased that they should do
so. One of the Eighty-Seventh apparently having been indulging in a
little strong drink, was especially vehement against those Ohio boys
so disposed to vote. He threatened what the boys of his regiment would
do in case they were to remain here, and those Ohio boys should so
vote, not knowing that the Ohio troops alluded to were, as well as his
own regiment ordered to the Army of the Potomac. He urged our boys to
use violent means against any of the Ohio boys at this point, who
should vote for Valandigham for governor. This hostility toward those
disposed to vote for him, was because of his political cause with
respect to the war and its prosecution.

(196) Our boys by this time had become substantially a unit in
sentiment so far as the political war policy of the administration was
concerned. All wrangling concerning it had ceased. And right here may
be given a strikingly significant and truthful observation, made
perhaps not far from this time, by Lieut. Blaney, of Company D,
showing the rapid evolution of ideas, the swift progress and
revolution of the sentiment of the time and more especially the potent
virtue of the knock down argument, to which class of dispution, war
preeminently belongs. Because of the justice, truth and significance
of this remark, it should not be omitted from this record, imperfect
though it must necessarily be.

(197) In conversation Lieut. Blaney observed: "I have noticed that our
boys have never objected to the Emancipation proclamation since being
in a battle." This remark was true, it is believed, without an
exception.

(198) If the war had never come these soldiers many of them, would
doubtless never have been convinced of the justifiableness of
emancipation in that contingency. But being brought into battle, and
thus required to do as best they might, what they could do to settle
the issues involved by the knock down argument in its last and dire
extremity--the employment of the bludgeon of war; and seeing their
comrades falling around them, light quickly struck in on their minds
with a telling force. The conversion was as sudden it seems, as that
of Paul spoken of in the scriptures. They suddenly saw, in this death
struggle, that anything that the enemy was opposed to; that whatever
would tend to weaken or cripple him; that any means justified by
civilized warfare to conquer the enemy they should favor and employ;
and hence the prejudice, the tradition and the education of years were
swept away as if by a flash of lightning, when the ordeal of battle
came. There was no longer on the part of the boys any considerate
regard for the interests of the enemy, nor any further objection to
the emancipation of the negroes.

(199) Another incident of the war illustrating how fast men learned
during the war, may as well as not be given here, although it occurred
at a later period. Adjt. G. B. Caldwell, in a conversation one day
regarding the employment of negroes as soldiers said: "When I went
into the service at first I thought that it would be a humiliation and
disgrace to me if I had to serve in an army where negro soldiers were
employed;" but now, said he, "I have come to the conclusion that they
have as good right to be killed as I."

(200) It is very probable that Adjt. Caldwell might have spent all his
days, if the times had been peaceful, without ever having changed his
views in regard to the matter of making soldiers of negroes, although
he is a man of quick perception. But just as it is said of men in a
drowning condition that all the events of their past lives come
quickly before them; so in time of war and the peril of battle, men's
minds are quickened, common-sense asserts itself and men perceive
quickly the wisdom or unwisdom of that which in the piping times of
peace, they would not see at all.

(201) On September 28th, we were paid two months' pay, this being $13
per month for the privates, or $26 for the two months. This was always
a welcome event with the soldiers. They had money now to spend with
the sutler; but their money did not go far in buying from him. Canned
peaches were, if not just at this time, later in the war $1.25 and
tomatoes $1.00 per can.

(202) While we were here at Martinsburg, the boys or many of them, who
were taken as prisoners at Winchester, a few months before, were
returned to the regiment, being ordered by the government to take up
arms again, although they had been let out of prison only on parole,
and not exchanged. This action was taken by the authorities at
Washington in retaliation for the conduct of the Rebel authorities in
putting the prisoners taken and paroled by Gen. Grant at Vicksburg,
back into the field again, without their having been exchanged.

(203) While the boys of the Twelfth, who were captured at Winchester,
were held as prisoners they were kept at Richmond, Va., and although
they were not held long until they were paroled, their experience of
prison life was not such as to invite another trial of it. In the
language of the west they had "got all they wanted of it." Before any
of our boys had ever been prisoners, some of them used sometimes to
threaten, when it was difficult to get furloughs, that they would,
when a chance offered allow themselves to be taken prisoners,
expecting in that case to be soon paroled and then sent home from the
camp, as paroled prisoners on furlough. But after the prisoners
returned to the regiment, having had a taste of prison life among the
Rebels, and related its hardships to their comrades there was no
longer any talk among the boys of allowing themselves to be captured
in order that they might in that way get a furlough.

(204) As before written Lieut. Beugough, of Company F, was killed in
the battle of Winchester on Sunday, June 14th, 1863. Shortly after
this his widow in company with another lady, went to Winchester to
recover the body. The two women were arrested as spies. The
interesting story of their capture and release, is thus related by the
then Mrs. Beugough, now as then, living in Pittsburgh, leaving out her
preliminary sketch of a trip from Fairmont, W. Va., to Pittsburgh in
March, 1863:


TWO WOMEN OF THE WAR.

(205) Some months later, I learned of the death of my husband, Lieut.
J. T. Beugough, who was killed during the three days fight at
Winchester. F. P. Pierpont, Adjutant General of West Virginia, sent me
a telegram to that effect and accompanied by my sister-in-law, Miss
Celia Beugough, principal of the High School in Toledo and sister of
the present pension agent at Pittsburgh, Harry Beugough, left
Pittsburg for Winchester to recover the body. My late husband had been
a lieutenant under Gen. Milroy and during the battle the firing having
ceased in his direction, being tired, he with his command lay down to
rest; as he slept he was killed by a sharpshooter.

(206) Arriving at the headquarters of Gen. Mulligan on New Creek, Va.,
we were assigned quarters in a big building, which we subsequently
discovered was occupied as a barracks by the soldiers, and we awoke
during the night to find the room filled with men. Celia was greatly
excited, but I calmed her fears and tucking our heads under the quilt
we weathered the storm until the soldiers filed out in the morning.
Mulligan furnished us with a pass into the rebel lines, and assured us
he had personal friends among the Confederates, who would see that we
were properly treated.

(207) After walking a few miles night overtook us, and we put up at a
house, the proprietor of which agreed to take us to Winchester for
$20. In the morning we got into a buggy, I drove the horse he
following on horse back to bring back the rig. It was a long hot ride,
and with nothing to eat but cherries we were almost starved. Our
escort would not approach the town nearer than three miles, he was
afraid of losing his horses, so we footed it.

(208) I had been in Winchester before, and boarded at a house opposite
the government corral, and we thought if we could find the place, we
might be accommodated for the night. But alas, for human hopes, and
happiness, we discovered there were many roads leading into
Winchester; that we had lost our bearings and were at sea. What should
we do? We dare not make inquiry, and it being about 7 o'clock in the
evening we had to conclude quickly. Entering the town we found it full
of rebel soldiers. They paid no attention to us, so we wandered about
for some time without success. Finally we met a boy about 10 years
old, and asked him the name of the street on which the corral was
situated, "Where the Yanks used to keep their horses?" he
interrogated, "Oh, that's away up yander" and pointing with his index
finger out into the right he showed us the way. We were a long time
finding the place, and when we did, how changed; the corral was
tenantless, and the house we expected to lodge in presented a deserted
appearance. With fear and trembling we knocked at the door and were
admitted.

(209) The lady knew me, but was uncommunicative. She gave us lodging
and a supper and breakfast of salt junk, for which we paid a fancy
price. In the morning we pursued our mission. We found our way to the
headquarters of Gen. R. E. Lee, who gave us a pass to the
fortifications for the purpose of disinterring the body, and one to
the hospital for a squad of our prisoners to rebury it in the
cemetery. The General told us the body could not be shipped, as the
railroad between Winchester and Martinsburg had been torn up.

(210) Having obtained the passes (which I still have in my possession)
the General required us to report at his headquarters after our work
had been accomplished--disobedience in this respect caused us much
suffering and imprisonment in Castle Thunder, Richmond.

(211) We buried the body in the cemetery and went to our boarding
house. It was evening and a sad one for us; our hostess had changed
considerably since morning--she refused us anything to eat, saying
there was nothing in the house. We had money, but were afraid to go
out to purchase, so in lieu of anything better, we went outside and
sat on the doorstep. We sat there for some time, when we observed a
man across the street, close to the corral, dressed in surgeon's
uniform. We thought he tried to arrest our attention, but were afraid
to encourage him; he disappeared for a time around the corner, and as
suddenly appeared this time on our side of the street and passing
close, dropped a note, which we read in our room, by a light of a rag
burning in a saucer of grease. He stated in the note that he was
Lieut. McAdams of a Pennsylvania regiment, the number of which I
cannot recall, that he was a prisoner, but not a surgeon, having
borrowed the uniform in order to serve us; we were prisoners and would
be treated as spies. "I will bring you tea and hard-tack from the
hospital about 9 o'clock tonight." He kept his promise dropping the
tea and crackers as he had the note. We never saw nor heard of McAdams
since. He was a man between 30 and 35 years of age, heavy set, with
sandy hair.

(212) Between 12 and 1 o'clock that night, we stole out of the house,
climbed the back fence and made for the Romney Road. It has been said
we should always hope for the best, and at the same time be prepared
for whatever presents itself. When we found ourselves out in the open
country terror seized us and brought us to a realization of the
situation. The chill of the night, caused us to shiver, so we
quickened our steps in the direction of the hill and the fort.

(213) We could see over the misty landscape, the Confederate flag
floating proudly from its battlements. We knew the Romney Road lay
back of the fort, so we climbed the hill, which was littered with the
bodies of horses, mules, cannon balls and unexploded shells which had
fallen on the soft hill side and lay in pockets made by the feet of
the artillery horses in drawing Early's guns into position.

(214) The haze subsided and one constellation after another
appeared--that bright luminary, the moon, waded her way through now
and then gliding behind a cloud, leaving the stars on duty, there
appearing with new lustre, covered the battle field with a silver
sheet. All nature seemed to be opened to our eyes, and in harmony with
the surroundings. The night was painfully quiet, the only audible
sound we heard, was the lullaby sung by a little stream that meandered
down the hill--the night birds were silent, and we fancied we could
hear the dripping of the dew. We seemed to wander in a charmed
atmosphere, and would not have been surprised if Mab and her Peri's
had come forth.

(215) A little to the left stood the guns like so many sentinels with
their yawning black mouths--we intended to pass them but they looked
so devilish that we were afraid and took the longest route to avoid
them. We passed the fort and descended the hill, often looking back to
see if the guns were following. The moon neared the shore of the sky;
the shadows deepened and Celia declared the trees were walking, she
being a good elocutionist declaimed--"Night showeth knowledge unto
night. There is no speech nor language, their voice is not heard; yet
their sound goeth forth to all generations."

(216) We sat down and huddled close together--we fancied a mythical
presence and thought we saw forms coming out of the recesses of the
mountains. The wind stirred the dying embers of distant camp fires
into flame, and a lurid glare lit the heavens like a flash, and then
all was dark. It was near morning and the soft faint streaks of
daylight glimmered through the right. We arose and drew near the base
of the hill--in the distance we could see the long, narrow but
extremely picturesque Romney road, with its widely scattered,
antiquated houses. We sat down behind a clump of bushes, and almost
scared the lives out of a flock of birds--they flew out in the
myriads, circling our heads in mingled confusion, chattering wildly,
but soon flew away leaving us in possession of the field.

(217) As the day advanced, the sun rose, penetrated the mist, dried
our dewy clothes, and evoked from the flowers their morning fragrance;
we strolled about gathering bunches of white and purple larkspur--as
we culled we neared the road. We were on the lookout for pickets, when
a rifle shot rang out clear and sharp, followed by other shots in
quick succession; as they ricocheted in and out of the mountain
passes, reverberated over the hills and through the valleys, we
thought a whole regiment was firing. Then we heard the shrill but
musical notes of the bugle, and knew there was infantry and cavalry at
a distance.

(218) We retraced our steps following a cow-path that wound round the
hill, thinking to gain the road indirectly, but were mistaken, and
taking a more direct route, found ourselves in the presence of three
pickets, playing cards. We were not much surprised as they had been
uppermost in our minds for we had wandered the hill all night to avoid
them. With renewed courage, bonnets swinging on our arms and carrying
our posies, we passed by acting as unconcerned as possible. We were
not interrupted--at least we were on the Romney Road.

(219) We walked about five miles and being hungry approached a white
house enclosed within an open fence with a long line of trees in
front, loaded with blood-red cherries. This was the home of Betty
Jenkins, a pleasant faced motherly woman of about 40 years. She
welcomed us, and we examined a large wheel, that stood in front of the
mantel, with a hank of white yarn around it; there was a smaller one
in the corner, which was used for spinning. These wheels were a
novelty to us, and we exhibited so much ignorance as to their use,
that Betty became suspicious.

(220) When we told her we were northern women, she was nearly
frightened out of her wits and was afraid to give us any help. We told
her we were almost starved; she then told us to go up stairs to a
retired room and she would find food. Betty managed to get us a good
meal and we remained there that night. With the first glimmer of dawn
we were on deck. Betty prepared breakfast, and we all three parted
crying.

(221) When we were at a distance from the house, we looked back, and
there stood Betty, leaning over the gate, shading her eyes with her
hand waving farewell. Dear, friendly Betty, we never heard of her
again. The beauty of the morning raised our spirits, the fresh and
invigorating air gave us strength. The sun rose in all his majesty and
gilded the mountain ranges. In the distance we saw glittering water
walled around by hills. The scenery was surpassing in grandeur and
sublimity. The trees were full of buds, and their liquid notes filled
the air; spotted lizards and little squirrels ran along the fence
rails; brown rabbits scurried across the meadows; the partridge called
"Bob White;" and the perfume of the honey-suckle scented the air. The
fields were covered with wild flowers, tall red poke-berry stalks
ornamented the fence corners, and berry bushes were white with
blossom. The ravines were covered with dark velvety moss, and silver
streams of murmuring water ran zig-zag through clumps of willows.

(222) We had walked about 12 miles, when we met a man riding on a big
bay horse, lank and lean, with a bulged out pair of saddle bags--he
seemed friendly but we paid no attention. As we rounded a bend in the
road we heard dogs barking at no great distance, and knew we were near
a farm house. The house was situated below the level of the road, with
a running stream in front, the bosom of which was covered with ducks,
geese and goslings. We descended the long stairway leading down from
the pike, and entered the house. There we found a very old man and a
tall woman, the latter playing deaf and dumb, afraid to say anything
to strangers. We asked for food; the old man brought out a piece of
table linen, in which he tied up meat, bread and cheese. Our
Evangelist carried the bundle to the top of the steps, and told us how
far and what way we must go before we would meet Mulligan's scouts.

(224) Turning off the road we sat on a log and ate ravenously.
Resuming our journey we found our commissary stores a burden and threw
them away. The heat was oppressive and the dust suffocating, so we
turned off the high way and sought the cool forest, but we were afraid
of snakes and the sharp twigs cut our blistered and swollen feet. We
tried to wear our shoes but could not. We clambered over rocks, logs
and low thick brush, which made it tiresome, and again were forced to
take the high way. We limped painfully while we tramped, ankle deep in
dust, under a burning sun.

(225) We waded the north and south branches of the Potomac. The water
was low but transparent, and the river bed stony. We amused ourselves,
while laving our blistered feet, gathering beautiful stones of many
colors, which we afterwards threw away--they grew burdensome. Twice we
came to where roads or paths converged, and were at a loss to know
which one to take, but Celia, remembered the scriptural injunction
that the straight path was the right path--therefore we turned neither
to the right nor to the left.

(226) We saw a house in the distance and a few matronly cows and sheep
in a field, whose acquaintance we tried to make, but they would have
none of it, and throwing their tails in the air ran off bellowing--the
poor frightened sheep scattered and hid in the bushes. We entered the
house and found an old man plaiting a straw hat and a woman making
cherry pies. They had little to say, but gave us milk and pie. The pie
had neither shortening nor sugar--the top crust was burned while the
bottom was dough. We drank the milk and went on.

(227) About 3 o'clock we encountered a heavy rain storm, accompanied
with thunder and vivid lightning, and were wet through, but
fortunately the storm did not continue long and the sun coming out in
all his heat, soon dried our clothes. We were, now about 18 miles from
Winchester, four miles from the Cacapon bridge and nine miles from
Mulligan. We hobbled along as best we could for about two miles, when
we came to a house on the roadside, enclosed by a dilapidated fence. A
pump and wooden drinking trough stood in front, but there was no
appearance of horses having quenched their thirst at the trough for
some time, the ground being unbroken around it. A clucking hen
strutted noisily about, and a tribe of guineas set up a fearful cry of
alarm, as we approached. A man and woman were hanging over the garden
gate quietly chatting, but as soon as they saw us, they seemed
alarmed, particularly the woman. She eyed us carefully and impudently
whispering something to her companion. We noticed the agitation and
felt uneasy.

(228) We had walked about 20 miles but the meanderings of the road
added a greater distance. It was late in the day, and the absence of
cattle and fowl noticeable. We anticipated trouble and shied into the
woods. We did not make much headway on account of the dense growth of
trees, but we persevered and at last came to the Cacapon water. We
made a detour and found a tree fallen across the stream. It was high
from the water and Celia could not cross it. I coaxed and entreated,
but all to no purpose. The river was full of water snakes and the
banks lined with villainous looking frogs. We found fault with each
other, and Celia resisting my entreaties, blamed me for the escapade,
and she quoted scripture to fit the crime, for she was full of
texts--"He that cometh not in by the door, but climeth up some other
way, the same is a thief, and robber." I saw the point and we laughed
and crossed the bridge.

(229) We were 22 miles from Winchester, and five miles from Mulligan
scouts. We had proceeded about 50 yards on the other side of the
bridge, when we were halted by a handsome young cavalry officer,
Lieut. Bell, nephew of Gen. Bell of the C.S.A. He touched his cap
and accosted us--"Good evening ladies, have you got a pass?"
Travel-stained foot-sore, faces blistered, hungry and utterly
wretched, we hung our heads, but gave no answer--we were too
miserable.

(230) The daylight faded slowly, the night grew chilly and the wind
stirred the bending grass. The setting sun shot slanting spikes from
the golden west, through the trees and across the road. The cavalry
horse stood at a distance pawing the dust, and clanking his
equipments, every now and then lifting his head with a majestic air,
looked toward his rider, who stood with bowed head rubbing the buttons
up and down with his fingers, which adorned the front of his cavalry
jacket. It was June--the sun had set, the shadows deepened, and the
katy-dids had almost ceased their rasping.

(231) There we three stood, in the gloom of approaching night, with no
sound to break the silence, except the lonely quavering notes of the
forest birds. Bats flitted to and fro and circled our heads--the owl
hooted, and fire flies lit the ravines. We buried our feet in the dust
that he might not see their nakedness, and with heart-rending sobs,
cried as we had never cried before. We were captured and we knew that
meant on to Richmond.

(232) Lieut. Bell told us we had been arrested as spies by order of
Gen. R. E. Lee. We begged we should not be made walk back, for we
thought we would have to tramp the whole road over again. He assured
us such would not be the case, that he would take us to a house in the
woods, owned by a Mrs. Smith, where Miss Bell, his sister, would
search us. Having walked about half a mile, we came to a defile in the
mountains, which rose very high on either side, with an opening at the
top large enough to see a patch of sky, studded with misty stars. Our
captor told us these mountains were covered with perpetual snow and
ice. In this gap lived Mrs. Smith, with whom we were to remain for the
night.

(233) The house was two storied, painted white, and backed close to
the mountain. The windows were vine covered and here and there a
glimmer of light shone through making the green look greener. Opposite
the house and on the other side of the gap, close to what had once
been a barn, stood a lot of unsheltered wagons, buggies and stage
coaches in a dilapidated condition.

(234) At the sound of approaching foot steps Mrs. Smith appeared in
the door, with a grease-saucer light, and behind her an old aunty,
with her head bound up in a yellow bandana. Dinah was greatly agitated
when she saw us approach in the shadows, and throwing up her hands
exclaimed. "Fo de lord, misses, dey is de Yanks!" We knew my aunties
remarks, we had been anticipated.

(235) Mrs. Smith was a neat little dark-eyed woman, with hair and
complexion to match her eyes. She wore a gray flannel dress of her own
weaving, cotton material being out of the question. She was greatly
impoverished, and told us her husband used to run a line of stages,
but the Yanks had taken their horses--there was not a man about the
place, they were in the Confederate Army; that auntie and she had
rolled the snow into big balls during the winter, and dumped them into
the ice house--that ice water was the only luxury she had. We drank
some of it and were refreshed. After supper we were assigned to a
comfortable room, with a good bed in it, of which we stood in need. In
the morning we were furnished with water and other necessary toilet
articles. After making ourselves presentable we wet a lot of letters
in the basin and rubbed them into pulp, that they might not be found
in our possession, when Miss Bell would search us--we mixed the pulp
with wood ashes on the hearth, until all trace was obliterated. We
were searched, but nothing was found upon our person. We got the
letters from wounded Union soldiers in the Winchester hospital.

(236) Next morning after breakfast Lieut. Bell and a lot of troopers,
made their appearance with a squeaky wagon, drawn by two half-starved
mules. He apologized for the conveyance, saying nothing better could
be had. After bidding good-bye to Mrs. Smith and Dinah we got into the
wagon and were soon on our way back to Winchester. We had not
proceeded far, when a wheel slid off, almost throwing us out of the
wagon. Our driver with a hickory linch pin and some assistance
repaired the damage. We traveled all day and at night put up at an
inn, where the roads divided in different tracks.

(237) Our cavalry picketed their horses in a field nearby, that they
might eat grass, there being neither oats nor hay to give them. Our
guard told us their horses were starving and had already become too
weak for effective duty.

(238) After supper we were given a comfortable room furnished with an
old-fashioned bed, decorated with high-colored hangings; a picture of
Washington relieved the wall; three chairs, a rocker and a
dragon-legged table completed the furnishment. A purple wistaria
covered the window and climbed to the roof. Our guard slept on the
soft side of the porch, first exacting a promise from us that we would
not try to escape. We promised, and being as tired as they, slept the
sleep of youth.

(239) In the morning, furnished with conveniences, we made our toilet,
while our gallant cavalrymen made theirs at the horse trough. After a
scanty meal of corn bred, rye coffee and sorghum molasses, the lady of
the house announced all was in readiness for our departure. She bade
us a friendly good-bye and we took the road again. We traveled slowly,
and as we neared Winchester we found fence, bush, and tree limbs
ornamented with old clothes, which had been taken from the battle
field and dyed butter-nut. The scenery was not improved by the
accession. Finally we reached Winchester and Gen. Lee's headquarters.
The General was not in, but the room was filled with officers of all
grades and rank. Uninvited we seated ourselves and listened to a
tirade from Maj. Bridgeford on spies in particular and Yankee women in
general. We were too miserable to reply. Celia reminded me that we
were in the hands of the Philistines, and might as well hang our harps
on the willows, for how could we sing in that strange land.

(240) We waited an hour or more, when we heard the clatter of horses
hoofs outside, a dismount and Gen. Lee entered, tall, graceful,
refined and haughty. Touching his cap and bidding us "good morning" he
reprimanded us for our disobedience, ending with the announcement that
we must go to prison. Major Bridgeford made out the necessary papers,
Gen. Lee signed them, and then, on to Richmond, guarded by cavalry.

(241) We passed a hapless night and in the morning took the stage for
Staunton, Va. We traveled up the Shenandoah Valley and saw Gen. Lee's
whole army, as they marched down the Shenandoah, and on to Gettysburg.

(242) When we got hungry, our guard picked cherries for us, and begged
slap-jacks and bonny-clabber from the surrounding farm houses, some of
which we exchanged with a wounded rebel, riding on the top of the
coach, for maple molasses.

(243) When we came to Mount Jackson, the coach stopped at a tavern,
kept by a brother of the man, who shot Col. Ellsworth. It was a
beautiful spot. The inn was old but picturesque, and built on a little
rise. A couple of wide-spreading-trees espaliered across its front. At
the side of the house, a row of oleanders contracted their bloom with
the green of the foliage, and a cypress vine, trained on strings,
covered the windows. A gourd vine clambered up and over the wood shed,
almost concealing the door, and compelling, Julius, himself to double
himself when he went in and out for wood. Our host was a long-jawed,
dark-skinned man, and had little to say, but his wife made up for the
deficiency. She flew at us in a rage, called us names and likened us
to a lot of thieving Yankee soldiers, who she said, had stolen her
chickens and robbed her onion bed. She refused us anything to eat, and
said we should not sleep in her house that night. We made no answer,
allowing her to have her way. We went out into the orchard and sat on
a bench under an apple tree, where a robin perched on the top-most
limb cheered us with his sweetest evening song.

(244) A genuine southern mammy with her kinky hair, plaited and tied
in wads and knots, stood over a big iron kettle stirring soap. She
looked askance at us, not daring to speak, but we knew by her actions
that we had her sympathy. Having sat there about an hour, Mrs. Jackson
remorseful and relenting asked us in to supper.

(245) When bed time came we were given a large square room (with a
bare floor) lighted with a tallow dip. A low post bed, two chairs and
a looking glass completed the furnishment, with the exception of two
pictures, lacking resemblance to anything we ever saw, hung upon the
whitewashed walls. In the morning we breakfasted and then set out for
Staunton. It was a lovely day, the blossoms of summer and green of the
foliage were very attractive. The beauty of the valley was beyond
description, with its silvery pools and trickling streams, moss
covered rocks and hedges of wild roses. The song birds whistled and
thrilled, and the unceasing notes of the insect tribes filled the
woods.

(246) At Staunton we were comfortably housed, but had nothing to eat.
We should have gone supperless to bed, but for the shrewdness of a
colored chambermaid who, under pretense of making the bed, got into
our room, and without a sign of recognition began to beat the pillows,
spread the quilts and make a fuss generally. She attracted our
attention by the unusual length of time it took her to perform the
work. She gave us a significant look and passed out.

(247) The guard who paced up and down the hall way looked in to see if
all was right, locked the door and we were alone for the night. We
examined the bed and found about a dozen biscuits under the quilts and
pillows, and a quart bucket full of tea under the bed.

(248) In the morning we informed our guard of the inhospitable
treatment, and he sent the provost marshal to look after us. He
immediately ordered the hotel keeper to bring us down to the table,
which he did, but he took revenge by putting us at a little table in
the centre of the dinning room making us the cynosure of all eyes.
When we had eaten Celia wrote with a piece of crayon, "Yankee Table"
on our table, which was considered audacious by the regular boarders.

(249) Before leaving the hotel, we gave the chambermaid, who had
befriended us, a $1 greenback, the ribbon off our hat and a pair of
gloves. We traveled by rail from Staunton to Richmond. When the train
stopped at different stations, we were almost suffocated by the crowd
that scrambled up the sides of the car and poked their heads through
the windows to see what Yankee women looked like.

(250) When we arrived at Richmond, we were obliged to walk some
distance from the station to Castle Thunder, being followed by the
curious of both sexes. We were taken into the Provost Marshal's office
where we found the prison authorities selecting nine captains to be
hung, in case the Federal government hanged Fitzhugh Lee. Capt. Rowand
of the Virginia cavalry was one of them. The Captain came down with
us, and when we entered the Provost Marshal's office, he was greeted
by Maj. Turner of Libby prison, with the cheering announcement, "Well
Captain you are just in time to draw your death out." Whether he drew
it or not, we do not know, for we were marched out into a tunnel-like
passage and up a rickety pair of stairs into a cell, 12 by 15 feet,
with no furnishment. There was one window of many small panes, with a
large sill, which we used for a seat.

(251) Maj. Alexander, commander of the prison, frequently cautioned us
to keep our heads inside the window for fear we might be shot. There
were other women prisoners in the Castle, but they were waiting to be
sent through on the next truce boat, there being no charges against
them. Among them was Mrs. Surgeon McCandless, of Morgantown, W. Va.

(252) We were searched by an old white headed man, whom the prisoners
called "Anti-Christ;" he did not take our money some $75 or $80. We
afterwards heard the old man was hung with the Wirtz gang.

(253) An order came from the Confederate authorities to send the other
women home. Major Alexander told them to be ready to leave early next
morning at the same time asking for the Beugough women. We answered to
our names, when he informed us we were held as spies and would be
forwarded to some place in South Carolina, for safe keeping. We cried
bitterly when the other women left.

(254) Towards evening the Major bettered our condition; he sent us a
mattress, pillows and covering, and two colored women to wait upon us.
We slept little that night, feeling horribly alone. The moonlight
flooded the room; we got up and looked out over the James river; we
wondered what our friends were doing at home, if they thought of us,
and if we should ever see them again. We asked permission to burn the
gas all night, and it was granted. Then the lapse of time had its
effect, and we adjusted our lives to suit the situation.

(255) The food we got was not nourishing. It consisted of bread and
coffee made of porched rye. We paid $14 in green backs for a pound of
tea. It was poor in quality, but we preferred it to the rye.

(256) A Chaplain visited us every day, and always left Bibles. We
asked him if he could not find some other literature; in a few days he
returned bringing a beautifully illustrated volume of "Don Quixote."
He must have given us up for lost souls for he never came again. We
read the book over and over--criticized it and quarreled over the
criticisms.

(257) One day we saw a long line of rebel soldiers driving a large
drove of cattle along Cary street; each soldier had a hoop-skirt about
his neck, and everything conceivable in shoes, dry goods, and notions
tied to each hoop. Then we learned the battle of Gettysburg had been
fought, and the captured cattle belonged to Pennsylvania. After that
our fare was varied with fresh beef--once we got a dried apple pie,
baked without shortening, on a saucer, but it tasted better than any
pie we had ever eaten before or since.

(258) Shortly after the hoop-skirt brigade had passed, about 1,000
Yankee prisoners were marched up the same street and housed in an old
building opposite Castle Thunder. They were given meat and bread. One
of the men after eating his meat threw the bone out on the pavement,
the guard instantly fired into the crowd, taking the arm off a fine
looking man, without provocation. We saw him carried to the hospital
on a stretcher, the blood streaming through canvas on to the pavement.
John Brown, of Allegheny, present post commander of 128, was among
that crowd of prisoners.

(259) We received frequent visits from people of note. Our greenbacks
were borrowed to show to Jeff Davis, Gov. Wise, Judah P. Benjamin and
Maj. Turner--they were promptly returned.

(260) One day Maj. Alexander told us he had been ordered to go on
active duty. He was a sea captain and had been put in charge of the
prison on account of having his leg broken. When the war broke out the
Major run a cargo of ammunition into a rebel post, instead of turning
it over to Uncle Sam. He was imprisoned for it in Fort Lafayette,
where he broke his leg by jumping from a port hole; he finally got
into the Confederate lines and was placed in command of Castle
Thunder. The Major told us there was to be a clearance of prisoners
and said, "I should like to have you both put on the exchange list,
Gen. Winder, called "Hog" Winder by the prisoners, gives a feast
tonight, and before the festivities are over he will be in a very
moist condition. Now, if we can give him the exchange list at this
juncture, he will sign it without reading and you shall be ready for
the truce boat in the morning." The scheme was a success, and we slept
none that night. About 2 o'clock in the morning 1,000 of our prisoners
were marched from Libby en route for City Point and halted in front of
the Castle. While they stood there Lotta Gilmore, a southern girl,
imprisoned in Castle Thunder, sang the "Moon Behind the Hill," and was
answered by one of the prisoners in line who sang, "When This Cruel
War Is Over." We encored the minstrel, and asked what name and
regiment. He called out "Massachusetts," and we replied
"Pennsylvania," and immediately received three rousing cheers.

(261) Lotta Gilmore was imprisoned because her lover had counterfeited
Confederate currency--he had shown the money to her, but she refused
to testify against him, and was imprisoned for contempt of court.

(262) Bell Boyd, of rebel spy fame, visited the prison dressed in male
attire, and was introduced as Lieut. Warry.

(263) There was a Col. Dunham of some New York regiment, imprisoned
opposite to our cell, but at a distance. We could see him through the
chinks in the board partition. We sent him a note written on one of
the fly leaves of "Don Quixote," and gave Washington, the colored
hunch-back one dollar to deliver it; he rolled it in his shirt sleeve,
and when he swept Dunham's cell, gave it to him. Dunham left Richmond
the same morning we did.

(264) About 3 o'clock in the morning Maj. Alexander made his
appearance, we had not retired that night, and told us to make ready,
as soon as possible to take the train for City Point. We made
ourselves as presentable as our limited wardrobe would allow, but
realized that we were laughing stocks. Celia's hat was faded and
battered and out of shape; mine had been gray, but now it was no color
at all, and without a particle of trimming, having given the ribbon to
the colored chambermaid at Staunton. Our shoes, bearing the name of
"Schmertz Pittsburg" were down at the heel and out at the sides; our
stockings minus feet, and our hands bare; we had traded our last pair
of gloves for a piece of pie. Our faces resembled boiled lobster in
color, never having recovered from the tramp along the Romney Road,
nor the long ride up the Shenandoah.

(265) The colored women brought us four fresh laundried skirts. We
each took one giving the others to the women, and a $2 greenback
apiece. We wrote good-bye to the Chaplain on the fly leaf of "Don
Quixote," also thanked him for the book and the comfort it had given
us. We inscribed a farewell stanza of our own composition, (Celia
composing one half and I the other) in Major Alexander's log book,
placing both books with care on the window sill--that seat we had so
often sat upon and looked out on the James, in our loneliness. We bade
the colored women an affectionate adieu, for they had comforted us to
the best of their ability, and we were attached to them, then passed
down the dark and gruesome rickety prison stairs, out into the
culvert, and freedom. When the fresh morning air wafted over our
faces, we staggered against the wall--we were dreadfully weak, but
visions of home and friends gave us renewed strength and we soon
revived.

(266) Maj. Alexander escorted us to the train, bidding us good-bye,
and gave us a letter to be delivered at City Point, where an exchange
of prisoners took place. We embarked on a U.S. vessel, and sailed down
the Chesapeake. We passed Hampton Roads, and Fortress Monroe and saw
the masts of the sunken Cumberland, above the water, in Hampton Roads.

(267) We landed at Annapolis, stopping at a hotel there about a week,
boarding being furnished us without price, and thence to Baltimore.

(268) The morning after our arrival in that city, we started out to
deliver Alexander's letter. We were instructed how to find the man;
given a description of him, and told to give him the letter and ask no
questions. We were to remain in the place designated until we found a
man answering the description in the middle store of a block on a
certain street. We went to the place and paced back and forth through
the store, asking no questions; finally when about to despair, we
noticed a man answering the description in every respect, seated on a
chair on the edge of the pavement, in front of the store. He was
evidently a Hebrew. We delivered the letter and the man took it, read
it attentively, changed color several times, but made no comment. He
finally wrote a brief epistle and handed it to us and directed us to
present it at a certain place. We did so and at the place were given
transportation to Pittsburg. We stopped for refreshments at different
places, and nowhere were we asked for money for services rendered.

(269) We arrived at the Union depot in December, before Christmas, and
reached home by a round-about route; we did not care to face the
public in our city, as we were ashamed of our appearance. We sent no
word that we were coming, but walked in unannounced. Father and mother
were panic-stricken and could not believe their own eyes. Our friends
and neighbors, for miles around came to see us and ask questions. The
"fatted calf" was killed and a general rejoicing took place. We were
the lionesses of the day. Once again in Pittsburg, I received work as
a compositor at Haven's under James M. McEwen.

(270) Two years after leaving Richmond, Alexander walked into Haven's
care worn and penniless. He said he had been included in the sentence
against Wirtz, but had escaped. I had a difficult time in getting Mr.
McEwen to make peculiar promises, before I should introduce Alexander;
finally he promised, and the introduction took place. A look of
astonishment overspread his face when he found out who his new
acquaintance was, but they were "Masons" and Alexander was introduced,
during his stay in Pittsburg, to other members of that order, and
found means to get to England. In the meantime amnesty being granted,
he came back to the states, and resumed his former calling.

_LOTTIE BEUGOUGH M'CAFFREY._



CHAPTER VI.


(271) During our stay at Martinsburg up to October 18th, there was
little, if anything, of importance in a military way took place. We
spent our time in doing picket duty, drilling and etc. On that day
however, Imboden attacked the Ninth Maryland Infantry at Charleston,
killing the Adjutant and capturing a considerable part of the command.

(272) An attack was somewhat looked for at this point in this same day
and Col. Pierce in command here, made every preparation to meet it,
but none was made. In the evening our regiment and a battery were
ordered to Harpers Ferry. We marched to Shepherdstown, about half way,
and encamped for the night. We bivouacked on the streets of the town.
A little incident occurred here showing the beauties of soldier life.
One of the boys in lying down for the night, placed the strap of his
haversack under his head, so that if anyone should try to steal his
haversack, he would likely know it. In the night he was awakened by a
jerk of something from under his head, and he found that his haversack
was gone. It was a very dark night, and an object could be seen
scarcely any distance; but he heard something rattling on the
pavement. He followed this sound, and found that a hog was making an
attempt to confiscate his rations, the rattling being made by the tin
cup fastened to the haversack. By a vigorous charge on the enemy the
rations were recovered and the soldier went back to renew his nap. It
needs hardly be said that if there were any hogs in America that were
d----d hogs, that was one of them.

(273) Shepherdstown, situated on the bank of the Potomac was at that
time a dull, sleepy old town, the quietude of which was quite
suggestive of the proverbial saying, "All quiet on the Potomac." This
saying was applicable to the place at that particular time; though no
doubt, it had been often awakened before, and was afterward, from its
wonted drowsiness by "the cannons' opening roar" being only three or
four miles from the Antietam battle ground, the center of a region of
battle fields, and itself the scene of one or more fights.

(274) We continued our march in the morning through rain and mud, and
arrived at Harpers Ferry at 3 o'clock P.M. We crossed the Potomac here
on the railroad bridge and camped on Maryland Heights, which are close
to the Potomac, not leaving but little more room than enough between
its base and the river, for the canal and the Baltimore and Ohio
railroad (which latter in going east crosses into Maryland from West
Virginia at this point) to pass.

(275) Just opposite these heights nearby, looking south on London
Heights. The Shenandoah river on the southeast side of the valley
skirts these latter heights and forms a junction with the Potomac at
Harpers Ferry. The Potomac then flows on east through the defile
between the two heights. The Maryland Heights command, in a military
sense, Harpers Ferry, which lies between the two rivers at their
junction. From these heights is a fine view up the Valley for many
miles. At this time there was a company of Massachusetts heavy
artillery stationed on them. They had a siege gun planted there,
throwing a hundred pound shell, pointing in the direction of Harpers
Ferry, which was capable of shelling an enemy coming down the valley,
and approaching the town anywhere within three miles of it.

(276) These Massachusetts boys were true to the traditions and
preferences of their section in thinking that a dish of baked beans
was the very cream of good things. The following little incident
illustrates this fact. It shows that they looked forward to the stated
time when they should have their favorite dish with joyous
anticipation: One day one of the Twelfth boys overheard one of the
artillery boys talking to a comrade. The talk had been of no especial
interest to him, the one talking, when suddenly a thought seemed to
strike him, which aroused him to considerable enthusiasm. He said:
"Let me see--this is Wednesday, tomorrow is Thursday, and the next day
Friday, when, by gahge! we are going to have baked beans."

(277) Gen. Sullivan commanded the troops here. We were brigaded with
the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts. This regiment was under very strict
regimental discipline. Each officers tent when in camp, had a sentinel
placed in front of it; and no private soldier was allowed to enter his
tent without first getting permission. No intercourse was held between
the officers and privates, only on business. They had not seen any
service only guarding the railroad. They were finally equipped with
arms and etc. and neatly uniformed; and the style displayed, soon
convinced the boys of the Twelfth, according to Col. Curtis, then
major, that they, the Thirty-fourth, considered them, the Twelfth
boys, a lot of rude mountaineers that were not their equals. But an
opportunity was soon given to test that matter, so far as fast
marching and roughing it generally were concerned, to their entire
satisfaction.

(278) No disparagement of the Thirty-fourth, is intended by the
foregoing remarks. The men of that command were brave soldiers, and
their colonel, Col. Wells, was a brave capable and careful officer.
There was probably little or no difference in bravery between the
Eastern and Western soldiers. Gen. Sheridan thought, after seeing both
European and American armies in action, that while the latter were no
braver than the former, they, the American soldiers were the most
intelligent, resourceful and efficient soldiers in the world. And
because the Western soldier was more used to the handling of arms, and
for the reason that the hardships and varied experience of frontier
life had produced in him a ready adaptability to necessities, he was
perhaps a little more distinctively American in the quick
resourcefulness, in the rough and rugged requirements of war, than was
her more delicately reared Eastern brother.

(279) No doubt those Massachusetts boys thought their colonel was too
rigid in maintaining the exclusiveness he did on the part of his
officers. Gen. Grant says of Gen. Buell: "He was a strict
disciplinarian and perhaps did not distinguish sufficiently between
the volunteer, who enlisted for the war and the soldier who serves in
time of peace." This seems to have been the trouble with Col. Wells.
"One system," says Grant, "embraced men who risked life for principal,
and other men of social standing competence, or wealth and
independence of character. The other includes, as a rule, only men who
could not do as well in any other occupation."

(280) The Twelfth remained on the Heights, with the exception of a
movement up and down the Valley, for about two and a half months,
doing picket duty and working on fortifications there. At least this
was the work of part of the regiment. However, on November 5th, we
marched across the river to Harpers Ferry to hold the camp of the
Thirty-fourth Massachusetts one day and night while that regiment was
on a scout to Charleston and back. We moved onto the Heights again the
next morning, the Thirty-fourth having returned to their camp.

(281) Gen. Sullivan having been ordered to make a demonstration
against Staunton, Maj. Curtis received orders on the night of the 9th
to have the Twelfth furnished with three days' cooked rations, and
forty rounds of ammunition to the man, and be ready by dawn on the
next day to march up the Valley to make the demonstration.

(282) This movement was apparently made with a view to drawing troops
from Richmond to protect Staunton, and as a diversion in favor of Gen.
Stoneman, who started December 6th, from Knoxville, Tenn., with three
mounted brigades, led by Burbridge and Gillem, and moved along the
Virginia and East Tennessee railroad to Marion, Va., where Gillem
struck the Rebel Gen. Vaughn, the Sixteenth chasing him 30 miles into
Wytheville; capturing 200 men, eight guns and a large train; then
moved on along the railroad as far as Max Meadows, Va. Our force and
that of Stoneman would thus, in our movements tend toward each other.
On this expedition Stoneman captured in all 500 prisoners, destroyed
the lead works 15 miles east of Wytheville, destroyed on his way back
to Knoxville the valuable and costly saltworks at Saltville, Va., and
made other material captures, and destructions, including destruction
to some extent of the railroad.

(283) At the appointed time the Tenth, our regiment marched from the
Heights across to Harpers Ferry, where we joined the Thirty-fourth
Massachusetts with four pieces of Indiana battery under command of
Capt. Minor. The force moved early in the morning of this day under
command of Col. Wells, he being the senior officer in the command. The
route was through Charleston at which place we were joined by the
First New York, the Fifth Maine, the Twenty-First Pennsylvania, and
Cole's Maryland Battalion, which reinforcements were all cavalry. In
addition to this, there were added to the artillery strength at this
place, two 12-pound brass pieces.

(284) A rather short march was made that day, as the Thirty-fourth had
started with heavy knapsacks of clothing, blankets, and etc., to keep
them comfortable, as the command had neither tents nor shelter of any
kind to protect the men.

(285) Camp was made that night between Charleston and Berryville. The
next morning the advance was given to the Twelfth. They started off
whistling "Yankee Doodle" and keeping step to the music at a lively
gait. Berryville was passed through, and coming to the Opequon Creek
beyond, Col. Wells ordered the command to halt until a temporary
bridge should be made. The boys of the Twelfth, who had frequently had
such obstacles to overcome, soon set the Thirty-fourth boys an example
of how to get on the other side of a creek, by plunging into this one
and wading across. Col. Wells exclaimed to Major Curtis, "What kind of
men have you? They don't seem to care for water or anything else." The
Major replied: "They are used to that kind of work."

(286) The Twelfth boys marched on rapidly, in order to give the
Massachusetts regiment a lesson in marching and about 12 o'clock the
wagon master came galloping up to the front and requested Col. Wells
to slacken up the speed, as the men of the Thirty-fourth were all
giving out, emptying their knapsacks of blankets and extra clothing,
and climbing into the wagons and artillery carriages to ride. The
order was given to proceed on a slower march, which was done.

(287) This plan of rather slow marching pursued by Col. Wells going as
he did at the outset at the rate of about sixteen miles a day, is to
be commended. It showed him to be considerate and careful of his men.
Men ought not to be marched from twenty to thirty miles per day,
unless there were some special urgency for so doing. But it often
happened that the various commands to which our regiment belonged,
would march considerably over twenty miles a day, when no apparent
reason existed for so doing. Those responsible for this had marching
being mounted did not seem to realize what a heavy drain it was on the
energy of the men to carry about thirty pounds, including arms
equipments and etc., all day on a hard march, or to appreciate how
heavy this weight would become before the end of a day's long march.

(288) Surgeon F. H. Patton, in charge of the Soldiers' Home at Dayton,
O., in a recent interview said that most of the inmates there were
afflicted with heart trouble; and he attributed this fact to over
exertion during the war. Assuming this to be true, it is believed that
much if not most of this heart trouble is attributable to
unnecessarily hard marching.

(289) On this second day's march--the command passed through
Winchester from which place the regiment, being in Gen. Milroy's army,
was routed in the preceding June, by Lee's army and camped two miles
from town. While here some of the Twelfth boys took the opportunity of
looking over the battle field, and saw where some of their comrades
had fallen and been buried, with only a little earth thrown upon them.
The third day the command marched to Strasburg and remained there four
days.

(290) Some of the comrades tell of a trick one of the Twelfth boys
played on a citizen at this town, during this stay here. He, the
soldier, some how had got hold of a watch chain made of imitation gold
dollars. The chain was formed by linking these dollars together. He
separated them by removing the links. No doubt with a view to catching
a victim, this soldier one day was carelessly toying with his gold
dollars in the presence of a citizen, when the eye of the latter
caught a sight of the seeming coin. The citizen immediately asked the
soldier what he would take for it. The latter played the indifferent
dodge--seemed like he did not care whether he sold his coin or not;
but finally said that as he would spend his money anyhow, he would
exchange it dollar for dollar, for "greenbacks." The citizen promptly
handed over the required treasury notes, putting the bogus coin in his
pocket with the remark that he would "salt that down." Very probably
he would discover later that it was the man instead of the money that
was "salted."

(291) Cheating tricks, such as this are not to be approved of course;
but a faithful though imperfect record, demands that incidents of this
character as well as those of a more creditable kind, should be given.

(292) On the night of the 16th, while still at Strasburg, it began
raining. In the morning, the command marched to near Woodstock, the
rain still falling. In the evening the rain turned to sleet. Camp was
made in the woods where part of the timber was pines or cedars and in
the night some of the men, who had put up their gum blankets to
partially protect themselves from the falling sleet, had to move their
quarters on account of the sleet breaking the limbs of the trees above
their heads, making it unsafe to stay where they were. Of course, this
disagreeable weather was very trying on the endurance and patience of
the men. Having relation to this trying severity of the weather this
story is told. There was a soldier in the Twelfth, who was familiarly
known as "Kid." He, it seemed got very much disgusted with the bad
weather, prevailing at this time; and by reason of his patience and
endurance being sorely tried, he began to curse the war in general;
and wound up with saying in a mainly jocular and slightly serious
manner, that so far as he was concerned the Johnny's might have their
Confederacy.

(293) The next day, however, the sun came out bright and the day was
comparatively beautiful; and some of the boys remembering what "Kid"
had said the day before reminded him of it saying, "Kid, how do you
feel about it today? Are you willing today to give the Johnnys their
Confederacy?" "No." said "Kid," "I'll be damned if I am; I'll try them
a hustle for it first." "Kid" was a good soldier. He faithfully
performed his duty to the end of the war. He was in at the final
"hustle" at Petersburg and Appomattox, and saw the flag of treason go
down before the flag of our country, to be hoisted no more forever, it
is hoped.

(294) On the 18th, the command continued its march going short
distances each day until the afternoon of the 20th, when Harrisonburg,
about 100 miles from Harpers Ferry was reached. At the bridge across
the North Fork of the Shenandoah, which was crossed the day before,
the 19th, forty men of the First New York cavalry were left to guard
it. In the evening of the day Harrisonburg was reached, the command
was formed in line of battle, on account of a report that the Rebels
were coming; but no attack was made. However, Gen. Early, with a
division, a force many times that of ours was near and the object of
the expedition (the drawing of the Rebels' attention and the
withdrawing of troops toward us from Richmond, to enable our troops in
other fields to successfully accomplish their purposes) having been
gained, the command after dark that night started to retrace its steps
down the Valley, reaching New Market by 4 o'clock next morning,
distance 18 miles.

(295) Here is an incident which it may be thought should have a place
here: On our return down the Valley, perhaps at New Market, a woman
stuck her head out of a house and shouted, "You're running again are
you?" It appears that the boys received this taunt good-naturedly no
doubt thinking that it was a pretty good joke. The average American is
proverbially good-natured; and can often enjoy a sarcasm or joke at
his own expense. Perhaps there never was a man before in which there
was less of hereditary clannish or personal hate involved than in
this. This was true especially of the Northern soldier. This lack of
personal enmity was often shown by the good-natured sociable chats the
soldiers of the two armies would have when they would get together,
those of the one side being prisoners, for instance.

(296) So the boys in the case of the above incident showed no sign of
cherished hate or any illnatured personal resentment toward the Rebel
woman for her taunt. Sharp thrusts like this coming from Rebels, were
sometimes met, however, with more than counter balancing thrusts. For
instance, one time while our regiment was at Winchester the winter
previous, a rather large guard having gone out some three or four
miles with some wagons to get fire wood, a woman sarcastically said to
the boys, "It takes a good many Yankees to get a little wood." "Yes,"
replied some one, "it does, but it would take a whole army of Rebels
to get wood up North."

(297) After remaining five hours at New Market the march was resumed
and continued till evening, when the force camped. Just after dark the
rear guard was fired on from across the Shenandoah by some
bushwhackers, causing the troops to be ordered into line; but it was
soon learned that there was nothing serious. There was no further
disturbance during the night. The next day on the way down the Valley,
400 Rebel cavalry charged on our rear guard at Woodstock; but some
well directed shots from a section of artillery sent them back flying.
Camp was made that night at Strasburg.

(298) Starting from here the next morning the command reached (in two
days) Harpers Ferry, the 24th, a distance of 48 miles. The command on
its retreat averaged about 25 miles per day. This was hard marching,
but there was reason for it. Col. Curtis says that Gen. Early was in
close pursuit; as far as Winchester and that it needed no rear guard
to keep up the stragglers.

(299) Col. Wells managed this expedition skillfully, choosing a good
position every night for his camp. Besides making an effective
diversion in favor of Gen. Stoneman operating along the Virginia and
Tennessee railroad, the command captured 68 prisoners. This march up
and down the Valley in severe winter weather, was very hard on the
men, they having to sleep on the ground, without tents or shelter of
any kind, but they stood it fairly well.

(300) Early remained at Winchester till the 31st, when he advanced
upon Harpers Ferry threatening an attack upon that place. Our regiment
by daylight that morning crossed over to Harpers Ferry. Maj. Curtis
having received orders the night before to move his command from
Maryland Heights to that place early in the morning. We marched to the
camp of the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts, which was stationed on that
side of the river, where we remained all day. There was no attack
however. It rained all of this day. At night we camped with the
Thirty-fourth.

(301) On the morning of January 1st, 1864, which will be remembered by
all old soldiers as the cold New Year's day, the mercury being 23
degrees below zero at Harpers Ferry. Maj. Curtis was ordered in
connection with the other troops at this place to form the Twelfth in
line of battle on Bolivar Heights, just back of Harpers Ferry, to
protect it from the assault expected to be made by Early. The regiment
was placed on the top of the Heights. It being so very cold, it was
impossible for the men to stand in line without freezing; and they
were allowed to stack arms, break ranks, build fires and stand around
them, or run backward and forward to keep from freezing.

(302) The entire day was spent in this position and night coming on
without the enemy's appearing, the command was withdrawn to within our
works. The Twelfth returned to the camp of the Thirty-fourth, some of
our companies quartering in vacant houses, in which fires were built
making it decidedly more pleasant than standing in line in the bitter
cold air. When early in the morning, information was received that
Early had concluded that it was too cold to fight, and had withdrawn
his army from our front and gone back up the Valley, our regiment
returned to its quarters on Maryland Heights. It was so cold that New
Year's night that, it was so reported, six of the First New York
cavalry's teamsters were frozen to death. This same night a part of
the Sixth corps passed by Harpers Ferry on the railroad on its way
from the Army of the Potomac to Martinsburg, and through the day (the
second) a brigade of the same corps got off the cars here and went out
to Halltown, some four miles distant. No doubt, Early's movement down
the Valley had caused these troops to be sent to his department.

(303) On the 4th, Maj. Curtis received orders to proceed immediately
with the Twelfth by the Baltimore and Ohio railroad to Cumberland,
Md., and report to Gen. B. F. Kelly, who was in command there. He,
Kelley, fearing that Early would make a movement against Cumberland,
had requested that the Twelfth be sent to him to assist in defending
the place in that contingency. Six companies got off on the route
during the afternoon of that day, and arrived at Cumberland in the
early part of the night. The other four companies did not get started
from Harpers Ferry till 10 o'clock that night, being delayed in
getting their baggage from camp. They had only one car to the company,
(freight car) and they were so crowded that there was scarcely room
for the men to sit. They reached Cumberland at 10 o'clock the next
day. The regiment was furnished with very comfortable quarters, such
as it had not had before during its service. One-half the companies
was quartered in what was known as the old Shriver Mill, and the other
half in a large hospital. There being plenty of room here in this
latter building, the boys had free swing to work off their surplus
energy, and some of them for a day or so after being quartered in it,
spent part of their time trying their skill in dancing.

(304) Major Curtis, on our arrival here received an order from Gen.
Kelley to have the Twelfth furnished with four days' cooked rations,
forty rounds of ammunition, lie upon their arms and be ready to move
at a moment's warning. The order was complied with and the boys
expected every minute to hear the bugle call to fall in; but none came
and no further orders were received from Gen. Kelley to prepare for
battle. Early having concluded, no doubt, the weather being so very
cold to go back to his winter quarters, and wait until it moderated
before engaging in further field operations.

(305) The Twelfth remained here doing guard and picket duty during the
months of January, February and March. On January 23rd, we received
two months pay, and the same day the officers of the regiment met and
by a formal vote recommended the appointment of Major Curtis as
colonel of the Twelfth, and on the 26th, he received his commission as
Colonel, to rank as such from this latter date, vice J. B. Klunk, who
had resigned, Lieut. Col. Northcott still being a prisoner of war.
Capt. R. H. Brown of Company I, on February 6th, was commissioned
Major of the regiment, in accordance with the recommendation of the
officers of it.

(306) Many of the boys still cherish tender recollections of the old
mill and the hospital we were camped in at Cumberland and the good
times we had at that place. Many agreeable acquaintances were formed
here by the boys, which in some instances ripened into enduring
friendship. The gay Lieutenant away from scenes of strife turned his
attention to more peaceful and congenial pursuits, while some of the
boys were not slow to imitate and emulate his example, in endeavoring
to reduce the Confederacy to submission by arts long known and long
practiced--those by which the hearts of the fair Rebels were attempted
to be captured.

(307) Paper collars soft bread, soft drinks, some not so soft, soft
interviews and a large correspondence were some of the luxuries
enjoyed at this place. Occasionally some enterprising member of the
Twelfth fired with zeal, or something else, would interview the
provost guard and inspect the interior of the old depot, used as a
guard house; which diversion taken with the picnics had with the canal
boatmen, served to vary the monotony incident to soldier life.

(308) At this point may be given a story told by J. H. Haney of
Company K. about a trick played by some of the boys of his company
upon a landlord of this city during our encampment there. The story as
well as is remembered is about as follows: Some of the boys of the
aforesaid company, persuading themselves that the water of the place
did not agree with them, or that their stomachs needed a stimulus in
order that they might be able with some relish to partake of their
usual ration of salt pork and hard tack, concluded that they would go
early one morning to a hotel near the railroad station, kept by a man
named Kelly, and try the virtue of his tangle foot. When the boys got
to the hotel the landlord was still in bed. One of them suggested that
they be patient and not wake him. In the meantime this same soldier
reconnoitered to the rear of the building and discovered a string of
mackerel there on a porch. He came back and told what he had seen,
suggesting to a comrade that the fish might be made available for the
drinks. He acted immediately on the suggestion and went and got them
intending to try the experiment.

(309) It was not long till the landlord was out of bed. The boys
walked into the bar-room with the fish saying that they had had for
some time mackerel issued to them, and that they had got very tired of
them; and wanted to know if the landlord would not treat the crowd for
the string they had brought. The landlord, being a clever Irishman
promptly said that he would, setting out the bottle, and throwing the
string of fish out on the porch. They took their dose of corrective
when looking out of the door, they saw another boy, with whom the
water did not agree directing his steps toward the hotel.

(310) One of the boys in the bar-room went out and met him, telling
him of the mackerel on the porch, and wanted to know what was to
hinder their being traded for the drinks. That was hint enough. It was
not long, until the first were in possession of the new comer, and
pretty soon he walked into the bar-room with them. The rest of the
boys assumed an air of surprise, and said, "Hello! you are here are
you? and got fish too?" Yes their mess had more of them than they
wanted and he thought that he would see if the landlord would trade
him a drink of "red-eye" for this string. The landlord obligingly
agreed to do so; and the drinks the second time were gotten for the
same fish, the landlord again throwing them out on the porch without
discovering the trick.

(311) This trick was played successfully three different times that
morning when the boys concluded that they would go to camp. They
started but had not got far when the landlord called out "Hello!
boys." They thought, "Now we are in for it--now we will get a
blessing!" But the landlord saw the humorous side of the matter, and
so he said, "Come back boys. Any man that is darned fool enough to buy
his own fish three times ought to stand treat." So they went back and
got the fourth drink as the result of their fish deals.

(312) Coming as the story does from Hen Haney, it is not by any means
to be regarded as a "fish story." He avers that the boys who took in
"the landlord" were not bummers, but rather genteel fellows who did
what they did in spirit of fun rather than otherwise; that they all
had been, since the war, well doing and prosperous men. After the
paymaster paid them, they went back and paid the landlord for the
drinks; and he being a jolly Irishman looked upon the Company K boys
after that as being "the broths of boys."

(313) While the regiment was at Harpers Ferry some officers and
sergeants were detailed and sent to their respective sections of
country to recruit. A number of the recruits obtained, came to us
while we were at Cumberland. The older soldiers in some cases called
these recruits in a jesting way "conscripts." Though the recruits, as
a rule had not seen any service, the time was not far off when they
were to see plenty of it, and all distinction between themselves and
the soldiers longer in the service should be lost. Gen. Grant was soon
to be placed in command of the armies of the United States; and
instead of the lack of unity or co-operation and persistency of
effort, that hitherto had characterized the operations of our armies,
there was destined to be, as far as possible, a co-operation of
movement and a vigorous, persistent "hammering away" on the part of
all our forces. The fighting of the present year was to be bloodier
than ever, especially in Virginia. While heretofore, for instance, one
or two considerable engagements were as many as took place in the
Valley during a year, the present year was to witness six or eight
hard battles there. And the Twelfth had in store for it four or five
times as much fighting during the coming fifteen months, as it had it
in all its previous service.

(314) Going back a little, on January 27th, Gen. Milroy arrived in the
city putting up at the Revere House, and the next day the Twelfth was
marched to his place of stopping when he made us a short speech.

(315) In the forepart of February, Col. Curtis received orders to take
the regiment and go into camp on a hill west of the city, which was
done, and while remaining here having very light picket and guard duty
to perform, and working on fortifications, the Colonel found time to
thoroughly drill the regiment in battalion drill, the manual of arms
and dress parade. It became very efficient in drill and in the manual
of arms.

(316) February 2nd, the Rebels made a dash in on the railroad and
burned a bridge seven miles east of here. A few weeks later McNeil's
and Woodson's men under the command of Jesse McNeil dashed into
Cumberland at night and captured and brought off Generals Crook and
Kelly, and Capt. Thayer Melvin, Gen. Kelley's adjutant general. This
was a very daring feat.



CHAPTER VII.


(317) March 12th, Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel arrived here and took command
of the department. During this month the arrangement was made for the
raid against Lynchburg, Gen. Sigel to command the force in person, to
be moved it was first intended from Webster, near Grafton on the
Baltimore and Ohio railroad but as finally decided from Martinsburg up
the Valley. He carefully inspected the troops here intended to go on
the expedition. In his inspection which was minute and almost
individual in character, he passed closely along the lines of men,
looking sharply into their eyes, apparently to see if there was fight
there.

(318) On a Sabbath day shortly after Sigel's arrival here. A few weeks
later McNeil's and Woodson's men parade, he and his staff rode up to
the camp and quietly took position behind the Colonel, and witnessed
the efficiency with which the men executed the orders given them; and
when the parade was over Gen. Sigel rode up to the Colonel and
complimented the regiment on its high attainment in drill, stating
that he had no idea that there was so well drilled a regiment in that
department.

(319) Lieut. Col. Northcott, having recently rejoined the regiment,
from being a prisoner in Libby prison, on the occasion of a dress
parade on the 27th, gave us a short speech. Gen. Sigel was also up to
the camp at the time and spoke briefly to the regiment. Officers and
men were all pleased to see the Lieutenant Colonel once more with the
regiment; and he no doubt, was no less glad to exchange life in a
Rebel prison for his accustomed duties with the boys.

(320) Adjt. Gen. Pierpont, our former Major between whom and the
Twelfth, there had always been a strong, mutual attachment came from
Wheeling on April 2nd, to pay the regiment a visit and greet his late
comrades again.

(321) The next day, the 3rd, the regiment was ordered to proceed to
Webster, W. Va., by the way of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, where
a force was concentrating to start on the expedition against
Lynchburg, by the way of Beverly to Staunton, Va., at which place it
was to form a junction with Gen. Crook's forces, moving from the
Kanawha Valley. Gen. Sigel ordered the Twelfth to start in the advance
with 250 head of cattle in their charge for the soldiers to subsist
upon. The regiment succeeded in getting the cattle through to Beverly
42 miles from Webster. This being the first opportunity the members of
the regiment had of playing the part of "cow boys" they performed the
task with the zeal of novices and had a jolly time of it. We found the
Tenth and Eleventh West Virginia and the Twenty-eighth Ohio infantry
at Beverly.

(322) By the time the Twelfth had arrived at this place with the
cattle, Sigel was convinced that it would be impossible to get his
artillery through on this route; and he changed the plan of moving
against the enemy, to marching up the Valley. We stayed here two
nights and one day, when the regiment was ordered to return
immediately to Webster with the cattle. We, on the return, reached
Philippi, the 11th. Four companies C, E, G and I, remained here a few
days under the command of Maj. Brown. The rest of the regiment went to
Webster with the cattle, in the morning. This was a hard and worse
than useless march of 84 miles from Webster to Beverly and back. The
weather was very rainy and we had to march through deep mud well
mixed, by the driving of 250 head of cattle over the road. The boys
talked sarcastically about it, saying that they did not understand it,
but that they supposed this movement was strategy.

(323) On our return in passing through Belington, a small town between
Beverly and Philippi, a lieutenant, who was in command of the post
there asked Col. Curtis where he intended to camp that night. The
Colonel informed him that in coming out he had noticed a farm that was
supplied with a long high fence of new rails; and that was the point
he intended to make as it would give the boys an opportunity of
conveniently getting good fuel to keep up ample fires. The Lieutenant
replied, "That is the very place you should go into camp. You can't
punish them half enough, they are the meanest d----d Rebels in the
state. They assisted a gang of Rebel soldiers in capturing a large
train of wagons loaded with commissary and quartermaster stores, on
their way to Beverly taking all the goods and horses, and burning the
wagons."

(324) The regiment proceeded to the point designated and went into
camp along the line of fence. One of the young men of the family came
to us while arrangements were making for camping. He looked as though
he had just left Mosby's gang of guerrillas. The Colonel approached
him and inquired if he could procure some straw for the men to sleep
on, stating that the ground was damp and cold, and he would like to
make them as comfortable as possible since they had no tents or
shelter of any kind. He replied: "No, we have nothing of the kind on
the farm. Everything has been taken from us, and we have been
compelled to cut the limbs from the trees to browse our cattle on to
keep them from starving." Of course, the young man expected that this
statement would be accepted as the truth.

(325) However, the Colonel concluded knowing the capacity of the
Twelfth boys to make themselves comfortable, that they could be
trusted to take care of themselves; and that there was not much
likelihood that they would sleep on the bare ground that night. This
conclusion was justified about one hour after the camp was located. At
that time a line of men could be seen with great bundles of straw
coming into camp.

(326) Before this the Colonel had walked to the house to get quarters
for himself and Surgeon Bryon. He procured a room from the old lady.
She appeared to be boss of the ranch. He inquired of her if she would
sell him some meat, as he had been informed by the cook of his mess,
that the supplies of meat was about exhausted. She replied: "No, we
have not a bit of meat for our own family."

(327) About 8 o'clock at night there was a racket out at the chicken
roost. The chickens were fluttering and squalling as though the owls
had attacked them. The old lady's daughter ran out to learn what had
caused the disturbance, and returned very shortly saying: "Mam, them
Yankees are stealing all our chickens." The boss of the ranch ordered
the Colonel to go out and stop the men from stealing her chickens. He,
very obediently complied with the orders, and returned pretty soon
reporting that he failed to see anyone about the chicken roost and
took his seat. About an hour afterwards, the same racket of fluttering
and squalling was repeated. The girl ran out again, and after making a
general inspection of the chicken roost ran back and exclaimed: "Mam,
them infernal soldiers have stole every chicken we have but old
speck." And then the old sharp-nosed thin visaged Boss, with a tongue
apparently loose at both ends, rattled her slang at the Colonel at a
terrible rate, calling him and his men all kinds of vile names. But
her troubles did not end here.

(328) The next morning just at day break the Boss rushed into his bed
room, and seizing him by the shoulders and shaking him shouted: "Get
up, your men have stolen all my meat." He replied: "Why, Madam, you
told me you had no meat about your house." "Yes," said she, "but I
had, and your men have undermined my smoke house and took all I had."
He informed her that she had done wrong in telling him a falsehood in
saying that she had no meat. She should have asked for a guard to
protect it. She then demanded that a guard be sent to search the
regiment to see if it could be found. This was done, and the guard
returned in due time, reporting that he had thoroughly searched the
camp and no meat could be found. He may have made a correct report;
nevertheless, when the Colonel joined his mess for dinner that day, he
found a very fine roast of ham prepared for the meal. But he could not
learn where it came from.

(329) While the four companies before named were at Philippi, there
was a considerable amount of government revenue stamps stolen. It
seemed conclusive that some soldier had done the deed; and Maj. Brown
had a careful and earnest search made of every man of the four
companies, but the stamps were not found. The officers and men
generally of the detachment were indignant that any one of the Twelfth
had committed such a crime, feeling that it brought dishonor upon the
whole command. They would have been pleased if the guilty one should
have been found and properly punished. Many months afterward, it is
said, it became pretty generally known who had done the deed.

(330) The detachment, on the 20th, marched to Webster, joining there
the rest of the regiment, and the next day in accordance with orders
the regiment marched to Grafton, taking the cars there to go by the
way of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad to Martinsburg, arriving there
the 22nd, in the evening, and camped near the First Virginia infantry
camp. We remained at Martinsburg several days, and there were
inspections and a general review of all the troops here. In the
meantime there was organized in the second brigade, consisting of the
Thirty-fourth Massachusetts, the Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania, the First
Virginia, and Twelfth West Virginia under command of the gallant Col.
Joseph Thoburn.

(331) We had now got started on a season of hard campaigning which was
to run into the late fall. We were about to start up what had hitherto
been in the main and what was to continue to be for a time, with some
bright exceptions, the Valley of defeat and humiliation; but which was
in the end to be the Valley of glorious victory for the arms of the
Union.

(332) The 28th, the command received orders from Gen. Sigel,
commander, to be ready to march at 8 o'clock in the morning with five
days' rations in our haversacks. We set out on the march in the
morning at the appointed time on the Winchester pike, and marched to
Bunker Hill, ten miles distant, and remained there till May 1st, when
we marched through and to a point about two miles beyond Winchester.
All along the pike from Martinsburg to Winchester on the march between
the two towns, could be seen the graves of soldiers of the one or the
other side who had fallen as victims of the cruel, bloody, wicked war.
There was perhaps not a mile of the whole route over which we passed
along which there could not be seen a soldier's grave; and at
Winchester there were thousands buried. Everywhere could be seen the
destructiveness and paralyzing effects of the war. Fences were torn
down, farms were stripped of live stock, high grass was growing up to
the edge of the towns, and it seemed as if the country was deserted by
its inhabitants. Everything and the condition of things generally were
object lessons teaching of the baleful effects of war.

(333) On this day we passed through the historic and memorable old
town of Winchester and camped about two miles beyond the town. The
next day we had brigade drill under the supervision of Gen. Sigel. We
remained here about a week during which time the organization of the
army was completed. Our stay here afforded the boys of the Twelfth an
opportunity to walk over the old battle ground of the Winchester
battle fought on our side under Gen. Milroy. The boys examined the
scene of the battle with considerable eager curious interest.

(334) While we were at this point, there were extra precautions taken
against a surprise. Strong picket forces were kept out, five companies
being sent out on some of the roads, at least, and orders were given
to keep one-third of the men up at night all the time, showing that
Gen. Sigel was a vigilant careful commander. This alertness and these
precautions indicated that we were drawing near the enemy, and gave a
hint of coming clash of arms, which indeed was not far in the future.

(335) The command on the 9th, moved up the Valley, our brigade in
advance under Col. Thoburn. We marched 13 miles on this day and camped
in the evening at Cedar Creek. The bridge across this creek had been
destroyed, and it had to be rebuilt before the command could proceed
farther. The bridge being rebuilt, we resumed our march on the 11th,
passing through Strasbourg, and camped one mile short of reaching
Woodstock, the distance marched being 14 miles.

(336) It perhaps should have been noted that when the command reached
Fisher's Hill after leaving Cedar Creek, it was halted and the men
were ordered to load. Those who had been under fire before, felt the
gravity of the outlook, and it was noticeable that more than one brave
man looked very serious as he tore the paper from his cartridge.

(337) We remained at our camp near Woodstock one day with nothing
unusual occurring, when on the next day our regiment with two pieces
of artillery was ordered up the Valley about seven miles, one mile
south of Edinburgh, as an advance picket. Some Rebel cavalry were seen
here at a distance. Company S was deployed across the road leading
south with orders to allow no one to pass. Soon two young ladies, in
passing from home to town discovered the pickets, a member of the
company relates, and turned to run. They were captured after an
exciting chase and sent to town, and ordered to remain there till the
next morning. There was a pouring rain that night and the soldiers got
a taste of the beauties of soldier life, getting thoroughly soaked
with rain. Some tried to sleep; others preferred to stand or sit
around roaring fires. In some cases those who tried to sleep found the
water collecting in pools around their bodies.

(338) It was at this place and time or near it, it is believed, that
an incident occurred which shows, as far as it goes, that a soldier
would better obey orders. The writer of this was for the night,
assigned to Company C, to go with it on picket, there being only one
commissioned officer of the company present at the time. All was quiet
at the picket post in the night and in the morning John W. Crow and
another soldier asked Capt. Bartlett of the company, if they might go
to a house several hundred yards distant to get some bread. He said
that they might go, but told them to not go any farther. It was a
spider-and-the-fly-case--they did not come back again. At all events
we did not see them for several months afterward, when they came back
as exchanged prisoners. They then told that when they went to the
house mentioned, the mistress said that she had no bread, but she
thought they could get it at a house a little farther off, probably
knowing what would happen if they went there. They went and were
captured. No doubt they often deeply regretted their disobedience of
orders.

(339) The Twelfth was relieved from picket in the morning by the One
Hundred and Twenty-third Ohio and the Eighteenth Connecticut, and we
returned to our camp near Edinburgh, the rain still falling. On our
way we met the First Virginia and the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts
going up the pike. It began to look as though things were approaching
a crisis. In the morning at 2 o'clock May 15th, Companies A, B, F, and
I, were ordered back to Edinburg to take the place of the regiments
that had relieved us the morning before, in order that they might go
to reinforce the First Virginia and the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts
which had met some of the enemy, and had had considerable fighting
with them the evening and night of the 14th.

(340) About 8 o'clock A.M. the rest of the force came up and we
rejoining our regiment, all pushed on to Mount Jackson about 14 miles
from our camp at Woodstock.

(341) At Mount Jackson we went into camp, but were ordered to move out
in less than thirty minutes. The four regiments in advance having
engaged the Rebels at New Market six miles farther up, we marched in
the direction of the fighting.

(342) The morning had been clear, but soon after crossing the
Shenandoah at Mount Jackson it began raining. Cannonading could be
distinctly heard in our front, telling of serious work going on there
and presaging a share of it for us, the regiments moving to the
assistance of our comrades. We crossed the North Branch of the
Shenandoah about one mile from Mount Jackson. The marching after
leaving this place had been rapid and laborious through rain and mud,
but soon we were ordered to double quick which we kept up for a few
miles, till at about 2 o'clock P.M. we reached the field of battle,
and were hastily formed in line of battle under the fire of the enemy,
their balls at this time, however, passing harmlessly over us.

(343) Our entire brigade under Col. Thoburn was formed on the right of
the pike, the two regiments which had been with Col. Moore at the
front having returned to their own brigade, Thoburn's. Col. Moor with
two regiments of his brigade, the Eighteenth Connecticut, the One
Hundred and Twenty-third Ohio infantry with a small body of cavalry
was left something in advance. The two other regiments of his brigade
were a considerable distance in the rear with the wagon train.

(344) The Twelfth as best can be gathered from a M.S. by Col. Curtis,
was first formed in line at some considerable distance in rear of the
three other regiments of our brigade; but this was scarcely more than
done "when we were withdrawn" as Col. Curtis says, and formed close in
the rear, say within 60 yards of the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts, and
the First Virginia, except two companies, A and B, which were sent to
the right to support Carlin's battery.

(345) The eight companies had scarcely thus formed in line when we
heard in our front for the first time the much mentioned Rebel yell.
Gen. Breckinridge in command of the Rebel force had moved to the
attack with about 5,000 men, and overlapping Moor had soon driven him
to the rear. With scarcely a halt he moved on to the attack of
Thoburn's brigade, the main line, but was repulsed by a gallant charge
made here.

(346) Just where the Rebels raised the yell in making their charge,
Gen. Sigel rode up to the eight companies of the Twelfth and ordered
it into column by division to resist the charge; but when the charge
was repulsed, we were put into line again, and ordered to lie down.
The Twelfth had a bad position. We were placed where we could do no
good and yet where we suffered seriously, a more trying position on a
soldier than where he has a chance to return the fire. There are no
data at hand showing the loss of the regiment, but the compiler's own
company lost in killed and wounded seven men in this engagement.

(347) The battle was short, sharp, the losses heavy on each side and
for a while the result doubtful. It was quite generally said by our
men after the battle that at one time just before our line gave way,
the Rebel line was breaking. The Rebel account goes to sustain this
statement. Col. J. Stoddard Johnston of Breckinridge's staff says,
according to Pond's _The Shenandoah_ in 1864, that "when his
(Breckenridge's) line had reached within two hundred yards of the
enemy, the position was very critical, and for a time it seemed
doubtful as to which would be the first to give way." It is thus seen
how near we were to gaining a victory. Had Moor's two regiments been
drawn back and formed in line with the rest of the infantry and not
left where they could do little or no good; and if Sigel had formed
his infantry in our line as the enemy were, according to the authority
mentioned, it is no violent presumption to say that the victory would
probably have been with our troops.

(348) The doubtful struggle was finally decided by our line giving way
in some confusion and Sigel ordered a retreat. We fell back slowly.
Imboden's official report confirms this, saying: "Sigel's entire line
retired slowly." The enemy did not press us much; for if we had
suffered severely they had also. The Lexington cadet battalion of 250
lost more than one-fourth their number in killed and wounded. That one
fight seemed to do them; they were not present at the battle of
Piedmont, three weeks later, though it was nearer home. In fact, they
were never heard of in battle again. It is remembered that a
Harrisburg newspaper obtained as we went up the Valley, two weeks
after the battle of New Market, under Hunter, I lamented the heavy
loss of the Cadets in that battle; and urged that they should not be
put into another engagement, saying that the young men or boys should
be saved for the next war.

(349) When we had retreated as far as Rude's Hill, a mile or two, we
met the two regiments, the One Hundred and Sixteenth, and the
Twenty-eighth Ohio infantry that had been in the rear and were not in
the engagement; and they covered the retreat from this point to Mount
Jackson, where we crossed the river, halted and formed in line of
battle. The Rebels came close enough to throw a few shells but not
close enough to be within musket shot. After dark we resumed the
retreat and continued it, with stops for rests and meals, until we
arrived at Cedar Creek the next day, the 16th, when our retreat came
to an end.

(350) There is nothing so successful as success; but it seems that
there is no excuse taken for failure in war, neither by those in or
out of authority. Col. Curtis records that the boys of the Twelfth in
going up the Valley were constantly singing "We Fights Mit Sigel" but
on the retreat their song was changed to "We Fights no more mit
Sigel." One of the things that the officers and men of the Twelfth
were displeased with and which they criticised severely was the fact
that we were so placed in that battle that we could not fire on the
enemy without firing into our own men, and yet so close to the front
line that we suffered severely from the enemies fire.

(351) It will be seen, however, from the following letter from Gen.
Sigel which tells why the battle was fought just when and where it
was, and other details which the survivors of the Twelfth will read no
doubt with eager interest, that he disclaims responsibility for the
regiment's final bad position on the field of battle. And it is
inferred from Col. Curtis M.S. before mentioned wherein he speaks of
our being "withdrawn" from our first position and placed in our final
one, that he supposed this was done by competent authority. It appears
that no one knows who was responsible for the blunder. Sigel's letter
is given nearly in full:

(352)

New York, August 19th, 1891.

Lieut. Wm. Hewitt, Linton, Ohio.

Dear Sir:

The advance of my forces up the Shenandoah Valley was made for the
purpose of assisting Gen. Crook's movement from the Kanawha Valley, by
inducing Breckinridge, who commanded in southwest Virginia, to detach
a part of his forces against me. To attain this object we advanced as
far as Woodstock. From this place Col. Moor was sent forward on a
reconnoitering expedition in the direction of Mount Jackson to
ascertain the movements of the enemy, as from the telegraphic
dispatches captured at Woodstock, we found that Breckinridge was
moving down the Shenandoah Valley against us.

(353) In the evening and during the night of the 14th of May, it was
ascertained that Col. Moor had passed Mount Jackson and had met a part
of Breckinridge's forces; I, therefore, moved forward to Mount
Jackson, to be nearer him (Moor) and for the reason that I intended to
await Breckinridge's attack at that place. We arrived at Mount Jackson
on the morning of the 15th, and found that Moor had gone as far as New
Market, seven miles from Mount Jackson; that Breckenridge was near
him, and had made an attack on him during the night of the 14th, which
was repulsed.

(354) Made aware of the exposed position of the little force of Moor,
I immediately sent orders for him to return to Mount Jackson, and to
Gen. Stahl to move forward with the main force of our cavalry to cover
the retreat of Moor, and retard the movement of the enemy. But this
movement was executed so slowly and the distance from Mount Jackson to
New Market was comparatively so great, that I resolved to move forward
with my whole force, after having waited over an hour for an answer to
my orders sent to Moor and Sullivan.

(355) While the troops were in motion I rode forward myself,
accompanied by an aid, as far as Rude's Hill; and on my way was met by
Capt. Alexander, who had been sent by Col. Moor and he reported that
his (Moor's) troops were in an excellent position and that I should
come to their assistance. Under these circumstances, I sent back to
our troops to hasten their march towards New Market; while I went
forward to meet those of Moor and Stahl. I arrived near New Market
about noon, and before the enemy began his attack.

(356) It now became clear to me that all the troops could not reach
the position close to New Market; I therefore ordered Col. Moor to
evacuate his position slowly, covered by cavalry, and to fall back
into a new position, which was selected about three-quarters of a mile
north of New Market right and left of the turn pike leading to Mount
Jackson. During this time I sent two officers, Captains McEstee and T.
G. Putnam back to Gen. Sullivan who was in command of the infantry
division, with orders to bring forward all his troops without delay,
and at the moment when Col. Moor was approaching the new line from his
position in advance, it was reported to me by Capt. R. G. Pendergast,
commander of my escort, whom I also had sent back to hurry the troops
up that all the infantry and artillery of Gen. Sullivan had arrived
(the head of the column being in sight) and that they were waiting for
orders.

(357) Supposing this report to be correct, I formed the line of
battle, Col. Thoburn's brigade and two batteries on the right, while
Col. Moor was ordered to form on the left of Thoburn. The Twelfth West
Virginia, and Dupont's battery took position behind the right of
Thoburn's brigade as a reserve, and two companies of the Twelfth West
Virginia were posted behind the batteries on the right for their
support, Von Kleiser's battery was in the center of the line, Ewing's
on the left, and the cavalry behind the extreme left and some behind
the center. My own position during the battle was in the line between
the batteries on the right, and the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts (Col.
Wells) as on the right the principal attack of the enemy was directed.
With me was an orderly, a young man of 17 years who held bravely out
during the whole fight. My staff officers were some distance behind
the line, near Dr. Rice's house.

(358) The battle which now followed has been described in "Battles and
Leaders of the Civil War," and therefore, I need not go into details.
I simply desired to show that I was neither surprised, nor did I
accept the engagement without good reason and full deliberation. But
in accepting it on the place and ground it was fought, I was misled by
the report of Capt. Pendergast in whom I trusted, as he was an
efficient and brave officer. He reported two regiments the One Hundred
and Sixteenth and the Twenty-eighth Ohio present and awaiting orders,
while we found them, after the battle, at Rude's Hill, one and a half
miles back from our line. I am ignorant up to this day of what was the
unfortunate cause which kept them back, as I was relieved soon after
the battle, and had no opportunity of investigating the matter.

(359) There were some other disadvantages against us in this battle,
but after all, our troops fought bravely and so did those of the
enemy. We lost 93 in killed and 552 in wounded, the enemy 42 and 522
respectively.

(360) After the battle we retreated to Rude's Hill, formed line and
remained about half an hour, whence we withdrew to Mount Jackson,
which was done slowly and in perfect order. We remained there for two
hours, during which time as Lieut. Col. Lincoln says in his "Life with
the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment," the men ate their supper,
the injured were looked up, their wounds examined and dressed and the
slightly wounded placed in ambulances for transportation. Those more
severely wounded were disposed of in the hospital buildings of Mount
Jackson, and left under charge of Asst. Surgeon Allen of the
Thirty-fourth. These arrangements completed at about 9 P.M., the
column was again put in motion, the Thirty-fourth bringing up the
rear.

(361) It will be seen from these statements that we did not "flee in
disorder" from our position at Rude's Hill to Mount Jackson and Cedar
Creek, nor lose or burn any wagons, nor "forsake" our sick and
wounded, as was publicly proclaimed at the time, nor did the enemy
capture any muskets except those of our killed and severely wounded,
left on the field.

(362) We were beaten but not disheartened. We went back to Cedar
Creek, because all our ambulances were filled with the wounded whom we
could not transport without a strong force of protection, and for the
purpose of disengaging ourselves of a train of 200 wagons destined for
Gen. Crook. We reached Edinburg at 7 o'clock in the morning and
Strasburg at 5 in the evening of the 16th.

(363) On the 17th an ambulance was sent to Mount Jackson by flag of
truce loaded with supplies for our wounded. On the 18th, a detachment
of infantry, cavalry and artillery, under Col. Wells of the
Thirty-fourth Massachusetts, was sent to Strasburg and the cavalry
advanced to Fisher's Hill, the pickets of the enemy retiring before
them. On the same day reinforcement were approaching from Harpers
Ferry, and I sent a telegram to Gen. Crook on the Kanawha to prepare
for an advance. On the 20th, Gen. Hunter arrived and on the 21st, I
was relieved from the command of the department and by the request of
Gen. Hunter took command of Reserve Division, with headquarters at
Harpers Ferry.

(364) As to the Twelfth West Virginia, it consisted of good and brave
officers and men. It was very well drilled in the manual of arms; but
as was natural, considering the little time they had practiced it,
deficient in battalion drill; so that it was difficult for me at the
commencement of the battle to bring them from line into column and
vice versa. This created considerable trouble at the beginning of the
fight when they left their position in reserve, came forward and fired
over the heads of the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts. I do not believe
that Col. Curtis gave them the order to do so. * * * But such things
happen sometimes with inexperienced troops, and I am very glad to know
that the regiment, under its same brave commander, fully redeemed its
honor by its gallant conduct in the battle of Piedmont and on other
occasions.

(365) Our whole campaign and especially the battle of New Market, were
a wholesome lesson for them and prepared them to become what they
afterward were.

(366) I think I have now given you the most important facts and
features of the case; and assure you that I shall always remember with
kindness and gratitude the services of the Twelfth West Virginia.

Very Truly Yours,

F. SIGEL,

Late Maj. Gen. of Vols.

(367) According to Pond before cited, General W. S. Lincoln, of the
Thirty-fourth Massachusetts infantry shows that the aggregate of
Breckinridge's infantry the day after the battle was 4,047. We
therefore must have had about 4,500 infantry in the battle as
according to Rebel authority (See Pond) they had no reserves. It would
appear therefore that we were out numbered, we having only five
regiments of infantry so disposed and handled as to be effective;
while the enemy had three brigades and the Cadet battalion of
infantry. Our infantry and artillery had to stand the brunt of the
battle and it is no disparagement to them under the circumstances that
they were worsted in the engagement.

(368) Whatever may be said of Sigel's generalship regarding the battle
of New Market, it must be said that he acted bravely; was right in the
thick of the fight all the time and after the battle began did the
best he could to save the day. And in view of the heavy losses
sustained on each side in the battle, and our slow and orderly retreat
to Cedar Creek, the following message sent to Grant by Halleck: "Sigel
is in full retreat on Strasburg. He will do nothing but run; never did
anything else," is markedly untrue and undeserved, and so far as it
seems to imply that Sigel was cowardly, is grossly unjust, as his
entire command at New Market would testify.

(369) A day or two after Sigel's command had fallen back to Cedar
Creek. He called on the Twelfth to furnish a squad of volunteer scouts
to go up the Valley and learn what the strength of the enemy in our
front was. Corporal De Bee, of the regiment and six or eight men
volunteered to go. They went to Sigel's headquarters for instructions.
He told them to go into a house and put on citizens cloths and go
right into the enemy's camp and learn their strength. The boys answer
"Yes," as if to say that they understood and would do so; but at the
same time there was an unexpressed conclusion that they were not
anxious to wear citizens cloths on that trip and they would forego
that pleasure.

(370) The scouts started out on that expedition traveling nearly all
of that day, along on North Mountain, it is believed. After they had
traveled a while, three or four of the squad concluded that they would
turn back, which they did, but the rest of the boys being more plucky
kept on, and in the evening they came in sight of the Rebel camp. In
the morning the boys found such a position as from which they could
view the entire camp of the enemy, and they carefully counted the
number of tents they had, and then started on the return to Cedar
Creek, arriving there sometime during the day. When they reached our
pickets they (the latter) not being of the Twelfth and not knowing the
scouts, sent them into camp under guard. The scouts reported to Sigel
that they had found the Rebel camp, giving its locality and said that
they counted the number of tents in it, telling the number, Sigel
complimented Corporal De Bee and his comrades for what they had done
saying that they had given him more information than he had got from
all the cavalry that had been out scouting.

(371) Here is a humorous incident of the battle of New Market that was
current among the boys afterward. As well as can be recalled it was
told thus: Col. Wells of the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts was a strict
disciplinarian, but in defiance of this fact the boys of his regiment
would sometimes fire off their guns in camp. In such cases he was want
to say "Orderly, orderly go and ascertain who fired that gun and
report him to me immediately."

(372) This order of the Colonel's having been repeated in the same
stereotyped language at different times impressed itself upon the
minds of the boys of the Thirty-fourth and became a matter of remark
and jest among them. Well at the battle of New Market when the battle
was opening and the first gun or so was fired, some fellow that
regiment with characteristic American humor, who was bound to have his
joke if it was to be his last on earth yelled out, "Orderly, orderly,
go and ascertain who fired that gun and report him to me immediately."

(373) Comrade Jas. N. Miller, of Company A, taken prisoner at the
battle of New Market tells of an incident of the battle, and his
prison experience as follows:

(374) The first man killed in Company A, if I remember rightly, was
John A. Christman. He was a recruit, who came to us at Harpers Ferry,
in the winter of 1863-64. He was a light hearted fellow, somewhat
reckless, who carried a fiddle often playing and singing. At the
battle of New Market as we were going into the fight, Christman and I
were in file together. The battle had begun and the cannons were
booming. He said to me in his jovial way, "Hickory"--that was the
nick-name the boys gave me because I was "tough" physically--"I hope I
will be killed to day." I said to him as calmly as I could for my
heart was up in my throat like a great lump. "Christman, you oughtn't
to talk that way." "Well," he replied, "I don't care."

(375) We lay down along side of a battery which was firing and I saw
Gen. Sigel on his horse giving orders to "fire percussion!" The
fortune of war threw Christman in the front rank and he being a large
man, and I a slender boy, I crouched down behind him. The Rebels were
charging upon us, and about the first ball that came near us struck
Christman in the breast; and he died without a sound. After the fight
in which I was captured, I helped to carry his body off the field and
into a little stable or some kind of an out building, and I supposed
it was buried by the Rebels.

(376) After the death of Christman and before we got a chance to
return the fire of the Rebels our company was ordered to the right of
the line to prevent a flank movement. This threw us over a hill into a
woods, and we did not notice that the main line was being driven back
until it was quite a distance away. Then when we discovered this we
"skedaddled" as fast as our legs would carry us.

(377) Becoming exhausted I fell behind. Seeing three fellows in blue
cloths in a field to the right, I supposed they were some of our boys,
and got over a fence next to them. They aimed their guns at me and
yelled out to surrender. I first thought I would jump back over the
fence and try to escape, but I saw it was no use, and held up my hand.
They had on homespun cloths of blueish color. One of them, a sergeant
of a Georgia regiment, took me to the rear, and treated me very kindly
allowing me to pick up a haversack and a blanket, and this latter
probably saved my life.

(378) I reached Andersonville the 29th of May, and endured with others
the oft-told horrors of that place. It took the scurvy and the
diarrhoea but on the 10th of September I managed to "flank out," in
company with Sergeant Rodgers and Col. Cooke of the Eighteenth
Pennsylvania cavalry, who had known me at Waynesburg in their state.
Instead of being exchanged I was sent with others to Florence, Ala.
Here there was no prison ready for us, and by getting some of the pure
air of that place and also some vegetables I got better of the
scurvy. Sergeant Rodgers ran the guards here and got away, and I
would have gone with him, but my leg was bent nearly double with the
scurvy, so that I knew that I would hinder him and we would both be
captured.

(379) On the 8th of December, I was paroled with a thousand of the
sick and sent to Charleston Harbor, S.C., and transferred to our
lines. I never was exchanged, so I suppose I am still a prisoner of
the Southern Confederacy.

(380) The hardest thing in all my prison life was to feel that as a
soldier I was practically useless except to aid in keeping some Rebel
soldiers out of the field. While our regiment was winning its first
victory at Piedmont and enduring the terrible march from Lynchburg and
helping the peerless Sheridan to send Jubal Early "whirling" up the
Valley, I was lying in the sands at Andersonville and Florence,
missing all the glorious record of the regiment. But it was the fate
of war. So far as the chances of death were concerned, however, the
percent of mortality was greater in prison than in the field.

(381) I could write many pages of incidents in prison life but one
must suffice. At Florence there was some clothing sent through the
lines to us by our Sanitary Commission. It was given out to the most
needy, and there wasn't much choice. I tore my only shirt (which I
hadn't washed for three months) up into strips so that it barely hung
together, in order that I might get a new one. The first day of the
distribution I gave it to one of my companions--I think it was Freeman
Youkin--and he went up to where the clothing was being distributed,
and came back with a new shirt which he got on the strength of his
(my) old one. The next day my detachment was called and when the
distributing officers reached me he asked me if that was my only
shirt. I replied that it was. "Well," he said, "you had better get a
needle and thread and sew it up, for you can't get another new shirt
on the strength of that one." So I got left.

(382) Private W. C. Mahan of Company I, tells the story of his being
taken prisoner and his prison life as follows:

(383) At the battle of New Market Private Wm. Thompson of my company
was badly wounded, his leg being broken by a musket ball. Another man
of the company and I started to carry him off the field. We were told
that we would find the ambulances at a certain place, but we failed to
find them; and having to carry the wounded man we fell behind, and
were captured. At night, we the able prisoners, were allowed to go
under guard out over the field to hunt up our wounded. A Captain of
the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts, who was himself wounded, found his
brother on the field wounded. I recall to mind that I saw the Rebel
Gen. Breckinridge talking to this Captain. Some of our wounded were
put into an old house that night and our unwounded carried water to
them.

(384) We, the prisoners, were taken via. Staunton to Lynchburg. We
were kept at this latter place for a few days. Here one day two of our
men got to talking about somebody with whose conduct on the way here,
I believe they were displeased, using some pretty severe terms about
him. The guard who was nearest them, a quite young fellow, thinking or
pretending to think that they were talking about him though they were
neither talking to, nor about him, shot one of the men, killing him.
It seemed as though this young Rebel thought that he had done a great
thing in killing a Union soldier, for he, insisting on doing so,
followed the box with the corpse, to the grave. Some of the other
Rebels condemned the conduct of this young fellow as being barbarous
and brutal.

(385) We were taken from here to Andersonville by rail. We got along
very slowly, being detained on the way by the enemy's use of the road
in carrying their own soldiers and etc. We were perhaps a week or ten
days on the way. At one time, we were two days without food. During
one of our delays on the route the Rebel women brought food for their
own men, but none for us. They had a little darkey boy with them, who
waved a Rebel flag at us. Both he, and the women seemed to enjoy the
demonstration very much, he grinning and they laughing as he waved.

(386) The prison camp at Andersonville was enclosed by a stockade
about 16 feet high of heavy timbers set on end, and so closely fitted
together that you could scarcely see between them. Inside of this was
the "dead line," 40 feet distant perhaps. It was marked by a row of
posts and stringers of timber extending along on top of them from post
to post. On top of the stockade of intervals there were sentry boxes
placed, in which the sentries or guards stood. Outside this stockade,
at a suitable distance there was another stockade, commanding the
first with loop holes in it through which to fire at the prisoners, in
case they should try to scale the inner one.

(387) The prisoners were formed into companies of 90 men each. Three
of these companies were formed into a division, and the companies were
subdivided in squads of 30 each. At first I believe it was not the
case that they were thus formed; but the necessity of having a divide
of the scant rations, approaching somewhere near fairness, demanded
some sort of organization among the prisoners.

(388) It was necessary for a prisoner to know to what company and the
number of the squad to which he belonged in order that he might get
his rations, or even get out to be exchanged. When a lot of prisoners
was to be sent out of camp to be exchanged or supposedly so, if a
prisoner were not present to answer his name, someone else would
answer for him and get out, and the prisoner named would be left.
Getting out in this way was called "flanking out."

(389) Whenever a lot of prisoners arrived they would right away be
organized as above, each division company and squad having a chief
chosen. When the rations were to be divided the chief of a division
would divide them into three lots, one lot for each of his companies.
He would then have the chiefs of the latter turn their backs to the
ration; when he would ask each: "Will you take this lot?" and they
would choose without seeing which lot was indicated. The companies and
squads divided in the same way, the latter dividing among the
individuals. The squad chiefs were frequently changed, because they
would often inform a friend before hand which ration to choose.

(390) We got raw rations (corn meal) and cooked week about. The flies
here were very bad, and when the Rebel cooks would make up a batch of
dough and lay it down, the flies would gather thickly on it, then they
would slap another batch on the first to kill the flies. In this way
our bread got full of flies and looked like bread with currants or
raisins in it. The same wagons that were used to haul our dead were
used to haul our bread.

(391) The trading instinct was not altogether devoid of exercise here.
Enterprising soldiers would trade bread for meal and get more meal
than made the bread. Sometimes a soldier would be heard asking "Who
will trade a bone for meat?" Those who wanted bones claimed that by
breaking, boiling and making soup of them they got more nourishment
from them than they could get from the meat. Some of our men would
even make bargains with a sentry, although, of course, it was not
allowed. They would give him money to buy something which he would
perhaps do and give it to the prisoner furnishing the money, the next
time he, the guard was on duty. Sweet potatoes got in this way would
sell for 25 cents each.

(392) There was a stream of water which ran through the camp, and as a
matter of course it got very dirty, there being so many thousands of
men in the camp. The prisoners would therefore sometimes reach under
the dead line where the stream crossed it for water. One would reach
under one foot, another two, someone else a little farther in order
that they might get less filthy water. Perhaps the sentry on duty
nearest the stream would permit this crossing of the dead line; but
when another came on duty there he might fire upon the prisoner over
the dead line without a word of warning. Many were killed in that way.

(393) Everybody knows something of the many deaths daily occurring in
prison here. Our men used to be anxious to get to carry the dead out
of camp, in order that they might thus get some fire wood. This
privilege was permitted for awhile, but when the Yankees began to play
the trick of carrying out late in the evening a comrade assuming
death, and the Rebels would go out in the morning to bury him and find
him gone, this privilege was stopped, commandant Wirtz declaring that
he would have to get to putting ball-and-chains on the d--d dead
Yankees, as some of them would run off after they were dead. Another
scheme of the prisoners in order to draw the rations of a dead
comrade, and thus add to the aggregate, of the scanty supply of their
squads, was to not report his death. The Rebels learning of this
practice of the prisoners in order to prevent it, resorted to frequent
counting of them.

(394) One of the prisoners with whom I became acquainted was a member
of the Ringgold cavalry, which was from Washington County,
Pennsylvania. He was of a jovial disposition and was called "Happy
Jack." He used to stand at the gate where the dead were taken out,
count their numbers for a day--the great mortality seems to have
suggested this idea--and from the total he would calculate when his
chances for being taken out a corpse would come.

(395) For a time there was much stealing in camp, incited no doubt
largely by the dire necessities of the men; but after awhile we got
police appointed to stop the stealing, which they did, and to attend
to other matters. For instance the "Hundred Days Men" seemed to not
endure the hardships here so well as the old soldiers. They would mope
and set around and they died relatively much faster than the old
soldiers. When the police would see one of those dispirited fellows
they would fasten on his back a wooden contrivance that they called a
"spread-eagle" to keep him from sitting down, and they would make him
move about for his health.

(396) We were kept somewhat informed as to the progress of the war by
the arrival from time to time of some of our men who had been recently
made prisoners.

(397) There is no tragedy so dark but it has its relieving features.
And one of the comic ways the prisoners had of beguiling the time was
this: One of them would run his hand into his shirt bosom and say
inquiringly to another: "Grey back or no grey back?" as if he were
playing "Odd-or-even." The addressed would perhaps answer "No grey
back," when the proposer of the guess would likely say, "You have
missed it," pulling out one.

(398) After being kept here for some months, though I did not get so
like a skeleton as some, my flesh became in so unhealthy a state from
having the scurvy, that when I would press my finger on it, the print
would remain for a long time as if my flesh were putty. I got to be
one of the very sick.

(399) At the end of my imprisonment here of about four months, the
sickest of the prisoners, or a part of them, were taken out to be
exchanged. I came very nearly not getting out that time, for my name
was close to the end of the list of names called. We were taken first
to Millin, Ga., and we stayed here a few days, the sicker part of us
on one side of the camp, and the others on the other side. The
prisoners would while here sit around fires all night, and in the
morning many of them would be found dead where they had sat.

(400) Once while here I went after some water. I was so weak that I
had to use a cane. Coming back I fell and spilled the water. I was too
weak to go for more, was discouraged, felt like giving up, and do not
know what I should have done if an artillerymen of a Wheeling battery
had not brought me the water. He and I parted promising to write to
each others friends when we should get home. A part of us myself
included, were taken to Savannah where we were exchanged, changing our
clothes here.

(401) We were taken from here to Annapolis where we again changed
clothing. Once more we were in God's country! At Annapolis we were
restricted for a few days as to the amount of food we got. One day at
my meal I did not want my meat and a comrade nearby eyed it eagerly.
At last he inquired, "Are you going to eat that meat?" I told him that
I was not when he snapped it up quickly.

(402) When I got to Annapolis one of the first men I saw was "Happy
Jack." He was much changed by his hardships but I knew him by his
black curly hair. His buoyant spirits had brought him through.

(403) I got home after the frosts of the fall of the year had come. I
wrote according to promise to the Wheeling artilleryman's friends. His
sister answered my letter that he was killed on board of a government
steamer on his way home up the Mississippi by its explosion.

(404) Thus ends my story of prison life at Andersonville. No attempt
is made to give anything like an adequate account of it--that could
not be done--but rather I have tried mainly after 27 years have passed
to recall some of the matters concerning it, that I do not remember to
have read about in any account that I have seen.



CHAPTER VIII.


(405) On the 18th of May, our regiment and the Thirty-fourth
Massachusetts with two pieces of artillery moved from Cedar Creek,
five or six miles up the Valley to Fisher's Hill, and occupied it as a
picket. Gen. Sigel came out to our camp there. The next day the two
regiments fell back two or three miles to Strasburg and occupied an
old fort there built by Gen. Banks. We received today mail--always a
welcome receipt to the boys, the first since leaving Winchester, ten
days before. In the evening the Thirty-fourth band came to the
headquarters of the Twelfth to give us a serenade. Speeches were made
by Col. Curtis, Adjt. Caldwell and Capt. Smiley of our regiment.

(406) On the 2nd, Gen. Sigel was relieved from command here and Gen.
Hunter assigned to his place. Three days later we were reinforced at
Cedar Creek by three more regiments of infantry, the Second Maryland,
the Fourth Virginia and the One Hundred and Sixtieth Ohio, and about
this time, or a little later we were further reinforced by the Fifth
New York heavy artillery.

(407) On the 25th, we drew ten days' rations of coffee and sugar and
three days' rations of hard bread. The troops from Cedar Creek came
up, all having had marching orders. We were now about to start on the
memorable campaign against Lynchburg. Hunter had issued his famous
order announcing to his troops that they were about to enter on an
explosion of hardships, in which they would have to live off the
enemy, and if need be to eat mule meat. The infantry were required to
carry each man 80 or 100 rounds of ammunition. A little after noon of
this day the great march began of what was known as Hunter's raid. We
camped in the evening near Woodstock. On the way the cavalry burned a
house and barn, by orders of Gen. Hunter, the owner having been
engaged in bushwhacking.

(408) On the 29th we resumed our march passing through Edinburg and
Mount Jackson, crossing the Shenandoah here on a bridge newly built by
the Rebels to replace the one burnt by Sigel and camped near New
Market and the ground of the battle of two weeks before. Some members
of the regiment looked over the battle field. They found that our dead
had been buried in a heap where some stone had been quarried out. The
dead of the enemy that had not been taken to their homes, had been
buried in the cemetery at New Market. The enemy had left 31 of our
wounded at this town and vicinity, who it had appeared had been quite
well taken care of. This night our regiment went on picket on the
bridge over the river in our rear.

(409) The second day after our arrival here, two companies of the
Twelfth I and K were detailed to fill in with stone the wooden
abutments of the bridge, and the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts went out
foraging; thus making a beginning of living off the enemy.

(410) We remained here until June 2nd, when we marched at 5 o'clock
A.M. our regiment in the rear of the wagon train, arriving at
Harrisburg in the evening, our advance having driven Imboden out of
town. The Rebels left some sixty of our wounded and thirty of theirs
here, brought up from New Market. Distance marched this day 24 miles.

(411) On the 4th, we marched from here taking the pike leading to
Staunton, but Hunter finding Imboden posted about seven miles ahead at
Mount Crawford after examining this position, turned to the left
taking a side road leading via Port Republic. Seven miles from
Harrisburg we came to Cross Keys where the forces of Fremont and
Jackson fought on June 8th, 1862, and a little farther on to where the
Rebel Col. Ashy was killed. At Port Republic on the south branch of
the Shenandoah our pioneers put a pontoon bridge over the river on
which we crossed and marched about one mile on the road leading to
Staunton.

(412) Early in the morning of the 5th, we resumed our march, but did
not go far until our cavalry began skirmishing with the Rebels,
driving them and capturing a number of prisoners. It may be well to
say here that an Irish woman, who accompanied the First New York
cavalry was noticed helping tenderly to bury some of the killed "my
(her) boys" of that regiment that morning.

(413) Seven miles from Port Republic we found the Rebels in force,
consisting of the commands of Generals Vaughn and Imboden, and a
number of militia, numbering in all, as learned from prisoners,
between 8,000 and 9,000 men, all under the command of Gen. W. E.
Jones. Hunter's command consisted in all of 8,500 men, the infantry in
two brigades the First commanded by Col. Moor, and the Second by Col.
Thoburn. The cavalry were under command of Gen. Stahl, the infantry
under Gen. Sullivan.

(414) The enemy were posted on either side of the pike their right
drawn back somewhat. They had breast works of rails extending at least
from the pike to the Middle river on their left, several hundred yards
distant. Hunter made disposition for battle at once, and the
engagement that followed is known as the Battle of Piedmont. The First
Brigade was formed on the right of the pike, and the Second Brigade on
the left. The opposing forces faced each other from either side from
the edge of woods, with several hundred yards of cleared land between.

(415) The battle began. It was opened by the artillery from each side.
The Twelfth and the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts of Thoburn's brigade
were ordered forward through the woods, on the left of the pike, with
a view to charging some of the enemy's artillery; when, being
discovered they were vigorously shelled by the enemy. After awhile
they were brought back to the point where they had entered the woods.
While waiting here for the coming of the balance of their brigade
Colonels Thoburn and Curtis and Adjt. G. B. Caldwell with their
orderlies, rode out into the open ground forming a group, for the
purpose of watching the effect of the artillery fire. They were
discovered by the Rebels, who threw a shell right into their midst,
which exploding took off the fore-leg of the Adjutant's little mare.
That group immediately dispersed.

(416) The other regiments having come up, Col. Thoburn moved his
brigade forward in the open ground into a slight hollow, within 200
yards of the enemy for the purpose of making a flank charge upon him.
While the infantry were moving forward into this position, the
artillery on each side opened up a heavy fire, and the Rebel band
played "Dixie," while ours played "Yankee Doodle." Just before the
charge that gallant young officer Capt. Meigs, of Hunter's staff rode
backward and forward along the line encouraging the men to do their
duty on this charge, and the day would be ours; that they must not
hesitate or falter but go right through, that we were now a hundred
miles from our lines, and that defeat would be disastrous. The First
Brigade had made three charges right in the face of the Rebel front
and had been repulsed. But we will let Adjt. G. B. Caldwell of the
Twelfth tell the story of the battle in his graphic and enthusiastic
way, as it came red hot from his pen a few days after for the
_Wheeling Intelligencer_; or more particularly of the part taken
in the engagement by the Twelfth. The letter was written from the
headquarters of the regiment at Staunton and is as follows:

(417) This regiment moved from camp at Port Republic at 6 o'clock
A.M., June 5, 1864. Our forces marching forward towards Staunton some
four miles, our cavalry became engaged and drove the enemy a distance
of one and a half miles, suffering a loss of thirty, killed and
wounded. Capt. Imboden a brother of the general's was taken here. The
ball then opened by the loud mouthed artillery bellowing forth, both
Union and Rebel in hellish dialogue of the death answering each
other's thunderous salutations. Post the crackling and roaring of
Rebel woolen factories, consumed by flames kindled by the land of
Union retributive justice; past the roaring batteries; past Carlin's
braves stripped to the shirt sewing out iron vengeance to traitors,
the Second Brigade, our fearless, cool and sound-judging Col. Joe
Thoburn commanding, marched a mile to the very front, forming the left
of our force. The position was 150 yards from the Rebel lines drawn up
behind a fortification of fence rails, so arranged as to make perfect
protection against musketry. Here for one hour and a half in a woods
at one and one-half miles range, the two twenty pounder Parrott guns
of the enemy were served entirely against us with all possible
rapidity and great precision, amid the tremendous explosion of shell,
the profuse of rain of case shoe the fall of trees and limbs, amid
wounded and dying among all these combinations of horror, with not a
gun fired by us and no excitement to cause a wild carelessness of
danger, our line never wavered.

(418) The First Brigade (our right) being heavily pressed moved us in
retreat perhaps half a mile undetected by the enemy. This manouver was
admirably masked in the woods like our advance before in the morning.
A wide hollow whose descending sides were open fields stretched
between the First and Second Brigades. Across this we must go. Our
batteries open their fiercest fire, from hill to hill leap the
ponderous black messengers of destruction, the reverberations of half
a hundred guns on both sides, brought into action by the endeavor our
batteries make to attract the attention of the enemy's ordnance, make
earth tremble, and the air roar while we run the fiery gauntlet to
reinforce our right. With unbroken lines we march over with steady
tread.

(419) The Rebels occupy a woods in whose edge they have as on their
right, an admirably impromptu fence barricaded. Up we go to within 100
yards, lie down, fire and draw the Rebel fire. Men are struck all
along the line. Most of the enemy's rifles are empty. Springing to
their feet and cheering wildly the men rush forward and over the
parapet. Our color bearer plants that banner of holy hopes and
hallowed memories right where the sheet of Rebel flame runs crackling
along, and mounting up cries, "Come on boys here's where I want you."
Gloriously forward we go right into the woods our flag the first our
regiment the foremost, the Rebels contending in a hand to hand
struggle. Prisoners stream to the rear by the hundreds. Other
regiments come to our support.

(420) The character of the conflict is attested by bayoneted Rebel
dead. The emblematic rags of treason their battle flags, a few minutes
before planted in the dirt. They flee in utter rout and one wild shout
of "Victory is ours!" runs along for more than a mile through
infantry, artillery, cavalry, through stragglers and wagon trains,
till the very wounded in the hospitals cheer again and again. The
conduct of the men cannot be too much praising. Often a soldier would
press forward so furiously as to be enclosed single-handed among a
mass of Rebels, surrendering to be recaptured instantly by his
advancing comrades. The whole Rebel force having fled, we camped for
the night in the woods among the Rebel dead, too numerous to be buried
till the morrow.

(421) Thirty ambulances constantly running with the attendants, cannot
collect all the wounded into hospitals, even in the long hours of this
summer afternoon and evening. They have from two to three to our one
in killed and wounded, and 1,000 able bodied prisoners, 60 officers,
four or five colonels. Brig. Gen. Jones, their commanded killed, 1,700
stand of arms, four or five stand of colors and last and best Staunton
grace our triumph.

(422) And here let me pause to pay a tribute to the memory of one of
our own country's martyrs in our holy cause, our color bearer Corporal
Joseph S. Halstead. A braver spirit never bore the banner of beauty
and glory forward amid the bursting shells and the leaden rain of
death. With comrades falling all around him he went ahead of the
bravest, ahead of his brigade. The head and front of that terrific
charge into the jaws of death, he rushed forward and planted our flag
on the very parapet sheeted with flames from the enemy's rifles. Then
over and forward again goes our banner into the hand to hand conflict
in which that glorious day's fate was decided. He falls at last, but
if there be consolation in such an hour, and to a Christian and one so
wholly a soldier as he, he has it to the full a knowledge of his
country's glory and his own. In the moment of victory with a broken
and dispirited enemy flying before us with the shouts of comrades
drunk with the enthusiasm of the hour rendering the very sky, with the
valor of our arms attested by the piles of grey-clothed dead and hurt
around him with the deep heart-felt admiration of all, attracted by
his surpassing daring, with his comrades standing around him in
speechless and tearful sympathy, with prisoners streaming or crowding
to the rear, colonels and subordinates in traitor regalia, their
perjured leader stricken dead by loyal vengeance, he fell at the very
acme of our triumph, battling the flag which he had borne so royally
to glory and to victory, with blood as noble as ever coursed through
patriot veins. Poor Halstead among the brave the choicest spirit of
them all, long will his memory be cherished and his valor in that hour
of carnage and triumph be the theme of the bivouac talks of his
comrades.

(423) Col. Curtis had the pleasure of receiving the sword of a
Virginia regiment's colonel, whose surrender he demanded. One of our
Marshall county boys had the honor of bringing a Rebel colonel "to
time." He, the Marshall county boy is a young fellow of about 17.
Another from Hancock county, I. N. Cullen, (Comp.) had a grey header
Confed bring a musket to his breast with an order to surrender. He
threw the musket aside and twisted it out of the old fellow's hands,
then kicking him over the parapet and out of the woods saying, "Old
man you're too old for me to bayonet." Another Ohio county boy mounted
the parapet in the charge and looking down on the Rebs, says "Lookout
Johnnys we're coming down on you like a thousand of brick." That was
funny at such a time--It was "in the cool."

(424) In the morning before the fight, Gen. Jones drew his men up and
told them that we were going to avenge Fort Pillow, that to surrender
would be to die; and such stuff for an hour. If anything was wanting
to prove the superior humanity of the Union soldiers or the barbarism
induced in the South by slavery here it might have been found. First
Sergeant Hart Marks, of Company K, accepted the surrender of a Rebel
lieutenant and passed on to the front. The Rebel drew a revolver from
under his coat and shot him, fortunately slightly, in the back, yet
our boys spared him. I know of more such cases, several. Marks shortly
afterwards received two wounds, one in side, and one in the shoulder,
the last having passed through a twisted blanket, while charging the
woods, the Rebels being behind the trees. Another of our regiment, the
eccentric Barney Wyles, pressed ahead too far and was surrounded; he
surrendered but his captor shot at him after surrender, with a
revolver, cutting his clothes. Our men rushed on him, wrested the
revolver from him, and then spared him. All evening could you see
Union soldiers feeding wounded Rebels, and food was scarce with us
then, having to come all in the shape of forage. In every regiment a
number of instances can be given of such treachery as above. Could any
contrast be greater?

(425) The day after the fight we came to this place. I wish that some
of our copperheads, who have "nigger on the brain" could come here.
You have heard that southern people are darkened by their sun. One can
hardly tell which are the whites--not that the whites are so black,
but that the blacks are so white. Miscegenation is played out. At this
place 1,700 rifles were captured and therewith a government armory;
cotton factories, commissary stores, railroad buildings and bridges
were burnt. A brass field piece was found here all right. Two 100
pound guns were rendered useless, by the trunnions being broken off.
But I cannot enumerate one-half the damage, and will leave that to
more general correspondents.

(426) I append a list of killed and wounded in this regiment. In
addition to this list David Severe, Company G, was killed. I have just
heard on picket this morning, that Corporal W. L. Herbert and Frank
Metz were captured, both of the same company as Severe.

(427) Returns of killed and wounded and missing of the Twelfth
regiment. West Virginia Volunteer Infantry in the battle of Piedmont,
Virginia, on the 5th of June, 1864.


COMPANY A.

_KILLED_--First Sergeant Wm. H. Leach, Privates Lawis Manning, Geo.
L. Jones and Reuben G. Boyd.

_WOUNDED_--Capt. Hagar Tomlinson, left leg flesh wound; Sergeant
John G. Jones, fourth finger, left hand off; Corporal George Orum,
head slightly; Private Thos. M. Turner, left thigh, severely; Private
Wm. F. Magers, right hand, slightly.


COMPANY B.

_WOUNDED_--James B. Manning, left thigh, flesh wound.


COMPANY C.

_WOUNDED_--Corporal Benjamin Chambers, left arm, flesh wound;
Corporal Wilson Chambers, upper part left breast, not dangerous; Wm.
H. Ambercrombie, shot through both cheeks, severely; Francis M. Gray,
left thigh broken, dangerously; John Dacon, left breast, dangerously;
Geo. Barnes, right arm, flesh wound; Isaac N. Fisher, second finger
right hand; Harmon Crow, right hand, slight.


COMPANY D.

_KILLED_--Sergeant A. R. Gilmore, Corporal Joseph S. Halstead, color
bearer; Privates C. W. Hamilton and Robert J. Anderson.

_WOUNDED_--Corporal Daniel Maxwell, top of head, severely, but not
dangerously; Corporal E. M. Adams, left shoulder slightly; Jno. W.
Murray, right arm, severely.


COMPANY E.

_KILLED_--Corporal Jno. H. Wildham.

_WOUNDED_--Privates Jno. H. Bennett, right leg, severely; and James
Bachus, shot through cheeks, dangerously.


COMPANY F.

_WOUNDED_--Privates Henry Fortney, left leg, severely; Robert
Heiskill, right fore finger; Ezra Wallace, left thigh, severely;
Abia Warmsley, left fore arm, severely; A. M. Shroyer, left fore
arm severely and Calvin L. Flemming, right thigh, slightly.


COMPANY G.

_KILLED_--Private Wm. H. Garrittson.

_WOUNDED_--Private Alphens Wyer, abdomen dangerously.


COMPANY H.

_KILLED_--Corporal Ed. O. Haymond.

_WOUNDED_--Privates Archer Wood, left elbow, severely, and left
side slightly; Jacob Noes, right ankle, severely; Adam Price,
shoulder, seriously; James W. Thomas, left, thigh, slightly; Frank
McVicker, left side head, slightly; Jno. R. Wolfe, side head,
slightly.

_MISSING_--Henry Bichur.


COMPANY I.

_KILLED_--Joseph R. Lyons, Wm. Beal, Andrew Daugherty, Joseph B.
Durbin.

_WOUNDED_--Wm. H. Moore, right side, severely; Wm. B. Campbell, left
shoulder, severely; Jno. R. Baxter, right breast, slightly; S. H.
Minor, left thigh, flesh wound.


COMPANY K.

_KILLED_--A. W. White.

_WOUNDED_--First Sergeant T. H. Marks, flesh wound in side and
shoulder, slight; Joseph Macks, left hand, not dangerous; Wm. H.
Holbintter, right side, (shell) mortally, died; Alex. McVoneha, left
arm and wrist, flesh wound.

_MISSING_--Corporal J. E. Fleming.

Total--Eighteen, killed; 41, wounded, and two missing.

(428) In addition to the foregoing letter from Adjutant Caldwell, a
few further details and observations regarding the battle may not be
unworthy of mention. A member of Company D, in a manuscript history of
the company says that "early on the morning of June 5th, we were
ordered into line before some of the boys breakfasted. After marching
a short distance, we were halted, brought to a front and ordered to
load at will. We were then informed by Col. Curtis that the enemy was
near and that every man was expected to do his whole duty. The
file-closers were ordered to take their positions in the rear of their
companies. In looking along the line a determined expression on the
countenances of both men and officers was notable, which boded no good
to the enemy; and Adjt. Caldwell remarked, 'The boys are full of fight
today.'"

(429) This fighting spirit manifested by the regiment is perhaps
explainable in part by the belief confirmed by information got from
the citizens in coming up the Valley that we came near whipping in the
New Market battle, and the consequent resolution, having come so near
it then, to whip altogether this battle. And there the fact that our
cavalry were driving the enemy's cavalry this morning, doubtless had
something to do in working up the fighting mood of the men.

(430) Col. Curtis having been mounted all day on a very fine horse
wanted to try him in battle and see if he would be manageable under
fire. When the order was given to charge he mounted him and looking
over into the Rebel works he discovered that something had occurred to
raise great excitement among the enemy. He repeated the command just
given by Col. Thoburn to charge and shouted "Go in boys they're
whipped." The position of the brigade, from which the charge was made
was such that in making it the Twelfth would strike the right flank of
the Rebel breast works extending from the pike to the river, at about
the center of the regiment, compelling one-half of the men to climb
over the breast works. But they went on cheering and shouting as they
went, lighting among the Rebels when a hand to hand struggle for
victory ensued for a few minutes when the Rebel line gave way, falling
back toward the river, which was fordable at that point. The Twelfth
followed the Johnnys briskly, capturing prisoners and killing those
who refused to surrender.

(431) About midway between the pike and the river, the Forty-fifth
Virginia infantry under command of Col. Brown held its position at the
breast works until the Twelfth attacked it. Col. Brown was a graduate
of West Point; but after being educated by the government was now
trying to destroy it. A private by the name of Shinn, of Harrison
county, it appears, ordered him to surrender; which he refused to do,
because the order came from a private, but the private had the drop on
him and was about to shoot him when he, Brown, observed Col. Curtis
mounted on his horse which he had jumped over the breast works, moving
along the line with his regiment. Brown threw up his hands giving
Curtis a sign which the latter understood, exclaiming "I will
surrender to you." The boys were ordered to take him to the rear with
the other prisoners, and on his way back he took a very fine revolver
from his belt and handing it to the boy said, "Give this to your
Colonel with my compliments." The boy was honest and gave it to him
and it was still in the possession of Col. Curtis at the time of his
death.

(432) After the surrender of Col. Brown and his regiment the rout
became general. Col. Halpine, Hunter's chief of staff is further
authority for saying that the forces engaged in this battle were about
equal, counting of the Rebels about 1,500 militia. Halpine says:

(433) "The fight though not large in numbers was singularly obstinate
and fluctuating; the enemy beating back repeated charges of infantry
and cavalry under Generals Sullivan and Stahl, and it was quite late
in the afternoon after a long and sweltering day of battle, when the
movement of the gallant Col. Thoburn's division across the narrow
valley and its charge up the hill upon the enemy's right flank decided
the contest in our favor. But for the coming on of night and the
broken heavily timbered nature of the country, the famous feat of
"bagging" that army--so popular with congressional orators and
enthusiastic editors--might have been easily accomplished; for a worse
whipped or more utterly demoralized crowd of beaten men never fled
from any field."

(434) Gen. Jones, the commander of the Rebel force, was shot in the
head and fell dead upon the field. This was what caused the apparent
excitement among the Rebels, noticed by Col. Curtis, as before
mentioned. The Rebel leader was shot just as he was getting his troops
ready for a charge. He fell in front of the Twelfth, and it was
supposed that some member of it fired the fatal shot. Among the
prisoners captured was Capt. Boyd Faulkner, of Gen. Jones' staff. The
demoralized and routed Rebels many of whom ran into and across the
river, making their escape in that way, reported on their retreat, so
we learned the next day, that the Yankees before the battle had been
dosed and mad drunk with whisky and gun powder, so that they fought
recklessly and charged upon their works regardless of the slaughter
made in their ranks.

(435) A comrade of Sergt. Halstead's company records a striking and
touching incident concerning him, showing his devotion to patriotic
duty. He was mortally wounded in the battle, falling upon the flag and
staining it with his blood just after he had crossed the enemy's
breast works. He was carried off the field of battle and cared for by
his comrades. He lived until about 8 o'clock that night. Just before
he died he sent for Col. Curtis to come and see him. The Colonel came
immediately and kneeling by his side and taking his hand, said,
"Sergeant, you are badly wounded." "Yes," Halstead replied, "I feel
that I have but a few minutes to live, but before I die I desire to
know if I have done my duty as a soldier." The Colonel answered, "Yes,
you have gallantly sacrificed your life for your country; you could do
no more." Halstead said, "Then I am ready to go," and died soon
afterward.

(436) This battle of Piedmont was the third engagement for the Twelfth
and its first victory. It having been our fortune up to this time to
fight our battles in the Shenandoah Valley, in which the Union arms
had hitherto met with an almost uniform series of disasters, and which
had indeed become a valley of humiliation to us owing to the fact that
we had generally out numbered, the Twelfth had hitherto met with
defeat. This time the day was ours, and we got to view the battle
field instead of having to yield that privilege to the Johnnys; and
that the regiment behaved so gallantly as it did in this battle is all
the more creditable to it that it did so in spite of the demoralizing
tendencies of previous defeats.

(437) Gen. Hunter was a large dark visaged stern man of severe aspect;
a man not at all of a sympathetic genial disposition, who was
calculated to win the personal attachment of men generally. He was not
only severe in appearance but he was really so. On one occasion on the
march to Lynchburg, a man was noticed as the army passed by, tied up
to a tree by order of Gen. Hunter it was said. It is not remembered
that any other general under whom the Twelfth served ever punished a
soldier in like manner, by direct personal order. Notwithstanding
Hunter's lack of popular qualities, now that he had won a victory, he
was at this time popular with the boys; and they were disposed to
cheer him when he made his appearance before them. They were thus
merely paying a tribute to success.

(438) That night after the battle, we slept in the woods held by the
Rebels during the battle, and owing to the great reaction of feeling
after the fight--the letting down of the high tension of excitement
kept up all the long day of strength, the boys generally slept well,
though in some instances the moaning of an enemy wounded beyond relief
could be heard nearby. In the morning we marched for Staunton some 11
miles distant, which place we reached that day after an easy day's
march. After having gone about four miles on the way toward Staunton,
we met an aid who informed us that the enemy had fled from that place,
and that we now had communication with Generals Crook and Averell, who
had moved from the Kanawha Valley, when cheer after cheer went up all
along the line over the announcement.

(439) On nearing Staunton we passed one or more houses where the
occupants had hung in front of their homes white cloths as indicative
of submission or with a view to securing protection. When we got into
the town the women seemed dreadfully frightened; some of them were in
the streets wringing their hands and crying as if they were afraid the
Yankees might eat them alive. Their conduct was in strong contrast
with that of the women of Winchester to whom the Yankee was no new
sight; they being not in the least afraid of him, having learned that
he was no dread monster. But rather they were, in some cases, haughty,
defiant and saucy. If we had stayed awhile in Staunton these women
would soon have got over their dreadful alarm, finding that they were
as safe as with their own.

(440) We were the first Union soldiers that had ever set foot in
Staunton as victors. This early summer of 1864 was marking a distinct
advance or progress of the Union cause. Grant was planting himself
firmly before Petersburg never to yield his ground. Sherman was moving
on toward Atlanta and before long would capture that important point,
we of Hunters command had pushed farther up the Shenandoah Valley,
than any Union army had ever done before and we were soon to menace.
Lynchburg, an almost vital point to the enemy, and a place that had
never been seriously threatened before; thus causing the enemy to
detach heavily from his force at Richmond to send troops into the
Valley and to thereby prepare the way for Sheridan to gain, in the
fall of the year, his important and telling victories, and thus make
his great military reputation.

(441) After arriving at Staunton in the evening the Twelfth went into
camp on a hill east of the town. That night the prisoners captured at
Piedmont were confined in the stockade which the Rebels had used for
the confining of our men. The next day, the 7th, our regiment was sent
on the march for what reason it is not known on the road leading to
Beverly, W. Va. When about six miles on the way while we were stopping
for a rest, orders came to us to return and we marched back to
Staunton. While remaining at this place, the large number of prisoners
we held, and our surplus wagons, with some of our not too severely
wounded in them, were sent in charge of Major Samuel Adams, a
quartermaster, from here to Webster on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad
guarded by the Twenty-eighth Ohio infantry, whose time had expired.

(442) On the morning of the 9th, Col. Curtis received orders from Gen.
Hunter to proceed with his regiment to a certain point on the railroad
leading to Richmond to burn the brides, tear up the track, and make
the road as difficult to repair as possible. In performing this work,
the ties and rails were so piled up that when the ties were set on
fire, the rails would be so bent it would require much labor to make
them serviceable again. The men engaged heartily in this work.

(443) On the morning of the 10th we set out on the march to Lexington
our division taking one road and Crook's division, it having joined us
two days before, another road to the right of ours. At Staunton large
quantities of the enemy's tobacco had been by authority thrown into
the streets. Nearly every man had picked up more than he could
conveniently carry and for a day the army might have been tracked by
the tobacco plugs strewn along the road. When seven miles on the road
toward Lexington a courier came to us bearing the news that a large
wagon train was coming with coffee and sugar for us, and that Grant
had driven Lee inside of his intrenchments around Richmond. The boys,
of course, cheered this news heartily. We camped this night at a place
called Midway, 18 miles from Staunton, and the same distance from
Lexington which place is situated on the north branch of the James
river, and is the seat of the Virginia Military Institute. When near
this latter town we were rejoined by Crook's force. Before we reached
the town the Rebels burned the bridge leading across the river to it.
After some skirmishing and a few shells thrown from our side the
Johnnys who were still in the town left. But we did not enter the town
this day.

(444) The next morning we crossed over the river on a bridge
constructed by the Pioneer corps and camped near the town. The
Institute, where about two hundred cadets were attending at the time,
Governor Letcher's house and some houses belonging to Rebel officers
were burned at this place by order of Gen. Hunter. There were also
some iron works burned here. Stonewall Jackson's grave is here at the
head of which there was a pole, bearing a flag when we entered the
town; but the flag and pole somehow soon thereafter disappeared. We
remained at Lexington two days and during this time the supply train
referred to with rations and quartermaster's stores came up.

(445) At 5 o'clock on the morning of the 14th, we marched taking the
road leading to Buchanan in Botetourt county on the south branch of
the James river. We passed within two and a half miles of the Natural
Bridge over Cedar Creek and arrived at Buchanan a little after dark.
The Rebels had burned the bridge over the river before leaving, but
the pioneers soon made another in its stead, on which we crossed.
According to an account by W. W. Foreman, of Company D, a spy, was
taken this day, and after a court martial was shot the following
morning.

(446) This past day we had had a long hard march, considering the heat
of the weather. Pertinent to this matter of hard marching this
anecdote which should have been told sooner, is given. It will be
remembered that when Hunter set out on this expedition the men were
required to carry from 80 to 100 rounds of ammunition per man. Grant
in assuming command of the armies of the United States ordered the
heavy artillerymen to be armed as infantry and sent into the field.
Some of these soldiers were sent to Hunter. They were given to
straggling considerably, not being used marching, and besides many of
them wore tightly fitting boots, which they had worn while in the
fortifications, making the matter worse. One day one of these soldiers
who was straggling behind, as we marched somewhere, in the Valley, was
accosted by an officer, doubtless with the intent to reprimand him,
and asked to what command he belonged. The soldier in allusion to the
heavy amount of ammunition he was carrying, answered with a big oath.
"I belong to Gen. Hunter's ammunition train."

(447) The next day, the 15th, we resumed our march; but Crook's
division taking the advance we did not get started till late in the
day and marched only 11 miles this day, camping for the night at the
Peaks of Otter. Our route today led over the Blue Ridge on which we
saw a dead man in citizen's dress by the roadside, who had been shot
by our men. It appeared that he with others had been felling trees
across the road in front of us, and had been killed in the act.

(448) Early the next morning we were en route, and a march of nine
miles brought us to Liberty, a pretty little town on the Virginia and
Tennessee railroad. A great many wounded Rebels from Lee's army were
in the hospital here. After doing considerable damage to the railroad,
and burning the depot here, we passed on five miles farther, on the
road toward Lynchburg and camped. The next day at an early hour we
pushed on toward this city. We were now in an apparently fine country.
It was this day or the afternoon of the day before, that a fine
residence near the road was burned by order of Gen. Hunter, it
appearing that our troops had been fired on from it. We passed through
the town of New London. About 4 o'clock P.M., when some three miles
from Lynchburg, Gen. Crook whose division was in advance, engaged the
enemy at an outpost driving him from his intrenchments there to his
inner line of defense and captured about 70 prisoners and two or three
pieces of artillery. We camped upon the field.

(449) The next morning, the 18th, we moved forward, our skirmishers
driving the Rebel skirmishers, until we could see the enemy's
fortifications within two miles of the city. Our division, or at least
the part of it to which the Twelfth belonged, was on or across the
Bedford road. There was no considerable fighting except skirmishing
and shelling until about 2 P.M., when heavy firing was heard on our
left, Hunter having attacked there in force. There was no fighting on
our part of the line just at this time, but soon thereafter, the
Rebels being observed to be getting ready to sally out of the works to
charge us on the Bedford road, we here, at a brigade were massed on
the left of the road in five close lines in the edge of some woods,
with clean open ground between us and the Rebel works, some 500 yards
distant. Soon the Rebels were ready and charged us; and at the same
time they began shelling us. The most of the shells, however, crashed
through the tree tops above our heads doing little harm. We opened
fire on the charging column before it had come far and kept up a
steady and continuous roaring of musketry until the Rebels broke and
"skedaddled" back to the works, which they did before they got half way
to our lines. We repulsed them easily. Some soldiers, who were in the
rear during this charge said afterward that they had never before
heard so heavy musketry and that they thought from the tremendous roar
kept up that we must be getting slaughtered. Hunter failed to capture
any of the enemy's works this day; but the Rebels thought best to keep
on the defensive. Our loss was about 200 hundred and it was thought
the enemy's was heavy.

(450) When the Rebels charged us on the Bedford road a number of men
in the front line about opposite the center of the Twelfth, broke
making quite a gap a dozen or so of them trying to get behind one
tree. A number of the Twelfth boys ran forward to the gap and fired on
the advancing Rebels. And here at this point it is desired to pay a
tribute to an enlisted man, Sergt. Thomas J. Ormsby, of Company C. The
soldier in the ranks has not been without praise but it is doubtful if
he has had his full due relatively with the officers. Ormsby ran the
gap going perhaps 30 feet in advance of the front line trusting that
our own men would not shoot him. He was the one man, it is believed,
who thus went forward of the 2,000 or more massed men. He wanted to
watch the progress and outcome of the fight. When the Johnnys began to
break he turned toward our ranks and said laughing, "They're running
boys."

(451) This same sergeant when a battle seemed imminent was in the
habit of talking to the men of his company in an encouraging way,
telling them to not fear, that we would whip them and all that. He was
no bully nor braggart, but simply wanted to inspire the men with his
own confidence. A soldier in another company called this peculiar
habit of Sergt. Ormsby "preaching." One day when a fight was
threatened this soldier called the attention of a comrade to the
sergeant's conduct saying, "Did you ever notice Ormsby when there is
likely to be a fight? Listen to him preaching to Company C.--He's the
d----dst man ever I saw." Sergt. Ormsby seemed almost devoid of fear.
The soldier who drew attention to the sergeant, was afterward killed
in the Valley of Virginia under Sheridan.

(452) After the repulse of the Rebel charge we were moved from the
woods and reformed into line. There was no more fighting except
skirmishing. The spirit of the men was still good, as was evidenced by
the way they were disposed to expose themselves to the Rebel fire.
Hunter, however, was just one day too late attacking Lynchburg, for
the very day he arrived before the city, Early's corps arrived in it,
and all night thereafter the Rebels were beating drums and cheering
over more reinforcements. It seems almost certain that if Hunter had
been only one day earlier in his attempt against Lynchburg, the place
would have fallen. But after all the result as it was may have been
best, for it led to Sheridan's opportunity to establish his great
ability as a commander, to his signal victories in the Valley as
before written, and thereby, very probably to the hastening of the
downfall of the rebellion.

(453) Hunter having satisfied himself that Early's corps had come to
the defense of the city started just after dark on the retreat. We
marched all night stopping at Otter creek in the morning, the 19th, to
rest and prepare something to eat, having marched 18 miles. After
breakfast we marched on, passing through Liberty and camped three
miles beyond along the line of the Virginia and Tennessee railroad.
Now that Hunter had failed in his attempt against Lynchburg he was
compelled to abandon his Shenandoah line on account of Early's having
the shorter route to it, and retreat to Charleston on the Kanawha by
way of Buford's Gap, following the railroad from Liberty to Salem, at
which point 36 miles from Liberty the railroad was left.

(454) We left camp near Liberty about 2 o'clock in the morning the
20th, passing through Thoxton's and Buford's stations, at which places
some subsistence was obtained and going on after a march of 17 miles
we stopped in Buford's Gap in the Blue Ridge to eat of our scant
supply and rest. A little after dark we resumed our march. Shortly
after the infantry started, our cavalry staying behind for a time
captured about a hundred of the Rebel cavalry, in the pass, who had
been harassing our rear. We marched all night reaching Salem in the
morning. Here we halted to meal, breakfast and dinner. While here the
enemy attacked our rear. The attack not very serious, was repulsed.
The wagon train and some artillery were sent ahead, some cavalry
having gone ahead a while before.

(455) About three miles from Salem the rear of the train which from
oversight or want of precaution had little or no guard with it, was
attacked by McCausland, capturing or killing a number of horses,
cutting down the carriages of five guns so that they had to be
abandoned and getting off with three guns. The infantry were hurried
up from the rear and he was driven off with a loss to us of thirty
men. After this affair with the Rebels we marched on ten miles
farther, passing over a mountain and camped for the night of the 21st,
to have our first good rest. We had marched in the last twenty-four
hours 26 miles, and in all for the last three days 70 miles doing most
of the marching after night though the nights were short, with little
or no sleep. The men were so worn out for want of sleep that when a
short stop was made for a rest, they would fall asleep and were hard
to waken up. Though our march had thus been rapid the bridges,
stations, and water tanks along the railroad as far as we followed it
were pretty thoroughly destroyed by our men.

(456) Near the summit of the mountain over which we had just passed on
the road in our rear up which the Rebels were expected to come our men
had placed in position two pieces of artillery to give them a salute
if they should venture up the mountain. In the night cavalry were
heard coming and when they were near enough the artillery was opened
on them, sending them down the mountain flying. The Rebels followed us
no farther.

(457) We remained in camp at the foot of the mountain till 1 o'clock
P.M., when the 22nd, we resumed our march. We passed through New
Castle, over Middle Mountain, Peter's Mountain, through Sweet
Springer, over Allegheny Mountain, through White Sulphur Springs where
the men being so hard pressed for something to eat pulled up growing
potatoes and ate the old tubers; crossed the Greenbriar River, passed
through Lewisburg, over Little Sewell Mountain, and over Big Sewell
Mountain, camping at its foot. It was on coming up one of these
mountains that many dead horses were seen. So many were they, it
seemed that, for a mile or two, there was one to every rod or two.
They had given out from want of feed and were shot to keep the enemy
from getting them.

(458) It was now the 27th, the 9th day since we had left Lynchburg. We
had marched from that time 168 miles. For the last three or four days
we had had in the way of subsistence little or nothing except coffee,
sugar and very poor beef, of which latter the men became very sick,
getting it only partially cooked by roasting it over a fire. We had
got to that extremity that we were glad to get bran or raw corn to
eat. It was said that an officer in one case at least, offered a
dollar for a pint of corn. Here at the west base of Big Sewell,
however, the train of supplies which had been promised us for a day or
two, finally came up to the great gladness of all. And the race for
rations was now at an end.

(459) The next day we pushed on and passed the Hawksnest on the New
River, the 29th, an almost perpendicular precipice of rocks, eleven
hundred feet high, overlooking the river; crossed the Ganley River the
same day at its junction with the former river, the two streams
forming the Kanawha river, and camped. We remained here two days,
being now within easy reach of supplies, and were mustered for pay
while here. July 2nd, we marched to Camp Piatt on the Kanawha ten
miles from Charleston, having marched 227 miles from Lynchburg.

(400) Col. Strother, Gen. Hunter's chief of staff in his report of the
expedition, gives these results: "About 50 miles of the Virginia
Central railroad had been effectually destroyed. The Virginia and
Tennessee road had been destroyed to some extent for the same
distance; an incredible amount of public property had been buried,
including canal boats and railroad trains loaded with ordinance and
commissary stores; numerous extensive iron works, manufactories of
saltpetre, musket stocks, shoes, saddles and artillery harness, woolen
cloths and grain mills. About three hundred muskets and twenty pieces
of cannon with quantities of shells and gun powder fell into our
hands, while immense quantities of provisions, cattle and horses were
captured and used by the army." Col. Strother claims also the
infliction of a loss of 2,000 killed and wounded on the enemy, besides
the taking of 2,000 prisoners with a total loss of only 1,500 men and
eight guns in Hunter's command (see Pond) Hunter, however, lost a
great many horses, mules and wagons by reason of lack of subsistence
for the horses and mules.

(461) It appears that a far greater result was achieved by Hunter's
expedition than any or it may be, of all those given by Col. Strother;
for Jefferson Davis explained to the people of Georgia after the fall
of Atlanta that "an audacious movement of the enemy up to the very
walk of Lynchburg had rendered it necessary that the government should
send a formidable body of troops to cover that vital point, which had
otherwise been intended for the relief of Atlanta."

(462) Hunter regarded the achievements of his command as valuable. He
sent a dispatch from Lomp Creek near Ganley Bridge, June 28th, saying
that, "the expedition had been extremely successful inflicting great
injury upon the enemy." He added, "The command is in excellent heart
and health." Gen. Hunter, who had kept up during the raid a rather
luxuriant table, comparatively sumptuously supplied, was perhaps
himself in pretty good health and heart; but that his troops in
general--who had suffered much deprivation and hardship, having to
live mainly on meat for some days inferior no doubt to good mule meat,
and having been so exhaustively marched that a few days before we
reached rations he ordered those of the command, who could not keep up
to keep in squads so that they could defend themselves from
bushwhackers--would agree with this opinion is hardly to be believed.

(463) July 3rd, the Twelfth with a considerable portion of Hunter's
infantry besides, took steamboats at Camp Piatt on the Kanawha for
Parkersburg on the Ohio, to take cars of the Baltimore and Ohio
railroad back to the Shenandoah Valley again. We passed down the
Kanawha and up the Ohio getting along pretty well till we came to
Buffington's Island where we had to go ashore and foot it a short
distance on account of the boats not being able to pass the shoals
there with her load of passengers. After passing the shoals we boarded
the boats again. From this point we got along pretty well till we got
to Blannertassett's Island, about six miles from Parkersburg, where we
had to go ashore again on account of low water, and march to that
city, arriving at a village opposite the 4th, having marched up on the
Ohio side of the river and camped for the night.

(464) We crossed the river the next day and took the cars for the
Valley. It was five days later when we reached the village of
Hedgersville on the western skirt of the Valley, having been detained
on the way on account of the Rebels having burnt several bridges east
of Cumberland, Md., which had to be rebuilt before the trains could go
on. At this village we began to hear reports and rumors as to the
nearness and strength of the enemy; but notwithstanding whatever the
commanding general may have known the troops generally seemed to have
no definite information as to the strength of the Rebels near us.



CHAPTER IX.


(465) The next day, the 11th, after our arrival at Hedgesville our
brigade which was now united, marched to Martinsburg having had to
march from near Back Creek, a distance of 15 miles, on account of the
Rebels having torn up the railroad east of that creek. We had now got
back to the town from which we had started on April 29th, under Sigel
up the Valley. Just before we reached the town our cavalry had driven
out of it a small force of Rebel cavalry. According to Col. Curtis
when we moved from here under Sigel, the Twelfth had 800 men present,
while now we were reduced to 250 men present for duty. The five-sixths
of this reduction mainly of sick, it is safe to say was chargeable to
the Lynchburg raid principally, showing how severe it was on the men,
and hardly sustaining Hunter's dispatch from near Ganley Bridge, that
the men were in excellent health. But though the command suffered
great hardships they could not say that they were not forewarned by
Gen. Hunter, that that was what they might expect and so they could
not say that they were deceived in that particular.

(466) As before said we were once more in the Valley; once a fair land
of peace and plenty, but now a desolate land battle-scarred and laid
waste by the conflicts of contending armies; and fated to be the
theatre of further bloody battles; when in truth it might be said:
"The earth is covered thick with other clay, Which her own clay shall
cover, heaped and pent."

(467) The day our brigade arrived at Martinsburg the Rebel Gen. Early,
who had marched from the relief of Lynchburg into the Valley and whose
troops had burned bridges and torn up the track of the Baltimore and
Ohio road, east and west of Martinsburg, appeared before Washington
having gone there to attempt its capture. But he like Hunter at
Lynchburg was just one day too late, the Sixth Corps having come to
the relief of the capitol that same day, just as Early had come to the
relief of Lynchburg the very day Hunter appeared before that city. The
next day the 12th, after some sharp fighting with the Sixth Corps,
Early, being satisfied by prisoners captured that Grant had sent
reinforcements to Washington, withdrew from before the city. It is
possible that Early's attempt to capture Washington might have been
successful, had not Gen. Sigel wisely withdrawn his troops from
Martinsburg on learning that Early was coming and thus frustrating his
(Early's) plan to capture them, and marched to Harpers Ferry gathering
up some troops on the way, and occupied Maryland Heights, just where
according to Pond he was not wanted by Early, he having been detained
there for a day in a vain attempt to dislodge Sigel intending to make
that his (Early's) base in his movement against the capitol, and had
he not met with further detention by Lew Wallace's stubborn fighting
at Monocacy Junction.

(468) The Twelfth remained two days at Martinsburg when the 13th, we
marched taking the road leading to Harpers Ferry, reaching there the
next day crossing into Maryland, passing down the Potomac and camped
about two miles from Harpers Ferry near Knoxville. There were now here
about 9,000 troops mainly of Hunter's troops. The 15th, the force here
waded the river into Virginia and took the road leading toward
Leesburg about 18 miles distant. When about nine miles on the way, we
turned to the right and marched to Hillsborough in Londown county and
camped for the night. Early's foiled army was now on the way from
Washington to the Valley followed by Gen. Wright of the Sixth Corps
with a force of about 15,000 men.

(469) The same night that we were lying at Hillsborough, Early was at
Leesburg about a half day's march distant having lain there all the
day before; but the next morning the 16th, he moved through Hamilton
and Purcellville to Snicker's and Ashby's Gaps. Hunter's troops might
easily have been thrown across Early's route ahead of him, and would
have been no doubt, had the follower's strength been great enough, but
his force being too small to risk an attack, it was evidently deemed
prudent to not make it. However, Tibbets's small brigade of Duffie's
cavalry attacked Early's trains and captured one hundred and seventeen
mules and horses, eighty-two wagons and 40 or 50 prisoners getting off
with thirty-seven loaded wagons and burning over forty others. This
attack on the Rebel trains was made near Purcellville as they moved
through that town.

(470) On this same day, the 16th, our division under the immediate
command of Gen. Crook marched to Purcellville, five miles from
Hillsborough, starting at 4 P.M. At the former town it was reported
that Wright's command was only three miles east of there. We stayed
all the next day at Purcellville; but the following day, the 18th, we
marched taking the road leading to Snicker's Gap. On the way while
stopping to rest the Sixth Corps came up. Our division now under Col.
Thoburn moved through the gap and passed down the Shenandoah River
about two miles below Snicker's Ferry, he, having been ordered by Gen.
Crook about 2 o'clock to move his division with the Third Brigade of
the Second to Island Ford, cross there and move up to Snicker's Ford
to hold it for the army to cross.

(471) Thoburn proceeded to execute this order and thus brought on the
engagement of Snicker's Ferry. When Thoburn's men attempted to cross,
the enemy having a picket behind bushes, opened a brisk fire; but
Wells' brigade finding a good fording some distance below pushed
across and captured the Rebel picket of 15 men, and the captain
commanding them. Thoburn's force now all moved over, when he, learning
from the prisoners that there was a large force of the enemy near,
sent word back to Crook to that effect, who now ordered Thoburn to not
attempt to march to the ferry, but to await a reinforcement of a
brigade from the Sixth Corps.

(472) Before long the enemy attacked in strong force. About this time
the Sixth Corps came up, halting within close cannon shot upon the
Blue Ridge, which here closely skirts the river, but no reinforcements
came to us. Breckinridge attacked on the left and centre and Rhodes on
the right. Here on the extreme right was a lot of dismounted cavalry
from various regiments under command of Lieut. Col. Young of the
Fourth Pennsylvania, who soon gave way retreating across the river.
Thoburn quickly changed front to meet the flank attack of Rhodes but
after hard fighting, our right was forced across the river some
getting drowned. Our left held its ground until ordered back,
recrossing the river in fairly good order, considering circumstances.
The fight was short but severe. Our loss was 65 killed, 301 wounded
and 56 missing. Total, 422. Among the field officers our loss was
heavy. Col. Dan. Frost of the Eleventh, Lieut. Col. Thomas Morris of
the Fifteenth West Virginia Infantry and the Colonel of an Ohio
regiment were killed, and Col. Washburn of the One Hundred and
Sixteenth Ohio Infantry was thought to be mortally wounded, a musket
ball having entered his left eye and come out of his right ear; but he
recovered. The loss of the Rebels must also have been severe, and the
more so since in forcing our men back they brought themselves within
range of the Sixth Corps batteries, on the opposite side of the river,
which opened and kept up a hot fire upon them for a little while doing
good execution, and thus aiding also our men in recrossing the river.
The next day the Rebels were busy burying their dead and removing
their wounded, and two days later when the enemy had gone the
citizens, living near the battle field told us that their loss was
heavy.

(473) At the time of this engagement, Thoburn's men regarded the
failure of the Sixth Corps to come to their support as resulting from
an indifference on the part of that corps, as to how Thoburn's men
came out in the fight. However, the true explanation of the matter may
be found in this dispatch from Wright to Halleck: "The attempt at
crossing was resisted in strong force; and believing it better to turn
his position I designed doing so by way of Keyes Gap thus effecting a
junction with some of the forces of Gen. Hunter lower down the
Valley."

(474) The Twelfth was the last regiment to retreat across the river.
According to the account of Col. Curtis, Col. Thoburn having
confidence in the pluck and staying qualities of our boys, ordered him
to form his regiment in line in front of the ford, and hold it at all
hazard till further orders. The position was an excellent one being in
a road parallel with the river, the bank of which road made a good
breast work. The regiment held its position until ordered to recross
the river doing so in the dusk of the evening, the rest of the force
having crossed shortly before. One of the noticeable features of the
fight here, observed by our men, was a peculiar way the Rebel
skirmishers had. They would advance fire and then turn their backs
toward us to load, those seen obliquely to our left wore a blue-grey
uniform, which at a distance looked blue: This fact together with
their having their backs toward us when loading, caused doubt as to
whether they were our men or the enemy, and some of the officers gave
orders to fire upon them while others, saying they were our men gave
orders to not fire; but when it was generally seen which way these
skirmishers were firing there was no longer any doubt, and the men
were told to let them have it. Here and on our left generally, the
Rebels were driven back.

(475) One of the especially sad and lamentable results of this fight
was, that some members of the Fourth West Virginia Infantry whose time
had expired were killed in it. They had been waiting before starting
home until a sufficiently strong force should be going to the rear to
make it safe for them to start. In the meantime this Snicker's Ferry
fight came on, and the Fourth boys being plucky fellows generally,
these discharged men said that they would not stand back while their
comrades were going into a fight, and so some of the poor fellows were
killed with discharges in their pockets.

(476) The next day after the battle our forces lay on one side of the
river and the enemy on the other, our sharpshooters getting a shot at
them once in awhile. One division of the Nineteenth Corps came up this
day. Generals Averell and Duval were now moving up the Valley toward
Winchester from Martinsburg with 2,700 troops, infantry, cavalry, and
artillery, getting in Early's rear. In the morning the 20th, his force
was gone from our front. Averell's movement no doubt, compelling this
withdrawal, and during the day we crossed the river and camped in some
woods. Before the troops here crossed the river, however, we heard
considerable commanding away to the west of us. There was much
conjecture among the rank and file as to what that meant. This proved
to be a battle between Averell's force, Duval commanding the infantry
and a superior Rebel force, the fight being near Winchester, in which
Averell won a complete victory.

(477) That evening the 6th, and the Nineteenth Corps recrossed the
river and took the road leading through Leesburg to Washington, Wright
thinking it seems that Early was on his way to Richmond and expecting
it appears, that he Wright would be returned to Grant at Petersburg.
But he had made a mistake in his inferences, for his troops did not go
farther than Georgetown, D.C., and it will presently be seen that
Early was not yet ready to leave the Valley.

(478) The 22nd, we marched passing through Berryville to Winchester,
and camped about two miles beyond the town on the Strasburg road. The
purpose of Gen. Crook in this movement was to watch Early's movements
and if possible ascertain his purposes. He did not have to wait long
to find them out. Early did not retreat farther up the Valley than
Strasburg, and learning there that Wright's force had returned to
Washington, he concluded to attack Crook, which he did, and this
brought on the battle of Kearnstown. The next day after our arrival at
our camp near Winchester, the enemy drove in our pickets, but after
some skirmishing the Rebels were driven back. The day after this
affair with the pickets, Early attacked Crook with his whole force at
Kearnstown. The Twelfth had been formed in line that Sunday forenoon,
July 24th, for inspection, at least the men had received orders to get
ready for that purpose; but suddenly without there being any
inspection the men were ordered to load at will.

(479) A half hour later perhaps our brigade was marched toward
Kearnstown. Before starting we had heard for some time considerable
skirmishing in that direction, and it was still kept up. It was the
season then for ripe blackberries, and as we moved toward the firing
we passed through fields where these berries were plentiful. Some of
the men could not forego stepping a little out of ranks and picking a
few of them. Col. Ely of the Eighteenth Connecticut, commanding the
brigade, noticing the men commanded them: "Keep in ranks, men, it is
no time to be gathering black berries." In truth it was not the most
propitious time imaginable for that purpose. It seems that anything
said or done at all noticeable in a critical and perilous time is apt
to make a strong impression and be remembered, and the boys for some
days afterward were in the habit of repeating the Colonel's command,
"Keep in ranks men, it is no-o-o time to be gathering blackberries."

(480) Our brigade had been moving forward on the right of the pike.
Finally we took a position and made a breast work of rails--a thing of
little use in an open country like that; for a breast work there can
easily be taken in flank. It was not long until we were moved from
this position and placed in line, still on the right of the pike with
the other troops. About 1 or 2 o'clock in the afternoon Early attacked
with his whole force. There are no data at hand showing Crook's
strength; but it was much inferior to that of Early, the latter having
force enough to fight us in front and to flank us on both flanks. In
fact, it was his expectation to cut off our retreat and capture our
whole force. Our left was struck in flank and doubled up and at the
same time the centre being hard pressed, the left and centre gave way.
Crook seeing this and knowing that he had not force enough to fight
Early's whole army ordered a retreat at about 3 o'clock, an hour or so
after the battle began. The Twelfth changed front once during the
battle but did not otherwise give ground until ordered off the field.
Col. Ely giving the order, saying to Col. Curtis, "Move your men off
the field by the right flank."

(481) The Rebels followed us sharply for six or eight miles. After
passing Winchester our brigade, halted at times and skirmished with
the enemy. Just as night was coming on while we were in a piece of
woods, a squadron of Rebel cavalry came in view riding within close
range. They were going in an opposite direction from us at a distance
to our right. When near us they halted. It being near night it was
hard to tell whether they were friends or enemies; but many of the men
of the brigade especially of the Second Maryland regiment began firing
on them, being satisfied that they were Rebels; and they retreated
toward Winchester, their horses prancing under the fire. Our brigade
became separated from the rest of the troops and for some reason
instead of following the direction of the pike toward Martinsburg, as
did the other troops, we turned toward North Mountain. Part of the way
toward the mountain we passed through rough stony woods, and it being
a pitch dark night--so very dark that you could scarcely see the man
next you--the men stumbled considerably, falling sometimes while in
the woods.

(482) By reason of the darkness we had to get a guide to pilot us; and
for the same reason Col. Thoburn and Col. Curtis got separated from
the command, for some days we did not know what had become of them. We
camped at the village of Gerardtown at the base of the mountain. The
main portion of Crook's infantry camped at Bunker Hill. Before
daylight the next morning we marched for Martinsburg, there meeting
the rest of our force. Our brigade was detailed as a guard for our
wagon trains. Before leaving with the trains, however, cannonading had
begun south of the town. Crook was holding the enemy back till he
could get his trains away. We arrived opposite Williamsport,
Washington county Maryland, in the evening and camped for the night.

(483) In the morning the 26th, we crossed over to the town and marched
first to Sharpsburg, then to Sandy hook and next, passing through
Harpers Ferry to Halltown arriving there the 28th. On this day Cols.
Thoburn and Curtis returned to their commands. The boys were all
heartily glad to see them, giving them rousing cheers on their return,
and they no doubt were no less glad to be once more with their
commands. Col. Curtis says that when he and Thoburn became separated
from their commands they were surrounded by a squad of Rebel cavalry,
who fired upon them, compelling them to abandon their horses and take
refuge in a corn field. The next morning they found the entire Rebel
force between them and their commands. They made their way to North
Mountain. By traveling at nights and sleeping in the day time, living
on black berries part of the time they, through the assistance of the
colored people and loyal whites at last returned to their commands to
report for duty, being four days absent without leave.

(484) Recurring to the battle of Kearnstown, Crook went to that town
as before mentioned to learn of Early's movements; but it is believed
that a battle there could have been avoided with little or no loss to
us; and in view of the fact that Crook knew that he did not have force
enough to meet Early's entire army, he should have declined an
engagement. The sacrifice of 1,200 men. Col. Mulligan commanding a
division was killed in this engagement. Crook's estimated loss was too
great simply to get information as to the enemy's purposes, when the
knowledge might have been got otherwise. The loss of the enemy has
been supposed to be light.

(485) The loss of the Twelfth in this battle was inconsiderable mainly
in prisoners taken. It was perhaps twenty-five or thirty in all. At
the beginning of the fight Lieut. Col. Brown was ordered on to the
skirmish line with two companies. It was from these companies
principally that the prisoners were taken. When our main force
retreated, these skirmishers received no order to fall back, the order
not reaching them, and they being left behind were surrounded and a
part of them, mostly from Company K, were captured. Lieut. Col. Brown,
then major, and Lieut. John A. Briggs, of Company K, were among the
prisoners. These two officers, however, managed to escape at
Harrisonburg from their guards while the latter were asleep and made
their way from there to North Mountain reaching there about daylight
one morning a few hours after their escape. As day was breaking they
hid in woods. It was not long till the Rebel cavalry were seen coming
in search for them. They came so near that they could be heard
talking. Fortunately, however, the fugitives were not discovered. The
particulars of how Lieut. Col. Brown and Lieut. Briggs made their way
to our lines, are not known, but some how they succeeded in getting
safe through to New Creek on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. Lieut.
Col. Brown says that after his capture he with some other officers was
brought before Gen. Breckinridge, who, he says was a fine looking man,
thus concurring with the popular opinion. The general questioned the
prisoners, as to the strength of Crook's command and so forth, but
they gave him no satisfaction in the way of information.

(486) Col. Curtis tells of an incident of Crook's retreat, about a
colored boy, his servant. When the retreat began the boy had charge of
a mule having all the Colonel's cooking utensils and other camp
equipage strapped upon him. After awhile the regiment came to a fence,
the men climbed over, the Colonel jumped his horse over and the boy
tried to get the mule to jump, but he refused. The case was urgent, as
the bullets were flying all around us; but the boy held on to the mule
trying to get him to jump. The mule was still stubborn. In the midst
of the boy's efforts a ball struck him in the neck, bleeding him
freely. This caused him to free his mind. He said: "Well a d----d mule
and a nigger are two of the most contrary things in the world." It is
not known whether the boy's vigorous expletive had any effect upon the
mule, but about this time he jumped the fence and the boy brought off
the mule and traps in safety.

(487) Richard W. Mahan of Company K, who was captured in this
engagement tells the story of his capture and prison trials as
follows:

(488) As soon as our regiment was brought up my company (K) and
Company E, were filed out without halting the regiment, and deployed
on the right as skirmishers. This was the last I saw of the regiment
for ten months. I have always thought that we were sacrificed in this
engagement--I mean the skirmishers. We commenced to fall back after it
was too late, very slowly too, firing in retreat. Our army by this
time had fallen back out of sight; and the Forty-fourth Virginia
(Rebel) cavalry was close on our right and in our rear. So after a
short, but brisk home stretch we surrendered in the open field and hot
sun, with no apple tree near to make the terms under. Seventeen of our
regiment, including two officers Maj. R. H. Brown and Lieut. John A.
Briggs eight of them being of my company were captured here.

(489) We were guarded the first night in an old school house. The next
morning we were taken to Winchester and kept there about two days with
nothing to eat until the third day when they started us off on the
march for Staunton, one hundred and eighty miles away. We were there
loaded into cars that were already loaded with pig metal and taken to
Lynchburg, and kept there ten days. Thence to Danville, Va., arriving
there on the 11th day of August, having traveled in closed box cars
that had been used in shipping charcoal and tar; and when we were
taken from the cars into the light we were so black that we could
scarcely recognize each other.

(490) From the depot here we were marched to the prison. Halting in
front while the doors were thrown open, five dead soldiers were
brought out in plain pine boxes. This incident opened our eyes as we
thought there must be something terrible inside for death to make such
a detail at one time from one of six buildings, containing about 600
prisoners each. We marched in and up to the garret where there were
already about fifty prisoners quartered, who had no clothing on except
a blouse tied around the waist, it being so excessively hot from the
heat of the tin roof which came down to the floor on each side. The
roof was so hot that you could not bear your hand on it while the sun
shone.

(491) We were kept here until the 17th of February, 1865, suffering
the usual ills of prison life. And the great trouble with most of us
was short rations, which was a half pound of corn bread each morning
at 9 o'clock. The Johnnys proposed that if we would go out and work on
their fortifications, they would give us extra rations. A few accepted
this proposition as workers were called for each morning for two or
three days; but they were punished severely by the other prisoners for
their disloyalty, and soon no one would respond when the call would be
made. "All right," said Johnny. "You all will come at the next call."
So they reduced our rations to make us yield.

(492) In the meantime an organization was proposed and effected among
the prisoners of one hundred members to respond to the next call with
the intention of capturing the guard at the fortifications and making
their escape. This was in the month of October, and we thought that in
the event we should escape we could subsist on the mast of the woods
of the mountains on our way north. All arrangements were completed,
and the signal word (which was Corn-Dodger) for combined action in
making the attempt at escape was to be given at 4 P.M., which was the
hour they would form us into two ranks for a ration of soup; then take
us back to prison. So in the morning when the call was made we
responded liberally; but unfortunately for myself and twenty-four
others the door was closed on the rear of the column and no more than
seventy-five would be received. Being greatly disappointed those of us
left in prison went back up stairs and gazed longingly across the Dan
River at our boys working on the fortifications. At 4 P.M., approached
we watched through the garret window in breathless silence to see the
boys execute the plan. Sure enough the signal is given, the guards are
clinched and their guns taken from them, and every prisoner there
takes to his heels due north. The Johnnys fired an alarm from the
fort, and their reserve citizens and dogs were soon in pursuit. They
were nearly all captured in the course of a month or six weeks and
brought back. Some who got near the Union lines and became careless
were picked up.

(493) The mortality among the prisoners here during the time mentioned
was 1,300 of the 3,500 in all. We were taken from here to Libby prison
and kept there three days and exchanged on the 22nd of February--a day
for us to celebrate for two reasons.

(494) The next day the 29th, after our arrival at Halltown, the Sixth
Corps and one division of the Nineteenth Corps arrived there from
Washington having been ordered back to the lower Valley on account of
Early's continued presence there. The authorities, it seemed, had now
become convinced that he had no notion of vacating that place just
then. And a longer army was now concentrating at Halltown for the
purpose of attacking him. The Twelfth heretofore had belonged to a
small army; and for the past three months had had very hard service
generally, and during that time the regiment had been in five
engagements; but now for the first time we were to be placed in a
comparatively large army, and from this time to the end of the war we
belonged to a large one. We found our service much easier from this
time on with a large force, than it had been for past three months
with a small force. Gen. Hunter was in command of the army
concentrating at Halltown.

(495) On the 13th, there being a force of the enemy at this time, of
uncertain strength operating in Pennsylvania and there being a belief
or apprehension that Early's whole army was north of the Potomac with
a general condition of uncertainty as to the situation of affairs with
respect to his force and operations, the troops at Halltown soon after
receiving the orders, crossed the Potomac at Harpers Ferry on a
pontoon bridge and started on what Greeley calls a wild goose chase
into Maryland, to head off a possible attempt by the enemy against
Washington. The whole force started in the direction of Frederick
City; but after marching some distance, our division turned to the
left, the Sixth Corps and Nineteenth going toward that city. We
marched about, in a halting uncertain way for three or four days when
the Rebel invasion proving to be nothing but a cavalry raid, we
marched to rejoin our other troops at the Monocacy, near Frederick
City. Hunter's headquarters were in this city.

(496) The Twelfth remained in camp at the Monocacy two days the 4th
and 5th of August. On this latter day, Gen. Grant, who had left his
army before Petersburg, on account of the unsatisfactory military
condition in the Valley, arrived at Frederick City to have a
conference with Gen. Hunter and to give him orders as to future
operations. He gave him an order dated "Headquarters in the field,
Monocacy Bridge, Md., August 5, 1804," which embraced a direction to
concentrate his forces at Harpers Ferry just where Hunter had been
concentrating his army a week before. The order stated with other
instructions, "Bear in mind the object is to drive the enemy south."
Grant informed Hunter that a large force of cavalry from the Army of
the Potomac was on the way to join him.

(497) Hunter began at once to carry out the order. That same night
part of Crook's command crossed the Potomac and occupied the old lines
at Halltown. As it happened this same day, the day of Grant's order,
Early crossed into Maryland from Martinsburg in force. But the next
day Early recalled his army to Martinsburg, being influenced no doubt,
by Hunter's move to Halltown, which threatened Early's rear. The 6th,
the Twelfth marched from the Monocacy to near Harpers Ferry. On the
8th, we marched across the Potomac to near Halltown where the army was
massing.



CHAPTER X.


(498) It had been Grant's intention to make Gen. Sheridan field
commander in the campaign now about to begin. But, for reasons not
necessary to name, Hunter wishing to be relieved of command, was
accordingly relieved, and Sheridan put in command of the Army of the
Shenandoah. He arrived at Monocacy on the 6th, and Grant returned to
Washington the same day. The next day by an order from the War
Department, a Military Division was made of the Departments of
Pennsylvania, Washington, Maryland, and West Virginia under Sheridan's
command.

(499) Sheridan's army was now August 10th, 30,000 strong. On this day
he moved from Halltown up the Valley to give battle to the enemy.
Passing through Berryville and Winchester from which latter point the
enemy retreated before him our force arrived at Cedar Creek, forty
miles from Halltown on the 12th. At this point the enemy was disposed
to make a stand. That evening the Twelfth and First charged upon and
drove the Rebel skirmishes east of the pike across the creek. Crook's
command did not cross, but the next day the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps
crossed the creek on the right of the pike driving the enemy before
them for a mile or two.

(500) The next day, the 14th, a detail of two officers, Capt. Prichard
and Lieut. Hewitt, and 60 men of the Twelfth was sent under command of
Capt. Prichard to Massanutten Mountain just across Cedar Creek to
guard a signal corps there. This guard and signal corps had, however,
not been on the mountain more than a few hours until they were
attacked by a large force 800 men, a man of our captured, afterward
stated, and driven off, with a loss to us of three or four men killed
and wounded.

(501) All the next day there was considerable skirmishing between the
opposing forces, but Sheridan having received intelligence from Grant
on the 14th, that reinforcements were on the way to Early began
preparing for a retreat, the Nineteenth Corps starting the night of
the 15th. The next day a part of Anderson's force crossing the
Shenandoah river on the Front Royal road was met by Devin's and
Custer's brigades of cavalry and driven back across the river with a
Rebel loss of 300 prisoners. This night, the 16th, the Sixth Corps and
the Eighth, the latter Crook's command, retreated down the Valley
breakfasting at Winchester, then pushing on to the position taken near
Berryville.

(502) The morning of the 17th, Early started in hot pursuit. Our
cavalry with our small brigade of infantry of the Sixth Corps having
been left at Winchester were attacked by the enemy in the afternoon,
but the brigade of infantry and a portion of the cavalry held them in
check all afternoon. At length after night our men were forced back
with a loss of 350 to us, mainly of the infantry, 200 of the latter
being taken prisoners. On the 20th, Sheridan having been enjoined by
Grant to be cautious, and not desiring to give battle until he should
know more definitely the strength of the enemy, fell back to near
Charlestown the lines being formed with the Sixth Corps on the right,
the Nineteenth on the left and the Eighth in the centre.

(503) It appears that Early had planned to attack Sheridan the next
day. His forces moved on two different roads with that purpose,
Anderson on one road and Early on the other. The latter attacked the
Sixth Corps which at first gave ground, but afterward regained it at
night fall, with a loss on our side of 260 killed and wounded. The
other corps were formed in line ready for battle, but Anderson not
getting up, the fight was soon over, Early concluding to draw off, for
the present at least. That night Sheridan desiring to act on the
defensive for the present, also to have a better position and to bide
his time which was surely coming when the clouds of disappointment and
doubt which had hung over this field too long should be rifted, and
the sun of success and bright promise shine through, fell back to
Halltown forming line from the Shenandoah on the left to the Potomac
on the right. We made breast works of fence rails, railroad ties and
so forth the next day. In the meantime there was considerable
skirmishing and some cannonading between the opposing forces, the
enemy having followed us up.

(504) Early demonstrated against us for three days, when the 25th, a
large part of his infantry marched to Shepherdstown on the Potomac,
and a considerable body of his cavalry to Williamsport. Our forces
captured a few prisoners in our front today. The next day the Twelfth
went on the skirmish line. And two brigades of the First Division and
one of the Second, Crook's command, Lowell's cavalry co-operating,
went to our front to reconnoitre. They broke the Rebel skirmish line,
burnt some stacks from behind which the Rebels had skirmished, and
drove two brigades from their breast works, our loss being 141 killed
and wounded. That night, Anderson, who had been left in command here,
while Early had moved to Shepherdstown and Williamsport, not having
sufficient force to hold his ground, fell back to Stephensons Depot,
five miles east of Winchester.

(505) Sheridan's force did not move for two days when the 28th, the
army marched to Charlestown. The next day from the position of the
infantry could be heard cannonading all day. This resulted from the
Rebel infantry's driving Merritt's cavalry from Smithfield, some six
miles west of Charlestown, which former town was then occupied by the
enemy's cavalry and from further fighting when later Ricketts'
division of the Sixth Corps drove the enemy's cavalry out and Merritt
reoccupied the town. Along about this time the soldiers in camp ate,
slept, wrote letters and did whatever else they had to do within the
almost constant sound of cannon or musketry.

(506) The main portion of the army remained near Charlestown for the
next five days. During this time the Twelfth was paid six months pay.
And now our sutter reappeared upon the scene. It was a good time for
him to be on hand; for now, was his harvest season. At the end of five
days or on the morning of the 3rd of September, Sheridan desiring to
extend his lines to Berryville, ordered the Eighth Corps to that
place. We arrived there in the evening, and the boys immediately began
making coffee but they had hardly more than begun to do so, when there
was a few musket shots to our front toward Winchester. Right away the
boys of the Twelfth began to discuss the matter of what the probable
cause of the firing was. Some saying that they thought the butchers
were killing beeves; others were doubtful about it but soon, the shots
increasing in frequency, they were about making up their minds that a
fight was on hand when Col. Ely commanding the brigade hastily gave
the order: "Fall in, fall in!" and soon Crook's command was in line to
the right and left of the Berryville pike to meet the enemy which was
there in considerable force.

(507) The firing first heard was caused by an attack upon the First
Virginia, which had only been put on picket about a half hour before,
on the Berryville pike. The fight lasted till after dark. We held our
ground on the night, while Duval's division on the left drove the
enemy capturing about 60 prisoners. Crook's loss in this affair was
166. While the fighting was going on wagons were heard driving rapidly
down the Valley on the road crossing the Berryville pike just to our
rear. These belonged to a force of our cavalry that had been on a
reconnoissance up the Valley. After dark the Rebels threw some shells
over our heads which seemed to fall pretty close to the passing wagon
train. The next day some of the cavalry said that we of the infantry
had saved them from being cut off in their return down the Valley, for
the Rebels would have had to go only a short distance until they would
have been across the cavalrymen's road. Crook's command held its
position till near morning when it drew back toward Charlestown about
two miles. And Sheridan's whole force began to intrench.

(508) Just why this fight at Berryville took place, so far as the
purpose and movement of the enemy brought it on, was not at the time
understood among our men. The impression seemed to be that Crook's
force was there to hold the Berryville pike, while the cavalry were
making a reconnoissance up the Valley and the Rebels moving on that
road with the purpose of cutting off their return had encountered us,
and that was the reason it was thought the fight took place. But the
fact is the fight resulted, so far as the enemy was responsible, from
a part of his force in the Valley having started on that evening on
the return to Richmond by way of Berryville. Something over two weeks
before this Early received, as before stated, reinforcements from Lee,
consisting mainly of Anderson's division of Longstreet's corps, which
corps was now commanded by Anderson, who had come into the Valley with
the division. Lee being hard pressed by Grant at this time had called
for the return of these troops, and it was they whom Crook had
encountered that evening. The fight was a mutual surprise. Crook's men
were getting supper when the enemy attacked the First Virginia on
picket sending them back precipitately: thus bringing on the fight.
This unexpected engagement delayed the departure of this Rebel force
for some days.

(509) After the Berryville battle there was no general movement of the
Union forces for more than two weeks. On the 8th, however, Crook's
corps was moved from its position on the left of the lines to Summit
Point on the right. The status of things on our side was maintained in
the main, for the next ten days. Maj. Brown, who was captured about
seven weeks before at Winchester, and had escaped from the Rebels at
Harrisburg, returned to the Twelfth from home on the 10th.

(510) On the 13th, Gen. McIntosh of Wilson's division of cavalry
reconnoitering on the Berryville road in the direction of Winchester,
captured a South Carolina regiment of infantry, the whole of it,
however, being only a little over 100 men and 30 other prisoners. The
news of the capture spread through the camp and had an inspiriting
effect, no doubt upon the army; and perhaps was regarded as presaging
further victory.

(511) There having been of late great urgency to have the Baltimore
and Ohio railroad opened, and a pressure generally to have the people
north of the Potomac freed from the menace of Early's army. Gen. Grant
paid Sheridan a visit on the 16th to talk over the situation and see
what should be done. Just two days before this, Anderson's division
had again started to return to Richmond; this time moving through
Chester Gap farther south, and thus the condition, the withdrawal of a
part of Early's force, that Grant and Sheridan had been waiting for,
had come about. So when Grant asked Sheridan on that Friday if he
could be ready to attack Early on the next Tuesday he did not want,
like McClellan, to delay awaiting reinforcements, or plead lack of
means of transportation or supplies, or some other difficulty, but he
answered like a man who meant business, that he could be ready the
following Monday; thus showing so far as this instance would indicate,
not that "There is luck in leisure," but rather that there is a bright
promise in promptitude. For by attacking on Monday he took the enemy
somewhat at a disadvantage, his forces then being scattered along the
Martinsburg pike, thus rendering victory certain for Sheridan, while
if the attack had been delayed till Tuesday Early's forces would have
been concentrated, they being on the move on Monday for that purpose,
and the result of the battle might have been otherwise.

(512) Sheridan having decided to attack Early on the memorable 19th of
September, had sent his unnecessary trains and the sutlers to the rear
the day before; and accordingly on the eventful Monday he moved to the
attack before day. Our brigade consisting at this time of the First,
Fourth and Twelfth West Virginia Infantry, then under the command of
Lieut. Col. Northcott marched at 5 o'clock P.M., the body of the
troops having started earlier. The serious character of the work that
the men of the Twelfth believed to be before them had a sobering
effect upon them; but they marched bravely forward that morning
willing to do their part in the coming struggle. Nearing the
Berryville ford of the Opeguon, over which all the infantry had to
pass, and between which and Winchester, five miles distant, the battle
was fought, we heard heavy skirmishing. The battle was opening. The
Twelfth and in fact our whole brigade, was lucky that day, if it may
be regarded as fortunate to escape the chance of being killed or
wounded. And it may be said, the regiment was rather favored by
fortune in this regard from this time to the end of our service.

(513) When we reached the ford to our not very sorrowful surprise--for
the boys had got over being eager for a fight--it was announced to us
that our brigade was detached to guard the wagon train and field
hospital to be established at that point. Lieut. Col. Northcott was
mortified and vexed that his brigade should be left out of the fight,
and he inquired of Col. Thoburn, commanding the division, the reason
of it. Thoburn answered that he, Thoburn, had no choice in the matter,
his orders being to detach his smallest brigade to be left as a guard
at the ford. And thus we were left out of the battle. However, it is
not always safe to be in the rear, as is shown by the fact that
Sheridan intended to attack Early in the rear that morning, but
changed his plan when he learned that the enemy's forces were then
strung along the Martinsburg pike. As it was, we had to be on the
alert, for there were guerrillas hovering about us ready to pounce on
any small squad that might become detached from the command.

(514) It was nearly noon before the battle, because general, and for
four or five hours thereafter we could see, from our position at the
ford, the smoke of the conflict rolling up beyond the woods in our
front, and hear the roar of the battle. There we stayed and during all
this time we were unable to determine from the sound how the battle
was going. In the meantime the men and officers were debating as to
the probable result. Adjt. Caldwell of the Twelfth saying that
Sheridan had about 40,000 men and the enemy presumably not so many,
thought that we would win the day. At length toward evening the Eighth
Corps (ours) struck the enemy on their left flank and soon their rout
became general. They were sent through Winchester on the run. And the
news of our victory soon reached us at the ford.

(515) This was a bloody battle. The total Union lost being about
5,000, there being 4,300 killed and wounded. The total Rebel loss from
the best obtainable data was about 4,000. Of this number about 2,000
were prisoners. If the data are correct, there was a great disparity
in the losses of the two armies in killed and wounded. Early's losses
in these lists being less than half of Sheridan's. This fact may be
explained by reason of the enemy's having the protection of trees,
rocks and other shelter during most of the battle. Besides the
prisoners, Sheridan captured five pieces of artillery and seven battle
flags.

(516) At the time of this battle of Winchester or the Opequon,
Sheridan had in the Valley an army of 4,300 men, in round numbers;
while according to Pond's "Shenandoah Valley," the Rebel records show
Early's force in that battle to be less than half that number.
However, there are some facts which point to the conclusion that the
Rebel force was under estimated. Grant puts Early's strength at the
time Sheridan was put in command of the Union forces in the Valley,
August 7th at about 30,000; and he was somewhat stronger at the time
of the battle with Anderson's division absent, than he was at the date
to which Grant refers. Greeley says in his _American Conflict_ that,
in a newspaper controversy between Sheridan and Early in 1865,
Sheridan stated "that the prisoners taken by him from Early (during
the Valley campaign) exceeded the number to which that general limited
his entire command."

(517) Sheridan was a dashing, rushing and seemingly reckless kind of
man, with no pretense of pomp or polish. So when he sent his dispatch
to Washington announcing his victory, he did not say, "_Winchester
is ours and fairly won_," as the illustrious Gen. Sherman would
perhaps have said, or that "_Victory had perched upon our banners
and we have sent the traitor hosts vanquished and vanquishing up the
Valley_," or anything of the kind; but he simply said: "We have
just sent them whirling through Winchester." The following dispatch
was received by Sheridan:

(518) "Have just heard of your great victory. God bless you all,
officers and men. Strongly inclined to come up and see you. A.
LINCOLN."

(519) Here is a characteristic incident showing somewhat the style of
man Sheridan was: In his first movement up the Valley in August, when
we had reached Cedar Creek where the enemy was, the First and Twelfth,
it will be recollected, were ordered to charge some Rebel skirmishers,
one company of the Twelfth having previously been put upon our
skirmish line. Just as the two regiments were in the act of charging,
Sheridan and Crook, passing from the right to the left along the
skirmish line to take in the situation, had come opposite the charging
troops; when Crook seemed inclined to stop and watch the result.
Sheridan, however, appeared to be in a hurry, wanting to pass on; so
he said: "Come on Crook, never mind, they'll give them h--ll." Perhaps
because of the character of Sheridan as indicated by this incident,
and as shown by his dispatch to Washington as given, and the
observations in connection therewith, he was popular with the
soldiers. But by, more than all else in gaining the victory at the
Opeguon he gained their abiding confidence and admiration; which fact
gave promise of future victory.

(520) The Twelfth with its brigade remained at the Berryville ford
till the 22nd, when we marched, following the army up the Valley. We
passed through Winchester. From there we guarded a wagon train of
supplies up to Cedar Creek reaching there about sun down, just as our
army was driving Early's from Fisher's Hill, in sight from the creek.
Sheridan employed the same tactics in this battle that he did in the
battle of the Opequon, sending Crook's, (the Eighth) Corps to attack
the enemy on the flank. Sheridan's loss in this battle was only about
400; while Early's was between 1,300 and 1,400 mostly prisoners. This
time the enemy's loss was much the heavier making the losses in each
army in the two battles about 5,400. Sheridan captured 16 cannons at
Fisher's Hill.

(521) After Early's rout his army retreated up the Valley, followed by
Sheridan's after night for 12 miles to Woodstock. It was perhaps an
unprecedented thing in the annals of the war for one army to follow
another opposing army after dark on the same road, as was done in this
instance. Our men had been dropping out of ranks all along the road to
rest or sleep; and as the Twelfth passed along, it looked as though
there was a string of those dropped out soldiers all along the 12
miles from Strasburg to Woodstock. When our regiment reached this
latter town there was not more than the equal of a company left in the
ranks, the most of the Twelfth having fallen out of ranks too. Those
of the regiment remaining in ranks, marched 35 miles that day and
night. The Rebels were followed so sharply, that many of them to
escape took to the mountains. It was said also that, in this right
pursuit of the enemy, in some instances, a Union soldier becoming
tired and sleepy and seeing some one lying by the road side, would
stop there for company; and in the morning he would discover a Johnny
by his side, who of course, would be made a prisoner.

(522) The Twelfth remained at Woodstock one day with its corps, then
pushing on after the bulk of the army to Harrisonburg, about 25 miles
from Staunton, arrived there the 25th, the cavalry going as far as
Staunton and Waynesboro destroying arms, ammunition and so forth at
the latter place, and in accordance with Grant's orders all the mills,
barns and stacks of hay and grain were burned, and the stock driven
off in the Valley from Staunton down to Harrisonburg. The Sixth Corps
and Nineteenth marched up to Mount Crawford on the 29th, and back to
Harrisonburg the next day in support of the burning operations.

(523) The army remained at Harrisonburg till October the 6th; when the
whole force marched down the Valley, arriving at Strasburg the 8th.
All the way down to this place as we marched, the smoke could be seen
rolling up behind us from the burning barns, mills and so forth. It
was said that in many instances, in burning barns, reports of fire
arms hidden in them and discharged by the heat were heard. Early
reinforced by Anderson's division and Rosser's cavalry followed us
down the Valley to Strasburg. The cavalry styled themselves the
Saviors of the Valley, and were particularly aggressive. Sheridan got
tired of their annoyance and determined to dispose of these new found
"Saviors of the Valley." He directed Torbet accordingly to start out
at daylight on the morning of the 9th and "whip the Rebel cavalry or
get whipped himself." Our cavalry promptly to time attacked Lomax's
cavalry on the pike and Rosser's on the back road and after a fight of
about two hours routed them on both roads, capturing about 330
prisoners, 11 guns--all they had but one--and 47 wagons--"everything
on wheels." The Rebels were run about 26 miles up the Valley on the
jump. After the battle for the rest of the day, about all the saving
the Johnnys wanted to do was to "save their bacon." Sheridan was very
enthusiastic over this victory offering, it is said, $50 for the other
piece of artillery.

(524) The second day after this battle of Tom's Brook, as it is
called, the 11th, our brigade started from Cedar Creek for Martinsburg
as a guard, with a wagon train and the captured property. Near Newton,
which is about eight miles from Cedar Creek, we met two or three
cavalrymen coming at a headlong rate. They belonged to a party of 25
that had been guarding an ambulance conveying some officers and mail
matters, which had just been attacked a little farther on by Mosby.
This was a very bloody affair with our men nearly half of them being
killed or wounded. Lieut. Col. Northcott stopped the command, and
scoured the woods nearby, to see if there were any Rebels about; but
it was too late. Mosby had got off with nearly all the unwounded and
the ambulance. We camped that night at Winchester where we met Col.
Curtis returning from a leave of absence, who now took command of the
brigade. The next morning we marched for Martinsburg arriving there
after dark.

(525) We remained at Martinsburg two days. During this time Mosby
captured a train of cars at Kearnysville, a town between former town
and Harpers Ferry. On the afternoon of the 15th, we started to the
front again with a wagon train arriving at Winchester the next day, at
which place we were told to pitch our tents, as we were likely to
remain there for a few days. Accordingly the tents were put up.

(526) As before stated Early had followed Sheridan down the Valley
from Staunton to Strasburg; but it was only the cavalry that came all
the way, his infantry having halted at New Market. Sheridan believed
the enemy would not again attempt to come down in force and therefore
he had ordered the Sixth Corps to return to the Army of the Potomac in
accordance with Grant's desire to have a part of the Valley force sent
to him as soon as it could be spared. This corps had started to return
about the time we had left Cedar Creek for Martinsburg. But there was
an unexpected turn in affairs. Early on the 13th had arrived with his
whole army at Fisher's Hill, and without halting sent a reconnoitering
force to Cedar Creek, which threw some shells into Thoburn's camp
while the men were at dinner. Thoburn's men were almost as much
surprised as if the shells had dropped from the clouds; for a
reconnoitering party had been up the Valley the day before, ten or
twelve miles, and reported that no enemy had been sen. Thoburn's
division was soon formed, and he undertook to capture the Rebel
artillery, the command crossing the creek to attack it but, the enemy
being in strong force he failed. Thoburn's loss in this engagement was
200 or 300. The gallant Col. Wells of the Thirty-fourth Massachusetts
was killed in this fight. After Early's demonstration in Sheridan's
front, the Sixth Corps on its way to Grant by way of Washington,
having got as far as the Shenandoah beyond Front Royal, was ordered
back, arriving at Cedar Creek, the 14th.

(527) The next day Sheridan received a message concerning the desired
destruction of the Virginia Central railroad from Grant about which
he, Grant, had been anxious for some time, and accordingly Merritt's
division of cavalry was sent that night as far as Front Royal with the
intention of reinforcing it by another division, the design being to
employ these troops to break the road just referred to and also the
James River Canal or at least to threaten them. Sheridan went with the
cavalry to Front Royal, being on his way to Washington, going there at
the urgent request of the authorities at the capitol to have a
conference with them. But just before leaving Front Royal for
Washington he received the following dispatch from Wright, copied from
the Rebel signal flag on Massanutten Mountain in sight of our camp:

    "_To Lieutenant General Early:_

    _Be ready to move as soon as my forces join you, and we will
    crush Sheridan._

    _Longstreet, Lieutenant General._"

(528) Sheridan suspected this to be a trick of the enemy, which it
was, but in order to be on the safe side, he ordered the cavalry
back to Cedar Creek. In this instance the enemy in his strategy
over-reached himself, and three days later on account of this trick,
he had to fight two more divisions of cavalry than he would otherwise
have had to do. Sheridan continued his journey from Front Royal to
Washington, stopping on the way some hours at Rectortown to telegraph
to and get an answer from Halleck as to whether he had any information
that Longstreet was or was not moving as indicated by the Rebel
dispatch. Finally Halleck, after communicating with Grant at City
Point answered: "General Grant says that Longstreet brought no troops
with him from Richmond," adding some less important intelligence.
After getting the telegram from Halleck Sheridan again pushed on
toward the capitol.

(529) Coming back to our brigade with the wagon train at Winchester,
we remained there just two days, when by orders we were to guard the
train on up to Cedar Creek, to start on the memorable morning of the
19th of October, 1864. The soldiers generally of Sheridan's army by
this time had settled down to the conviction that the campaign of
severe fighting was ended in the Valley for that year. And we at
Winchester were at that time ignorant of the changed condition of
things at the front; so we lay down to sleep the night before we were
to start for Cedar Creek, little dreaming of what was in store for our
army there, or of the pregnant events of the coming day. But the dawn
of another day has come, and hark! what thunderous sound from the
south is that? "'Tis the cannons opening roar." The fair Valley is to
be the scene of another day of blood and carnage; the last battle for
its possession.

(530) Notwithstanding there was fighting going on at the front we
started for Cedar Creek some 15 miles distant but we had not gone far
when we met, at about 9 o'clock some stragglers and wagon trains
retreating from Cedar Creek. Col. Curtis then ordered his train to be
parked. And now there was about to take place one of the most marked
extraordinary and dramatic incidents or events, taken in connection
with the outcome of it, in the annals of our country. Indeed it may be
said it is imparalleled in the history of American warfare. It was
Sheridan's Ride from Winchester to the army in front "to save the
day." He rode up the pike past our brigade on his famous black horse
at a brisk trot with a small escort following, at or soon after 9
o'clock in the forenoon, and every soldier of the brigade had a chance
to witness the immortal scene.

(531) When the stragglers were met. Col. Curtis threw a line of men
across the road to stop them, and put them under guard. There have
been statements saying, or leaving the impression, that the number of
stragglers getting back to or near Winchester was quite large, but as
well as is remembered, there were not more than 100 or 200 of them.
Col. Curtis says that when Sheridan passing to the front came to where
our brigade was noticed the demoralized stragglers, he rode up to
them, and standing straight in his stirrups and gritting his teeth as
he looked at them, shouted at the top of his voice: "Boys if you don't
want to fight yourselves, come back and look at others fighting. We
will whip them out of their boots before 4 o'clock." He then ordered
Col. Curtis to organize the stragglers into a battalion put officers
in command of them and move immediately to the front with his entire
force. This the Colonel proceeded to do, bringing up his wagon train.
He had gone but a short distance, however, when he received another
order from Sheridan to return to Winchester and protect that place
from an apprehended attack by Rebel cavalry. Accordingly the command
returned with the train to the town.

(532) Our army at Cedar Creek had met with a surprise attack mainly
against its left flank. The Eighth Corps (Crook's) being farthest to
the front and left, was struck first, just at break of dawn, before
the men were all out of their tents, and being attacked almost
simultaneously in front, flank and rear it was soon routed losing
heavily in killed and wounded and prisoners, the loss in prisoners
being quite large. Our army was forced back by the suddenness and
vigor of the Rebel attack and principally by the necessity of having
to give ground, in order to clear its flanks about four miles from
Crook's camp by 11 o'clock A.M. It gave no further ground. And it
appears that from about 9 o'clock it being that time before all our
previously unengaged infantry had been engaged, the attacks of the
enemy were feeble. This fact may be explained by the reason that they
had been marching and fighting from near midnight, and because many of
them had fallen out of ranks it seems, to plunder our camps. When
Sheridan came up at about half past eleven A.M., the only parts of
our force engaged were one division of the Sixth Corps and the
cavalry, and they not heavily. There was a lull before the
counter-storm.

(533) Sheridan came upon the field about half past eleven o'clock
A.M. As he was approaching our army, tremendous cheers were heard in
the rear. The cheering came from the stragglers that, though there
were not many of them far in the rear, were two or more thousand in
number, from all the corps a mile or two in the rear. They were
cheering the returning commander. And one of the singular and
surprising incidents of this remarkable battle was that the stream of
these stragglers now turned toward the front. It is not probable that
any other commander in the Union army could have inspired so telling
moral effect. When Sheridan reached the line of battle along which he
rode swinging his hat, he was hailed by the men with throwing their
hats and tempestuous cheering. While his arrival had an encouraging
effect on our men, it would tend no doubt to have a discouraging
effect on the enemy, causing them to think that our army was getting
reinforcements it may be.

(534) Just before Sheridan came upon the field, the Rebels had been
repulsed in an attack upon our left made to seize the pike. As soon as
he observed the situation he resolved to drive the enemy from the
field; and he rode along the lines telling the men that they would
sleep in their old quarters that night. He at once set about reforming
his lines and strengthening his left. At about 1 o'clock P.M., Early
made an attack upon our left, but it was easily repulsed. Three hours
later our lines being formed mainly on the northwest side of the pike
and at right angle to it, Sheridan ordered an advance upon the enemy
by a left half-wheel which was gallantly responded to by the whole
line. The left of the enemy gave way first; the rest of their line did
not stand long, and soon their whole force was a flying mob. Our army
pursued the routed Rebels capturing 1,200 prisoners, 24 guns, and much
other property, besides retaking 24 guns lost in the morning. The
field was won; the day was saved; our army had retaken its old camps;
Sheridan had made good his promise that the men should sleep in their
old quarters that night, and thus was made the single instance in our
history as a people of an army being thoroughly worsted in the
morning, gaining a signal victory in the afternoon. Sheridan will go
down to history as a unique and illustrious warrior.

(535) Our loss in men in this battle of Cedar Creek was 5,764 in
killed, wounded and prisoners, 1,429 being prisoners. Col. Thoburn of
the First Virginia Infantry commanding a division, a gallant and
highly esteemed officer, and Capt. Philip G. Bier were among the
officers killed in this battle. This latter officer was enlisted by
Col. Curtis as a private in Company D, of the Twelfth and appointed
Orderly Sergeant of the company, January 17th, 1863, he was promoted
to Second Lieutenant and assigned to Company A. On the recommendation
of Gen. Sullivan and others he was, in January, 1864, commissioned as
a Captain and A.A.G., and assigned to duty on Gen. Hunter's staff.
He remained on his staff during the Hunter raid against Lynchburg and
until Hunter was relieved; when he was transferred to Gen. Crook's
staff. Acting in the discharge of his duty in trying, during the
battle to save the wagon and ambulance trains, he was mortally
wounded, and died the following night. The officers of the Twelfth,
for the high regard which they had for their gallant dead comrade, had
his body embalmed and sent to Wheeling where it was buried.

(536) According to Early's account of his loss in this battle was
1,860 in killed and wounded. Our army captured 1,200 prisoners. If his
account of his loss in killed and wounded is correct his total loss
was 3,060. Assuming that Early's statement of his loss in killed and
wounded is correct, our loss in this battle was almost double that of
the enemy. This could reasonably be accounted for by the fact that our
army had been surprised and taken at great disadvantage.

(537) This battle of Cedar Creek shows, in matter of moment, how
important it is that the first step, the initial movement should be
sure and right. When Sheridan was put in command in the Valley, he
patiently bided his time, when he could, as he did, take the enemy at
a disadvantage in the battle of the Opequon, gaining a great victory
thereby, and thus paved the way for the strong confidence the
unbounded faith in him, on the part of his army, which enabled him to
snatch victory from defeat in this latter memorable battle. Sheridan
won a major general's commission in the regular army by this victory.
In tendering the commission a few weeks later, President Lincoln said
in part, that it was "for a brilliant victory achieved over the Rebels
for the third time in pitched battle within thirty days."

(538) The next morning after the battle our brigade left Winchester at
about 2 o'clock for Cedar Creek arriving there the same morning at
about 8 o'clock with the wagon train. When we arrived on the battle
field some of the Rebel dead were yet unburied. The following day the
21st, the Twelfth with its brigade marched down the pike about seven
miles to Newtown to guard the temporary hospital at that place. We
remained at this town for over two weeks. On the 25th, the soldiers
here who were citizens of West Virginia voted for President. An old
diary written at the time says that there were only four or five votes
for McClellan; whether in the brigade or our regiment it does not say.
The next day Gen. Duffie was captured between Winchester and
Martinsburg.

(539) During the stay at Newtown, Mosby was around in the vicinity
twice, one time capturing a forage train within a mile or two of town,
and getting off with the mules. Both times the Twelfth went out after
him, but saw nothing of him. It was useless to send infantry after
mounted men. On the 13th the First Virginia left for Cumberland, Md.



CHAPTER XI.


(540) While the Twelfth remained at Newtown, there was nothing of
special interest occurred other than has been mentioned. As winter and
bad weather were approaching, in order that we might be closer to our
base of supplies, the infantry moved back from Cedar Creek on the 9th
of November to Kearnstown; the next day the cavalry followed and late
in the evening of this same day, and last of all, the two remaining
regiments of our brigade moved down and joined our corps with the
army. The next day we put up our tents. The Sixth Corps and the
Nineteenth worked at throwing up fortifications all day.

(541) The next day after Sheridan's army left Cedar Creek, Early
thinking that perhaps our force had been withdrawn to send part of it
to Grant, moved his army down from New Market to Middletown. He was
thus on the day, the evening of which the Twelfth left its camp at
Newtown, within five miles of us at that place Sheridan was ready to
meet him; and sent out the cavalry on the 12th against the Rebel
cavalry. Merritt's and Custer's divisions on the right of the pike,
and Powell on the Front Royal road. They drove the Rebel cavalry back.
Powell attacked McCausland's brigade at Stony Point and routed it
capturing its two guns and 245 officers and men. The army was ordered
to be prepared for battle the next day; but, though Early had,
according to the reports of citizens been considerably reinforced
after the battle of Cedar Creek, he had by this time acquired a
wholesome regard for the fighting qualities of Sheridan's army: and
finding that it was still in the Valley in force, he concluded not to
risk a battle, but returned to his camp at New Market the 14th.

(542) The Twelfth remained with the army at Kearnstown for two weeks.
On the 19th--the day of the month in each instance, on which
Sheridan's two great battles were fought, the battle of the Opequon
and the battle of Cedar Creek--orders were read to our regiment from
Gen. Sheridan naming this army, the Army of the Shenandoah, and the
camp here, Camp Russell. On the 23rd the boys of the Twelfth had
abundance of chicken sent them from somewhere for Thanksgiving dinner.

(543) Here is a somewhat characteristic anecdote of an Irishman of the
Nineteenth Corps: It is believed that it was while the Twelfth was at
Camp Russell, that this Irishman, who had evidently been imbibing
freely of the ardent, was noticed sauntering through the camp singing
as he sauntered an apparently impromptu song, and staggering
considerably as he sauntered and sang. His corps had suffered heavily
in the battle of the Opequon. And his song related to the part it had
taken in that battle. This much of the song is remembered:

    "The nineteenth of September
    In eighteen sixty-four,
    Is long to be remembered
    By the Nineteenth Army Corps."

(544) The following is an amusing episode of soldier life that will be
appreciated by the boys generally, and some of them will no doubt
remember it. In order that a better understanding of it may be had by
others than soldiers it may be well to say that, as is well known by
all soldiers who campaigned in the Valley of Virginia, the guerrilla
Mosby was a dangerous enemy, and a terror to all soldiers disposed to
straggle. Sheridan once remarked that Mosby was as good to keep up
his, Sheridan's, stragglers as would have been a regiment for that
purpose; Mosby was also something of a bugaboo, and a subject of jest
among the soldiers.

(545) It was perhaps while we were at Camp Russell that one day a
merchant tailor came into camp from Wheeling, to see the officers of
the Twelfth with a view to taking orders for new uniforms. He wore a
plug hat. Now when a stranger appeared in camp in citizens' dress,
that fact was sufficient to excite in the minds of the soldiers a
suggestion of a possible spy in the person of the stranger; and Mosby
being an ever present bugbear in the minds of the soldiers, his name
would naturally be associated with that of the stranger. So when the
Wheeling man appeared on the streets of the camp wearing his plug hat,
the boys raised a general yell of Mosby! Mosby! Mosby mingled with
some remarks about the plug hat. Men can stand almost anything better
than derision, especially when it comes from a great crowd; and
quickly "catching on" to the fact that he, the Wheeling man, was the
object of the noisy attention, he shot into an officer's tent and
would not come out until he had exchanged his plug hat for a slouch
hat, which some officer managed to get for him.

(546) The Twelfth marched from Camp Russell on the 24th to Stevenson's
Depot, five miles northeast of Winchester. The railroad track had
recently been relaid to that place. We remained here over three weeks.
The duty at this place was heavy, our brigade having to unload all the
cars which brought supplies to the army and do picket duty besides. On
the 16th of December one hundred guns were fired at Camp Russell in
honor of Gen. Thomas's victory the day before at Nashville. When we
heard the firing at first we thought the enemy had attacked our forces
at the front. But before long a dispatch came from Sheridan telling
the reason of the firing. The next day another salute was fired at the
front in honor of Gen. Thomas's victory in the second day's fighting
at Nashville, and the fall of Savannah and its occupancy by Sherman.

(547) Before the middle of December, Early, having sent the bulk of
his command to Lee, the last of the Sixth Corps had gone to the Army
of the Potomac, and on the 19th the Third Brigade of our division took
the cars at Stevenson's Depot for the Army of the James. Later the
same day our brigade followed, having to ride in filthy cattle cars.
Owing to a scarcity of cars some of the men had to ride on top of
them, and, the weather being cold, they suffered considerably,
especially those who rode on top of the cars. We got to Washington at
eight o'clock A.M. the next day, the cars landing us at the wharf. The
men would have been glad to see the city, but they were not permitted
to do so. While we were waiting for a few hours to be marched on board
a transport, some citizens standing about were, as was natural, making
remarks about us. One fellow was overheard to volunteer the pleasant
reminder concerning us, that "There are more of those fellows going to
Grant's army than will ever get back." And this citizen's tone seemed
to indicate that he exulted in the thought. May be, too, the wish was
father to the thought.

(548) About 12 o'clock m. our regiment went aboard of the transports.
A part of us went on a small craft called the Putnam. This vessel was
soon on its way down the Potomac. As we passed down we got a view of
Mount Vernon. About 10 P.M. we anchored for the night. We started at
daylight the next morning, the 21st. We ran into the St. Mary's River
at about 4 o'clock P.M. that day, and cast anchor on account of the
high wind. We were now 100 miles from Washington. All the next day we
were detained here by the high wind; and owing to some mismanagement
we had not rations enough, and the men ran out of them.

(549) At daylight the 23rd our vessel weighed anchor and a run of ten
miles brought us to Point Lookout at the mouth of the Potomac. We
stopped here and drew three days' rations. Twelve thousand Rebel
prisoners were confined here at that time. From this point we passed
down the Chesapeake Bay, and some time in the night anchored near
Fortress Monroe. We started up the James River early the next morning
and arrived at City Point on the south side of the river, about dark.
Changing boats here we ran up 20 miles farther, 80 miles from Fortress
Monroe, and landed on the north side, near the Dutch Gap canal.

(550) Before the soldiers of the Twelfth went to Grant's army they had
a somewhat exaggerated idea of the fierceness and fatality of the
fighting there. They had some kind of a vague idea that, like the fly
in the spider's parlor, in the story of the "Spider and the Fly,"
where they got into it once, there was an excellent chance of not
getting out of it again alive. But in so great an army as Grant had
naturally soldiers would be going to and from it all the time; and
somewhere on the Potomac or Chesapeake Bay, we met a vessel with a
number of soldiers aboard, going to the rear. When the returning
soldiers were noticed Major Brown remarked in a kind of serio-comic
way in an illusion to the supposed extreme unhealthiness of the
service in Grant's army: "Well, I notice that some fellows at least
are getting back from the army before Richmond alive!"

(551) The next morning (Christmas) after landing we got off the vessel
and the other transport with the rest of the Twelfth having arrived,
the regiment marched about four miles to where the other troops of our
division were camped, and took the quarters temporarily vacated by
Gen. Butler's troops, who had gone to attempt the capture of Fort
Fisher. We remained in these quarters several days, during which there
was nothing occurred worthy of mention except that the enemy kept
throwing shells at short intervals at our men working at the Dutch Gap
canal; and once when there was heavy cannonading toward Petersburg we
were called out in line, the general in command on our side of the
James apparently fearing an attack.

(552) On the 30th some of the troops that had been on the Fort Fisher
expedition returned and we had to vacate our quarters and move some
three miles farther to the right and put up winter quarters. The
Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania, the Twenty-third Illinois and the Twelfth
West Virginia, January 1st, 1865, were brigaded together and
designated as the Second Brigade, Col. Curtis commanding. Our division
was known as the Second or Independent Division, Twenty-fourth Corps,
Col. T. M. Harris, afterward succeeded by Gen. John Turner, commanding
the division; and Gen. John Gibbon commanded the corps.

(553) When the Twelfth was transferred to the Army of the James, Gen.
Butler was in command of it, but having failed in his expedition
against Fort Fisher, he was relieved and Gen. Ord was put in command
of it, which consisted of two corps, the Twenty-fourth and the
Twenty-fifth, the latter being colored troops. The Dutch Gap canal
referred to was Gen. Butler's project. The object of the undertaking
was to make a channel across a narrow neck of land, made by a long
horse-shoe bend in the river, so as to enable our vessels to avoid
obstructions in the bend, and pass up to Richmond. Of course, the
enemy tried to prevent work at the canal and to this end, as before
stated, firing shells at intervals at the workers (colored men) was
kept up; but the work went on. The men dug holes in the side of the
canal, which they called gopher holes. There was also a high lookout
nearby from which a man kept a constant watch, and when the Rebels
fired a shot he would cry out "Gopher hole!" and the "darks" would
bounce into the holes and remain there until the shell exploded. Then
they would come out and go to work again. It used to be great fun for
the boys to watch the "darks" run for cover when the lookout man gave
notice of a shot by the enemy. This working and shelling was kept up
for perhaps a month after we had gone to the Army of the James. But
the canal when it was completed as far as it could be under the
circumstances, proved to be a failure, no considerable volume of water
passing through it, at that time at least.

(554) When we got to the Army of the James we witnessed a condition of
affairs different from anything we had hitherto seen. On the left of
our lines in front of Fort Harrison the pickets were probably not more
than 50 yards apart. They paced backward and forward on their several
beats as though all was serene between the opposing pickets. If,
however, either side had advanced, or perhaps, if one man had shot at
the enemy, a bloody ball of battle would have opened; but the one man
did not fire; and all was quiet on our side of the river, while on the
opposite side there was constant firing going on night and day,
between the pickets there.

(555) Our duties in this army consisted of making "corduroy" roads
over the soft and muddy ground, the cutting and hauling of firewood,
drilling a little and preparing for inspections, going on picket about
once a week, besides for the greater part of our time here, having to
stand in line of battle, just outside of our works, for an hour or so
from awhile before day each morning. However, our service this winter
in the Army of the James was as easy as any we had had, and very much
easier than some of our previous soldiering. The picket duty was
comparatively light, and then we were here free from the exhausting,
killing marching connected with much of our previous service.

(556) On the 7th of January Lieut. Col. Northcott made us a farewell
speech, his resignation some time previously tendered, having been
accepted. Owing to the high regard and esteem the Twelfth had for him,
both as a man and as a soldier, the command parted with him with
regret. Major Brown and Capt. Burley of Company A were both promoted
on the Twelfth, the former to be Lieutenant Colonel and the latter to
be Major, this making the second promotion for Brown and the third for
Burley.

(557) On the 17th an order came around announcing the fact of the
capture of the Rebel fort, Fort Fisher, by the combined attack of our
land and naval forces, the former under Gen. Terry, and the latter
under Admiral Porter. A salute was fired here at 12 o'clock this day
in honor of the victory. Our brigade was inspected on the 22nd, and
the Twelfth, having passed the best inspection of any regiment in it,
was excused from duty for one week. On the 24th, there having been
heavy cannonading not far off all the night before, an order was
promulgated saying that the Rebel gunboats had come down the James
that night and our batteries commanding the river had sunk one, and
caused two others to run aground. An attack was expected this night
and we had orders to be ready to form ranks at a moment's notice.

(558) From this time on, while the opposing armies faced each other
here, desertions from the enemy were of growing frequency. February
4th, a lieutenant colonel and captain deserted from the Rebels in
front of the pickets of our division. When desertions of officers of
their rank were taking place, it began to look like "the beginning of
the end." A few days later Richmond papers obtained from the Rebel
pickets an account of the failure of the Peace Commission, composed of
President Lincoln and others on the part of the Government, and Vice
President Stephens and others on the part of the Rebels, which met at
Hampton Roads. It was exceedingly fortunate and well for the future of
the country that the fatally blind obstinacy of the Rebels that had
characterized them from the first caused them to refuse to consider
any proposition of peace except on the basis of their independence.

(559) Concerning the Peace Commission, Gen. Grant tells a story of
Lincoln, which will bear reproduction. Stephens was a very small man,
but it seems that he wore a large overcoat on the occasion of the
meeting of the commission. Some time after this Lincoln, being on a
visit to Grant, after a little previous conversation, the talk turning
on the commission, asked Grant if he had seen that overcoat of
Stephen's. He replied that he had. "Did you see him take it off?" said
Lincoln. "Yes," said Grant. "Well," inquired Lincoln, "didn't you
think it was the biggest shuck and the least ear that ever you did
see?"

(560) Camp life here was anything but dull. There was always something
occurring of an exciting character. Besides the operations of the
armies here, the booming of cannon for instance, that was not
unfrequently heard, causing a lively interest as to what it signified,
we had orders at various times announcing victories of our armies at
other places, and salutes fired in their honor. And then a camp rumor
startling in character could be heard at almost any hour, by which the
soldiers were not much startled, however, being used to them. In fact,
there are few if any pursuits in civil life calculated to keep up the
tension of excitement like life in a camp of a great army in time of
war. On the 9th a soldier who was a deserter and bounty jumper was
taken outside the works and shot in the presence of a whole division.
The night following three of the Tenth Connecticut Infantry
substitutes deserted to the enemy, passing through our lines, where
some of the Twelfth were on picket. One of them shot at the deserters,
but missed them. The enemy had issued an order saying that all
deserters from our army should be sent through the lines North, and
that was the reason those fellows deserted.

(561) On the 21st our division was reviewed, and this same day one
hundred guns were fired from Fort Harrison on the north side of the
James and near the camp of the Twelfth, in honor of the taking of
Charleston and Columbia, S.C., by Sherman. The next day a salute was
fired in honor of Washington's birthday. Twelve days later, March 7th,
the news was received in camp of Sheridan's victory at Waynesboro, in
the Valley, over Early, in which nearly all the latter's force was
captured. No doubt Sheridan's cavalry, the loyal people everywhere,
and especially the citizens along the Baltimore & Ohio railroad in the
Valley were jubilant over this final elimination of _Jubal_.

(562) On the 17th our corps was reviewed by Gen. Grant and staff,
accompanied by a number of distinguished gentlemen and ladies. Among
them was Admiral Porter, Secretary Stanton, Mrs. Grant and many
others. An incident of this review is remembered. The troops were
closely massed by brigades perhaps. The Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania
commanded by Major Davis, belonged, it will be remembered, to our
brigade. Davis was a nervous, excitable man. As Grant and staff were
passing rapidly in front of the troops, the various brigades and
divisions greeted them with a great volume of cheers. This excited
Davis, and as Grant drew near, the former, his eyes shining and
apparently bulging out, in an excited and vehement manner, gave the
command to his men to cheer, throwing in a simile more forcible than
polite, saying, "Cheer like ---- men!" causing the whole brigade to
burst forth in laughter. Sad to say this officer was afterward killed
at the capture of Fort Gregg.

(563) The boys generally made up their minds on the occasion of this
grand review that something was about to be done. Experience had made
them shrewd in interpreting transactions relating to the army in
general; in putting this and that together. And right here it may be
well to speak of what was regarded as a possible undertaking before
the Army of the James. In front of and along part of our lines quite
near to us and in plain view were the Rebel breast works with abatis
in front. Back of these were numerous forts mounted with cannon, the
forts commanding each other so that if one were taken it would be
under the fire of the others. Besides, as was generally known after
the capture of Richmond, there were torpedoes planted in front of
their forts to make them still more impregnable. Looking at the Rebel
defences from our side, it seemed that to undertake their capture it
would be like rushing into a death-trap. And yet our men fronting them
regarded this desperate task as far from improbable.

(564) On the 19th eight deserters from the Palmetto Sharpshooters, all
from one company, came into our division headquarters. They, it
seemed, had got a sufficiency of "rights," also about all the
dying-in-the-last-ditch they cared for, and as to the "stars and bars"
and "The Bonny Blue Flag"--well, they were willing to part from them
for a time at least.

(565) On the 22nd Gen. Turner was assigned to the command of our
division, Gen. Harris thereafter to command the Third Brigade. Two
days later we received orders to be ready to march at 6 o'clock the
next morning, the 25th. We moved out at daylight that day, Sheridan,
being on his return from the Valley to Grant's Army, and as the
evening might, it was supposed, try to intercept him, our movement was
in aid of him. We went as far as the Chickahominy, passing over a part
of McClellan's old battlefields; but we saw nothing of Sheridan, he
having crossed farther down the stream. We returned to our camp in the
evening. In passing over the ground of the Seven Days' Fight, numerous
bones of the fallen brave could be seen. A rather grotesque incident
occurred on this march to and from the historic Chickahominy.

(566) Asst. Surgeon Neil of the Twelfth at that time was something of
a wag. Moving slowly and cautiously along over the battlefield, as we
did, he had ample time to pick up a skull, which he did. There was a
round hole in it, just as such a musket ball would make, and it needed
no telling that that was what made it. The command coming to a
temporary halt, he held up the skull, and assuming an air of
solemnity, began a sort of mock lecture somewhat after the manner of a
phrenologist. He said in substance about as follows:

(567) "Gentlemen," said he, "examining the bumps upon this cranium
hastily, yet as carefully as circumstances will at present permit,
assisted by the light of past and passing events, I think that I may
say, with a confidence amounting to conviction, and that you will be
justified in accepting my statement as an assured fact, that the
original possessor of this poll was evidently of a more or less
combative disposition. And gentlemen, judging from the light of
current history, and the apparent time that this skull has lain where
it was picked up, and the patent, convincing, ocular evidence
sustaining me in the assertion, I have no doubt that the wearer of
this cranium died of a gun shot wound."

(568) The boys within hearing smiled, some audibly, and as the march
was resumed their arms and equipments felt less heavy on account of
this display of waggishness.



CHAPTER XII.


(569) On the afternoon of the 17th, as preparatory to Grant's grand
movement against the forces of Lee in front of Richmond and
Petersburg, two divisions of the Twenty-fourth Corps, ours and the
First, and one division of the Twenty-fifth Corps (colored), crossed
the James and the Appomattox, and marched toward the left of our
lines, southwest of Petersburg. Our division marched all night,
passing in the rear of the lines of the Army of the Potomac, and as we
marched along, pretty heavy firing of the pickets close to our right
was heard for nearly the whole distance. We halted about daylight in
the morning in front of Petersburg and at 10 o'clock A.M. we resumed
our march toward the left, followed by the other troops of Gen. Ord's
Army of the James, camping within about two miles of Humphrey's
Station. The next day, the 29th, the whole army, except enough to hold
the intrenchments, moved to the left, our division going that morning
to Humphrey's Station. We could hear cannonading farther to the left
during this day. That night it rained all night.

(570) At daylight, the 30th, our division moved again, the rain still
falling. In the afternoon a train of ambulances passed to the rear
loaded with wounded from the Fifth Corps. Also a lot of prisoners were
brought in and sent off on the cars. The next morning at about 8
o'clock the rain ceased, it having rained all the night before, and
our division advanced to Hatcher's Run; and the enemy resisting this
advance, it had some pretty hard fighting. At this time the Second
Corps and the Fifth and Sheridan's cavalry were on our left. Before
daylight the following day, April 1st, the Rebels charged the skirmish
line of our division, but were repulsed. In this charge a Rebel
soldier, either deceived, or intending to deceive our men, came
running up to Company E of the Twelfth on the skirmish line,
exclaiming: "You are firing on your own men!" Lieut. Hugill of that
company walked up to him, took his gun and sent him to the rear a
prisoner.

(571) Concerning operations here at this time, Lieut. Col. Holliday of
the Fifteenth West Virginia, commanding a brigade at the time, told of
an incident, according to a comrade, about Lieut. E. F. Piggott of
Company G, which may be here given. Holliday, with his brigade,
undertook to capture a Rebel fort in his front and Lieut. Piggott,
being on the skirmish line then at that point, when the brigade
charged, co-operated in the charge with his company. The attempt
failed. Holliday and Piggott were in front of their men, and the men,
giving ground almost before the officers knew of it, they were left
between the lines, and, the fire of the enemy being hot, they took
cover behind stumps. While they were thus under cover Holliday glanced
from behind his stump, and seeing an overcoat in front said that he
would like to have it; and Lieut. Piggott coolly and deliberately,
said Holliday, got from behind his stump, walked forward, picked up
the coat, brought it back and gave it to him. Some few years since
Piggott, poor fellow, passed to the Beyond.

(572) All night of the 1st we could hear on our right, toward
Petersburg, the deep sounds and see the flashes of light caused by the
firing of our siege-guns. At short intervals the whole heavens were
made lurid by the discharge of the artillery. This day Sheridan, with
his cavalry and the Fifth Corps, had had his victory at Five Forks,
southwest of Petersburg. This firing was kept up to prevent, perhaps,
the enemy from detaching troops in our front for the purpose of
recapturing Five Forks, a vital point to them. As the Rebels lay
behind their intrenchments that night it may be that they regarded
this thundering and lightning of Uncle Sam's siege-guns as betokening
his vengeful wrath, and their impending doom. Grant gave orders for
the Sixth Corps on our right and opposite the Rebel center, expecting
the enemy to withdraw troops from there to attack the lines in its
front as soon as possible in the morning, the 2nd; and for all the
other troops to held themselves in readiness to attack. The Twelfth
took a position and lay close up to the enemy's lines that night,
fully expecting to have to attack his intrenchments in the morning;
but fortunately it did not have this to do.

(573) The Sixth Corps, having broken the lines in its front, the
Rebels soon thereafter evacuated their works in our front. Our brigade
then moved to the right toward Petersburg, arriving near the city a
little after noon. By this time all the enemy's works southwest of the
city had fallen into our hands, except three forts near it, and
several thousand prisoners besides. Our brigade participated with
great credit that afternoon in the capture of Fort Gregg, and the
Twelfth made for itself a proud record. An incident of a little while
previous to the capture is remembered. After our brigade had got
within a half mile of the fort, marching along we passed near a few
soldiers not on duty. They seemed to regard us seriously, as being new
troops to them and the Army of the Potomac. One of them looked at us
rather dubiously and said in substance: "I wonder if those fellows
will stand up to it," implying that they thought there was fighting
before us. We, however, had little idea of the serious work just at
hand. If those soldiers watched the part we took in the capture of
Fort Gregg, they doubtless had their minds disabused of any doubts as
to whether we would stand up to it, at least as well as the average
soldiers.

(574) Our brigade was marched up and halted in line on high ground
facing toward Fort Gregg to the north. All was quiet as yet, there
being no firing. When we reached this ground we could see some of our
troops, a part of the First Division of our corps, a little to the
right of a direct line from us to the fort, and pretty close up to it.
They were in a wavering condition, having failed to enter the fort. A
little later an aid rode up to Col. Curtis, evidently giving an order.
The colonel looked a little pale, but unflinching, and almost before
we had time to think, and without any announcement of what we had to
do, the order of "Attention, Second Brigade, shoulder arms; right
shoulder shift, arms; forward double quick march," was given. The boys
seemed to know by a common understanding what was wanted, and, giving
a yell, a sort of "Rebel yell," they started on the charge, running
like mad their very best, seeming to realize that the sooner they got
to the fort, the fewer of them would get killed.

(575) The fort was in plain view from the point from which we charged,
and as the ground over which we charged was mainly clean and open, and
the lay of the land was such that the fort was not lost sight of at
any time during the charge. The distance to be charged over was
perhaps 500 yards down a slope and up a slope. In the hollow or foot
of the slopes, something less than half way to the fort, there was
some low swamp brush. When this was reached the enemy opened on our
men, apparently with grape or canister. The balls could be heard
striking in the mud and clashing through the brush, but, as seemed
surprising, few if any were hit just at that place. The men rushed
rapidly on their ranks, necessarily much broken by their passing
through the low swamp brush, their different capabilities as runners,
and their all rushing toward the one point, the fort. And they never
stopped or scarcely so, until the bulk of them were in the deep ditch
surrounding the fort. All the time after our men had come within close
range, the enemy poured into them a hot musketry fire; but they
escaped being hit remarkably, owing to the rapidity of our men's
movements, and the Rebels' overshooting, aided materially evidently by
the troops of the First Division's drawing the Rebels fire, and by
their return fire, compelling the Rebels to a considerable extent to
keep under cover.

(576) When the order to charge was given Private J. W. Caldwell of
Company D took off his hat and, swinging it over his head, shouted:
"That's our fort, that's our fort;" but the gallant boy, falling dead
upon the field, failed to witness its capture. Gen. Turner, commanding
the division, after the brigade had got part of the way to the fort,
and was under heavy fire, believing that the brigade was insufficient
to take the fort, sent an order to Col. Curtis to halt his men and
await reinforcements, but the men rushed on. Col. G. B. Caldwell, who
was adjutant of the Twelfth till the winter of 1864-5, in his eulogium
upon Col. Curtis at the reunion of the Society of the Army of West
Virginia in 1891, says in regard to the order to Col. Curtis to halt
his brigade: "But American soldiers are men of intelligence. With one
mind they thought they were more certain to be shot down if they
turned their backs than if they went on. They rushed forward." So far
as this statement implies that the men heard that order, it appears to
be a mistake. It is believed that few if any of the rank and file
heard the order. It would have taken a dozen or more men of the
greyhound type to have carried that order to the men after they got on
the go for that fort.

(577) When within 50 yards of the fort Sergt. Emanuel M. Adams of
Company D, color-bearer, fell wounded. The colors were picked up and
bravely carried forward by Private Joseph R. Logsden of Company C, as
the brigade charged on over the dead and wounded of the First
Division. After our men had got into the ditch surrounding the fort,
they remained there perhaps twenty minutes before they made an
entrance. In the meantime the Rebels were throwing dirt, stones and
various kinds of missiles upon them. At length as a movement toward
entering the fort, the gallant Logsden undertook to plant the flag of
the Twelfth upon the parapet, and was killed, falling back into the
ditch. The colors were then seized by Lieut. Joseph Caldwell of
Company A, who leaped upon the parapet, and in attempting to plant the
colors there was killed, falling also into the ditch. The flag fell
inside of the fort. Then the brave boys of the Twelfth rushed to the
parapet to recover their flag. They were joined by comrades of the
rest of the brigade. Pouring a volley into the Rebels, the boys of the
Twelfth leaped into the fort and planted their flag on the
parapet--the first colors on the Rebel works. The fort and its brave
defenders were soon ours, all the troops present joining in their
capture. But the reduction of the fort was at fearful cost to the
Union troops, the loss being in killed and wounded 715, as will be
seen in Col. Caldwell's address at Huntington, herein given.

(578) After events seem to show conclusively that this great sacrifice
was unnecessary, for the fort would have been evacuated the following
night without it. But it was here that the Twelfth won its eagle, and
Col. Curtis his star, and Capt. Bristor won promotion for his gallant
conduct. It was here, too, that Lieut. J. M. Curtis won a medal of
honor, and Andrew O. Apple of Company I and Joseph McCauslin of
Company D also won their medals of honor. And to add to the grace and
beauty of the distinction, those medals were pinned upon the lapels of
the boys' coats by the fair hands of the daughter of Gen. John Gibbon,
our corps commander. There are very respectable members of Private
George H. Bird's Company (I), it should be added, who believed that he
should have had a medal of honor, as he was among the first few who
climbed upon the parapet of the fort.

(579) The next morning, the 3rd, after the capture of Fort Gregg, it
was found that the enemy had evacuated Richmond and Petersburg, and
nearly all the troops before these cities, including our division,
started immediately in pursuit. And not to prolong the history too
much, it will simply be said that we followed the Rebels for several
days, there being more or less fighting and captures of prisoners by
some part of Grant's forces every day. However, a material matter
somewhat closely connected with the history of the Twelfth regarding
this particular time, should not be omitted. On the 6th, the
Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania and another regiment of infantry, with a
squadron of cavalry were sent out in the direction of Farmville under
command of Brig. Gen. Theodore Read to burn a bridge near there in
advance of the retreating Rebels. But they were surrounded by a large
force of the enemy, many killed and wounded, including Gen. Read
killed, and the rest all captured. The Eighth, two divisions of our
corps, the First Division and the Independent, marched all day and
until 11 o'clock at night, making in that time, it was said at the
time, a distance of 35 miles. We did not then precisely know the
object of this forced march. We did not know but that we were
following the Rebels, but we found afterward that we were being pushed
to cut off their retreat.

(580) An incident concerning a private of Company I, Alexander B.
Allison, is perhaps well worth telling here. The boys of the Twelfth,
like those of other regiments perhaps, were much given to discussing
the probable outcome of any military undertaking. On this forced march
the boys struck up a discussion as to the probability of overtaking
Lee's army, the likelihood of a battle, and the probable result of it.
Finally some of the boys said that they had seen enough of the Johnnys
and that they wished that they, the Johnnys, would go on until they
should run into the Gulf of Mexico. Fighting the Johnnys was no longer
a picnic. The time had passed when the boys were "spoiling for a
fight," and as the average man is generally willing to postpone a
possibly fatal ordeal, so the most of the boys were doubtless willing
to delay an engagement with the enemy. Private Allison, however, then
about 19 years of age, spoke up showing the grit to perform a
disagreeable duty immediately, saying: "Boys, if I have to fight the
Rebels at all I am willing to do it right now. I do not desire to
follow them for a week or two, and then have to fight them at last."

(581) We camped this night in a piece of woods to the side of the road
not far, as we learned afterward, from the Southside railroad. It
happened that the cavalry a short time before had captured a train of
cars containing subsistence for Lee's army, and the train was lying
not far from our camp. One of the boys of Company I somehow found out
that the train was there, and he got by some sort of management a
large piece of bacon, as much as he could well carry, and brought it
to camp, dividing it among a number of the company. This was a welcome
supplement to the rations.

(582) Before daylight on the morning of the ever memorable 9th of
April, a day that will stand out as conspicuously in our history as
that of the surrender at Yorktown, if not more so, we started to cut
off and surround the Rebels in their retreat, to engage and vanquish
them in their Last Ditch, and give a finishing stroke to the Lost
Cause; and thus to give to the loyal people of the Nation the fruition
of their indomitable struggles, through hope through darkness and
doubt, for four long and bloody years; to illuminate the land with
joy, and to fill it with a great gladness such as it had not known for
generations.

(583) We marched not very far when we were started on the double-quick
along the road, just as day was breaking. We had marched thus rapidly
only for a few minutes, when some cavalry were observed coming out of
woods on our right at a rather rapid rate, though in good order. It
appeared that the Rebels had been driving them, and that they were
withdrawing to uncover the infantry. Just as a squadron emerged from
the woods opposite our regiment, one of the cavalrymen exclaimed:
"Here come the Doe boys!" and then he gave us the further
encouragement of assuring us that the Johnnys had up the black flag.

(584) Every soldier who served any considerable time in the late war
will bear out the assertion that in no kind of civil life during the
same length of time could a man hear a tithe of the rumors, startling
in purport, that he could hear during the war. So the boys had heard
too many rumors to be frightened by this story of the black flag. In a
few minutes our regiment was halted, the ranks closed up and formed
into line upon the road. This road, it is believed, led north, so as
to intersect the road the Rebels were on, a short distance west of
Appomattox Court-house. Our part of the line did not extend as far as
the intersection of the roads, but doubtless the two divisions
extended beyond it, so as to completely cut off the retreat of the
enemy. We moved in line toward the enemy and at nearly right angle to
the road, through some woods in such a manner as to place our regiment
in the west line of the closing in lines. Our two divisions from the
Army of the James and Sheridan's cavalry were now barring the Rebel
retreat. We advanced rather cautiously, moving up a little then, then
halting, perhaps waiting on the disposition of other troops. It was
not long till shells began to crash through the tree tops above us,
from the enemy's batteries. They did no harm to us, however.

(585) We now halted and remained in line for perhaps two hours,
expecting to have a battle that day. The boys of the Twelfth seemed
confident. There was no disposition shown by any to flinch. They no
doubt were cheered by the thought that for once, since joining Grant's
army, they were about to get a whack at the Rebs without having to
fight them behind breast works; when about 9 o'clock A.M., the order
came very unexpectedly and to our great gratification and relief, to
cease firing until further orders. We did not then know that a flag of
truce had been sent by Gen. Lee; but the boys generally seemed, in the
phrase of the present time, to "catch on" to the fact that this
probably meant the surrender of Lee's army, the main-stay of the
Rebellion; and their countenances accordingly lighted up with the
thought of the pleasing prospect of this glorious consummation, which
all felt was devoutly to be wished for, and which had been hoped,
prayed and fought for through four long years of blood and tears, and
tears and blood.

(586) Soldiers hardly ever have knowledge before hand of any great
military movement in which they are to engage. Sometimes they are
precipitated into a hazardous undertaking without a minute's notice.
They are even sometimes engaged in important movements without knowing
definitely what they are doing. A soldier, who was in McClellan's army
in its retreat from the Chickahominy to the James, once related that
he thought that all the time they were fighting and marching they were
going toward Richmond instead of retreating. But, as to the matter of
the early knowledge of what was about to be done, for once, that 9th
of April, the soldiers got ahead of the Commander of the United States
Army, for they had at about 9 o'clock A.M. that eventful day a pretty
strong intimation of what was about to take place; while Lee's
dispatch to Grant agreeing to surrender on Grant's terms did not reach
him until half past eleven o'clock A.M., the latter being considerably
in the rear of his forces, passing from the right to the left to
communicate with Sheridan. He could not be found till then, and
consequently did not know sooner of Lee's acceptance of his terms.

(587) Perhaps it was shortly after 12 P.M. that our line moved up
toward the Rebel camp into open ground, and soon their camp some half
mile distant appeared in view. Not long after this a great volume of
cheers was heard rolling round the lines from right to left. This we
soon learned was caused by the announcement of the surrender. The
cheering was not precisely continuous, but was rather somewhat
intermittent. It would break out in great roars, then subside, then in
a few minutes break out again, all the time coming nearer as the news
was carried from organization to organization. Pretty soon our
commander, Col. Curtis, rode in front of the regiment and repeated the
gladsome news of the surrender, saying that the war was virtually
over; that we would soon be mustered out, and sent home; that we would
get home in time for harvest. The boys, inspired by the thought of
final victory, that the "cruel war" was over, and especially by the
thought of home, gave three such rousing heart-felt cheers as
doubtless never escaped their lips before.

(588) Such vigorous, frantic and deep-down-from-the-heart cheering was
perhaps never before heard on this continent as was heard that day;
and the boys need not ever expect to hear the like again. Men acted
with the delirium of joy, climbing trees, throwing their hats in the
air, jumping on them and doing all sorts of frantic things. They
forgot all about the long and weary marches they had made; their
suffering from sickness, hunger and cold; the dangers, battles and
scenes of carnage they had passed through. All thoughts of these
things were swept away by the great flood of joy that overwhelmed
them, because of the glorious victory of the hosts of Union and
Liberty over the hosts of Treason.

(589) And now a remarkable feature of this almost closing scene in the
great drama of the Civil War should not fail of receiving notice,
especially as it has not hitherto been alluded to, so far as has been
observed, in any other published account of the surrender. About a
half hour after the cheering had ceased on the part of the Union
soldiers, there was almost as vigorous cheering in the Rebel camp.
This conduct of the enemy had something of the appearance of rejoicing
over their own defeat. However, though no explanation is remembered as
ever having been given for this demonstration, the reasonable
inference is that they were cheering because they had heard the news
that they were to be paroled upon the field and sent home, instead of
being sent to prison. Like the Union soldiers they were delighted with
the prospect that they should soon "breathe the air again of our
(their) own beloved home." Be this as it may, this cheering of Lee's
defeated veterans was a most extraordinary occurrence. And it is
doubtful if a parallel to it can be found anywhere in all previous
history. This was a scene the like of which could occur nowhere else,
perhaps, on the earth at this time than in this free, enlightened and
humane land of ours.

(590) Some mention here of Lieut. H. R. McCord will perhaps be not
without interest. He was mustered in as first sergt. of Company G.
During the war he received promotions up to first lieutenant, and when
Col. Curtis was put in command of a brigade, McCord was appointed
adjutant general on the colonel's staff. The lieutenant had relations
living all during the war within the Rebel lines, and he would hear,
through letters from them occasionally. He came to believe and so
expressed himself during the last year of the war, that the Rebels
would never be conquered. Doubtless the die-in-the-last-ditch spirit
breathed in those letters was responsible for that belief. He never
gave up that idea until the morning of Lee's surrender. This want of
faith in final success, however, in nowise interfered with his
faithfulness and efficiency as a soldier, for he was ever ready to do
his whole duty bravely and well. The cloud of despair that had hung
over him was all swept away that memorable morning, as a fog before
the breeze. And perhaps there was not a gladder man, nor one that
rejoiced more heartily that day in the entire army than he, over the
glorious victory and the downfall of the Rebellion.

(591) Two divisions of the Twenty-fourth Corps and some other troops
remained on the field of surrender while the Rebels were in course of
being paroled. At first for about one day our guards kept the soldiers
of the two armies apart and from mingling with each other. After that
there was no restraint put upon them, and the late deadly enemies met
and chatted in a quite amicable and seemingly friendly way, just as if
they had never been at war with each other. The Johnnys were disposed
to contend that if the number of their men and their means had been
equal to those of Uncle Sam, they could not have been conquered. But
they said nothing at that time about one Southern man being able to
whip five Yankees.

(592) There was considerable trading going on between the soldiers of
the two armies. The boys on either side were disposed to trade almost
anything they had. The Johnnys would sell their Confederate money for
about anything they could get for it, and they would go to our sutlers
and spend any "green-back" or postal-scrip money thus obtained for
tobacco, being anxious to get, as they said, some "Yankee tobacco."
They quite generally expressed a willingness to give up the struggle;
to have the war end immediately, and to submit to the authority of the
United States.

(593) The world has heard much of the hero of Appomattox and the
famous apple tree. Gen. Grant rather spoils that story of Lee's
surrendering to him under the apple tree, by saying in his memoirs
that it had very small basis of fact, viz., that Gen. Lee had met
Grant's staff officer, Gen. Babcock, under an apple tree which stood
near a road running up through an orchard, which was near the Rebel
camp. After all, though this story has a pretty good basis of fact,
many a good tale has less. At all events it was quite generally
believed by the Union troops, and there was accordingly a scramble
among them for fragments of the tree. Many of the Twelfth managed to
get pieces of it, for when it came to "confiscating" things and
appropriating them to private use this regiment was never far behind.

(594) As anything relating to that historic field and that memorable
day is of interest, the following as related by a soldier of the
Twelfth is given:

(595) On the day of the surrender or perhaps the next day, I was
strolling about the field and chanced to approach near to where a
colonel of our army and a citizen were in conversation. This citizen,
it seemed, was no other than McLean, at whose house Gen. Grant drew up
the terms of the surrender of Lee's army. Just as I came up McLean was
saying, "I own the ground where the first battle of the war was
fought, Bull Run, and I own the ground where the last battle of the
war was fought, at this place." This remark arrested my attention. I
knew that it was generally regarded among the Union troops that Lee's
surrender was the virtual collapse of the Rebellion, but I was
interested in having a confirmation of this opinion from a Rebel
himself, being like the rest of the boys anxious to have the cruel war
over; so I could not refrain from saying: "And so you regard the war
as being over?" addressing my remark to the citizen. "Yes," said
McLean. The colonel answered also, saying, "And one of the greatest
generals of the world, General Lee, so regards it." I felt a vaguely
defined sense of displeasure at and disapproval of this remark of the
colonel, but said nothing.

(596) Perhaps if this soldier had looked into his mind for the motive
of this feeling, he would have found it in the fact that it was hardly
consistent with loyalty to his country, its cause and his comrades to
be praising this Rebel general whose hands were red with his comrades'
blood, who had been fighting against the only free government at that
time worthy of the name on the face of the earth, endeavoring to set
up a government founded on the barbarism of human slavery; and whose
so-called government had so cruelly treated his comrades at
Andersonville and other prisons.

(597) The officers of the Army of the Potomac seem to have had a very
high opinion of the military ability of Gen. Lee. Gen. Grant says in
his Memoirs that it was no uncommon thing for his staff officers to
hear from Eastern officers: "Well, Grant has never met Bobby Lee yet,"
implying that when Grant should meet him he would meet a greater
military antagonist than he had previously met and perhaps an
over-match. Events--the hard tug of war for about a year, however,
proved that "Old United States Grant" was too much for "Bobby Lee."

(598) Impartial history will, no doubt, record with substantially one
voice that the blacks were innocently the cause of the war. Anything
therefore relating to the "contrabands" in connection with the war
will not be impertinent, so an incident in regard to one of them is
here given. One day during the several days we were camped at
Appomattox a colored man came into the camp of the Twelfth. On being
engaged in conversation and asked if he knew that his people were now
all free, and told that President Lincoln had two years before the
then last New Years' declared all the slaves in the land forever free,
and being told that he was now, since the Rebels were whipped, as free
as any man, he seemed almost struck dumb with amazement, managing,
however, to utter some devout ejaculations. He appeared to be though
more incredulous if possible, than amazed.

(599) It may seem to be almost incredible that this black man living
not more than 80 miles from our lines, for the then past year, should
be ignorant of the Proclamation of Emancipation, at a time more than
two years after it had been issued, especially as news is said to have
generally traveled fast among the slave population. He, however, did
not know of the granting of this great and long prayed for boon to his
race by "Massa Linkum," or else he was a very skillful adept in
assuming ignorance. It may be remarked here that in whatever degree
the slaves may have been ignorant of the existence of the
Proclamation, they seemed to know by intuition or otherwise that their
interests lay with the success of the Union cause.

(600) Within three or four days after the surrender Lee's army was all
paroled and sent home. April 12th the Second Division (ours) marched
for Lynchburg, arriving there on the 14th, and destroyed much war
material at that place. The Second Brigade entered the town in
advance, and as our men marched along the streets the blacks in great
numbers, many of them sent from various place--some from North
Carolina--for safe keeping, thronged the streets. They were wild with
joy. They threw their arms around each other, shouting "Glory to God!
the Yanks am come and we're all free."

(601) The 16th the command started back from Lynchburg and scarcely,
if at all, halting at Appomattox, pushed on toward Richmond. Our
division halted a few days at Burkesville, during which time the
Twelfth was paid to the first of the past January. We then marched on
to Richmond, arriving there the 24th. Our brigade was camped near the
city. We remained here nearly two months and during this time, the
16th of June, the Twelfth was mustered out. And it was while we were
here that one pleasant June afternoon we were marched to a point
nearer the city than our camp, and just as the shades of night were
beginning to spread over the landscape, the boys of the Twelfth who
had won medals at Fort Gregg were presented them, receiving them as
before, written from the hand of Gen. John Gibbon's daughter. This was
a proud day for those boys.

(602) On the 20th of June, the Twelfth took transports for home. They
landed us at Baltimore. We took cars there for Wheeling, arriving
there the 24th. In a few days the men were paid off and, receiving
their discharges, were soon on their way to their several homes to
enjoy the peace they had to fight for; and yet as long as they should
live, from time to time, fight battles over again. It should be said,
however, that before leaving for their homes the boys were given a
grand dinner by the generous citizens of Wheeling.

(603) Col. Curtis died August 25th, 1891. There was always a high
respect and filial regard entertained on the part of the members of
the regiment for their late commander; and the survivors will be
gratified to have here recorded Col. Caldwell's memorial address,
before referred to, upon his life and character.


COLONEL CALDWELL'S ADDRESS.

(604) _Comrades and Friends_:--General Curtis is gone. He was a
grandson of John Curtis, a patriot soldier of 1776.

(605) General Curtis was born April 18, 1821, on now historic ground
where the great battle of Antietam was afterwards fought.

(606) In 1832 his parents removed to the town of West Liberty, in Ohio
county, where on becoming of age he engaged and continued in business
as a merchant until he became a soldier in 1862. In 1861 he was a
member of the State convention at Wheeling, which organized a loyal
State government for Virginia.

(607) In 1776 one of the members of the Continental Congress advocated
unanimity in supporting the immortal declaration of our country's
independence by reminding his fellow-congressmen that "they must all
hang together, or they would all hang separately." In that Wheeling
convention every man had to face the same situation. Each one who cast
his lot and his vote there on the Union side risked his life, his
fortune and his sacred honor on what was then a doubtful result, and
against the vast majority of the people of his State, against the
seductions of State sovereignty, and often against the strongest
influence of family ties. General Curtis had a brother who was colonel
of the Twenty-third Virginia Confederate Regiment and was killed at
the battle of Slaughter Mountain.

(608) If the South succeeded, death or exile, confiscation of property
and business and social proscription were sure to each member of that
convention. It was a convention of Southerners true to the old flag
without an appropriation. From its results was born West Virginia,
fair and patriotic, devoted and loyal, in the sisterhood of States.

(609) It is one of the proud memories that we cherish of our comrade
that he served not falteringly among those true and devoted men. In
1861 he raised and tendered to the old war governor, Francis H.
Pierpont, a company of volunteers. Again in 1862 he enlisted a company
which became Company D of the Twelfth West Virginia Infantry. He was
elected captain.

(610) In 1863 the nine captains of the regiment, other than himself,
and the other commissioned officers, elected him major. As such he
commanded the regiment until January, 1864, when his worth was again
recognized by his election by his fellow-officers of the regiment as
colonel, and their choice was ratified by Governor Boreman. Holding
that distinguished rank, he commanded generally a brigade, sometimes
his regiment, until the close of the war.

(611) Even while thus serving he suffered from disease, but was a
soldier who never lost a day's duty in those trying years, or answered
a surgeon's roll call. Whoever else was absent, he was always "present
for duty."

(612) At New Market, Piedmont, Lynchburg, at Snicker's Ford,
Kearnstown, Winchester, Fisher's Hill, and above all at Fort Gregg, he
was the leader not only in rank of his brigade, but in fact. He served
under the quick, brilliant and glorious Phil. Sheridan, the Stonewall
Jackson of our side, throughout the great campaign of 1864 in
Shenandoah Valley.

(613) At Snicker's Ford on the banks of the beautiful Shenandoah, we
were all ranged along the shore of the river behind a low fence of
stone surmounted by rails. The Confederates had lately had a blockade
runner get through, and wore light blue trousers and jackets, once
gray, which time and service had rendered of no particular color.
Their skirmishers approached us, walking backwards and turning to
fire. Our boys, when they got near, wanted to fire on them, but
Colonel Curtis forbade it, saying: "Those are our men."

(614) Directly one of them turned and took deliberate aim at the
colonel, who was standing by a rail upright by his side, and blazed
away. Tung! went the oak rail as it was struck by the ball close to
his head. It was the only time I ever knew the colonel to forget his
tactics. "Shoot them, boys, shoot them now!" he said with energy. It
was not the regulation command, but it was appropriate and efficient.

(615) The foremost of all who served, General Grant, in his Personal
Memoirs, calls the assault by Curtis's Brigade on Fort Gregg in front
of Petersburg, Va., "desperate." In this assault there were 715 men
and officers killed and wounded on Sunday, April 2, 1865, yet Col.
Curtis captured the fort. His own regiment had three color bearers
killed in planting their flag on the ramparts.

(616) After he had ordered the charge General Foster regarding it as
impossible of success, ordered that it should be abandoned after the
troops had got near the fort. But American soldiers are men of
intelligence. With one mind they thought that they were more certain
to be shot down if they turned their backs, than if they went on. They
rushed forward through chevaux de fris and ditch and threw themselves
on their faces against the sandy front of the ramparts. General Foster
exclaimed when they refused to about face: "Well, go on. You'll all be
killed anyhow." A two hours' hand to hand contest over the walls of
the fort resulted in its capture.

(617) General Gibbons called it "if not the most desperate, one of the
most desperate assaults of the whole war." A few days afterward at a
grand review at Richmond, one officer and two privates of the regiment
were called to step four paces in front of the line of battle. A
general order was then read, naming them for conspicuous personal
gallantry in the assault, and soon afterwards bronze medals were
presented to them by our National Congress. One of these three was
that brave and fearless soldier, Lieut. Mont. Curtis, now deceased, a
son of Gen. Curtis.

(618) For the part he took the eagles upon Colonel Curtis's shoulders
were replaced by the general's stars by the President of the United
States. The official record in the War Department of the promotion
reads: "For gallant service in the capture of Fort Gregg, Virginia."
The regiment was presented with a bronze eagle for its conduct. It
bears the inscription:

(619) "Presented to the Twelfth Regiment, West Virginia Volunteer
Infantry, by their corps commander, General John Gibbon, for gallant
conduct in the assault upon Fort Gregg, near Petersburg, Va., April 2,
1865."

(620) Richmond was immediately evacuated when this fort surrendered.
General Curtis was afterward elected a member of the Legislature, and
rendered important civil services to the State, and has continually
held positions of honor and importance bestowed by his comrades in the
G.A.R.

(621) Owing to declining health he had for some years lived in
retirement before his death on the 25th of last August at his home in
West Liberty, at which time he was one of our vice presidents. Our
deceased comrade was a modest man, but we have no reason to be modest
in speaking of him.

(622) It was the fortune of your speaker to sleep in the same blankets
with General Curtis for two years and a half during his service, being
his adjutant, and he was the most indulgent, considerate and generous
of men, manly and Christian in all his character. He had the rare
faculty of attaching those he led to himself in unwavering confidence,
and that enthusiastic, affectionate personal regard without which no
military captain of any degree can be a success.

(623) Like the Old Commander who received the sword of Lee at
Appomattox, he was level-headed, and never lost his head in the hour
of danger; had full possession of his faculties and capabilities in
the hour of battle, as well as on dress parade.

(624) In time of peace he was a man of peace. When war came he became
a soldier. When peace returned again, he returned to the paths of
peace. He was a splendid type of the citizen-soldier. At the end of
his "three score years and ten" he leaves a memory which will be
revered, honored and cherished by his comrades, and perpetuated in the
history of a grateful country.

                     *      *      *      *      *

CONCLUSION.

A few words in conclusion are ventured. From a military point of view
it would appear that one of the lessons of the war, if not the most
important one, teaches that we should not over-estimate our own valor,
strength and resources, or under-estimate those of the enemy.
Accordingly, when it becomes necessary to go to war, making full
allowance for any possible inadequacy of estimate in these regards, we
should strike with ample and overwhelming force. The force should be
double or triple that which would seem to be enough, rather than of
doubtful sufficiency. In fact, where there is uncertainty as to the
possible magnitude of a war, it is best to be on the certain side, and
to strike the first blow with utmost strength, rather than
feebly--with the big end of the bludgeon of war, rather than with the
little end; and not do as was done by the government in the late war,
begin it with an inadequate force. The example of the Prussians in the
Franco-Prussian War teaches a lesson in warfare. They struck in the
beginning with overwhelming force, and made short work of the war.

Perhaps the most striking fact in connection with the conduct of our
late war was the lack of appreciation of this guiding principle of
precaution, or the disregard of it on each side of the contending
powers. There are many examples illustrating this fact. The failure of
the government to fully measure the task of the suppression of the
Rebellion prolonged the war through four years, seriously jeopardized
the result, and caused the sacrifice of a million of men, and the
expenditure of many millions of money to finally suppress it, which
otherwise might have been accomplished with one-tenth of the cost of
men and money. Twenty thousand more men on the Union side at Bull Run,
for instance, which additional number could easily have been had,
would probably have gained the day there, and put an end to the war.

On the other hand, if the Rebels had not under-estimated the valor of
their foes, thinking that one of them could whip five Yankees, and had
they made their supreme effort at an earlier stage of the war instead
of at the last of it, when they were "robbing the cradle and the
grave" to recruit their armies--if for instance they had had at
Antietam 110,000 men instead of 60,000 or 70,000, over which McClellan
failed to gain a decisive victory, which larger number they could
have had as easily as they could bring on the field of Gettysburg
100,000 men almost a year later, after meeting heavy losses at
Chancellorsville and on other fields, it is no violent presumption to
say that they might have won the day and gained their independence.

However, regarding the war from a moral and political standpoint, it
sometimes seems as if the war did not last long enough. It took years
of the terrible scourge of war, it would appear, to convince the
people of the seceded states, and to wring from them the
acknowledgement that they were better off without slavery than with
it. And perhaps if the war had lasted a little longer, and the Rebels
had felt still further the scourge of war, those who now have so much
respectful regard for the flag of treason, and the Lost Cause and
their defenders, might have finally become convinced that one flag and
one cause and its defenders are enough to honor; and that there should
be no place in the patriotic regard and affection of the people in
this free land of ours for the Rebel flag, the Lost Cause or their
defenders. Big as this country is it ought to be too little to give
room for any display of honor to the Rebel flag, the Lost Cause, or
their champions, dead or alive. Therefore, no soldier who would be
faithful to his country and the cause for which he fought should join
in any ceremony of decorating Rebel graves, of holding reunions with
Rebels, or of putting up monuments to them.

A few years since Gen. Sherman, at a Soldiers' reunion, said that it
was commendable to decorate Union soldiers' graves, to encourage
reunions and to put up soldiers' monuments, as to do these things was
to create and nurture a patriotic sentiment. Granting the truth of
this, it follows then as the night follows the day that to take part
in these or similar ceremonies, when done in honor of or with Rebels
distinctively as such, in contradistinction to being Union soldiers or
citizens, is to engender and to nurture disloyalty. No Union soldier
should do it. The reason given by those of them who do so, is that
they wish to remove the animosities of the war, and to cultivate a
fraternal feeling between the sections. The motive is good, but is it
not paying too dearly for kindly feeling and fraternal regard when
they are obtained at the cost of the inculcation of disloyalty?

The people of the late seceded States claim to be now as loyal as
those of the rest of the Union; but while there is a growing
improvement in respect to the loyalty of the former, there is too much
of the old disloyal spirit among them yet. Many instances might be
given; but only that of the utterance of the following sentiment by
Gen. Early at the unveiling of the monument erected in 1891 to the
memory of "Stonewall" Jackson, and the manner in which it was
received, is given: "If I am ever known to repudiate the cause for
which Lee fought and Jackson died," said Early, "may the lightning of
heaven blast me, and the scorn of all brave men and good women be my
portion." According to the _Charlottesville, (Va.) Chronicle_, from
which the above quotation is taken, this sentiment was cheered by
twenty thousand throats. The fair inference is that Gen. Early and
those cheering his sentiment are as much Rebels as they ever were.

The same newspaper above named says that there were ten thousand Union
soldiers present at the unveiling of this monument. While the loyal
sentiment of the land thus suffers the inculcation of treason, and
itself to be insulted by demonstrations like that of the unveiling of
the monument referred to, and others of similar character in honor of
late Rebels or the cause for which they fought, by those who lately
bore arms against the government--there is no obligation of good
feeling or of fraternity that demands of Union soldiers the
countenancing and aiding of these traitor-breeding demonstrations, by
their presence at them. It is to be hoped that the country is to be
spared the humiliating spectacle of many more such disgusting
manifestations of falsity on the part of the Union soldiers to the
cause for which they fought, as that it had to witness at the
unveiling of the monument erected to the memory of "Stonewall" Jackson
at Lexington, Va.





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