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Title: The Comanches - A History of White's Battalion, Virginia Cavalry
Author: Myers, Frank M.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                          Transcriber’s Note:

This version of the text cannot represent certain typographical effects.
Italics are delimited with the ‘_’ character as _italic_.

The few minor errors, attributable to the printer, have been corrected.
Please see the transcriber’s note at the end of this text for details
regarding the handling of any textual issues encountered during its
preparation.

                             THE COMANCHES:

                              A HISTORY OF

             =WHITE’S BATTALION, VIRGINIA CAVALRY,=

                 LAUREL BRIG., HAMPTON DIV., A. N. V.,

                                C. S. A.

       Written by FRANK M. MYERS. Late Capt. Co. A, 35th Va. Cav.



                               ----------

            _Approved by all the Officers of the Battalion._

                               ----------



                               BALTIMORE:
                     KELLY, PIET & CO., PUBLISHERS,
                     174 and 176 Baltimore Street.
                                 1871.



    ----------------------------------------------------------------

     Entered, according to an Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by
                        KELLY, PIET AND COMPANY,
       in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

                             _Exeter, Loudoun Co., Va., Dec. 2, 1870._

_Captain F. M. Myers:_

          _Dear Sir,—We, the undersigned, officers of the Thirty-fifth
Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, C.S.A., having examined the MSS. of your
history of the same, do most heartily endorse the said history, and must
congratulate you upon the graphic manner in which you have related the
story of their deeds of daring, their trials and sufferings for the
“Lost Cause.”_

_Most respectfully, your old comrades and companions in arms,_

                                      _ELIJAH V. WHITE,
                             Late Lieut.-Col. Thirty-fifth Va. Cav._
                                      _J. R. CROWN,
                           Late First Lieut. Co. B, White’s Bat._
                                      _BENJ. F. CONRAD,
                        Late Second Lieut. Co. A, Thirty-fifth Va. Cav._
                                      _GEO. W. CHISWELL,
                            Late Captain Co. B, White’s Battalion._
                                      _ED. J. CHISWELL,
                        Late Second Lieut. Co. B, Thirty-fifth Va. Cav._
                                      _WM. F. BARRETT,
                           Late First Lieut. Co. A, White’s Battalion._
                                      _WM. F. DOWDELL,
                             Late Captain Co. C, Thirty-fifth Va. Cav._
                                      _J. MORT. KILGOUR,
                           Late Capt. and A.Q.M., Thirty-fifth Va. Cav._



                                PREFACE.

                               ----------


_To the Members of the Thirty-Fifth Virginia Cavalry_:

The following pages have been prepared under many and great
difficulties, and while they exhibit the history of the command we were
so proud of in the dark days of the war for States Rights and the old
Constitution, they are very far from presenting a _full_ history of our
Battalion.

Almost all the papers relating to the operations of the “Comanches,”
whether belonging to the field and staff or to company officers, were
lost at the surrender of the army, in consequence of which I have been
compelled to draw nearly all that is recorded from my own memory,
assisted materially by Col. White, in the account of the “battle of
Brandy Station,” and of the raids in Fairfax and Loudoun in 1863.

To Mr. John O. Crown I am under obligations for the use of his MSS.,
giving an account of the operations in the autumn of 1862, and of the
last winter of the war, and to Lieuts. J. R. Crown and E. J. Chiswell
for much that is interesting in the history of Company B; to the former
especially, for a report of his fight with Cole’s battalion in Maryland,
and of his capture by the same command in 1863.

The lists of killed and wounded for Company B were prepared by Lieut.
Chiswell; for Company C, by Capt. Dowdell; for Company E, Lieut.
Strickler, and for Company A, by myself.

From Company F, I regret exceedingly that I have not been able to obtain
any information whatever.

As for the _manner_ of the work, while I am free to confess that the
story is by no means well told, yet, the men of the Battalion who, by
education and talent, were well qualified for the task of preparing it,
would not, and it has thus fallen to my lot to write this history; and,
such as it is, I submit it to your judgment for approval or not, as you
may decide; but among its faults I claim that violations of the
"historian’s religion"—truth—will not be laid to its charge; and the
thoughts, feelings, and impressions, unbiassed by the warpings of after
events, have been presented as far as possible.

It is a story altogether of the past, and, as soldiers of the “Lost
Cause,” we have nothing to do with the efforts of politicians, North or
South, to galvanize the Confederacy into spasmodic action, and then cry—

                  "There’s life in the old land yet."

There is no attempt either to conceal or parade the grief we, as
Confederate soldiers, felt at the furling of the “conquered banner.”

                “For though conquered, we adore it,
                Love the cold, dead hands that bore it.”

But while we do love so dearly the battle-flag of “Dixie,” we regard it
only as the emblem of the “storm-cradled nation that fell,” and as the
winding-sheet of its dead and buried glory, over whose gloomy tomb the
brave, true-hearted men of the southland have raised a monument of noble
deeds, which will defy malice, oppression, and time.

We know that the Southern Confederacy is dead, and all its mourning
lovers ask is permission to bury their dead reverently.

         “Hushed is the roll of the Rebel drum,
         The sabres are sheathed, and the cannon are dumb,
         And fate with pitiless hand has furled,
         The flag that once challenged the gaze of the world.”

But the fame of its soldiers deserves to live on the pages of history,
and, if I have aided in rescuing from oblivion the story of the gallant
deeds performed by the men that followed Col. Elijah V. White through
the bloody years of that desolating war, I am satisfied.

                                                        F. M. MYERS.

LOUDOUN COUNTY. VA., Nov. 27, 1870.



                             THE COMANCHES.

                               ----------



                               CHAPTER I.


In commencing the story of the brave deeds performed during the dark
days of the great civil war in America by the gallant band known as
"White’s Battalion," it will be proper to give a short sketch of the
man who, as chief of the “Comanches,” gave to the Thirty-fifth
Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, its existence, and led it through so
many campaigns, battles and raids, to occupy a place in the history
of the war second to no command of its numbers, and distinguished
under the special notice of such men as “Stonewall” Jackson, Richard
S. Ewell, J. E. B. Stuart, William E. Jones, Thomas L. Rosser and
the gallant Butler of South Carolina; besides receiving the highest
encomiums from the greatest cavalry commander since the days when
Murat led the squadrons of Napoleon—General Wade Hampton—and of
Robert E. Lee, before whose fame the most splendid garlands of glory
that wreathe the brows of the noblest men of earth in all time, pale
as does the silver moon-beam before the radiant rays of the noon-day
sun.

Elijah V. White was born near Poolsville, Montgomery County,
Maryland, on the 29th of August, 1832, and continued at his father’s
home until he was sixteen years of age, when he was sent to Lima
Seminary, Livingston Co., N. Y., to be educated. Here he remained
for two years, at the expiration of which he attended Granville
College, in Licking Co., Ohio, for two more years, when he returned
to his home in Maryland.

During the war in Kansas, in 1855 or ’56, he went to that territory,
and joining a company from Missouri, took an active part in the
troubles that then threatened to overthrow the pillars of the old
Constitution in the terrible maelstrom of abolitionism that
afterwards swept away their foundations.

After the Kansas war closed, young White came home, and shortly
afterwards bought a farm on the south bank of the Potomac, in
Loudoun county, Virginia, where he took up his residence in 1857,
and on the 9th of December of the same year married Miss Sarah
Elizabeth Gott.

At the first signal of war, given by John Brown at Harper’s Ferry,
in October, 1859, White was a Corporal in the Loudoun Cavalry, a
company then commanded by Capt. Dan. T. Shreve, with which he took
part in the scenes of excitement that followed this mad attempt of
Northern fanaticism to sweep the twin scourges of fire and blood
over the South. At the breaking out of the war in 1861, White was
still a member of this company; but owing to a change of its
officers, which, to a great extent, damaged its efficiency, he left
it and attached himself to the company of Capt. Frank Mason, in
Ashby’s Legion, with which he served until the autumn of that year,
being engaged principally in scouting, much of which he did under
the orders of Col. Eppa Hunton, who, during the summer, commanded in
Loudoun county. On one of his scouts for Col. Hunton, in Maryland,
he captured the first Yankee prisoner of the war in the person of
one Costine, of Gen. McCall’s staff. When Gen. Evans took command in
Leesburg, “Lige White,” as he was familiarly known, reported to him,
and the night before the fight at Bolivar, the General asked “Lige”
"if he didn’t want some fun," at the same time informing him that
Ashby intended to attack Geary on the following morning; whereupon
“Lige” started at 9 o’clock, reaching Ashby’s camp just as that
commander was marching out to make his demonstration on Harper’s
Ferry. In this brilliant affair he bore his full share, and when it
was over returned on a furlough, to Loudoun, to make necessary
arrangements for leaving his family in as comfortable circumstances
as possible, while he followed the fortunes of the battle flag of
Dixie. Early on the morning of the 21st of October, while driving to
Leesburg from Mr. Henry Ball’s, in a buggy, with Miss Kate Ball, he
heard the firing of the opening fight at Ball’s Bluff, and hastily
returning to Mr. Ball’s, he mounted his horse and reported at once
to General Evans for duty.

The General, who was somewhat the worse for whiskey, gruffly asked
him what he could do; to which “Lige” replied that he could scout,
could carry dispatches, or could go into the ranks and fight. After
a few moments of study, Evans exclaimed, “Well, sir, go to the front
and fight like hell and damnation;” and “Lige” rode off and reported
to Col. Hunton, who was the actual commander in this battle.

The Colonel requested White to remain with him and scout for him
during the day; and shortly after, when returning from a scout to
the left to learn if the enemy was attempting any movement on the
flank, he found fully one-third of the 8th Virginia Regiment in
utter rout, caused by a misunderstanding of an order for that part
of the regiment, which had been considerably advanced, to retire on
the main line, and they taking it to be an order to retreat. With
great difficulty the order was explained and the men rallied and
brought back to the line, when Col. Hunton ordered an advance of his
regiment which vigorously attacked the enemy, driving his whole
right wing back to the woods bordering on the bluff, and capturing
two brass howitzers, but the left of his line stood firm, and White
was ordered by Col. Burt, of the 18th Mississippi, to go into the
woods and bring up two companies of his regiment that had been
stationed on the extreme right of the Confederate line to guard
against a flank attack in that quarter, and form them on the right
of the 17th.

As soon as this order had been executed, Col. Burt ordered his
regiment to advance, which it did, the Colonel and White riding in
rear of the line, and when in about fifty yards of a skirt of timber
that grew along a ravine in the old field, the enemy, who till that
moment had lain concealed, raised up and poured a most terribly
destructive volley into the Mississippi line, by which about one
hundred and thirty men were killed and wounded; in fact, by far the
largest part of the Confederate loss on that day was caused by this
one murderous fire. Col. Burt was mortally wounded by White’s side
and the latter represents himself as being terribly frightened but
untouched, and says the men of the 18th stood unflinchingly in the
storm and soon drove the enemy from his position. Col. Burt, who was
held on his horse by two of his men, asked White to ride to Col.
Jenifer and inform him that he (Burt) was mortally wounded and must
leave the field.

On his return he found Col. Hunton in front of the 18th Regiment
instructing its Major to advance through the woods upon the enemy,
but the Major objected, saying he did not know the ground; when
Hunton said, "Come on, I’ll lead you;" to which the Major replied,
“No, sir; I can lead my own men, all I want is a guide;” and Col.
Hunton turned to White, saying, "Lige, my boy, won’t you go with
them?" which settled the question of a guide, and “Lige” rode
forward in front of the Mississippians, soon finding himself between
two fires, the foe in front and friends behind; but the Yankees soon
gave way, leaving a splendid brass 24-pounder rifle gun as a trophy
to the gallantry of the noble 18th Mississippi. This closed the
battle, and Col. Hunton again sent “Lige” on a scout to the left to
see what the enemy was doing in that direction. It was now dark and
White had not gone far before he was halted by a voice which he knew
to belong to a Yankee, and replying in a low tone, “halted;” the man
asked who he was; “Lige” answering by asking the same question, and
the fellow replied—“I belong to the New York Tammany Regiment.”
White, still speaking very low, called out excitedly, “You do!”
“Come to me, come to me!” and the Yankee advanced close to him with
gun at a charge bayonet, when White said to him, “Surrender, or you
are a dead man;” at the same time levelling his pistol on him, but
the Yankee was pluck, and exclaiming, “Never, to any man!” stepped
back to bayonet his foe, and “Lige” at the same moment drew trigger
but his pistol missed fire; hastily cocking it again he was just in
time, and sent a bullet crashing through the Yankee’s brain just as
he was in the act of driving his bayonet through him.

“Lige” now satisfied himself that the enemy had retired all along
the line, and returned to Col. Hunton, who now marched his people
back to their camp, ordering White to remain with Lieut. Chas.
Berkeley, who with fifteen men was to remain on picket near the
river during the night. The ladies of Leesburg had sent a kingly
supper to the soldiers, and after satisfying their appetites, which
had been sharp-set by a day of fasting and fighting, White proposed
to Lieut. Berkeley that they take a scout to the river, for, strange
as it may appear, not a single Confederate had been _to_ the bluff,
although they had fought to within a few yards of its edge. To this
Lieut. B. readily agreed, and passing quietly along over the dead
and dying, they reached the river, and soon heard a boat crossing
over from the opposite bank. In a few minutes it struck the Virginia
shore, and leaving Berkeley and his men, White walked up to the
landing place where he found himself among a great crowd of Yankees,
all eager to get aboard the one gondola, and terribly excited. To
return to the Lieutenant and report was the next move, and “Lige”
declared that he believed there were 800 to 1,000 Yankees down under
the bluff, and asked Berkeley what they were to do, to which he
replied, “We will capture the whole of them.”

White agreed to it, provided the fifteen would all promise to carry
it through or die trying, when one of the men said to him that
Lieut. B. was a rash man and he, for one, was not willing to follow
him, as he feared they would all be killed; upon which “Lige”
started to the camp of the 8th Virginia for reinforcements. On
arriving there he found Lt.-Col. Tebbs in command, who said that if
any of the men chose to do so they might go, but advised them to let
the enterprise alone. On telling his story and asking for
volunteers, Captain W. N. Berkeley said, "I’ll follow you," and at
once some of Capt. B’s men responded with, "Yes, and we’ll follow
_you_." So that in a short time quite a force had volunteered,
composed as follows:—Captains, W. N. and Edmund Berkeley;
Lieutenants, R. H. Tyler, L. B. Stephenson and R. Coe; Sergeants, F.
Wilson, J. O. Adams and —— Gochnauer; Corporals Aye, B. Hurst, W.
Fleshler, B. Hutchison and Wm. Thomas; and Privates, A. S. Adams, J.
W. Adams, F. A. Boyer, J. L. Chin, G. Creel, R. S. Downs, W.
Donnelly, G. Insor, C. R. Griffin, John George, D. L. Hixson, T. W.
Hutchison, J. F. Ish, R. I. Smith, W. C. Thomas, J. W. Tavenner, J.
M. McVeigh, L. W. Luckett, C. D. Luckett, M. H. Luckett, A. M.
O’Bannon, Rev. Chas. Linthicum, R. O. Carter, George Roach, E.
Nails, Howard Trussell, D. Rourke, Thomas E. Tavenner, P. Gochnauer,
F. Tinsman, T. H. Benton, T. Kidwell, C. Fox, V. R. Costello, Will.
Moore, J. Ellis, William McCarty, J. McClanahan, E. Herrington and
R. Julian. With this force White started back to the river, where he
had left Lieut. Berkeley watching the enemy, and on reaching it,
after an absence of nearly two hours, found the situation unchanged,
except that the number of the enemy was perceptibly lessened, the
gondola having made several trips. Hastily arranging his forces,
“Lige” posted Lieut. Berkeley on top of the bluff, just over the
Yankees, while he moved the remainder down to the edge of the river
and charged at once upon the enemy, firing and yelling like demons,
when at the same moment Lieut. B. opened fire from the bluff with
his party. The consternation was terrible among the Yankees, some
leaping into the river and drowning themselves, some wading out in
the water as far as they could, some running up the river bank, and
some, too much paralyzed with fear to act at all, just fell down and
screamed.

Very soon an Irish Captain, a gallant fellow, appeared and called a
parley, when the firing ceased and the Captain asked who was in
command, to which Capt. William Berkeley replied, “Gen. White,” and
the Captain at once asked upon what terms his men would be allowed
to surrender, and when told they should be treated kindly as
prisoners of war, he called them up from their hiding places,
saying, “the General assures me you shall be kindly treated; come
out and give yourselves up.” This had the desired effect and they
all came up, to the number of 320, and surrendered to the “brigade
of General White.”

A few days after this, a recommendation was drawn up and signed by
the regimental commanders, asking that White be commissioned in the
Regular Army of the Confederate States, for meritorious conduct at
the battle of Leesburg. This was approved by Gen. Evans, and
cordially endorsed by Gen. Beauregard, but when “Lige” presented it
to the Secretary of War, he was informed that no commissions in the
Regular Army were being granted then, but that his name should be
registered for the first vacancy. This did not suit him and learning
that his old friend, Col. Hunton, was in Richmond, called upon him,
and was advised by that officer to apply for permission to organize
an independent company for service on the border, which he did, and
through Col. Hunton’s influence succeeded without any difficulty in
getting the appointment of Captain in the Provisional Army, with the
authority to raise a company as proposed, and he now returned to
Leesburg where he opened a recruiting office under very favorable
auspices, the militia of the county having been called to that point
by Gen. D. H. Hill, (who succeeded Evans in command of the
Department soon after the battle,) to work on the fortifications in
course of construction there, and it was natural to suppose that
many of them would prefer ranging service on the border to wielding
the shovel and the hoe in the breast-works.



                              CHAPTER II.


In the last days of December, 1861, Captain Elijah V. White, for
such was his rank now, reported to General Hill, with fifteen men
for duty, and was ordered by that officer to establish a line of
couriers between Leesburg and Winchester, which he did on the 29th,
stationing Ben. F. Conrad and James W. Harper at Leesburg, Richard
Harding and William H. Luckett at Hamilton, Peter J. Kabrich and
Frank. M. Myers at Round Hill, C. C. Wenner and R. W. Washington at
Castleman’s Ferry, Joseph E. Conner and W. T. Cruzen at Berryville,
and Richard Ferro at Winchester, with Gip. Peter in command at that
end of the line, while the Captain himself remained at Leesburg. The
company was thus employed until the 14th of January following, when
an order was passed along the line calling all the men to assemble
in Leesburg, and on reaching that point the Captain found he had
about twenty-five men, whom he marched to Waterford and established
in winter quarters at that place. Maj. Win. F. Barrett, of the 57th
Regiment Virginia Militia, acted as Orderly Sergeant and
Quartermaster, and with the Captain formed the board of officers of
the company. The Madison Cavalry, under Capt. Graves, was also
stationed at Waterford and picketed the Potomac from the Point of
Rocks to Berlin, and Capt. White proposed to co-operate with these
men in scouting, and guarding the line of river all the way to
Harper’s Ferry; and here commenced the active duty of what was
afterwards to be the famous Battalion, now not having enough men to
entitle it to a company organization, but whose rolls afterwards
bore nearly 700 names. About this time an officer was sent by Gen.
Hill to muster the company regularly into the military service of
the Confederate States, and this duty performed, the men considered
themselves tied fast and were perfectly satisfied with their lot.

Among the first duties required of the company was that of executing
an order of Gen. Hill, to collect the delinquent Militia of the 56th
Virginia Regiment, and take them to their comrades who were at work
on the fortifications around Leesburg, but this was no easy matter,
many of them having crossed the Potomac—some to take service in the
army of Abraham I, and others to escape doing any kind of military
duty in the Confederacy—while a large portion of those who remained
were Quakers, who, according to the tenets of their religion, could
not perform such duty, and paid their exemption fines.

Another order of the General’s required Capt. White to go into south
Loudoun and upper Fauquier, and impress into the service all the
wagons, teams and negroes that could be spared from that section,
and take them to Leesburg.

The execution of this order was entrusted to Henry K. Moore, who,
finding the citizens exceeding loth to give over their property to
the tender mercies of the C. S. A., took their excuses instead, and
returned to camp with sundry promises on the part of the people to
send the required articles at a “more convenient season.”

On making his report to the Captain, the latter expressed decided
disapprobation of that style of executing a military order, and to
show what he considered the proper mode, he only allowed Henry and
his detail time enough to feed their horses, when he had them in the
saddle again, and taking charge of the expedition himself, he
sallied forth among the reluctant citizens of the favored region
named in Gen. Hill’s order. And this time the wagons and contrabands
came; but he left a very bitter memory among the people whom he
visited, for they were just congratulating themselves that they had
so easily escaped the fulfilment of the order which Henry had shown
them, when White swooped down upon them and executed it promptly and
to the letter.

It was the custom of Capt. White to leave his quarters about dark,
on those long winter nights, and striking the Potomac at some one of
the fords or ferries along that stream, lie quiet and watch for the
Federals to come over, and also to look out for the people, who,
loyal to the Lincoln dynasty but traitors to their State, would
cross over, some to carry news to the Yankees and return with their
blood money to gather more, and some to escape being called into the
military service in Virginia.

Not the least however of his care, was to stop the exodus of the
negro population who, on the border, were constantly being decoyed
by Yankee emissaries away from their masters and their homes.

On one of these occasions he was accompanied by the Rev. Mr. ——, an
Old School Baptist preacher, who, with his shot gun on his shoulder,
agreed to act as pilot for the command in a little scout to the
river opposite the Point of Rocks.

It was Sunday night and very cold, but a faithful negro had given
information to the Captain that a party of his colored brethren had
made an arrangement to run away that night, and that some Yankees
were to meet them with a boat at the mouth of the Catocton creek.

On getting near the ground the men dismounted and tying their
horses, walked to the position, when the Captain placed one man in
the bridge over the creek at that place, and posted the others at
the boat landing. The one man was to watch for the negroes and give
quiet notice of their approach, while the others were to capture the
party that brought over the boats.

Unfortunately the reverend gentleman remained with the picket in the
bridge, and just when the boats were heard approaching, the poles
grating on the river bottom and plainly heard; for the night was too
dark to see anything on the water; the contrabands approached the
bridge, and, instead of quietly retiring with the information, the
picket ordered them to halt, whereupon they commenced to run, and in
great excitement the preacher sprang forward, and, firing his piece,
called upon them in language far more emphatic than elegant to halt.

At this the boats hastily put back and a volley of bullets from the
Yankee side came whizzing over the river, the great signal lights on
the Point at the same time beginning to swing to and fro, giving a
weird and ghostly gleaming to the wild scene. The Captain and his
party at once rushed to the bridge, hoping at least to catch some of
the negroes, but they were gone, not even a wounded one left as the
result of the preacher’s shot.

The company then returned to camp, and that was, I believe, the
last, as well as the first, expedition ever made by the parson as a
scout.

One night the Captain ordered the company to saddle up, and taking
with him his negro boy “Baz,” went down near Harper’s Ferry, in
search of news from “over the water.” Here he passed himself and
people for Yankees, and had a very pleasant time among the loyal
(colored) folks of that region; but his information, although very
abundant, was not of much value; so after making free with the
cherry-bounce, and frightening the little niggers at “old Taps”
until their eyes were a great deal too large for their faces, he
started “Baz” to a house near the crossing of the Shenandoah, just
opposite the town, to try if he couldn’t get them to take him over,
he representing himself as a runaway, and it being pretty generally
understood that the family there was engaged in that business.

It so happened, however, that none of the men were at home, and
“Baz” was persuaded by the ladies to wait till morning; but after
some time he concluded to put off his trip, and returned to the
company, about fifteen of whom were waiting for "Baz"—as part of his
programme was to make arrangements for crossing, then return for a
couple of friends who were going with him—and he had been so long
about it that White, fearing he had got into trouble, or perhaps had
turned the thing into earnest and gone over literally, had started
to the house and met “Baz” a very short distance from it. His men at
once surrounded the cabin, and Ferro, going on the porch, commenced
to inquire of the women—who were still standing there—the news, but
no sooner did he speak, than, apparently for the first time
comprehending the situation, they threw themselves on the floor and
began to scream—“Rebels, rebels; oh, my friends, come over
here!—come quick!” &c., and the sentinels on the other side fired
their muskets. At once the drums commenced to roll and very soon the
troops were in line, when White ordered his party to retire, which
they did at once; but the women kept on screaming, and the Yankees
opened a fire which rendered the retreat of the scouts a very
interesting operation until they reached the point where the grade
turns the mountain. And thinking they had heard enough for one night
they mounted their horses, and going up the Valley to the residence
of a good citizen, above Neersville, turned in until morning.

Although returning empty-handed from his scouts, operations of this
kind had a good effect on the border, for the reason that they
diminished greatly, and at some points stopped the communications
entirely, with the other side of the river.

In this manner January and February passed away, but during the
latter part of February the business became a great deal more
particular, and one Sunday evening the Captain returned to camp from
Leesburg with an order to cross Goose Creek and make a scout into
Fairfax. Leaving the camp at dark, as usual, the command marched
through Leesburg, and on reaching the burnt bridge found the creek
very high; in fact, some of the horses had to swim; but all crossed
safely, and passing down the pike reached Dranesville, when the
Captain turned to the right, and bivouacked his men in the house of
a citizen. Here they slept until morning, and continuing the scout,
met Lt.-Col. Munford, with a party of the 2d Virginia Cavalry, also
on the hunt of the enemy; but nothing came of it, and White returned
to his camp, with his men pretty badly used up.

Soon after this, Col. Geary of the 28th Pennsylvania, began to pay
attention to the Loudoun side of the river, and needed a great deal
of looking after on the part of our scouting company. One day the
Captain, with a party, went up to the Loudoun Heights, and from the
old blockhouses there, discovered that a pontoon bridge was nearly
completed over the Shenandoah, which evidently showed an intention
to cross the river. After staying there for an hour or two, in easy
gunshot of the workmen, the Captain concluded to go across to the
Short Hill and from the Eagle Rock take a look at Sandy Hook and the
Rail Road generally. Just as he reached his observatory some of the
men looked over at the blockhouses, which they had left a short
while ago, and discovered that a detachment of the enemy was in
possession of them, having gone up the mountain by one path while
White’s command was coming down by another. This was decidedly
interesting, and the next day the Captain took his boys up to the
Short Hill again, to have another look at them.

Pretty soon after reaching the top of the mountain one of the boys
saw a man in a blue coat lying behind some rocks, and showing him to
the Captain he called upon him to come out and surrender, which he
did, and just at that moment one of the boys, farther out on the
mountain, slipped from a rock and accidentally discharged his gun.
This created quite a panic, the scouts imagining that they were
beleaguered by Yankees, and be it known not many of them had ever
seen a Yankee except with the Potomac between them.

The trouble was soon over though, and the prisoner, who proved to be
a Lieutenant in Co. D, 28th Pennsylvania, explained that he was one
of a party that had crossed the hill there on the way to
Lovettsville, and by stopping at a house for something to eat he had
got behind, and as a consequence fallen into the hands of those whom
he termed “guerrillas.”

No boy was ever prouder of his first pantaloons than White’s boys
were of their first prisoner, and rapidly retiring from the mountain
they made their best time down the country towards Leesburg, to show
him, but great was their astonishment to see the citizens fly from
their approach as if they had been a tribe of wild cats.

They couldn’t understand it all until, on reaching Wheatland, they
met Major Peyton, of Gen. Beauregard’s staff, who informed the
Captain that the people had heard he and his men were all captured,
and they thought the party were Yankees coming to devour them.

Capt. White, with his prisoner, and some of his men, went with Major
P. to Mr. Braden’s, and the others stopped at Mr. Orrison’s, where
they got supper, and related their marvelous exploit, as they then
considered it, and so scrupulously chivalrous were they towards the
captured officer that the men took turns at walking in order that he
might ride the whole way, and although he was provided with canteen,
gum-cloth and haversack, everything in fact that a completely
equipped soldier needs, they took nothing from him but his pistol.

The Lieutenant informed them that he and all his men were fighting
for the Union, and not to set the negroes free; that if he thought
for one moment the latter was the object of the war he would quit
the army at once and either go home and stay there, or come South
and join the Confederates.

After supper the company united and marched for Leesburg, but on
reaching Clark’s Gap found that the men who had been left in camp,
alarmed at the rumors they had heard, had loaded the wagons and
moved everything from Waterford to the turnpike, and had the teams
still hitched up ready to move further. Leaving the company here,
Capt. W. took the prisoner to Gen. Hill, and in the morning came up
and moved his wagons back to Waterford. This was Sunday morning, and
a company of Michigan Cavalry came down to about one and a-half
miles of the town, when White got his men in the saddle to meet
them, but they were only on a scout, and after getting a look at the
Southern pickets returned to their camp. The next day the Captain
took his men again to the mountain, this time to capture the
blockhouses on Loudoun Heights.

After reaching the top of the mountain, about two and a-half miles
from the object of his expedition, he dismounted five men, to wit:
T. S. Grubb, John Tribbey, R. Ferro, C. Cooper, and F. M. Myers, and
putting the last named in command, sent them forward along the
backbone of the Blue Ridge, as a forlorn hope, with instructions to
get as close as possible without being perceived by the enemy, and
then to fire and dash upon the houses, telling them that he would
support them with the balance of the company, which now numbered
about thirty-five men—and boys. The advance guard moved off,
thinking that whatever their Captain said was all right, and that
his orders must be obeyed at every hazard. They were deployed as
skirmishers, the commander keeping as near the line of the mountain
summit as possible, while on the right and left were two men, the
first ten steps from the leader and the second the same distance
beyond the first. In this manner they moved quietly along, with the
understanding that as a signal their leading man, in case of need,
should whistle once to cause them to lie down, and two notes from
the natural bugle meant forward again. While on the way, Cooper
asked to be allowed to shoot at the first Yankee he saw and as soon
as he saw him, to which Myers objected, but finally agreed that if
he was near enough to see the white of his eye he might shoot.

Almost before they knew it they were at the edge of the clearing
around the blockhouses, and the Yankees were close by them, upon
which the leader whistled and all lay down to look at the situation;
but soon a tramp was heard, and looking to the right they saw a
sentry walking his beat, which would bring him within ten feet of
the forlorn hope, if he kept on, and on looking at Cooper he was
seen with his gun across a stump, cocked, ready to fire, and aiming
at the Yankee, the white of whose eye was plainly visible certainly,
and it required all the signs in his power to make for Myers to
prevent him from shooting the sentry, who passed on unconscious of
treading so close to the heads of five rebels. There were about
eight hundred infantry and five pieces of artillery at the
blockhouses, and three of the guns were pointing exactly in the
direction of the scouts. Here was a beautiful piece of work; thirty
men to assault such a force as this; but they were going to do it,
and the five only waited for the others to get in supporting
distance, to commence the attack. It was not made, however, for
while lying there they heard a shot in the rear, and crawling back
through the bushes until out of sight of the enemy, they got up and
traveled as fast as possible to the rear, and finally reached the
Captain, who only pointed with his hand down towards the valley, and
wheeling his horse dashed away. Looking in that direction they saw a
force of cavalry and infantry moving up the grade, and already they
were beyond Neersville, while in their rear some forage wagons were
going along the grade.

They at once conjectured that their Captain was going to attack this
party and hurried back faster than ever to get their horses, and as
soon as all his people were together White dashed down the mountain
and charged the foragers, but they were too fast for him, and after
following them under the guns of the blockhouses he turned about and
gave up the chase.

The company then returned to their quarters, and for several days
did nothing but picket, the force being divided into two parties,
one under Henry Moore and the other under Frank Myers, who would
relieve each other every six hours.

This was soldiering with the gilding off, and many were the homesick
boys, as during the stormy hours of those winter nights they sat on
their horses peering through the dark for the enemy who threatened
them always, but never came to drive them away, although their
cavalry came near to us many times; on one occasion going to the old
schoolhouse at Rehoboth, which had been occupied by the Southern
cavalry as a shelter for their pickets, and burned it down, although
they knew they were advancing and it could no longer be used for
that purpose.

On another occasion some of them made a valiant descent upon
Taylortown and captured “Stout” Williams’ Mill at that place,
carrying off his books and papers, along with his flour and almost
everything else that was moveable about the premises.

However, the hard duty performed by the little garrison at Waterford
was soon to change now, for matters drew to a crisis very rapidly
after McClellan’s army commenced to advance from the lines around
Washington, and one evening Capt. White came up from Leesburg and
informed his company that the time had come when the border would no
longer be on the Potomac, for Generals Beauregard and Johnson were
going to fall back from Manassas in order to draw McClellan into a
battle away from his base.

The boys all thought the movement was a good one, and by midnight
their wagons were loaded and everything in moving order, but all
felt very sure they wouldn’t be away more than a month at farthest,
for one more battle would, in their opinion, about end the war.

About 2 o’clock in the morning the pickets were called in, and the
wagons started for Leesburg, while the companies of White and Graves
prepared to guard them.

This ended the pleasant experience of camping in Waterford, and
closed the Winter campaign for 1861 and ’2, the first in which Capt.
White’s company had been engaged, and from this time forth they were
no longer to play soldier, but act it out in sober earnest.



                              CHAPTER III.


On the morning of March 4th, 1862, Captain White marched from
Waterford to Leesburg, and when they reached the top of Catocton
Mountain they saw what desolation the retiring army was inflicting
on the country, and knowing what would follow the Yankees in their
advance, it did really appear that the people of their beloved and
beautiful Loudoun must leave their homes or be burned with them, for
all over the country could be seen the flames going up from the
stack-yards and mills, and the morning air was dark and heavy with
the gloom of the destruction which brooded over the land.

On arriving at Leesburg Gen. Hill’s troops were seen marching away,
the General and his staff being mounted, ready to leave the town
when the last soldier had gone out. Hill ordered White to remain and
act as he thought best, but to watch the enemy, and keep him advised
of all movements along the border.

The Captain remained in town until evening, when he went up among
the Quakers and encamped for the night, and for several days hung
around this section, watching for an opportunity to annoy the enemy,
but they did not appear desirous of being annoyed by him, for it was
almost two days after White left Waterford before the Michigan
cavalry appeared in that place; but from here their march to
Leesburg was rapid, and after that they remained very quiet for
several days, being only engaged in arresting citizens and operating
under the instigation of the tory citizens of the county who now
flocked into the desolated land, and as far as their power went,
destroyed every vestige of free will among the people, and turned
loose the demon of political persecution upon those unfortunate
people—whose only crime was loyalty to their old mother State.

The situation of the little company of scouts was now rather
precarious, cut off from supplies from both directions—their homes
and the army too—no regular organization of their own, no
quartermaster, and what rendered the matter worse, the men had made
no preparation for a campaign out of reach of their homes, and their
supply of clothing was very scanty. The Captain bestirred himself to
supply, as far as possible, all deficiencies, and made arrangements
to get cloth from the factory at Waterloo; and pretty soon he
learned that Lieut.-Col. Munford, with four companies of his
regiment, had been left to operate along the border.

To this gallant officer and gentleman he at once applied to have
himself and people admitted into his command, which request was
readily granted, and in the welcoming speech of the Colonel he
assured the little band of homeless wanderers that “the men of the
mountains welcomed the boys of the Potomac, and would gladly share
with them their blankets and their bread.”

Here they had a temporary home, and very soon their ranks filled up
to the number required by law for a company, and on the 19th of
March, under Col. Munford’s superintendence, the company was
regularly organized, Capt. White being unanimously chosen to command
it, with Frank M. Myers as 1st Lieutenant, Wm. F. Barrett 2d
Lieutenant, and R. C. Marlow 3d Lieutenant.

Lieut. Marlow was placed in general charge of the quartermaster
department, and Lieut. Barrett was sent to Culpeper on duty as a
recruiting officer.

Col. Munford kept Geary’s forces in constant fear and trembling, so
that his cavalry never ventured out of hearing of the infantry; and
it was no easy matter to make anything out of them.

On one occasion the Colonel came from Salem to Rector’s Cross Roads,
where he found some of the enemy’s pickets, and White, with about
half a dozen men, tried to capture them, but with all speed they
flew down the pike towards Middleburg, closely pursued by the
Confederates. On reaching the town, White’s party was in striking
distance, and succeeded in killing one and wounding another; but
here they ran into the 28th Pennsylvania, just in the act of forming
their line of battle, and but for a citizen, the Captain would have
gotten into serious difficulty.

As it was, he turned quietly and rode back to Munford’s people, who,
by this time, were almost in town, and the whole force moved slowly
back towards Rectortown. Capt. White halted about a mile from town
and watched the enemy, who marched out a short distance and
commenced rapid firing from infantry and artillery, but they were
too far away to do any damage at all.

Geary magnified this exploit, in the newspapers, into one the of
most terrible incidents of the war, reporting that he had surprised
the camp of the rebel guerrilla White, which was in a mountain cave,
and had captured a great quantity of war material besides about one
hundred prisoners.

In the course of Geary’s operations in Loudoun, he reported captures
of White’s men to the number of over six hundred, besides the killed
and wounded.

After Geary got his command on the railroad, Capt. White, by
permission of Col. Munford, made a raid in his rear at Salem, and
driving off the guard, took possession of all the baggage of the
entire 28th Pennsylvania, which he carried safely off with him; and
Col. Munford, soon after, came down on his commissary stores at
Piedmont, making a heavy capture of flour and many other articles,
as well as some negroes whom the Pennsylvania hero had stolen away
from their homes.

In the latter part of April, Munford was ordered to report to his
regiment, then lying on the Rappahannock, near the O. and A. R. R.,
and White went with him, but soon after reaching the camp of the 2d
regiment, through Col. Munford’s influence, he was ordered to report
to Gen. Ewell, to act on scouting and courier duty for that officer;
accordingly, he started at once for his new field of action, and
reached Gen. Ewell’s headquarters at Liberty Mills on the 1st of
May. Soon after which the division marched to Jackson’s department
in the Valley, crossing the Blue-Ridge at Swift Run Gap and
establishing camp at Auglebright’s, in whose house Gen. Ewell had
his headquarters.

The General was a stern, fierce old soldier, having been an officer
of the old army and on duty among the Indians and on the frontier
for many years. He was a rigid disciplinarian, and White’s men were
a great deal more afraid of him than of Yankees. One of his
abominations was to receive "don’t know" for an answer, and before
very long every man detailed for duty at the General’s headquarters
went with fear and trembling, for there were a great many things
which they really did not know, and when asked about them they
couldn’t say anything else.

It was an unfortunate time for such _greenhorns_ as White’s people
were to go on such duty as this, for the General had reached the
Valley just at the moment when Jackson was starting on his McDowell
expedition, and without any knowledge of the plans or intentions of
his superior, Ewell was compelled to lie still in camp with his
little army, while the troops of Banks gathered all around him, and
he was rendered extremely cross and impatient thereby; but one day
that peerless cavalier, Gen. Ashby, who had been with Jackson, rode
up to Ewell’s headquarters, and meeting the General, saluted him and
inquired how he did, to which Ewell replied, "I’ve been in hell for
three days! been in hell for three days, Gen. Ashby. What’s the news
from Jackson?"

Ashby replied, “Gen. Jackson says the Lord has blessed our arms with
another glorious victory,” and then proceeded to give him the
details of “Stonewall” and his army getting lost among the
mountains, but being finally found by the Yankee Generals, Milroy,
Schenck and Co., to their great discomfort.

The recital brightened the spirits of our General to such an extent
that the boys began to think there might be a warm place somewhere
away down in his rugged, iceberg of a heart, and they decided that
he wasn’t such a savage old bear after all, but the change didn’t
amount to much, and it was finally given up that “old Ewell” didn’t
love but one thing on earth, and that one thing was “Friday,” the
ugliest, dirtiest and most aggravating and thievish little wretch of
an Indian boy in the country.

However, his staff was composed of very clever gentlemen, especially
Capt. Brown, his special aid-de-camp, who was very accommodating and
pleasant, and all the boys liked him very much. Major Barbour, A. A.
General, too, was a favorite; so was Major Snodgrass, the
Quartermaster. But some of the Brigadiers were far from being
admired; and not one of the men would have acted as courier for Gen.
Dick Taylor, if they could have avoided it.

On one occasion a courier went into Ewell’s headquarters to make
some report, in the course of which he replied to one of the
General’s questions with the remark, "I passed Taylor’s Brigade,"
upon which Taylor, who was present, exclaimed, “How dare you speak
in that manner! I am _General_ Taylor, sir;” but Gen. Ewell, with a
glance of his fierce eye, remarked, “This is _my_ courier, sir,” and
went on with his questions.

Taylor was undoubtedly a splendid officer, but he was proud as
Lucifer, and therefore unpopular.

Gen. Elzey also commanded a brigade in the Division at that time,
and was rather popular with his couriers; but they were very fond of
the good-natured Gen. Trimble, and it was never any trouble to get
men to report to him for courier duty, provided Major Snodgrass was
supplied, as the Quartermaster’s department was first choice always.

Gen. Ewell also had a small cavalry brigade, composed of the 2d and
6th Virginia regiments, and commanded by Col. Munford, who had been
promoted to the colonelcy of the 2d regiment at the reorganization
of the army in April.

It was sometimes necessary to send couriers with Major Wheat, of the
celebrated “Tiger Battalion,” of Louisiana, who was very often on
detached service in the Luray Valley, and was also a very popular
man with White’s people. While camping at this place, some of the
boys determined to visit their homes, and accordingly four of them
deserted and made their way back to Loudoun and Fairfax.

About the middle of May the first heavy misfortune that befel the
company occurred.

Gen. Ewell was always anxious to get the news from Banks’ army in
the Shenandoah Valley, and Capt. White was always ready to exchange
camp life for the privilege of scouting. So taking with him his
first Lieutenant, and Capt. Brown of the 16th Mississippi Infantry,
with a small detail of his men, he left camp in the afternoon, and
crossing the river at Miller’s Bridge, they climbed the Massanutten
mountains. It was quite dark when the party reached the top, and the
night was cold, making the bivouac very uncomfortable, for without
blankets or overcoats, they had nothing but the rocky brow of the
Massanutten for a bed; and to crown everything, they had brought
nothing to eat—for, until arriving on the mountain top, it had not
been the intention of the party to wait for daylight to do their
scouting—so with fasting and freezing the weary night wore away, but
from their observatory the scouts looked down upon the camp fires of
the Federal army, and the position of each regiment was clearly
discerned.

When daylight came, which it did with a clear and bracing air to the
men on the mountains—while yet the valley country was shrouded in
mist and fog that fled from the day as the sun advanced, and rolling
its huge masses up the gloomy mountain wall broke away and hid
itself to wait again for the night to come down—the scouts bethought
them of breakfast, as _supper_ had occupied their waking hours
during the darkness, and the Captain sent them all back to camp
except Capt. Brown, Lieut. Myers and Serg’t Boyd Barrett, (recently
transferred from Co. K, 6th Va. Cav., to White’s Company,) who,
leaving their horses, descended the mountain on foot, intending to
try their fortune among the Yankee foragers.

Near the foot of the mountain the party halted at a cabin and asked
for something to eat, which, after some difficulty and a good deal
of rather impatient waiting, was finally obtained; and along with
the rations the Captain—by representing to the king of the wigwam
that himself and comrades were Yankees—received some interesting
information about the enemy, which he dispatched by Barrett to Gen.
Ewell.

The scouting party—now reduced to three—walked cautiously out into
the open valley country and soon found themselves inside of the
enemy’s lines.

They saw several squads and companies of the blue-coated troopers,
but did not come in contact with any, although several times they
had to hide themselves while the enemy passed by them, and finally
about noon reached the handsome residence of Mr. Rhodes, near Lacy’s
Spring, where they endeavored to make themselves known in their true
character as Confederates. This, however, was not so easily done,
for their dress about as closely resembled one uniform as the other,
and the “Jessie Scouts,” of Fremont’s hatching, were plentiful in
the Valley; and besides this, the Yankee camp was less than half a
mile distant, from which they were almost constantly receiving
visitors; consequently, under all the circumstances, argument was
thrown away, until, as a last resort, Lieut. Myers prevailed on one
of the ladies to examine the Virginia buttons on his coat. This,
with Capt. White’s elaborate argument, that “nobody but a Virginia
soldier ever did wear a Virginia button,” convinced the family, and
their dangerous predicament outside of the house was exchanged for a
place in the parlor, where, with closed blinds, they enjoyed a
splendid dinner and heard Mr. Rhodes detail the valorous doings of
the defenders of the “star spangled banner,” in the way of making
bloody assaults upon the hen-roosts, and fearless dashes into
spring-houses and stables in the Valley Department. Among other
things he informed them of two cavalrymen who had spent the night at
a house of rather doubtful repute, a short distance away, and whose
horses had left them during the night, but as soon as morning came
they had gone off to replace them from some citizen’s pasture,
leaving their saddles and bridles at the house, and Mr. R. thought
it probable they had returned with the stolen horses by that time.
White and his comrades decided at once to attempt the capture of the
gentlemen, and they set about it as soon as it was ascertained that
they were still at Cook’s.

Approaching the house, two fine horses, with full cavalry rig, were
seen tied to the fence in front of the door, and White made for them
immediately, leaving Brown and Myers to attend to the Yankees, one
of whom, coming to the door to see what was wrong with the horses,
was suddenly pounced upon by Capt. Brown and captured without
difficulty; but Myers had more trouble with his man, who staid in
the house and made no answer to the order to surrender, although it
was backed by the presentation of a big horse pistol, but commenced
to draw his revolver, and Myers, feeling extremely doubtful about
his horse pistol going the first time—a thing it had never done
yet—stuck it hastily in his belt, and snatching the Yankee’s half
drawn revolver, twisted it out of his hand, with the remark, "Guess
you’ll surrender now, won’t you?" to which the blue jacket replied,
he “guessed he would.”

The two Captains then mounted the horses, and leaving Myers to
follow with the prisoners, with instructions to wait on top of the
mountain until they found their horses and brought them up, started
back to their last night’s camp, but were unable to find it, and
after the party had got together again White proposed going on foot
with the prisoners, to Dr. Hansberger’s, while Brown and Myers
should hunt up the horses and bring them down, saying he would have
supper ready by the time they got there.

The arrangement was agreed to, and all started to put it into
execution, but as White was going down the mountain he passed a
house where several citizens were standing and inquired of them the
road. They answered him and he pushed on, but as soon as he had
passed, the citizens decided that it was a party of Yankees on a
scout, and hastily arming themselves, five of their number followed,
intending to capture them, and White, on seeing that he was pursued,
thought at once that they were Union bushwhackers going to rescue
the prisoners, and turning towards them he demanded why they were
following him, to which they replied by asking, “What are you doing
with those men?” White then drew his pistol, and Sheetz, the leader
of the citizens, raised his double-barrel gun. Both drew trigger at
once and both weapons missed fire, but the Captain was ready first,
and just as the citizen’s gun was raised again, White fired, his
bullet breaking Sheetz’s arm above the elbow. He immediately caught
his gun with the other hand, and was in the act of firing when
White’s pistol exploded again and his remaining arm fell, shattered
at the elbow precisely as the first one was. The other citizens all
run but one who hid himself in the fence corner along the road, and
White did the same, but after waiting some time, became impatient,
and raising his head above the top rail to look for his assailants,
the citizen fired at him with a small sporting rifle, the ball
taking effect near the right eye.

This ended the fight, and when Brown and Myers rode up about half an
hour later, they found the citizens in a terrible state of
excitement over the result of their unfortunate attack, one of their
number being stretched on the ground desperately wounded, while
Capt. White sat in a fence corner almost dead, in fact all who saw
him, supposed him to be dying. And the Yankee prisoners were
expecting every moment to be immolated, for, said they, "If the
rebels will treat each other in this manner, what won’t they do with
us?" And no sooner did Lieut. Myers dismount from his horse than
they ran to him for protection, and absolutely refused to leave him
for a single moment, until he wanted one of them to bring some water
from a spring near by, and the Lieutenant was compelled to actually
drive him from him then. Capt. Brown rode immediately on to camp, to
inform the company of the tragic winding up of the scout, and very
shortly a considerable number of the boys, accompanied by their
surgeon, Dr. William N. Lupton, with his ambulance, were on the
march for the scene of conflict, and on their arrival, before
learning the full particulars of the affair, it was all that Lieut.
Myers could do to prevent them from killing all the citizens engaged
in it.

Meantime the Captain had been making “his will,” and supposing he
was soon to be in the land of spirits, gave to the Lieutenant quite
a number of messages to be delivered to his wife and child in
Maryland, but his mind dwelt upon his company too, and every few
minutes he would exclaim, “Tell the boys to do as I did—never
surrender!”

Dr. Lupton examined the wound and pronounced it a dangerous one, but
not necessarily fatal by any means, and soon after he was placed in
the ambulance, and in great misery, moved to the house of a kind
citizen a few miles nearer to camp, where he remained for two or
three days, when his men carried him on a litter to the hospitable
home of Dr. Miller, on the river bank, where he remained until he
had sufficiently recovered to ride over to his friends at
Charlottesville.



                              CHAPTER IV.


The command of the company now devolved upon Lieut. Myers, and in a
very few days Gen. Ewell marched his whole division to Columbian
Bridge, about twenty-five miles lower down the river, where he
halted for a time, and Myers and Barrett endeavored to put the
business of the company into shape, as there had not been a payroll
made off, and only one muster roll since the company had been in the
service, but on the 21st of May, General Ewell sent for Lieut.
Myers, and giving him a bundle of dispatches, told him to mount the
best horse he could find and carry them to General Jackson.

Now be it known, nobody had heard from that officer for a
long while, and the Lieutenant naturally desired to ask the
question—“Where is Gen. Jackson?” but from former experience was
afraid to venture it, and walked disconsolately from headquarters
and the presence of the General, without any definite plan whatever
in his mind, and sighing with the Psalmist for the “wings of a
dove,” but Major Barbour had noticed his elongated visage, and
divining his trouble, met him in the yard, where he proceeded to
explain to him the road to Jackson, but while thus engaged, Gen.
Ewell stepped out and exclaimed in his quick, spiteful tone,
“Lieutenant Myers, go to New Market and take the turnpike road to
Harrisonburg; be quick now, I want to see you again to-day.” The
Lieutenant crossed the Massanutten and found some of Ashby’s cavalry
at New Market, who told him Jackson was coming down the pike, and a
nine mile ride up the Valley brought him to the marching army of
“Stonewall,” and very soon he met a party of officers riding among
the infantry, when selecting one whom, for the plainness of his
dress, he took for a courier, he asked him to show him Gen. Jackson,
supposing, of course, to have one of the finely dressed officers
pointed out to him, but the courier simply replied, “I am Gen.
Jackson; where are you from, sir?” After reading the dispatches, he
wrote a few lines to Gen. Ewell, and cross-questioned the Lieutenant
a short time, when he sent him back, saying, "I’ll see you at Luray
to-morrow." On the way back to camp, the Lieutenant met Gen. Ewell
on the mountain, and on reaching the river found everything moving
towards New Market, but this was soon changed, and the troops took
the road to Luray, where, on the following morning they met Gen.
Jackson and some of his people, and the two Generals held a
conference, after which Ewell pushed forward to Front Royal,
reaching that place about 3 o’clock in the evening of the 23d of
May. Here they found a force of the enemy, and a fierce battle
ensued, at the beginning of which Gen. Ewell ordered Lieutenant
Myers to remain near him with a party of his men, but after
capturing Kenly’s 1st Maryland, and driving the rest of the Yankees
from town, a force appeared on the river hills and opened a heavy
artillery fire upon the Confederates, during which the shells howled
savagely around the General and his escort, when, looking around,
the old fellow broke out on Myers with “What do you mean, sir, by
making a target of me with these men!” Upon which the Lieutenant
replied, "Why, General, you told me to stay near you, and I’m trying
to do it." “Clear out, sir, clear out,” roared the General, "I
didn’t tell you to get all your men killed and me too," and that was
the last time they troubled him that day, for the men deemed
themselves discharged from further attendance upon him, and pitched
in for plunder, every man doing his best to equip himself for
service, they being as yet mostly armed with double-barreled guns
only, and riding citizen saddles brought with them from home. Many
of them succeeded in securing sabres and pistols, and nearly all
possessed themselves of gum cloths, canteens and other articles of
great value to soldiers.

That night the whole force moved across the river on the Winchester
road, passing, as they did so, the ground where the Southern cavalry
fought so well, and where so many gallant men found bloody deaths in
charging the Yankee infantry, among them Capt. George Baxter, of the
Loudoun Cavalry, 6th Virginia regiment, Capt. George F. Sheetz, who
was said by many to be a better officer than Ashby himself, and
Capt. Fletcher, the gallant commander of Ashby’s old company.
General Ewell, who had been an old cavalry officer, and knew how to
appreciate the splendid display of valor, skill and devotion made by
Ashby’s troops at this point, worthy as it was of the “sons of the
sires,” whom Light Horse Harry had led in days as dark and stormy,
long ago, and here on the field of Front Royal added another leaf to
the Laurel Crown, which Fame, in “Auld Lang Syne,” had woven for the
honor of the cavaliers of the “Old Dominion,” spoke of this charge
as one of the most gallant affairs he had ever witnessed, and no
higher praise could be given than to say they fought under the eye
of General Richard S. Ewell, and won his warmest admiration, for,
like Jackson, he never bestowed it unmerited, and he meant
everything he said.

In the bivouac that night the General had his escort near his
headquarters, and as his staff did not join him for a long time
after, he called upon Lieut. Barrett to act as A. A. General for
him, and kept the Lieutenant busily engaged until a late hour in
writing dispatches and reports for him, and the next morning he
started the company on a scouting expedition, in which it was
engaged all day, rejoining the General about dark, who was then
marching towards Winchester with all his force. The weather was raw
and chilly, but the night was spent in making reconnoisances and
marching for short distances, but no fires were kindled or noises
made which might apprise General Banks of the proximity of the
rebels until about 3 o’clock, when the enemy’s pickets were found by
Sergt. C. B. Barrett, who, with a squad, had been on detail at
headquarters, and upon receipt of this information Gen. Ewell took a
company of infantry and stirred up the Yankee picket lines by firing
on their posts and driving them in. About an hour before daylight
one of the couriers brought to Gen. Ewell a dispatch from
“Stonewall,” which the writer saw as Gen, E. opened it, and it was
simply a sheet of paper upon which was delineated the roads,
streams, woods, &c., around Winchester, and showing the disposition
of the enemy’s forces in Ewell’s front, as well as Jackson’s
position on the Valley pike, and beneath the plan the words “attack
at daylight” were written. No other instructions were needed, and
with the dawning of that bright and beautiful Sabbath morning in May
the regiments moved forward to the battle. For sometime everything
went smoothly, and the enemy broke at every point, but by-and-by a
large body of them were rallied and placed behind a stone fence,
where they lay quietly and entirely unperceived by the 21st North
Carolina infantry, which was moving over that part of the field, and
when within twenty or thirty yards the Yankees raised up and poured
a tremendous volley into their ranks, killing and wounding nearly
one-third of the regiment, but the men were promptly rallied by
their gallant Colonel, who instantly ordered a bayonet charge, which
was executed in splendid style, and the enemy retreated in great
confusion before the brave North Carolinians, but their victory was
dearly bought, for Col. Strickland fell dead at the fence, and his
men lay thick around him.

From this time there was no rallying point for Banks’ army except
the Potomac, for just then Gen. Jackson bursted his column at
Middletown, and with Ashby in their rear they rather flew than ran
along the Valley pike to the thirty miles distant river; but in one
wild scene of disorder and cowardice they raced that distance at
such a speed that not even Mameluke cavalry, though mounted on
Arabia’s choicest steeds, could have caught them, and just beyond
Winchester “old Stonewall” halted his infantry and encamped his
army.

Here White’s company, which had been scattered in squads, scouting
and fighting, and acting as escort and body-guards for the different
Generals, re-united about sunset, and nearly every man was
completely armed and equipped with sabres, revolvers, and everything
necessary to fit them for service, including Yankee bridles and
halters, and many saddles bearing the letters U. S., which letters
also embellished the shoulders of many of their horses and all their
blankets.

Next morning Gen. Ewell gave them a box containing twenty new
carbines of the “Merrill” pattern, which he directed should always
be carried by the scouting details, and then ordered Lieut. Myers to
take twenty men and proceed to Charlestown to take charge of the
Government stores at that place, instructing him to take an
inventory of everything and send to him in order that he might send
wagons to move them.

Myers pushed on to Charlestown and found a large quantity of stores,
arms, and everything needed by an army, which the enemy had
abandoned; and sending a messenger to the General with the necessary
information, he encamped, and his men were taken by the citizens to
their houses and regaled with the best of everything the land could
afford. These people had been under Yankee rule for more than two
months, and the change almost made them wild with joy, so much go
that they were ready to worship Gen. Jackson and his men for
relieving them of the hateful presence of their tyrannical
conquerors who, during all these weeks, had lorded it over them in
the approved Yankee style of domination over a helpless people and
their desolated homes; whence had vanished the glory which their
household gods were wont to shed around them, but in spite of it all
they were not conquered, and the “quenchless spirits, hushed by
force, in dauntless eye burned brightly.”

While White’s cavalrymen were enjoying the good things provided by
the tried and true in Charlestown, Major John Shack. Green, of the
6th Virginia Cavalry, rode up with a detachment from his regiment,
and proposed to encamp near the town, which was done, and the next
morning a scout came in saying the Yankees were at Halltown and
still advancing, upon which Major Green moved his command down the
road, took a position on the right, while Myers’ men formed to the
left, and sending a little party to the front to look out for the
enemy, they waited for events to determine their actions.

In half an hour the advance party was heard skirmishing with the
enemy, and soon after a regiment of infantry appeared in the road,
about half a mile away, and soon after two other regiments of
infantry and one of cavalry appeared, escorting a battery of
artillery.

The Confederates moved down and skirmished some, but very soon the
battery opened fire, and Major Green retired slowly to a position
beyond the town.

Myers kept his men in front for sometime, until finding that the
Yankees wouldn’t advance a step with a Confederate force of any size
in gunshot range, and seeing also the shells from the battery were
passing over his position and falling in the town, he fell back to
the other end of the town, and in a short time a force of cavalry
moved up the road, supported by the infantry and artillery, and set
fire to the stores, which were still in the market-house, in the
very centre of Charlestown, after which they retired rapidly towards
Harper’s Ferry, and Myers returned to Gen. Ewell to inform him that
the necessity for sending wagons for the stores of which he had
received an inventory, no longer existed, but he met Gens. Jackson
and Ewell both marching, with a strong force, on Charlestown, and
the next morning, after again enjoying the hospitality of the good
citizens of Charlestown, Gen. Ewell ordered Lieut. Myers to dismount
his company and find the force and position of the enemy in the
direction of Halltown.

After moving about a mile, Ed. Oxley reported that he had found in a
wheat field, the frying pans, blankets and other articles of the
skirmish line. So halting the command, the Lieutenant made a
reconnoissance, in which he discovered about, as he thought, two
thousand infantry and a regiment of cavalry, on the road, which he
reported to the General, and was very much astonished that an
advance was not made at once, but after waiting some time, and
seeing the enemy retire slowly, he resolved to see where they went,
and taking Ed. Wright with him, the pair got into the mill-race
which passes into Halltown, and hid from view by the high banks and
bushes, waded safely to the miller’s house, which is right in town,
and going to the upper windows had a full view of all the force
there, which did not consist of over six hundred cavalry and a
regiment of infantry; and, deeming this information of importance,
they returned to Gen. Ewell and reported; finding both the Generals,
Ewell and Jackson, on a hill about half a mile from the town, and on
the same position the enemy had occupied in the morning.

The officers both expressed themselves highly pleased with the
information and the manner in which it was obtained, but Gen. Ewell
thought it would have been better if the scouts had returned to him
immediately on getting it, instead of stopping at the miller’s house
to eat a good dinner, which was on the table when they came down
stairs; but it was too late then, for they had the dinner, and
mentally resolved to do the same thing, when the opportunity
presented itself, whether the General liked it or not, but they also
resolved, in the same manner, not to tell him next time.

It appeared that General Jackson had no intention of making a fight
here, but only to demonstrate upon the Yankees along the river until
he could get his immense quantities of captured stores and baggage
away from Winchester and the railroad, and he now had only a small
force of infantry with a battery at Halltown.

While lying here watching the enemy, five of them came on the road,
in good gunshot of the battery, and annoyed the men there very much,
but were themselves perfectly safe, and, at the solicitation of Ed.
Wright and Norman Smith, Lieut. Myers went to Gen. Ewell for
permission to go and drive them away, which, for some time, he
refused, but finally, on the third application, he rather testily
exclaimed, "Yes; go on, go on; but you’ll come back faster than you
go;" and away went the three with their new carbines to try their
luck.

They managed to get a good position unperceived by the
sharpshooters, and as only one of them could be seen, and he very
imperfectly, it was decided that Myers, who was supposed to be the
best shot, should fire first, and Smith and Wright take theirs when
the Yankees raised up. They were all successful, and left three of
the boys lying on the ground, but no sooner had they done so than
they found themselves in a perfect hornet’s nest, for two companies
of infantry, who had been lying all the while concealed among some
trees on the hillside, just beyond the pike, opened a hot fire upon
the three scouts, and they being now in an open clover field, had to
run for their lives. Smith and Wright ran to a hollow and escaped
easily, but Myers started directly up the hill to the battery, and
being dressed in a new red shirt, had a lively time of it, and would
scarcely have escaped at all but for the General opening on them
with his artillery; as it was his red shirt got three balls through
it, and his fright was well nigh mortal.

This affair brought on a heavy cannonade, which kept up nearly all
the afternoon, and when night came the Confederates fell back, which
they continued to do until they reached Winchester again, and the
company of White had a long and hard scout to find Gen. Ewell’s
ordnance train, which by some means had got off the road at
Smithfield; and during this scout they found a box of sabres at
Stevenson’s depot, which was sent back by a detail for the purpose,
and the Yankees coming up about this time gave the boys carrying the
arms a chase, in which several sabres were lost, but they boasted
that all the scabbards were saved.

On reaching the division the train was found to have been in camp
all the time, and now the fact that Fremont was coming down on one
flank, and Shields on the other, both moving on lines that would
unite them in Jackson’s rear, impelled that commander to move up the
Valley, not thinking it very desirable to form a junction with the
Generals named so far away from the Blue Ridge, which was always the
great commander’s wall of defense under his faith in the Great
Jehovah.

Sunday morning, June 1st, 1862, the army reached Strasburg, and at
this point Gen. Fremont attempted to flank “Stonewall,” but the
latter preferred not to be flanked, and to prevent it unlimbered his
batteries and after an hour’s conversation by the brazen lips of
these interpreters, Gen. F. decided that if Jackson didn’t want to
be flanked, why he wouldn’t do it, and gave up the job, but from now
on the Yankees closely pressed the rear, and Ashby with his cavalry
and Chew’s battery fought them from every hill.

It was while on this march that Col. Sir Percy Wyndham bagged Ashby,
an exploit by which he hoped to win a Brigadier’s commission, and
undoubtedly would have done so if he had taken Ashby to Washington
instead of allowing Ashby to take him to Richmond.

The couriers had extremely severe work on this march up the Valley
pike, but the army encamped regularly every night, and never for one
moment did the march take the appearance of a retreat, for the rear
guard always held its positions as long as it was necessary. On
arriving at Mount Jackson, Gen. Ewell established headquarters, and
pitched his tent at the end of the bridge and on the bank of the
river, but during the night a tremendous storm of rain came down and
the stream raised so rapidly that before headquarters knew what was
going on it was on an island, with the water rising every moment,
and no boat to get out in. Everything was soon in confusion, but
Gen. Ewell mounted his old gray horse, “Rifle,” and taking the
little Indian, “Friday,” behind him, plunged into the water without
coat or hat and swam over to the camp of his cavalry, leaving the
staff and wagon to get out as they could, but the company went to
their assistance and soon had the whole business moved over.

Next morning Lieut. Barrett was ordered to New Market, with a detail
from the company, to act as provost guard, and the division lay in
camp all day just beyond the town. Here the news of the battle of
Seven Pines was received and of the wounding of General Johnston, at
that time Commander-in-Chief of the Virginia army. There was a great
deal of wonder and speculation as to who would succeed him, some
thinking Beauregard would take command, while many of the men
thought our own Stonewall was the man for the place, but nobody
thought of Lee, until in reply to a question on the subject, we
heard Gen. Ewell remark, "No, sir; I don’t know who will be General
Johnston’s successor, but I shan’t be scared at all if the choice
falls on Lee." This circulated from camp to camp, and many of the
soldiers freely admitted that _they_ would be scared, for they
considered that Gen. Lee’s Western Virginia campaign a failure, and
if old Scott did say beware of Lee on an advance, they were afraid
that the change from following the retreating Johnston to that of
rallying under the banners of the advancing Lee wouldn’t be very
beneficial to the army or the country, and Gen. Beauregard always
had whipped the Yankees without either an advance or a retreat.

These were only some of the many expressions of opinion on the
subject of changing commanders, and only for the fact that for a
short while they were lying quiet, with nothing to do, the subject
would scarcely have had a place in the minds of Jackson’s men, for
soldiers soon learn to submit blindly to the powers that be, and
obey, unquestioningly, the orders of their officers.

                     “Theirs not to reason why,
                     Theirs not to make reply,
                     Theirs but to do and die.”

While halted at New Market, an incident occurred which banished all
thought of the Richmond army from the minds of those who witnessed
it, and filled each heart with pride, which claimed Virginia as its
home, and that was the daring and almost miraculous escape of Gen.
Ashby from the enemy, who attacked him at the bridge on the turnpike
and chased him almost to town, killing his celebrated white
stallion, but nearly every one of the seven pursuers were killed or
wounded by Ashby and his single companion, although the General had
no loads in his pistols and fought entirely with the sabre.

This was the last time we ever saw the great soldier on the war
path, for he was killed the next day while leading an infantry
regiment in the battle at Harrisonburg, (June 5th, 1862), and thus
went down in a billow of blood the brilliant star of glory which
promised to dazzle the astonished nations with the splendid blaze of
chivalric light which now only blazons the fame of the knights of
the olden time,

           “Whose bones are dust, whose swords are rust,
           Whose souls are with the saints, we trust.”

Whatever the world may say of the right or wrong of the “Lost
Cause,” it will never deny that many of those by whom it was upheld,
and who crowned its banners with glory in carrying them so gallantly
and so far, were inspired by motives as patriotic, as pure and
bright as ever burned in the bosom of mortal man. They were brave
men; they fought as brave men fight, and died as brave men die. Upon
a hundred “stormy heights and carnage-covered fields,” they attested
their devotion to their cause, and among the truest and bravest of
them all, the name of Gen. Turner Ashby shines with a radiant glory
that will brighten still as it goes “sounding down the ages,”

               “The knightliest of the knightly race,
               Who since the days of old
               Have kept the lamp of chivalry
               Alight in hearts of gold.”

There was mourning in the camp that night, and every face wore a
look of gloom as if in the calamity which had just befallen them,
the soldiers felt that a harbinger of still greater desolation had
been given them, and when Gen. Jackson appeared in the morning, all
eyes looked eagerly to see how he felt the loss of the great
cavalier, but in that calm and steady eye was an inscrutable look,
and no man could form an idea of what were the feelings of the
commander by the expression of the face that never changed, either
in the glory of triumph or the gloom of defeat.

The army lay quiet all day, and the next moved towards Port
Republic, encamping near the old Church at Cross Keys. Some of the
men became very impatient at the constant and rapid marching, and
one of them asked Gen. Jackson, as he passed along the column, where
he was going to fight the Yankees. The General, with a half smile,
replied, "We’ll fight them in Brown’s Gap," and the soldiers at once
became exceedingly interested in that place, continually asking each
other “how far it was to Brown’s Gap. Would the Yankees follow them
there?” &c., little imagining that the ground upon which they then
stood was to be their battle-field for the morrow.

Sunday morning, June 8th, broke bright, clear and hot, and by 8
o’clock every one knew that Ewell was going to match his division
against the advancing columns of Fremont, for the cavalry, now
commanded by Col. T. T. Munford, slowly retired before the Yankee
infantry, and Gen. Ewell’s brigades moved out quietly and formed
their battle lines. The scouts and couriers now had plenty of work
again, and Lieut. Barrett, with a part of the company, was ordered
to act as provost guard again, while Gen. Ewell ordered Lieut. Myers
and Ed. Wright to scout on the right, and let him know when the
enemy made any demonstration in that direction. The remainder of the
boys were on duty as couriers with the Generals. The battle opened
with some artillery firing, but pretty soon Taylor’s brigade met and
whipped a line of Yankees that advanced upon Ewell’s centre, and all
was quiet again for an hour, when Elzey’s men became engaged, and at
the same time Myers and Wright discovered a heavy force moving by
the flank to Ewell’s right. Gen. Trimble was the first man they met
on their return with this important information, and communicating
it to him, that officer promptly moved his brigade forward, and
attacking the flanking party in flank, they were very soon driven
off with heavy loss in men and all their artillery. About the time
Trimble’s guns opened, General Taylor advanced, and for a while the
battle raged with great fury, but General Trimble’s movement exposed
the enemy’s left flank, and they fell back along the whole line.

This ended the battle of Cross Keys, with the exception of some
cannonading on the left about sundown, and although some horses of
the couriers had been struck, only one of White’s men was touched,
and he very slightly, by a bouncing grape shot.

That night they slept upon the battle-field, but with the dawn
everything moved rapidly towards Port Republic, for Shields, with
his army, was moving up the river, and Gen. Jackson was going to
"fight in Brown’s Gap" again.

On Monday morning “Stonewall” crossed the bridge almost alone, and
rode into the town, but on his return found a Yankee Major with two
pieces posted at the mouth of the bridge, and, without a moment’s
hesitation, rode up to the officer, saying, “Turn your guns, sir,
turn your guns; the enemy is coming from that direction,” pointing
at the same time down the river, and without a question, the
unsuspecting Major had his pieces wheeled about, in order to command
the approach of the enemy, which to him was no enemy at all, and
without waiting to explain any further, Gen. Jackson dashed rapidly
across the bridge to his own people, but he had not a moment to
spare, for the baffled Yankee had his guns going on him before he
cleared the bridge.

Jackson instantly ordered his artillery up, and very soon the
enterprising “boys in blue” were compelled to change their position,
thus leaving the bridge open to the Confederates, and General
Jackson’s old Division crossed the river, followed slowly by that of
Gen. Ewell, with whom White’s cavalry moved.

Immediately on reaching the east bank, the line of battle was
formed, and the fight commenced, and as soon as everything had
crossed the bridge it was fired, cutting off Fremont’s army from
that of Shields, and with it a company of the 6th Va. Cavalry, which
acted as rear guard and was compelled to swim the river.

Here was begun and carried through to complete success one of the
most brilliant displays of generalship witnessed during the war, or,
in fact, in any war of modern times.

“Stonewall” had not only eluded the superior force of Fremont, but
had actually whipped him, almost in cannon shot of his colleague, on
the 8th, and now, on the 9th of June, was massing all his troops and
crushing the army of that colleague—(Gen. Shields)—while Fremont,
with his troops formed in battle-ranks on the hill-sides bordering
the Shenandoah, was unable to do more than look at the battle and
see the army of Shields annihilated; while, without a guard, and
just in his front, moved the long train composed of all of Jackson’s
wagons, all of Ewell’s and nearly every one of Banks’, besides some
of his own; and standing still in all the circumstance and panoply
of war, the blazing bridge cutting off his last and only means of
doing harm to his wily foe, the savage Gen. Fremont, in pitiful
helplessness and vindictive vandalism, could only fire his guns upon
the empty town of Port Republic.

By 10 o’clock the battle was over and Shields flying down the river
with the scattered remnant of his army, which Gen. Jackson only
followed for nine miles when he returned to look after his trains
and captures.

The enemy had lost all of his artillery, consisting of about fifteen
guns, all of his wagons and a great number of prisoners, besides
many killed and wounded, for Shields fought with more obstinacy than
Fremont, although the latter had considerably more force than his
adversary—Gen. Ewell—while Shields had an inferior one to the
combined troops of Jackson and Ewell.

The couriers had very warm and exciting work to-day, as is usual on
the battle-field, but although many narrow escapes were made not one
was wounded, and they captured a full company of Ohio infantry.

Lieut. Myers was sent by Gen. Jackson, during the heat of the
battle, with a dispatch to Col. Munford to charge, with his cavalry,
a battery which was doing heavy execution, and remained with the
Colonel until the enemy’s lines broke up in full retreat, when he
rejoined Gen. Jackson and kept with him in the nine mile pursuit,
which caused him to be the recipient of another scolding from Gen.
Ewell, who informed him that he was no courier for Gen. Jackson, and
that his business was to keep his (Ewell’s) Division supplied with
couriers, and to obey his orders and nobody else’s. It is needless
to say that the lesson was laid to heart and closely followed
thereafter.

The army bivouacked in Brown’s Gap that night, and the next day the
usual rain storm which follows a battle poured down upon them, as
they still waited to see and do whatever “Old Stonewall” might
decide upon as best for them; and two days after, the great
commander put his people in camp at Mount Meridian, where, for
several very beautiful June days, the troops passed away the time,
fishing and bathing in the blue Shenandoah, and visiting the
wonderful Weyer’s Cave, while each day a regular detail was made to
go to Port Republic and “make believe” build a bridge as if Jackson
intended to try another campaign down the Valley, when, in reality,
he was preparing to march his army to the relief of the Confederate
Capital, which was now closely environed by the magnificent army of
McClellan, and was anxiously waiting the critical moment when the
last spadeful of dirt should be thrown, and the “Young Napoleon”
would replace his sappers and miners with the splendid battalions
who were to immortalize the name of McClellan by taking, under his
plans and direction, the now world-renowned City of Richmond.

White’s company was in splendid condition, the ranks full, the
horses thriving and the men all armed equal to any cavalry in the
army, and all they wanted was for their Captain to come up and take
command again. While at Mount Meridian Gen. Jackson had divine
service regularly, and appointed times for praise and thanksgiving
to the God of battles who had crowned his arms with victory; while
from all around our borders came news of Confederate successes, and
rumors that foreign nations had recognized the independence of the
Southern Confederacy. So that the future was brilliant with hope and
no man in the army would have willingly exchanged his Confederate
dollars for an equal amount of greenbacks.



                               CHAPTER V.


About the 20th of June the army crossed the Blue Ridge, and moved
quietly towards the beleaguered capital; but the men did not know
any more about their destination than the enemy, who never knew,
until his artillery boomed upon McClellan’s flank at Richmond, that
Jackson had left the Valley. On arriving at Charlottesville, Capt.
White, now entirely recovered from the effects of his wound,
rejoined his company, and it now appeared that the little band of
scouts and couriers was to be the foundation upon which a larger
command was to be built up, for here the news was received that
Capt. George W. Chiswell, of Maryland, was on the march from that
State with a full company to join White’s Cavalry, and all the boys
began to look forward to the time when the irksome duty of waiting
upon the Generals and playing telegraph for an army, was to be
exchanged for the more congenial and pleasant one of once more
scouting on the frontier. Encamped at Charlottesville they had seen
a battalion of men commanded by Major John Scott, of Fauquier Co.,
Va., and organized by that officer to act as Partisan rangers. It
seemed that mainly through the influence of Major Scott, a bill had
been introduced into the Confederate Congress, and which afterwards
became a law, authorizing the formation of such bands, and offering
premiums in captured property for an independent border warfare upon
the outposts and communications of the enemy’s army, and this idea
struck the minds of White’s men very forcibly as containing the very
principle upon which their company had been formed, and the one they
most desired to have applied to their own particular case, and they
believed that in strict justice, Capt. White could get the authority
under the law to become a Partisan, as soon as his command was large
enough to justify it, and all hailed with joyful acclamation the
report that Maryland men were coming to join them; in fact the
advance guard of the company met them at Charlottesville in the
persons of Ed. J. Chiswell, Sam. White, Frank. Williams and Elijah
Viers.

Some anecdotes of Gen. Jackson, and the manner in which he was
regarded by his men, and the enemy too, were current in the army
during this campaign, and were true in idea if not in detail. Before
leaving camp at Mount Meridian, an order was issued instructing the
men not to tell what or whose troops they were, and to answer all
questions on the subject with Gen. Ewell’s abomination, "don’t
know," as a precaution against the enemy getting a knowledge of
Jackson’s movement from the Valley. One day the General saw a
soldier crossing a field towards some cherry trees, and as the great
abundance of cherries along the route had caused any amount of
straggling, he resolved to make an example of this man. So riding up
to him he inquired, “What division do you belong to?” "Don’t know,"
said the soldier. “What brigade?” asked the General; and again the
soldier replied, "don’t know." “Well,” asked Jackson, “what regiment
do you belong to?” thinking he had now found an answerable question;
but again the man replied, "don’t know," and with some asperity of
tone the General exclaimed, “What do you know, sir?” when the cute
“gray jacket” answered—"I know that old Stonewall ordered me not to
know anything, and damned if I ain’t going to stick to it."

The General turned and rode away without a word, smiling at the
extremely literal construction of orders which had saved the soldier
from the punishment he had meditated for him.

Gen. Jackson got aboard the cars at Louisa C. H., to go to Richmond,
and took a seat in the same car in which a Yankee Major, who had
been captured among some of the raiding parties on the Rail Road,
was being carried also to Richmond.

The Major entered into conversation with the quiet officer, not
knowing, of course, who he was talking to, and began explaining to
him the absolute certainty of McClellan’s capture of the Confederate
capital. After listening for some time to the manner in which each
division of Lee’s army was tied up by a stronger force from the
other side, “Stonewall” ventured the remark, "But suppose Jackson’s
army should move from the Valley and strike McClellan in flank and
rear while he is engaging Lee in front." “Oh,” said the Major,
"there’s no danger of that, Jackson has been badly crippled in his
engagements in the Valley, and is now hemmed in closely by Fremont’s
army, so that he can’t move." “But,” persisted the Confederate,
“suppose he should getaway and come to Richmond.” "No, I say it’s no
use to talk about that," said the Major, "for he can’t get away, it
is impossible." “Yes,” said the other, “and I say it is possible,
for he has already whipped Fremont, and his army will be in front of
Richmond in less than twenty-four hours.” The Yankee looked at him a
moment, and with an anxious expression asked, “Who are you, sir?” “I
am Gen. Jackson,” replied the hero; upon which the Major smacked his
hands together exclaiming, “Whipped again, by God!” and at once
subsided into silence.

When the army of Jackson reached its position and it was plain to
everybody that the time had come for the great battle, the men who
had followed “Stonewall” all over the Valley, and had seen his
banner wave in triumph on every field, were rendered still more
proud of their great leader by seeing, about noon on the day of
“Cold Harbour,” the men whose names were already encircled with a
halo of glorious deeds performed during the war, ride up and report
to Gen. Jackson for instruction.

Longstreet, A. P. Hill, Magruder, and Stuart, all acknowledged the
solemn soldier as their superior, and took his orders for the day’s
work.

That day’s work too was a sad and bloody one, and when night ended
the conflict, many were the corpses strewn over the carnage-stained
ground, and terrible arose the groans and shrieks of mangled men;
but the enemy still held the front and all thought the morning sun
must look down on a repetition of the same unchristian work.

Gen. Ewell was found about midnight by the men who were sent to him
to relieve the couriers who had passed with him through "Cold
Harbour’s" baleful death-fires, lying along his lines, which were
drawn close up to the enemy, waiting for some sign to commence anew
the work of slaughter; but when daylight broke over the battle lines
the men in blue had disappeared, and soon after, Gen. Lee found one
of White’s boys and sent him to find Gen. Stuart and take him to the
Commander-in-chief.

This conference ended in Stuart posting off to see what had become
of the enemy, and it wasn’t long until that enterprising cavalier
had found out all about him.

In the operations which followed, Gen. Ewell moved with his division
to Despatch Station, on the York River Rail Road; and as a matter of
course White’s cavalry went with him. On their way to that place
they passed Yankee camps where the fires were still burning, the
camp-kettles of old ham and vegetables, and the coffee, still
boiling; while at many of them there were wagon loads, in some
instances houses full, of supplies of all kinds on fire; but what
created the greatest excitement of all, was a report that the
Yankees had poisoned the wells all around their camps by throwing
into them the supplies of medicines which their surgeons could not
carry away in their hasty retreat.

These rumors grew out of the fact that large quantities of powder
and cartridges had been tumbled into some of the wells, and those
who drank the water readily imagined it to be poisoned, not only
from the taste, but also that several of them were made sick by it;
and all threatened summary vengeance on the prisoners, but the true
state of the case was soon discovered and the excitement quelled.

On arriving at the Station Gen. Ewell caused the railroad bridge
over the Chickahominy to be destroyed and a part of the track torn
up, and being now between McClellan and the White House, waited for
whatever force might come down the road.

About 4 o’clock in the afternoon a sound as of an enormous train of
cars was heard on the railroad, and every man was on the lookout for
something interesting to occur, supposing that the Yankees did not
know the road was cut and were attempting to run some trains
through, and knowing that if this should be the case they would
certainly meet a bloody overthrow at the bridge. The 13th Virginia
infantry was lying on the railroad, and White’s boys gathered on the
bank of the river, when soon, in the distance, appeared the most
singular looking affair any of them had ever seen on a railroad
track. It was a train of cars certainly, but high up over the
locomotive was built an affair that looked very much like a barn,
being made of plank and very long.

The general impression of the men at first sight was that it was a
contrivance from which the Yankees could fire at any rebels they
might discover, and thus keep the track clear; but there was very
little time to think much about it, for the iron-horse, under a full
head of steam, was carrying it at a rapid rate towards them, and
pretty soon the infernal machine leaped from the track into the
Chickahominy, and at the same moment a blaze of fire went up from it
that seemed to meet and melt into the blue of the sky, while an
explosion, so terrible that men lying on the ground a hundred yards
distant were lifted bodily, and in some cases had the blood forced
from ears and nostrils, broke out on the evening air. Just as soon
as they got their senses together White’s boys walked quietly off to
their horses, which had been feeding in an oat field a quarter of a
mile distant, and concluded they didn’t want to be around when
McClellan run his trains to the White House. This curiously
contrived affair must have contained three or four tons of powder
and artillery ammunition, for shells were exploding constantly from
the time the machine blew up until dark, but fortunately did no
damage.

The next day Col. Bradley T. Johnson, of the 1st Maryland,
(afterward Brigadier General of the Maryland Line,) and Capt. White
were prospecting along the river for the enemy, the Colonel having
with him a rifle cannon with which he occasionally “felt the woods”
on the opposite side, and in the evening elicited a reply from
several batteries, whose smoke rolled lazily up through the trees in
white, foggy-looking masses, and showed that the “Young Napoleon”
still had a line of battle there. During the firing Gen. Ewell,
accompanied by White’s company, rode out to Col. Johnson, who showed
him the Yankee positions, remarking, at the same time, “and by the
way, General, I think I heard the long roll.” By this time the
Colonel’s one iron gun was attracting considerable attention from
the Yankee artillery, and their shells were flying very plentifully
around him, when Gen. Ewell turned his horse, and remarking to his
escort "we’ll go back now, boys," rode over the hill towards
Despatch Station, and in so doing passed in full view of the enemy’s
line, who now opened warmly upon him, and just before reaching the
woods a heavy shot passed between the General’s head and his horse’s
neck, causing the old fellow to make a very sudden backward motion,
but he instantly righted up, and noticing that the shot had struck a
large pine tree about twenty feet from the ground, and cut it off so
clear and sudden that the upper part of it came down perpendicularly
and stuck in the ground beside the stump, he exclaimed "wasn’t that
beautiful; wasn’t that well done!" but some of the boys remarked
afterwards that they didn’t know exactly whether he had reference to
his dodge or to the cutting of the tree, and they were afraid to ask
him.

On the 30th of June Gen. Jackson’s corps crossed the Chickahominy at
Grapevine bridge, and pushing on after the retreating Yankees came
up with them at White Oak Swamp, where he had to fight them several
hours with his artillery before his army could get over. During the
arrangement for this fight Capt. White marched his company along the
battle-line with “Old Stonewall,” and after the latter had gotten
his seventy guns in position, we halted to watch the result. The
enemy was firing constantly, but Gen. Jackson made no reply until he
had everything arranged to his notion, when he gave the signal to
commence firing, and it was soon evident that he was more than a
match for the Yankees. While the roar of the guns was waking the
echoes of swamp and forest, Gen. Jackson rode along the line, where
the shells from the enemy’s batteries were flying the thickest, and,
greatly to our wonder, held one hand up as high as his shoulder
nearly all the time, but wonder turned to reverence when found that
our hero was praying to the God of battles to spare the lives of his
men and crown their arms with victory. Before long the bridge over
the swamp was uncovered, and Jackson’s infantry went across,
capturing several of the enemy’s guns and many prisoners. Here
White’s men got into a snap with some of the Pennsylvania Bucktail
riflemen, but the Captain led them in a charge, in which they
captured a whole set of German-silver wind instruments for a band,
and several prisoners, killing and wounding some of the “Bucktails.”
They also got a splendid suit of armor belonging to a Colonel, over
which they had a great deal of amusement, but in their experiments
with the breastplate they learned that it was bullet-proof against
Colt’s army revolvers and all the guns they could find, with one
exception, and that was the Maynard rifle, which tore a hole in it
large enough for a hen’s egg to pass through.

On the 1st of July we went to Malvern Hill, and the company was busy
enough during all of that long and bloody afternoon, carrying
dispatches for the several Generals operating in connection with
Ewell, and acting as provost guard to stop the soldiers from
straggling.

At the close of the battle, which continued until dark, Capt. White
took a detail of his men to Gen. Ewell, who had sent for him, and
found that officer, in company with Gen. Whiting, lying on the
ground to the left of the road, and with the advanced vedettes of
the army, conversing in whispers, the enemy being so close that they
could not talk in an ordinary tone without being heard by them; and
when White and his boys had crawled up to the General, finding him
with great difficulty, he sent them back, saying he was going to
advance his infantry line pretty soon, and had no scouting to do, as
he had found the enemy and they were in his front—so close that he
could throw a stone over their line.

White and his men crept back in the same noiseless manner to their
horses, where they waited anxiously for the opening fire of the
intended advance; but it was not made, or, if made, the Yankees had
gone, and the ever-memorable campaign of seven days’ battle around
Richmond was at an end; while with it ended the Northern policy of
conducting the war according to the established rules of humanity
recognized by civilized nations, for now McClellan, who had treated
the citizens inside of his military lines humanely, and had
respected their rights and protected their property, as far as
possible, from the usual pillaging that attends the movements of
every large army, was to give place to another who had nothing but
his brutality to recommend him to the favor of the “greatest and
best government the world ever saw,” which was now represented in
Washington City by a crew of foul birds of the devil’s own hatching,
whose names will make the cheeks of Americans crimson with shame as
long as American history is read; and Gen. Pope, from his
“headquarters in the saddle,” announced that henceforth the business
of his army should be to investigate the color of the coat tails of
the rebels, and that the time had arrived when a new era in military
tactics should dawn upon the astonished world through the
transcendent genius of “John the Pope,” and that under him the
battles of Abolitiondom should be fought with fire and sword,
according to the most approved rules laid down by the aborigines of
North America, with all the improvements which the Spanish greasers
of Mexico had been enabled to add from the familiarity of their
fathers with the horrible scenes of the infernal inquisition; all of
which had been revised and corrected within the sound of Mr.
Seward’s little tinkling bell for special use in the Grand Army of
“John the Pope,” and the world was assured that the war had
commenced in earnest; while those whose attention had heretofore
been called, by accident, to the career of Mr. Pope, and had formed
their opinion therefrom, predicted that women and children would
suffer now, for the chosen Sachem of the little-souled Yankee Nation
was on the war-path, and the influence of the Northern people in
whose hearts the God-given principle of chivalric forbearance
towards the weak and helpless had an abiding place, was literally
smothered to death in the smoky vengeance which the nigger crusaders
had manufactured for crushing the rebellion—“vide” Brownlow, Stevens
& Co.



                              CHAPTER VI.


For several days after the close of the seven days’ campaign the
army lay quiet, and White’s people had a delightful camp at Meadow
Bridge, about 7 miles from Richmond, on the Rail Road, from which
they could send to the city daily for such luxuries as the markets
afforded; and during this time there was not much to do in the way
of carrying dispatches, so that there was little to do except rest.
Here the company held an election for Orderly Sergeant, which
resulted in the choice of C. M. C. Whaley, for that important
position, and the list of non-commissioned officers was now full,
viz: Edward S. Wright, 2d Sergt.; Benjamin F. Conrad, 3d Sergt.;
John Dove, 4th Sergt.; and J. Mortimore Kilgour, 5th Sergeant and
Quartermaster; John T. Tribbey, 1st Corporal; Daniel C. Pettingall,
2d Corporal; William Snoots, 3d Corporal; and Peter J. Kabrich, 4th
Corporal.

About the 10th of July, Gen. Ewell marched his division to his old
camp near Liberty Mills, on the Rapidan, where for some weeks he
remained watching “Mr. Head-quarters-in-the-saddle,” who was
prospecting towards Gordonsville, in the new “On to Richmond”
movement of his own and father Abraham’s invention, and ravaging all
the country inside of his lines in the barbarous manner which had
been predicted of him from the beginning of his reign, which was as
literally a “reign of terror,” to the defenseless people under his
dominion, as ever was the bloody revolution to the citizens of Paris
during the days when flame and murder held high carnival at command
of the devils incarnate who ruled in France.

White’s company had now increased to nearly one hundred men, and the
Captain spent much time in scouting in Madison County, which was
just on the border of the “grand army,” and very much infested with
its cavalry raiding parties.

On one occasion, with about thirty men, he drove a strong force of
infantry and cavalry from Madison C. H., making the citizens imagine
that they were once more free from the terrible dominion of Pope.
And again, from the mountain top near Wolfton, he discovered a
company of cavalry engaged in plundering a farm-house, and as
rapidly as possible came down on them; but owing to the fact that
some of his men had been seen by the enemy as they descended the
mountain, he was only able to catch about half a dozen, chasing,
however, the remainder _out_ of their hats, and _into_ their camp.
About the last of July, Capt. White left camp at dark, and marching
all night, with twenty men, reached a farm-house five miles from
Stanardsville about daylight, and halting his command, he sent
Lieut. Myers, with the citizen pilot who had volunteered to guide
him, to look up the Yankees. On reaching the Conway river, about
sunrise, they discovered seven Yankees on foot, going from a camp
over the river to a citizen’s house for breakfast, and sending the
guide with all haste to inform the Captain, the Lieutenant took a
position at the gate, about one hundred yards from the house, to
watch the “boys in blue” until the command could come up and get
them.

After about an hour’s watching and waiting, which, to the lonely
picket appeared like four hours, the Captain came up with a part of
his squad, and before the Yankees knew it, the rebels were in the
yard; when, hastily leaving the table, they each “took a tree,” and
with their carbines attempted to fight it out; but it was too late,
and with what grace they could command, the foragers had to “on to
Richmond.”

The next expedition White made was for the purpose of bushwhacking a
patrol of cavalry, which daily passed over the road from Robertson
river to Madison C. H., and reaching the road in the evening, he
dismounted his men and placed them in the woods alongside of it,
sending Lieut. Myers, with Ferro and Spicer, up the road as a decoy,
expecting the Yankees to chase these men past the ambuscade, when
the others would open on them with their double-barrels and
buckshot; but the

                "Best laid schemes o’ mice and men,
                Gang aft agley,"

and the patrol failed to pass that evening.

In the morning the Captain moved his people by the Poorhouse to
another point on the road; but, after waiting about two hours, found
the enemy advancing in strong force of infantry and cavalry to
occupy the Court House, and on exchanging a few shots found a full
brigade developed against him, when he retired.

On the way to camp in the afternoon the Confederate pickets at
Jack’s Shop, without any warning at all, fired upon the little
company, fortunately without doing any damage, when the Captain
galloped forward alone and succeeded in rallying the retreating
pickets and convincing them that they were running from their own
men.

When White’s men came up they found their Captain talking very
sharply to the pickets about firing on him before they halted him,
and high words were passing, when one of the firing party said "if
you wasn’t a Captain you shouldn’t talk that way;" but the Captain
exclaimed "no I ain’t; I’m no Captain; I’m Lige White, and can whip
you any way! Come on! I dare you!" But nobody took up the gauntlet;
and with a pleasant little malediction on cowards everywhere, but
especially on picket, the ranger chief marched on to camp.

About the 6th of August Gen. Jackson commenced to show some
uneasiness, and ordered Gen. Ewell down the road towards Louisa, but
came back the next evening, and instead of halting at the old camp,
kept right on towards Culpeper, and commenced picketing beyond
Robertson river. The boys begun to have ideas that the man with the
movable headquarters had better commence moving; but when they found
that Jackson’s Quartermaster-General (Banks) was in front, they said
they "just knew ’Old Stonewall’ was getting scarce of supplies and
only came up after some."

On the morning of the 9th, as White’s boys were lazily lying around
the shady yard of the house where General Ewell’s headquarters were,
talking about the prospects, in imagination, of ever seeing Loudoun
again, and listening to the General’s baby-talk to some little
children he had coaxed to come to him on the porch, Gen. Jackson
rode up, and very soon the two were studying intently some maps and
papers which they spread out on the floor.

Gen. Ewell’s ideas appeared to be in accord with "Stonewall’s," and
they soon laid themselves out for a rest; but after dinner everybody
got busy all at once, and it wasn’t very long until we found
ourselves face to face with a Yankee line of cavalry deployed as
vedettes, and apparently bent on investigating the rebel operations
and ascertaining why they came so near to Gen. Banks’ wagon trains
at Culpeper C. H. Their cavalry was commanded by Gen. Prince, who
had been a classmate of Stuart at West Point, and was a fine
officer, and a gentleman. His troops were splendidly drilled, and
the first that White’s men had seen who performed their evolutions
on the field at the sound of the bugle. About 3 o’clock Capt. White
and Lieut. Myers rode out on the lines, to gratify their curiosity,
to see what was going on, and before they were aware of it almost,
were witnessing the movements of a regiment of cavalry, that
deployed most beautifully as the bugle notes floated musically on
the air, and in a short time had advanced to a fence not a hundred
yards from the curiosity hunters, who quietly rode off as a shell
from one of Jackson’s guns exploded in a group of Yankee cavalry.
While riding up the line a Yankee approached them from the woods,
but scampered away again as Capt. White called to him “come here to
me, you rascal.” About an hour after this Gen. Ewell called for his
cavalry to go with him, and riding at a gallop, soon reached the
foot of Slaughter Mountain, where White’s boys, by order of the
General, dismounted, and dragged Lattimer’s Battery of artillery to
the top of the mountain, where the “Napoleon of the Valley,” as
General Jackson called Capt. Lattimer, commenced firing as soon as
his first piece was in position, and until his own men came up with
the remainder of the battery, White’s men acted as gunners for him.
By this time the blue and the gray were getting into a very warm
fight down on the plain at the foot of the mountain, and Lattimer’s
first shot was a fine one, exploding exactly _at_ a Yankee battery,
but the blue jackets instantly replied with one gun, which sent a
shell within two feet of the muzzle of Capt. L.’s piece, striking
the trail of the gun-carriage.

The shells and solid shot now hailed thick around the Confederate
position on the mountain, and the Louisiana brigade, which had taken
post there, enjoyed it hugely, some of the men being on the open
ground in front, instead of in rear of the battery, where they
belonged, would run to the places where the Yankee shot tore up the
earth and coolly sit down, saying they were safe now, “as lightning
never struck twice in the same place,” but some of them lost their
heads by the operation in spite of the proverb.

The battle raged with great violence until dark, and even when her
sable wing had spread over the wild scene of blood and death, the
artillery continued to fire, and if there is anything in war that
can be called splendidly beautiful, it is a night cannonade, when
high overhead, in the very middle, apparently, of the black field,
the hissing shells fly in curving lines of beauty, leaving behind
them a track of sparkling flame, until the explosion blazes a lurid
glare all around the sky, which can he likened to nothing better
than to the fitful flashings of Aurora in her most gorgeous
masquerades.

When the firing ceased White’s men had left the mountain and
advanced to a house near where the Yankee battery which had been the
recipient of Lattimer’s first compliment had stood, the enemy having
been driven back a considerable distance, and here they laid down
and slept soundly till daylight, when their first notion was to look
around for Yankees and plunder, in which interesting occupation they
passed the time until noon, having secured a number of prisoners and
quite a large quantity of arms and other trophies of the
battle-field.

About 1 o’clock the company retired to a large spring, near the
house before spoken of, and unbitting their horses, turned them out
to graze, while the men lay in the shade of the trees around the
spring reading the Yankee papers they had gathered up. The Captain
was very busily engaged in conversation with Mr. Henry Ball, who had
just come from Loudoun, and brought to the Captain the delightful
intelligence that his wife was near the old camp at Somerset, having
accompanied Mr. Ball through the Yankee lines without difficulty.

A small detail of the company was assisting Major Christie, ordnance
officer of the division, to remove a quantity of ammunition from a
broken-down wagon, about a quarter of a mile above, when the officer
in command of the infantry skirmish line passed along and informed
the Captain that the pickets were all withdrawn from his front and
he must look out for Yankees. “All right,” responded White, and
straightway forgot all about it in the interest of his talk with Mr.
Ball.

Soon after this a commotion was heard in the direction of the
ordnance detail, and before the men had time to get up, a squadron
of Yankee cavalry charged down upon them, firing, yelling, and
making everything look very blue. There was of course great
consternation among White’s people, but all scrambled to their
horses—the Captain mounting his own before putting the bit in its
mouth—and as soon as they found themselves in their “headquarters,”
the confusion manifestly subsided, so that when Capt. White called
on them to follow him in a charge upon the enemy, they responded
gallantly, and chased the Yankee squadron in most splendid style
over the same track they had come, at the same time rescuing Major
Christie and his detail from the hands of the Yankees. Two of the
men who were with the Major had already effected their escape, viz:
Jas. H. Mock, by splendid riding, and Thomas Spates by literally
outrunning his horse, a thing until then entirely unheard of. The
old Major was doing his best to get away on foot, but the enemy had
him surrounded and were striking him over the head and back with
their sabres, but they instantly left him when the pistols of
White’s boys begun cracking among them, and the old man mounted
behind Lieut. Marlow, who carried him out of danger; and always
thereafter there was no difficulty in Capt. White’s men getting all
the ammunition they wanted from the ordnance department of Ewell’s
Division.

The horses of Lieut. Myers and Sergt. Conrad carried them some
distance in pursuit of the enemy after the balance of the company
had retired, and were not stopped until the two men found themselves
exposed to the fire of a line of infantry, which wounded Conrad’s
horse, when they too fell back, but not until the Sergeant had
cursed heartily the Yankees who shot his steed. From his position on
the top of Slaughter Mountain Gen. Ewell had witnessed the whole of
the gallant affair, and he complimented the Captain very highly,
calling it “a beautiful thing.”

This advance of the Yankees, and skirmish of White, brought on a
fight among the cavalry of both armies, which resulted in the
discomfiture of the enemy and capture of Gen. Prince.

The next morning Capt. White obtained permission to visit his wife,
and the command of the company devolved upon Lieut. Myers, who was
called upon to go, with a few men, to see that the Yankees did not
raid upon the wagon train, and on reaching them found everything in
great confusion owing to a report that the enemy’s cavalry was about
to attack the train; but the Lieutenant and his party soon rallied,
and formed into line, about two hundred infantry stragglers who were
about the wagons, and thus restored order among quartermasters and
teamsters.

After dark, when the company had rejoined the General, the division
withdrew from the mountain, and White’s men were left to keep up the
fires and make the Yankees believe the whole force was still there;
and once, when Sam White and John Marlow piled hay on a fire, making
a blaze that lighted up the side of the mountain, the General
threatened to “throw a pistol ball among them if they did so any
more,” but they quietly promised to return all the pistol balls he
threw them; however, they put no more hay on the fires. About
midnight the General ordered Lieut. Myers to take his company and
march rapidly to the bridge at Liberty Mills, with instructions to
hold it and prevent the Yankees from destroying it before the
infantry could get up. About daylight they reached the bridge, and
in half an hour an order came to send ten men, as couriers, to
report to the General on a road north of the Rapidan, but after
considerable difficulty in finding that number of men whose horses
could stand the trip, the detail was sent on the wrong road and
missing the General, excited his ire against Lieut M., and when he
reached camp and met the Lieutenant he abused him considerably for
not obeying his order, winding up with asking why he had not sent
the detail; and as the Lieutenant commenced to explain he
unfortunately used the expression, “I supposed, General,” when the
General broke out, “You supposed; you supposed, you say; what right
had you to suppose anything about it, sir; do as _I tell you_, sir;
do as _I tell you_.” That was the end of it, and during all the
whole tirade of words the subordinate had only had an opportunity to
use three. The whole force was again in the camp at Somerset, and
now the Captain and his people began to talk about a raid to Loudoun
for the purpose of chastising a band of renegades and Yankees which,
under Sam. Means, was reported to be harassing the people of that
county very severely; but, like foreign recognition and rumors of
peace, it appeared to be more talk than anything else, and the men,
as a general thing, hardly thought it possible to reach the
“promised land,” although it was the heartfelt aspiration of each to
once more behold it and enjoy the pleasure of sweet companionship
with homes and loved ones again. On the 16th, one week after the
battle of Cedar Run, General Jackson marched across the Rapidan
towards Culpeper C. H., and now hope burned brightly in Southern
hearts, for all the men believed that Gen. Lee could march into the
North Country and conquer a willing peace treaty from the Government
at Washington.

Pope made a stand on the Rappahannock, and while waiting for the
Southern army to drive him back again Capt. White perfected his
plans for the Loudoun expedition, and at Warrenton White Sulphur
Springs got Gen. Ewell’s sanction to it. When, on the 25th of
August, “Stonewall” left the main army and started on his flank
movement to Manassas, White marched with him, crossing the river
opposite Orleans, after which he made as fast time as possible in
order to gain the front of Jackson’s corps, which he succeeded in
doing at Salem. Just as his company passed the last regiment the
men, who had halted to rest, called out, "you wouldn’t have caught
up with us if the Colonel’s horse hadn’t given out." At sunset the
raiding party, having cleared all the troops, marched to the Bull
Run Mountain, which point they reached about daylight, and where
they proposed to lie over until night of the 26th. During the day
the true-hearted citizens of the neighborhood brought in plenty to
eat, and some of them spent a great part of the day in the camp,
among them Mr. Ball, Mr. Simpson, Mr. Wynkoop and others.

When the dark came down over the mountain the Captain formed his
men, consisting of about twenty of his own company, with Lieuts.
Myers and Marlow, about twenty of Capt. Randolph’s company, with
Capt. R. and Lieuts. Redmond and Mount, and half a dozen of Gen.
Jackson’s scouts under that splendid soldier Dr. Gallaher. After the
line was formed White made a short speech, telling his command that
his object in the expedition was to _whip_ Means’ men, and that no
matter how much force they had he intended to do it; that he knew
where they were, and if the expedition failed it would be the fault
of his own men; closing by saying with King Henry, if any man among
them had no stomach for the fight upon such terms he was now at
liberty to return. The little force, augmented by the addition of
Messrs. Henry Ball and J. Simpson, now took up the line of march for
Waterford, passing along the mountain all the way, and arriving at
Franklin’s Mill an hour before daylight, when a halt was ordered and
scouts sent out to ascertain if any changes had been made in the
disposition of Means’ command.

While lying here a party of eight was heard passing the road from
Leesburg, who, from their conversation, were rightly judged to have
been scouting all night to learn if there was any movements of the
Southern army to the northward, and their words proved that they
were perfectly satisfied and felt entirely secure, for among other
things their leader was heard to declare, as they watered their
horses within ten feet of one of White’s scouts, that "there wasn’t
a rebel soldier north of the Rappahannock."

As soon as this party passed beyond hearing, White moved his people
to Mr. Hollingsworth’s barn-yard, where about twenty of them were
dismounted, under command of Capt. Randolph, and ordered to march to
the enemy’s quarters, which were in the Baptist meeting-house, about
one hundred yards distant, with instructions not to fire until they
entered the house, or, in case the enemy was outside, to get into
the yard with them before firing, and then to rush upon them and go
with them into the house. The Captain held the remainder of his men
mounted, and rode to the brow of the hill in the road by
Hollingsworth’s gate to wait for the movement of Randolph to drive
the Yankee boys from their quarters, when the cavalry would dash
down and capture them.

Dawn was just beginning to turn the black of night to the gray of
early morn when the movement commenced, and on Capt. Randolph’s
party getting near enough to see, they discovered Means’ whole force
standing in the yard listening to the report of their scouting
party, which had just come in, and though they looked wonderingly at
the infantry advance of White’s army, not one of them said a word;
but in spite of his orders, which could have been executed with
perfect safety, Randolph ordered his men to fire as soon as they
reached the corner of the palings around the yard, which caused the
Yankees to break and rush into the house in great confusion, having
their commander, Lieut. Slater, badly wounded; and now, instead of
following them, as his orders required, Randolph retired to Virts’
house, just opposite; but the gallant Gallaher, with Jack Dove and a
few others, tried to execute the order, and while Gallaher,
springing into one window, fired his revolver bullets among the
demoralized “boys in blue,” the others poured their buckshot in at
the other windows.

As soon as the firing commenced White brought his cavalry down the
road at a gallop, and halting long enough to fire a round or two at
the side windows of the meeting-house, discovered quite a number of
Means’ men leaping from the windows and making the fastest kind of
time across the lots below the house, so calling on his boys to
follow the Captain made a dash down into town, but only succeeded in
capturing two of the fugitives. From here some of the men galloped
down to Means’ house in the hope of getting that gentleman, but he
was by that time “over the hills and far away,” according to his
custom when rebel bullets were on the wing.

Returning to the meeting-house, in broad daylight, White found his
infantry laying close siege to it, and standing in the vestibule was
the daring Webster, who had assumed command of the Yankees, and who,
seeing White’s mounted men riding up, supposed them to be a
reinforcement for himself, and began firing upon Randolph’s men at
Virt’s house, calling, as he did so, for his own men to come out and
fight. A few pistol balls near him showed him his mistake, when he
deliberately turned on the cavalry and emptied his revolver at them,
after which he stepped back into the house and commenced to
barricade the doors. White’s whole force now dismounted and opened a
brisk fire at the windows, which was returned by Webster, Cox, and a
few others, whom Webster succeeded in bringing from under the
benches long enough to take a shot; but pretty soon it was
discovered that ammunition was running short in White’s ranks, and
knowing the impossibility of taking the place by assault now, the
Captain prepared to withdraw his people, but on reaching the horses
of the dismounted men he resolved upon shooting the horses of the
Yankees, which had been tied in the yard during the fight, and
presented to the gaze of the now baffled Confederates a prize well
worth fighting for, composed as they were of the very best horses of
Loudoun, a land always noted for fine ones, and equipped in the most
superb style of the U. S. A. Previous to this, however, an attempt
had been made to negotiate a surrender by sending Mrs. Virts, under
a truce, to make the proposition, but on her second mission the
enemy informed her that if she came again they would shoot her; and
now nothing remained but to get away in safety, which could only be
done by depriving the Yankees of the means of following; and
collecting the remaining cartridges a detail was sent to kill the
horses; but while this party was getting in position around Virts’
house it appears that the enemy were so badly frightened they were
trying to force their commander to make terms, and a few shots from
Ben. Conrad and Ross Douglass at some Yankees they saw by a window,
precipitated matters and brought Webster out with a flag of truce.
He demanded the usual terms in such cases, viz: his men to be
released on parole, their private property respected, and officers
to retain their side arms; which White immediately granted, and the
affair was concluded as soon as possible, the victors getting
fifty-six horses, saddles and bridles, about one hundred fine
revolvers and as many carbines, with a vast quantity of plunder
which they were unable to carry off; and paroling twenty-eight
prisoners, which, with the two previously captured, made thirty in
all.

White lost Brook Hays, killed, and Corporal Peter J. Kabrich,
mortally wounded; both gallant soldiers as ever drew a sabre. A few
others were slightly injured. The enemy lost about seven or eight in
killed and wounded.

The scene at the surrender, when Means’ men, after being formed in
line, laid down their arms, was a curious one. Many of them were old
friends, and had been schoolboys with some of White’s men; and in
one instance, brothers met: one, Wm. Snoots, being a Sergeant in
White’s company, and the other, Charles, a member of Means’ command.
Rebel and Yankee had swallowed up the feeling of brotherhood, or
rather, that feeling had intensified the bitterness and hatred with
which enemies in the hour of conflict regard each other; and the
rebel would have certainly shot his Yankee brother, even after the
surrender, but for the interference of one of the officers. As soon
as possible, after getting everything in movable shape, and
arranging for the care of Kabrich, who was too badly hurt to be
moved, and for the burial of Hays, the raiders turned their faces
towards the South again, expecting to rejoin Gen. Jackson that
night. At the point where the line of march diverged from the
Leesburg road, Capt. White left Lieut. Myers in charge of the
column, and taking with him a small detail, galloped into Leesburg,
where he created quite a commotion, causing a few Yankee soldiers
there to depart in the shortest time imaginable, and making the
Southern people of that extremely Southern town almost wild with
joy.

They had been under the galling rule of Yankeedom, as administered
by such as Geary, until simple endurance had almost culminated in
despair, and the advent of White, so unexpectedly, among them, was
hailed as an omen that their day was beginning to dawn; and
consequently, in their freshly blooming hope, they petted and
lionized to their heart’s content the little band of boys in gray
who came to assure them that soon they would be free from the rule
of their hated tyrants.

The two parties united about sunset, at Aldie, where all partook of
an excellent supper at Mr. Henry Ball’s, and where the Captain again
met his wife, but not for long could he remain in this earthly Eden,
for while here the Rev. John Pickett notified the command that he
had found a brigade of Yankee cavalry at the Plains, on the Manassas
Gap Rail Road, and immediately the overloaded little band prepared
for a night march to Manassas, making the third night of sleepless
travel.

But all kept up, and about 9 o’clock on the morning of the 28th
August, Capt. White reported to Gen. Ewell, and when evening came
the boys carried their General from the battle-field to the house of
Mr. Buckner, he having been badly wounded in the leg. And it now
appeared that what they had considered as irksome duty, that of
acting as couriers for Gen. Ewell and his brigadiers, was to the
company the easiest and most pleasant they had ever or would ever
perform; and they felt bitterly the loss of the best friend, of
influence, they had in the army, in the person of Gen. Ewell. After
this the company took but little part in the battle, but lay quietly
in the yard around the house where their General was, until the
close of the battle, when the country was cleared of the enemy to
such an extent that people from the border could get out to the
army, and here many young men came and enrolled themselves in
White’s company.

Citizens, also, who had heard of the capture of Means’ horses at
Waterford, came to look at the stock, and as that command had been
mounted on horses taken from the people of Loudoun, and Capt. White
invariably returned their property, it was not long until all the
captured horses, so far as White’s men were concerned, were among
the things that had been.

Pope’s army, too, as an army, was in the same situation, and the
quarters for “Stonewall Jackson and 16,000 prisoners,” which the
mighty bummer had ordered to be prepared at Washington, were not
occupied—for John had to “skedaddle,” and just in his rear “old
Stonewall” with that identical little party of 16,000 “foot cavalry”
pushed bravely on, and with him went White and all his mounted men
fit for duty, while Myers was sent to Loudoun in charge of
dismounted men, and such as had broken down horses, for the double
purpose of recruiting in both men and horses.



                              CHAPTER VII.


Never were the veteran hearts of the men whom Lee and Stonewall led
to victory, so thrilled with triumphant pride as on that morning in
September, when the wild refrain of “Maryland, my Maryland,” echoed
from a thousand throats, rolled on the morning breezes over the
border, and the ragged men in gray marched through the waters of the
old Potomac which some of them had made to run red with the
life-blood of the invading hosts of Yankeeland, who made their
boasting advance, at almost the same point the year before, and
added the name of Ball’s Bluff to the list of Southern victories.

But none other than those born on the soil of Maryland could fully
enter into the feelings that filled the heart of our Captain when he
saw the army that had tramped over the heaps of dead men, strewn
from the blue and billowy James to the dashing surges of the
Potomac, actually marching through the boundary that had, up to this
time, been considered the _de facto_ line of separation between the
two Confederacies, and felt that of a truth the hour had come when
another star would blaze in the Southern Cross, and _that_ star the
sign that Maryland, by aid of the iron legions of the Southland, had
broken the rod of the Blackamoor’s god, and joined, at last, her
sisters in their crusade for freedom.

It will avail nothing, however, to revert here to the bitter
disappointment which quenched these proud feelings in the hearts of
the brave sons of the State of Maryland, who had been battling for
the cause of Southern rights, when they found no responsive greeting
from the now pitifully cowed spirit of poor, conquered Maryland, and
felt that in spite of the hero-blood that had baptized the wreath of
glory woven for her queenly brow by such hands as Carroll, Howard,
May, and a thousand others, who, in the days of yore, had made her
name so famous, she was now a subjugated thing, too much afraid of
the power that had bound the slavish chain upon her very soul, to
lift the folded hands from which the tyrant’s fetters had just been
so bravely torn, even though upon her own soil the conquering
battle-flag of Dixie waved high above the bloody Northern standard.

Through treachery at the council board she had been betrayed into
the power of her enemies, and had not enough spirit left to do more
than gaze with sad-eyed wonder upon the war-worn soldiers whose
mission to their State was to give her people an opportunity to draw
their swords in an equal fight for their desecrated altars.

Maryland was dumb before her shearers, and lamb-like she submitted,
while the Southern army looked vainly for the lion to awake to glory
again.

At Frederick City, Capt. White fell under the displeasure of General
Stuart, and was ordered by that commander to return with his company
to Loudoun County, Va., but the Captain protested, saying that he
was a Marylander by birth and had fought as hard as any man for the
privilege of fighting once upon the soil of his native State.

The General seemed only to want an excuse to become offended with
him, and exclaimed, “Do you say you have done as much as any man,
for the South?”

“No, sir,” said Capt. White, “I did not say that; but I have done my
duty to the South as a soldier, so far as my ability extends, as
fully as anybody.”

Again the General broke out with, “You did say you had done as much
as any man.” And the Captain replied, “I did not say so.”

Thus the quarrel went on, and finally Stuart ordered White to go
back to Loudoun and watch for a flanking force of the enemy expected
by way of Dranesville, or Fairfax C. H., from Washington. But White
refused to go, saying he would go see Gen. Lee.

“Come on,” said Stuart, “I’ll go with you.” And the two proceeded at
once to Army Headquarters. Arrived there, Gen. S. passed in, and
White saw that Gen. Jackson was also there.

Gen. Lee met White at the door and asked him his business, when the
Captain replied, “I want to see you, sir.” “Very well,” said the
General, "just wait a little while and I’ll see you."

Pretty soon General Jackson came out and approached White, who was
walking in front of Headquarters, and actually so much excited over
what he considered the injustice of Gen. Stuart, that he was crying.

“Stonewall” asked him his difficulty, and was told that Stuart
wanted to send him back to Loudoun, and he didn’t want to go. The
General appeared surprised, and remarked, “Why, I just heard Gen.
Stuart tell Gen. Lee that you _desired to be sent back_, and
recommended that it be done.”

At this the Captain tried to tell Gen. Jackson that it was not so,
but before he could explain, his feelings so overcame him that he
completely choked down and could not say anything.

Presently, Gen. Jackson said, “Capt. White, I think I can understand
your feelings, for I was once situated just as you are now. During
the Mexican war I was ordered to the rear just as a battle was about
to take place, and I knew of no reason why I should be so unjustly
treated; but I obeyed, and it so happened that by doing so I had an
opportunity to acquire distinction that I never could have had in
front. And Captain, my advice to you is to obey orders, no matter
how unjust they may be. We are poor, short-sighted creatures at
best, and in the very thing that _seems_ hardest for us to bear,
Providence may have hidden a rich blessing for us. Go, Captain, and
obey orders.”

White says he knew Gen. Jackson was too good a man for him to talk
to, and consequently he made no reply. But Gen. Stuart now came out
and calling him to his side said, “Capt. White, did you say you was
a Marylander?” “Yes, sir,” said White. “Ah!” said the General, "I
didn’t know that. Gen. Lee wants you. Go in and see him."

As may be supposed, the Captain lost no time in appearing in the
presence of the Commanding General, and his orders were to scout
towards Harper’s Ferry and report to Gen. Lee. This meant that for
the present he was free from the spite of Stuart, and he at once
commenced his scout, learning of the condition of affairs about
Harper’s Ferry, and gathering much valuable information; without,
however, being required to engage the enemy.

"He had now been joined by the long-expected company of Capt.
Chiswell, and on Saturday night, September 12th, the two companies
crossed the river into Loudoun County, and on Sunday evening marched
down to Waterford, where they bivouacked in the same meeting-house
which Webster had tried so hard to hold against White’s men a few
weeks before. Here they were joined by Lieut. Myers, whose
detachment had grown into a very respectable company; and the next
morning White moved with his squadron towards the river, intending
to make an examination of the enemy’s force which was following
Lee’s army up through Maryland.

On the top of Catocton mountain, they had a partial view of the
cannonading at Harper’s Ferry, where Gen. Jackson had penned up Gen.
Miles in the “nose of the tunnel,” just as Jo. Johnston had
declared, in 1861, that he (Johnston) would not be caught.

About noon Capt. White reached his own farm on the river, and in the
bottom, near the ford, discovered a party of Yankee infantry and
cavalry, which he immediately charged, capturing all the infantry,
in number thirty-five, with the Lieutenant in command, but the
cavalry made their escape over the river. From here the command went
to Leesburg, from which place a detail from the two companies was
made to guard the prisoners, and Lieut. Myers placed in charge, with
orders to deliver the Yankees to the Provost Marshal at Winchester,
while the Captain moved his command back to Waterford, where he
spent the next day; but on the 17th he received a notice that a
force of the enemy was advancing on Leesburg from towards
Washington, which caused him to hastily return to Leesburg. On
arriving there he found the troops preparing to leave the town, but
he prevailed on them to remain for a short time at least. The force
there consisted of Co. A, 6th Va. Cavalry, under Capt. Gibson, and
about forty Mississippi infantry commanded by Capt. Young, who was
the Provost Marshal of the town. Captain White, owing to the
rapidity of his march from Waterford, did not have more than thirty
of his men with him. The force of the enemy was about four hundred
cavalry, with four pieces of artillery, under command of Gen.
Kilpatrick, who had come up to see if there was any Confederate
force in Loudoun county.

Capt. Young, with his infantry, halted on the turnpike above town,
and Capt. Gibson did the same, while Capt. White moved his command
below Leesburg, and found the enemy still advancing, but rather
slowly. Here he exchanged a few shots with them, and seeing them
placing a battery in position he retired through the town and halted
near Capt. Young.

Kilpatrick now, in perfect wantonness, and without any warning,
opened fire from his artillery upon the town, and the women and
children of Leesburg only knew that they were to be bombarded when
the shrieking shells came crashing through walls and roofs in the
centre of their town.

After awhile a party of cavalry advanced, and the tiring having
stopped they marched through and came out on the road near where the
little force of Confederates were standing, upon which Capt. White
ordered his men to charge, but just as he was riding forward the
infantry fired a volley at the Yankees, one ball from which struck
him just under the shoulder blade, and lodged under the skin in
front of his throat. This unfortunate affair stopped the charge
which, had the Captain not been wounded, would undoubtedly have
routed Kilpatrick’s whole force, as citizens on the road reported
him and his men to have been very much excited and in great
confusion when the party which the infantry had fired on returned at
a run from their advance through Leesburg. Capt. Gibson’s men and
the infantry of Young now retired, and White’s men, bearing their
wounded Captain, followed them slowly up the turnpike as far as
Rice’s house, where they left him in charge of Boyd Barrett, and
went an to Hamilton, where Lieut. Myers and his party from
Winchester met them. Myers at once took command of the squadron, and
as it was now dark halted for the night in the village, and when
morning came marched back to Leesburg; shortly after which the
Captain was moved to Colonel Vandevanter’s, where he remained for a
few days; but the battle of Sharpsburg having now been fought and
the Southern army forced back across the Potomac, and the border
country, in consequence, being overrun with parties of the enemy’s
cavalry, it was thought best to move him nearer the mountain, which
was done, and for some time he sojourned at Mr. Humphrey’s, near
Snickersville, care being taken not to let his whereabouts be known,
as the Yankees desired nothing better than to get possession of
Capt. White, the guerrilla, as they called him; in fact, a party of
them had come very near capturing him while he was at Colonel
Vandevanter’s, only missing him by having been wrongly informed as
to his location, they having gone to Mr. Washington Vandevanter’s
instead of the Colonel’s. After this Lieut. Myers established his
camp in Snicker’s Gap, from where he scouted the border to Fairfax
C. H., under the orders of Gen. Jackson, and reporting directly to
that commander, whose headquarters were in Winchester.

Some time passed in this manner, the two companies operating
actively in Loudoun and Fairfax, occasionally picking up a few
Yankees, and to a great extent stopping their incursions in the
country, except in large bodies, one of which came near gobbling up
the little command. Maj. Foster, of the Quartermaster’s Department,
had been instructed by Gen. Stuart to call on Lieut. Myers for
assistance in bringing out a lot of cattle from the Lovettsville
country, and had fixed upon the 16th of October to meet at Wheatland
for that purpose; but Myers, knowing that Gen. Kenley, with a strong
force of infantry, cavalry and artillery, was somewhere near
Leesburg, thought it best to let the cattle alone for that day. He,
however, sent scouts to find where the Yankees were, and with about
thirty men went to Wheatland, according to instructions, where he
halted, and threw out pickets.

Pretty soon the picket on the Waterford road, who happened to be a
young soldier (E. H. Tavenner) on his first tour of duty, came in
and reported the enemy advancing, saying they had came within fifty
yards of him and refused to stop when he told them to do so; and
being asked why he didn’t fire on them, he replied that he “did try,
but his carbine kept snapping, and that was why they got so close to
him before he left his post.” The Lieutenant concluded that as green
a man as that didn’t know a Yankee when he saw him, and sending "for
the other pickets to come in, trotted off to see for himself, and
before getting to the post his picket had occupied, he saw, and
heard too, for the advance guard of Kenly’s brigade opened fire on
him from a turn of the road, and charging upon him at the same time,
nearly captured him with Dick and Sam. Grubb and Ben. Conrad, who
came to his assistance; but they were in luck and escaped without
injury, or losing any of the command.

That night, John DeButts, with Tom. Spates and one or two others,
captured Kenly’s pickets near Hillsboro’, and the General marched to
Harper’s Ferry before day.

Previous to this, a company commanded by Lieut. James Anderson, one
under Capt. John H. Grabill, and one under Lieut. Wood, had reported
to Lieut. Myers, and these with the two companies of White and
Chiswell, and about fifty men raised by R. B. Grubb, formed a
battalion which Myers did not feel disposed to command. The
companies of Chiswell and Grubb, not being yet organized, and were
moreover attached to the old company as a part of it, he could
manage very well, but Capt. Grabill refused to command the whole
force and the delicacy Myers felt in assuming the command of
officers higher in rank than himself, made the matter a very awkward
one in the new battalion, but all the officers insisted upon his
occupying the position, and he finally did so, and commanded until
the 19th of October, when Capt. James F. Trayhern, whose company,
under Anderson, was already in camp, came in and assumed the
command.

Capt. Trayhern immediately resolved on an extended scout to find the
enemy, and for this purpose ordered all the available force of the
battalion then in camp to mount and form for the expedition. The
whole force thus called out was about one hundred and thirty, in two
squadrons; the first, commanded by Lieut. Myers, was composed of
portions of the old company and of Chiswell’s and Grubb’s men, the
Marylanders led by Sergt. Henry Sellman, and Grubb’s boys by Sam.
Grubb. The second squadron was commanded by Capt. Grabill, and
composed of his own company, that of Trayhern under Lieut. Anderson,
and part of the Albemarle company.

Capt. Dick Grubb acted as Adjutant; and thus organized, the
battalion marched out of the mountain, assured by its commander that
“he intended to go wherever he heard of Yankees across the Potomac.”
On the 20th, the command halted on the river hills opposite Berlin,
and looked at the long line of bluejackets on drill on the Maryland
side of the line, but none had yet been discovered or heard of south
of it. About sunset Capt. Trayhern retired to the old Rehoboth
Church and disbanded his command, in order that the men could get
something to eat in the neighborhood for themselves and horses, but
gave instructions for all to report at the Church by nine o’clock,
which they did, and the pickets were duly posted by Lieut. Myers,
who was detailed as officer of the guard for the night; and all,
except the guards, unsaddled and went into the church to sleep.
About an hour before daylight, Myers started out for his last visit
to the outposts that night, and on reaching the post at Bolington
was surprised to find all the pickets missing; and a further
examination convinced him that the Yankees had certainly been down
and carried off the whole business—guards, reserve and all.
Returning to the command, he informed Trayhern of the affair, and
rode on to the other pickets, whom he found all right, not having
heard or seen anything more alarming than cattle during the night.
Taking his pickets with him, the Lieutenant went back to the
battalion, and after a consultation, it was resolved by Trayhern to
follow the enemy, who, according to the testimony of some persons at
Bolington, had not been gone long, and endeavor to recapture the
prisoners; and sending Sam. Grubb with a squad in advance, the
command pushed forward rapidly; but soon met Sam. coming back with
the information, that Lovettsville was full of Yankees, and that an
infantry force was posted in a piece of woods on the grade, a short
distance from town. And here Capt. Trayhern committed the fatal
error of attempting to drive this force from their position, which
was all the enemy wished, hoping to keep him occupied until the
flanking party from Harper’s Ferry could gain the rear of the
Confederates. After a short skirmish, Trayhern decided to go back,
and on his way, halted for a short time at Morrisonville, and then
moved on towards Hillsborough.

Pretty soon he met some of the men from the latter place, who
informed him that Hillsborough also was occupied by a strong force;
and counter-marching, the little battalion took the road to
Wheatland; but on arriving at Smith’s, about a mile from that place,
firing was heard in front, and soon the advance returned at a
gallop, closely pursued by a body of Yankee cavalry.

Capt. Grubb now gave the order “by fours right about,” and the
Confederates retreated rapidly to Maj. Geo. L. Moore’s gate, where
Grubb turned the column into the field. All this time the Yankees
were firing rapidly, and the halt made here in passing the gate
enabled them to come up with the battalion, and here a party, with
Lieut. Marlow and Sam. Grubb, left the command and struck for the
mountain. Reaching the barn-yard gate at Moore’s the Yankees were in
thirty yards, and Lieut. Myers, who in the “right about” on the
grade had been thrown in rear of the command, found it a difficult
matter to get the gate shut and chained again after the command had
passed, for the “blue jackets” fired fast at him, but he finally
succeeded, and on the hill in the field joined Capt. Trayhern, who,
with Captains Grabill and Grubb assisting him bravely, was
endeavoring to rally the men and make a stand until an opening for
escape could he made in the post and rail fence, but only twenty men
could be got in line. In a few minutes the Yankees came through the
gate, and about two hundred of them charged the little force on the
hill, but received a volley which checked and caused them for a
moment to retire; but now, notwithstanding the efforts of Capt.
Trayhern, who displayed great gallantry, and of other officers, the
men broke and crowded down into the corner of the field, and the
Yankees coming on again captured twenty-two of them and about thirty
horses. They could just as easily have gotten the whole party, but
on charging with drawn sabres to about ten yards of the crowd in the
corner, and receiving a fire from a few men with pistols, they
halted and commenced firing in return. The fence was now broken
open, and the Confederates began leaping their horses over. Here one
man was killed and one wounded, but by good horsemanship the others
all got clear. The pursuit was continued as far as the mill of Mr.
Caldwell, on the Waterford road, and during it a Yankee Lieutenant,
in the attempt to capture Lieut. Myers, who was poorly mounted, was
mortally wounded.

On arriving at camp and counting up the losses, it was found that
twenty-three were captured; Lycurgus W. Bussard, a gallant soldier
of the old company, was killed, and Jacob H. Robertson, also of the
old company, badly wounded. The squad that with Marlow and Sam.
Grubb escaped to the mountain, came down in the Yankee rear at
Hillsboro, capturing six prisoners, whom they brought out; which
with the eight killed and wounded in the chase, made the enemy’s
loss fourteen.

Their whole force consisted of two regiments of cavalry, three of
infantry, and a battery of artillery, in all about four thousand;
while Trayhern’s command, when he met the Yankees, did not number
more than seventy-five.

Gen. Geary, who commanded the Yankees, felt himself the hero of a
most wonderful exploit, and on his return to Harper’s Ferry arrested
and carried with him the Rev. S. S. Rozzle, but the parson so cut
the General’s feathers in his conversation with him, that he was
glad to permit him to go home, not even requiring his parole,
although if he had asked it Mr. Rozzle was not the man to give it to
such a bombastic bag of gas as Geary, who could not look him in the
face after talking with him half an hour.

Captains Trayhern and Grabill both lost their horses, and only saved
themselves by taking refuge in the top of a cabin which stood near
the field, and where they lay until dark undiscovered by the
Yankees, although many of them were in and around the house for some
time.

When Capt. Trayhern returned to camp, he found his company highly
exasperated against him for having, as they said, gotten them into
such a trap; and under the excitement of the moment, that
high-spirited officer resigned his commission, and left the
battalion, never to meet it again until the morning after Gen. Lee
surrendered the Array of Northern Virginia.

The command again fell upon Lieut. Myers, and under instructions
from Capt. White, he went diligently to work preparing the battalion
for organization.

The Captain had moved his quarters from Mr. Humphrey’s to the home
of Mr. Park. Shepherd, in Clarke county, where his devoted and
heroic little wife joined him, and under her care he was soon
convalescent.

On the 28th of October, Col. Bradley T. Johnson, (afterwards
Brigadier-General of the Maryland Line,) then A. and I. G. on
Stuart’s staff, came over, and after superintending the
organization, mustered White’s Battalion regularly into the service.

Capt. White was unanimously elected Major, and Lieut. Myers became
Captain of Company A, with Barrett, Marlow and Ben. F. Conrad, for
his Lieutenants.

Company B, organized by electing George W. Chiswell, Captain; Joshua
R. Crown, 1st Lieutenant; Nich. W. Dorsey, 2d Lieutenant; and Ed. J.
Chiswell, 2d Lieutenant, Jr.

Company C, elected Richard B. Grubb, Captain; W. Flavius Dowdell,
1st Lieutenant; and Sam. E, Grubb, 2d Lieutenant.

Company D, was already organized, being Trayhern’s old company, and
now officered by Lieuts. Anderson, Spangler, and Sam. Baker.

Company E, had Capt. Grabill, Lieut. Grubbs, and —— ——, for
officers.

There was some difficulty in the case of the other company, which
had been organized in Albemarle county, under Capt. Geo. N.
Ferneyhough, for service in Scott’s Battalion—and although it was
present, under command of Lieut. Woods, was not mustered in until
some months later.

Capt. Grubb and Lieut. Anderson were both prisoners, having been
captured a week before, in the battle of Glenmore.

Major White now appointed Lieut. Crown, Adjutant, and Capt. J. Mort.
Kilgour, Quartermaster. After which, he rode back to Mr. Shepherd’s
again, leaving Capt. Myers in command, with instructions to look out
for the advance of the Yankee army, which, under Burnside, was about
to “on to Richmond” again.

Besides White’s Battalion, there was now stationed in Snicker’s Gap,
a company of the 2d Va. Cavalry, under Capt. Tebbs, and a detail
from Capt. Chew’s battery with one 12-pounder howitzer, making a
total force of about three hundred men.

About the 1st of November, a heavy body of the enemy’s cavalry,
under Gen. Pleasanton, advanced on the Gap, creating no small
excitement among the garrison; but as soon as possible, preparations
were made to dispute possession, and while Capt. Tebbs held his
company, mounted, near the toll-gate, Myers dismounted two companies
of the battalion under Capt. Grabill, who was an old infantry
officer of the “Stonewall brigade,” to operate as sharpshooters on
the side of the road, and with the remainder in the saddle, took
post near the artillery, which was advanced to within five hundred
yards of Snickersville.

About this time the Yankees dashed into town, and gave a few of
White’s men there a lively chase up the road, in which John
Stephenson was severely wounded. In a few minutes the enemy’s column
appeared in the road just above the town, and on the instant, the
little howitzer blazed forth its “thus far and no farther,” in the
shape of a three-second shell, which exploded precisely in the right
place, killing and wounding several men and horses, and causing the
remainder to retire in great confusion, which was increased by the
fire of Grabill’s infantry.

Before the gun could be reloaded the Yankees were out of range, and
the fight over, for Gen. Pleasanton took up his line of march for
the Potomac at once. This affair took place on Thursday, and on the
Sunday following, just at sunrise, the Yankees were again discovered
making for the Gap; but this time it appeared that the whole land
was covered with infantry, long blue lines of which moved up the
mountain; and Major White having reached the scene of action,
ordered the battalion, which, with the howitzer, had taken the same
position occupied on Thursday, to fall back, and the whole force
retired to the river hill. Very soon the Yankees were on the
mountain in heavy force, and hardly noticing the shells from White’s
little howitzer, they placed a battery in the Gap from which they
threw shells clear over his position, and killed men in A. P. Hill’s
division, a mile beyond the river. White’s men thought it was time
to be leaving, but the Major held on until dark, when, leaving
Lieut. Dowdell, with Company C, to watch the enemy, he crossed the
river and encamped for the night.

About noon the next day, Dowdell sent a courier over to the Major,
saying that the Yankees had flanked his pickets off their posts on
the river hill, and he thought they were coming down the mountain in
force. The Major called for volunteers to cross the river with him,
when about thirty of his men mounted their horses and followed him.
Reaching the foot of the mountain they met Dowdell, with his
company, who gave the particulars of the night-watch, and told how
the Yankee infantry crawled through the bushes around his men, very
nearly capturing his party.

The Major at once started up the mountain with about ten men, to see
for himself the position of the enemy, and when nearly on the top of
the river hill, Sergeant-Major L. B. Stephenson and Capt. Myers, who
were in the advance, each at the same moment discovered the Yankees
in the woods on both sides of the road, and not twenty yards
distant. They immediately wheeled their horses to retreat, but
before they could tell the Major what they had seen, the infantry
sprang out of the woods and opened a heavy fire which sent the whole
party in a hurry down the road, and when about half way met the
reserve coming to their assistance.

The enemy was advancing rapidly, and telling his men to cross the
river quick, the Major formed a rear guard to fight the Yankees
until the main body could get over; but very soon the heavy masses
of blue jackets pouring out of the mountain in front, and on the
right, forced him to cross also; and now the most exciting scene of
all transpired. Most of the men were over, and Major White, last of
all, was not more than one-third the way across, when a heavy bank
of Yankee infantry lined the river shore and poured their fire upon
that solitary man; but calmly he rode amid the storm, the bullets
raining around him and making the water appear as if it was boiling,
while his horror-stricken men looked on, expecting each moment to
see him fall; but on he came, apparently as cool as if there was not
a Yankee in five miles, and finally rode out of the river,
unscathed.

Dense masses of the foe were still rapidly marching down the
mountain, and just as White got through, the batteries of Gen. Hill
opened from the Clarke hills a most horribly destructive fire upon
them, as they stood, wedged closely in the small space between the
river and the mountain, and from which there was no way of escape,
the road being full of troops, batteries and ambulances, all
hurrying towards Castleman’s Ferry. For some time the slaughter was
terrible, and all the while not a shot was returned from the
Yankees; but bye-and-bye an officer appeared with a flag of truce,
asking for a cessation of the firing, until they could remove their
wounded, and to the surprise of all, Gen. Hill granted it, although
he must have known that ten minutes more of such firing would have
forced the enemy to surrender.

Shortly after the firing ceased Maj. White, with a party of his men,
crossed the river again, and found the mountain road literally
running with blood, while the dead lay thick along it, and the busy
ambulances, as they carried their mangled freight to the rear, left
a trail of blood on the ground. The fight was over, for while moving
the wounded and dead, the Yankees continued to take their sound and
live ones back too.

Shortly afterwards the following note was received from Gen. Stuart:

                                 “HEAD-QUARTERS, CAVALRY DIVISION, }
                                        “November 9th, 1862.       }

“MAJOR—I am directed by the Major-General commanding, to say that he
has heard with much pleasure of the successful operations of your
command in the actions with the enemy at Snicker’s Gap, and hopes
that it may be a forerunner of still further deeds of daring, skill,
and success by your command; and to assure you of his high
appreciation of its conduct, and the gallantry and skill of its
commander.

“I have the honor to be, Major, your obedient servant,

                                       “NORMAN R. FITZHUGH,
                                           “_Major and A. A. Gen’l._

“To Major E. V. WHITE,
  “_Commanding White’s Battalion Cavalry_.”

For a few days after this affair the battalion lay quietly in camp
about a mile from Castleman’s Ferry, with nothing to do but look at
the Yankees on the mountain. But one evening it was noticed that a
great fire was burning in Snicker’s Gap and spreading along the
ridge on either side, which induced the Major to believe that the
enemy was leaving; so hastily calling out his command, he crossed
the river and advanced into the Gap, without meeting any of the
blue-coated boys who had been there so recently.

From here he pushed forward to Snickersville and learned that the
rear guard of Burnside’s army had passed there three hours before,
and finding a number of sutler wagons following the Yankee line of
march, White’s boys very quietly took possession of them, and now
the battalion divided into several detachments and ranged the
country nearly all night, arriving in camp shortly before daylight
with about twenty wagons loaded with all manner of supplies, and
upwards of two hundred prisoners.

The next day the raiding on the enemy’s rear was resumed, and
several wagons and prisoners brought in; and about dark the Major
learned that a Yankee train had deposited a quantity of tents and
baggage in an old house at Neersville. So putting his people in line
again, he started for them, and about midnight took quiet possession
of exactly the supplies needed by the command for winter quarters,
all of which were safely brought away. The same day was marked also
by a gallant exploit of four members of Company A, which was highly
complimented by the Major.

The half wild Henry Simpson, in company with Mort. Palmer, Dave Lee
and Bob Ritacor, were at Philomont when the 91st Pennsylvania
infantry passed that place. The wagon train followed close in rear
of the regiment and just behind the wagons the commander, Col. W. P.
Wainwright, with some members of his staff, rode leisurely along,
when these daring fellows made a dash at the train, cutting out and
bringing safely to camp the Colonel’s headquarter wagon; the Colonel
himself narrowly escaping capture by flight.

The last expedition in Burnside’s rear was a raid on a camp of sixty
infantry at Mount Gillead, who had been left to guard a quantity of
stores at that place, and who surrendered after a sharp fight, and
these stores composed the richest capture yet made.

The total number of prisoners made in the whole series of operations
was about one thousand, and fully two hundred wagons were destroyed
and brought out together, besides an immense amount of stores and
arms destroyed by the Yankees themselves, to keep them from falling
into the hands of White’s men.

A considerable number of the men had been taken prisoners during the
fall, and although most of them were promptly exchanged under the
Dix-Hill cartel, yet some few were detained and treated by the enemy
with great rigor, under a charge of being guerrillas, and the Major
had done all in his power, through appeals to the Confederate
authorities, to procure their release by retaliation, and took
occasion, on sending the beautiful sword of Col. Wainwright as a
present to Gen. Jackson, to call that officer’s attention to the
matter, which elicited the following reply from “Stonewall:”

                          “HEAD-QUARTERS, V. DIST., Nov. 15th, 1862.

  “MAJOR—The beautiful sword with which you have so kindly presented
  me, and also the other much prized presents, have been received
  from Lt. Marlow of your distinguished command. Please accept my
  thanks for them.

  “I have watched with great interest your brilliant exploits. Your
  men may well feel proud of having such a leader. Press on in your
  successful career.

  “Let your men know that their comrades who are maltreated at Fort
  McHenry are not forgotten. I deem it a solemn duty to protect, as
  far as God enables me, every patriotic soldier of my command. I
  regret being driven to retaliation, but the enemy, from time to
  time, have been warned against their inhumanity. I have directed
  three Federal prisoners, of the rank of Captain, to be detained at
  Staunton. I intend to have this outrage of which you complain
  thoroughly investigated, and not only see that the two men of your
  company, but also the one belonging to Capt. Ball’s, are
  exchanged, and also that indemnification is made for any wrongs
  which they may have suffered.

  “With high esteem, I am, Major, very truly your friend,

                                      “T. J. JACKSON, _Lt.-General_.

  “To Major E. V. WHITE.”

As an evidence that “Stonewall” Jackson took no half way measures,
and also that he kept his promises, the prisoners referred to were
released in about ten days.



                             CHAPTER VIII.


The battalion now encamped on the turnpike, about three miles from
the river, and near Berryville, and under orders from Gen. W. E.
Jones. The Major posted his companies at the fords on the
Shenandoah, from Front Royal to Key’s Ferry, to picket. The camp was
lumbered up with a great quantity of captured property, having
wagons and tents sufficient for three times the number of men; in
fact no regiment in either army was better supplied with camp
equipage than White’s battalion. On the night of the 28th November,
a dispatch was received from Company B, at Berry’s Ferry, saying
that the enemy was crossing at that point, and Mr. William Dove, or
as he was familiarly known in the command, “Uncle Billy,” the active
and efficient wagon-master, went to work loading the wagons,
preparatory to a move; but by the time everything was ready, another
courier came from Company B, saying the alarm was false. At this
time the only force in camp was Company Q, composed, as every old
soldier knows, of men who are disabled or on detail.

Company A, which was to play the most conspicuous part in what was
about to transpire, was on duty at Castleman’s Ferry, commanded by
Lieut. Barrett.

For several days a party of about one hundred Federal cavalry had
made regular trips up the Aldie turnpike to Snickersville, thence
through the Gap to the river bank, and returning at once as quietly
as they came. They never disturbed citizens, and no one knew their
object, but all supposed it was nothing farther than to notice the
disposition of the Confederates in the Valley, and it is singular
that they were permitted to operate in this manner with so much
regularity and not be molested; certain it is that no such thing was
ever permitted by White afterwards. On the 29th, this party made its
appearance at the river as usual, and Barrett’s men, on their first
appearance, were not prepared to receive such company; some of them
being engaged in fishing, some were boating, and nearly all had
their horses unsaddled, so incautious had familiarity with the
motions of this particular party of Yankees rendered them; but the
visitors seemed to linger on the river bank for a longer time to-day
than usual, and Barrett ordered his men to saddle up, at the same
time sending a courier to camp to inform Capt. Myers, who was in
command there, that the Yankees were at the river, and he thought
they intended to cross. He hailed the enemy, and when they replied,
asked them “what they wanted,” and invited them to “come over,” to
which they answered by telling him “not to be uneasy,” that they
“would be over presently,” which the Lieutenant began to think was
highly probable, as their number was increasing every moment in a
most alarming manner. As soon as possible he had the company
mounted, and sending a man down the river to order the guards below
him to fall back, he prepared to do the best he could, under the
circumstances, to delay the enemy as long as possible, in order to
give the men in camp time to get the baggage away, for their
intention to accept his invitation to “come over” was rapidly
becoming apparent and certain.

It is now time to go to the camp and see what arrangements have been
made there for the visitation that will soon be made on the west
bank of the Shenandoah.

Thanks to the alarm from Company B, the night before, the wagons
were all loaded and ready to move. All the tents had been struck,
with the exception of Capt. Grubb’s, who having been sick for some
days, and unable to move, resolved to stay in his tent. About
twenty-five men were in camp, either entirely dismounted or with
broken-down horses. Some were sick, and besides these the number on
detail in the quartermaster’s department would make a total of about
sixty in all when Lieut. Barrett’s courier arrived.

This man came up very leisurely, and did not report to Capt. Myers
at all, but who accidentally saw him, and knowing him to be one of
Barrett’s men, asked him the news at the river, when the fellow
responded that there were “some Yankees on the other side.”

Myers asked if Barrett thought it was only the usual scout, or if
they looked like crossing, and he replied that he "didn’t know."
This was all of Lieutenant Barrett’s dispatch that reached the
commander, and I have always entertained the opinion that the
courier ought to have been court-martialed and shot.

After a few minutes’ reflection and study about the matter, Myers
gave the order for the wagons to move out on the road, but was
induced to do so more because “Uncle” Billy Dove was anxious to move
now that everything was ready, than from any apprehension that
Yankees would come.

Capt. Kilgour and “Uncle Billy” at once set all the machinery of the
quartermaster’s department in motion, and very soon the train begun
to move.

We will now go back to the river where we left Barrett and his boys
watching the enemy; but their watch was of short duration, for
suddenly the whole force of Yankees moved off briskly, and unmindful
of the pistol shots fired at them, dashed into the river and came
over. The Confederates soon gave way, and the affair turned into a
horse-race for camp.

One of the men ran in at Mr. Shepherd’s to notify Major White, and
found him lying down, but he soon got out and mounted his horse,
reaching the pike just as the Yankees came up. They were now about a
mile from camp and all together, pursuers and pursued, rode like
"Tam O’Shanter," and all together reached the camp, but here the
Yankees made a halt until their reserve came up, before charging in
upon the scattered crowd of demoralized men in the camp.

The Major had been wounded in the thigh, and Lieut. Barrett, with
about twenty of his men, taken prisoners, and now the question was,
“How are the wagons to be saved?”

Major White, notwithstanding his wound, rallied such of his men as
were mounted and armed, and from every hill-top in the fields fired
upon and checked the enemy, while all the men except the dozen with
him, did their best running.

An old citizen of Clarke county, Col. Morgan, whose residence was
near, saw the flying fugitives racing across the field; he came out
and attempted to rally them, but seeing that they only ran the
faster, the old gentleman, with the spirit of his famous ancestor,
“the wagoner General of the revolution,” swore he would fight them
alone; but when the carbine balls began to clip the blue grass
around him, he thought better of it and went home.

The Yankees pressed White and his party very closely as far as
Berryville, and captured one wagon, but not the team, the driver
having cut his horses loose and made his escape. Capt. Kilgour stuck
to his train bravely, and with “Uncle Billy,” directed its movements
until the Yankee bullets commenced singing around him, when he gave
it up, and made “Toney” show his speed and bottom too.

At Berryville, the 12th Virginia Cavalry, under Lt.-Col. Burke, made
its appearance and charged gallantly into the Yankee column, but
were soon compelled to retire, when they came on again after White
and his boys, one of whom, Mag. Thompson, was badly wounded and
taken prisoner, but the enemy was generous enough to parole him and
leave him in the care of some ladies at a house near the road.

At the 7th mile post from the river the pursuit ceased, and the
Yankees went back to Berryville, just in time to miss the capture of
the baggage wagon of Company A, from which the driver had cut the
lead horses, only about two hundred yards from where they halted.

The Major now went on to Winchester, whither most of his men had
preceded him, while Capt. Myers, with a small party, waited by their
wagon until the horses were brought back, which was about dark, when
they too rode on up the pike, and met General Jones and staff at the
Opekon, who made them turn back and go to Berryville to learn if the
enemy was still there; but on arriving at that place they found the
Yankee rear guard retiring towards the river. The miserable affair
was over, but it left its influence upon the command, and their
pride in the battalion was clashed by the shame of the surprise.

The surgeon, Dr. Wootten of Maryland, who had never seen the
battalion, but was just on his way to join it, was met by the
Yankees and carried off with the others.

As before stated, Capt. Grubb was in his tent sick, when Gen.
Stahl’s people (for that Dutchman was in command) came up, and many
of them crowded around, asking questions, among which they wanted to
know what was the matter with him. "I don’t know," said Dick, “but
they tell me I have the small-pox.”

After that he wasn’t disturbed at all for some time, but finally an
Adjutant who was _seasoned_ to it came to see him, treating him very
kindly, however, and assisted him to move to some negro quarters
near by, where he took his parole and left him, while the officer
returned and set fire to his tent.

The enemy was about twelve hundred strong and all superbly mounted,
especially the advance column, so that all the men in Company A who
were on indifferent horses were easily picked up in the three-mile
chase from Castleman’s, where the only error of their commander was
committed, in keeping his men at the river until the Yankees were
nearly over.

Lieut. Conrad related, that on their run up the pike, he having
staid in the rear as long as it was possible to do without letting
himself be taken, he passed Lieut. Barrett, who was mounted on a
large racking horse that had the name of “John,” (and “John” had no
motion faster than his rack, either,) and was doing what Conrad
called his “level best.” Just as Conrad rode by, he called out, "You
must go faster than that, Lieutenant, or they’ll get you." But
Barrett, casting an eye over his shoulder, and giving at the same
time an extra dig with his spurs, coolly remarked, "No they won’t;
they’ll never catch me while old John racks this way." Lieut. Conrad
says that in three minutes they were all around him, and soon after
he made an unconditional surrender of “old John” and all.

Lieut. Barrett wore a pair of U. S. A. lieutenant’s shoulder straps,
and on the way down the pike some of the Yankees cut them off for
him, saying no rebel had any right to wear their officers’ rigging.

The next morning, Major White got his command together and made a
scout over into Loudoun, but the enemy had all disappeared, and for
many a day Gen. Stahl considered this exploit of whipping “dat dam
Bob White,” as he called him, the chiefest plume in his cap; and
some of his men, who were afterwards captured, say that he insisted
on being made General-in-Chief of the U. S. Cavalry for it.

Two days after Stahl’s expedition, Gen. Jones ordered his brigade to
assemble at Winchester, and when dark came down with night, he
marched it to Strasburg, where he halted for a little time.

It was here that the old General tried to teach White’s men how to
bivouac in winter nights with no comforts but fires and their
blankets. Said he, “Lie down by the fire on the opposite side from
where the wind blows, and the fire keeps the wind from you while the
smoke blows over you and keeps off frost or dew.” “Oh, but,” said
one of the men, “the smoke is a little too bitter for me.” “Yes,”
replied the General, “you get some of the bitter, but you get a
damned sight of the sweet, too.” There is good philosophy in this,
apart from the profanity—and all who are compelled to camp out would
do well to practice it.

General Jones did not move any further up the Valley, but marched
back towards Winchester and encamped near Kernstown.

Here it was that the same Capt. Webster, who had been with Means’
men in Loudoun, and whom White had paroled at Waterford, in August,
came out to the camp of the battalion, in company with Charley
Cooper, who rode with him from Upperville without taking from him
his arms. Webster gave himself up to Myers, who happened to be in
command of the camp at that time, and to whom he told his plans and
purposes, and explained the feasibility of capturing Means and all
his party, so very clearly, that Myers fell very much in love with
the scheme, and was sure that Major White would embrace the
apparently certain opportunity to break up the Loudoun Rangers for
the war.

Webster’s proposition commenced with explaining that Means had
driven him from his company, and also had caused him to be arrested
and confined in the Old Capitol prison in Washington, from which he
had escaped and now only lived to revenge his wrongs by being
instrumental in putting Means in the power of White’s men, who be
was sure would not permit him to live.

He proposed to be tied on a horse, placed in charge of as strong a
guard as Maj. White should deem necessary, the guards to be
instructed to kill him if he made one step that did not please them;
and for White to take his battalion, and with Webster thus bound and
guarded for a guide, go to Means’ camp and capture it. Or, if not
willing to go with him, to leave him at Gen. Jones’ headquarters and
then move the battalion by his directions, with the absolute
certainty that he would be hung or shot if the expedition failed,
under his instructions, to get Means and all his men.

Capt. Myers thought Webster’s life was sufficient pledge of his
sincerity in the matter, and in imagination already saw the pet
scheme of the whole battalion fully executed, being certain that
White would gladly avail himself of the opportunity thus opened for
it. But, alas for human calculations! when the Major arrived in camp
he not only refused to speak to Webster at all, but instantly
ordered him to be securely tied with ropes, hand and foot, and
placed under strong guard, at the same time bitterly censuring his
subordinate for holding conversation with him instead of tying him
as soon as he came in camp, and declared his belief that Webster had
only come there for the purpose of killing him. At the same time he
ordered Cooper to be confined in the general guard house, where he
remained in confinement until February, when he was acquitted by a
Brigade Court-martial.

About dark, some of the officers visited Webster and found him
suffering severely from the manner in which he was tied, the ropes
having cut into his flesh, and they applied to the Major, asking to
have him relieved, but were refused. They then made the following
request in writing:

                                “CAMP 35TH VA CAVALRY, Dec. —, 1862.

  “MAJOR—We have seen the prisoner, Capt. Webster, tied in such a
  manner that his hands are blackened from it, and we respectfully
  propose, that if you will permit, we will untie him and guard him
  ourselves.

  “We are perfectly willing to hang or shoot him, if you say so, but
  desire to see him treated with humanity while a prisoner.

                              “F. M. MYERS, Capt. Co. A.
                              “WM. F. DOWDELL, 1st Lieut. Co. C.
                              “B. F. CONRAD, 2d Lieut., Jr., Co. A.
                              “N. W. DORSEY, 2d Lieut. Co. B.
                              “S. E. GRUBB, 2d Lieut. Co. C.
                              “R. C. MARLOW, 2d Lieut. Co. A.”

The Major returned the paper endorsed as follows:

                                “HEAD-QUARTERS, WHITE’S BATTALION, }
                                        “Dec. ——, 1862.            }

  “CAPT. MYERS—You can have Webster untied if you choose, but I
  shall hold the officers signing this paper personally responsible
  for his safe keeping.

                                      “E. V. WHITE, _Major Comd’g_.”

Webster was at once freed from his bonds, and his self-constituted
guardsmen sat with him all night, listening to the story of his
life, which, supposing all he said to be true, was as full of
romantic adventure as any ever depicted by old Sir Walter; and I
doubt if in the annals of rascality a more finished character than
Webster ever had a place, for certainly, by his own confession, no
sin in the decalogue had been untouched by him. When morning came he
was sent, in charge of Lieut. Sam. Grubb, to Richmond, where we will
leave him for the present, to the tender mercies of Gen. Winder.

About this time, White received permission from Gen. Jones to scout
into Loudoun, and arrived there just while Slocum’s corps was
passing through to the aid of Burnside, then fighting the battle of
Fredericksburg, and the battalion immediately beheld visions of
captured trains and prisoners. The Major’s first bivouac was in the
Baptist meeting-house at Ketocton, from which point he sent Lieut.
Dowdell with a party to Hillsboro’ to find, under the friendly
shadows of night, the situation of affairs in the rear of Slocum’s
march.

Dowdell pushed on and found no enemy until he reached Wheatland,
where he learned that a considerable number of infantry stragglers
were asleep in the mill, and the Lieutenant immediately went in,
taking quiet possession of the arms of the sleeping soldiers, and
demanding a surrender, which, under the circumstances, they deemed
it prudent to comply with.

When morning broke, Major White marched his command towards
Wheatland and met Dowdell, who informed him that the enemy’s rear
guard had camped the night before at Bowie’s, on the turnpike.
Moving quietly along the road the battalion picked up about one
hundred prisoners, whom they sent back to Gen. Jones, and learning
that a wagon train was lost somewhere in the neighborhood of
Hamilton, the Major sent a party to bring it in, but it could not be
found. He then marched to Leesburg, and there was informed that some
wagons, with a small guard of cavalry, had passed through the town
on the Ball’s Mill road, about two hours before, and he at once
resolved to capture them; so ordering Lieut. Crown, of Company B, to
take the advance with a party of his men, and to keep all the
blue-coats in front to deceive the enemy, he pushed on as rapidly as
possible after his prize. In a short time Crown sent him a report
that the enemy had halted a few miles ahead to feed their horses,
and thinking there could be no escape for the wagons now, he ordered
Crown to go ahead and make the attack; and very soon the ringing
pistol shots in front proclaimed that the advance guard was among
the enemy.

The gallant Lieut. Crown had, in fact, pushed ahead so rapidly that
he struck the escort of the train, which was vastly superior to his
force in point of numbers, too far in front of the battalion to
receive timely support, and his men had been hard pressed before the
Major could get up; but they had fought as Company B always did it,
and with their sabres were clearing the ground when their comrades
reached them. But the enemy had held out long enough for the wagons
to get started and for a regiment of infantry to return to their
rescue; which latter circumstance _induced_ the Major to wheel his
men off the road to avoid the fire, which was very hot, and to
_permit_ the train to rejoin the army.

All that men could do had been done; the escort of the wagon train
had been whipped fairly, in open fight, by Crown’s boys, and nothing
remained to be done but turn the wagons and go back, and but for the
unforeseen accidental circumstance of the officer commanding the
rear guard of the army sending the infantry regiment to see what had
become of the train, the raid would have been perfectly successful.
As it was, with as good a grace as might be, the baffled battalion
returned, after considerable skirmishing, to Leesburg, and the Major
was there informed that a few wagons were wandering in the direction
of Waterford, having, so report said, taken the wrong road at
Wheatland, and thitherward the battalion marched, but on reaching
the village of Waterford learned that no such train had been in that
neighborhood, and there was no longer a doubt but that the reported
straggling wagons were the same which the timely arrival of infantry
had saved from capture beyond Leesburg.

The Major then turned his attention to Means’ gang, and to make sure
of them, if they were over the river at all, went down into town
after dark, but the “rangers” were not around, and after frightening
the intensely tory citizens of Waterford half out of their wits, the
battalion marched to Beans’ mill and encamped for the night.

The next morning, very unexpectedly, but greatly to the discomfort
of the people there, the Major moved his column back to Waterford,
and very much to his own surprise, as himself and Dr. Wootten were
riding a considerable distance ahead of the command, met Means’
people in full force advancing to meet the battalion, not intending
to find it of course, but they did so nevertheless, and the result
was a horse race, in which the rangers, on their fresh, fast nags,
made such extra time that only two of them were captured.

From this point the battalion crossed the Potomac, and struck out
for Poolsville, Md., reaching that town about 8 o’clock, P. M., and
finding the Federals there entirely oblivious to danger, knowing, as
they did, of Slocum’s march through Loudoun, and besides, they felt
perfectly safe anyhow, because the old Potomac rolled its watery
barrier between themselves and the fighting boys of Dixie, and they
felt so easy, that no guards were posted at all, and many of them
were at church (it was Sunday night) listening to a sermon from the
Rev. Mr. —— ——.

As may well be imagined, there was great commotion in the
congregation at the sudden apparition of the Confederates, but from
the pulpit the preacher proclaimed to the people that they had
gentlemen to deal with, and urged them to be quiet, which assurance
and advice served to quell, in a great measure, the fears that, with
the rebels, would come destruction and death to town and
inhabitants. The portion of the reverend gentleman’s audience who
wore the uniform of Uncle Sam, took no encouragement from that
portion of his discourse, but as rapidly as they could, passed out
and endeavored to reach their quarters in the town hall.

One of them, the Orderly Sergeant, was killed in the street, and the
others surrendered. Those who were at their quarters in the hall
made a sharp fight, but were also soon compelled to give up to the
victorious raiders. Only one man on the Confederate side was
injured, and he was killed, but by a singular circumstance the
battalion lost nothing by his death, he being an independent and had
volunteered to take his brother’s place, who was unwell when the
command marched from camp. His name was Jenkins.

After spending some time very delightfully in the village, where
nearly all of Company B was perfectly at home, the battalion crossed
the river with a large amount of captured property, including about
sixty horses, and marched to White Post, in Clarke county, where the
Major had stored a quantity of the supplies drawn from the
commissary department of Gen. Burnside’s army, in November, and here
they halted for some days, learning that Gen. Jones had moved his
headquarters to New Market.

The Major made another scout in Loudoun, soon after, but nothing
could be accomplished, and his time of his absence having expired,
he returned to the brigade, arriving at camp on Christmas day.

General Lee noticed the Poolsville raid in the following note to
Gen. Jones:

                                       "HEAD-QUARTERS, ARMY N. V., }
                                          "January 31st, 1863.     }

   “BRIG.-GEN. WM. E. JONES,
            “_Commanding Valley District_:

  “GENERAL—I have received Major E. V. White’s report, dated Dec.
  24th, 1862, of his scout to Poolsville, Maryland, and have
  forwarded it to the Adjutant and Inspector-General at Richmond,
  calling the attention of the War Department to the gallant conduct
  of Major White and his command.

  “I am much gratified at the manner in which Major White conducted
  his scout, and the substantial results accomplished, with such
  slight loss on his part.

  “I have the honor to be, General, very respectfully,

                          “Your obedient servant.
                                             “R. E. LEE, _General_.”

General Jones was on the eve of marching to Western Virginia at the
time White reached him, and leaving the Major in command of the
Valley District, with his battalion and such portions of other
regiments as could not move with him, that enterprising officer went
on his raid. Here the battalion learned for the first time that its
independence was gone and it was a portion of Gen. Jones’ brigade
permanently, and that the men were regular troops.

Insubordination, and almost open mutiny, was the result, especially
in the two Companies A and B. The members of the old company claimed
that theirs was an independent command, organized to serve on the
border, and that they joined it under the assurance that they never
would be attached to any regiment or brigade, but be always on the
border, and report to the nearest commanding General, and according
to the terms of their enlistment they were never to forfeit, without
their consent, the independent character of their command. This was
the second time the same issue had arisen in its history, the first
being the time when the company was thrown under command of
Lieut.-Col. Munford, in March, 1862, and the men watched jealously
any movement which threw them, for ever so short a time, with any
other command.

Company B claimed, that as Marylanders, they owed no allegiance to
the Confederacy. They had come over voluntarily, because their
sympathies were with the South, but being foreigners they had the
right to select for themselves the manner in which they would serve
her, and in accordance with their privilege had united with the
command of Major White, under the assurance and belief that his was
an independent organization, and that now, the contract having been
broken on the part of the Government, they were no longer bound to
remain in the battalion.

There can be no doubt as to the justice of the claims advanced by
both companies, but soldiers _must_ submit to the powers that be,
and as soldiers they had no right to question the validity of the
orders which removed from one branch of service and assigned them to
another. A Napoleon or a Jackson would have had somebody shot for
such conduct, and in so doing would have totally destroyed the
efficiency of the battalion, for after the first military execution,
double their number could not have kept three companies in service a
day longer. Their homes were in the enemy’s lines, and among the
mountains, and wild as they were, they would have remained untamed
for the war, under such discipline as this.

The other companies were all quiet, but Company C was resolved to
share the fortunes of the old company, and only waited for its
action to be defined to come out and join her. The dissatisfaction
was intense, and the Major absolutely alone and unaided in his
efforts to stem the tide of sedition and mutiny in his camp, but his
firmness and coolness made him master of the fiery spirits with whom
he had to deal, and simply by appealing to their better nature won
them from their desperate resolves, and very soon peace reigned in
White’s battalion. But never for a day did the men forget their
first love, or turn away their longing hearts from sighing after
their lost independence.

Gen. Jones soon returned from his raid to Petersburg and Moorfield,
and from now until February nothing occurred to mar the monotony of
camp life, save the interminable drilling and sabre grinding which
the General imposed upon his men.

Early in February, Major White was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel,
by the President, and an election was held to fill the vacancy
occasioned thereby, which resulted in the choice of Capt. F. M.
Myers, of Company A, to be Major of the battalion.

About this time Gen. Lee, through Gen. Jones, ordered White to
report to Gen. Jackson, and the following letter from Jackson
explains the duty upon which he was to engage while under the orders
of “Stonewall:”

                               “HEAD-QUARTERS, 2D CORPS, A. N. V., }
                                      “February 5th, 1863.         }

  “MAJOR—The courier who bears this has an order from Gen. R. E.
  Lee, through Brig.-Gen. W. E. Jones, directing you with the whole,
  or part of your battalion, as may be necessary, to report to me
  for orders.

  “The object to be accomplished is explained by the accompanying
  papers from Gen. Cooper.

  “I wish you to take such of your battalion, or the whole of it, if
  necessary, and arrest the witnesses and send them to Gen. Cooper
  in Richmond.

  “Charge those who may have the securing of them to treat them
  kindly, unless it should be necessary to do otherwise. Say to the
  witnesses, it has been thought, that by _arresting_ them, they
  would not be so likely to be annoyed by the enemy, as if they had
  only been summoned and gone to Richmond.

  “I hope that you will take special pains to see that all of them
  are safely delivered to Gen. Cooper.

  “I think that you had better arrest them all during the same
  night; but I leave you to decide upon this, and I have such
  confidence in you that I leave the whole process of securing them
  to your discretion.

  “I have written to Gen. Jones to let you take your entire
  battalion, if you think it necessary, and in the event you only
  require part of it to let you make the selection.

  “Keep your instructions, and also your destination, confidential,
  until your plans require you to make them known.

  “I hope sometime to have the pleasure of being with you again.

                   “I am, Major, your obedient servant.
                                     “T. J. JACKSON, _Lieut.-Gen’l_.

    “Major E. V. WHITE,
         “_Commanding Cavalry Battalion_.”

  “It is important that you move at once. Please write to me on your
  return, respecting your success.

                                                           T. J. J.”

The accompanying papers contained the names of Isaac Vandevanter,
John Ross, Gen. R. L. Wright and Henry S. Williams, as witnesses
against Capt. Webster, whom White had sent to Richmond in December,
and against whom two charges had been preferred, one of which was
that he had murdered two citizens of Loudoun county, viz: Richard
Simpson, formerly a Captain in that gallant command, the 8th Va.
Infantry, but at the time of his murder not in any manner connected
with the service; and John Jones, of Hillsborough, whom Webster
wantonly shot in his own door. The second charge was, that he had
broken his parole, given at Waterford, in August, 1862, when he
surrendered to White at the Baptist meeting-house.

In following up this subject, we may as well dispose of Webster
finally, by remarking that he was found guilty of both charges, and
on the second was condemned to be hung, which sentence was shortly
afterwards executed in Richmond. Just before his execution, Webster
confessed that the charges were correct, and also that he had been
married seven times, five of his wives being alive.

Many persons, especially among the ladies, expressed the opinion
that he richly merited his doom on the last count, even if neither
of the others had been sustained; and many others thought that if
the remedy for this case had been applied in all, the Abolition army
would have been very nearly broken up, for in the eyes of the
civilized world, and by the laws of nations, they were all murderers
or worse.

White moved promptly, and without any incident worthy of note,
executed General Jackson’s order to the letter.



                              CHAPTER IX.


The battalion returned to camp, near New Market, about the 20th of
February, and for two months there was nothing to mar the monotony
of camp life, save the interminable drilling and sabre grinding
ordered by Gen. Jones, which was really the most monotonous part of
it as well as the most vexatious, for White’s men didn’t like to
drill, and they had a small opinion of the sabre as a weapon to
fight Yankees with, no matter how sharp it might be, and the regular
Saturday grindings were looked upon as perfect nuisances.

Discipline in the command was at a low ebb, in fact it was hard to
keep it up to any degree of perfection at all, for several reasons;
first of which was, that Col. White himself was naturally much
better qualified for the stirring and active life of a partisan,
whose parade ground is the enemy’s picket line and wagon camp, than
to command the choicest body of troops behind the army lines; and
experience gives as a rule, that as the Colonel is, so is the
regiment, and it is one that holds good under all the circumstances
of the camp, the march and the battle-field.

The carelessness of the Colonel very soon showed itself to a far
greater degree in the battalion, and really, as of necessity it
must, impaired the efficiency of it, for there is a vast difference
between the dashing tactics of the raider, in which numbers are
little considered, and all depends upon the suddenness of the attack
and surprise of the enemy, and the operations in the face of a
prepared enemy, where the success of an army depends upon its
different parts performing the proper evolutions at the right moment
and best manner, amid the din and roar of battle, where the “flying
shot and reeking steel” are performing their bloody work.

Early in 1863, the Colonel had most fortunately secured the services
of an excellent Adjutant, in the person of Lieut. R. T. Watts,
formerly of the 2d Va. Cavalry, and a native of Bedford county, Va.,
who had been recommended to him by Col. Munford, of that regiment,
and many persons thought that the very existence of the battalion
was due to the precision and care with which Lieut. Watts performed
his duties, for the company officers, with few exceptions, were as
careless as the Colonel.

Lieut. Crown, Co. B, Lieuts. Dowdell and Tom White, Co. C, and Capt.
Grabill, Co. E, were disciplinarians, and did their best to make
soldiers of their men; but Capt. Myers and Lieut. Conrad, who formed
the character of Co. A, Lieut. Sam. Grubb, Co. C, Lieuts. Dorsey and
Chiswell, Co. B, and Lieut. Strickler, Co. E, all officers of great
influence with their companies, cared as little for drill and
discipline as possible. Company F had, for some time, been rendered
rather inefficient through the carelessness and indifference of its
officers, but it was finally raised to the position of being one of
the best in the service, by having two first-rate officers given it
in Capt. French and Lieut. James; but previous to that, Capt.
Ferneyhough was seldom with it, and Lieut. McVeigh was like the
majority, willing to let matters take their course. Lieut. Barrett
was unfortunate in being for a long time a prisoner, and Lieut.
Marlow was so frequently on detached service in the quartermaster’s
department, and elsewhere, that his services were to a great extent
lost to his company.

The quartermaster’s department exhibited the same lack of system
observable in other places, and it was soon discovered that high
attainments in law and literature, and brilliant talents as an
orator, did not fit Capt. Kilgour to perform the duties of this
important position, and he resigned in favor of John J. White, who
had been his Sergeant, and who was vastly better calculated for the
office in question than the distinguished gentleman who had preceded
him. The business was now managed by Capt. White, aided as he was by
active and energetic assistants, such as Wm. H. Luckett,
Quartermaster-Sergeant; Thomas Brown and Jack Simpson, Frank Saffer,
and last, but by no means least, “Uncle Billy Dove,” as forage and
wagon-masters; in a systematic and highly satisfactory manner.

The medical department, under the management of Dr. Ed. Wootten, was
almost a farce, from the fact that medicines of all kinds were
scarce in the Confederacy, and worth almost their weight in gold, so
that the office of Surgeon, except on battle days, when wounded men
were to be cared for, was almost a sinecure; but in the absence of
medicine, the Doctor, by all the little arts known only to the
profession, would work upon the imagination of his patients and
bring them out, generally, all right, except in cases of camp itch,
which active disease prevailed widely, and positively refused to
succumb to the imaginary efficacy of bread pills.

While in winter quarters, the first court-martial in the battalion
was convened; composed of Captains Myers, Chiswell and Anderson, and
Lieutenants Watts (Co. F,) and Strickler, (Co. E,) and proceeded to
the trial of a number of cases of absence without leave, and similar
offenses.

After the court got through with its business, the report of their
proceedings, showing that they had awarded only such light penalties
as extra duty, walking a beat, &c., was handed to the Colonel for
his approval, as military law required, when, after examining the
report, he came out in a general order at dress parade, denouncing
the action of the court as folly, fit only for school-boy nonsense,
winding up by setting aside all its judgments and discharging the
delinquents unconditionally, which ended the court-martial business
for a year.

Gen. Rosser used to tell a story which illustrated Col. White’s
attention to the minutiæ of the business of the battalion, and which
will not be out of place here.

On one occasion Gen. Lee wrote to Rosser, saying that no reports had
been received for a long time of the ordnance department of White’s
Battalion, and asking him to look into the matter, to which Rosser
replied that he had never been able to get an ordnance report from
that command, and if Gen. Lee could do so he would be glad to see
it. This brought a staff officer from army headquarters at once, to
get a report; and Gen. R. tells the story as he received it from the
officer, who, after calling at Rosser’s quarters, rode over to the
battalion, and introducing himself to Colonel White, explained his
business. “Very well, sir,” said the Colonel, “go ahead.” And by aid
of Adjt. Watts, the report was made out pretty well, until the
officer, reading from a paper which he held in his hand, said, “I
see, Colonel, that 340 guns have been issued to your command; what
report do you make of them?” (White’s men _never_ would carry guns.)
The Colonel turned to the Adjutant and asked how many guns were on
hand, to which he replied, “eighty, sir.” “Well,” said the officer,
“how do you account for the 260?” At which, White seemed somewhat
perplexed; but Gen. R. says that while he was studying the matter
over, one of the young “Comanches,” in a corner of the tent, said:
"Why, Colonel, ain’t them the guns that busted in Western Virginia?"
“I golly, yaas;” said the Colonel, “they did bust; you sent us a lot
of them drotted Richmond carbines, and they like to have killed all
the men.” The staff officer put down on his report: “260 guns
bursted in Western Virginia,” and took his departure, everything
being now accounted for.



                               CHAPTER X.


On the 21st of April, 1863, Gen. Jones marched his brigade from
their camp, now near Harrisonburg, for the memorable expedition
through West Virginia, intending to damage the Baltimore and Ohio
Rail Road, and to threaten the enemy in that country, so as to not
only prevent troops from going to the Rappahannock where “fighting
Joe” Hooker was confronting the Army of Northern Virginia, but to
draw forces from his army to protect the Rail Road and keep Western
communication with the capital unbroken; a scheme which originated
in the far-reaching mind of General Lee, and one that exerted a
telling influence upon Hooker’s operations at Chancellorsville.

Gen. Jones’ brigade was a noble one, consisting of the 6th, 7th,
11th and 12th Regiments of Virginia Cavalry, 1st Maryland Battalion
of Cavalry, 35th Battalion of Va. Cavalry, 41st Battalion of Va.
Cavalry, (Witcher’s mounted rifles,) Col. Herbert’s Battalion of
Maryland Infantry, Captain Chew’s Battery of Horse Artillery, and
the Baltimore Battery of Light Artillery; in all, four regiments,
commanded by Cols. Flournoy, Dulaney, Lomax and Harman, and four
battalions, under Lieut.-Cols. Brown, White, Witcher and Herbert;
with two batteries, of four guns each; making a total of about four
thousand men.

The brigade marched through Brock’s Gap, in the North Mountain, and
passing Howard’s Lick, soon had a view, full and complete, of the
famous Moorfield Valley; and great was the gratification and delight
of all the men as they looked down from the mountain top upon the
lovely scene, lying as it did like a picture of beauty at their
feet, girt with its dark mountain frame, and fringed with its
evergreen bordering of hemlock and cedar; white snow-caps all
around, but everything fresh as springtime in the valley, where the
South Branch was foaming and dashing over its rocky bed, sometimes
winding along the base of one mountain, then crossing to the other,
and sometimes rolling gloriously through the carpet of living green
in the centre of the valley.

The brigade encamped at Moorfield, until the morning of the 24th,
when the General marched it to Petersburg, nine miles above, where
the men forded the river.

The ford at that place is covered with rocks of almost every size
and shape, making it a difficult passage at any time, but now the
mountain stream was full to overflowing, and the waters foamed over
the rocks as from some enormous mill-flume, increasing infinitely
the difficulty and danger of crossing, so that some of the men, in
viewing the angry flood, turned and fled in greater dismay than if
an army of Yankees had faced them; but by aid of some noble-souled
citizens, who rode through the water and guided the horses of the
men, the crossing was effected, and the cavalry found themselves
fairly started into the mountains, but the infantry and artillery,
being unable to cross, were sent back to the Shenandoah Valley.

On the 25th, the command approached Greenland Gap, in the eastern
front ridge of the Alleghany mountain, Col. Dulaney, with his
regiment (the 7th) being in front; and when, about sunset, the
enemy’s pickets were discovered, the 7th charged, driving them in
and finding a force of infantry strongly posted in an old log
meetinghouse and some other buildings near by. Col. Dulaney himself
was badly wounded, and his regiment cut in two, as the enemy fired
so heavily upon it, after the leading squadrons had passed their
position, that the remaining ones were unable to follow, and halted
in front of the meetinghouse.

Gen. Jones soon came up, and at once began his arrangements to take
the place. He had brought several kegs of powder with him to blow up
the Cheat River trestle work with, and he now determined to try the
effect of some of it just here in his first encounter with the
enemy. His pioneer corps, made up by details from each regiment and
battalion, was provided with axes and bundles of straw, the first to
be used to break open the windows of the fort, while the latter was
to be set on fire and thrown into it, and at the same time Lieut.
Williamson (his engineer) was to get the powder under the building.
He dismounted his three battalions and placed White’s men in front;
Brown’s Marylander’s in the rear, and Witcher’s mounted riflemen at
the end of the house, and it being now dark, the General rode down
near it, and politely informed the Yankees that “he had them
surrounded, and a barrel of gunpowder under the house,” and that,
unless they surrendered, he would “blow them all to hell in five
minutes;” to which they, with equal politeness responded, by
requesting him to “go there himself.”

The General’s information as to the surrounding was correct, but
Williamson’s gunpowder plot was a failure, owing to his inability to
approach the fort without getting shot, and they knew that if he had
powder under them he wasn’t likely to tell them, for they were fully
persuaded he would greatly prefer blowing them up, if possible, to
having them surrender on any terms; and Gen. Jones, thinking they
had received sufficient warning, ordered his storming parties to
advance, telling the men to “go right up to the building and punch
out the chinking of the logs;” “that the pioneers would throw
blazing straw into the house, and then all were to fire their guns
and pistols through the cracks, by the light of the straw inside;”
and assuring the men that “a signal would be given for them to
retire before the powder was touched off.”

The battalions advanced promptly to the positions assigned them;
White’s men being compelled to wade a stream that ran through the
Gap, nearly waist deep, three times; and all the while exposed to a
withering fire, for the Yankees opened fire from the house the
moment the troops began to move, and kept it up incessantly.

The Marylanders, led by Col. Brown, moved quickly to the rear of the
house as White’s battalion marched up in front, and here was a great
blunder, on the part of General Jones, in placing these two commands
in such a position, for their fire was far more fatal to each other
than to the enemy, as they both commenced firing at short range,
with the old house exactly between them.

As for Witcher’s men, they were mountaineers, and fired from behind
the rocks at a safe distance, scattering their bullets promiscuously
all about the house, but really doing quite as much good as the
other two commands which charged immediately up to the walls.

The Yankees fired coolly and rapidly, and almost before the pioneer
corps could light the first bundle of straw and throw it into the
house, every man of the corps was down, either killed or wounded,
but they acted nobly while they were allowed to act at all.

The affair lasted about fifteen minutes, during which the firing was
very heavy and constant, and at one time the powder business very
nearly caused a stampede among the Confederates, as one of them
suddenly called out to his comrades to “look out for the powder,”
and they all took it to be the promised signal of Gen. Jones.

The panic was soon over and the assault renewed with unabated vigor,
but no impression was made upon the intrepid garrison, who all stood
to their work bravely, until Thos. E. Tippett, a gallant soldier of
Co. A, White battalion, climbed up the stick chimney and placed some
burning straw upon the roof of the house, which very soon brought
out a flag of truce, and finally an unconditional surrender of the
Yankees, but a party of them in a house near by kept up a scattered
firing a few minutes longer.

There were only seven of the enemy killed and wounded, and their
whole force was less than eighty, but they were all Virginians, from
among the mountains, and were fighting in the gate that if opened
would let the Confederates right among their homes, and they left no
stain upon the honor of Old Virginia in their defence of the pass,
for they held out until their fort was wrapped in flames.

The loss of the two battalions was nearly one hundred; but much of
it was due to the miserable position they occupied, by which they
were constantly firing upon each other.

Just as soon as everything was arranged, and the wounded who were
able to move, together with the prisoners, had been sent back, the
brigade continued its march without further halt, until daylight,
when the almost worn out people were allowed to stop awhile, to rest
and refresh themselves and horses. But soon the march was resumed,
and followed without any special incident, until it led to
Evansville, in Taylor County, where a halt for half a day was made;
and here the bushwhackers were discovered in considerable numbers
for the first time.

It is true, that in passing what is known as the "Shades of Death"—a
dark and gloomy gorge in the Shenandoah Mountain, which is shadowed
to twilight gloom even at noonday, by the rocky wall which on either
side is covered with the hemlock, the cypress and the towering white
pine—the advance guard had skirmished with and captured a few of the
“Swamp Dragons,” as they termed themselves, but at Evansville bands
of armed men, in hunting shirts, could be seen on all the mountain
crags, viewing from a safe distance the army of rebels, lying
quietly in their country; but they seldom approached near enough to
the main body to get a shot or be shot at. While here, some of the
men, who had been engaged in plundering a store on the route, came
up, and Gen. Jones finding two of them, one of whom had a hoop skirt
and the other an umbrella, compelled the hoop skirt man to wear his
plunder around his neck, and the other to hold the umbrella over him
during all the afternoon, in full view of the whole command. That
night the brigade crossed the R. R., at Independence Station, and
pushed rapidly forward to Morgantown, at which place the “home
guard” was found drawn up in battle order on the hills; but they
fell back as Jones advanced, not firing a gun, and finally
disappeared, when the town authorities sent an old citizen out to
meet the raiders, and negotiate a surrender of the town. This
gentleman approached in great trepidation, making all the Masonic
signs he was master of, and on being brought to Gen. Jones, was
informed that no damage was intended the town, provided the town
people did not attempt to damage the troops, which greatly pleased
him, and he returned from his mission highly pleased with Jones and
his men.

Here again the General exercised all his authority to prevent
plundering, and was so very strict that he compelled Adjt. Watts to
leave some calico he had bought and paid for in U. S. money,
swearing that his men should not carry any such rubbish; but a few
of them managed to smuggle some calico, by folding it in their
saddle blankets. His protection, however, did not extend to stock
suitable for the army, but on the contrary, it was his policy to
drive with him as many such horses and cattle as he could find.

The brigade lay at Morgantown from about 10 A. M. until dark, when
the march was resumed, and the whole force pushed forward to
Fairmount, where it arrived about the 1st of May, and found about
nine hundred “home guards” and militia concentrated for the defense
of the town. The raiders reached the vicinity of the place about
sunrise, but the morning was dismal and foggy, and as Jones formed
his line in front and flank of Fairmount, the enemy formed theirs on
the hills above, and appeared resolved to do battle valiantly for
their town and the R. R. bridges. They had three pieces of
artillery, one an old iron twelve-pounder and the others brass guns,
brought upon a platform car from Wheeling, with about twenty
soldiers to work them. The General dismounted his men, and taking
charge himself of the 7th and 12th regiments and the Maryland
battalion, moved to the right, while Col. Lomax, of the 11th, with
his own regiment and the 6th, together with White’s battalion,
commanded the left, and leaving Capt. Myers with his company, and a
number of men from the other regiments, mounted and stationed on the
road that leads directly to the wire suspension bridge. Witcher’s
riflemen had dismounted long before, and were approaching the place
by a march up the railroad to the left.

Col. White, with his battalion and part of the 11th, was ordered by
Lomax to advance upon the right of the enemy’s line, which he did,
driving them like sheep, and at the same time the mounted men
charged into town, and took possession of the bridge, which
compelled the Yankees to ford the river above the town, followed
closely by White and his men, who, immediately after crossing,
turned to the right, and forced the enemy to take refuge in the R.
R. bridge, where most of their force was now concentrated, and from
which they opened fire with their artillery, but Gen. Jones was
moving quietly to their rear, which being discovered, caused the men
in charge of the two brass pieces to beat a hasty retreat, a thing
very easily done considering the fact that they were still mounted
on the car to which a locomotive, under steam, was attached.

A dash was now made upon them, in which the iron gun was captured,
and very soon after the whole force, to the number of seven hundred,
surrendered, the others having made their escape into the mountains.

The affair was a decided success, not a man being hurt on either
side, and now after destroying the Rail Road bridges, and damaging
the track and rolling stock of the road very seriously, the raiders
passed on towards Clarksburg, in Harrison county, on the N. W. Rail
Road, at which point they found a heavy force of infantry in
fortifications, and after some skirmishing, Gen. Jones deemed it
advisable to let it alone, especially as he learned that the gallant
Irishman, Col. Mulligan, of Missouri fame, was in command;
consequently he flanked Clarksburg to the left, and marched to
Philippi.

The Maryland battalion was badly cut up in a fight with infantry at
Bridgeport, caused by charging among the post and rail fences on the
Rail Road, in which Col. Brown was wounded.

The attack on the Cheat River works was a failure, owing to the 6th
Regiment being driven back by a heavy infantry force, which defended
the ugly mountain gorges leading to the rail road, and which fought
from barricades inaccessible to cavalry, even with no enemy to hold
them.

Beaching Philippi, the General sent back to the Valley all the
prisoners and stock, and marched his command to Buckhannon, in
Upshur county, where he halted for a short time to watch a party of
the enemy that came down from Clarksburg, intending to guard the
party conveying the stock and prisoners from an attack by these
fellows; and after all danger from this source was over he passed on
by Weston, Lewis county, to West Union in Doddridge county, near
which place he again operated on the Rail Road at Cairo Station,
where there were quite a number of short tunnels. These tunnels had
been blasted and bored through almost solid rock, and inside of them
a frame work was built wide enough for the track, and the space
between the frame and side of the tunnel was filled with cord wood,
an immense quantity of which was used for the purpose. There was a
large force of home guards and militia at the station, and by the
way, all the troops of this kind were invariably in U. S. uniform,
and armed with U. S. muskets, while the “bushwhackers,” or “Swamp
Dragons,” carried only their old sporting rifles, and dressed in
homespun.

The Yankees only made a show of fight, and a cavalry charge soon
brought them to terms without losing a man; some of them, of course,
escaped, but about three hundred were made prisoners.

The Rail Road buildings were burned, and White’s men were detailed
to work on the tunnels, which they did most effectually by pouring
coal oil on the cord-wood and setting it on fire, which caused the
rock to burst and fall in, so that the destruction was complete.

From Cairo the march was continued through the counties of
Pleasants, Ritchie, and Wirt, to the Little Kanawha river, and at
every turn the bushwhackers enlivened the route by popping away with
their old rifles, but they would not venture in range of the
Sharpe’s carbines and Colt’s revolvers carried by the brigade, and
consequently did no damage, but on the contrary did much good, in
acting as provost guard, to keep up the stragglers; and their
sprightly style of warfare kept Jones’ men in a good humor all the
time, in fact the most pleasant part of the whole raid was through
the bushwhackers’ special territory, for without anything to vary
the monotony of the march, this continual roaming through that
apparently interminable sea of mountains was a very tiresome
business.

The command reached the oil works about noon, and a detail was sent
forward to Elizabeth City, while the main body halted at Oiltown.
There were a large number of wells in operation, worked by steam
engines, and up to the last moment the oil men kept busily engaged,
but after awhile they learned the character of their visitors, and
surmising their object, the workmen turned away from the wells, and
shutting off steam, remarked, with doleful faces, “I guess oiling is
played out now,” and of a surety their guess was correct, for
destruction was the watchword of Jones’ brigade at Oiltown, and
nowhere, except in a powder mill, could it be more speedily and
generally accomplished. The oil was all around, some of it in
barrels piled up, and some in flatboats in the river, the boats
being built water-tight and filled with the oil, some of them
holding a thousand barrels each, which was run into them by pipes
directly from the wells.

These boats, after being set on fire, were cut loose from the shore
and allowed to float away, and as they burst, letting the blazing
oil spread over the water from shore to shore, the truly wonderful
spectacle of a river on fire was presented, while to heighten the
grandeur of the scene, explosion after explosion boomed out upon the
night air, and columns of dense black smoke twined with the red
flame from the wrecks of the boats, loomed skyward a hundred feet
from the blazing sea; and on shore the oil barrels were burning and
bursting, their contents flowing in streams of liquid flame all over
the ground, and from the wells themselves great fiery pillars rose
up, and added to this, the many buildings contributed their quota of
flame to the great conflagration; in fact no better illustration, on
a small scale, could be presented of the popular idea of the burning
brimstone lake, where

                “The devil sits in his easy chair,
                  Sipping his sulphur tea,
                And gazing out, with a pensive air,
                  On the broad bitumen sea,”

for from pump to river all was flame.

The amount of oil destroyed was estimated at one hundred and fifty
thousand barrels, and this has been fully confirmed by reports of
owners published since the war; and taking into consideration the
destruction of boats, machinery, buildings, &c., the damage was
immense.

As soon as the destruction was complete, the raiders went out into
the night, leaving a bitter remembrance of their visit in the hearts
of the people who dwelt on the desolated shore of the Little
Kanawha, and many an oilman was heard to wish, in substance, as the
brigade marched away, that “he might never be any nearer hell than
he had been that night.”

These things occurred about the 10th of May, and now the little army
of Jones passed on through the counties of Calhoun, Gilmer, Braxton,
Nicholas and Fayette, to Lewisburg in Greenbrier, during part of
which march the command was divided for the better securing of
rations of forage, and Col. Lomax with his regiment and White’s
battalion took a new route through the mountains. Arrived at
Lewisburg, the command halted from Saturday noon until Monday
morning, and visited the celebrated Greenbrier White Sulphur
Springs, where many of the men, by Gen. Jones’ permission, spent
Sunday, the 17th of May, 1863.

On Monday morning, the brigade marched on by the noted Hot, Warm,
and Alum Springs of Bath county, through Augusta to the camp near
Mount Crawford in Rockingham, where it arrived on the evening of May
21st, having been absent thirty-two days.

Owing to the loss of papers and diaries, by the circumstances of
war, it has been utterly impossible for the author to give more than
the most meagre outline of the Western Virginia expedition of
General Jones’ brigade, which took rank among the army campaigns as
a very important one, it having aided, to no small degree, in
securing to the Confederates the great victory at Chancellorsville,
by accomplishing the objects for which it was intended, as explained
in the beginning of this chapter.

The visible fruits of the expedition, besides the damage to the rail
roads and oil works, were about nine hundred and fifty of the enemy
killed, wounded and captured, about one thousand small arms and one
cannon destroyed, twelve hundred horses and one thousand cattle
brought safely through to the Valley.

About twenty bridges and tunnels on the Baltimore and Ohio and North
Western Rail Roads had been destroyed, and the Southern
sympathizers, of that country for a time relieved from the
domineering rule which invariably characterized the home-made
Yankee, wherever he had the power to annoy his Southern neighbor,
and finding by this raid that it was not as impossible as they had
thought, for the Confederate troops to come among them, these tories
took the lesson to heart and acted more like men towards the people
who differed with them in opinion and feeling, than before.

The turning point in the fortunes of the young Confederacy had been
passed, during the absence of the Ashby brigade, and with the fall
of “Stonewall” Jackson her star began to wane.

The news of his death had reached the brigade while in the wildest
part of its mountain campaign, and it clouded the spirits of the
whole command; many of the men having such implicit faith in him
that his death was to them the dreary sign which told that all their
hopes were dead, like their hero, and buried in his grave; and from
that time their march took the character of a funeral procession.

The following touching poem was written by Capt. J. Mort. Kilgour, a
day or two before the return to camp:

               =THE DEATH OF GEN. THOMAS J. JACKSON.=

               “Give me the death of those,
                 Who for their country die,
               And oh! be mine, like their repose,
                 When cold and low they lie.
               Their loveliest mother earth,
                 Enshrines the fallen brave,
               In her sweet lap, who gave them birth,
                 They find their tranquil grave.
                                         MONTGOMERY.”

                                  ---

      “Come, comrades, come, with lowly hearts come,
        And grief’s cypress wreaths let us borrow,
      Whilst the trumpet’s long wail, and the muffled drum,
        Will bespeak our tear-burdened sorrow.
      Come, comrades, come, a chieftain has gone,
        A beacon with victory beaming,
      Which through the dark battle-cloud brilliantly shone,
        Where our war-tattered banners were streaming.
      With slow, solemn steps let us gather around,
        The spot where his ashes lie sleeping,
      And we’ll feel in our souls that ’tis hallowed ground,
        Whilst in anguish unspoken we’re weeping.

      “The hero has gone, but there’s still left behind,
        The beauteous light of the story,
      Which history will tell, as the passing years bind,
        ’Round his name, fresher garlands of glory.
      No more will he cheer the brave columns he led,
        Where the lightnings of battle were flashing,
      And over the heaps of the dying and dead,
        Its volleying thunders were crashing;
      But his clarion voice from his grave we will hear,
        Through the conflict in melody flowing,
      And the fire of his eye will beam radiant and clear,
        In the pictures of memory glowing.

      “Oh, come maidens, come, and together we’ll strew,
        O’er his resting place, Spring’s sweetest flowers,
      And the stars will shed on them their tear-drops of dew,
        As they watch through the night’s stilly hours.
      We will strew them in silence for our souls are opprest,
        With an anguish too deep to be spoken,
      Which can only be told by a sob in the breast,
        That speaks of a heart nearly broken.
      Farewell, matchless chieftain!—kind Heaven will forgive
        The rebellious spirit of sorrow,
      As it whispers—’though dead, his example will live,
        Growing brighter each coming to-morrow.’

      “Yes! his name will be written, in letters of gold,
        On the crest of each sky-kissing mountain;
      In music’s sweet measures his fame will be told,
        By the murmur of streamlet and fountain;
      It will haunt each green spot with its magical spell,
        It will live in the song of each river,
      In the bowers and aisles of each forest ’twill dwell,
        Like a spirit of beauty, forever!
      But come, comrades, come, let us back to the field,
        ’Tis there our duty still calls us,
      With a tear and a sigh for our leader and shield,
        And a heart for whatever befalls us.”
                               “J. MORTIMER KILGOUR.”
      “_White’s Battalion, May 17th, 1863_.”

After the return to camp, and until the 1st of June, the company
officers were busy with muster and pay-rolls, and other business
which a month’s neglect had left upon their hands, and on the 28th
May the State election was held, in which poll-books were opened in
the various regiments, so that all the soldiers who were entitled to
do so could vote.

The weather was beautiful, rations and forage plentiful and good,
and the political horizon, apart from the gloomy shadow left by the
death of General Jackson, was brighter than for many months. True,
the army of Hooker still lay on the North bank of the Rappahannock,
but the bloody defeat at Chancellorsville had wrecked the hopes of
its General and its men to compete successfully in a battle with
Lee’s army, and all they did, or could do, was to watch the Southern
army, and keep close to their entrenchments until their ranks were
again filled; but Gen. Lee did not propose to be so very quiet while
his adversary was recruiting, and on the last day of May an order
was issued for tents and baggage to be stored and the Ashby brigade
prepared to join the army East of the mountain.

Capt. George N. Ferneyhough, of Co. F., by virtue of being the
senior Captain in the battalion, had, during the absence of the
command in West Virginia, succeeded in getting the election held
some time before, for Major, set aside, and himself appointed to the
position.



                              CHAPTER XI.


On the morning of June 1st, 1863, the brigade marched from the
Valley for Gen. Stuart’s camp in Culpeper county, the battalion
having the following officers: Lieut.-Col. White, Major Ferneyhough,
Adjt. Watts, Dr. Wootten, Quartermaster White, and Sergeant-Major
Stephenson, in field and staff; Co. A, Lieuts. Barrett and Conrad;
Co. B, had her full corps of officers; Co. C, Capt. Grubb and Lieut.
Grubb; Co. D, had all her officers present; Co. E, Capt. Grabill and
Lieut. Grubbs; Co. F, Lieut. Watts. Capt. Myers and Lieut. Marlow,
Co. A, were left sick in the Valley; Lieut. Dowdell, Co. C, was on
detail there to settle up the quartermaster’s business, incident to
the change just made in that department; one Lieutenant of Co. E,
and one of Co. F, had been removed for misconduct on the raid to
West Virginia.

Soon after the brigade reached the army, the grand review of all the
troops begun, that of the cavalry being held on the 8th of June, in
which General Stuart brought a division of full fifteen thousand
troopers, in fine condition for service, but all the Generals
confessed that Jones’ was the peer of the best brigade in the line.

The morning of June 9th, while the men, worried out by the military
foppery and display (which was Stuart’s greatest weakness) of the
previous day’s review, were yet under their blankets, the enemy
sounded for them the reveille from the smoking muzzles of carbines
and revolvers, as they drove the 6th Regiment vedettes from their
position on the river, and it was very soon discovered that a heavy
force had crossed at Kelly’s and Beverly’s fords for the purpose of
continuing the review, but in a different style, and but for the
prompt action of Gen. Jones, would have had all of Stuart’s
artillery almost before that officer waked up. The regiments moved
rapidly to the front, as soon as the men could obey the boot and
saddle bugle call, and with the first that came, which were the 6th
and 7th Regiments, Gen. Jones met and checked the enemy, and
arrangements for the battle, which was now inevitable, were made as
quickly as possible. Col. White was ordered with his battalion, to
support the 12th Regiment, which was ordered forward to make a
charge; and he at once began to form his men in line of battle, but
before it could be completed, Gen. Jones called to him to charge,
which he immediately did, riding at a gallop towards the point where
the firing showed that the 12th was into it heavy, but after going
about two hundred yards, was met by that regiment in full retreat,
and whose disordered ranks threw the right wing of the battalion in
confusion, and checked for a time the advance of the “Comanches,”
but order was quickly restored, and again dashing forward they threw
themselves upon the enemy, whose column, flushed with their
successful charge on the 12th, was rapidly advancing, but after a
sharp fight of a few minutes were compelled to retire before the
irresistible onset of White’s men. The Colonel says, in his official
report, that not a man faltered, but with yells that a “Comanche”
might envy, they pressed forward, each man striving to gain the
foremost rank and ride with his commander.

The Yankees were driven over the field and about a hundred yards
into the woods, where they met fresh troops coming up, and White’s
people were in turn compelled to retire, but rallying at the edge of
the woods, they again charged upon the overwhelming forces of the
enemy, and not only checked their advance, which was all the Colonel
hoped to do, but completely routed them and drove their demoralized
line for half a mile through the pines.

In this charge they captured about forty prisoners, and killing
General Davis, who was vainly endeavoring to rally his flying
troopers, and also a brave Major, who, after a fierce sabre fight
with Wm. Shehan, of Co. B, in which both were severely handled, was
compelled to surrender to the gallant Confederate.

While the battalion was thus occupied in front, a regiment of the
enemy came in their rear and attempted to charge, but wheeling his
left squadron, the Colonel met and drove them back in splendid
style, the men all fighting with the greatest enthusiasm, but Lieut.
Crown, Co. B, especially distinguishing himself.

About this time, Gen. Jones became aware that a strong party of the
enemy had succeeded in flanking Stuart’s position, and were
approaching from the direction of Culpeper Court-House, and he at
once sent the information to General Stuart, who said to the
courier, "Tell Gen. Jones to attend to the Yankees in his front, and
I’ll watch the flanks."

When this reply was communicated to Jones, he remarked: "So he
thinks they ain’t coming, does he? Well, let him alone; he’ll damned
soon see for himself." And he _did_ see, for about one o’clock the
flanking force appeared exactly in rear of, and very near Stuart’s
headquarters; and again Col. White was ordered to follow and support
the 12th Regiment in case of need; but on arriving near the house,
Gen. Stuart ordered White to form his battalion on the right of the
road leading to the Court-House and charge the squadrons of the
enemy on the high ground around the General’s headquarters, and here
again, just as Col. White commenced to move, a squadron of the 12th,
which had met the enemy and been defeated, broke the line of the
battalion, badly deranging its right wing, and causing the loss of
valuable time, but the Colonel ordered Major Ferneyhough to charge
with the first squadron (Companies A and D) which had not been
broken, upon those squadrons of the enemy in front of the house,
while with two squadrons (Companies B, C, E and F) he charged a
regiment in rear and to the left of the building. Both charges were
successful, the enemy being driven down the road towards the Rail
Road, but while the Colonel with his party was pressing them, a
regiment passed between him and the hill, cutting off the first
squadron and again occupying the ground from which they had just
been driven.

As soon as the Colonel discovered this situation of affairs, he
withdrew all but twenty men from the pursuit, and renewed the
contest for the possession of the hill, which, after a spirited
fight, he succeeded in gaining, driving off the regiment and killing
its Colonel.

In this fight around Stuart’s headquarters, Lieut. Barret was
wounded and captured, and Captains Grabill and Anderson made
prisoners.

The battalion was now reinforced by a company of the 6th Va.
Cavalry, and ordered by Gen. Stuart to charge a battery which had
been playing on White’s men during all the fighting on the hill.
Without a moment’s hesitation the charge was made, and the wreath of
glory which White’s battalion had been weaving and twining around
its name, during all that long summer day, was completed.

The gallant fellows at the battery hurled a perfect storm of grape
upon the “Comanches,” while from the supporting cavalry a rain of
bullets fell in their ranks, but with never a halt or a falter the
battalion dashed on, scattering the supports and capturing the
battery after a desperate fight, in which the artillerymen fought
like heroes, with small arms, long after their guns were silenced.
There was no demand for a surrender, nor any offer to do so, until
nearly all the men at the battery, with many of their horses, were
killed and wounded.

While most of the men pursued the flying cavalry that had supported
the battery, Col. White with a few others attempted to turn the
guns, and work them on the Yankees who were rapidly closing in upon
him in heavy force both on the right and left, not doubting for a
moment that General Stuart would support him, but nothing seemed
further from the General’s intention, and feeling that he was being
wantonly sacrificed, Col. White rallied his men, and charging with
desperation upon the enveloping ranks of the foe, cut through to
safety again, but the deliverance cost half the number of the
battalion.

In the battle of Brandy Station, the battalion had captured and
brought out two regimental standards, (besides two others taken, but
lost in the escape from the battery,) and upwards of one hundred
prisoners, with a great quantity of arms and equipments and many
horses, but many of its gallant men had been lost.

Capt. Geo. W. Chiswell was badly wounded, so badly that he was never
again fit for service, and the brave Lieut. Watts, of Co. F, was
mortally wounded, both of them in the charge upon the battery.

The whole loss was ninety men killed, wounded and missing, and but
few of the latter ever returned to the command, some having died of
wounds in U. S. hospitals, some in prison, and some escaping from
the battle after being wounded died at the houses of citizens in the
neighborhood; as it was, only four of the dead were found and buried
by the battalion.

The following general order issued by Stuart, shows the conduct of
the battle and the desperate valor of the men who fought and fell at
Brandy Station, a name rendered famous forever as the scene of one
of the greatest cavalry battles of modern times:

                                "HD.-QRS., CAV. DIV., ARMY N. VA., }
                                          "June 15th, 1863.        }

  "GENERAL ORDERS, NO. 24.

  "The Major-General commanding congratulates the Cavalry of the
  Army of Northern Virginia, upon the victory of “Fleetwood,”
  achieved under Providence, by the prowess of their arms, on the
  9th instant.

  "Comrades, two divisions of the enemy’s cavalry and artillery,
  _escorted_ by a strong force of infantry, “_tested your metal_”
  and found it “proof steel.”

  “Your sabre blows, inflicted on that glorious day, have taught
  them again the weight of Southern vengeance.

  “You confronted with cavalry and horse artillery alone, this
  force, held the infantry in check, routed the cavalry and
  artillery, capturing three pieces of the latter, without losing a
  gun, and added six flags to the trophies of the nation, besides
  inflicting a loss in killed, wounded and missing, at least double
  our own, causing the entire force to retire beyond the
  Rappahannock.

  “Nothing but the enemy’s infantry strongly posted in the woods
  saved his cavalry from capture or annihilation. An act of rashness
  on his part was severely punished by rout and the loss of his
  artillery.

  “With an abiding faith in the God of battles and a firm reliance
  on the sabre, your success will continue.

  “Let the example and heroism of our lamented fallen comrades
  prompt us to renewed vigilance and inspire us with devotion to
  duty.

                                             “J. E. B. STUART,
                                       “_Major-General Commanding_.”

The Orderly Sergeants of the several companies of the battalion made
the following reports of the losses of the companies:

    Co. A—wounded 9, missing 7—total 16.
    Co. B—killed 1, wounded 7, missing 12—total 20.
    Co. C—wounded 5, missing 12—total 17.
    Co. D—wounded 3, missing 5—total 8.
    Co. E—killed 2, wounded 2, missing 8—total 12.
    Co. F—killed 1, wounded 1, missing 15—total 17.

After the battle of Brandy Station, Col. White’s command was
detached from the Cavalry Division, and ordered by Gen. Lee to
report to Lieut.-Gen. Ewell, who had again taken the field and been
assigned to the command of the old 2d Corps A. N. V., the men whom
General Jackson had so often led to victory, and who believed that
the mantle of military inspiration of their now sainted chieftain
had fallen upon the person of the lion-hearted Gen. R. S. Ewell, and
soon after his disabling wound at Manassas, which now caused him to
appear with an artificial leg, Gen. Ewell had told White that if he
ever again took the field he wanted White and his boys to be with
him, an assurance never forgotten by either of them.

At the time Gen. Ewell crossed the mountain and made his attack upon
the enemy at Winchester, adding another to the invariable whippings
the bombastic coward and cow-stealer, Milroy, received every time he
stood long enough for the rebels to reach him, Col. White asked and
obtained permission to make a raid on the Point of Rocks, in the
hope of striking again his old enemy, Means.

Crossing the Potomac below Berlin, the Colonel divided his force,
sending Lieut. Crown, with sixty-two men of Co. B, to pass along the
Frederick road and come up in rear of the Point, while he marched
with the remainder, about one hundred, directly down the tow-path of
the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, intending to attack the enemy in
front, while Crown should intercept the retreat of any who attempted
to escape by the road to Frederick.

After a quick march of about two miles, Lieut. Crown observed the
rear of a body of cavalry about a mile in advance, and wishing to
ascertain what force and command it was, he sent Lieut. Dorsey
forward with six men to capture a straggler, which was soon done,
and the prisoner reported that the force in front was two hundred
men of Cole’s battalion, commanded by Captains Vernon and Summers.
Not disposed to take one Yankee’s evidence without having it
corroborated, Crown again sent Dorsey forward, instructing him as
before, to capture a Yankee but to avoid the use of fire-arms, if
possible; but this time “Nich.” rode up on two of them, one of whom
he captured but was obliged to shoot the other, and as soon as Crown
heard the firing he moved his command rapidly to the front, only
halting long enough to assure himself that the story of the last
prisoner tallied exactly with the first. The enemy halted after
crossing Catocton creek, and forming their line of battle, waited
for the Confederates to come up, which they very soon did, and Crown
discovered that as the advantage in position, numbers and arms, was
all greatly against him, he must trust to charging and close
quarters; and he at once gave the order to charge, which Company B
executed in her usually gallant style, but now with more of fiery
valor than ever, for they were that day upon the soil of their
native State, and to add to their enthusiasm, knew that the blue
jackets in their front covered the forms of Maryland men.

The Yankees poured a heavy fire upon them from their carbines, but
Company B was moving at a gallop and on the lowest ground, so that
most of the bullets flew over the heads of the men, while those that
were low enough only tore their clothes or wounded their horses, and
the fact that Cole’s men had not been drilled to fight at sabre’s
length was soon evident, for the moment that Crown’s boys gained
their side of the creek the Yankees broke, and notwithstanding the
efforts of one of their officers fled like sheep from hungry wolves.
A running fight for about four miles was kept up, when finding his
men overloaded with horses and prisoners, and fearing too that Col.
White might need him at the Point, Lieut. Crown recalled his men and
turned towards that place, taking with him thirty-seven men and
horses of Cole’s battalion, many more having been captured, but in
the darkness and confusion made their escape.

When Company B joined Col. White at the Point of Rocks, they found
that he had already taken the place, having routed Means’ command
and captured about twenty prisoners and horses, and was then engaged
in setting fire to two railroad trains that had just come down, one
of which he destroyed where it stood, but after getting the other in
a good way to burn some of the men let steam on the locomotive and
started the blazing train at full speed for Baltimore. After getting
all the men together, and taking plenty of time to secure the
plunder they wished to take away, the Colonel marched his battalion
to Loudoun, and encamped near the Blue Ridge, above Hillsborough,
where his people enjoyed themselves finely until the order came
calling them to join their General, who was now leading the advance
of Lee’s army through Maryland and opening the way for the brilliant
but fruitless campaign in Pennsylvania.



                              CHAPTER XII.


The battalion crossed the Potomac at Shepherdstown, and passing on
by Sharpsburg and Hagerstown, reached the head of Ewell’s column at
Greencastle, from which point it took the advance, and under orders
from Gen. Ewell marched directly to Gettysburg, where a heavy body
of Pennsylvania militia was assembled to keep the rebels out of
town. Company E, commanded by Lieut. H. M. Strickler, a gentleman, a
gallant soldier and good officer, but above all an earnest
Christian, and who is now (1870) a devoted minister of the M. E.
Church South, led the advance, and charged bravely upon the enemy,
who were drawn up on the left and in front, as the battalion moved
forward, to the number of thirteen hundred infantry and about one
hundred cavalry. The battalion did not have over two hundred and
fifty men in ranks, but they came with barbarian yells and smoking
pistols, in such a desperate dash, that the blue-coated troopers
wheeled their horses and departed towards Harrisburg without firing
a shot, while the infantry who could do so followed their example,
and those who could not threw down their bright, new muskets, and
begged frantically for quarter. Of course, “nobody was hurt,” if we
except one fat militia Captain, who, in his exertion to be first to
surrender, managed to get himself run over by one of Company E’s
horses, and bruised somewhat.

Most of White’s men pushed on after the cavalry, who were finely
mounted, but they had been on the run while the others were losing
time in the camps, and were, of course, too far gone to overtake,
and the battalion rallied in the town, where the citizens gave them
all they wanted, and more, so that in a little while all who ever
did indulge in the ardent were in a half-horse, half wild-cat
condition, and each man imagined himself to be the greatest hero of
the war; in fact, some were heard recounting to the horrified
citizens of Gettysburg the immense execution they had done with the
sabre in a hundred battles.

But about five o’clock, after the “Comanches” had been in town two
hours, Gen. Early came in and ordered the battalion to go on up the
railroad and catch some Yankees, but after a long chase they
returned without any “boys in blue,” and bivouacked that night with
the citizens—about a mile from town.

Next day was passed in scouting and in gathering up horses, supposed
from their fat, sleek appearance, to be fit for service, but no
greater mistake was ever committed, for a Southern cavalry horse,
after being entirely broken down, could travel farther and better
than the fine-looking steeds just from a Pennsylvania stable, and
many a man bitterly repented him of exchanging his poor old horse
for a new one, even if he got a watch to boot.

The battalion marched to Hanover Junction, where there had been
about eight hundred Yankee infantry, but who retired to their
fortifications, about two miles off, as the “Comanches” advanced,
nor did the latter deem it prudent to attack them; so after
skirmishing with them a short time they passed by and encamped for
the night, moving out the next morning, in front of Gen. Early’s
division, to Little York, where they arrived about noon; and as soon
as the General came up he ordered Colonel White to scout the country
and destroy as much railroad as possible. Here the Colonel divided
his command, sending Captain Myers with his Company off to the left
of the town, several miles, to picket and scout, while with the
remainder he moved forward to the Susquehanna, where he destroyed
the bridge, and on his return from Wrightsville to York burned
twenty-two railroad bridges.

When Gen. Early was ready to march to Gettysburg again he called in
his cavalry, and sent them in advance, with orders to watch
carefully the left flank; and in the afternoon of the same day a
strong force of the enemy appeared, and in a dash upon Company A
captured one man (Thos. Spates) who was _picketing_ in a cherry
tree. This opened the eyes of the men to the fact that they now had
something more than militia to deal with, but no one imagined that
it was anything but the army of Hooker, which had been beaten on the
Rappahannock, and no people were ever in finer spirits than those
who had followed the stars and bars to Pennsylvania.

The weather was extremely hot, but the marching was easy, and they
were in a land where abundance of everything could be obtained for
men and horses, while all the floating news and rumors that reached
the soldiers’ ears were of the “good time coming,” and had never a
tinge of gloom to mar the brightness which flooded the future as the
_seeming_ hand of destiny lifted the veil which divided that shadowy
land from the now, giving a glimpse of the glory and peace beyond;
and looking back to the “auld lang syne” they said, in the language
of holy writ, “the thing which hath been, it is that which shall be,
and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no
new thing under the sun;” for had not America been the land of rest
to the oppressed of the Old World; and had not Liberty always ground
the tyrant’s power to dust beneath the tread of Freedom’s legions in
this—her chosen home? and now the finger of events was tracing the
same old story before the eyes of the wondering nations.

One current story was that Gen. Lee had said that he would “winter
his army on the Hudson,” and another, that France had recognized the
Confederate States and was sending a fleet to open the blockade; and
just then an old soldier would break out with "Confound French
recognition and all the rest of them, the English and French
wouldn’t recognize us when we wanted them to, now we don’t thank
them for it, because we will make the Yankees themselves acknowledge
our independence in a month;" when, as if to confirm the opinion and
make it prophecy, a newspaper would proclaim in big letters,
“Hurrah! the war is over! Commissioners from Washington and Richmond
have met at Fortress Monroe to arrange terms for separation and
peace!”

This was the atmosphere in which the soldiers breathed while
campaigning in Pennsylvania, and many of them expressed _fears_ that
they would not be permitted to fight the Yankees “just once more”
before the war ended, but as they approached Gettysburg on Wednesday
evening, July 1st, all such _fears_ were dispelled, for there stood
the army of the North in battle order, and before the Southern
troops were within two miles of the place their foes came out to
meet them. White’s battalion, then the only body of cavalry with the
A. N. V., was sent by General Ewell to the left of his corps, and as
they gained the high hills in that direction they had a full view of
the battle between Ewell’s Corps and the 11th Corps of Meade’s army,
particularly that part of it fought by Heth’s Division. The enemy
was posted at a fence and ditch which ran together across an open,
level meadow, and Heth’s men came out of a woods about four hundred
yards in front, their thin line marching beautifully over the smooth
meadow towards the enemy’s position, and although under a fire from
the moment of their appearance, that increased rapidly as they
advanced, the line moved without any more falter or waver than if
they had been on dress parade, paying no attention to the men who
occasionally fell out of ranks smitten by the fire, but on reaching
a point about one hundred yards from the Yankee position an officer
on horseback gave an order, and with a shout Heth’s men sprang
forward in a charge, and now the line which had before been keeping
step and moving so regularly began to spread out as the fastest men
would leave the slow ones in the race of death, and the fire of the
enemy was now a perfect blaze and roar of musketry, but in a few
minutes the Confederate bayonets drove them from the fence, and in
utter route the Yankees fled across the open ground to the railroad,
their men falling thick beneath the withering rifle shots of the
Confederates, who had now no danger to affect their aim, and the
rout and pursuit disappeared from view through the streets of
Gettysburg.

Soon after this one of Ewell’s brigades marched to the left of the
town and into a large wheat field where lay a line of men in blue,
who raised up when the gray jackets were in about fifty yards, and
throwing down their guns, surrendered in a body—in all over one
thousand.

The battalion passed on, and soon met some of the Yankee skirmishers
from a division of infantry on Rocky Creek, whom they captured and
sent back, and in a short time Gen. Gordon marched his brigade to
the support of the cavalry.

About this time a battery, from the Cemetery Hill, was fiercely
shelling White’s men, and as Gordon’s skirmishers appeared on the
field a storm of shot and shell ploughed the ground along the line,
causing part of it to falter; but the Major who commanded was a
splendid officer, and brought his people up to it handsomely; once,
indeed, he displayed almost more than human coolness and daring—in
reforming a part of his line that had broken under the fire, and
just as the Major reached it a heavy shell exploded exactly under
his horse, causing both it and the rider to roll over on the ground
in a cloud of dirt and smoke, all who saw it thinking that they were
surely both killed, but amid the cloud the beautiful bay sprang up,
with the gallant Major still in the saddle exclaiming, “Steady men,
steady; no use to break; keep the line steady;” and the men were
steady after that.

At dark the troops encamped, and in the morning the battalion was
broken up into scouting parties for the Generals of the left wing,
the Colonel sending Captains Myers and Grubb with six men each to
find the right flank of the Yankee army. They crossed the creek, and
separating, scouted through a rough, broken country, for probably
two hours, when they united exactly in rear of the enemy’s right
wing, and sent a courier to inform the Colonel that they had found
it; Myers having gone around the right flank, while Grubb passed
through an opening in their line without knowing it until he found
himself in the rear. Here they saw a long train of wagons, and
determined to capture some of them, but on arriving in about two
hundred yards of the train found that a cavalry force had passed
along in their rear, while a line of infantry was marching directly
towards them, and from this interesting situation they agreed to
retire, without wagons, if they could.

It was a very particular business, but by passing off for Yankee
scouts, which Captain Grubb could do to perfection, they got clear,
taking five prisoners with them.

During the remainder of the day the battalion did little but watch
the flank and listen to fighting along the lines to their right, and
when night came they bivouacked near a deserted farm-house on the
bank of Rocky Creek.

The morning of July 3d opened very clear and very hot, and the
stillness along the lines of battle was at times almost oppressive,
but the occasional shell from Round Top and the Cemetery kept the
boys from going crazy with their anxiety to interpret the long
intervals of silence, and when one of the Yankee bombs set fire to
their farm-house they became perfectly satisfied, certain now, they
said, “that the Yankee army was still there.”

About noon, while the men were idly lying along the fields in the
full blaze of the July sun, with no motion of the air to mitigate
the oppressive heat, they noticed that the artillerymen were posting
their cannon in a long curving line along the hills, and to all
appearances meant business, although no firing was heard anywhere,
but about 1 o’clock one single gun, (a long black Whitworth,) pealed
out its sharp, ringing battle-note, and in an instant, from two
hundred and ten guns, boomed forth a raging tempest of lightning and
thunder that fairly shook the solid ground and made every man leap
to his feet in bewildered excitement; but soon came the reply from
the lines of Gen. Meade, where the white powder smoke, tinged with
the lurid flashings, puffed from the blazing muzzles of two hundred
and seventy cannon, and the great battle of Gettysburg was fairly
joined.

This firing continued until the veterans of Lee had gone through the
valleys and reached the fire-crowned heights where lay the Northern
army, when the Southern guns ceased their bellowing; but of the
general battle the great historians have written, and we have only
to tell of what White’s people did.

About 2 o’clock the Colonel marched his battalion up the turnpike
towards York, and no sooner did he get clear of the infantry lines
than he became aware that the enemy’s cavalry was on the ground.

Gen. Stuart had not yet appeared, and all that was heard from him
was that he was actively operating in Meade’s rear, destroying
trains, and had even gone so far as to make a demonstration on the
fortifications around Washington City.

White’s people found the Yankee pickets on the pike and drove them
to their reserves, which were drawn up in a body of timber running
parallel with the road and separated from it by an open line of
level grass fields, about three hundred yards in width, and as soon
as the Colonel found that a heavy force of cavalry was here he
reported it to Gen. Lee, who sent Gen. “Extra Billy” Smith with his
infantry brigade to support the battalion in guarding the flank.

There had always been a feeling of dislike between the Infantry and
Cavalry, the former regarding the latter as the most favored
branch—in not being compelled to walk—but nothing so thrilled them
with dread as a cavalry charge, while the cavalry feared even more
to attack the infantry of the enemy; and Napoleon, at the Pyramids,
proved that cool courage and scientific handling made infantry
invincible against the finest cavalry in the world, for such the
Mamelukes certainly were; but for all that the Infantry preferred to
have their foes on foot.

White’s battalion moved up the turnpike, with Gen. Smith’s brigade
in support, but very soon the General found that he was becoming
separated from the army, while on the flank and front the enemy’s
cavalry was threatening him, and fearing to be cut off if he
advanced further he decided to retire, which he did, halting at a
cross-road a mile back, and White and his boys had a great deal more
than their hands full, but what they could do they did, and in
constant dashes, first up the road in front and then out on the
right, they drove back the enemy’s parties as often as they
advanced.

The situation was full of excitement, to which the roar of the great
battle, raging at its hottest in their rear, added force; but
by-and-bye long lines of cavalry were discovered marching quietly
from the woods on the left, and now it did appear that the enemy was
all around, for no one doubted the new force being Yankees.

Making one last charge up the turnpike, in which a regiment of the
enemy was driven wildly back, Col. White turned his command and
retired slowly toward the position of Gen. Smith, but pretty soon,
in a cloud of dust, Gen. Stuart and staff galloped up the road,
inquiring eagerly for news; and just then, as the Colonel called his
attention to the new forces on the left, the wind unfurled their
banners and displayed the battle-flag of Dixie, while Stuart
remarked, "that is Gen. Fitz Lee’s Division;" and a perfect storm of
cheers and glad shouts of welcome went up from White’s excited
battalion. As soon as General Stuart could get his division up he
opened the battle by sending a regiment across the fields before
spoken of to the woods, but when half way to the timber a regiment
of the enemy came out, and in a few minutes was driven back, but
being reinforced by another the Confederate regiment retired, when
Stuart sent a second regiment to aid his first, and thus the battle
spread, growing fiercer as the numbers engaged increased, while the
artillery played upon all points where it could be managed without
injury to its own troops.

A story was told in ’62 to the effect that Gen. Lee had said he
would give ten dollars for every cavalryman killed or wounded in
battle with the sabre, and if he had been held to the contract now
he would have been ruined, for the men appeared to use their sabres
that evening from choice, and numbers on both sides fell under the
bloody blades.

After watching the conflict for some time, Col. White noticed a
Yankee regiment wheeling on the right of Stuart’s line, and ordering
his men forward met it fairly, driving it back to the woods in
gallant style, for which he received General Stuart’s thanks.

"When night had stilled the battle’s hum" the troops bivouacked on
the ground over which they had fought; but the news from the lines
was discouraging, saying that General Lee had failed to take the
heights; and when, an hour before day, the orders came to mount and
fall back silently, for fear the enemy’s batteries would open fire
again, the soldiers knew that the battle was lost, but they still
trusted to the genius and generalship of their great leader to turn
the defeat to their advantage in some way.

The 4th of July, a dismal day of rain and gloom was passed in
gathering the stragglers and wagons together, and in burying the
dead, but when evening came the battalion was divided; Colonel
White, with Companies B, C and E, acting as rear guard for Ewell’s
Corps, which brought up the rear in the retreat, as it had led the
van of the army in the advance; and Maj. Ferneyhough, with Companies
A, D and F, was sent to A. P. Hill, to be advance guard for his
Corps, as it held the front of the army.

The whole march was full of harassing attacks by the enemy, but
White fought those who followed, from every hill-top, only being
compelled once to call upon the General for aid, when Gen. Gordon,
the fiery Georgian, marched his brigade back and administered a
reproof that made the Yankees chary of pressing Ewell’s rear guard
too closely again.

Major F.’s command pressed forward under A. P. Hill’s orders,
driving the enemy’s pickets as they went, and whipping a force of
cavalry from the town of Waynesboro’, but when the army reached
Hagerstown the battalion united again, and remained with Gen. Ewell.

Nothing of special interest, other than what was done by other
commands, was performed by White’s battalion in the further progress
of the retreat, and the history of it has been told by other pens so
fully that were mine capable of the task there is nothing new to
write, and when the army of General Lee, baffled, it is true, in its
Northern campaign, but still in fighting trim and ready for battle,
reached the South bank of the Potomac at Williamsport, the men felt
that they were at home once more, and believed that the only result
of the Gettysburg disaster would be to prolong the war a few more
years, and indeed all hope of a speedy termination had died in the
hearts of the battle-scarred soldiers of the Army of Northern
Virginia, when, in connection with their own defeat, they counted
the bloody siege and final surrender of Vicksburg, the news of which
saluted their ears almost as soon as their own battle was over.

Almost as soon as he crossed the river, Colonel White reported to
Gen. Stuart, and asked permission to take his battalion to Loudoun
county, which that officer readily granted, and the “Comanches”
marched rapidly to Castleman’s Ferry, but found the Shenandoah so
high, from the heavy rains which had followed the battle, that it
was impassable, and the Colonel encamped his men a short distance
from the river to wait for it to fall.



                             CHAPTER XIII.


The battalion remained on the bank of the Shenandoah for a day, but
seeing no decrease in the flood, impatience got the better of
prudence, and the Colonel, giving way to the wishes of his men,
(which in this case coincided so fully with his own,) marched them
to the river, and such as were not afraid to “take water,” swam the
horses across, while the others went over in a skiff. When about
fifty men had got over, and the shades of an early twilight
commenced to gather from the low-hanging clouds, a courier from
Lieut. Moon, of the 6th Va. Cavalry, who had charge of the pickets
in the Gap, came down the mountain and informed Col. White that the
Yankees were moving into the Gap. The boys hastily dressed, and
mounting their horses marched up to see if the report was true, but
before going far they met Lieut. Moon retiring, while behind him
came a large force of Yankee infantry; and with many a curse on the
delay in crossing the river, the detachment turned back and passed
up between mountain and river to the Shepherd’s mill road, which
brought them out at the Trap. The next day they learned that Meade’s
army was in Loudoun, following the track of Burnside, and as nearly
all the men who had been scattered through the county, at their
homes, returned to the command, the Colonel retired to Ashby’s Gap,
where he resolved to make a fight, if anything like his number
advanced upon him.

On Sunday morning, July 19th, the long lines of the Yankee army were
seen marching along to Southward, and when the sun was an hour high,
a few cavalry scouts rode up towards the mountain position where
White and his men were standing, but showed no disposition either to
be captured themselves or to attempt to drive the rebels from the
Gap. After waiting and watching a long while for such an advance as
they had made at Snicker’s Gap, the Colonel ordered Capt. Myers to
“send some men down there to stir up those fellows,” and a party of
half a dozen was instructed to ride down and drive away the pickets
below Paris. This party went down, and making a dash drove the
picket out of sight over the hill, but in an instant was seen coming
back at full speed, while along the hills, a blue line of infantry,
deployed as skirmishers, sprang up as if by magic and advanced at a
quick march towards the Gap, and in the pike beyond, at least a
brigade was seen marching in the same direction.

Capt. M. now turned to the Colonel, and asked if he would “have
those fellows stirred up any more?” to which he replied that he
“thought _that_ would do just now,” and sending Captains Grubb and
Myers to the village to check the advance, he prepared to leave the
last corner-stone of Loudoun. When the men with Grubb and Myers
reached their position at Paris, they dismounted, and as the Federal
advance on the turnpike, which was a party of cavalry, came up, they
commenced a fire which drove them back; one man, Harper, of Co. A,
bringing down the Yankee Major in command, and his horse, at one
discharge of buckshot from his musket. The battalion now took the
mountain road to Manassa Gap, and on reaching that place saw and
captured a Signal Corps, which was operating on the side of the
mountain, near Linden.

The Yankees marched through towards Front Royal, but were met and
driven back by A. P. Hill’s people.

Col. White now crossed the river again, to wait until the remainder
of his battalion could come up, but gave permission to Captains
Myers and Grubb to take a party of their men on foot and make a
scout along the mountains to capture wagons, if possible.

With eighteen men, they went down among the enemy’s camps near
Piedmont, at dark, but found nothing but infantry, and the next day
went to Ashby’s Gap, where they discovered a heavy force holding
that position, which forced them to cross the river at Berry’s
Ferry, and passing down to Shepherd’s mill they again went over,
climbing the Blue Ridge near Snicker’s Gap, only to find that pass
strongly guarded by both infantry and cavalry, while all the wagons
passed along with the army, keeping entirely clear of the mountain,
it being pretty evident that Gen. Meade had learned a valuable
lesson from the mistakes of Burnside the year before.

Everything was now at a stand-still, and thus they remained for
several days, when the Colonel came over with the battalion, and
moving down into the lower country begun to trouble the enemy’s
scouting parties, and succeeded in capturing a number of horses and
prisoners. On the morning of August 7th, he went to Woodgrove, where
he learned that a regiment of Michigan Cavalry had come out from
Harper’s Ferry to Hillsborough, and moving cautiously to the latter
place, found that they had passed on towards Waterford.

The Colonel had about one hundred and twenty men with him and
determined to attack them, so passing down the road he halted at a
favorable position near Mr. Vandevanter’s, and made his arrangements
for an ambuscade, thinking the enemy would return to Harper’s Ferry
in the evening, but in this he was mistaken, for after waiting some
time, he learned, about sundown, that they were preparing to encamp
at Waterford for the night. He now moved his command into the woods
on Catocton creek, near Mr. J. E. Walker’s, and waited until about 9
o’clock, when, leaving their horses, he marched his people over
toward the camp, as he had discovered it, on a high hill south of
the town.

He instructed his men to march quietly up to the enemy’s position
without firing, and when he gave the signal, to rush upon them and
secure as many horses and prisoners as possible; and to prevent
mistakes in the confusion of the attack gave as challenge and reply
the words “Bob” and “Joe.”

On getting into the field, the men found a great number of haycocks,
which caused them to become somewhat scattered in their march, and
as the Colonel advanced in front, holding his pistol ready to fire,
he accidentally fell over one of the cocks, in which his pistol was
discharged.

This caused a panic, and while some of the men, imagining that they
were beset by the enemy, commenced to retreat, the others looked
upon it as the signal for attack and rushed forward firing their
pistols, although nearly two hundred yards from the enemy. The
flying ones were speedily rallied and brought back, but the Yankees
were all mounted and ready to retreat, which they did with all
haste, after firing one volley at the Confederates, killing a very
gallant young soldier of Co. C,—John C. Grubb.

Three or four of the enemy fell, and a few horses were captured, but
the most of them made their escape. A part of the command, under
Captain Grubb, were standing in the road when two or three pickets,
who had been stationed on the Hamilton road, alarmed at the firing,
came up, and were halted with a demand for a surrender. Some of
Grubb’s men drew up their pistols to fire upon them, but the Captain
prevented it, saying, "don’t shoot them, they will surrender," when
one of the Yankees discharged his carbine almost in Captain Grubb’s
face, and at the same time exclaimed, “I surrender,” and the whole
party gave themselves up as prisoners.

Capt. Grubb fell, mortally wounded, and with mournful hearts his men
carried him back to his father’s house near Hillsborough, where he
died in about two hours, and the battalion met with a loss that was
well nigh irreparable, for he was one of the best, if not the very
best officer in it. He had been in the service from the commencement
of the war, first as a member of Capt. N. R. Heaton’s Company, (A,)
8th Regiment Va. Volunteers, and the gallant Heaton bears willing
testimony to the noble daring of R. B. Grubb, while under his
command, at the bloody battles of Manassas and Ball’s Bluff, while
Gen. Eppa Hunton pronounces him one of the best men he ever had in
that regiment of heroes, whose name is crowned with the glory that
beams brightly upon the fame of Virginia, won in a hundred battles.
In the Spring of 1862, “Dick” Grubb was discharged from the infantry
service, and going to the Valley, attached himself to the 7th Va.
Cavalry, where he distinguished himself as a scout for Colonel
(afterwards Major-General) Wm. E. Jones.

In the fall of that year, he obtained permission to raise a company
for White’s battalion, in which he was entirely successful, as has
been shown.

After this affair at Waterford, which had been fruitful only in
disaster to his battalion, Colonel White established a camp on the
Blue Ridge near Mr. Howell’s, where he remained for several days,
during which time the business of the command was, to some extent,
brought into shape, as it was highly necessary to do, for it had
begun to suffer for want of proper attention.

The old Company of Capt. Grubb was now officered by Capt. Dowdell
and Lieut. Sam. Grubb, who were promoted, and by Lieut. T. W. White
who was elected Second Lieutenant.

Marcellus French had been made Captain of Co. F, with Charles James
as his First Lieutenant, and everything put in order, as far as
possible, to make the battalion efficient.

One morning, about the middle of August, Triplett, of Co. F,
reported to the Colonel that a regiment of Yankee cavalry, encamped
on the Rappahannock, near Orleans, in Fauquier county, was in the
habit of sending a party every day, about 3 o’clock, to Barbour’s
Cross Roads, on a scout; and the Colonel at once resolved to attempt
their capture. So starting with about one hundred men he reached,
just before midnight, an admirable place of concealment in the thick
pines near the Cross Roads, where the command halted to wait until
the scouting party came along the next day. The time passed wearily
enough in that hot, piney encampment, but every man knew that an
absolute certainty of success depended on their lying hid until the
enemy came.

Lieut. Chiswell, with seventeen men of Co. B, was stationed in the
thick bushes close along the road, with instructions to fire when
the Yankees came opposite them, and a picket was placed on the
Orleans road half a mile below, to watch for the enemy, and now
nothing remained but to wait for the game.

About 3 o’clock, the picket came quietly in and reported above one
hundred approaching, when all the men got up from their lounging
among the broom sedge and mounted their horses, and notice being
sent to Lieut. Chiswell, everything was, as the man-o’-wars-man
would say, “cleared for action.” After waiting anxiously, with ears
strained to catch the sound, for about ten minutes, the carbines of
Chiswell’s men rung out, and with a shout, away dashed the mounted
men to charge. On emerging from the pines into the road, the Yankees
were seen in the field on the opposite side, in great confusion from
the unexpected volley they had received, but as soon as they saw the
battalion they dashed off towards a gap in the fence, to gain the
road again; but now one of those unaccountable things, which so
often occur without any reason at all, and just at the moment when
their influence is most damaging, happened; and as Col. White, Adjt.
Watts, and Capt. Myers, who were a little distance in front of the
command, galloped up towards the gap to cut off the enemy’s escape,
and thinking they were followed by the men, the Major, who was
exactly at the head of the column, wheeled it down the road, leaving
these three officers to meet the sixty Yankees alone.

In a few minutes the Colonel and Capt. M. were dismounted, both of
their horses being shot at the same moment, and the Adjutant was
among the blue-jackets without any assistance at all, but pretty
soon Lieut. Conrad managed to turn Company A back, and with part of
Company B, under Lieut. Crown, who had not been in the column when
Major F. started it away from the Yankees, dashed in and made the
scene look something like a fight, for the Yankees were resolute
fellows from the 6th Ohio Cavalry, and in spite of their surprise,
fought bravely.

Conrad, with a few men, followed a part of them nearly to their
camp, and on their return met another portion, who had made a
circuit towards the Cross Roads at the first fire, and were now
going full tilt towards camp with Crown and his boys right behind
them.

Conrad and the few men with him were encumbered with prisoners and
horses, but attempted to halt the Yankees, and fired into them as
they came, but they only called to the Confederates to “clear the
road,” and passed on with their sabres flashing so dangerously that
their foes gave them room.

The whole force now returned to the Cross Roads, having taken about
twenty-five prisoners and thirty horses, besides killing and
wounding about ten of the enemy, with no loss to themselves except
the two horses before spoken of.

Strange as it may appear only one man was killed by the fire of
Chiswell’s men, although they had a rest and the distance was
scarcely twelve yards, but that one man had seven bullets through
him.

That was the usual result of ambuscades, for under the most
favorable circumstances they seldom did much damage; and it would
appear, (so miraculous did the escapes from them seem,) that
Providence guarded in a special manner the unsuspecting party who
became entangled in the murderous snare of a hidden enemy, no matter
how cunningly devised the plan might be; and it must be confessed
that such a mode of fighting is a poor school in which to learn
lessons of chivalry and honor, the old adage that “all is fair in
war,” to the contrary notwithstanding.

After Barbour’s Cross Roads, there were many attempts to strike the
enemy’s scouting parties, but they always came in such force it was
impossible to do anything with the slightest show for success, and
the Colonel turned his attention to the camps of the foe in Fairfax
and Maryland.

About the last of August, he learned that a force, entitled "Scott’s
900," was stationed at Edwards’ Ferry, and crossing the river some
distance above the ferry about midnight, with one hundred and fifty
men, the Colonel hid his force along the bank to wait until the
patrol which passed up and down the tow-path of the canal, every
half hour, should go down, and at the same time he placed two men
near the tow-path, with instructions to notice closely the patrol,
and if they appeared hurried or excited, to stop them, for that
would be evidence enough that they had learned something of his
presence on the Maryland side, and they must not be permitted to
reach the camp, but if they came along quietly, as usual, to let
them pass, for they evidently would know nothing of his movement;
but it so happened that old “Uncle” Charley Butler was along, and
moreover that he was about half drunk, and when the patrol of two
men came riding very leisurely along, “Uncle Charley” sprang up and
caught the bridle of the leading Yankee, who raised his gun to fire
on Butler, and to save him the other boys had to shoot the Yankee,
and of course the firing alarmed the camp.

Col. White now urged his people across the canal as rapidly as
possible, and coming up in rear of the camp, (which he knew to be
fortified in front,) halted long enough to form his line and ordered
a charge, in which they received a volley from the enemy that badly
wounded one man, and several slightly; and on reaching the camp
found that it had a regular fortification all around it, but the men
spurred their horses on, leaping the ditch and riding recklessly
over the breastworks. Most of the enemy, thanks to Butler’s drunken
blunder at the canal, had escaped, and the daring and desperate
assault only resulted in the capture of about a dozen, but their
whole camp equipage fell into the hands of White’s people.

The wounded man, Robert W. Jones, a splendid soldier of Company A,
was so badly hurt that it was impossible to move him, and he was
left at the house of a citizen near by where he was kindly treated,
even by the Yankees; and up to this time, (1870,) although more than
seven weary years have passed, he is still unable to walk, the
bullet having lodged near the spine.

This, and the affair at Barbour’s Cross Roads, was acknowledged by
Gen. Lee, in the following letter to Gen. Stuart:

                                       “HEAD-QUARTERS, ARMY N. V., }
                                             “Sept. 9th, 1863.     }

  “Major-Gen. J. E. B. STUART,
            “_Commanding Cavalry_:

  “GENERAL—Your letter, enclosing reports of Lieut.-Colonel E. V.
  White, of the operations of his battalion at Poole’s farm, on
  August 27th, and his previous attack on Kilpatrick’s Cavalry, have
  been received, and forwarded to the Department as an evidence of
  the great boldness and skill of that officer.

  “The activity and energy of his command, and the gallantry of his
  officers and men, especially in the attack on Poole’s farm,
  reflect great credit upon the service. I hope his operations will
  always be attended with the same success.

  “I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

                                             “R. E. LEE, _General_.”

Soon after this, an order was received through General Lee, from the
Secretary of War, and the execution of which has caused great blame
to be attached to Col. White, by those citizens of Loudoun county,
who, denying the ground-work upon which the Federal Constitution was
built, claimed that the rights of the States were not merely
delegated but irrevocably transferred to the General Government, the
testimony of common justice, common sense, and of the fathers and
framers of the Constitution to the contrary notwithstanding, held
their allegiance to the Northern government; and while the praise or
blame of traitors to their State, in matters connected with the war,
is of small importance, yet to show that the Colonel was blameless
in this case, I make the explanation.

Two citizens of Loudoun, who, among many others, had, at the
tinkling of the “little bell,” been dragged to a Federal prison, and
although no crimes were charged against them, were held in durance
on the ground that they refused to take an oath of allegiance to the
United States, a government to whom they owed none, and which was
incapable of protecting them in it if they did. These were Henry
Ball and Campbell Belt, and their friends, after appealing time and
again to the United States authorities for their release, without
success, and the health of both being so delicate as to excite grave
fears that confinement would speedily end in death, sought by
retaliation to effect their discharge from prison, and procured of
the Secretary of War an order for the arrest and confinement of
William Williams and Asa M. Bond—two prominent Union citizens—until
Messrs. Ball and Belt should be released, and simply for the reason
that Col. White was in a situation to execute the order it was sent
to him; but owing to the inefficiency of the men detailed to make
the arrest, Mr. Bond escaped, and they substituted R. I.
Hollingsworth in his stead, who, with Mr. Williams, was sent to
Richmond, and now their friends used their influence with the United
States authorities, which soon brought about the release of both
parties.

About the middle of September, the Colonel was informed by one of
his scouts that there would be several carloads of horses sent down
on the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road on the 16th, concluded to
attempt their capture, and having decided to take only Company B
with him, sent Lieut. Crown, with his people, on the night of the
14th, to a point on the Catocton mountain near Mr. Gray’s, above
Leesburg, with instructions to remain there until he (the Colonel)
should have examined the fords and fixed upon a place to cross the
Potomac, and as there is some difference of opinion as to who was to
blame for the disaster that followed, I deem it proper to give all
the particulars, and let the reader settle the point.

No one was admitted by the Colonel into the secret, but Lieut.
Crown, and as the Colonel was about to leave the battalion in charge
of Major Ferneyhough, he sent for Capt. Myers, and telling him that
Cole’s battalion and Means’ men were in Waterford, gave him
permission to go, if, he so desired, and try to capture their
pickets.

Lieut. Crown says, that Col. White promised to send a force to
attack the party at Waterford before he would consent to take his
company into the mountain as White desired him, and that Col. White
informed him he had given such orders, before he left the camp; but
he certainly did not order Capt. Myers to make an attack, or tell
him that anything depended on its being made, and he merely told him
he could go down and capture their pickets if he desired.

Crown took his company to the appointed place, and Myers, with his
people, went down near Waterford, but learning that the pickets were
drawn in after dark to the town, and that the force there was
composed of Cole’s battalion, a regiment of Connecticut Cavalry, and
Means’ Company, all commanded by Col. Cole, he retired without
making any attack, his orders being entirely discretionary.

The next morning Cole’s command left Waterford and marched straight
to the camp of Co. B, a spy having reported their position, and
whether Lieut. Crown is blameless entirely, and all the fault lies
with Col. White and Capt. Myers, or not, it does appear that Co. B.
was surprised in the fullest sense of the word, for the first
intimation they had of Cole’s approach was the firing of his advance
guard among them, and both Lieuts. Crown and Dorsey were at the
house of Mr. Gray, waiting for breakfast and listening to the piano.

Both officers were captured before they could reach the company, and
nine of their men were made prisoners at the same time, but the
others, with great difficulty, made their escape. There is no doubt
that if Lieut. Crown had had a picket out, and had notice of the
enemy’s approach, he would have whipped them, for he had about fifty
of the best fighting men in the army, and Crown and Dorsey never
counted odds in any kind of a fight. So it is self-evident that
situated as they were there, they would have whipped Cole’s four
hundred easily, for the latter had not the best troops in the world,
in fact they were morally opposed to the usual dangers of the
battle-field.

Col. Cole treated Lieut. Crown just as cowards always do those in
their power, and even went so far as to threaten him with hanging
for being a Confederate soldier so unfortunate as to be a prisoner
to Cole.

Of course this disaster wound up the projected horse capture in
Maryland, and Col. White returned to camp with his spirits
considerably below zero, but he was never heard to charge the damage
to the misconduct of any one, and only seemed to look upon it as one
of the natural misfortunes of war.

       ---------------------------------------------------------

NOTE.—Since writing the above, a letter from Lieut. Chiswell has
been received, which makes some correction necessary.

Lieut. C. says, that at the time of the attack, himself and Lieut.
Dorsey, with several of their men, were in Leesburg, and as soon as
they heard of it, Lieut. Dorsey, with one man, (a member of the 8th
Va. Infantry,) started to the scene of action at Gray’s, but at a
turn in the road they came suddenly upon the enemy’s column and were
captured, the man with Dorsey having his thigh broken, and the
Lieutenant himself being severely handled in the conflict.

Lieut. Chiswell and his party were hard pressed, and with the
greatest difficulty effected their escape.

At one time Chiswell’s horse fell with him, and rolling over lay
prone upon his leg, but he managed to withdraw it, leaving his boot
in the stirrup, and having gotten his horse up, the lieutenant took
the boot in his hand, and though the Yankees were close upon him, he
got clear. He says, “boots were boots” in those days, and he
couldn’t think of losing his.

Col. White had frequently been called upon by General Lee to destroy
the Rail Road bridges in rear of Meade’s army, in order that their
supplies might, to some extent, be cut off; but such enterprises
were very difficult and hazardous, more especially as he had no men
who knew the country well enough to pilot him at night to the scene
of operations. On several occasions he attempted to accomplish
something in this way, but to no purpose; however, having learned
something of the bridge over Pope’s Head creek, on the O. and A.
Rail Road, he resolved to attempt its destruction, and with nineteen
men of Companies A and C, he started in the evening from his camp in
upper Loudoun, with John Davis of Fairfax, for his guide, and
marching all night, camped about daylight on the Hatmark creek,
below Fairfax C. H., where the company remained all day with nothing
to eat but fox grapes; the enemy being so thick around that part of
the country that the men would have been discovered if they had
ventured out of the friendly shade of the pine woods.

When night came, the little party moved out, and passing Barnes’
mill on the Accotink, arrested the miller and carried him along with
them.

On arriving within half a mile of the bridge, the Colonel,
accompanied by Jack Dove, rode out to reconnoitre, finding a guard
of four or five men on the bridge and a reserve of some twenty or
more lying around a fire about a hundred yards from it. Returning to
the command, the Colonel moved it forward, intending to charge and
drive off the guards, but on reaching the bridge found they had
already retired, but whether they had become alarmed at something
they had heard, or, as a patrol, had passed during the time he was
gone for his people, the Colonel could not determine, nor did he
waste much time in speculations on the subject, but setting his men
to work splitting and piling up rails on each end and in the middle
of the bridge, they soon had a good lot of kindling ready to fire
up, and after emptying a few canteens of coal oil on it, the fire
was applied, and the boys withdrew a short distance and watched
until the whole frame of the bridge was burning well, when they
started on their return. It was long past midnight when they left
the bridge, and consequently could not go far before daylight
compelled them again to hide themselves, and here another day was
spent with nothing but grapes to eat. Some wagon trains, from
Fairfax C. H., passed them, and could have been easily captured, but
this would have almost insured the capture of the whole party, and
consequently they were permitted to drive on.

When dark came the third night, the now half-famished band started
again, this time for the nearest point where rations could be
obtained, and very soon they were being well fed by the good people
of upper Fairfax, who, no matter how hard pressed they were
themselves, always had something to divide with the Dixie boys, and
no people in the whole Confederacy would more gladly share their
last morsel with the Southern soldier, than these very ones whose
homes were constantly overrun by the blue-coated gentry who looked
upon all they had as lawful spoil for Uncle Sam, and treated all of
them as if they were rebels only wanting arms and an opportunity to
show their hand.

When the Colonel started on this expedition, he had left Major
Ferneyhough in command of all the battalion except Capt. Myers and
his company, and had instructed the latter to scout around the river
country, mainly for the purpose of collecting a supply of long range
guns, in which his command was always very deficient, and for which
he had special use in a contemplated attack on Cole’s battalion. The
Major moved the rest of the command to the old camp at the Trap, and
here Major Cole paid him a visit, causing the whole thing to move at
a quick march into the mountain, while Cole encamped for the night
at Bellfield, and strange to say he only lost one or two pickets by
the operation, whom “Moll” Green, of Co. B, accidentally came in
contact with. As Cole was returning the next day he came near
breaking up the blacksmith department, by capturing Jo. Conner and
Wm. Horseman, who were at work shoeing horses at the Woodgrove shop.
Several other soldiers were at the shop, but they made their escape.

Myers in the meantime had been scouting around in the neighborhoods
of Hillsborough and Lovettsville, and the night Cole was at
Bellfields, his party lay near Waterford, listening to the music of
a party of infantry left at that place as a reserve for Cole in case
he should need it.

What had been considered an impossibility the year before was now
demonstrated to be perfectly feasible, and to the great discomfort
of the border land both uniforms were daily seen by the citizens,
and very frequently followed each other so rapidly that when not in
actual chase, one party would scarcely be out of sight before the
other would be demanding rations and horse-feed, and making awful
threats against Rebels or Yankees as the case might be.

Not long after the bridge burning expedition the Colonel sent Capt.
Dowdell with his company and a part of Co. A, under Lieut. Conrad,
to look after Yankee scouting parties “between the hills,” as the
country lying between the Blue Ridge and Short Hill from
Hillsborough to the Potomac is called, while with seventeen of Co. A
he started himself to arrest a notorious Yankee spy and guide, in
Fairfax county, named Amey.

Capt. Dowdell, with fifty-five men, marched to St. Paul’s church
below Neersville, at night, and waited quietly in the woods for his
game, but no blue-jackets put in an appearance until about noon the
next day, when Dowdell’s scout, who was none other than the famous
John Mobberly, reported about one hundred Yankees coming from
Harper’s Ferry. Soon after this, the pickets on the Short Hill side
came in at a gallop, saying the enemy was in their rear, which
caused the Captain to wheel about and march his command in that
direction, and he soon came upon an interesting little fight between
Lieuts. Sam. Grubb and Ben. Conrad, who, while reconnoitering, had
run upon two of the enemy’s scouts engaged in the same business, and
had attempted their capture. After this was over they started back
to the grade, but the Yankees there had heard the firing and were
retreating towards the Ferry, and owing to difficulties presented by
the rough and broken country, considerable time was lost by Capt.
D.’s command in reaching the road, but those of the men who were
best mounted soon came up in the enemy’s rear, and chased them under
cover of the batteries on Maryland heights, wounding two and
capturing five, together with eight horses of the enemy, who proved
to be a scouting party of Means’ command, numbering about
seventy-five men, with three days’ rations, on an intended scout,
but owing to Capt. Dowdell’s interference with their plans, they did
not get more than two miles from their headquarters.

On their arrival at Harper’s Ferry, a brigade of cavalry was sent
out, which followed the Confederates to Hillsborough, but travelled
too slow to overtake them.

Col. White with his party had, in the meantime, passed through
Fairfax, by Hunter’s Mill, Lewensville and Vienna, to Green’s Store,
where he succeeded in taking Amey; and on his return was told by
“Jack” Dove, who got his information from Albert Gunnell, that a
strong force of the enemy had passed up after Col. Mosby, who had
been troubling them, as was the custom of that gallant and
enterprising officer; and Col. White turned out by Thornton’s Mill,
but just before reaching that place, about midnight, the prisoner,
who was riding behind one of the men, leaped from the horse and
escaped into the woods.

Several shots were fired at him, but with what effect no one could
tell, and the party moved forward again, and just before reaching
the mill were fired upon by a party hid behind a fence. The Colonel,
supposing them to be citizens, wheeled about and rode up to the
fence, but some of his men told him they were wounded, and the
firing being kept up, he turned to his guide saying, “They shoot too
well for citizens; show us the way out of here.” They now passed a
barn, from behind which a party of about one hundred opened another
fire upon them, at very short range, and Col. White ordered his men
to cross the Rail Road, but in attempting it were met and fired upon
by a third party of Yankees, when they turned to go up the Rail Road
and in a few yards were again exposed to a galling fire from a
fourth party. It now seemed that escape was impossible, but the
Colonel determined to make one more attempt, and his men following,
he rode over the Rail Road bank and got clear of the trap into which
they had so unwittingly wandered.

They lost two or three horses killed, but managed to get all the
wounded men out, and making the best time possible, were five miles
from Thornton’s when daylight came.

It was afterwards ascertained that the force of Yankees engaged in
this affair was over four hundred, and that the captured spy and
guide knew of the ambuscade, which induced him to risk so much in
his escape.

The next affair of importance was the raid to Lewensville, which
occurred about the 10th of October. One of his scouts had reported
to the Colonel that a cavalry camp of about two hundred men and
horses was located near that place, and taking with him about sixty
of Companies A and B, he secured the services of George Tramell as
pilot, and started on the hazardous expedition.

On arriving within five miles of the camp, about noon, the Colonel
halted his command to wait for night, and on cross-examining his
scout, elicited the fact that he had never seen the camp and knew
nothing except what citizens had told him, and not having anything
at all reliable from this source, upon which to base a plan of
attack, the Colonel resolved to find out for himself the enemy’s
situation, and putting on a Yankee uniform, he, with his guide,
started about sunset for the camp, leaving orders for the command to
meet him about 9 o’clock, at a designated point near the camp.

He reached the place at dark, and walked around it, finding where
the pickets were stationed, and the best way to get in, so that by
the time the men came to him he had his plan all arranged. Promptly
at the hour his people came, and dismounting about half of them he
placed them under command of “Jack” Dove, Co. A, and William Shehan,
Co. B, (than whom braver men never breathed,) with instructions to
march directly upon the camp, while, with the mounted men he made a
circuit and came in the enemy’s rear.

While the vedettes were halting the Colonel’s party, the dismounted
men had gone, unnoticed, into the camp and made their presence known
by firing a volley among the tents, which caused a general stampede
among all the Yankees who were able to run, and now White’s command
coming in, the camp was captured with about thirty prisoners and
sixty-three horses. The enemy lost about fifteen killed and wounded,
but none of the Confederates were injured, and with horses,
prisoners and plunder, the raiders retired to their camp at the
Trap.

A few days after this, news was received that Gen. Lee’s army was
advancing towards Washington, and Col. White, with a few men,
started on a scout towards Manassas, leaving Capt. Myers in charge
of the battalion, who, as soon as he heard that the Colonel had
reached his scouting ground, marched the command over to join him,
and on approaching Thoroughfare Gap, discovered a party of infantry,
who seemed disposed to hold the Gap, but a dashing charge resulted
in their capture, and they were found to be about twenty-five men
and a Lieutenant from a Vermont regiment, who had been left on
picket when their regiment retired.

Passing through the Gap the battalion met Col. White at Mt. Zion
church, and made several attempt to get among Gen. Meade’s wagons,
but he took quite as good care of them in his retreat as he had done
on his advance three months before, and the scouting only resulted
in the gathering in of a few straggling troopers who wandered too
far away from their main army.

The Colonel soon branched off again with his little squad, and
during his absence Gen. Stuart sent for Capt. Myers and ordered him
to get all the men together and report for duty to General Rosser,
who was now commanding the Ashby brigade, and shortly afterwards
Gen. Lee’s army retired to their old lines on the Rappahannock.

The Colonel returned and went to work gathering up his men
preparatory to going into the regular service again, and with heavy
hearts the battalion bade farewell to the fondly-loved border land,
about the 25th October, and marched to the camp of the brigade, then
near Flint Hill, in Rappahannock county.



                              CHAPTER XIV.


The soldiers of Colonel White found their new Brigadier to be a
handsome, soldierly-looking man, very different in manner, language
and appearance from Gen. Jones, though not a whit behind that
officer in the maintenance of discipline in his brigade; but it did
not take them long to find that he was a genial, warm-hearted
gentleman, and they respected and loved him accordingly. For several
days there was very little done beyond some scouting along the
Rappahannock, and an inspection or two by Gen. Rosser, but about the
middle of November the brigade was ordered to join the division on
the historic plains of Brandy Station, where Gen. Stuart purposed
holding another of his “spread-eagle” grand reviews, which did no
good except to give Yankee spies an opportunity to count the exact
number of cavalry attached to the Army of Northern Virginia, and to
display the foppishness of Stuart, who rode along his war-torn lines
with a multitude of bouquets, which fair hands had presented to him,
fastened in his hat and coat.

After the review, Gen. Rosser encamped his brigade at Hamilton’s
Crossing, on the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Rail Road,
about eight miles from Fredericksburg, where it remained very
quietly for several days, except on one occasion, when Gen. Hampton
desired to see what the enemy meant by establishing a camp at
Stephensburg, a little town in Culpeper, and in order to find out,
he took a detail from his several brigades, and crossing the river
at Ely’s ford with about three hundred men, attacked the camp at
daylight, completely routing the enemy and taking a considerable
number of prisoners, together with all their tents and baggage. In
this affair the 7th regiment led the charge, supported by White’s
battalion, and the two commands did all the fighting, which was not
much, for the enemy fled as soon as they could get away.

On the 27th of November, Gen. Meade’s army effected a crossing to
the south side of the river at Germania ford, and the cavalry were
kept busy, night and day, watching his movements, but Gen. Rosser
did not confine himself to watching alone, for on passing
Spottsylvania C. H., he sent Lieut. Conrad, with Town H.
Vandevanter, “Jack” Dove and Ed. Poland, to find the force and
position of the enemy, with orders to report to him at Todd’s
Tavern, and at the same time put Col. White in front with his
battalion, and marched as rapidly as possible towards the plank
road. On arriving at Todd’s Tavern, about midnight, and hearing
nothing from Conrad, the General sent Capt. Myers out alone on one
road, and Sergt. Everhart with a squad on another, telling them to
find the Yankees and report as soon as they possibly could. Both of
these scouts found the enemy very soon, and returned, and Col.
White, in his ranging around through the pines, came upon a large
cavalry camp not over a mile from the General’s headquarters. About
an hour before day the Yankees were discovered on the road leading
from Todd’s Tavern to the plank road, and soon after it was
ascertained that their wagon train was on the plank road. At
daylight all the Yankees moved off towards Chancellorsville, and
Gen. Rosser started his brigade for the train, which he cut exactly
in two, bringing out eighteen ambulances and about one hundred
wagons and teams, besides setting fire to a large number of wagons
that had passed the side road too far to turn off, and as it was
soon discovered that some of the burning wagons were loaded with
ammunition, the raid terminated suddenly.

Lieut. Conrad and his party came in about sunrise, having gotten in
among the Yankees and staid there all night, not knowing the
country, and were very nearly being captured several times. They
fought out of one difficulty with the 1st Jersey Cavalry, and
passing on, charged and captured some prisoners from another
regiment, finally coming out at the Court-house, where they had
started from in the evening. When Conrad came up to Rosser in the
morning the General asked him why he didn’t report the night before,
according to orders, but when the Lieutenant explained to him that
he had got into a place where he couldn’t report to anybody but Gen.
Meade’s people, he excused him.

On the morning of the 29th, Rosser marched his command to Parker’s
Store, on the plank road, and found the enemy encamped there, when
he at once opened the fight, by charging them, with the 7th
regiment, which drove them from their camps, and in the chase many
prisoners were taken, but heavy reinforcements came up and the fight
was obstinate and severe for two hours. At one time a strong force
of the enemy’s dismounted men took position on Rosser’s left, at a
high bank of the Rail Road, with their flanks protected by swamps,
heavy timber, and dense undergrowth. This force General Rosser
ordered Col. White to charge, which he did, the battalion going into
it in gallant style, and not only driving more than three times
their number from the Rail Road, but pressing them through the thick
timber until the marsh became too soft for their horses to go
farther, when the men were rallied and reformed, and on reaching the
plank road the balance of the brigade was found hotly engaged with a
greatly superior force, and being forced back over the Rail Road.
Here again the battalion charged just in time to save the brigade
from rout, and all together drove the Yankees clear of the road.

When the battle was over the Colonel reported to Gen. Rosser how he
had “unjointed” the Yankees, and the General gave the battalion the
name of “Comanches,” which stuck to them during the remainder of the
war.

On the night of the 30th, Meade went back to his own side of the
river so quietly that it was almost daylight before the movement was
discovered, but as soon as Gen. Stuart found they were on the move
he ordered all his cavalry forward, and harassed their rear-guard
severely.

The battalion, with the exception of Co. A, now returned to their
old camp near Hamilton’s Crossing, and found the quartermaster’s
department moved for safety towards Richmond, in consequence of
which neither rations nor forage was issued for several days, and
both men and horses suffered for the necessaries of life.

Company A was detailed to picket on the river at Gold Mine, Ely’s,
Germania, Banks’, and United States fords, and this, too, in the
country that had been devastated by the great battle of
Chancellorsville, so that they suffered more for supplies than the
others, but they opened negotiations with the Yankees on the other
side of the river, by which much trading of tobacco for coffee and
crackers was effected, and the blue and gray pickets would mount
their horses and meet in the middle of the river, where they would
confer in as friendly a manner as near neighbors generally do.

White’s battalion was very poorly prepared for a winter campaign, or
even for winter quarters, and seeing that there was not much
prospect for improvement the men became very much dissatisfied.

All their tents had been stored near Mount Crawford, in the Valley,
at the time of General Jones’ march to Brandy Station, and in the
preparation for the Pennsylvania campaign, General Lee had cut
transportation so low that only one wagon for baggage was allowed to
the battalion, in consequence of which, a great quantity of it was
stored for safety at Flint Hill, and fully expecting to find that as
they had left it, the men had come out from their homes with almost
nothing except what they wore; but on reaching Flint Hill they found
that the people around that country had appropriated everything of
value, only leaving for the depositors a few camp kettles, with the
bottoms knocked out, and some scraps of leather that had formerly
been valises.

As an evidence that citizens had stolen the property, Lieut. Conrad
found one of his shirts on the person of an old citizen, who stoutly
swore that the shirt was always his, but the Lieutenant proved his
claim and made the gentleman “come out of it.”

The men clung to the hope that the brigade would be sent to the
Valley, but after the last advance and retreat of Gen. Meade, their
camp appeared to be permanently established and their hope died. The
Colonel used every means in his power to procure from the government
the much needed supply of clothing, but notwithstanding the
battalion had never received anything of the kind from that source,
nor even drawn the commutation allowed in lieu thereof, under the
law, he only succeeded after many trials in getting about one-fourth
the necessary quantity, and as a consequence much discomfort, and in
many cases actual suffering prevailed during the cold December of
1863.

Under such circumstances as these, the spirit of discontent
culminated in the Loudoun companies, and on the night of the 14th,
about sixty of A and C took a regular “French leave” and went home,
determined to supply themselves with winter clothing, no matter what
might be the consequences of their desertion, and we will there
leave them for a time, in order to tell of an event that had a
brightening effect upon the heart of every man in the Ashby brigade,
which was an order for General Rosser to march his command to the
Valley.

On the night of the 18th December, the brigade crossed the
Rappahannock at Fredericksburg and moved to Stafford C. H., where it
encamped until morning, when the march was resumed, and all day
long, through a drenching rain, the Valley men travelled on without
a halt until about 11 o’clock at night, when they reached a
fortified camp of the enemy at Sangster Station, on the Manassas Gap
Rail Road, about twenty miles from Alexandria. Capt. Dan. Hatcher,
with his squadron, (1st of 7th Regiment,) immediately charged
through a stream of water and over the Rail Road bank, gaining the
enemy’s rear, but was met by such a heavy force in the breastworks
that he was unable to return, and the 11th Regiment dashed forward
in a wild, reckless charge, which forced the Yankees to surrender,
and released Hatcher and his boys from their perilous position.

The command marched on from Sangster as rapidly as possible, and on
reaching Bull Run, about two miles from Centreville, found that
stream almost impassable from the continuous rain which had been
pouring down for nearly twenty-four hours, and with the greatest
difficulty the crossing was effected, but just when the rear guard
reached the stream a party of Yankees came down from Centreville,
which produced a panic, and in the confusion some of White’s men
were knocked from their horses into the stream. The night was
excessively dark, and the country totally unknown to the men, and as
the head of the column had waited for nothing, but marched quickly
on as soon as the swollen stream was passed, the panic was increased
by the fast riding of those who got across, and when Col. White got
his men over there was no sign of the brigade nor any indication of
the route it had taken, while the firing in the rear showed that the
Yankees were coming up.

The Colonel sent a courier to the General for assistance and on
reaching the turnpike found the 12th regiment waiting for him, and
order being now restored the command marched quietly on; but the
wind had sprung up keen and cold from the northwest, causing the
rain to freeze as it fell, and almost depriving the men of the power
to keep their saddles, so intense was the cold, but as best they
could the dismal march was continued, and at daylight the command
reached Middleburg, in Loudoun county, and pushing on to Upperville
halted to feed and rest, having traveled over ninety miles during
twenty-four hours, with no halt except at Sangster, where one man
was killed, and several wounded in the 7th and 11th regiments, and
about two hundred Yankees killed, wounded, and captured.

When the brigade reached Upperville the run-away boys from the
battalion, who had come by way of Greene county and Luray Valley,
were just coming in, and not wishing to risk so much to get home and
be met and arrested by their command at the door, they had to go
back into the mountain and wait awhile; so that those who came
around with the brigade got home earlier than they who had been on
the road four days longer.

Many hardships were experienced in reaching the Valley, even when so
near it, because the Shenandoah was too full to cross with safety,
and the General marched to a ford above Swift Run Gap before he
could get his people over, and after this came down the Valley to
Mount Jackson, where he encamped, in the coldest weather, for about
a week, when he set out for a raid in the Moorfield Valley and on
the B. & O. Railroad, but owing to the extremely bad roads and
intensely cold weather his command was unable to execute the
General’s plans, and he returned to camp with the fruits of some
slight successes, including a number of prisoners and a few wagons,
captured near Burlington, and with many of his men frost-bitten,
some of them badly. The camp was now at Timberville, in Shenandoah
county, and here the Colonel exerted himself to induce the deserters
from Co.’s A and C to return to the battalion. These men had been
told that it was the intention of the officers to arrest and bring
them before a general court martial that would certainly sentence
some of them to be shot, and when Col. White sent a messenger to
them entreating them to return to their duty, they returned for
answer that they were willing and anxious to do so, and had no idea
of escaping punishment, but that they would never come back if there
was a prospect of any of them being shot, and that if the Colonel
would send Captain Myers to them with an assurance that they should
not go before a court martial that had power to inflict the death
penalty, they would all return with him; and accordingly, Capt. M.
was detailed to proceed to Loudoun and Fairfax counties to gather up
the deserters, which he did, reaching camp a few days after the
brigade had started out on what was familiarly known as the
"Patterson’s Creek raid."

The facts of this expedition have been principally obtained from
Messrs. T. H. Vandevanter, Co. A, White’s Battalion, and Jas. T.
Robinson, 12th Virginia Cavalry, who were couriers for Gen. Rosser,
and from Lieut. Conrad and Sergt. E. L. Bennett, of Co. A.

The command moved from camp to Moorfield about the 25th of January,
1864, where it remained until Gen. Early, with a brigade of infantry
and battery of artillery, came over, when it was resolved to attempt
the capture of Petersburg, where a strong force of the enemy was
reported to be located, and in pursuance of this plan Gen. Early
marched up the right bank of the South Branch while Rosser, with his
cavalry and one piece of artillery, crossed the river at Moorfield
and gained the rear of Petersburg; but on reaching the top of the
mountain and getting a view of the road leading to New Creek it was
discovered that a long train of wagons, guarded by about 1,000
infantry, was quietly moving along towards Petersburg, and as such
game was far more to Rosser’s notion than laying siege to a town, he
prepared to “come down on it” (to use a familiar expression of the
General’s).

His first step was to throw a few shells into the head of the train,
which brought it to a full stop, and then to charge upon it with his
“people,” an operation which was entirely successful, and the whole
train of ninety wagons and teams was captured, together with about
two hundred of the guards, which were all the troopers could catch,
as the others made such fast time to the mountain that it was given
up to be folly to attempt their capture.

The train was carrying fifteen days’ rations to the garrison at
Petersburg, but there were also some sutler wagons along filled with
the dainties and delicacies that these traveling merchants bartered
to the soldiers for their pay, and Rosser’s men had a “roaring
night” of it.

The first squadron of the battalion, under Lieut. Conrad, was sent
forward to drive a party of the enemy from Ridgeville, which was
done in the same gallant style that characterized all the
performances of Conrad, and the brigade moved forward in the morning
to Petersburg, but found that the enemy had evacuated it by a
mountain road during the night, and that Gen. Early was gone back to
Moorfield, whither the captured wagons and Yankees had been sent,
and now Gen. Rosser turned his column towards Patterson’s Creek,
sending Lieut. Conrad forward with twenty-seven men as advance
guard. On arriving at Franklin, Conrad says, they “took on wood and
water,” in other words, got a drink or two of whiskey all around,
and here “Jim” Robinson came up with an order from Gen. Rosser to
Lieut. Conrad, the substance of which was, "Go ahead to Patterson’s
Creek and run over every thing you come to," to which Conrad
replied, "All right; I’ll do it;" and sending out his advance guard,
composed of Robinson, Mobberly, H. C. Sellman, Bicksler, and
Douglass, he moved forward briskly on his reckless mission.

Just here it is necessary to briefly call attention to Major Harry
Gilmor’s statement of this affair, in his “Four Years in the
Saddle,” by way of making a correction. The Major says, that by Gen.
Rosser’s order he commanded White’s first squadron in the attack on
Patterson’s Creek Station, but Lieut. Conrad and his men say that he
did no such thing. Conrad says that Gilmor came to him on the road
saying that Gen. Rosser had sent him there to get a detail of eight
men to go with him to procure artillery horses, and Conrad refused
positively to let him have a man until he had got through with his
business, which he told him was to whip the Yankees at Patterson’s
Creek, when Gilmor remarked, "Very well; come on, and I’ll lead
you;" to which Conrad replied, "No you won’t! You nor no other
damned man can lead me and my men now;" and ordered his command
forward again, and coming in sight of the Station the advance squad
was discovered charging the Yankee vedettes, when Conrad ordered his
whole party to charge, but Gilmor exclaimed, "Hold on, Lieutenant;
you don’t know what’s there!" “No!” said Conrad, "and we don’t care
a damn! Forward, boys! Charge them!" and dashing in among the
blue-jackets they made quick work of it, killing four, wounding six,
and capturing forty-two of the fifty-two infantry soldiers stationed
there.

Soon after this, Gen. Rosser rode up and asked hastily, “Where are
the Yankees?” To which Conrad’s men replied, “Here are the
_prisoners_.”

Lieut. Conrad says, that there were desperate attempts on the part
of some of the men to burn a large brick water tank at the Station,
while others set fire to the Rail Road bridge and tried to learn how
often they could ride over it on a hand car before it fell in, but
the main body engaged in securing the plunder, of which there was a
great quantity.

After damaging the Rail Road as much as possible and securing all
the plunder and prisoners, the column turned towards home, but on
reaching the graded road from New Creek to Romney, some scouts
reported to Gen. Rosser that Kelly was advancing with five regiments
of mounted infantry to cut him off, while other scouts reported that
Averill, with his command, had reached Burlington.

The situation was not very pleasant now and Rosser turned back, but
he soon struck a new mountain road, and ordering White to take the
front, pushed rapidly forward, coming out on the grade about four
miles east of Burlington, and here Lieut. Conrad and John
Stephenson, who had been scouting, reported the road barricaded and
camp-fires in front. Col. White advanced cautiously to the
barricade, and finding no enemy there he approached the camp-fires,
but they, too, were deserted, and he soon learned that Averill had
marched from them only half an hour before, under the impression
that Rosser was marching on Cumberland. This left the road clear,
and now the raiders moved quietly along once more, and took with
them a large drove of cattle, marching until late in the night, when
the General halted his people, but had them moving again by dawn.

The Yankees soon learned that their game had slipped them and turned
to follow, but all the circumstances in the case showed that they
didn’t care to overtake them, and Averill’s march from Burlington
was evidently made to avoid contact with Rosser, for he simply moved
out of the road and when the rebel brigade had passed he quietly
fell in the rear and made no sign of attack until Rosser reached
Moorfield, when he drove in the Confederate pickets, but refused
most positively to touch the tempting bait by which General Rosser
tried to entice him in reach of Early’s infantry, who were still at
this place. Averill’s infantry came to the support of his cavalry,
but no inducement could make them do anything but skirmish, and
finally Rosser ordered Col. White to charge them, but recalled the
order just as the battalion was ready to start, and now
everything—the ninety wagons, three hundred cattle, and two hundred
and fifty prisoners—being safely moving on the road to the Valley,
Gen. Rosser wheeled his brigade into marching column, and followed
“Old Jubal,” leaving White in the rear to amuse Gen. Averill. As
soon as he was gone, the Yankees charged into town and chased a few
vedettes some distance up the road, but Lieut. Conrad with a party
met and drove them back.

While retiring slowly towards the mountain the Colonel had his horse
killed dead by a sharpshooter, fully one thousand yards distant, and
he would have been captured by a party of the enemy that advanced up
the road, at the moment, only for the devotion of J. Clendenning, of
Co. C, who dismounted and gave him his horse.

This, and the horse of John Stephenson killed in the charge at
Patterson’s Creek, was all the loss sustained by the battalion
during the raid, and I believe not a man in the whole brigade was
injured, otherwise than by taking on a little too much “wood and
water” occasionally.

The battalion reached camp on the 5th of February, and on the 6th
the first squadron, now under Capt. Myers, was ordered to Brock’s
Gap on picket, where it remained for three weeks, during which time
the brigade marched to a camp near Weyer’s Cave, where the Colonel
organized a court-martial for the trial of the deserters, and on the
return of the first squadron, Company A, now having about
eighty-five men, placed seventy-seven of them under arrest for
absence without leave, while Co. C had all her boys, but about a
dozen, in the same predicament; but the court worked fast, and soon
had them all released on double duty for a month, and for a few days
only two incidents broke the monotony of the camp; the first being a
grand horse race, and the second a grand speech from Capt. J. Mort.
Kilgour, to the brigade, on the origin and ultimate results of the
war; in which he located the origin in the “rule or ruin” spirit
that made the Puritans desolate England in the days of Cromwell, and
who, on the overthrow of their power there by the death of their
leader, emigrated to America; and with prophetic finger he raised
the curtain from the future and showed its ultimate results to be
the abolition of negro slavery and the Christianization of Africa.

On the 29th of February a report reached the General, about 9
o’clock at night, that a grand raid on Richmond, under Kilpatrick
and Dahlgren, was in progress, and hastily calling out his “people,”
Rosser marched all night through a freezing rain, over the mountain
to Charlottesville, reaching that place about noon, March 1st.

As the part taken by Rosser’s brigade in this most intolerable
piece of audacious foolishness, on both sides, was of little
importance, I shall merely give a brief journal of the marching
and counter-marching from the outset.

March 2d.—Marched from Charlottesville, by Gordonsville, and
encamped near Orange Springs about 10 o’clock, P. M. Got corn, per
M. G. Hatcher, from Gen. Lee’s headquarters.

March 3d.—Left camp early, and wound around on a very cold trail
after Kilpatrick. Halted 8 miles from Spottsylvania C. H., about 3
o’clock, to feed. Mounted at sunset and traveled all night, reaching
Hanover Junction at 9 o’clock A. M., March 4th, and at 3 o’clock
moved down to 6 miles of Richmond. Raining very hard, and nobody
knows where Kilpatrick is.

March 5th.—Lying in camp all day and the rain pouring down. Drew
three days rations of corn meal and bacon—about enough for three
meals.

March 6th.—Still in camp. Four orders to saddle up and move, and
four countermands. Plenty of horse feed, by stealing a little.

Monday, March 7th.—Moved out this morning on the road to the Valley,
passing up the Rail Road by Beaverdam to Bumpas Station, 16 miles
below Louisa C. H., and encamped. Yanks have burned all the Rail
Road wood and buildings at Beaverdam, and tore up the rails.

March 8th.—Nothing to eat, and raining fast. Marched to Louisa C. H.
and laid over. Still no rations.

March 9th.—Came to Gordonsville and camped. Drew some mule meat and
hard-tack about four o’clock—first rations since 7th.

March 10th.—Lying in camp all day near the nastiest and meanest hole
in the Southern Confederacy, to wit: Gordonsville. Found a grocery
store and bought it out. Cheese, $10 per pound. Butter, $10. Ground
Peas, $1.50 per quart. Tobacco, $5 per plug. Lead pencils, $3 each.

March 11th.—Still at this sweet-scented little place waiting for
something to turn up, which it did, about 4 P. M., in the shape of
an old, long-legged, razor-backed, slab-sided, black sow, poorer
than Pharaoh’s kine, and the last one left in the county, but we
killed and eat her, and the only meat we’ve had since the mule gave
out.

March 12th.—Left camp at sunrise, and marched by Orange Springs to
plank road, thence by the | old familiar Parker’s Store to
Chancellorsville, and encamped upon the famous battle-field.

March 13th.—Marched at sunrise, and to-night went into the same old
camp at Gordonsville.

March 14th.—In camp at Gordonsville. No rations.

March 15th.—In camp at Gordonsville. More mule.

March 16th.—Marched through Charlottesville and camped. Weather cold
as Christmas.

March 17th.—Moved early by Hillsboro’, Afton, Brown’s Gap, to
Waynesborough.

March 18th.—Marched at sunrise through Greenville to camp near
Brownsburg, and the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren campaign is ended; the
Yankee nation is indelibly disgraced by the objects of the
expedition, and Stuart’s laurels wilted by his failure to annihilate
the whole party.

On the 31st of March the battalion moved its camp, passing Lexington
and halting at a superb place for a camp about eight miles from the
Natural Bridge, and now the men prepared for winter quarters at
last, when the winter was almost over, but as they were always
hungry it may well be imagined that their enjoyment was limited. The
ration was reduced, by Gen. Lee’s order, to a quarter of a pound of
meat and one pound of meal per day, and this _always_ fell short by
our Quartermaster’s scales; nor did the horses fare better, for with
no hay at all they only got seven ears of corn a day; and the
Southern soldiers often seriously doubted if the Revolutionary
Fathers could show a record of greater privations than they endured.
If the old Continentals were often without shoes many a barefoot
Confederate could say “so am I;” and if the Continentals often
suffered for food, the Confederates could point to many harassing
scenes when, as Captain Grubb said of Brandy Station, “they fought
all day before breakfast and went on picket all night before
supper;” and although there were often heard complaints bitter and
loud from the poorly-clad, ill-fed, and bad-sheltered soldiers of
Dixie, it is doubtful if the Continentals themselves in their dark
hours evinced greater fortitude, endurance, and devotion, than they;
and the history of the war that _shall_ be written fairly when the
clouds of prejudice and passion, that now hide the fame of the
Confederates, have blown away, will show before God and the true
world a picture of unselfish patriotism as bright as ever crowned
victory with glory or lighted the gloom of defeat with honor, but
such thoughts as these have no true place in this history, and only
show that the clouds are still unbroken.

The month of April, 1864, was passed very pleasantly,
notwithstanding the privations that naturally fall to the lot of men
who support an impoverished cause; and when, on the 27th, the
baggage accumulated during the winter was stored away at
Waynesborough, the soldiers felt that in the approaching campaign
the question of independence or subjection would be decided, and
they prepared for it with hopeful hearts, for they believed their
cause was just, and their faith in Gen. Lee was unbounded.

White had moved from his Lexington camp on the 25th, to the
Saltpetre works, near Waynesborough, where the battalion remained
until the 1st day of May, when the brigade was ordered to cross the
mountain and join the army on the Rappahannock, but just before
marching Co. D was disbanded and its members became absorbed by the
other companies.

The reason of this was that it had no officers and very few men for
duty, and all who remained earnestly desired to disband.

The command moved quietly over the Blue Ridge into Greene county,
and learned that Gen. Grant’s army was crossing the river, and that
Gen. Lee was preparing everything for the inevitable meeting with
the foe, and strange enough there were no murmurs now, as in all
such movements, from the men of Rosser’s brigade, about leaving the
bright Shenandoah Valley, for they seemed to have learned from the
experience that they were soldiers, subject to the powers that be,
and whether they approved or not they _must_ obey orders.

On the march an incident occurred in Co. F, of the battalion, which,
although condemned generally at the time, proved to be highly
beneficial in its results. This company had been without an actual
commanding officer during almost the whole time of its connection
with the battalion, until the promotion of Capt. French, and he had
found it an extremely difficult task to bring many of the men into
any sort of subjection to discipline. On the night of the first
encampment in Greene county, the Captain had given positive orders
that no man should leave the camp without permission, but so far
from the order being obeyed, it was hardly spoken before some of his
men were gone, and remained out all night. In the morning, as they
returned, Capt. French met one of them and inquired where he had
been, to which the soldier replied, “Out in the country to stay all
night.” “Did you not hear my order last night?” asked the Captain.
"Yes, but I don’t mind orders when I want to go anywhere," was the
answer; but it was scarcely given before the Captain’s sabre came
down on his head, and the man fell badly hurt. This created great
excitement in the company, and while most of them joined in a
petition to the Captain to resign, some of them threatened him with
personal violence; but when he heard of it he came out among the men
alone, and proposed to give any or all of them the satisfaction they
required, and awed by his fearless manner, all of them to a man
submitted the case without a trial, and ever afterwards Capt.
French’s orders were law in Co. F, and as has been stated, from
being a very inefficient company, he raised it to the position of a
first-class one for its numbers, but he never used his sabre on his
own men afterwards.

On the evening of May 4th, the “Comanches” encamped in the pines on
the Cataupin road, near the right of Gen. Lee’s army, and about six
miles from Orange C. H.



                              CHAPTER XV.


The morning of May 5th opened calm and still, and there was no sign
by which men could judge of the bloody day before them, for
literally all was “quiet along the lines,” but the quiet of the
scene was oppressive in its extreme stillness, and the sun rolled
like an immense ball of barely red hot iron, seeming to be almost
touching the tops of the pine trees under which lay the “Laurel
Brigade,” unrefreshed by even the quiet repose of the past night,
and many remarks were made about the singular appearance of the Day
God as he waded higher and higher through the still, smoke-laden air
of that battle-morn, some of the men repeating the Napoleonic
exclamation, “remember the sun of Austerlitz,” and Colonel White
declaring that it presaged a bloody day.

Soon after sunrise the command moved slowly down the Cataupin road,
and in an hour the dismounted men were skirmishing with the enemy in
the dense thickets of pine and undergrowth which closely bordered
the road on either side and extended towards the river by Shady
Grove and White Hall, but the battalion was not engaged, although
rapidly marched from wing to wing, expecting each moment to be
thrown upon the Yankee line, and not knowing just where the blue
would break through the gray and compel a cavalry charge to drive
them back, for the firing each moment grew in volume and intensity
until the fight raged fiercely all along the lines. At this time the
battalion was out of ammunition, and although details had been sent
to the ordnance trains frequently, they always returned with the
same aggravating report that none was to be procured, as the cavalry
train had not yet come up, and under the circumstances the men
watched with a far deeper interest than usual the progress of the
battle. About the middle of the day Capt. Emmett, Rosser’s A. A.
General, and Jim Robinson, the General’s pet courier, came from the
front, both badly wounded, and told White’s men that the Yankees
were reinforcing and they would soon have to charge, but about 2
o’clock General Rosser succeeded in driving the Yankees from their
position, and at once pushed his brigade rapidly forward. Just as
the battalion came in range of the enemy’s batteries the column
halted, and for several minutes the situation was decidedly hot, the
shells exploding precisely at that point, and causing the loss of
several men and horses; but pretty soon one of the advance regiments
drove off the annoying battery, and the whole column moved quickly
forward over the Po river, where they struck a considerable force of
the enemy, which, after a sharp fight, was completely routed, and
Rosser’s men followed the retreating Yankees at a gallop, by some
plantation roads and swamp paths, far to the left, bringing up at a
body of woods on a hill about a mile from the river they had just
crossed, and still on the Cataupin road, not far from Todd’s Tavern,
having made a circuit in the chase of about three miles.

The men had become very much scattered in the rapid ride through
such a country, and White’s people, being in the rear, were of
course worse strung out than any others, in fact when the head of
the first squadron (which by the evolutions on the other side of the
river had been thrown in rear of the battalion) came up to the
woods, where a division of the enemy’s cavalry had met and engaged
the brigade in a fierce and stubborn fight, there were scarcely a
dozen men in sight, and Capt. Myers called a halt in order to allow
the others time to close up, as the front of the battalion was hid
from view in the thick woods, but Gen. Rosser, who was sitting on
his horse near the road, listening to the rapid firing in front of
him, called out, excitedly, "Let ’em out, Myers; let ’em out! Old
White’s in there, knocking them right and left." And with a wild
yell Company A dashed forward, wheeling to the left as it reached
the road, the Captain supposing he could thus come down upon the
right flank of the enemy, but they had scarcely gone one hundred
yards when a piece of artillery, hidden in the pines on the road
side, blazed a storm of grape into the column, which for a minute
checked its progress, and by the time the squadron was ready to
charge the masked battery, it was limbered up and moved rapidly
away, barely escaping capture. The first squadron then joined the
battalion, finding it hotly engaged with fully six times its number,
and for want of ammunition being slowly driven back.

The enemy had attempted repeatedly to charge, but was met and
repulsed every time, and in this rally and retreat style of
fighting, individuals on both sides displayed great skill and
courage, but the fight was altogether on horseback, and as in the
days when Cavalier and Puritan met in the conflict long ago, so it
was now with their descendants, and the superiority of Southern
horsemanship gave the advantage to that side, but it was the only
one it did possess. Many prisoners were taken by White’s men, and
the first demand was always for their cartridges and their arms
afterwards, and every bullet thus taken from the captured Yankees
was soon returned to their comrades, minus the powder however.

After an hour of hard fighting, a flank movement forced them almost
to the edge of the woods on the hill before spoken of, and the men,
discouraged because of their lack of ammunition, were ready to give
up the fight, which the enemy did not show much disposition to press
further, but the officers rallied them for another trial.

The battalion was drawn up alongside of the road, and as a regiment
of Yankees galloped down in their front, Capt. Myers turned to Col.
White, and asked, "Colonel, how can we fight those fellows with no
ammunition? We’d as well have rocks as empty pistols." But the
Colonel replied so grimly, “What are our sabres for?” that the men
drew their blades without any hesitation, and charged square at the
Yankee column, which wheeled about and retired faster than it came,
closely pursued by the “Comanches,” but after going about half a
mile a force of the enemy was observed moving through the pines to
the right and rear of the battalion, and Capt. Myers, with Jack Dove
and Jim Whaley, turned towards them and firing with captured pistols
as rapidly as possible, called loudly for “first squadron,” “second
squadron,” &c., to “forward” and “charge,” making so much noise in
the operation, that the Yankees halted and opened a sharp fire upon
what they supposed to be at least a rebel regiment, and shortly
after, the Colonel returned with the battalion and the enemy retired
over the hill.

This ended the fighting for that evening, with the exception of some
slight skirmishing as the brigade retired over the Po river to Shady
Grove, where it encamped for the night.

The battalion did not number over one hundred and fifty men in the
last charge, about twenty having been killed and wounded, and quite
a number (as is usually the case) were reported in the list of
“missing in action;” but only one was never heard of afterwards,
(John J. Clendenning of Co. C,) and it was supposed that he had
fallen into the hands of the enemy after being wounded, and died
either in hospital or prison.

The hard work for both men and horses, had told grievously on the
little band of “Comanches,” and they all hoped that they would not
be called upon to leave their camp the next day, but by sunrise on
the morning of the 6th, the bugles were sounding to horse, and very
soon the old Ashby brigade was moving on the same Cataupin road
towards Todd’s Tavern—names long ago made familiar and famous in the
annals of the war.

After crossing again the Po river, on the same crazy, ricketty
bridge, over that chocolate-colored stream, which with the “Matt,”
“Tay,” and “Nye” rivers, form the now celebrated “Mattapony,” the
column turned to the left, leaving the battle-ground of the
preceding evening about half a mile to the right, and when the
gates, fields and fences of the Chancellor plantation had been
cleared, and the brigade was marching easily and freely through the
open pine country bordering on the “Wilderness,” General Rosser
ordered Col. White to “send his best squadron to the front,” when
the Colonel told Capt. Myers to take his company and report to the
General. As before remarked, Company A was now the first squadron,
it being a large and unusually full company, and the small company
(D) which formerly with A composed the squadron having been
disbanded, and also, besides thus being the easiest handled, was at
the head of the column, causing it to be selected to fill the rather
invidious order of the General.

As the Captain rode forward and reported for special duty, the
General gave his order, which was, verbatim, "Myers, move your
people down this road and run over everything you come to. I’ll send
a pilot with you." “The people” moved in lively style along the
road, which now bore to the right and more in the direction of the
previous day’s fighting, when they commenced to pass evidences of
panic on the part of the “boys in blue,” in the shape of gum cloths,
blankets, carbines, hats and saddles, and thinking that as Yankee
plunder was plenty, the men who left it were out of the way, they
moved too fast, and the General sent one of his staff with orders to
go slower and not get too far from the brigade.

At length, after crossing a swampy stream and marching quietly along
the left of a sedgy old field, in which some Yankees were discovered
about a hundred and fifty yards to the right, and who began sending
their compliments from Spencer and Sharpe, the squadron found that
their road forked at the corner of the field, and not knowing which
to take, Myers halted and called for his pilot, but not finding him,
Jim Harper, in his peculiar style, reported that "the dam ’scape
gallus had picked up a saddle at the branch, and as soon as the
first shot was fired in the field had carried it to the rear like
the devil."

The men in the field had now stopped firing and gone into the woods,
and Myers asked Lieut. Conrad which road he thought they had better
take, to which the Lieutenant replied "that it didn’t make much
difference, so they got to the Yankees," when the Captain turned the
head of the column to the right, and with the command, “Forward,
boys; and get ready to fight,” marched down the side of the field
about a hundred yards, and looking back saw Col. White, with the
battalion, moving quietly from the woods at the branch and turning
into the field. Fifty yards further brought the first squadron to a
point where the road turned abruptly from the field into the woods,
and with a rattling, whizzing blaze of carbines they were received
by a squadron of the enemy not twenty steps distant. The fire was
instantly returned, and a charge made, when the Yankees broke and as
rapidly as possible fell back upon their supporting regiment, which
in turn gave way before the dashing charge of the victorious rebels.

Just here the enemy moved forward a heavy line of cavalry, said by
prisoners to be two divisions, and Col. White went in with his
battalion in his usual “neck or nothing” style, but not being
supported, was in a few minutes so roughly handled that it was with
great difficulty his people got clear of the swarming masses of
Yankees that lined all the space from woods to stream. The Colonel’s
horse was killed, the Adjutant’s horse was killed, and in trying to
save his papers which were fastened on the saddle, that gallant
officer was captured.

Several men were killed and wounded in this desperate charge, and
the enemy dashed after the retreating Confederates until met by the
11th Regiment, which only checked them and gave way when the 12th
and 7th Regiments were, in detail, met and driven back by the
overwhelming forces of the Yankees. But just at this moment the
ubiquitous Col. Chew threw his horse artillery into position and
poured such a storm of grape and shell into the crowded columns of
blue-jackets, that they were in turn forced to retire and let their
own artillery come into the fight. The Yankee batteries were posted
in a semi-circle, with their right wing thrown forward, and the
fiery Capt. Thompson had a red-hot position for his guns, but like
the hero he was he held it, and his cannoniers, like smiths at their
forges, labored incessantly in the unequal fight, amid the baleful
death-fires that surrounded them. There are two expressions in the
military vocabulary that describe situations usually fatal to the
party occupying them, the first of which is that terrible word
“flanked,” and the second “artillery cross-fire,” carries with it
almost equal dread, and this second is what tried the metal of the
boys of Chew and Thompson that day, but they were proof-steel.

However, it is not with the Stuart Horse Artillery that we have to
deal now, and to return to the 35th Battalion. As soon as the
artillery had checked the enemy, the Colonel commenced to rally and
form his people in rear of the battery as a support to it, but no
one thing in the duty of an officer is harder to accomplish than to
form broken troops under such a fire as now swept this same old
field of sedge. All the regiments of the brigade were trying it, and
with about equal success. General Stuart rode back and forth along
the road in the rear, his black plume waving on the death-laden
morning air, and his beautiful sword laid across his arm, doing his
utmost to stop the fugitives from the terrible field, and induce
them to return to their duty. He was perfectly cool, and his calm
but positive words, "You _must_ go back, boys, the Yankees can’t
more than kill you if you fight them—and if you don’t go back I’ll
kill you myself—better be shot by the enemy than your own men—go
back, boys!" had a fine effect upon some, but the murderous
cross-fire had such a demoralizing power that even Gen. Lee himself
could not have kept the majority of the runaways on the smoking
field; and now, if the enemy had pushed forward one resolute
brigade, such as Custer’s was said to be, the artillery could have
been captured and the victory won, but they didn’t know it, and in
their ignorance, and Chew’s audacity, rested the salvation of
Rosser’s brigade.

After the cannonade had continued for perhaps half an hour, and the
little line of supports to the battery had melted away almost to
nothing, composed now of men from the 11th and White’s battalion,
the Colonel resolved to bring such of the men as were lurking to
rearward in the woods, into ranks again, and for this purpose
ordered Capt. French, of Co. F, to cross the swamp and compel them
to return. The Captain demurred to the arrangement, however, fearing
that those who saw him ride back would imagine he, too, was running
from the fight—but no man who ever saw Marcellus French on a
battle-field could possibly have entertained such a thought for even
a single moment, no matter what might be the surrounding
circumstances, or the business in which he might be engaged, for a
more stubbornly brave man never drew a sabre, and he was by long
odds the coolest man in the battalion, “as cold as ice,” was the
verdict passed upon him by the lamented Capt. Grubb. After a few
moments’ consideration, French proceeded to execute the Colonel’s
order, and succeeded in bringing several men back to the command.

White himself was riding around arranging his people, who were all
dismounted, and here was the only place he was ever seen to dodge.
Shells were plunging and bursting in, around, and over the ranks
every moment, and when the business of re-organizing the line begun
Capt. Myers was placed on the right to rectify the alignment, and
stood on a tussock just at the edge of a marsh. When the Colonel had
arranged matters to his notion he dismounted immediately in front of
Myers and springing over the mud stood face to face with him on the
tussock, but scarcely was he located than a shell howled wickedly
past and very near their heads, when down went the Colonel’s head in
Myers’ breast, in such a manner that it was impossible for the
latter to bow his acknowledgment to the savage missile, and when, a
moment later, the Colonel raised his head Myers was as near laughing
in his face as the circumstances would permit. White laughed and
shook himself, exclaiming "I golly! I believe I’m demoralized
myself;" and every man there felt that they would be willing to
exchange places with the famous Light Brigade at Balaklava even, for
literally the guns volleyed and thundered on the right, left and
front of that little band which was standing—and dying—at ease,
without an opportunity to strike a blow or shelter themselves from
the murderous fire that was literally ploughing the whole field with
cannon shot. By-and-bye the fire became so hot that the Colonel
ordered his men to lie down, and just as a party of them had crowded
together in a little hollow that seemed to present the best prospect
for shelter, a shell shrieked among them and completely tore the
head of young Broy, of Company F, from his shoulders, scattering his
blood and brains in the faces of his comrades, and killing a horse
by its explosion a moment after.

A considerable number of the horses were struck, and the danger from
the wounded steeds was almost as great as from the shells, for a
horse, as a general thing, becomes much more frantic from a wound by
an exploding shell than by a bullet.

Ed. Oxley’s horse was instantly killed, and he walked up to Capt.
Myers to report the fact and ask what he must do, when the Captain
told him to take his rigging from him and go to the rear, which
Oxley at once proceeded to do, but on reaching his horse found that
one of the 11th regiment had already performed that duty for him,
and his saddle and clothes were nowhere to be found, whereupon Oxley
became decidedly the most violently excited man in the field,
swearing terribly, in his peculiar style, that “any man who would
steal at such a time as that ought to be hung.”

The Rev. Lieut. Strickler, of Co. E, and Capt. French, both
consistent members of the Methodist Church, were standing together
conversing on the subject of religion when a party of the enemy’s
sharpshooters came near enough to add their rifle bullets to the
terrible storm of shell that rained around, and during the hottest
of it the Lieutenant was heard to remark that whatever was
foreordained by the Almighty would be accomplished, and if we were
intended to be killed there we couldn’t help it, while, on the other
hand, if our time had not yet been fulfilled according to God’s
predestined plan, we were safe, although a thousand cannon should
open their thunder upon us; and in this comfortable doctrine (under
the circumstances) the Captain readily acquiesced, greatly to the
gratification of Colonel White, who in religious opinion was an Old
School Baptist.

About 2 o’clock the firing ceased, and the war-storm lulled to
silence, allowing the soldiers a breathing spell and time to inquire
for those who were missing from the ranks, and many of the brave
boys who had gone gallantly into the battle that morning never came
back again, for their names were dropped from the Company rolls to
be recorded in the list of heroes who gave their lives for the “Lost
Cause,” but who made it a glorious one by its bloody baptism.

Henry Moore, one of Company A’s best and bravest, and who had been
with it from the beginning, had fallen in the front of the fight,
shot through the brain. Joseph Hendon, a gallant young soldier, also
of Company A, and a native of North Carolina, was killed in the
first charge. Samuel W. Crumbaker, Company A, was mortally wounded,
and Lieut. Benjamin F. Conrad, who deserved the title of “bravest of
the brave,” if any man ever did, was terribly wounded in the thigh,
(in the first charge, when Co. A was running over “everything she
came to,”) which made amputation necessary, and he was never able to
do duty again. Color-Sergeant Thos. N. Torreyson, Company C, also
lost a leg, and John Douglass and Hugh S. Thompson, Co. C, were
killed, as was also Jacob W. Huffman, of Co. E, and quite a large
number wounded, whose names, as far as ascertained, will be found at
the close of the volume.

The enemy occupied the battle-ground, and of course had the dead of
the Confederate cavalry in their lines, but they buried them and
marked their graves so their friends could find them.

The cavalry were not the only troops engaged on that bloody day, for
at every lull in the battle on the right the muskets of the infantry
could be heard along the lines to the left, and during the day the
report came that Gen. Longstreet had been badly wounded by his own
men, which was soon confirmed, and the thoughts of the soldiers flew
back to “Stonewall” Jackson, while many of them cursed the
blundering carelessness of the infantry, and the recklessness of the
officers, in the same breath. There was really a vast difference
between infantry and cavalry in this respect—the latter, having
learned caution from outpost duty, would learn the character of an
advancing party before firing, while the former, not being able to
travel with the same celerity as the cavalry, nearly always fired
first and inquired “Who comes there?” afterwards; a system that cost
the Confederate States their independence, for if Jackson had lived,
the North would have given up the fight at the close of the battle
of Gettysburg.

In about two hours after the battle ended among the cavalry, the
enemy fell back, and Maj. McClellan, of Gen. Stuart’s staff, called
for Col. White’s people to go with him and establish communication
with the infantry of Gen. Longstreet on the left, and marching
quietly through the blazing Wilderness, their greatest care was to
prevent their own men from firing into them.

The dense body of timber through which they had to pass was all on
fire, and the dead pine trees were momentarily falling like flaming
columns around them, with dark masses of smoke draping the wild
scene as if Nature had thrown a funeral pall over the withering tide
of desolation which contending armies were sweeping athwart the
land, while along the Rail Road to our right, as we marched, we knew
the Yankee line of battle was waiting.

As the battalion, with great difficulty, gained the middle of this
burning forest, a kind of smothered sound of marching troops was
heard, and peering silently through the smoke, we soon discovered a
long line of infantry in blue cautiously marching directly towards
us from the right, all carrying their muskets at a shoulder arms.
They were not more than fifty yards away, and had not yet discovered
us; but the distance was rapidly diminishing, and we knew that if we
moved they would see us. Pretty soon, however, an infantry soldier,
in tattered gray, met Col. White and Maj. McClellan, and gave them
the welcome information that himself and twenty of his people had
scouted near the enemy’s line, and getting on the flank of the
Yankees, had captured about three hundred of them without firing a
shot, and were now taking them back to Longstreet’s lines, with all
their arms, in fact, just as they found them; and the Yankees were
so impressed with the idea that they were now surrounded by hostile
rebels, that their whole attention was given to the work of
convincing everybody that they were prisoners and didn’t mean fight,
when, in fact, they were in a gap a mile long, between the right
wing and centre of Gen. Lee’s army, in which there were no troops
but this little force of about one hundred cavalry, who were doing
their best to get out of their uncomfortably hot position. Passing
on about half a mile we came out on the plank road, and after some
difficulty in signaling to the grim old veterans of Longstreet’s
corps, who held it, that we were all right, they allowed us to come
among them.

The next move was to establish vedettes through the Wilderness space
we had just passed, and draw the line as near the Rail Road as
possible, which was so well done that by dark White’s battalion
stood on the track for more than half the distance; the enemy having
retired a quarter of a mile from it, and about 10 o’clock the
infantry extended their lines over the whole ground, relieving the
“Comanches,” who now retired to their same camp at Shady Grove, and
the day’s work was done.

It would be useless to proclaim that these men had met the foe
unflinchingly, and had braved the iron tempest of this bloody battle
day with unbroken front, for this would be at once to pronounce them
more than mortal, and like gods, free from all the feelings common
to humanity; but we do say, that they had, like men battling for the
dearest rights which were given to the race, gone through the fire
in the discharge of their duty, and while some had fled in panic
from the conflict, the majority had held their ground against a foe
that outnumbered them twenty to one, and had only given way when it
was absolute suicide to remain longer on that harvest-field of
death.



                              CHAPTER XVI.


General Rosser ordered the “Comanches” to remain at the Po river
bridge during the 7th, and guard it from the attacks of the enemy,
who, still posted in the woods where the hard fighting was done on
the evening of the 5th, showed a disposition to take the bridge.
Here the Colonel had some breastworks thrown up, and leaving Capt.
Myers with Company A to hold the bridge, he attempted a flank
movement to the right with the remainder of his battalion, hoping to
capture some horses, but was unsuccessful; and during his absence
the Yankees made a demonstration with dismounted cavalry on the
little force at the bridge, which, however, held the position,
although vigorously shelled for some time. One man was wounded
slightly, and on the return of the Colonel, with a piece of
artillery, they gave it up, and allowed White’s men to rest quietly.

On Sunday morning, May 8th, the whole brigade moved early and
commenced skirmishing near Todd’s Tavern, but the enemy seemed to be
shifting, and not quite willing to make a stand anywhere until about
10 o’clock, when we came up with them in force and strongly posted
in a heavy body of timber.

Here all the men with long-range guns were dismounted and ordered
into the woods, Lieut. Thos. W. White, of Company C, commanding the
sharpshooters of the battalion, and pretty soon the firing showed
that a sharp fight was going on in the Wilderness.

In a few minutes the mounted men were ordered forward to charge, but
the enemy retired beyond the head waters and swamp of the Nye river.

As the battalion moved forward they met some of the sharpshooters
bearing to the rear all that was left of their accomplished
commander, Lieut. White, who had been shot dead by a rifleman hid in
the woods, as he was arranging that part of the line immediately
under his supervision. He was a native of Loudoun county, and as
Lieut. Colonel of the militia at the breaking out of the war, had
done all that lay in his power to aid Virginia in defending her
border against the Northman’s ire, but at the time of the evacuation
of Manassas and all the lines of defense held in connection with it
by the Southern Army, he and Mr. A. M. Vandevanter were engaged in
the work of trying to raise a company of volunteer cavalry, and not
being posted as to the sudden fall back, was unfortunately left in
the hostile lines of Geary before he knew it; but when Capt. Grubb
commenced to recruit for his company, Lieut. Col. White was the
first to join him, and at the organization was appointed Orderly
Sergeant, discharging his duties faithfully until the death of Capt.
Grubb and consequent promotion of the other officers caused his
election to the office of Second Lieutenant.

Lieut. White and the Colonel were not on entirely friendly terms,
for the reason that when the latter was raising his company, the
Lieutenant caused some opposition, by objecting to the men enlisted
by the Colonel being excused from duty as militia until the company
was organized and in actual service.

This caused a coolness which was not fully dissipated until, in the
tremendous battle of Brandy Station, Lieut. White displayed such
conspicuous gallantry that he completely gained the Colonel’s
confidence and good will, and was ever after considered by his
commander one of the best officers in the battalion, as he fully
deserved to be.

One little incident connected with this, his last day of life on
earth, would seem to indicate that he felt a presentiment of his
fate, for while riding down to his death, he and Capt. Myers were
discussing an order of the General’s to the effect that the
battalion should be armed with long-range guns, and both agreed that
they very much objected, for the reason that they disliked fighting
on foot, but the Lieutenant remarked that if he should ever be
dismounted and sent into that Wilderness country there to fight,
that he would certainly be killed, for it would so excite him that
he would not understand how to act; and when the order was given for
the men to dismount, and he was designated to lead them, he said to
the Captain as he passed to the front, in allusion to their
conversation, "Good-bye, Frank; I am going, and don’t expect to see
you any more;" and there we saw for the last time the gay,
high-spirited and popular Lieut. Tom White.

From this time until the 21st, the battalion was occupied, with the
brigade, in picketing and skirmishing, varied with occasional
scouts, in one of which the Colonel took a part of his command by
the left flank to the rear of Grant’s army, visiting three large
field hospitals, in which lay thousands of wounded men whose
discharges from the service had been issued from the muzzles of
Confederate rifles, and on this trip the boys broke up nearly 2,000
stand of arms. All this while the infantry were passing through that
tremendous ordeal of fire which has made the Spottsylvania
Wilderness famous for all time in the bloody history which marks the
progress of the world from the days of old down to the present, and
if ever hard, stubborn fighting deserved success, the army of Lee in
those May days of 1864 earned it, for every day the same awful roar
of battle rolled along the lines, and every night came the same
encouraging reports of the enemy repulsed with heavy slaughter,
until it was a given up point that soon Grant would stop his
“hammering,” for the good reason that the hammer was shivered to
atoms on the solid anvil of Southern endurance and grit, but the
national butcher kept throwing his doomed legions upon the
invincible veterans of Gen. Lee, and supplying, from the teeming
millions of Yankeeland and Germany, the places of the slaughtered
men in blue, and day after day the hateful gridiron of the Yankee
nation floated along the Rappahannock, telling that the war was not
over yet.

On the 15th of May, Gen. Rosser marched to Enan Church, near the
plank road, where he fought hard for an hour, to find if the enemy
had infantry in that neighborhood, which proved to be the case.

Some of the boys said he only took the brigade down to hold the
usual Sunday morning service, as the General had recently joined the
Episcopal Church, but others remarked that he made a mistake in the
prayer book, as Colt’s was not generally used in that Church. The
night before had been spent by Company A on picket in the
Wilderness, and as the author witnessed the performance, it will not
be amiss to describe it, showing as it does one part of the
soldier’s duty, and the manner in which it was performed in that
God-forsaken country which is fit for nothing but a battle-field,
and the worst one imaginable for that. The Company reached the
picket line on the Cataupin road about dark, and the night set in
rainy, and black as Erebus by the time the posts were established.
There it was necessary to picket all around, and having at length
got everything arranged, the reserve lay down on pieces of cracker
boxes, an immense number of which were scattered around, for
headquarters was established at what had been a field hospital for
the 5th and 6th of May.

Nobody was permitted to unsaddle, of course, and without blankets
the night was unpleasant enough, but pretty soon firing was heard
towards the river, and by the time the pickets came in the company
was mounted and ready for action, but no enemy appeared, and soon
the line was re-established, only to be broken again in a few
minutes, and the same ceremony of preparation for fight gone through
with, which ended as before, without it.

This was done several times, and finally two men who never yet
experienced the sensation of fear, were placed at the same post,
which appeared to be the very centre of the Wilderness. These two
men were John W. White and John Chadwell, and pretty soon firing was
heard at their post, when all the pickets came in except the two who
were supposed to have done the shooting, and after waiting in line
of battle for some time, Capt. Myers ordered the Corporal, to whose
relief they belonged, to ride out and see what was the matter, but
that gentleman flatly refused to go, declaring his belief that the
Yankees had killed the pickets and were waiting now to shoot whoever
went to look for the missing men. After a little hesitation, the
Captain concluded to go himself, and riding cautiously along the
crooked woods-path soon came up to the two men, who halted him
promptly and showed that they were up to their duty, and here the
Captain found that these two men had captured a squad of the enemy’s
sharp-shooters, armed with the long-barreled Sharpe’s rifle, and who
had been causing all the disturbance during the night by creeping
through the thick undergrowth, in the dark and rain, trying to get
away from the rebel lines they said, but continually coming in
contact with skirmishers, and having to lay quiet, until they were
heard by White and Chadwell, who fired on them and then charged,
when they surrendered.

The Captain asked his men why they didn’t come in and report the
cause of it, to which White replied, that "there were some more
Yankees out there in the woods, and as soon as they caught them,
“Chad” was going to take the whole squad in together."

The Captain went back and told the company to “go to sleep, for
White and Chadwell were on picket,” and taking his gum-cloth he
spread it down, by feeling, at what he considered a good place for a
nap, having a little mound for a pillow; and notwithstanding the
offensive smell, went to sleep until day-break, when, rousing up, he
was rather non-plussed at the discovery that his pillow was a pile
of amputated legs and arms, and in arms-reach of him lay the
swollen, blackened corpse of a Yankee Sergeant, whose thigh had been
shivered by a shell.

When White and Chadwell came in, they reported total captures, in
their two hours on duty, to be fourteen, and were going back to
capture a squad quartered for the night in a log-cabin about a mile
away, of which some of their prisoners had informed them, and taking
with them two or three of the men at the reserve, they did go and
capture several more.

On the 19th of May, Gen. Ewell, with part of his corps and Rosser’s
brigade, made a flank movement, about 4 o’clock in the evening of
that rainy day, around the left wing of Grant’s line, and had a very
severe fight of about half an hour, in which the battalion only
engaged as supports to Chew’s artillery, and after Ewell had
withdrawn, having learned the important fact that Grant was
flanking, which was the object of his expedition, the brigade
followed slowly and by dark was at its old camp near Shady Grove.
The boys used to say that no matter what direction Gen. Rosser
moved, during those fighting days in the Wilderness, White’s
battalion would surely bring up at Shady Grove, and it was true,
too, for more than two weeks.

Part of the time, during this warm campaign, “the people” suffered
for rations, but were generally better fed than they anticipated,
and as a general thing, men under constant and high excitement
require less food than at other times; in fact I have frequently
seen the soldiers, while listening to details of a battle,
apparently forget to eat, although they had fasted for a day; but
rations was the first thought which flashed through the minds of
White’s battalion when the news reached them, about the 10th of May,
that Sheridan’s cavalry had cut the Virginia Central Rail Road, at
Beaverdam Station, and destroyed fifty thousand pounds of bacon.
They had no idea of being whipped in the field, for all thought that
no army commanded by “Uncle Bobby” _could_ he whipped by fighting,
but if starvation came upon them they knew the war must end, and
when Gen. Stuart hastily gathered what force he had convenient, to
go after the raiders, he had the prayers of every praying man in the
Army of Northern Virginia, and the earnest wishes of all the rest,
for his success.

About this time the enemy made a heavy movement on the left flank,
and General Hampton, with the few cavalry left him by Stuart, had to
do his best, and on the evening of the 18th ordered the battalion to
support Thompson’s battery which, as usual, got into a very hot
place. The Cobb Legion was in front along the edge of the pines,
dismounted, and the artillery on a hill something like a hundred
yards in their rear, while fifty yards to the rear of the guns stood
White’s people, and when the swarm of Yankee infantry made their
appearance the legion retired to their horses without firing a shot,
but Thompson opened with grape and canister and for a short time
checked the advance, but by this time the musket balls were cutting
the wheels of his gun-carriages, and Rosser ordered him to retire,
at the same time calling to Colonel White to move everything but one
squadron and to leave that with instructions to follow the battery
and save it.

The Colonel called out to Captain Myers, “hold your squadron there
and when the Yankees come on the hill, charge them,” and moved the
rest of the command to the woods on the left. The enemy’s artillery,
from the other side of Po river, was now firing rapidly at Thompson,
and nearly every shell passed over or through the squadron, while
the infantry fire was making the situation very hot, and when at
length the battery did move it was found that the tongue of one of
the caissons was broken, but Mec Souder, a Loudoun county man and
Sergeant of the battery, cut a sapling and as rapidly as possible
improvised a pole which enabled him to save the caisson.

The 1st squadron then moved off, but none too soon, for as they
passed the woods about a hundred yards to the left, the Yankees
swarmed upon the hill, cutting General Hampton off from his command,
and capturing one man of the battalion. This was looked upon by the
men as decidedly the narrowest escape they had ever made, for
certainly if they had remained three minutes longer not a man could
have escaped, as fully ten thousand infantry would have been within
less than fifty yards and the squadron would have stood exactly in
the centre of their line.

These were the men who captured General Edward Johnson, of Ewell’s
Corps, with most of his division that same day, and they were then
moving up to make their attack on the Confederate works. The cavalry
halted a short distance to the left and waited for the Yankee
troopers to appear, but they were all with Sheridan near Richmond.

The battalion had become so much reduced in numbers by the
casualties of war that it was now formed in two squadrons, the first
composed of Companies A and C, under Captains Myers and Dowdell and
Lieut. Sam. Grubb, and the second, of Companies B, E and F, with
Capt. French and Lieutenants Strickler, Chiswell and James for
officers.

The second squadron was sent on picket to the left of the army,
where it remained for some days, and on its return to the command
about the 20th, the first was ordered out for a tour of duty of the
same kind between Todd’s Tavern and the Court House; but about 2
o’clock on the morning of the 21st received an order to join the
battalion, then bringing up the rear of the army, which was moving
by Spottsylvania Court-house towards the North Anna river. The march
was rather an exciting one, leading as it did over the broad
battle-fields of the Wilderness, where many hundreds of dead men
still lay unburied, and the squadron was obliged to pass directly
over them, when, as the hoofs of the horses would strike the
corpses, the flesh would strip from the bones, leaving them
glistening in the phosphorescent light that played around them, and
the weird, ghostly influence of the scene affected the men, in the
silence and gloom of that early morning, more than the presence of
any number of live Yankees could have done; but the night wore
away—very slowly indeed, it seemed—and by an hour after sunrise the
battalion united a few miles below the Court-house, when it slowly
marched along the Richmond road, still acting as rear guard for the
army. A small party of the men under Lieutenant Samuel Grubb came
directly by the Court-house, barely escaping capture by the force of
the enemy which occupied the village, as rear guard for Grant’s
army, and after passing that point they captured about a hundred
stragglers, whom the Lieutenant and his squad formed in line, and
after breaking their guns and “going through them” for watches and
greenbacks, paroled the whole party and sent them on their way
rejoicing; with a net result of about a dozen brass watches that
wouldn’t keep time; a hundred pocket-books containing in all,
probably five hundred photographs, and two dollars in five cent
notes, besides a few sutler tickets.

The battalion crossed the North Anna about sun-set and having no
horse-feed, rode until 11 o’clock hunting for a grass field, which
they at last found near Hanover Junction. For several days the old
Fork Church took the place of Shady Grove, to the “Comanches,” and
although they might be operating along the river—on the Rail Road;
or skirmishing on the Telegraph road—yet every day found them in
bivouac during some part of it at the church which had stood for
more than a century; its bricks having been brought from England
during colonial days, and all its surroundings associated with the
memory of the boyhood of Henry Clay; indeed the home of the great
statesman’s mother was scarce half a mile from the church, in the
slashes of Hanover, where, as a boy, he cultivated corn and tobacco.

During all these days the rations were scanty, and hard in both
senses of the word, but what the commissary department furnished was
all that the troops could get, for the country was so impoverished,
and the people so naturally shiftless, that they did not live better
than the soldiers, and plentiful as were the negroes, none of them
made enough to live on without stealing the corn and potatoes of the
few white people who did try their best to make a sufficient
quantity of provisions to subsist their families.

On the 28th of May the battalion marched with the division in the
direction of Mechanicsville, and on arriving near Hawes’ Shop, came
in contact with a division of the enemy’s cavalry. Here Chew’s
artillery took position on an open field about two hundred yards in
front of a heavy pine forest, while the battalion, as usual, formed
squadrons in the rear, to support the battery.

Just as this arrangement was completed, Gen. Hampton passed along,
and saluting Col. White, exclaimed, "Good morning, Colonel, we’ve
got the Yankees where we want them now;" but in about fifteen
minutes the battalion concluded that the boot was on the other foot,
for the Yankees certainly had them where they didn’t want to be. The
storm of shot and shell that howled madly over and around them was
terrific, and very soon two splendid men, Lieut. Strickler, Co. E,
and Jack Howard, Co. A, were wounded, the Lieutenant in the knee,
and Howard in the face with the big end of an exploded shell, which
came bounding along the field. Several horses were also struck,
among them that ridden by Capt. Dowdell, and which had been the
property of Lieut. Tom White, was killed. Here the “new issue,” a
brigade of new recruits from South Carolina and Georgia, which was
commanded by the veteran Gen. Butler, of South Carolina, was put,
for the first time, under fire, and although their horses were
stampeded and their queer bundles of clothes scattered through the
pines in every direction, yet the men, fighting on foot with their
long guns, stood bravely up to their work and whipped the enemy’s
cavalry fairly, but when the 6th Corps of Yankee infantry came
against them Gen. Hampton was compelled to withdraw them from the
position they had held.

The battle had lasted two hours, and when the Confederates withdrew
before the heavy lines of infantry the enemy did not follow, clearly
showing that they had no taste for Hampton’s mode of handling
cavalry.

Up to this time the Cavalry Corps had not learned the style of their
new commander, but now they discovered a vast difference between the
old and the new, for while General Stuart would attempt his work
with whatever force he had at hand, and often seemed to try to
accomplish a given result with the smallest possible number of men,
Gen. Hampton always endeavored to carry every available man to his
point of operation, and the larger his force the better he liked it.

The advantage of this style of generalship was soon apparent, for
while under Stuart stampedes were frequent, with Hampton they were
unknown, and the men of his corps soon had the same unwavering
confidence in him that the “Stonewall Brigade” entertained for
_their_ General.

This was the last battle for the month, and the battalion now went
on picket until the 1st of June, engaged in frequent skirmishes with
the enemy’s line of vedettes, but no casualties occurred except the
occasional wounding of a horse, which always caused the loss of one
man for duty, for no sooner was a horse disabled than his rider
applied for and received a detail to go and supply himself with
another, and besides the wounded men, the number on horse-detail, as
it was called, so reduced the fighting men that the whole battalion
now scarcely numbered more than Co. A did at the beginning of the
campaign, and officers were scarce in proportion, but on the 1st of
June Lieut. Marlow, Co. A, who had been absent since February,
reported for duty.



                             CHAPTER XVII.


On the 4th of June an order was received carrying everything to the
right; and Rosser’s brigade moved out to “Old Church,” near the
Pamunky, where they found a force of Yankees behind breastworks,
which the General ordered White to charge. The order was promptly
obeyed without dismounting, and the Yankees fled precipitately from
the rather novel scene of horsemen leaping their works, and using
both steel and ball in their curious evolution, and the General’s
wild “Hurrah for the Comanches” was re-echoed from the whole brigade
who witnessed the operation.

On the 8th, an order to prepare three day’s rations, was sent around
to the different commands; and many were the rumors of what
Sheridan’s cavalry was going to do on the Virginia Central Rail
Road. But nothing positive was learned as to the destination or
object of the expedition for which Hampton was preparing, but all
the Valley brigade concurred in the opinion that anything was better
than campaigning in that hateful pine country, where no glimpse of
the Blue Ridge could be had.

At daylight on the 9th, the command left the camp at Atlee’s
Station, and took up the line of march along the Rail Road,
encamping that night at Beaver Dam, where they drew four days
rations of bacon and “hard tack,” making six days on hand, and on
the 10th, at dawn, they moved slowly towards Louisa Court-house,
where they arrived about 2 o’clock, P. M., and learned that Sheridan
was marching with his whole force along the north bank of the North
Anna river, and aiming for the junction of the Rail Roads at
Gordonsville, where he was going to whip Hampton, and then branch
off towards Lynchburg to co-operate with Hunter, who was moving his
army from the Valley to take that city, and thereby cut off a large
portion of Lee’s supplies, compelling him to give up Richmond, and
either surrender or retreat along the Weldon Rail Road into North
Carolina.

How all this information was obtained, nobody could tell, but nearly
all the men accepted it as a fair statement of the problem to be
worked out, and it will be observed that the success of the whole
train of operations depended upon Hampton’s receipt of the
prescribed whipping at Gordonsville, of which his “people” were
extremely doubtful, for “old Wade” had never been whipped yet, nor
did they think Sheridan was the man to do it, even though he had
command of all the cavalry in the United States.

The night of the 10th Gen. Hampton’s own division, now commanded by
Gen. Butler, went into camp near Trevillian Station, on the Rail
Road, and in the early morning Gen. Rosser moved his brigade up to
the road leading off to the left into the Green Spring Valley—the
most lovely of all the beautiful Virginia country. Here he made a
detail from the several regiments, and sent it, under command of
Lieut. Col. Ball, 11th Virginia, towards Gordonsville, while with
the brigade he halted very quietly, and waited for whatever duty
circumstances might bring him. It may not be amiss here to give a
statement, as the writer understood them in the light of after
events, of General Hampton’s plans, and his reasons for them, as by
this means the reader will better understand the operations about to
be described, and which had such a mighty influence in prolonging
the defense of the Confederate Capitol. In the first place, then,
Gen. Hampton’s force was vastly inferior to Sheridan’s, not only in
point of numbers, but in arms and equipments.

The United States cavalry was splendidly armed with the improved
repeating rifles of Spencer and Henry, besides their revolvers,
while the Confederates, as a general thing, carried only the
ordinary Sharpe’s carbine and sabre, and many of them had nothing
better than the common infantry musket; in fact, Rosser’s brigade
was the only one in the division thoroughly armed with revolvers and
improved carbines, and these they had captured from the enemy, as
the Confederacy was too poor and unskilled in the manufacture of
arms to keep pace with their wealthy and ingenious opponents, who
also had open ports through which to receive the best supplies of
the Old World, and money to buy what they wanted.

In view of all this, it was General Hampton’s policy to fight the
battle in a position of his own selection, where, in some measure,
the superiority of his antagonist could be matched by strategy; and
after choosing that position, the next thing was to toll the “blue
birds” into his trap, and in order to show how this was done we must
go back to Rosser’s brigade, which we left above the junction of the
Green Spring Valley road with the Rail Road, while Young’s Brigade
lay some distance below. The Yankees crossed the river and came down
heavily on Young’s people, capturing a great many and stampeding the
remainder with the exception of one regiment which drew up in line
some distance from the road and watched the Yankee chase after their
comrades. As soon as the attack on Young’s men was known, Rosser
started his brigade at a gallop to meet them, and arriving at the
Green Spring road, found the Yankees loading their prisoners in
captured ambulances while all along the road the victorious
blue-jackets were chasing and “gobbling up” the scattered
Confederates, and right here among the ambulances the _fight_
commenced; Rosser’s boys going in, as the General said, “very
heavy,” the Yankees breaking and trying to escape, while Young’s men
sent up mixed yells of "don’t shoot this way," and "hurrah! you ’uns
has saved we ’uns agin." Pretty soon the tide was turned, and in a
perfect whirlwind of dust and smoke the “Comanches” pushed hotly
after the retreating enemy, many of whom they captured and sent to
the rear, and in the chase they passed the regiment before spoken
off, still standing quietly in line apparently interested in the
view they had of the little “mill” going on around them, but having
no inclination to become mixed up with it.

In the chase, many of the Yankees broke into the woods on the right
of the road and endeavored escape, in consequence of which many of
White’s men made a corresponding movement in order to catch them, so
that the battalion was soon very much reduced, and on reaching a
hill about a mile down the road and finding, as they supposed, a
Confederate battery on the right in full play and apparently
unsupported, the Colonel resolved to form his men along side of it,
as a large number of the enemy were discovered in the wood below
him, and a strong force posted behind a brick-kiln to the left, and
with this view, he ordered the plank fence on the right of the road
to be broken down; at the same time starting Irish Pat, of Company
C, up the road in charge of a wagon and team which had been deserted
by somebody just at this point. The battery was not more than two
hundred yards away and the force behind the brick-kiln was every
moment growing stronger, all of which made the Colonel more
impatient for the fence to be opened, but it was a strong one and
not easily broken, and while thus engaged, General Hampton galloped
over the hill exclaiming, “Colonel White, what are you going to do?”
“Going to support that battery,” said the Colonel. "Get away from
here, Colonel, it’s a Yankee battery," replied the General, and
immediately the Colonel commenced to “get away.”

Marching slowly back over the hill we found the brigade forming in a
field to the right, and Chew placing his artillery in position just
above them. Farther along, and just where we were to leave the road
to join the brigade, lay a wagon that the Yankees had cut down, and
out of which a barrel of apple-jack had rolled. Three dismounted men
were at work on it trying to fill their canteens, and as the head of
White’s column passed it, Captain Myers, who was just at the head,
with Lieutenant Marlow on his right, Orderly Sergeant Bennett on his
left, Will Edwards and Frank Lee immediately behind him and the
bugler just before him, turned to Will Edwards and said, "Will,
you’d better get Frank Lee’s canteen and fill it there, hadn’t you?"
This was in allusion to Frank’s solemn resolution not to drink any
more, caused by some of the boys having fooled him into taking too
much a short time before. The words were scarcely uttered when a
shell from the battery they had just left exploded within a yard of
the Captain’s head, and leaving him untouched, mortally wounded poor
Will Edwards, terribly mangled Ed Bennett, causing him to lose a
leg, wounded Lieutenant Marlow, and cut Crone Phillips (the bugler)
very severely in the arm and side, besides killing one and wounding
badly two of the dismounted men at the barrel, killing Phillips’
horse and badly damaging that of Sergeant Bennett. Seldom has such
execution been done by a single shell, or such an escape made as
Myers.

As may be supposed, the calamity caused great excitement for a short
time, and it was with difficulty that order was maintained under the
incessant fire which now poured in upon them, but pretty soon the
battalion formed her line, Major Ferneyhough displaying great
coolness, as did all the officers and men who were left. The scene
was one of wild confusion, shells and grape-shot whizzing and
howling all around, riderless horses dashing frantically over the
field, and ambulances rattling past at a gallop with their freight
of wounded men screaming in agony, while high above all other sounds
boomed and crashed the contending batteries; but amid all this the
Major turned to count the men in ranks, and Orderly Sergeant
Campbell, of Co. F, who had been severely wounded in the arm by a
grape-shot while assisting to align his company, turned coolly to
Captain French saying, “Captain, I am wounded and would like to have
permission to go to the rear,” which was of course readily granted,
but not many waited to ask permission to retire after being wounded;
and this instance shows that panic did not reign entirely among the
“Comanches” even under circumstances most calculated to inspire it.

The whole brigade had by this time retired to a more sheltered
position beyond the woods, and now the Colonel ordered his battalion
to fall back to the woods, which it did very quietly, and just here
was the first actual view of flying cannon-shot we had ever
_enjoyed_. A heavy battery beyond the Rail Road was throwing solid
shot directly across our line of march, one of which, striking the
solid ground the eighth of a mile to the right, bounded with a
whirling motion just in our front, and so close to the Colonel’s
horse that all who saw it were sure it would strike him, but it did
not. After halting awhile near the woods, and being still in range
of the grape, we were ordered to retire to the position of the
brigade, where the battalion formed in front of the 12th regiment,
and here we witnessed another freak of a round-shot which struck in
front of the battalion, bounded over it, and striking again, went
over the 12th, and from its third strike made another jump, clearing
the led horses as it did so.

The operations of the day were evidently against the Confederates,
and the men were blaming Hampton for allowing his men to be beaten
in that way, by brigades, but he was working out his problem and
baiting his trap for to-morrow, but some of his bait came near being
carried off, for the enemy entirely surrounded Col. Chew, who
immediately began fighting his guns all around him, and made his
position so near “red-hot” that neither friend or foe could reach
him, until without difficulty he could limber up and move back to
his people again.

Soon after this the enemy occupied the ground from which Chew had
retired, and began to advance cautiously upon the woods where Rosser
had his dismounted men, and in the fight which ensued the General
was severely wounded in the leg and compelled to leave the field.

The command of the brigade now devolved upon Col. Dulaney, of the
7th regiment, and the fighting became stubborn for the possession of
the woods; the enemy using artillery sparingly, and the Confederates
entirely deprived of the aid of theirs because the situation of the
ground would not permit its use without damaging their own men as
much as the enemy.

The “Comanches” lay at the mouth of the Green Spring road,
dismounted, to avoid the storm of bullets that whistled over them,
when Col. Chew rode past them a short distance to see if he could
plant his guns there, and Col. White rode up by his side. Just then
the Yankees threw some shells which exploded immediately _at_ them,
and killed Chew’s horse, but the cast-iron artilleryman didn’t
change his countenance in the least; and Maj. Thompson came prancing
up to have a look too, when a shell burst almost in his face, but
Thompson only laughed, and giving his hand a flutter in the white
cloud of smoke, exclaimed, "Oh! but don’t that sound wicked?"

About 5 o’clock Maj. Ferneyhough took the first squadron on a scout
up the Rail Road, and on his return found a battery posted at the
forks of the road, which, after our previous artillery experience,
we proceeded to inspect closely, and it, too, proved to be a Yankee,
so branching off to the right, we gave it as wide a berth as the
timber would let us.

It was now past sunset, and Sheridan had succeeded, with his whole
force, in driving two of Hampton’s brigades from their position, and
himself occupying, at dark, the same line they held at daylight; but
thus far he was successful, and Gen. Hampton knew that he would
follow it up to-morrow. But the two Generals had very different
ideas about the day’s work; Sheridan _supposing_ the battle was
over, and Hampton _knowing_ that it had not been fought yet.

About dark the Confederates retired to their camp on the Green
Spring road, and rested securely until morning, when, without any
hurry at all, they fed their horses, got breakfast, and prepared for
the business of this bright and beautiful Sunday morning in June. A
shower of rain had fallen during the night, and the stifling dust
was nicely laid, so that, with the exception of fighting, whatever
they had to do, could be performed in comfort.

Shortly after sunrise White’s battalion marched down to the line
which Gen. Hampton had fortified, and found the dismounted men
quietly lying behind the hastily thrown up piles of rails which
stretched along the side of a hill that rose gradually from a creek,
both flanks protected by heavy woods with thick undergrowth, and the
country in front perfectly clear as far as their rifles would reach.
The artillery was posted on the high ground along the road, and
could command fully half the circle around them, in fact, it was a
splendid position in which to receive an attack; but Sheridan did
not seem to be in any hurry to break the glad Sunday quiet of the
Valley, and hardly any firing was heard until after 12 o’clock.

The “Comanches” had been ordered to the extreme right of the line,
on vedette duty, and were occasionally annoyed by Sheridan’s
sharpshooters, but nothing serious occurred until about 4 o’clock,
when the Yankees were discovered advancing in heavy lines,
dismounted, on Hampton’s left, where all of Butler’s big “new issue”
regiments were stationed, and almost immediately the artillery
opened on them; but that was nothing to the hail-storm of lead that
fell upon them from the “new issue.” Those raw men didn’t know
anything at all about being whipped, and had no idea of anything but
killing all the Yankees in sight, to which interesting occupation
they bent all their energies, and made their rail piles look as if
they were on fire, so incessantly did they burn their powder. In a
very short time the first assault was repulsed, and the “new issue”
didn’t really know they had been fighting; but other attacks
followed in quick succession until about dark, when every man in
Sheridan’s army had been whipped, and his whole force was in full
retreat, their ambulances, wagons and demoralized troops rushing
pell-mell along the road which ran within one hundred yards of Col.
White’s position, and every moment the shells would crash from
Chew’s guns right among the yelling, panic-stricken fugitives,
making it a regular “Bull Run” on a small scale.

Col. White and his people moved up as close to them as the shells
would permit, and the Colonel conceived the idea that with four
hundred dismounted men he could capture the whole roadfull, but
after sending repeatedly to Col. Dulaney for the required force,
that officer finally sent him forty-two men, whom White sent back in
disgust and gave up the project.

By nine o’clock everything was quiet along Hampton’s lines, and the
utterly routed and defeated army of Sheridan was in full retreat
towards Grant’s headquarters, where he published to the world that
he had whipped Hampton’s cavalry, driving it to Gordonsville, but
finding a heavy force of infantry in the entrenchments at that place
had given up the pursuit.

The literal fact in the case was, that Sheridan had been most
splendidly outgeneraled, and most terribly beaten by half his
number, and not a solitary infantry soldier was engaged in the
fight, nor did he get in sight of Gordonsville, but no one blames
him for _thinking_ that he met infantry, because the “new issue”
certainly did _act_ infantry up to nature, but they were raw
recruits, and had never been under fire but once before, while
Sheridan’s were all veteran troops. Pollard, in “The Lost Cause,”
makes the same unfounded assertion, that Sheridan was “repulsed by
infantry in the rifle-pits,” but it is probable he drew his
information from the official report of that General, instead of the
one made by General Hampton.

During the fight of to-day, Lieut. Nich. Dorsey, of Co. B, who had
been a prisoner, closely confined in Fort McHenry for several
months, reported to the command for duty, having made his escape by
cutting through the slate roof of his prison with a barlow knife,
and at once assumed command of his company.

Early on the morning of the 13th, the army of Hampton started in
pursuit of the Yankees, and about 3 o’clock came up with their rear
guard at the North Anna, when some skirmishing took place, but the
enemy moved rapidly, and could not be brought to a stand long enough
to make a fight of it, and at night Hampton’s men went to the Rail
Road, where they drew three double handfuls of corn for their
horses, which was the first grain they had eaten since the 8th. In
the morning the pursuit was continued through Caroline county, but
Sheridan marched rapidly, taking every horse in the country he
passed through, and killing his own as fast as they gave out. It was
estimated that in his retreat of one hundred miles his army left, on
an average, twelve dead horses to the mile; that besides his losses
in horse-flesh at the battle, twelve hundred were shot, by his
order, on his retreat; but he took quite that number from the
citizens along his route, and in a manner that no other man than a
Sheridan or Sherman would have done.

On the 16th, Col. White started with a picked party to intercept a
courier with an escort of thirty-eight men, taking dispatches from
Sheridan to Grant, but failed to catch them, although he had a brush
with a party from the 6th Pa. Cavalry, in which he captured several
prisoners and horses, and rejoined the battalion on the 19th, near
the White House on the Pamunky.



                             CHAPTER XVIII.


Early on the morning of the 20th we marched for the White House, but
before reaching that point met the enemy in heavy force of infantry,
cavalry, artillery, and gun-boats, and had a severe fight, which
lasted all the afternoon, during which the gun-boats did some of the
most magnificent shooting with their heavy guns ever witnessed,
exploding their shells at the precise point desired, at nearly two
miles. Nothing was accomplished by the fighting except to ascertain
that Sheridan was now safe, having reached navigable water, and met
strong reinforcements, as well as supplies.

For some days the battalion was on detached duty, scouting in King
William county, and trying to catch whatever scattered parties of
Yankees that might be ranging in that county, but with no success,
for Sheridan did not permit his men to scatter much, knowing the
danger of their being caught by the Rebels if they strayed too far
from their lines.

On Sunday morning, 26th June, the whole force of Hampton marched
quietly down to Drewry’s Bluff and crossed the James. Then there was
loud and deep complaints and curses heard among the “Comanches,” and
many prophecies uttered by the various wise men among them that they
were going to give up Virginia, all of which combined to make their
spirits sink from the hopeful blood-heat, to which their success at
Trevillian had raised them, far below the zero of disappointment, in
not being allowed to reach the mountain, and their hope of ever
again roaming along the Potomac and Shenandoah withered and almost
died in the freezing despondency of the hour; but all this was soon
over, for the reason that they were much better fed on this side of
the James than while operating on the north bank of it, but still
the battalion considered this move very much in the light that Cæsar
is supposed to have looked upon the famous crossing of the Rubicon,
and felt that the whole thing was reduced to the issue of “victory
or death” now, for no live man would be permitted to re-cross the
James until the Yankees were whipped, but it was not long until they
learned that Hampton’s object in coming on this side was to get at
the Wilson and Kautz raiders, who had been for some time devastating
the “South Side” country and trying to destroy the Rail Roads below
and west of Richmond. As the story of this terrible visitation has
already passed into history, together with the (to the raiders)
grievous conclusion of it, we will only tell as near as possible the
share taken by the “Comanches” in the winding up of the great raid.

On the 27th we passed through Petersburg while the Yankees were
shelling the place, and it was really refreshing to see ladies pass
coolly along the streets as though nothing unusual was transpiring
while the 160-pound shells were howling like hawks of perdition
through the smoky air and bursting in the very heart of the city,
but they didn’t mind it a bit; and even the children would stand and
watch, at the sound of the passing shells, to see the explosion, and
make funny little speeches about them, as if they had been curious
birds flying over their heads. Familiarity with the danger of the
bombardment had cured them of all their fears of it, and when it
would be told to people on the street, as was frequently the case,
that Miss or Mrs. So-and-so was killed in her house by a shell,
nobody was horrified at all, but all seemed to take it as a matter
of course and to care very little about it.

On the 28th the battalion reached Stony Creek Station, on the Weldon
Rail Road, where they drew corn and rations, and about dark took the
road to Sapony Church, where they came up with the raiders about 10
o’clock, who had fortified themselves near the Church, and while
General Hampton studied out the situation the men lay down to rest
for the busy to-morrow which they knew was before them, for if they
had hard marching to _find_ the Yankees it was evident the work was
not to be easy now they were before them.

During the night there was occasional heavy firing between the
advanced parties of the two armies, and just before dawn of the
29th, Gen. Butler took White’s Battalion through the swamps and
thick pines, around the left flank of the raiders, and at daylight
the Colonel formed “his people” exactly in rear of the fortified
line held by the dismounted raiders, whom he charged simultaneously
with General Hampton’s attack upon their front, when their whole
force broke and scampered off through the pines with the yelling
“Comanches” after them, but the “race is not always to the swift,
nor the battle to the strong,” and after White’s men had lost time
enough with the captured Yankees to give the remainder an
opportunity to rally, which they did about two miles from their
fortifications, to the number of about two hundred, it was found to
be decidedly hot work capturing a force larger than their own, who
availed themselves of every fence, house, swamp and pine forest to
form a square and blaze into their pursuers a volley of bullets from
their 16-shooting Henry rifles, and the “Comanches” being mounted,
in a fight where horses were only an encumbrance, had to watch their
points very closely for they had certainly waked up a batch of
extremely hard-fighting Yankees.

Two of White’s men, John Marlow, Company A, and Aaron Bevans,
Company C, were severely wounded, and several of the enemy were
killed and wounded, but after reaching the heavy body of timber
which spread along the Nottaway river, the brave boys in blue had
earned the right to continue their retreat unmolested, and the
Colonel called off his men and returned to the brigade which he left
five or six miles behind him.

On reaching the line of retreat followed by the main body of the
raiders, it was discovered that through the failure of the
Confederates to push forward and seize the bridge over which the
Yankees must pass, the most of them had escaped, with the loss of
six pieces of artillery and about seven hundred prisoners. The
remainder of the day was spent in gathering up the arms and plunder
thrown away by the flying raiders, among the latter of which was a
large quantity of ladies’ clothing which they had stolen from the
citizens’ houses, and the men would come in with bonnets, shawls,
silk dresses, mantles of velvet and many other things, looking, in
fact, as if they had broken up all the millinery establishments on
the “South Side,” but the most curious scene of all was the troops
of negroes of all sizes and ages, from the three-day old baby to the
gray-wooled hag of ninety, which were found hid in the woods. They
had been persuaded by the Yankees to leave their homes and go with
them to their land of “liberty and glory;” and nearly every negro in
the country, especially the women and children, had joined them, but
now when they had fallen in evil times, and as the Confederates were
picking them up, the first thing they would say was to tell the
names of masters or mistresses, and beg piteously to be permitted to
go home, declaring, “fore God, we neber will beliebe de dam Yankees
agin.” For two days the battalion was on picket in this country and
during that time the men were constantly picking up the scattered
raiders and negroes, who were wandering in the pines almost starved
and yet too much afraid of the Rebels to come out of the woods. They
had passed through a fiery ordeal during the raid, having been badly
whipped by militia at Staunton river, then cut up severely by W. H.
F. Lee at Blacks and Whites, and in endeavoring to escape at Reams’
had been met by Fitz Lee’s cavalry and worse handled than before.
While at Stony creek Hampton had completely ruined them, but their
Generals, Wilson and Kautz, managed to escape with a small portion
of their wretched command, and this was their last raid during that
campaign on the “South Side.”

Up to the 1st of July the Colonel had been without an adjutant since
the 6th of May, but now Lieutenant Sam Baker, of Frederick county,
Va., who had been an officer in the disbanded Company D, came over
and took upon himself the responsible duties of that position, which
he held until the close of the war, performing all his duties to the
entire satisfaction of Colonel White and the whole command.

It was now midsummer, and in the hot climate of that piney, sandy
country, where good water was a rarity, many of the men got sick,
and the resting days of this month were very gladly accepted by
these border men, who had never in their lives known any other than
the pure mountain air and water under the shadow of the Blue Ridge;
but Col. White was entirely too restless in disposition to let his
people lie quietly in camp when there was a chance to operate in his
partisan style, so taking with him a detail of 80 men, he left the
camp on the evening of the 8th, and marched to the Blackwater, in
Sussex county, with the intention of trying a raid on some negro
cavalry, who patrolled the road leading from Grant’s army, by Cabin
Point, to the James river.

Here he halted and made his arrangements, which were not completed
until the 13th, when, with about 90 men, the battalion having all
moved down in the meantime, he crossed Warwick Swamp and the
Blackwater, into Surry county, and marching quietly through the
pines reached Cabin Point an hour before day, and halting in the
woods a mile beyond the town, on the telegraph road, made his
dispositions for the attack, by placing Major Ferneyhough with
twenty men armed with double-barrel guns, in ambush along the road,
and leaving the remainder, under Capt. Myers, in readiness to
charge, while the Colonel himself scouted and watched for the enemy
to make their appearance.

The usual scouting party consisted of about sixty mounted negroes,
and generally passed up a little after sunrise, from a camp of about
ten thousand troops of all arms, near the old Surry Court-house, and
all the negroes in the country were in the interest of the Yankees
and would do anything, short of breaking their necks, to give
information of any movement of the Rebels on their side of the
Blackwater. So, to render the situation of White’s men still more
interesting, they had discovered some cabins near them, filled to
overflowing, almost, with negroes, and the Colonel had posted some
men to guard them, but one or two of the small ones had already
escaped to the woods with the knowledge that Southern troops were on
the road, and under these circumstances it was to be presumed that
the patrol would not come as usual, this morning, but after awhile
they were discovered quietly advancing, and all thought the affair
was to be successful, and prepared themselves for what promised to
be genuine sport, but bye-and-bye the Colonel discovered that the
negroes were only used this time as a bait, and that while about
3,000 infantry were following them, a body of about 1,000 cavalry
was moving through the pines to gain his rear and cut him off from
the bridges over the Blackwater. These bridges were his only mode of
escape, and if the Yankees succeeded, he knew that his raiding would
be ended forevermore, unless there should happen to be war in the
Elysian fields of glory beyond the Jordan, where all good soldiers
hoped to go, but just now the Colonel had no intention of crossing
that last named river, where it is said boats are used instead of
bridges, so hastily leaving the telegraph road, he made a quick
march to the Blackwater, and reached it just in time to save his
raiders.

The boys, who all fully understood the situation, were perfectly
satisfied with their experience by daylight behind Grant’s lines,
and had no desire to make any further expeditions in that quarter,
provided the Colonel would be satisfied too; but on their return to
camp, and learning that “old Jubal” was thundering at the gates of
Washington, every man immediately became possessed of an almost
insane desire to desert and go to him, in fact, Co. B did go on the
night of the 15th, without leave or license, and left scarcely a man
from Maryland to tell the tale of what had become of his companions.
They said Companies A and C had done the same thing before and not
been punished, and now that Maryland was open and their homes inside
of the Confederate lines they intended, if possible, to go to them.

The Colonel sympathized deeply with his men and would never enforce
the penalties for violations of the Army regulations, when it was
possible to avoid it, and to this one fact belongs the reason why a
Brigadier’s stars and wreath never adorned his collar. When he was
recommended by the Military Committee of the Confederate Congress,
by such men as Gov. Letcher and Judge Brockenborough in private
life, and by a multitude of officers in the Ashby Brigade and other
portions of the army, Gen. Lee refused to endorse him, simply
because his men ran away and went home and the Colonel did not
punish them; and so, because he had _too much heart_, he was not
promoted to a position that no man in the army could fill as well as
he after General Rosser was made Major-General; but all this is
going too far ahead of the events we are trying to describe, and it
is time to go back to the “Comanche” camp on the Nottaway.

This camp was about ten miles from the brigade, and in a really good
country, with prime spring water, plenty of fruit, vegetables, and
melons, and the people very kind and hospitable, and for the reason
that no troops except the Yankee raiders had ever been among them,
there was plenty of forage there. Game, such as turkeys and
squirrels, was abundant, deer also, but they had to be hunted in
large parties, with hounds, while the river had plenty of fish, so
that the battalion would have considered itself literally “in
clover” only for the tantalizing reports of the brilliant success of
Gen. Early’s operations on the Potomac. This made the boys restless
and dissatisfied, and some of them even expressed satisfaction when
“Old Jubilee” was compelled to retire to the south bank of the
Potomac.

On the morning of the 20th the Colonel started with thirty men for
Cabin Point again, this time to intercept dispatches on the
telegraph, and for this purpose took with him an expert operator.

He succeeded in gaining the desired point before daylight on the
morning of the 21st, and his operator at once proceeded to cut the
telegraph wire and attach his instruments, so that he was enabled to
read every dispatch that passed, and to keep the thing all right he
sent them on to their destination as soon as copied; but after
carrying on this amusing process for about two hours he became
satisfied that from some cause the enemy suspected the line was
tapped, from the fact that some ridiculous and foolish dispatches
were passed, and communicating his suspicions to Col. White, the
latter decided that it was time to be traveling, for he knew that if
the enemy really did suspect anything wrong on the line they would
soon send an investigating committee, so calling in his pickets he
started for the Blackwater. Before going far he discovered that a
force of infantry was following him, having reached his position on
the telegraph road shortly after he started from it, and on reaching
the bridge over the Blackwater the Colonel halted his party to see
if the Yankees would attack. In about half an hour they came up and
skirmished with him, but would not advance into the swamp, although
they had fully ten times his number. During the skirmishing James
Atwood, of Co. E, who was on the bridge to the rear, had his leg
broken by a stray ball, and the Colonel retired through the swamp,
the enemy going back at the same time.

On the 27th the battalion was ordered by Col. Dulaney to report to
the brigade, then fifteen miles off, at Freeman’s ford, on the
Nottaway, and on arriving there was sent to Reams’ Station to
picket, where we remained until the 1st of August, without any
incidents other than the usual routine of such duty, except that on
the night of the 30th the Yankees were very active and annoyed the
pickets exceedingly all night, and when, just before dawn of day,
they grew quiet and allowed the tired men to lie down to rest, the
great mine fiasco which Grant had been preparing at Petersburg for a
month, broke with a terrible explosion on the morning air, and shook
the solid ground for miles, the “Comanches” scrambled up and mounted
their horses without a word, but after awhile some of them begun to
talk, and wonder “whether it was the day of judgment or an
earthquake,” but pretty soon, in the distance could be heard the
yelling and shouting of the charging columns, as they rolled like a
billow upon the Confederate works, and then White’s boys dismounted,
saying it was "some new-fangled Yankee mill or other that they
didn’t know anything about, but they _did know_ Beaureguard and
Uncle Bobby could attend to it."

Capt. Dan. Hatcher, of 7th Regiment, relieved the battalion on the
evening of 31st, and on the 1st of August it moved to Stony Creek
and encamped, drawing forage by wagon trains from North Carolina,
and for several days did nothing but rest, having plenty to eat, and
for a rarity, when Col. Dulaney commanded the brigade, no drilling
to do.

On Sunday, August 7th, the first sermon the “Comanches” had heard
this year was preached in camp, by the Rev. Lieut. Strickler, of Co.
E. The religious training of the battalion was very loosely
conducted, as a general thing, and yet there were some bright and
working Christians in it, especially in Companies C and E, some of
whom would engage in prayer before going into battle, and it was
remarked by all, that these men made none the worse soldiers for
bending the knee to God, and commending their souls and their cause
to His keeping, but generally, religion in the ranks was unpopular,
and many who had been members of Church endeavored to hide the fact
from their comrades that they ever prayed.

A state of war, and life in camp is always demoralizing; but the
soldier always honors the man who bravely stands by his principles,
and even though they might jeer and laugh at the one who carried his
religion openly, into the camp and on the march, with him, yet in
their hearts the most reckless and profane would count him who did
it a double hero, in that he both conquered his own pride and lived
down—as live down _he would_—the scoffing of his comrades.

On the 8th Maj. Ferneyhough went on a scout into Surry county, to
capture some Yankee pickets, but returned without accomplishing
anything; and now the command encamped on the Nottaway again, and
luxuriated on the many delicacies of the season again, such as
watermelons, potatoes, roasting-ears, tomatoes, cucumbers, and last,
but not by any means least, the prime spring water, all of which
they had in abundance, and the memory of the pleasant days spent on
the Nottaway will be a bright one in the hearts of White’s Battalion
while memory exists; and they were all willing to spend the summer
there, and enjoy the good fare and the boating and fishing
excursions on the river, but these days couldn’t last; and on the
12th the brigade joined the division and took up the line of march
for Richmond. Everybody thought this move had some connection, in
some way, with Early’s operations on the Shenandoah, and immediately
the brigade had dreams of heaven and the Valley, which brightened
more and more each mile that they advanced, until they were once
more on the north bank of the James, and securely booked, as they
thought, for over the mountains. Passing through Richmond, the whole
division halted on Main and Broad streets, and from the endless
supplies of melons which lined the sidewalks, the men eat, until
watermelons and cantelopes lost their flavor and were no longer fit
to it, and then marched to the South Anna and encamped for the
night, moving early in the morning to Beaver Dam, on the Rail Road,
where three day’s rations were issued, and the whole command laid
over until next day, when the column took the telegraph road to
Ashland, passing that place and going into camp on the Chickahominy,
seven miles from Richmond, and still nobody could form an idea of
what we had started to do, but there was now considerable doubt, to
say the least of it, about going to the Valley right away.

The next morning the division again marched through Richmond and
passed out on the Charles City road to Malvern Hill, where General
W. H. F. Lee was fighting the enemy, and here the “Comanches” were
ordered forward to cut off some Yankee pickets to the left, but they
left so quick we had no chance at them at all.

After this the brigade moved over to the Williamsburg road, and
encamped at Savage Station on York River Rail Road, leaving White’s
men on picket at the Chickahominy, where they remained until the
19th, when they again marched to the Charles City road and encamped
until the 22d, when it was found that the Yankees, who had caused
all this trouble by trying to _steal_ Richmond, had gone across the
James, after losing about one thousand of their men; and at midnight
Hampton moved his people over to the “South Side” again, and kept on
to Reams’ Station, where, on the 23d, he met the Yankees and
commenced to fight in earnest about 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Here
the battalion was divided, Captain Myers being sent with the first
squadron to report to General Butler on the right, while the Colonel
with the remainder moved to the left with Rosser, who, to-day,
resumed the command of his brigade. The first order of General
Butler to Myers was to “find the Yankees in his front and tell him
how many there were,” and in order to do this the Captain took five
men—Jim Oneale, Frank Lee, John White, Billy Lee, and Lum Wenner—and
deployed them at the edge of the woods, from where they rode out
into a field covered with tall sedge grass and small pine bushes, in
which a thousand Yankees could have lain in line, without being
perceived, but they had not advanced far when a long blue line
raised up and commenced firing. This was enough and the Captain rode
up to the General with the report that he had found about twelve
hundred Yankees on the left of the road. “Very well,” said Gen.
Butler, "I _know_ what’s on the right," and ordering forward a
brigade of dismounted men, this wooden-legged General led them in a
furious attack upon the enemy, galloping along full fifty yards in
front of his line, and exposed to the fire of both friends and foes.
This settled the question on that part of the field, for the Yankees
ran, and Butler followed them half a mile, when they met
reinforcements and made a stubborn resistance for some time, but
General Rosser came in on the left and they were again forced back.

The battalion now united again, and formed, by General Butler’s
order, on a hill in the road, prepared to charge when the enemy
attempted to advance, and here from six o’clock until dark they
stood exposed to a hot fire from the Yankee line below them, but
fortunately not a man was injured, although seven horses were struck
and killed. About dark Hancock’s corps of infantry moved up from the
Rail Road and joined in the fight, when General Butler, who was
sitting on his horse a short distance from the battalion, and under
a very hot fire, called for a courier to go to his line of
dismounted men below and order them to retire. The man who was sent
to him displayed evident signs of much perturbation under the storm
of bullets that whistled around, and the General said to him, "Young
man, you’re scared; go back to Captain Myers and tell him to send me
a COURIER!" upon which the fellow returned _instanter_, and the
Captain sent Sergeant Everhart, whom the General asked if he could
carry a dispatch down to the dismounted men; to which Everhart
replied, "I God! I’ll _start_! don’t know so much about _going_,"
when the General replied "you’ll do," sent the order, and withdrew
his line from the fight. It was evident that Grant had made a heavy
lodgment on the Rail Road at Reams’, and that General Hampton
couldn’t make him give it up with his cavalry, but the latter was
compelled to send wagons to Stony Creek to get forage, which was
twenty miles further away than Reams’, soon the morning of the 24th,
before day, Captain Myers was ordered to mount his squadron and
escort the battalion train to that place, where they arrived about
11 o’clock. Here they found big, luscious watermelons from North
Carolina by the car-load, which they enjoyed to their utmost until
late in the evening, when they pushed on after the wagons which had
loaded and started back by two o’clock, and having overtaken them,
the squadron moved with them over the dangerous part of the road,
and it being now midnight and the trains safe, the escort bivouacked
in the pines while the wagons drove on to camp.

An hour before daylight Col. White, with a few men, came down the
road, and halting with the 1st squadron informed Capt. Myers that A.
P. Hill was coming down during the day to drive the Yankees away
from Reams’; that Hampton was going to draw their attention and
amuse them until Hill could get his position; that the Colonel was
going on a scout for Hampton, and would be gone all day, and that
Myers was to take charge of the battalion for that length of time.

About sunrise Gen. Hampton came along, and putting White’s men in
front ordered them to go to Wyatt’s Crossing, about a mile from
Reams’, and wait further orders.

Gen. Rosser was now at the head of the Laurel Brigade, and he soon
came up and remarked to Myers that he wanted “his people” for
advance guard again to-day, to which the Captain replied that he
"didn’t mind the _hanging_ half as much as he did the being told of
it so long beforehand." On reaching the Crossing they found some
Yankee pickets who retired towards Reams’, and with the exception of
an occasional shot, everything was quiet until 9 o’clock, when the
enemy opened fire with artillery upon Rosser’s men, and pretty soon
Chew commenced to reply, but no advance was attempted on either
side.

During the cannonade Generals Rosser and Butler sat on their horses
just in front of White’s Battalion, which, as a matter of course,
stood by Chew’s artillery, and once, when the shells flew low over
their heads, and some of the men dodged, Gen. Butler remarked, “They
are disposed to be rather familiar this morning,” to which Rosser
replied, "Yes, politeness is in order this morning, but don’t bow
too low, boys, it isn’t becoming;" but Henry Simpson exclaimed, "Yes
it is; it’s _becoming_ a little too dam hot here, if that’s what you
mean," and most of the boys were of Henry’s opinion.

The day passed in constant marching and counter-marching; sometimes
the “Comanches” would be dismounted and ordered to pile up rails for
breastworks, and then ordered to mount quick and charge; but no
fighting was done until about 3 o’clock in the evening, when the
heavy firing on the left showed that Hampton had “amused” the
Yankees long enough, and now A. P. Hill was at them.

The Yankees were strongly fortified at the Station, and in their
front had an abattis of trees felled with their tops from the works,
and all the branches trimmed sharp, so that it was almost impossible
for Hill’s infantry to get through at all, and in fact two brigades
were repulsed with heavy loss, but when Gen. Mahone, the builder and
president of the Rail Road, came up with his brigade; he took his
people through and up to the breastworks, but the enemy was still
there, and now both parties lay along the works, so that neither
could fight or retreat, but pretty soon Mahone’s men out-Yankeed the
Yankees, and taking up some heavy cross-ties and rail-bars that were
convenient they threw them high over the fortifications, causing
them to fall with telling effect upon the heads of the Yankees,
forcing them to leave their defences, and as they retired Mahone’s
men, with the works now completely turned upon them, raised up and
poured a terribly destructive fire upon the retreating enemy,
causing tremendous slaughter, and at the same moment Gen. Hampton
charged them in flank, capturing four guns and many prisoners.

Gen. Hill’s infantry took twelve pieces in the works, making sixteen
guns captured, and about three thousand prisoners, besides five
hundred killed and many wounded, making their loss in this day’s
fight certainly reach very near five thousand in all, while the
Confederates lost about seven hundred, killed, wounded and missing.

At dark, Gen. Rosser ordered Capt. Sipe, commanding the 12th
regiment, and Capt. Myers, of White’s Battalion, to report to Gen.
Hampton, who instructed them to move their commands to Reams’ and
relieve the infantry in the fortifications, which they did about
midnight, in the most terrible storm of rain, thunder and lightning
it is possible to imagine. The vivid streams, not flashes, of
lightning danced and glanced along the Rail Road track and over the
captured guns, which still stood there, while every moment the
crashing thunder just overhead pealed out as if the inky sky was
being torn to splinters, and in sheets and torrents the floods of
rain poured down, while through the thick blackness of the storm and
night could be heard all around the shrieks and groans of the
wounded and dying Federals, who, totally unable to help themselves,
were gasping out their lives in agony, without one friend to shelter
them from the raging of the fierce tempest or stop the ebbing
life-tide that poured from their mangled bodies, and in the morning
light there lay many corpses along the ground at Reams’ whose souls
had gone up to the judgment-throne amid the bursting storm and
thunder of that horrible night.

Among those who survived was a Captain of Infantry, who had cause to
bless the genius of Freemasonry, for by aid of its mystic signs he
found a brother in the ranks of his foes, who helped him as only a
brother would have done and gave him back to life again.

There was no attempt on the part of the enemy to come back to
Reams’, but they established their vedette lines along the pines and
old fields of tossing sedge to the right of the Rail Road, towards
Petersburg, and on the 26th Col. White placed his battalion on
picket in front of them and scarcely three hundred yards from their
lines, but there was no firing, and both sides, in act, agreed to
the childish proposition of "I’ll let you alone if you’ll let me
alone."

It was now apparent that Gen. Hampton’s style of fighting was a
decided success, for he had so invariably whipped the enemy’s
cavalry that they were afraid to come from behind their infantry
lines, and as a consequence his own people had much less duty to
perform than at any time during the long and arduous campaign.

On the 11th of September the General became impatient to hear the
news from the Presidential Conventions in the North, and as the
Southern papers were deficient, he took a detail from the “Laurel
Brigade” and made a raid to the rear of Grant’s lines at Petersburg
for Yankee newspapers, in which he attacked and whipped a brigade of
cavalry from their camp, with considerable loss in killed, wounded,
and prisoners, to them, but none whatever to himself, and brought
out enough papers to supply his camps for a month with reading
matter.

Major Ferneyhough, who commanded the detail of White’s Battalion on
the expedition, incurred Gen. Hampton’s displeasure because of a
misconception of orders, in consequence of which he resigned on the
13th, and a few days after Capt. Myers, of Co. A, was selected by
Colonel White, and by Generals Rosser and Hampton, to fill the
vacancy.

On the 14th of September General Hampton marched with a division of
his cavalry in the direction of Grant’s left wing, and succeeded in
gaining, unobserved, the rear of his army, an operation which was
comparatively easy, from the character of the country, which was low
and flat, with many swamps and vast bodies of dense pine forest,
through which an army might have marched without being discovered,
except by accident, as there were few inhabitants in that region,
they having been compelled, from the proximity of the two armies, to
refugee or starve.

About daylight, on the 16th, when the raiders had reached a point
about one mile from the James river, and not more than six miles in
rear of the main line of the Federal Army, a strong party of
dismounted cavalry was discovered behind some barricades, near an
old church, and the 7th and 11th Regiments, of Rosser’s brigade,
which was in front, were dismounted and sent forward to dislodge the
enemy, which they did after a severe fight, and now the General
ordered the battalion forward at a brisk trot, which soon brought
them in full view of an immense drove of beef cattle, guarded by a
Federal brigade, one regiment of which, the 1st D. C. Cavalry, was
mounted near the cattle pens. Gen. Rosser sent a flag of truce
demanding the surrender of this force, but the officer commanding,
returned for answer, “Come and get us, if you want us,” and at the
same time told the truce-bearer that if he came there any more with
“that damned thing,” (the flag) he would shoot him. The General at
once turned to the battalion, and in his short, solid tone, that
always had something of the wicked ring of a Whitworth in it, when
he meant fight, exclaimed, “Come down on them, White!” and the
“Comanches” did it with such splendid effect, that the Yankees were
scattered in wild flight, in less than five minutes, pursued in
every direction by the men of the battalion.

Some prisoners were taken, and a large quantity of camp equipage and
arms, among the latter quite a number of the “Henry rifles” or
“sixteen-shooters,” fell into the hands of the “Comanches,” but what
pleased them most and really made this one of the grandest raids of
the war, was the capture of the immense herd of broad-horned Western
beeves, averaging over fifteen hundred pounds, and numbering two
thousand five hundred and thirty-five head, all of which were
brought safely out.

On the return, Col. White was sent with a portion of his command to
Sycamore Church, on the Jerusalem plank road, to guard that point
until the cattle could be driven over the Blackwater, but on
reaching his position he was assailed by a force of the enemy
numbering about five thousand cavalry and artillery, and after a
stubborn engagement, was forced to retire a mile from the plank
road, but by strategy in keeping his men concealed, and by moving
his flag from one point to another, he succeeded in deceiving the
enemy and holding them in check until the arrival of Gen. Rosser
with the remainder of the brigade, some two hours after his first
meeting with them.

While contesting the Yankee advance the Colonel caused his men to
throw up rail fortifications at Monk’s Neck bridge, and here the
enemy used artillery upon them severely, by which two men of Company
A were killed, viz.: Samuel T. Presgraves, of Loudoun, and William
Brown, a native of North Carolina, both excellent soldiers.

After holding the Yankees here until the safety of the cattle was
assured, the brigade flanked them and quietly returned to camp near
Reams’, highly elated with the splendid success of the expedition,
and more than ever convinced of the ability and generalship of their
great commander, General Hampton.



                              CHAPTER XIX.


Everything was very quiet in camp after the “cattle raid” until the
27th of September, when the eager longing of the “Ash by Brigade” to
go home was gratified, and General Rosser, in a beautifully touching
General Order, in which he reviewed the past campaign and paid
eloquent tributes to the fallen members of the command, announced
that he was ordered to proceed immediately to the Valley, and the
brigade marched out for the “promised land” again.

Colonel White had obtained a furlough, or rather a sick leave, and
Captain Myers commanded the “Comanches.” The season was the most
pleasant of the whole year, and the line of march was through a
beautiful (in part, a grandly magnificent) country, and
notwithstanding the unfavorable news from General Early’s
department, the “Laurel Brigade” moved with joyous hearts towards
“their own country.”

A journal of the march will tell best of its pleasures, and it is
inserted for the benefit of the men who made it.

Tuesday, September 27th.—Bade (we hope) a long farewell to the “Old
Virginia lowlands, low,” and turned our faces towards the grand old
mountain-bound Valley of the Shenandoah, and everybody is glad.

September 28th.—Passed Blacks-and-Whites and Burksville Junction;
camped sixty miles from Lynchburg.

September 29th.—Marched through Prince Edward by the C. H. and
camped in Charlotte county, thirty miles from Lynchburg. The people
down here reckon all distances “from Lynchburg.”

September 30th.—Marched at 9-1/2 A. M. into Campbell county, and
camped three miles from Lynchburg among the bushes; weather
delightful and news from Valley more so, for _they say_ Early has
whipped the Yankees.

October 1st.—Passed the great “Tobacco city,” a dingy old town;
crossed the James on a dilapidated bridge and took the road to
Lexington; raining all day.

October 2d.—Marching all day through the mountains, along the James
river and canal, and it is worth a whole year of life to ride for
the first time through this wildly picturesque country, but for the
men who love the mountains as we do, and have not so much as seen
them for five months, it is _more_ than glorious to find ourselves
in their very heart.

October 3d.—Still in the blessed old Blue Ridge, but passed
Lexington about 1 o’clock P. M. and camped near Fairfield; raining
very hard.

October 4th.—Passed Fairfield, Midway and Greenville; camped on the
famous Valley pike, seven miles from Staunton.

October 5.—Marched through Staunton to Augusta Church and turned to
the left; encamped near Bridgewater; General Rosser is a Major
General, with Wickham’s, Lomax’s and the old Ashby brigades; says he
is going to “run over everything in the Valley.” This country is
very different from the "land o’ cakes and brither Scots" we used to
find it; for since we were here it has been roughly handled, but we
get plenty of good water and pure air, and see the mountains just as
they have stood from the beginning, and that is satisfaction enough.

On the 6th of October, before daylight, it was ascertained that
Sheridan was retreating and Gen. Rosser immediately started with his
division in pursuit, pressing as rapidly as possible to the front,
but the scene was horrifying, for with the infernal instincts of his
worse than savage nature, the merciless fiend, Sheridan, was
disgracing the humanity of any age and visiting the Valley with a
baptism of fire, in which was swept away the bread of the old men
and women and children of that weeping land.

On every side, from mountain to mountain, the flames from all the
barns, mills, grain and hay stacks, and in very many instances from
dwellings, too, were blazing skyward, leaving a smoky trail of
desolation to mark the footsteps of the devil’s inspector-general,
and show in a fiery record, that will last as long as the war is
remembered, that the United States, under the government of Satan
and Lincoln, sent Phil. Sheridan to campaign in the Valley of
Virginia.

Rosser’s men tried hard to overtake them, and did capture a few, who
lingered to make sure work of a mill near New Market, but they were
instantly shot, and when night came the troops encamped near Brock’s
Gap, in a position where, all through the dark, they could see the
work of the “journeymen of desolation” still progressing.

Early next morning the advance was continued, and about 2 o’clock
the fire-fiends were overtaken at Mount Clifton, on Mill Creek,
above Mount Jackson, and so strongly posted at the fords, that
Rosser ordered Col. Dulaney to cross the creek some distance to the
right, and with Hatcher’s squadron of the 7th Va. Cavalry and
White’s battalion, attack them in flank, in order that they might be
forced to uncover the ford.

The crossing was effected without difficulty, but after marching up
the stream about half a mile, Capt. Hatcher met a force of the
Yankees coming down, and with his usual game he charged and drove
them in confusion towards Cedar Creek, and shortly after, the
battalion reached the top of a hill overlooking the ford and open
fields adjoining, where the Yankees were prepared to dispute
Rosser’s progress until they could get their wagons, and great
droves of cattle and sheep which they were driving with them down
the Valley, clear.

Col. Dulaney halted the battalion on the crest of the hill, and the
Yankees, perceiving it, commenced a brisk fire with Spencer and
Henry rifles, and at the same moment, what was afterward found to be
Custer’s brigade, began to form on a hill just opposite, in a field
that sloped gradually down to the road in which White’s men were
standing. The fire became too hot for comfort, and Capt. Myers rode
up to Col. Dulaney, who was coolly watching the Yankees, and said to
him, “Colonel, give us orders, and let us do something quick;” but
the Colonel only replied, “Be cautious;” and the Captain thinking
that he had not been understood, as the Colonel was somewhat deaf,
repeated his request for orders, but received the same reply, and
knowing that his men could not remain in that position a minute
longer, Myers gave the order to charge, which was performed in the
most brilliant style. There was a plank fence to open before getting
into the field, and here the long-range guns, which had been forced
upon the men some time before, were thrown away, and the
“Comanches,” numbering now less than two hundred, passed the fence,
and were within one hundred yards of three of Custer’s regiments,
one of which was in line and the other two rapidly forming; but no
halt was intended or attempted, and in a very brief space the
battalion was among the Yankees, neutralizing their superiority in
numbers and carbines by a very free use of their pistols and sabres.
The enemy stood quiet until their assailants had gotten in ten
steps, when they broke up in great confusion; and Gen. Rosser, at
the moment, rushed the 11th and 12th, regiments over, which
completed the business, and the Yankees fled in utter rout, losing
many men killed, wounded and captured, and all their trains and
stock. The battalion had several men wounded, among them Captain
Myers, but none were killed or very badly hurt.

Captain Hatcher had fought heavily on the right and also lost
heavily, but he pushed the retreating Yankees until dark.

The command of White’s Battalion now fell upon Lieutenant Nich.
Dorsey, Company B, and moved with the brigade to a position on the
“middle road,” at a stream known as Tom’s brook, where the division
halted on the evening of the 8th, and Lieutenant Dorsey was ordered
on picket with his battalion during the night. Very early in the
morning (9th) the Yankee sharpshooters made their appearance and
some very sharp skirmishing was engaged in, the men with carbines
being sent to the front under command of Lieutenant Chiswell, who,
with forty men, held a line more than a quarter of a mile in length
for more than an hour, but finally the 12th regiment on his right
was driven back, at the same moment a column of the enemy charged up
a road to the left, and being thus outflanked on both wings,
Lieutenant Chiswell and his men had to make a run for it on foot,
barely escaping capture by the Yankees, who pressed them very hotly,
and but for a gallant charge of the mounted men, led by Captain
Dowdell, who had just arrived and taken command a few minutes
before, these sharpshooters would have been captured.

The Yankee force in the road was driven back for two hundred yards,
but the flank firing compelled the battalion to retire, and now the
whole Confederate line, from the Valley pike to the back road, gave
way, and what had before been a boasting advance of Rosser’s men,
turned into a shameful rout and stampede which continued for several
miles, although only a comparatively small force of the enemy
pursued. The battalion lost severely in wounded, among whom was
Orderly Sergeant Thomas S. Grubb, of Company A, who was mortally
wounded, and died one week afterwards.

He was one of the first to join the old company and no more faithful
soldier, or honest, conscientious Christian gentleman ever lived to
defend the stars and bars, or died to consecrate its memory.

When the lines commenced to give way the artillery of Captain
Thompson was firing rapidly upon the advancing columns of the enemy,
and made desperate efforts to check the Yankees long enough to give
Rosser a chance to rally his people, but nothing could bring
anything like order out of the confused mass of fugitives that fled
so wildly from the field. They had been flanked, and without seeing
more than the skirmish line of the enemy, gave way to a panic that
increased each moment, and unaccountable as such things were, every
soldier knows that it only requires a shout in the rear to keep a
stampeded force on the run, and it was so now, for the author saw
fully six hundred veteran Confederate troops flying madly along the
“back road” with no pursuers but about thirty Yankees who were
afraid to ride closer than a mile to the demoralized crowd in their
front, and in this miserable retreat the gallant Thompson lost his
guns, but he held them until the main body of the enemy was around
him. Every wagon and ambulance that Rosser had brought down with
him, and every piece of artillery, fell into the Yankees’ hands. And
on this subject General Imboden got off a rather sharp specimen of
satire at the expense of Gen. Rosser. At the opening of the campaign
in the Wilderness in May, the brigade of Rosser had been highly
complimented by Generals Lee and Stuart for its desperately gallant
fighting, and General Rosser had christened it the “Laurel Brigade,”
in a General Order, which prescribed that the battle-flags should be
trimmed with laurel and the members should wear a badge of three or
five leaves of laurel. The brigade of Gen. Imboden had made a very
poor reputation for fighting, simply because it had not been in a
situation where much could be accomplished, as the enemy’s cavalry
in the Valley was all the time in vastly superior force, and well
handled.

When Rosser’s men were going down the Valley they flourished their
laurels proudly, and declared they were going to whip the Yankees
and then chase Imboden’s brigade to the mountains.

On the day of the stampede, when Rosser lost all his artillery, the
Yankees made an advance on Imboden in the Page Valley, who drove
them back and captured two guns, after which he sent his compliments
to Gen. Rosser, with a polite request to know how he would “trade
laurels for artillery.” The “Laurel Brigade” shouted “Bully for
Imboden,” and they never said any more about “chasing him into the
mountains.”

After the stampede, the Yankees went back towards Winchester, and
for ten days nothing was done but picket and scout, but on the 19th
Gen. Early made his advance on the enemy, in which he surprised and
routed Sheridan’s army, capturing a great quantity of artillery,
arms and camp equipage, with many prisoners; and was himself
surprised, his army routed, his artillery captured, and his wagon
train destroyed, all in one and the same day, constituting one of
the most remarkable cases on record, and the only one that ever
occurred in the war, where a Yankee army, after being routed,
returned the same day and inflicted a loss on its foe.

In this affair Gen. Rosser operated along the “back road,” to
Early’s left, and succeeded in whipping the Yankee cavalry there,
with small loss in men to himself.

White’s Battalion was engaged in skirmishing, but the enemy did not
press their right wing forward until Early had been driven on the
turnpike, and when that was known, Rosser retired also.

The battalion was engaged in no special service of much
consequence, for some time after the battle, and it was, in fact,
hardly a good squadron, so many of the men being absent, some on
detail to procure fresh horses, some on furlough, and many on sick
leave, while others again were absent without leave; but they were
the lucky ones who always avoided the fights, kept clear of camp
duty and court-martial, and yet had a reputation as soldiers, were
doted on by the ladies, and could make eloquent parlor speeches
about their devotion to the “Sunny South,” and tell of daring
deeds performed by themselves, which, like themselves, possessed
but one thing upon which the listener could rely, and that one
thing was falsehood.

About the 1st of November Col. White took his battalion to Loudoun,
and for several days was engaged in collecting cattle and sending
them to the army, an operation which he also performed in the
counties of Fauquier and Rappahannock, by which means the scarcity
in the Valley was counterbalanced and the troops furnished with
meat.

The brigade was now commanded by Col. O. R. Funsten, of the 11th,
Col. Dulaney having been severely wounded in the stampede on the
9th, and there was great interest taken in the question as to who
was to be Brigadier, many of the men expressing their preference for
Col. White, but, as before stated, he was not enough of a
disciplinarian for Gen. Lee.

The following letter of recommendation to President Davis, in his
favor, shows that his merit was appreciated by the great men of
Virginia:

  “To his Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS:

  “We take great pleasure in recommending Colonel Elijah V. White as
  a most fit successor to the gallant Gen. Thomas L. Rosser to the
  command of the ’Laurel Brigade.’

  “We are well aware that but little weight is generally attached to
  a recommendation, by mere civilians, of military men for
  promotion; yet we are so strongly impressed with the conviction of
  Col. White’s peculiar fitness for the command of this
  distinguished brigade that we cannot forbear to place our estimate
  of his qualifications on record.

  “The chivalric courage and dashing gallantry of this
  battle-scarred hero, combined, as we are persuaded, with quickness
  of apprehension and coolness in action, inspiring perfect and
  enthusiastic confidence in the troops under his command, seem to
  point him out as a worthy successor of the noble Rosser.

                                “Respectfully submitted,

                                        “JOHN LETCHER,
                                        “JOHN W. BROCKENBOROUGH.”

The battalion arrived in camp, eight miles above New Market, on the
19th, and the next day marched down the pike with the brigade to
meet the enemy, who had advanced in force as far as Rood’s Hill, but
only staid long enough for a slight skirmish with the Confederates,
and retired to Strasburg, after which White’s “people” were ordered
on picket, and remained at this duty until the 24th, when they
returned to camp only to prepare for a raid into the mountains.

On the morning of the 26th of November Gen. Rosser marched with two
brigades, his own and Gen. Paine’s, towards West Virginia, passing
through Brock’s Gap, and camping at Matthias’, on Lost river, a
place well-remembered as being the first night’s bivouac of every
expedition to that country, and the next morning the march was
continued all day and night, when about 9 o’clock A. M. of the 28th
the column advanced upon the forts at New Creek Station on the
Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road.

There was a strong force, of all arms, at this place, but the
General conducted everything so rapidly that almost before they knew
it he had surprised the fort where the infantry were stationed,
making prisoners of the garrison, and capturing all the artillery. A
charge was then made upon the Station, and all the horses of the
cavalry and artillery taken at the first dash, besides a number of
prisoners, but the greater portion of the Yankees, who were outside
of the fort, crossed the Rail Road bridge and escaped into the
mountains.

A large quantity of stores of all kinds fell into the hands of the
raiders, and they were busily employed in securing them when a
tremendous firing was heard near by, causing almost a panic, but it
was soon learned that the depot building had been set on fire and
the flames had reached about fifteen thousand rounds of fixed
ammunition for artillery that had been stored there, which caused a
sound very much like as if a heavy cannonade had opened in that
quarter.

As soon as everything was attended to the Division set out for the
Valley again, having destroyed the Rail Road for some distance,
captured about six hundred prisoners, seven pieces of artillery,
over a thousand horses and mules, and secured a large quantity of
plunder of all sorts, making it a highly successful raid, without
the loss of a man on the Confederate side, as the enemy were pushed
so close that they did not fire a gun.

The return was effected without difficulty, and the camp reached on
the 2d of December, where all remained quiet until the 15th, when
Colonel White started with the battalion for an independent raid
among the Swamp-Dragons of Western Virginia.

The weather was very cold, the ground covered with snow, and both
men and horses were badly prepared for such an expedition, nor could
anybody form an idea of what it was intended to accomplish, and as a
consequence the “Comanches” were rather savage at the prospect of a
useless winter campaign among the mountains, and in order to _get
any_ the company officers were obliged to take _all_ the men in
camp, who had horses lit to travel at all, which broke seriously
into the wagon-train _escort_, and left Co. “Q” with a small force.

Marching by Moorfield the Colonel halted opposite Petersburg, where
he was joined by the Company of the famous Capt. McNeill, of the
Moorfield Valley, and by Captains Woodson and Kirkendall, with their
companies, from the brigade, but all did not make his force more
than three hundred men.

The 18th was a rainy day, and the Colonel permitted the regiment to
lie in camp, but the camp was not more comfortable than the march.
About noon Henry Simpson, sometimes called the “reckless babe,”
started with three or four men to visit a shooting-match which some
citizens had told him of, and where it was supposed that some of the
“Swamps” could be found, but getting lost in the mountains they
brought up at a cabin where some of the aforesaid “Swamps” were
visiting. Henry and his party forced them to surrender, after which,
by blowing a horn, yelling, firing, and other equally characteristic
operations, they induced the people in the neighborhood to believe
that they were the crazy advance guard of an army of lunatics about
to be turned loose upon the country, and securing whatever of
rations they wanted, the scouts returned with their prisoners to
camp without being molested by the “Dragons,” a performance which no
other man than Henry Simpson could have accomplished.

The command marched out the next morning on the Franklin grade, and
during the day were fired at frequently, but at too great a distance
to do any harm; however, about noon a party of them came too near,
and were attacked by Mobberly, who killed one and chased the others
into the mountains, as he said, “as far as the devil went,” and
being asked how far that was, he replied, “as far as he could get
for the rocks.”

These “Swamp Dragons” were a different people from the
“bushwhackers,” the latter being only citizens armed with their
sporting guns, while the former were a sort of home organization,
armed by the United States, and who operated just as the Highland
outlaws of Scotland, in former days did, by coming in forays upon
the citizens in the low country, and appropriating whatever of their
property they pleased to their own use, supplying themselves and
families with bacon, beef, corn and flour from the defenseless
inhabitants, and if the latter objected to this blackmail proceeding
or attempted to follow their plunderers, they were unhesitatingly
shot by the “Swamp Dragons.” Whether or not they were in the pay of
the Government for such work as this, I do not know, but there is no
question of the fact that the United States furnished them uniforms,
arms and ammunition.

The road led by the house of a man named Bond, who was a Captain
among the Dragons, and on approaching it, the Confederates
discovered his Company on the side of the mountain, about a mile
distant, and from their appearance, the Colonel judged that they
would attack him, but after waiting on them awhile, he gave Mobberly
permission to make another charge, and the Dragons scattered, soon
disappearing entirely, when the command moved forward once more; but
Captain Bond had no reason to complain that the Scripture law of
“What measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again,” had not
been fulfilled, for White’s people took everything about the
premises they wanted, and if the whole truth must be told, a good
many that they didn’t want, as they passed his residence.

The command halted for the night near the town of Franklin, and in
the morning the extra Companies left the battalion; McNeil to return
to Moorfield, and Woodson and Kirkendall to go on toward the Valley,
by way of Monterey, while White, with his people, turned short to
the right, and climbed into the Alleghany mountains, at a point
where a tributary stream, to the South Branch of Potomac, cut close
along the base of the main mountain, and leaving only a narrow path,
up a perpendicular wall of rock that rose a hundred yards in height
from the water. Along the right bank of the stream was a little cove
of flat land, completely hemmed in by the mountain, and where the
Colonel decided to make some investigation of the business of the
Swamp Dragons, sending Capt. Myers with a party, at the same time,
up this mule path, to gain the overhanging mountain top and keep the
“Swamps” from getting the position on him, for if one hundred men
had been stationed on the top of the precipice, they could, with
stones, have whipped a thousand down in the cove.

On reaching the top, Myers sent Jack Dove, Henry Simpson, John
Stephenson, and two or three others, down a road towards some
houses, while with half a dozen others he struck out for a scout to
the southward, and after going about two miles, came to some cabins
where there were only women, but they told the scouts that their
husbands, brothers, sweethearts and all, were out with the
“Dragons.”

Here one of the men roused the ire of a lady, by attempting to take
a coverlet, to such an extent that she made an attack on him with
stones, and pressed him so close and hot, cursing him roundly all
the while, that Richards, unable to mount his mule, surrendered the
property, and soon after a rapid firing was heard in the direction
of the party over on the road, which compelled the Captain to return
to their assistance, and on approaching their position they were
found warmly engaged with a party of the Dragons, and it was with
great difficulty that Simpson and Stephenson, who were completely
cut off, rejoined their comrades. The Dragons could now be seen
skulking and creeping among the rocks and trees, on the mountain
side, in considerable numbers, and Myers judged it best to keep his
party well together and ready for emergencies, until the Colonel
should get through with his arrangements in the cove and come to his
assistance, which he did soon after, and the command moved down the
mountain to the west, through what the citizens called “Smoke Hole,”
a narrow gorge with the great walls of mountains on either side.
Arrived at a cabin, with greased paper for windows, and everything
else in keeping, a yearling colt and an enormous deer hound
volunteered to take service in the battalion, and followed the
column, which marched along a narrow path on the side of one
mountain for a half mile further, when suddenly, from the top of the
opposite one, the “Swamp Dragons,” in considerable force, opened a
hot fire, but as good luck would have it they fired too high. The
command was very much scattered, marching by file, and the head of
the column halted as it came out of the gorge below, which forced
the rear and centre to stand still under the fire, but the Colonel,
with about half a dozen men, charged instantly up the steep side of
the mountain, on which the “Swamps” were posted, gallantly led by
the colt and dog, who dashed into the foremost fire, and as soon as
the enemy found that they had waked up fighting people in earnest
they ran off; but one man, an old citizen with a sporting rifle,
resolved to kill somebody, and creeping through the bushes, had
levelled his gun on the Colonel, at ten steps, when Nich. Dorsey saw
him and warned White, who instantly fired on him with his pistol,
wounding him in the hip, and at the same moment Alonzo Sellman shot
him in the side, and the old man rolled over with the load still in
his rifle.

The other “Swamps” all made their escape, although they had nearly
equal force with the “Comanches,” and had all advantages possible in
position, with the latter so hemmed in that not one-fourth of them
could move. The old citizen was placed behind John Walker, and
carried down the mountain, but he soon died, and was left at a cabin
on the road where his son lived, and with no further attention than
to lay him on the ground, (except that the dog licked his face in
passing,) the battalion marched on, looking out for more trouble
with the Dragons. On approaching a house in a less wild and broken
country, a woman, mounted man-fashion, on a horse, met the command,
proclaiming that she was a rebel, and being shown the rifle of the
old citizen, who had been shot, she exclaimed, "It’s daddy’s gun; I
know it; he’s a damned old Yankee, and I hope you have killed him."
Col. White made no halt at her house, although his boys had cleaned
out pretty generally all the houses they had passed, but marched
quietly on and camped at the first hay stacks they had seen in the
mountains, in fact the only long forage found all day was buckwheat
straw in little round stacks, and a few fodder blades.

On the morning of the 21st, the “Comanches” waked up finding a foot
of snow on their blankets and more of it coming down, but they had
slept warm and sound beneath this extra covering, and soon as
possible the march was resumed for Petersburg, but it was a very
disagreeable one, the weather being excessively cold and the
“people” were forced to ford the South branch six times in deep
water, which told bitterly on the horses, and at the last one, which
was at Petersburg, some of the weak ones fell and the men had to
wade out, but an early camp with plenty of feed and good attention
made everything all ready for the mountain march in the morning.

The weather continued freezing cold, and the Colonel halted for two
nights and a day in the South Fork Valley, but on Christmas day the
battalion passed Brock’s Gap—the gateway to the Valley—and if there
was a sober man in the battalion, outside of Company E, I did not
see him; was with the command all day too.

The great business was now to get permission for the “Comanches” to
disband. The escaped convict from the devil’s penitentiary,
Sheridan, had made the destruction of forage in the Valley complete;
the snow lay deep upon the blue grass field, making it impossible
for the starving horses to glean the shadow of a subsistence from
them; and the worn-out Rail Road, with its rickety rolling stock,
was scarcely capable of carrying supplies to Early’s men at
Staunton, while the cavalry division, in camp at Swope’s Depot, six
miles west of that place, only had an allowance of six pounds of
wheat straw a day for the horses, and no grain at all, all of which
made White’s battalion swear that they would not winter in the
Valley, but all the exertions of the Colonel seemed to be fruitless,
for General Early declined to permit them to shift for themselves;
and now Company F, following the examples set by Companies A, B and
C, deserted in a body on the night of the 27th December, leaving
Company E the banner Company, as being the only one that did not
stain its reputation with the shame of desertion. The Colonel was in
Staunton trying to get permission to take his battalion to Loudoun,
and when Captain Myers called for the morning reports on the 28th,
they showed a force in camp all told of forty-three men and three
officers, viz: Company A, 18 men, 1 officer; Company B, 16 men, 1
officer; Company C, 3 men; Company E, 6 men, 1 officer; and when the
Colonel came in on the 30th and learned of the desertion of Company
F, he was so much troubled and excited over it that he declared he
would not try to do anything more for the “Comanches,” and would
never command them again, but the Loudoun boys gathered around their
Chief like children around a father, beseeching him to think better
of it, and not cast them away from his care entirely, and he
recalled his bitter words, promising to try again to have them
disbanded for this winter, as portions of General Fitz Lee’s
division had been done the preceding one; and on the last day of the
year he started again for Staunton, telling Captain Myers he would
dispatch to him the next day at Harrisonburg, telling him what to
do, and when on Sunday morning, January 1st, 1865, the Captain
entered the telegraph office at that place, he found the welcome
dispatch:

  “Move out as soon as you like; take my horses with you to
  Semper’s.

                                      “E. V. WHITE, Lieut. Colonel.”

There was no time lost; but Myers had taken time by the forelock,
and before leaving camp in the morning, had ordered the border
Companies to move out for Loudoun, and Company E to go home, so that
he, being sixteen miles behind, did not overtake them until they
reached Front Royal.

A violent snow-storm was raging as they passed through Manassa Gap,
but it was no hindrance to them now; in fact, they were glad of it,
for it served to prevent scouting parties of Yankees from coming
out, and also shut other avenues through which news of them might
have been communicated to the enemy; and the little band of
“Comanches” felt very much like fugitives, for what they had seen
and experienced in the Valley, had impressed upon them, to a
considerable extent, the belief that the “starry cross” was being
enveloped in the gloom of annihilation, and the fact that their
Government was unable to support them, had tamed their spirits
wonderfully.

When they entered their paradise, for such Loudoun county seemed to
them, they found that the fire-fiends had been to work there too,
but not to the same extent they had practiced their inhuman
desolation on the Shenandoah; and now they were glad that the
“Quaker settlements” and “Dutch corner” of this county, were full of
men loyal to Yankee land, for, as the burning devils began their
work among the Union men first, it brought such influential
remonstrances to the powers that were, that the destruction was
partially averted; and then the gallant Mosby, with his partizans in
the mountains, had a most salutary effect in preventing the burners
from wandering too far from their line of march and too near the
mountains which run through this region. So that badly damaged
though they were, the people of Loudoun were far more removed from
the want of provisions that fell heavily upon their neighbors over
the Blue Ridge, and the soldiers, whose homes were here, found
themselves in the midst of what seemed to them an endless abundance.

The men whose homes were in Albemarle, were far the most fortunate
though, for, with an abundance of rations and forage, they were
entirely free from any fear of the enemy’s raiding parties, while
Company E, in Page and Shenandoah and Warren, were not only in a
destitute country, but in nightly danger of being “gobbled up” by
the scouting bands sent out by Sheridan’s army in the “lower
Valley,” but they betook themselves to the mountains and the “Little
Foot Valley,” or Powell’s Foot, as it is sometimes called, and
enjoyed themselves as only men can do who have continual danger to
add zest to their enjoyment of home and rest.

Of how the winter passed away, each individual had a different story
to tell, and it would be impossible to give them all in the history
of the battalion; but of two or three incidents that kept the men
from forgetting they were still soldiers, we must tell the history.

The three Companies, A, B and C, were scattered through Loudoun and
Fairfax counties, nominally under the command of Captain Myers, Co.
A, who held weekly meetings of his squadron at various points, but
apart from the meetings the men were under no restrictions or
control except such as the necessity for watching the Yankees and
keeping out of the way of their scouting parties imposed.

Company B staid, for the most part, in the mountain near Hughesville
and Leesburg, but Lieut. Chiswell had his headquarters near the
Potomac, and learning of a Yankee camp on the Maryland side, at
Edwards’ Ferry, he concluded to attempt a raid on their horses, and
early in February he got twenty-two of his men together, started
from Mrs. Mavin’s mill about 8 o’clock at night, leaving their
horses on the Virginia side. They crossed the river on the ice,
about three-quarters of a mile below the Ferry, and coming out on
the road made as good time as possible for the camp, but when within
one hundred yards of it were called upon by two vedettes to halt.
This brought on some firing, and without waiting a moment for the
Yankees to get ready, the Lieutenant and his men, giving the
customary yell, and keeping it up, charged at a double-quick into
the camp. The Yankees had not yet gone to bed, and rushed to see
what was coming, but one glance was sufficient for them it seems,
for Lieut. Chiswell says they could not have disappeared any quicker
than they did if the ground had opened beneath them and swallowed
them, but there was one exception, for one man (a soldier he was)
tried his utmost to fire his carbine, but it refused to go off, and
he was captured in the attempt to defend his camp; he and one other
were wounded, and one prisoner taken, and as soon as the camp was
cleared Lieut. Chiswell and some of his men hunted up and secured
fourteen good horses and rigging, the property of the 1st Delaware
Cavalry. While this was being done another party paid a visit to a
store near by, and Lieut. C. says, that considering the fact of
their having no light, he thinks they made a very fair selection of
goods.

After arranging matters to their notion the raiders returned to the
Virginia side with their spoils, bringing their one prisoner along,
but as soon as they got over the question arose “What will we do
with him?” and as none of the party was willing to escort the
gentleman to Richmond, which was the only place they could take him,
they proposed to him that if he would trade shoes with one of the
captors, who was bad off in that line, they would release him
unconditionally, a proposition which he eagerly accepted, and lost
no time in consummating the trade.

About Christmas a Federal brigade, commanded by General Deven, had
established itself in winter quarters near Lovettsville, in Loudoun
county, with its right wing protected by the Short Hill and its left
resting on the turnpike, near the Berlin Ferry on the Potomac; and
during the time they were there these troops had treated the
inhabitants of the country through which they scouted and foraged
with far more courtesy and consideration than was the custom of
Federal soldiers south of the Potomac. It is true that buildings in
the vicinity of their camps were in many instances stripped of their
planking to be used for the more comfortable fitting up of the
soldiers quarters, but as a general thing Deven showed that his
warfare was not upon helpless citizens, whose persons and property
were entirely at his mercy, and in this respect proved himself an
exception to the majority of commanding officers in the abolition
crusade upon the South, who only limited their license to the extent
of their power. And this forbearance on the part of Gen. Deven was
all the more remarkable from the fact that the indomitable Mobberly,
in company with a few others whose homes and sweethearts were in the
Federal lines, made almost nightly attacks upon the pickets, and
some nights this rough-riding scout with his little band would
commence at one end of the chain and make the entire circuit of the
camps, driving in every picket on the line, and keeping the
regiments under arms the whole night. It is easy to imagine what a
visitation of wrath this would have brought upon the citizens in his
power, from Sir “Headquarters-in-the-Saddle,” although they were as
innocent of any complicity in or knowledge of these forays as the
silent tenants of the graveyard, and because Gen. Deven looked upon
them with the judgment of the true soldier in an enemy’s country,
and acted like a soldier and not a barbarian, the people respected
him; but when his scouting parties went through the country piloted
by Means’ men, hen-roosts, milk-houses and ladies’ wardrobes were
invaded in the most approved style of genuine Yankee warfare, as was
invariably the case when the “Independent Loudoun Rangers” went out
on the war-path, and no dread of Mosby or White sharpened their
consciences.

This much for General Deven and his men.

In February, 1865, Colonel White came to Loudoun and taking a view
of the situation, resolved to try a raid into the Federal camp.

Mobberly, Lum Wenner and others who knew the Lovettsville country
almost as well as if they had made it, scouted for him and with
great difficulty obtained the information that the 6th New York
Cavalry was encamped nearest the Short Hill and had about two
hundred and fifty men in camp.

On the evening of the 17th, the Colonel quietly collected what force
he could in that part of the county, and at Woodgrove found he had
about eighty men all told, including Colonel R. P. Chew, of the
famous “Horse Artillery,” and a few of Mosby’s men, and about 9
o’clock the little squadron moved from the rendezvous, and passing
Neersville, crossed the Short Hill by a narrow path near St. Paul’s.

On clearing the mountain a small advance guard, led by Mobberly, was
sent out to capture the pickets, but very soon firing was heard, and
dashing rapidly forward the Colonel found that Mobberly and Frank
Curry had been compelled to shoot some of the enemy at the reserve
of the post, and knowing that success depended on surprising the
camp, he continued the charge.

On reaching the place the unwelcome discovery was made that instead
of two hundred and fifty—which was considered about as many as
White’s eighty men wanted—the enemy’s force had been increased that
day by the addition of over three hundred new men, making fully six
hundred, and it had something the appearance of fool-hardiness to
attack them, especially as a large portion were in strong log huts;
however, a good part of the new men were in tents along the side of
the camp where the attack was to be made, and their canvas walls
were not much protection against the bullets that White’s charging
command began to pour into them as soon as they became fairly headed
for them.

Great confusion was the result of the attack, and fully one hundred
and fifty prisoners, and as many horses, were captured at the first
onset, and if the Colonel had now been content to retire, he would
have had as much as he ought to have expected, but still ignorant of
the new force, he judged from the confusion that he was in a fair
way to become master of the camp, when, in fact, he had only
captured the outskirts, and had not reached the real camp, which, as
stated, was composed of huts, and under this wrong impression he
remained too long, for a veteran officer, Capt. Bell, coolly
proceeded to rally such of his men as were not too much demoralized,
and in a very brief space had about two hundred of them in line on
the opposite side of the extensive ground, with whom he advanced
very unexpectedly upon the raiders, who were compelled to retire
very precipitately, only bringing out about fifty horses and a dozen
prisoners; but the Colonel had lost nothing, only one of his men
being wounded, and he very slightly, so that all he got was clear
gain to his command.

On reaching Woodgrove again the command disbanded and prepared to
“lie low” until the inevitable scouring of the country by parties
from Devon’s camp was accomplished, which sunrise would be the
signal for commencing, and this was the last blow struck by the
famous battalion against the enemy in Old Loudoun, whose hills and
valleys were still darkened by the smoke of the burning barns and
grain of her people, which had been fired by the vandal foe whom the
35th battalion was organized to protect the Loudoun border against.



                              CHAPTER XX.


During the month following the foray into Deven’s camp, the
“Comanches” devoted themselves to the duty of recruiting their
horses and preparing for the return to the army whenever their chief
should call them from their winter quarters to perform their part in
what all felt and believed was to be the final campaign of the war.

The long rest and freedom from discipline had not been beneficial to
the “morale” of the command, and in fact a great deal of the energy
and fire that had formerly characterized White’s Battalion, had been
chilled and worn out by the privations and blood of the many trying
campaigns through which they had passed, and which had been
productive of no result, so far as they could see, except to make
each succeeding one more desperate and bloody, and the isolated
raids, skirmishes and picket fights, which had once been their
delight and pride, had now lost the peculiar charm to them, for all
the men saw that in the magnitude to which the war had grown, such
affairs were of no importance at all, and they all felt that to
attain the liberty for which so much blood had already been spilled,
there must be great and decisive battles fought, in which superior
generalship and stubborn courage on the part of the South should
overmatch the swarming legions of Northmen, who, bought by the
Federal bounty, were constantly swelling the ranks of Grant’s army.

Very few of the Southern soldiers doubted the ultimate success of
the cause which had stood such terrible storms, and all believed
that the last day of the war was very near, when, with a second
Waterloo, the stars on the Southern Cross would blaze grandly in a
glorious triumph or sink beneath an ocean of blood into the dark,
but still glorious, gloom of defeat; and with a faith that might
shame the Christian in his trust in his God the soldiers trusted in
Gen. Lee, willing to give their lives to his keeping, and if _not_
willing to die for their cause they _were_ willing and ready to
follow their great commander with unquestioning confidence wherever
he might lead them.

On the 17th of March, 1865, Col. White’s order for his men to join
him was put into the hands of his Company officers, and as it was
his last General Order to an organized battalion, I append it in
full; and the reader will bear in mind that it was written the day
after the Yankee Sheridan, whose name will ever be synonymous with
infamy, had marched with fifteen thousand cavalry up the Shenandoah
Valley;

                                   “HEAD-QUARTERS, 35TH BATTALION, }
                                            “March 6th, 1865.      }

  “GENERAL ORDER, NO. 1.

  “_Soldiers of the renowned 35th_: Your Chief calls you again from
  your pleasant homes and loved ones to the field of battle! You
  will not be slow to answer his call.

  “The invading foe has penetrated to the very heart of your beloved
  Virginia, and proud spirits like yours cannot tamely rest while
  upon every breeze is borne the wailing of helpless women and
  children!

  “Come, my gallant boys! and we will throw the weight of our sabres
  in the scale with our brethren in arms against the dastard hordes
  of the North, who thus, without mercy or justice, pollute the
  sacred altars of our bleeding land.

                                         “E. V. WHITE,
                                  “_Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding_.”

After several attempts, which failed because of the scattered
condition of his command, Captain Myers got about sixty men of
Companies A, B and C, together on the night of the 20th, at the
Semper’s Mill rendezvous, and on the morning of the 21st started for
Richmond, leaving Boyd Barrett and Sam White in Loudoun, with
instructions to gather up the remaining “Comanches,” who were not
yet ready to march, and bring them out in ten days.

The line of march was by Madison C. H. and Gordonsville, through the
country that Sheridan’s army had just passed over, and it would have
taken a man with a nicely balanced mind for calculation to figure
out anything in the way of destruction that might be added to what
had been accomplished by these fire-brands of Satan or _Stanton_;
but what affected the military situation was the ruin to the Rail
Road, for there was literally not a rail or even a cross-tie left
upon it for miles, and everything that bore the faintest resemblance
to a bridge, though it was only a foot-plank over a ditch, had been
taken up and destroyed, but the injury which this destruction was
intended to inflict upon the army of Gen. Lee was scarcely felt by
it now, from the fact that the road ran through an already
impoverished country, and there were no supplies in the Valley to be
brought over it, while the necessity for sending rations from
Richmond to Gen. Early’s forces at Staunton was ended by the
annihilation of that command by Sheridan before he struck the Rail
Road at all, and consequently the raiding on the road was, in a
military point of view, utterly useless.

The Loudoun detachment marched by Hanover Junction, over the well
remembered fighting-ground of Cold Harbor and Mechanicsville, and
joined the brigade, on the night of the 25th, near Atlee’s Station,
six miles north of Richmond, where it encamped for the night, and on
the morning of the 26th passed through the city, crossing on Mayo’s
bridge to the south side of the James.

General Rosser’s division was composed now of two brigades, one
commanded by Brig. General McCausland, and the other—his own old
brigade—by Brig. General Dearing, an accomplished young officer, who
had highly distinguished himself under General Hoke at the capture
of Plymouth, N. C., and also on the Petersburg lines during the long
campaign of 1864, and although a total stranger to the Valley
brigade, his genial, affable disposition and soldierly appearance,
together with the brilliant reputation which had preceded him, soon
rendered him a great favorite with the troops who had followed the
lead of such men as Ashby, Jones and Rosser.

The division passed Petersburg on the 27th, and on the 28th united
with General W. H. F. Lee’s division near Stony Creek Station, and
encamped on the Nottaway river. The two divisions had less than
three thousand men in them, that of Rosser not numbering over twelve
hundred, when if all its men out of prison and capable of duty had
been present the brigade of Dearing alone would have had certainly
not less than twenty-five hundred in ranks; but what was true of one
part of the army was also true of the balance of it, and General Lee
had only a remnant of what had been the A. N. V. to meet Grant’s
hundred and sixty thousand men.

The weather was most unfavorable, as rain fell almost continually;
the ground was as full of water as a sponge, so that it was
difficult and dangerous to ride a horse off the roads, which were
themselves almost knee-deep in mire and mud, while the streams were
swollen to the brim, and many of them the troopers had to cross by
swimming their horses, to the great damage of ammunition and such
rations as they had.

On the 39th the command was ordered towards Dinwiddie Court-house,
where Sheridan was pressing the Confederates in his attempt to reach
the South Side Rail Road, which, if cut, would completely destroy
all outside communication with Richmond and Petersburg, and here
Gen. Fitz. Lee, who now commanded the Cavalry Corps A. N. V., was
combining all his energies to save the road and the right wing of
Lee’s army.

On the 31st of March the battalion took part in the battle of Five
Forks, and on the 1st of April was engaged all day in fighting,
scouting and picketing, in the vicinity of Hatcher’s run; two names
rendered famous in the history of the war by the desperate fighting
of the Cavalry Corps, and of the glorious Infantry Division of
General Pickett; and from now to the end, the battalion was closely
connected with the operations of the army, in the last brief and
gloomy, but forever glorious campaign, which crushed the hopes that
had sustained the hearts of Lee’s veterans through four weary years
of suffering and blood, and we cannot separate the history of the
“Comanches” from that of the Corps to which they belonged, and in
which they performed all the duties allotted to them.

The night of April 1st was a sleepless one, for the horribly
incessant thundering of the artillery at Petersburg, and the
rattling of the muskets over Hatcher’s run, told to the troopers
that the moment when they must take to their saddles and engage in
the fray might be at hand; but no move was made until the morning of
the 2d, when the enemy on the right succeeded in flanking the
divisions of Fitz. and W. H. Lee and Pickett, routing and driving
them from their position, and the retreat began, not towards
Petersburg, for that, too, had fallen, but along the Rail Road
towards the West.

Here Col. White, with his battalion of eighty men, was placed in the
rear, and until 3 o’clock kept back the harassing forces of the
enemy which pressed close on flanks and rear, threatening to ride
over the “Comanches” at almost every step of the march, which was
clogged and hindered continually by the trains of wagons that the
worn-out teams were dragging through the mud at what seemed almost a
snail’s pace.

In the evening it became necessary to halt, in order to protect the
trains, and Fitz. Lee’s division wheeled to the rear, where
temporary breastworks were thrown up, and the Yankees checked for a
time; but the battalion lost the services of two of its best
officers in Lieut. Chiswell, of Company B, and Lieut. Strickler,
Company E, who were both severely wounded, and also of Sergeant
Alonzo Sellman, Company B, who, though shot in the head and given up
for dead, survived and finally recovered.

The division of General Johnson (infantry) moved also to the rear,
and by aid of the cavalry repulsed every attack of the Yankees until
midnight, when the whole force again crossed Hatcher’s run and
halted until daylight, when the toilsome retreat was continued, the
wagons still dragging along slower and slower, requiring the cavalry
to dispute the passage of every stream with the enemy, and halt on
every hill-top to offer battle to their pressing columns, which,
flushed with success, and brave because of their numbers, grew more
and more determined in their dogging attacks upon the rear, while
the Confederates, worn-out, hungry and disheartened, still plodded
on through rain and mud, and still faintly hoped that General Lee
would stop, in some way, the advancing foe, and bring success out of
the cloud of disaster that now overwhelmed them.

The Quartermasters said that there were plenty of rations for the
army at Amelia C. H., and the prospect kept the men up, and on the
evening of the 4th they reached that place, only to meet the
bitterest disappointment, for not an ounce of rations was there, and
now it really did seem that famine would accomplish what all of
Grant’s bayonets could not effect and compel the veteran army of Lee
to surrender; but _that_ alternative impressed the men as worse than
starvation, and plucking the buds and twigs of the trees as they
passed along, these men of iron nerves and lion hearts essayed to
quiet the cravings of hunger by eating them.

A short rest was permitted at the Court-house, as the enemy’s
cavalry had not pressed them so closely to-day as before, and the
reason for this was discovered on the 5th, when near Amelia Springs,
a strong force of them dashed in from the flank upon the wagon-train
and destroyed more than a hundred wagons, causing such a stampede
among the Quartermasters, teamsters and stragglers, as only those
who had been in the Valley with Gen. Early could imagine, and
leaving the road blocked up with the smoking wrecks. As soon as Gen.
Rosser learned this he started the brigade of Dearing forward, and
as rapidly as possible they came up with the Yankees at the Springs
and attacked them furiously, the 11th Virginia, under Lieut. Col. M.
D. Ball, leading most gallantly, and being supported by the
remainder of the division, and by a portion of Gen. Fitz. Lee’s
division, they whipped the enemy’s cavalry handsomely, killing and
wounding nearly as many as were engaged on the Confederate side, and
driving the remainder back upon their infantry.

This affair did more to revive the drooping spirits of the Cavalry
Corps than anything else could, but it is doubtful if they would
have fought so fiercely if they had not been so hungry, and the
first demand, on taking a prisoner, was "hand me your haversack,
quick, or I’ll blow your brains out."

They camped that night at the Springs, and after this the cavalry
fared much better than the infantry, for they were kept constantly
riding on the flanks, from rear to front, and back again, having
thereby an opportunity to obtain something to eat at the houses of
citizens off from the line of march pursued by the main army, but it
was saddening to see the despairing looks cast by the inhabitants of
the country as they would say farewell to the boys in gray after
they had willingly fed them with the best they had and saw them ride
away, for they dreaded what was to come after them more than if all
the plagues of old Egypt’s King had been turned loose in their land
and were approaching their plantations, and on one occasion, when
the “Comanches” were riding past a house, some beautiful young
ladies came out, and closing the gate in front of the column, said,
"You are going the wrong way; please don’t leave us to Sheridan’s
mercy; go back and whip the Yankees for our sakes;" but noticing the
bitterness which their act and words added to the already
heart-crushing sadness of retreat and defeat, they opened the gate,
saying, "Go on; we know you can’t help it; but we will pray for you,
and hope that you will soon be back to drive them away; don’t forget
us when you meet the Yankees."

There is no doubt that the citizens of the South were subjugated
long before the armies were reduced to the extremity of
surrendering, but the noble-souled, true-hearted women of the sunny
Southern land were not, nor ever have been, willing to surrender
their faith in the justice of the “Lost Cause,” or to give up their
hope of a final triumph of the principles they so fondly loved and
cherished, and

            “Though long deferred their hope hath been,
              Yet it shall come at last.”

The Southern women were the “power behind the throne” during the
whole existence of the Confederate States, and were so acknowledged
by Seward, the Yankee Secretary of State; by Butler, “the Beast;”
and by Sherman, the prince of “bummers” and thieves, in their bitter
persecution of them, for they knew that the steady, unchanging
influence of the mothers, sisters, wives and sweethearts of the
South did more to fill the ranks of the Confederate army than all
the edicts of its Congress or acts of its Conscript Bureau. And
nobly and bravely did the ladies meet their persecution. Up to the
day of Lee’s surrender their voices were still for war, and their
tongues, sharper than sabre-blades, turned against deserters and
skulkers from the army and “bomb-proof” officers in it. They
equalled the women of Poland in their enthusiasm and devotion, and
excelled them in persistent opposition to, and hatred of, those whom
they regarded as the oppressors of their country. Many a poor fellow
whom the surrender caught in a Northern prison, hesitated to take
the oath of allegiance which would have procured his release,
although he knew there was no longer a “Dixie” banner to be true to,
because he did not know “what the women at home would say to it;”
and when they _did_ take the oath and go home the women sometimes
blamed them, sometimes said nothing, and sometimes only remarked,
"Yes, you did right, ’needs must when the devil drives,’ and if ever
he held the reins on earth he does to-day."

A Federal officer in North Carolina asked a lady “Are you not sorry
you ever used your influence in support of this rebellion, when you
see the misery which has followed it?”

“No, sir,” she replied, “we have done what we could, and my sorrow
is not for the effort we made, but for its failure. Better, ten
thousand times better, the present sufferings than the degredation
of submitting tamely without a struggle. We feel that we were right
and that is a great thing, let the conviction cost us what it may.”

But it is time to go back into the forlorn death-march of Lee’s
army.

Early in the morning of the 6th the enemy advanced on the pickets at
Amelia Springs, who were from the second squadron of White’s
Battalion, commanded by Captain French, who, after a firm
resistance, was compelled to retire upon the infantry, who at the
same time were being warmly pressed by the main body of Grant’s army
in the rear, and the retreat was resumed and continued during the
day with constant fighting.

On arriving near Rice’s Station a heavy force of the enemy’s cavalry
made an attack upon Rosser’s division, but the General wheeled his
regiments and threw them in fierce and desperate charges upon the
foe, routing and driving him back upon his infantry.

The old brigade seemed inspired with the fiery valor which had in
other days given it the proud title of the “Laurel,” and impelled
its men to follow the battle-flag of Dixie through blood to victory,
on many a well-fought field, and never in all the years of the war,
had it acted more gallantly.

When this affair opened the “Laurel” brigade was near the High
Bridge, and was forced to charge the enemy’s infantry, which in
strong force was posted in the edge of a body of timber, and here
the Yankee line was driven back, but pretty soon Gen. Dearing
ordered his people to retire, and riding up to Col. White, the
General informed him that the enemy had surrounded them, and asked
his advice, saying, “We must cut through or surrender.” The Colonel
only replied, by saying, “You know best what to do;” and Dearing
then said, “We _must_ whip that infantry, and if you and I lead the
charge, it _can_ be done,” which Col. White at once agreed to, and
the regiment were again ordered forward, the battalion in front,
with Col. White and Gen. Dearing leading it.

By this time the Yankees had returned and taken position some
fifteen yards in front of the woods, from which they opened a
terrible fire, but the “Comanches” swept onward, supported by the
brigade, and the enemy was again driven in great confusion over the
hill.

Here Gen. Dearing was mortally wounded, and carried from the field,
and Federal Gen. Read, who commanded the Yankee forces, was also
mortally wounded, and fell into the hands of the Confederates.

On reaching the top of the hill, and finding himself in command of
the brigade, Col. White halted, to reform his scattered line,
preparatory to charging again upon the Yankees, who were rallying at
a corner of woods about a quarter of a mile away, but while thus
engaged, a small party of the enemy’s cavalry, from towards Rice’s,
appeared, and two of them attacked the gallant Maj. Breathed, of the
Stuart Horse Artillery, who had ridden alone, some distance beyond
the Confederate line, and a desperate conflict took place, in full
view of both parties, wherein nothing but the sabre was used. In a
short time the Major knocked one of his foes from his horse, and was
almost instantly knocked down himself by the remaining one, but just
as the Yankee had wheeled his horse, and was leaning over with his
sabre in tierce to despatch the prostrate Major, one of White’s men
approached, and with a pistol shot brought the Yankee to the ground,
when Breathed sprang up with his sabre still in his hand,
exclaiming, "Oh! damn you! I’ve got you now," and killed him.

This seemed to convince the Yankees that they could do nothing with
such men, and they again retreated; but now a force of cavalry was
discovered advancing rapidly upon the right of the brigade, and
White turned to meet them, as they advanced bravely to the charge,
led by as gallant an officer as ever graced a battle-field, but
brave as was the commander, and promptly supported by his men as he
was, the “Comanches” had their fighting blood on fire, with the
excitement of victory, and in a few minutes broke the Yankee line
and captured their Colonel, using their sabres with such desperate
courage, that no troops could have stood long before this little
band of men who had been starved and harassed into very devils of
war and blood.

The battle-tide was again turned against the enemy’s legions, and
the cavalry driven back upon their infantry, who, in heavy force had
taken position on the crest of a steep, rocky hill, and here for a
moment they checked the Confederate advance, but General Munford had
now arrived with his division, and Gen. McCausland ordered Capt.
Myers to go to a regiment of dismounted men and take them to the top
of the hill. This regiment proved to be the 6th Virginia Cavalry,
commanded by Major Grimsley, who moved his men forward at once, and
Col. Boston, the commander of Paine’s Brigade, rode to the head of
the regiment to lead it, but was shot through the brain.

The 6th, however, kept on, and now Colonel White led his men through
a perfect storm of bullets, up the bluff, and again the Yankees
fled, pursued fiercely by the “Comanches,” who captured many
prisoners in the chase to the river, and on reaching the bank, near
the High Bridge, their infantry, to the number of over seven
hundred, threw down their arms and surrendered to White’s Battalion.

In this last charge, as Maj. Thompson, who had left his battery to
help the cavalry fight, was riding recklessly down upon the enemy,
whirling his sabre around his head and shouting to the “Comanches”
to “charge the devils,” that he "wanted to go in with White’s
Battalion," &c., a Yankee fired upon him with fatal aim, sending a
bullet through his head, and the brave young officer leaped from his
saddle a corpse, and thus the light of that gallant spirit, which
for four years had revelled unscathed, amid the most appalling
dangers, went out in blood upon the field of victory to the men whom
he had so often seen following the lead of his loved friend and
commander, Turner Ashby; that friend who, on the bloody field at
Harrisonburg, breathed out his noble life in Jamie Thompson’s arms,
but his eyes’ last glance rested on a beaten foe, and the last
sounds that fell upon his ear were the wild triumphant yells of the
“Comanches.”

The battalion took four regimental standards and about eight hundred
prisoners, while the total of prisoners amounted to about eleven
hundred, greatly exceeding the whole Confederate force engaged, and
their loss in killed and wounded was certainly not less than four
hundred, including many officers, and six flags were displayed as
trophies of the fight.

General Dearing had been carried to a house near the field, and
after the battle Colonel White went to see him, finding him unable
to speak above a whisper, and in fact, dying. Gen. Rosser was seated
on one side, and as White came in, the wounded General took his
hand, and pointing with the other to the Brigadier’s stars on his
own collar, turned his face to General Rosser and whispered, “I want
these to be put on his coat.”

Among the wounded in the battalion was Benjamin F. Leslie, Company
A, who had been remarkable for his unwavering faith in the success
of the South, through all the gloomy retreat, even when every heart
was despondent, and who while fighting desperately at the bridge was
mortally wounded.

He, too, was at the house, and when the Colonel went in to see him
found him suffering greatly from the bullet wound through his body
and lying with his knees almost drawn up to his chin. The Colonel
asked him if he was badly hurt, and he replied, “Yes, Colonel, I am
mortally wounded.” “Oh!” said the Colonel, “I hope not. Ben, you
must cheer up.” “No, sir,” said Ben, "there’s do hope for me; I
asked the doctor and he says I must die," and then raising his head,
with the light of faith in and devotion to his cherished country’s
cause beaming from his eye, he exclaimed, “But there are men enough
left to gain our independence.”

The gallant commander of the 12th Virginia cavalry, Major Nott, was
killed in the charge upon the infantry early in the engagement, and
the scene was full of sad and solemn meaning as the soldiers buried
their dead comrades on the hill near the house, just before leaving
the ground to the enemy, but many felt that the hero blood of the
Southland had not been spilled in vain when they saw so many of
their foes laid beneath the same sod, and knew they had lost so many
more, but the enemy had fought bravely and well, and the Confederate
loss was very severe, the battalion alone losing eighteen killed and
wounded out of about forty engaged. Only the first squadron was
present at the opening of the fight, as Capt. French with his
squadron had been left on picket at Amelia Springs in the morning,
and all day long was bringing up the rear closely pressed by the
enemy, and compelled to turn and fight at every hill and wood and
stream along the route, so that he did not reach the ground until
towards the close of the battle.

About dark the command of White reached the main army, which was
still wearily plodding along the muddy road towards Lynchburg, and
now the brigade lay in line of battle until midnight, waiting for
the slow-moving train to pass, while less than a mile away the
camp-fires of Grant’s army shone brightly through the gloom of that
dismal night.

Two hours after the last wagon had passed, the old Valley brigade
marched silently along in rear of the whole army, but it was as slow
as ever, for the rain was again falling, and the bottom of the road
sinking deeper and deeper beneath the mud, so that, although the
enemy had rested during the hours of darkness, their advance was up
with the Confederates by 9 o’clock on the morning of the 7th, and
the latter, who had toiled on through all the weary night, were
forced to renew and continue the same old story of turning at bay on
every hill along the route.

About noon the rear-guard reached Farmville, in Prince Edward
county, and so stubbornly did Rosser hang on in his bull-dog style
to the favorable positions around that place, that the pursuit was
checked, and the enemy compelled to resort to a flank movement,
which their great force rendered easy, but which came to grief from
being performed too near the view of Gen. Rosser.

During the operations on the hills of Farmville a Federal brigade
approached White’s people, and the commander, mistaking them for a
part of his own force, sent a courier forward to order them not to
advance too far ahead of their supports, but Col. White, not wishing
to be so supported, made no attempt to obey the Yankee’s order, and
only pointed his pistol at the courier’s head with a demand for his
surrender, which was of course complied with.

After destroying the bridges the brigade of White retired, and the
battalion, being the rear guard, was very hotly pressed, many of the
men being forced to swim the river in effecting their escape, as the
enemy advanced their whole force the moment the Confederates
commenced to fall back, and Captain Dowdell’s Company, together with
a portion of Co. A, under Lieut. Marlow, were very near being taken.

After getting clear of Farmville the men found some oat stacks, and
of course helped themselves to what they could carry, intending to
feed their horses at the first halt, and as Col. White was riding
along with Capt. Myers, who was in command of the battalion, each of
them carrying a sheaf of oats before him, while the battalion was
scattered for a mile (there being no thought of danger now as the
enemy had halted at Farmville), a sudden commotion was observed in
the woods through which the route of the main army lay, and in a few
moments Gen. Rosser appeared, almost alone, with the Yankees
charging after him.

Col. White instantly ordered his people forward, and hastily
throwing away their oats, the men went in again, driving the enemy
back upon their main body, which proved to be the flanking force
before spoken of, and numbered about four thousand cavalry commanded
by Gen. Gregg, who had been sent over the river to fall upon the
wagon train while the affair was enacting at Farmville, but although
they reached to within fifty yards of the train they did not reach
it from the fact that the very men whom they had left confronting
Sheridan at Farmville, were here between them and the wagons.

The few men of Rosser’s division held the whole force of the enemy
in check until Gen. Fitz. Lee’s division came up, and the two
together attacked so vigorously that Gregg’s command was driven back
in confusion before scarcely a third of its number, and Gen. Gregg
himself was captured as he was gallantly attempting to rally his
fugitive troops, he having made the same mistake as the courier to
Col. White, and tried to prevail on a body of Confederates, who were
chasing the Yankees, to “halt and form.”

After this, the Southern troops destroyed about one hundred of their
wagons, as it was evident they could not take them much farther, and
putting their teams to the other wagons attempted to make up in
speed for the time lost already; and to-night the Colonel halted his
brigade in line of battle again to watch the rear, and about two
o’clock in the morning followed on after the army, leaving the
battalion to act as rear guard for him, with instructions not to
approach nearer than one mile to the brigade unless _forced_ back,
and it was fully understood by the “Comanches” that they were not to
consider themselves _forced_ without a fight.

About sunrise the enemy became very troublesome and as not more than
one mile could be marched without a halt to wait for the wagons to
be pulled out of the mud, which in many places was hub-deep, the
position of the rear guard became a very exciting one, especially as
it was found that the enemy’s infantry had left the road and was
outmarching them through the fields and open pine woods to the left.
During one of the halts, about nine o’clock, as the battalion was,
as usual, drawn up in line facing the left, and Capt. Myers, with a
few pickets, was a half mile from his people down a road that led
towards the enemy, a party of four Yankees were seen approaching
through the woods, and as they came very confidently along making no
sign to the two Confederates, who were standing in full view, it was
decided best to halt them with a shot from a Sharpe’s rifle, which
resulted in the killing of the foremost Yankee, and in falling he
displayed a white flag, which, until that moment, had not been seen,
because of the pines.

Both parties hastily retired, and it being now discovered that the
army was moving again, the battalion also marched quietly, but in
the distance of two miles another halt was called, and now the
country being open the thousands of men in blue could be seen,
drawing close along the flank and rear, but what puzzled the
Confederates was the total absence of cavalry, in any force, with
Grant’s army.

While standing here, a mounted Yankee was observed galloping along
the road waving a white flag, and being met by one of the battalion,
he presented a letter addressed to General Lee, but Capt. Myers
refused to forward it unless the line of infantry, now within half a
mile, would halt, which the bearer of the flag communicated to the
enemy’s officers, and a halt was immediately ordered, the command
being distinctly heard by the Confederate rear-guard.

The letter was now sent forward to Gen. Lee, and in half an hour an
answer, directed to Gen. Grant, was returned, with a request from
Gen. Lee that one or two of the _best dressed_ officers in the
battalion be sent in company with the truce-bearer to the enemy’s
line, and this mission fell upon Capt. French and Lieut. James, who
rode back to Grant’s headquarters and met with his Chief-of-Staff,
Gen. Williams, who treated them handsomely, gave them a drink of
whiskey, and talked, as James said, “exactly like a gentleman.” He
asked them a number of questions, and informed them that they (the
Yankees) had taken thirty-two thousand prisoners since the capture
of Petersburg. Capt. French asked him the meaning of the
correspondence between the Generals, to which he replied that Gen.
Custis Lee had been taken prisoner, and his father, Gen. Lee, had
merely inquired if he was killed or wounded, and that Gen. Grant had
replied, telling him that his son was unhurt.

Another letter was dispatched to Gen. Lee, and the _well-dressed_
Confederates returned to their own lines, with no idea that they
were aiding the negotiations for the surrender of Lee’s army by
carrying the letters on the subject back and forth, and as the
wagons were again out of the mud the rear-guard resumed its march,
as also did the Federal army. About 3 o’clock the battalion was
relieved from its perilous position in the rear by a portion of Gen.
W. H. F. Lee’s division, and soon after the division of Rosser was
ordered to the front.

The scene which presented itself to the view of the rear-guard as it
passed the army on the way was distressing in the extreme. The few
men who still carried their muskets had hardly the appearance of
soldiers as they wearily moved along the toilsome route, their
clothes all tattered and covered with mud, their eyes sunken and
lustreless, and their faces peaked and pinched from their ceaseless
march, through storm and sunshine, without food or sleep, through
all that dire retreat, when in fact they were worn-out, from
excessive duty in the trenches at Petersburg, before the retreat
begun.

Many of the men who had thrown away their arms and knapsacks were
lying prone on the ground along the road-side, too much exhausted to
march further, and only waiting for the enemy to come and pick them
up as prisoners, while at short intervals there were wagons mired
down, their teams of horses and mules lying in the mud, from which
they had struggled to extricate themselves until complete exhaustion
had forced them to be still and wait for death to glaze their wildly
starting eyes, and still their quick gasping and panting for the
breath which could scarcely reach some of them through the mud that
almost closed their nostrils; but through all this a part of the
army still trudged on, with their faith still strong, and only
waiting for General Lee to say where they were to face about and
fight, for they knew that the enemy would be whipped, and that every
day brought nearer the last decisive battle-field, where the hosts
of the North would be overthrown and the final success of the
Confederate States assured.

About sunset of the 8th the cavalry, now entirely clear of the army,
went into a pleasant bivouac in a body of timber, where they were
permitted to build fires and remove the saddles from the horses’
backs, upon which they had constantly been since the fifth, and the
tired troopers felt good at the prospect of an all night rest, but
in less than two hours the bugles sounded “to horse,” and the march
was again taken up, and slowly followed until about two o’clock in
the morning, when the division of Rosser, which was in front, halted
at Appomattox C. H.

After waiting awhile to see if anything further was to be done, the
men made fires of the fences, and sat down, each man holding his
bridle rein and wondering what would come with daylight, but about
an hour before dawn a battery exactly in front opened fire, and now
the absence of cavalry in the rear during all of the day before was
explained, as was also the reason why the Confederate cavalry had
been brought forward, for right here, exactly before them, stood
Sheridan’s whole command, cutting off the retreat of the army from
Lynchburg.

Soon after the battery opened, Colonel White moved his brigade
forward a short distance and formed on a hill near some timber that
extended to the head of a swamp, and here it remained until after
sunrise, when the Colonel rode out to the battalion, which was on
the right of the line, and informed Captain Myers that the army was
about to surrender and Rosser was arranging to take his cavalry out.
There was no time to arrive at a full realization of the meaning
contained in this simple announcement, for the enemy was now
pressing vigorously in front and Sheridan’s cannon were throwing
their shells among the Confederates with great rapidity.

General Rosser moved forward about half a mile and halted to wait
for a demonstration which General Gordon, who now commanded all that
was left of “Stonewall” Jackson’s old corps, had arranged to make
with his infantry, in order to draw Sheridan’s force towards the
left, and about 7 o’clock the signal was given in the rattling
rifles of Gordon’s men, who had followed Lee and Jackson through
victory after victory, from Manassas, where they had made
“Stonewall” immortal, to fire their last shot and lay down their
arms in surrender at Appomattox Court-house.

Rosser now put White’s brigade in front and moved promptly upon the
enemy, who appeared not to understand exactly what was expected of
them, and as White took a position on a hill in an open field about
four or five hundred yards from a division of Federal cavalry, the
latter only looked, but made no hostile movement, and now Rosser,
finding the way open to gain the Lynchburg road, pushed forward with
the brigades of Munford and McCausland, leaving Colonel White to
guard the rear and the old brigade to be the sacrifice, if
necessary, to secure the safety of the balance. After looking at the
little line of Confederates for a little while a party of about four
hundred marched from the division and commenced to form on the same
hill with the little remnant of the “Laurel Brigade,” but this was
too much for White, and he ordered Capt. Hatcher, of the 7th
regiment, to charge, and Capt. Myers, of the battalion to support
him. The enemy soon broke and retreated upon their reserve, which in
turn gave way, and the whole force fled, panic-stricken, before the
little party of about one hundred Rebels, who were within an hour of
surrendering, and again, but for the last time, the avenging sabres
of the Ashby boys glanced fiercely over the Yankee cavalry. Many of
the enemy fell killed or wounded, but no prisoners were taken, and
when the chase had continued about two miles the Colonel again
called a halt, and the boys had to dismount and skirmish with the
Yankee infantry for a short time, and when the great firing of guns
and sky-rending shouts of Grant’s army away off to the front and
right announced that 9 o’clock had passed, and that General Lee,
with his troops had surrendered, Colonel White withdrew his men and
took the way to Lynchburg, overtaking Rosser about seven miles from
that place, and on reaching the city everything was in confusion,
nobody knew what to do and all thought it pretty certain that the
Yankees would soon be up.

About dark Gen. Rosser ordered the division to move to the Fair
Grounds, near the town, and wait for orders, but shortly after a
rumor was circulated to the effect that the Yankees were advancing,
and that Gen. Grant had sent a summons to the Mayor ordering that
the place be surrendered by 9 o’clock that night, which produced a
panic, and the regiments moved out across the river, where Colonels
White and Ball, the only two field officers in the whole brigade,
addressed them, urging the men to still keep their faith bright and
trust in the God who “gives not the battle to the strong;” and about
midnight the Laurel Brigade was disbanded, never to meet again, the
men going to their homes to wait for orders (which were never
received) to follow Gen. Rosser and Col. White to the army of
Johnson.

After this, the men who were not captured went by twos and threes to
the Federal officers and were paroled, and by the 1st of May the
“Comanches” could scarcely be recognized in the men who were in
their fields holding the plow-handles, or behind the counter, but
they hoped against hope for many months that they would be called
upon to rally again around the stars and bars and draw their sabres
for “Dixie” and Freedom.

Hope died at last though, and the world saw a nation of soldiers
transformed, as suddenly as the night vanishes before the rising
sun, into a nation of quiet, law-abiding citizens.

The war was over; the Confederacy was dead; and her soldiers
accepted the terms granted by their conquerors, in good faith, and
began to hope that peace would bring them back the blessings which
the sword had driven from them, and that the country might be
united, although they were conscientious in the conviction that the
Southern States had the _right_ to separate from the compact styled
the Federal Constitution, and that it was vastly to their interests
to do so; and thus the Southern Confederacy, in her brief but
brilliant career, followed the footsteps of nations gone before, and
like them, passed through all the chances and changes of triumph and
defeat that in this weak human life follow each other so closely
from sunshine to the sunless land.


        =_Killed and Wounded in White’s Battalion._=

                               ----------

The list of killed and wounded is incomplete, in consequence of the
loss of all the muster-rolls, which were in the wagons, and at the
surrender of the army, fell into the hands of the enemy; and the
author will esteem it a favor on the part of any one who will
furnish him with the names of any who are omitted.


                    =KILLED AND DIED OF WOUNDS.=

                 "On fame’s eternal camping ground,
                   Their silent tents are spread;
                 And glory guards with solemn round
                   The bivouac of the dead."

                            =COMPANY A.=

 BROOK HAYS, Waterford, August 27th, 1862.
 PETER J. KABRICH, mortally wounded, August 27th, 1862, and died at
    Waterford, September 6th, 1862.
 LYCURGUS W. BUSSARD, killed, Glenmore, October 21st, 1862.
 SAMUEL JENKINS, killed, Poolsville, December, 1862.
 DANIEL L. PRINCE, killed, Brandy Station, June 9th, 1863.
 HENRY O. HUMMER, killed, Parker’s Store, Nov. 29th, 1863.
 HENRY R. MOORE, killed, Wilderness, May 6th, 1864.
 JOSEPH HENDON, killed, Wilderness, May 6th, 1864.
 SAMUEL W. CRUMBAKER, Wilderness, May 6th, 1864, mortally wounded,
    and died May 16th, 1864.
 THOMAS E. TIPPETT, killed, Wilderness, May 12th, 1864.
 WILLIAM EDWARDS, killed, Trevillian, June 11th, 1864.
 SAMUEL T. PRESGRAVES, killed, Monk’s Neck, Sept. 16th, 1864.
 WILLIAM BROWN, killed, Monk’s Neck, September 16th, 1864.
 Orderly-Sergeant THOMAS S. GRUBB, mortally wounded at Tom’s Brook,
    October 9th, 1864, and died Oct. 16th, 1864.
 EDWIN DRISH, killed in Leesburg, July, 1864, after he had
    surrendered to Means’ Company.
 JAMES R. DOUGLASS, killed at Neersville, February, 1865.
 BENJAMIN F. LESLIE, killed at High Bridge, April 6th, 1865.
 JOHN W. MOBBERLY, murdered in Loudoun, April, 1865.

                            =COMPANY B.=

 EDWARD WELCH, killed, Brandy Station, June 9th, 1863.
 — MCCORMACK, killed, Mount Clifton, October 7th, 1864.

                            =COMPANY C.=

 Capt. R. B. GRUBB, killed, Waterford, August 7th, 1863.
 Lieut. THOMAS W. WHITE, killed, Wilderness, May 8th, 1864.
 JOHN C. GRUBB, killed, Waterford, August 7th, 1863.
 — WILSON, killed, Maryland, September, 1863.
 JOHN J. CLENDENING, killed, Wilderness, May 5th, 1864.
 JOHN DOUGLASS, killed, Wilderness, May 6th, 1864.
 WILLIAM D. GOODING, killed, Hillsboro’, January, 1865.

                            =COMPANY E.=

 ISAAC N. BRUMBACK, killed, Brandy Station, June 9th, 1863.
 MARCUS MCINTURFF, killed, Brandy Station, June 9th, 1863.
 PHILIP A. HOCKMAN, killed, Wilderness, May 6th, 1864.
 GEORGE BENNETT, killed, Wilderness, May 20th, 1864.
 — ROGERS, killed, Wilderness, May, 1864.

                            =COMPANY F.=

 — GROGAN, killed, Greenland Gap, April 25th, 1863.
 — BROY, killed, Wilderness, May 6th, 1864.
 — RHODES, killed, Hawes’ Shop.
 CHARLES SINCLAIR, killed, Tom’s Brook, October 9th, 1864.
 Lieut. WATTS, killed at Brandy Station, June 9th, 1863.

                     WOUNDED IN THE BATTALION.

                               ----------

                             =COMPANY A.=

 Sergt. JOHN DOVE,              Waterford,        August 27th,   1862.
 JACOB H. ROBERTSON,            Glenmore,         October 21st,  1862.
 JOHN STEPHENSON,               Snicker’s Gap,    November 1st,  1862.
 FENTON FOLEY,                  Greenland Gap,    April 25,      1863.
 THOMAS SPATES,                   ”       ”         ”   ”           ”
 Lieut. W. F. BARRETT,          Brandy Station,   June 9th,      1863.
 EDWARD S. WRIGHT,                ”       ”         ”   ”         ”
 PHILIP W. CARPER,                ”       ”         ”   ”         ”
 WILLIAM P. KYLE,                 ”       ”         ”   ”         ”
 H. C. MCFARLAND,                 ”       ”         ”   ”         ”
 JAMES T. FREEMAN,                ”       ”         ”   ”         ”
 CHARLES F. GALLAWAY,             ”       ”         ”   ”         ”
 ROBERT F. JONES,               Edward’s Ferry,   September 2d,  1863.
 Corp. D. C. PETTINGALL,        Thornton’s Mill,  October 10th,  1863.
 CHARLES L. MYERS,                ”       ”         ”  ”           ”
 Sergt. THOMAS S. GRUBB,        Wilderness,       May 5th,       1864.
   ”    GEO. F. EVERHART,         ”                ”  ”            ”
 C. BOYD BARRETT,                 ”                ”  ”            ”
 J. FRANK BICKSLER,               ”                ”  ”            ”
 JOHN KEPHART,                    ”                ”  ”            ”
 W. W. MCDONOUGH,                 ”                ”  ”            ”
 Lieut. BENJ. F. CONRAD,          ”               May 6th,       1864.
 Sergt. WILLIAM SNOOTS,           ”                ”  ”            ”
 WILLIAM O. HOUSHOLDER,           ”                ”  ”            ”
 JOHN HOWARD,                   Enan Church,      May   28th,    1864.
 Lieut. R. C. MARLOW,           Trevillian,       June  11th,    1864.
 Sergt. EDWARD L. BENNETT,      Trevillian,       June 11th,     1864.
 JOHN H. MARLOW,                Sapony Church,    June 29th,     1864.
 Capt. F. M. MYERS,             Mount Clifton,    October 7th,   1864.
 JAMES GOARD,                     ”                ”   ”           ”
 Corp. E. H. TAVENNER,          Tom’s Brook,      October 9th,   1864.
 WILLIAM TITUS,                   ”                ”   ”           ”
 O. M. BUSSARD,                 Fairfax,          February,      1865.
 GEORGE CRAIG,                  High Bridge,      April 6th,     1865.
 GEORGE LEE,                    High Bridge,      April 6th,     1865.
 JOHN W. FLETCHER,              High Bridge,      April 6th,     1865.
 JOHN W. WHITE,                 High Bridge,      April 6th,     1865.
 O. M. BUSSARD,                 Fairfax,          February,      1865.
 GEORGE CRAIG,                  High Bridge,      April 6th,     1865.
 GEORGE LEE,                    High Bridge,      April 6th,     1865.
 JOHN W. FLETCHER,              High Bridge,      April 6th,     1865.
 JOHN W. WHITE,                 High Bridge,      April 6th,     1865.

                             =COMPANY B.=

 FRANK WILLIAMS,                Greenland Gap,    April  25th,   1863.
 Orderly-Sergeant HENRY C.      Brandy Station,   June 9th,      1863.
   SELLMAN,
 Capt. GEORGE W. CHISWELL,      Brandy Station,   June 9th,      1863, badly.
 Lieut. J. R. CROWN,            Brandy Station,   June 9th,      1863.
 WILLIAM HERBERT,                 ”       ”        ”   ”          ”
 PINKNEY MARTIN,                  ”       ”        ”   ”          ”
 — PETERS,                        ”       ”        ”   ”          ”
 ELIAS PRICE,                   Parker’s Store,   November 29th, 1863.
 DANIEL KEY,                      ”       ”        ”   ”          ”
 CHARLES SMITH,                 Moorfield,        January,       1864.
 ALONZO SELLMAN,                Wilderness,       May 5th,       1864.
 FRANK WILLIAMS,                  ”                ”   ”          ”
 WILLIAM SHEHAN,                  ”                ”   ”          ”
 ROBERT DADE,                     ”                ”   ”          ”
 MARTIN TAYLOR,                   ”               May 6th,        ”
 ELIJAH VIERS,                    ”                ”   ”          ”
 — ODEN,                          ”                ”   ”          ”
 CRONE PHILLIPS, (bugler,)      Trevillian,       June 11th,     1864.
 Lieut. E. J. CHISWELL,         Tom’s Brook,      October 9th,   1864.
 Sergt. ALONZO SELLMAN,           ”       ”        ”   ”          ”
   ”  CHARLES GREEN,              ”       ”        ”   ”          ”
 HENRY ORME,                      ”       ”        ”   ”          ”
 BYRON THOMAS,                    ”       ”        ”   ”          ”
 AB. GAMAR,                     Lovettsville,     February 25,   1865.
 Lieut. E. J. CHISWELL,         Hatcher’s Run,    April 3d,      1865.
 Sergt. ALONZO SELLMAN,           ”       ”        ”   ”          ”
 LEWIS NEEDHAMMER,              High Bridge,      April 6th,     1865.
 CHARLES SCOLL,                 Monk’s Neck,      September      1864.
                                                  16th,

                             =COMPANY C.=

 JAMES HOOD,                    Glenmore,         October 21st,  1862.
 JOHN J. WHITE,                   ”                ”   ”          ”
 WILLIAM FRITZ,                   ”                ”   ”          ”
 Corp. JAMES M. FOSTER,         Greenland Gap,    February 25th, 1863.
 SYDNOR FOUCHE,                   ”       ”        ”   ”          ”
 Sergt. SILAS COPELAND,         Brandy Station,   June 9th,      1863.
 JOHN W. HAMMERLY,                ”       ”        ”   ”          ”
 JOSEPH S. HART,                  ”       ”        ”   ”          ”
 JOHN MILBOURN,                   ”       ”        ”   ”          ”
 WILLIAM D. GOODING,              ”       ”        ”   ”          ”
 — WILSON,                      Waterford,        August 7th,    1863.
 MAITLAND TAYLOR,               Wilderness,       May 5th,       1864.
 RICHARD FOLLEN,                  ”                ”   ”          ”
 MANLY TRIPLETT,                  ”                ”   ”          ”
 Color-Sergt. T. N. TORREYSON,  Wilderness,       May 6th,       1864.
 WILLIAM T. CLENDENING,           ”                ”   ”          ”
 HUGH S. THOMPSON, (mortally,)    ”                ”   ”          ”
 AARON T. BEANS,                Sapony Church,    June 29th,     1864.
 Sergt. EBEN SIMPSON,           Tom’s Brook,      October 9th,   1864.
 THOMAS ELGIN,                    ”       ”        ”   ”          ”
 ELWOOD BEANS,                    ”       ”        ”   ”          ”
 Lieut. SAM. E. GRUBB,          Hillsboro’,       January,       1865.
 GEORGE CHAMBLIN,               Neersville,       February,      1865.
 Color-Sergt. RODNEY MATTHEWS,  High Bridge,      April 6th,     1865.
 JOHN W. DAVISSON,                ”       ”        ”   ”          ”

                             =COMPANY E.=

 Lieut. H. M. STRICKLER,        Payne’s Church,   April 2d,      1865.
   ”  A. C. GRUBBS,             Parker’s Store,   November 29th, 1863.
 WILLIAM T. WARREN,             Wilderness,       May 6th,       1864.
 JACOB HUFFMAN,                   ”                ”   ”          ”
 JAMES ATWOOD,                  Cabin Point,      August 20th,   1864.
 CHARLES B. FRISTOE,            Brandy Station,   June 9th,      1863.


                          RECAPITULATION.

                        Killed.   Wounded.               Total.
          Company  A         18         37                   55
             ”     B          2         28                   30
             ”     C          7         25                   32
             ”     E          5          6                   11
             ”     F          4          1 at Brandy Stat’n.  5
             ”     D          —          3  ”           ”     3
                             ——         ——                   ——
                             36        100                  136

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         Transcriber’s Note

The conventional use of single quotes within quoted material was not
followed in this text, and is given as printed.

Hyphenation of words is not entirely consistent, and is generally
given here as printed. Where hyphenation occurs on a line break, the
decision to retain or remove is based on occurrences elsewhere in
the text.

The errors deemed most likely to be the printer’s have been
corrected, and are noted here. The references are to the page and
line in the original text.

  5.6        they are very far f[t/r]om presenting        Replaced.

  19.30      to go into south Loudoun and upper           Replaced.
             Fa[n/u]quier

  24.20      with the other side of the river[.]          Added.

  65.23      asking each other [“]how far it was to       Added.
             Brown’s Gap

  67.5       as soon as ever[y]thing had crossed the      Inserted.
             bridge

  138.30     on being made General-in[-]Chief             Added.

  158.6      which illustra[ted] Col. White’s attention   Added.

  161.1      they acted nob[l]y while they were allowed   Inserted.

  194.1      c[o]uld travel farther                       Restored.

  245.15     carrying fifteen days[’] rations             Added.

  259.15     Ross[s]er’s A. A. General                    Removed.

  269.22     down went the Colonel’s head in Myer[’s/s’]  Transposed.
             breast

  273.4      bee[d/n] badly wounded by his own men        Replaced.

  303.24     The “Comanches[”] had been ordered           Added.

  377.3      We _must_ whip that infantry[./,], and if    Replaced.

  384.20     they did[ did] not reach it                  Removed.





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