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aged better. Old Stonewall would have marched on, caught and killed the Yankees. What Lee thought, this writer don't know. They who know, say Imboden begged to go to Covington. He made it plain to the dullest mind that the Buchanan story was past belief. What's done

is done.

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Doc. 26.

HOUSE.

No language can tell the suffering of our men. They were in saddle day and night, save a few hours between midnight and day. They were beat up by their officers with their swords the EXPEDITION TO CHARLES CITY COURTonly means of arousing them-numb and sleepy. Some froze to death; others were taken from their horses senseless. They forded swollen streams, and their clothes, stiff-frozen, rattled as they rode. It rained in torrents, and froze as it fell. In the mountain paths the ice was cut from the roads before they ventured to ride over. One horse slipped over the precipice. The rider was leading him; he never looked over after him. The whole matter is summed up in a couple of sentences. Averill was penned up. McCausland, Echols, and Jackson at one gate; Lee and Imboden at the other. Some ass suggested he might escape by jumping down the well and coming out in Japan, that is, go to Buchanan. Early ordered them to leave a gate open and guard the well. He did not jump in.

Meanwhile, the Yankee cavalry came up the valley through Edenburgh, New-Market, up to Harrisonburgh, within twenty-five miles of Staunton, "their headquarters." This was bearding the lion in his den. Tubal took the field, at the head of company I, and a party of substituted men, farmers and plough-boys, called "home guards." The Yankees got after him, and the Major-General Commanding" lost his hat in the race. The last heard of him he was pursuing the enemy with part of his division footmen after cavalry with fine prospects of overtaking them somewhere in China, perhaps about the "great wall." The Yankees were retreating toward the "Devil Hole." Early bound for the same place! They did very little damage in the valley.

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Here is the moral: The marshals under Napoleon's eye were invincible with separate commands, blunderers. A general of division, with General Robert E. Lee to plan and put him in the right place, does well. Mosby would plan and execute a fight or strategic movement better than Longstreet at Suffolk or Knoxville, Tubal Early at Staunton. Jackson's blunt response to some parlor or bar-room strategist in Richmond, "More men, but fewer orders," was wisdom in an axiom -true then, just as true now as when the hero of the valley uttered it. It is difficult to direct, especially by couriers, the movement of troops a hundred miles distant, among mountains the "ranking" general never saw, except on an inaccurate map. It is not every commander who can point out roads he never heard of, and by-paths he never dreamed of, as the proper ones to cut off an enemy. Bullets, not brains, are needed here. NOTE.-Some say ten blue-bellies ran the whole

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"home guard." This, I believe, is a lie; at least as far as the substitute men are concerned. They had "flanked out" to buy the "plunder and traps" of the flying farmers. This statement is due to truth. If any fell back hurriedly, it was not the substitute men. They were not there!

OFFICIAL DESPATCHES.

FORTRESS MONROE, VA., Dec. 14. GENERAL WISTAR, with my approbation, sent out an expedition to Charles City Court-House on the James River, to capture the enemy's force stationed there, and I have the pleasure to forward his report of its complete success. What adds to the brilliancy of its achievement is that it has been accomplished during a terrible storm. B. F. BUTLER, Major-General. YORKTOWN, VA., Dec. 14, 1863.

Major-General Butler:

I have the satisfaction to announce the complete success of the expedition sent out under All worked in successful comColonel West. bination. Our cavalry carried the enemy's camp at Charles City Court-House after sharp fighting the enemy firing from their houses. We captured eight officers and eighty-two enlisted men, being the whole command of three companies, fifty-five horses and three mules, besides many shot, etc., left on the ground. The enemy's camp, with its equipments, arms, ammunition, and provisions, were all thoroughly destroyed.

Our loss is Captain Gregory, severely wounded; one sergeant and one corporal killed, and

four men wounded. The New-York Mounted

Rifles, in forty-four hours, marched seventy-six
miles;
the One Hundred and Thirty-ninth New-
York infantry, in fifty-four hours, marched sixty-
one miles, mostly in a severe storm, moving day
and night, and walking their shoes off, which
All
should be made good by the Government.
are entitled to high commendation for gallantry
and unflinching endurance, Colonel West espa
cially, for his precise execution of a difficult com-
bination, by which alone he could have accom-
plished my object.
J. J. WISTAR,
Brigadier-General.

A NATIONAL ACCOUNT.
WILLIAMSBURGH, VA., Monday, Dec. 14, 1863.

An expedition, composed of six companies of the First New-York Mounted Rifles and three companies of the One Hundred and Thirty-ninth New-York regiment, has just returned from a highly successful raid to Charles City CourtHouse, situated near the north bank of the James River, and seven miles beyond the Chickahominy. The expedition was under the direc tion of Colonel R. M. West, the present commander of this post; the cavalry was command

ed by Colonel B. F. Onderdonk, and the infantry, which acted as a reserve this side the Chickahominy, by Colonel Roberts.

The infantry preceded the cavalry twelve hours. The Mounted Rifles quitted Williamsburgh at six o'clock on the evening of the eleventh instant, under lowering clouds, and an atmosphere that presaged storm. We made a brief halt at Twelve-Mile Ordinary. After leaving this point, our route lay through dense forests of pine and dreary patches of cleared but uncultivated land. As night and the column advanced, the darkness became terrible, the wind fairly roared through the tall trees, and the rain, so long threatening, fell in torrents. We had two trusty white guides, but you may imagine how serviceable they were, when we could not distinguish a horseman at the distance of three yards, unless, perhaps, he was mounted on a white steed. Still, the regiment moved forward for many miles, keeping closed files, and carefully following the sound of clanking sabres; until, finally, the road, which before had seemed to be in a highly tangled condition, formed a knot like the Gordian puzzle. Here, apparently, fate had a choice bivouac in store for us- but not so Colonel West. The guides lit matches, which blazed for a moment, (just long enough to exhibit our forlorn prospects,) and were then quenched by the rain. Still, we were making a few yards, or rather "taking ground to the right.' The guide covered his hands with the phosphorus of the matches, and held them up. This did not remind one forcibly of a revolving coast-light, but we persevered. Many of the men lost their way through the woods, two or three officers were missing, but fortunately all regained the column. We pushed on in this manner until about three o'clock, when it being perfectly impossible to proceed another foot, on account of the blackness of all surrounding objects, and the awful condition of the road, (when we found it,) we were compelled to sit patiently in our saddles until daylight, drenched to the skin, and ruminating upon the beautiful moral relation which the soldier sustains toward a grateful country.

At daylight we moved on rapidly, and made up for lost time. We came up with the infantry, and halted a mile this side of the Chickahominy River. They had surprised and captured a small rebel picket. We soon came in sight of the river at Ford's Crossing, and away we went on the gallop. The first rebel picket was discovered on the west bank of the river. They were in a tranquil state of existence, having divested themselves of their superfluous clothing, and "lain down to quiet dreams." They were sound asleep. The very doorkeepers of the great and invincible city of Richmond were snoring in their slumbers. After fording the river, which is quite narrow at this place, and the water about up to our saddlebags, we swept onward with drawn sabres, at a light gallop, capturing without resistance four pickets, and keeping a bright lookout in all directions. As we mounted a hill in view of Charles

City Court-House, we caught a sight of the rebel camp, and with a loud cheer we commenced the charge. The charge was led by the field-officers of the regiment, with Colonel Onderdonk and Colonel West. It was irresistible. In less than fifteen minutes we captured ninety prisoners, including eight commissioned officers, nearly one hundred and fifty stand of arms, over fifty horses, and a large quantity of forage, commissary stores, camp and garrison equipage.

The rebels were holding the usual Sunday morning inspection in their best clothes, in camp, and made slight resistance, being either entirely surprised or not wishing to injure the few good clothes in their possession.

At the Court-House the rebels made a brief but spirited resistance. They were driven into two wooden buildings, and fired several volleys from the windows, at very short-range. We surrounded the houses, and compelled a surrender, which was formally made by the enemy, after exhibiting a white flag. Sergeant Wood, a brave and faithful non-commissioned officer, was killed in the first assault upon the building. Captain Gregory was severely, but not dangerously, wounded in the thigh. Our entire loss during the expedition was two killed and five wounded.

The rebel officers were, without exception, gentlemen, both in appearance and manner. Had their surprise been less complete, I have no doubt they would have made an obstinate defence. Many of the rebel soldiers were well uniformed, and were mostly armed with the Maynard rifles. The force captured was a part of the Fortysecond Virginia, commanded by Major Robinson, who was away at the time on his wedding-tour. It was considered by the rebels a crack corps, they being admiringly styled "Plugs."

After destroying their camp, all the arms, accoutrements, and munitions of war, which we could not bring away, we retired leisurely across the Chickahominy. Here the regiment rested awhile. Colonel West sent a small party to secure Diascon Creek bridge. The party arrived just in time to prevent the destruction of the bridge by a small squad of guerrillas, who retired after exchanging a few shots, wounding the guide severely. We arrived in Williamsburgh yesterday afternoon. The fair portion of the inhabitants behaved any thing but amiably when they beheld the result of the expedition, in so many prisoners.

The rank and file of the captured party appeared rather happy, than otherwise, with their sudden escape from rebeldom. One (a nephew of United States Senator Bowden) took the oath of allegiance, and several seemed disposed to do so. The officers, of course, are as bitter as their systematic schooling to pervert the use of the five senses will make any one. Captain Rodgers, in command, owned nearly all the horses and equipments, and he reckons his loss heavily. Among the captured was a young woman in soldier's clothes.

We brought into our lines quite a large num

ber of contrabands. The rebel officers told them
they were not compelled to come. We told them
they were not compelled to stay. They seemed
to value our word most, and came. One of them,
an athletic, pure-blooded African, was relating his
adventures. He said his master, in Richmond,
had sold him for one thousand six hundred
dollars, to be sent South. He ran away, and
came to his wife, at Charles City Court-House.
His master offered two hundred dollars for his
capture, and he was obliged to hide. The morn-often, for the same purpose.'
ing of our arrival at the Court-House, he was
lying asleep in the woods, and a little boy came
and woke him up, and said that the Yankees had
come. He said: "Go 'way, chile; what you
want to fool dis nigga for ?" But just then he
heard the firing, and raising up, saw the blue
coats of our troops on the hill. "I was so glad,
dat I come right away, and left all my things."
The following is a list of the killed and wound-
ed in the Mounted Rifles: Sergeant Wood, com-
pany H, killed; Corporal Smith, company H,
killed; Captain L. B. Gregory, wounded severe-
ly in thigh; Sergeant Hendrickson, company H,
wounded in three places; private Stoppelbein, EXPEDITION
company H, wounded; private Johnson, com-
pany H, wounded slightly; guide, wounded in

arm.

The rebels had three men wounded.

This raid has developed some interesting facts, which I would like to impart, but forbear, on account of their military importance. C.

REAR-ADMIRAL LEE'S REPORT.

FLAG-SHIP MINNESOTA, NEWPORT NEWS, VA., December 21, 1863. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy: SIR: In reference to the excessive running of the blockade off Wilmington, as reported in the rebel journals, and copied in our own, I beg leave to call your attention to the following extracts from private letters recently found on the prize steamer Ceres, which plainly show that all such statements are fictions:

Captain Maffit, in a letter to Mr. Lamar, dated Liverpool, October, says: "The news from blockade-runners is decidedly bad. Six of the last boats have recently been caught, among them the Advance and Eugenie. Nothing has entered Wilmington for the last month."

The firm of William P. Campbell, of Bermuda, says, in a letter to their correspondents in Charleston, dated December second, 1863: "It is very dull here. The only boats that came in from Wilmington this moon were the Flora and Gibraltar."

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Also,

times by the Howqua and Britannia.
under date of the seventeenth, Captain Ridgely
says that: "The newspaper paragraph stating
that seventeen vessels arrived in Wilmington in
one night, is entirely destitute of truth." Such
reports are, doubtless, published to encourage
the shipment of crews for the large numbers of
vessels recently purchased for blockade-running,
as they have been very roughly handled of late.
The blockade-runners change their names very

HEADQUARTERS, December 28, 1863.

ON Monday morning, December twenty-first, the First Maine cavalry, with the Second, Eighth, and Sixteenth Pennsylvania cavalry regiments, assembled at Bealton Station, on the line of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, preparatory to their departure for Page Valley, Perryville, and the cosy little town of Luray. It was the intention of Colonel Charles H. Smith, of the First

Doc. 27.

THE EFFICIENCY OF THE BLOCKADE. Maine cavalry, who commanded the expedition,

to start at daylight, but owing to two of the regiments having returned to camp from a tedious campaign of three days only the preceding evening, a delay of a few hours was necessary to replenish exhausted stores of forage, ammunition, and subsistence.

At eleven o'clock A.M., every thing being in readiness, the four regiments took up their line of march for Sulphur Springs. After a short halt, the line was formed, and the bugle-notes echoed: "Advance." A march of a few hours brought the expedition to Amisville-a small, dilapidated village, whose inhabitants are all of strong rebel proclivities, many of them furnishing aid and comfort to the gangs of guerrillas infesting this vicinity. At daybreak, on the twenty-second, the expedition proceeded toward Gaines's Cross-Roads, and, just at the left of Amisville, a charge was made upon a few guerrillas, capturing one prisoner, and scattering the remainder in all directions. At Gaines's CrossRoads, a nest of Mosby's men was surprised and driven to the mountains. Thence, the expedition marched to Sperryville, where the enemy were discovered holding Thornton's Gap, and. upon the approach of our troops they offered considerable resistance to our advancing skirmishers. A strong reserve making its appearance, the entire force fled to the numerous paths in the moun

Captain Ridgely, senior naval officer off Wilmington, reports, under date of the tenth instant, that but one vessel has succeeded in getting in, to the knowledge of any of the blockading vessels, and that on the night of the tenth instant. She was fired at and hit several VOL. VIII.-Doc. 19

Each vessel on the blockade off Wilmington sends to me here a carefully prepared abstract from the log for the month, in which every movement is actually recorded, and it is evident from a comparison of such abstracts, that the reports are entirely unfounded.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully
yours,
S. P. LEE,
A. R. Admiral Commanding N. A. B. Squadron.

Doc. 28.

THROUGH PAGE VALLEY,
VIRGINIA.

tains, where, far above carbine range, the dis- Proclamation had given considerable satisfaction comfited guerrillas, perched among the rocks and to poor, oppressed and helpless people, many of caverns, waved their hats and shouted in defi- whom have been mercilessly conscripted to fill ance to our cavalrymen. On leaving Sperryville, up the decimated ranks of the rebel army. The you reach the ascending turnpike leading to wealthy spurn the Proclamation, and in RichThornton's Gap. As you ascend mounted, a fine mond the strictest surveillance is maintained view can be had from the saddle. Thornton's over those persons suspected of sympathy with Gap is immediately beneath the highest peak of the North. the Blue Ridge, and it is no exaggeration to say At Luray, Colonel Smith learned that Rosser's that the vicinity of this mountain-pass affords brigade had encamped there Sunday night, and one of the grandest views to be found in this had left on Monday, taking the "grade up country. There is one portion of the serpentine the Page valley, on the east side of the river, turnpike, where a carbine-shot would cross the in the direction of Madison, and, as Rosser had pike six times in a direct line, so zig-zag is its succeeded in getting forty-eight hours' start of our course. One hundred sharp-shooters, stationed fatigued forces, Colonel Smith concluded, very at this point, could retard the progress of a large wisely, to run no further risks, inasmuch as the army, rendering the ascent an almost impossible objects of the expedition were accomplished, and one. Such a picturesque panorama of natural no infantry or artillery were at hand to lend asbeauties one seldom witnesses as were revealed sistance in case of an attack by superior numon the morning of our ascent. The frost-king bers. Colonel Smith sent several officers to exhad touched the leaves of the forest trees with amine the post-office, jail, court-house, and other his magic wand of silver, and placed his glisten- public buildings. A number of conscripts were ing crown upon the mountain-tops, while the rays taken from the jail upon hearing the news of our of the sun danced upon the frozen dew, coloring approach. A large three-story building, filled the valley with gaudy lines, and the crests of the with harnesses and artillery and cavalry equipmountains, till the dazzling scene reminded one ments, and which was used as an extensive manof a mammoth kaleidoscope. It was a vivid and ufactory for the supply of rebel outfits, was deromantic picture to witness five thousand horse-stroyed, together with a large quantity of raw men climbing the steep mountain sides, their sa- material, rings, buckles, and a valuable lot of bres flashing in the sunlight as their warlike tools. Adjoining this manufactory was a large steeds pranced along the pass. The mountains tannery, with numerous vats filled with stock in were finally crossed, and our forces encamped for a half-finished state. Several wooden buildings the night within four miles of Luray. Our pick- were stored with thousands of dollars' worth of ets were attacked an hour after dark by a party hides and finished leather; these were destroyed of Gillmore's guerrillas, but, after a brief skir- by fire. On the return march, five new and wellmish with our vigilant cavaliers, they deemed furnished tanneries, stocked with a large amount "prudence the better part of valor," and they of leather, were completely gutted, and their conretired, carrying off their wounded. The march tents destroyed, on the road between Luray and was resumed at daylight on the twenty-third in- Sperryville. stant, our advance driving the weak picket force on our front before them with little difficulty. As we arrived within sight of Luray, quite a large rebel force were observed drawn up in line of battle to check our advance, and with the apparent intention of making a sufficiently strong stand to contest our entrance to the town. The order was given for one of those resistless "Yankee" cavalry charges which only greasy mechanics" and "Northern mudsills" can execute, when lo! the F. F. V.s and the Second F. V.s fled in the greatest disorder, utterly dismayed and thrown into the greatest confusion by the temerity of Colonel Smith, who dared thus invade their limits of the sacred soil. Owing to the fleetness of the chivalry, but few prisoners were captured, and, their horses being in a much better condition than ours, it was fruitless to attempt further pursuit. At this point, two deserters entered our lines, and, after being relieved of their arms, they were sent to our rear-guard. Those deserters reiterated the same doleful story of the terrible condition of the "poor white trash" of the South, many of whom they represent as being on the verge of starvation. They report great disaffection throughout the ranks of the rebel army, and said the President's Amnesty

66

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Near Sperryville, our advance-guard surprised and captured a two-horse wagon belonging to a rebel sutler. An examination of the wagon by the inquisitive "Yankees " revealed a secret bottom, in which were found a rebel mail and a quantity of medicines and dry goods en route for the rebel lines. This wagon was on its way from the Upper Potomac, a strong argument in favor of increased vigilance in that department.

At Little Washington, our advance-guard surprised a small party of Mosby's guerrillas, killing one and capturing another. Here the expedition halted and encamped for the night to rest their horses, which were, if possible, more jaded than their gallant riders. At daylight the march was continued, and on Christmas Eve the wearied soldiers reached their comfortable winter quarters in a high state of glee, every man having provided himself with an abundant supply of poultry, in order to properly celebrate Christmas in the army. The expedition marched one hundred and twenty-five miles in four days, inflicting a serious blow to the enemy in the most vital part of their prosperity. I regret to announce that these perambulating "Yankee cavaliers" were allowed to help themselves to several dressed hogs, which were in readiness for

the satisfaction of more refined appetites, such as the disciples of Mosby, White, and other prominent F. F. V.s. As our troops were out of rations, Colonel Smith had no scruples in allowing his troops to indulge in the secesh provender.

On the person of the captured rebel sutler was found a revolver and a valuable gold watch. Seven thousand dollars in shinplasters, representing the currency of the would-be Confederacy, were found on the prisoners whom we captured, some fifteen or twenty in all. A large quantity of fine tobacco was confiscated in the town of Luray. The town of Luray being situated in the centre of Page valley, is one of the prettiest in Virginia. It consists of a large brick court-house, several substantial churches, and the streets of the town are laid out very tastily, running at right angles, and lined with shadetrees on either side. The private residences are superior to most of the Southern towns, and their architectural finish denotes the refined taste of their owners. Colonel C. H. Smith deserves notice for the energy and rapidity with which this difficult and hazardous movement was executed. The valor and discipline of the moral regiment under his command, and the excellent reputation they sustain for promptness and bravery on the field, among the various cavalry regiments of this army, is sufficient eulogium. J. E. H.

We had expected for some days to go to Port Royal, and the rebels, probably hearing of it, determined to give us a parting blessing. I had the morning-watch to-day, from four to eight o'clock A.M., and was sitting in the engine-room, as usual, when one of the master's mates opened the engine-room door, and wished me "Merry Christmas." This put me in mind of home; and while recurring in memory to the many pleasant Christmas-days spent at home, I little thought of what was at hand. It was not long before I was startled by the shriek of a rifle-shell close over my head, instantly followed by the loud summons of the officers of the deck: "All hands to quarters! We are attacked!"

The Pawnee was at anchor three miles below, in the inlet, and the rebel batteries were masked. At last, the powerful blast of the blower began to tell upon our fires, and joyfully we watched the gauge, as it gradually showed more steam. But for a long time our case seemed hopeless, and we expected to get aground every minute. As we were able to increase the speed, we could manoeuvre with more facility, and our shots soon began to fall thick and fast among the woods on the shore, near the village, and explod

Doc. 29.

FIGHT IN STONO RIVER, S. C. THE following extracts of a private letter from one of the engineers on the United States gun-ing, created great havoc. The captain showed boat Marblehead, dated in Stono River, Decem- the most persistent bravery. As soon as he ber twenty-fifth, 1863, give an account of the found he could work the vessel, he refused to go attack of the rebels on that vessel: down the river, but said he would save the handful of our troops stationed in the village.

The eleven-inch gun was worked with most admirable precision and despatch, and its tremendous report was heard every three minutes. We continued to keep in motion, so as to destroy the enemy's aim, and as we now had plenty of steam, were able to move with great facility. The rebels also fired very rapidly, and with deadly effect. A shell passed through the maintop-mast, cutting away the shrouds, and scattering the splinters all over the decks and the engine-room. Whenever I stepped up to the hatch, the whiz of the shells was unusually distinct, showing that the enemy were good gunners. Word was now brought down that more men were killed, and the carpenter came down to sound the pumps. But although she had been hulled many times, there was no leakage, though we had every thing in readiness for such an event. The captain kept shouting, "Give it to them, boys, we are driving them ;" and showed no fear, only dodging the balls, as we all did.

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At last our rapid broadside fire of six guns began to tell, and soon the gallant "chivalry' were in full retreat, leaving their guns in the woods. They could not stand our rapid fire,

Instantly, all was confusion, as you may well imagine. It was about six o'clock, and quite dark, so that we could not see from which side the attack came. I spread the fire, and started the blower, to get up steam quickly. We had hauled the fires on the starboard and best boiler some days previous, on account of a bad leak, and so had only half our power. But I did the best I could, and before the chief-engineer arrived, every thing was in readiness.

The cable was slipped, and one bell struck, to

start the engine, which was done; but as we were deprived of one boiler, and the fires were small on the other, the pressure fell so rapidly that the gauge showed only five pounds. All this time, the shells were whizzing past us in all directions, as fast as we could count, and occasionally one would strike, throwing the splinters in all directions. The captain, half dressed, sword in hand, was rushing around the deck, encouraging every body, and giving orders for firing and working the ship. The engine worked slower and slower, and the captain came to the hatch every little while, shouting, "Give her more steam!" but all to no purpose; there was no steam to be had. How eagerly I watched the steam-gauge to note the first forward movement of the pointer, and how long I watched in vain! The engine was barely moving, and the pressure was diminishing. The captain sent for the chief-engineer, and told him that he must have steam; but what could he do? Already we had been struck many times, and one man was instantly killed, while we could not bring our guns to bear, as we were not able to move the vessel.

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