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aged better. Old Stonewall would have marched “home guard.” This, I believe, is a lie; at least on, caught and killed the Yankees. What Lee as far as the substitute men are concerned. They thought, this writer don't know. They who had “flanked out” to buy the “plunder and know, say Imboden begged to go to Covington. traps" of the flying farmers. This statement is He made it plain to the dullest mind that the due to truth. If any fell back hurriedly, it was Buchanan story was past belief. What's done not the substitute men. They were not there! is done.
No language can tell the suffering of our men. They were in saddle day and night, save a few
Doc. 26. 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.
HOUSE. Some froze to death; others were taken from
OFFICIAL DESPATCHES. their horses senseless. They forded swollen streams, and their clothes, stiff-frozen, rattled as
FORTRESS MONROE, VA., Dec. 14. they rode. It rained in torrents, and froze as it
General WISTAR, with my approbation, sent fell. In the mountain paths the ice was cut from out an expedition to Charles City Court-House the roads before they ventured to ride over. One on the James River, to capture the enemy's force horse slipped over the precipice. The rider was
stationed there, and I have the pleasure to forleading him; he never looked over after him. ward his report of its complete success. What The whole matter is summed up in a couple of adds to the brilliancy of its achievement is that sentences. Averill was penned up. McCaus- it has been accomplished during a terrible storm. land, Echols, and Jackson at one gate; Lee and
B. F. BUTLER, Imboden at the other. Some ass suggested he
Major-General might escape by jumping down the well and
YORKTOWN, VA., Dec. 14, 1863, coming out in Japan, that is, go to Buchanan. Major-General Butler: Early ordered them to leave a gate open and
I have the satisfaction to announce the comguard the well. He did not jump in.
plete success of the expedition sent out under Meanwhile, the Yankee cavalry came up the Colonel West. All worked in successful comvalley through Edenburgh, New-Market, up to bination. Our cavalry carried the enemy's camp Harrisonburgh, within twenty-five miles of at Charles City Court-House after sharp fightStaunton, "their headquarters."
. This was
ing — the enemy firing from their houses. We bearding the lion in his den. Tubal took the captured eight officers and eighty-two enlisted field, at the head of company I, and a party of men, being the whole command of three compasubstituted men, farmers and plough-boys, called nies, fifty-five horses and three mules, besides " home guards.” The Yankees got after him, many shot, etc., left on the ground. The eneand the Major-General Commanding” lost his my’s camp, with its equipments, arms, ammunihat in the race. The last heard of him he was tion, and provisions, were all thoroughly depursuing the enemy with part of his division stroyed. footmen after cavalry — with fine prospects of
Our loss is Captain Gregory, severely woundovertaking them somewhere in China, perhaps ed; one sergeant and one corporal killed, and about the great wall.” The Yankees were re- four men wounded. The New-York Mounted treating toward the Devil Hole." Early bound Rifles, in forty-four hours, marched seventy-six for the same place! They did very little damage miles; the One Hundred and Thirty-ninth Neivin the valley.
York infantry, in fifty-four hours, marched sixtyHere is the moral : The marshals under Napo- one miles, mostly in a severe storm, moving day leon's eye were invincible — with separate com
and night, and walking their shoes off, which mands, blunderers. A general of division, with should be made good by the Government. All General Robert E. Lee to plan and put him in are entitled to high commendation for gallantry the right place
, does well. Mosby would plan and unflinching endurance, Colonel West espo. and execute a fight or strategic movement better cially, for his precise execution of a difficult comthan Longstreet at Suffolk or Knoxville, Tubal bination, by which alone he could have accomEarly at Staunton. Jackson's blunt response to plished my object.
J. J. WISTAR, some parlor or bar-room strategist in Richmond,
Brigadier-General. • More men, but fewer orders," was wisdom in
A NATIONAL ACCOUNT. an axiom -- true then, just as true now as when
WILLIAMSBURGH, VA., Monday, Dec. 14, 1863. the hero of the valley uttered it. It is difficult An expedition, composed of six companies of to direct, especially by couriers, the movement the First New-York Mounted Rifles and three of troops a hundred miles distant, among moun- companies of the One Hundred and Thirty-ninta tains the "ranking” general never saw, except New-York regiment, has just returned from a on an inaccurate map. It is not every com- highly successful raid to Charles City Courtmander who can point out roads he never heard House, situated near the north bank of the of, and by-paths he never dreamed of, as the James River, and seven miles beyond the Chickitproper ones to cut off an enemy. Bullets, not hominy. The expedition was under the direcbrains, are needed here.
tion of Colonel R. M. West, the present comNote.—Some say ten blue-bellies ran the whole mander of this post; the cavalry was command
ed by Colonel B. F. Onderdonk, and the infantry, City Court-House, we caught a sight of the rebel which acted as a reserve this side the Chicka-camp, and with a loud cheer we commenced the hominy, by Colonel Roberts.
charge. The charge was led by the field-officers The infantry preceded the cavalry twelve of the regiment, with Colonel Onderdonk and hours. The Mounted Rifles quitted Williams- Colonel West. It was irresistible. In less than burgh at six o'clock on the evening of the elev- fifteen minutes we captured ninety prisoners, inenth instant, under lowering clouds, and an at- cluding eight commissioned officers, nearly one mosphere that presaged storm. We made a hundred and fifty stand of arms, over fifty horses, brief halt at Twelve-Mile Ordinary. After leav- and a large quantity of forage, commissary stores, ing this point, our route lay through dense for- camp and garrison equipage. ests of pine and dreary patches of cleared but The rebels were holding the usual Sunday uncultivated land. As night and the column morning inspection in their best clothes, in camp, advanced, the darkness became terrible, the wind and made slight resistance, being either entirely fairly roared through the tall trees, and the rain, surprised or not wishing to injure the few good so long threatening, fell in torrents. We had clothes in their possession. two trusty white guides, but you may imagine At the Court-House the rebels made a brief how serviceable they were, when we could not but spirited resistance. They were driven into distinguish a horseman at the distance of three two wooden buildings, and fired several volleys yards, unless, perhaps, he was mounted on a from the windows, at very short-range. white steed. Still, the regiment moved forward surrounded the houses, and compelled a surrenfor many miles, keeping closed files, and care- der, which was formally made by the enemy, fully following the sound of clanking sabres; after exhibiting a white flag. Sergeant Wood, a until
, finally, the road, which before had seemed brave and faithful non-commissioned officer, was to be in a highly tangled condition, formed a killed in the first assault upon the building, knot like the Gordian puzzle. Here, apparently, Captain Gregory was severely, but not dangerfate had a choice bivouac in store for us but ously, wounded in the thigh. Our entire loss not so Colonel West. The guides lit matches, during the expedition was two killed and five which blazed for a moment, (just long enough to wounded. exhibit our forlorn prospects,) and were then The rebel officers were, without exception, quenched by the rain. Still
, we were making a gentlemen, both in appearance and manner. Had few yards, or rather “taking ground to the their surprise been less complete, I have no doubt right." The guide covered his hands with the they would have made an obstinate defence. phosphorus of the matches, and held them up. Many of the rebel soldiers were well uniformed, This did not remind one forcibly of a revolving and were mostly armed with the Maynard rifles. coast-light, but we persevered. Many of the men The force captured was a part of the Fortylost their way through the woods, two or three second Virginia, commanded by Major Robinson, officers were missing, but fortunately all regained who was away at the time on his wedding-tour. the column. We pushed on in this manner un- It was considered by the rebels a crack corps, til about three o'clock, when it being perfectly they being admiringly styled “ Plugs.” impossible to proceed another foot, on account After destroying their camp, all the arms, acof the blackness of all surrounding objects, and coutrements, and munitions of war, which we the awful condition of the road, (when we found could not bring away, retired leisurely across it) we were compelled to sit patiently in our the Chickahominy. Here the regiment rested saddles until daylight, drenched to the skin, and awhile. Colonel West sent a small party to seruminating upon the beautiful moral relation cure Diascon Creek bridge. The party arrived which the soldier sustains toward a grateful just in time to prevent the destruction of the country.
bridge by a small squad of guerrillas, who retired At daylight we moved on rapidly, and made after exchanging a few shots, wounding the guide up for lost time. We came up with the infantry, severely. We arrived in Williamsburgh yesterand halted a mile this side of the Chickahominy day afternoon. The fair portion of the inhabitRiver. They had surprised and captured a small ants behaved any thing but amiably when they rebel picket. We soon came in sight of the beheld the result of the expedition, in so many river at Ford's Crossing, and away we went on prisoners. the gallop. The first rebel picket was discovered The rank and file of the captured party apon the west bank of the river. They were in a peared rather happy, than otherwise, with their tranquil state of existence, having divested them- sudden escape from rebeldom. One (a nephew selves of their superfluous clothing, and “lain of United States Senator Bowden) took the oath down to quiet dreams.” They were sound asleep. of allegiance, and several seemed disposed to do The very doorkeepers of the great and invincible so. The officers, of course, are as bitter as their city of Richmond were snoring in their slumbers. systematic schooling to pervert the use of the After fording the river, which is quite narrow at live senses will make any one. Captain Rodgers, this place, and the water about up to our saddle- in command, owned nearly all the horses and bags, we swept onward with drawn sabres, at a cquipments, and he reckons his loss heavily. light gallop, capturing without resistance four Among the captured was a young woman in pickets, and keeping a bright lookout in all direc- soldier's clothes. tions. As we mounted a hill in view of Charles We brought into our lines quite a large num
ber of contrabands. The rebel officers told them times by the Howqua and Britannia. Also, they were not compelled to come. We told them under date of the seventeenth, Captain Ridgely they were not compelled to stay. They seemed says that: “The newspaper paragraph stating to value our word most, and came. One of them, that seventeen vessels arrived in Wilmington in an athletic, pure-blooded African, was relating his one night, is entirely destitute of truth. Such adventures. He said his master, in Richmond, reports are, doubtless, published to encourage had sold him for one thousand six hundred the shipment of crews for the large numbers of dollars, to be sent South. He ran away, and vessels recently purchased for blockade-running. came to his wife, at Charles City Court-House. as they have been very roughly handled of late. His master offered two hundred dollars for his The blockade-runners change their names very capture, and he was obliged to hide. The morn- often, for the same purpose. ing of our arrival at the Court-House, he was Each vessel on the blockade off Wilmington lying asleep in the woods, and a little boy came sends to me here a carefully prepared abstract and woke him up, and said that the Yankees had from the log for the month, in which every move. come. He said: “Go 'way, chile; what you ment is actually recorded, and it is evident from want to fool dis nigga for ?" But just then he a comparison of such abstracts, that the reports heard the firing, and raising up, saw the blue are entirely unfounded. coats of our troops on the hill. “I was so ad, I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully dat I come right away, and left all my things. yours,
S. P. LEE, The following is a list of the killed and wound
A. R. Admiral Commanding N. A. B. Squadron. ed in the Mounted Rifles : Sergeant Wood, company H, killed; Corporal Smith, company H, killed ; Captain L. B. Gregory, wounded severe
Doc. 28. ly in thigh ; Sergeant Hendrickson, company H, wounded in three places; private Stoppelbein, EXPEDITION THROUGH PAGE VALLEY, company H, wounded; private Johnson, com
VIRGINIA. pany H, wounded slightly; guide, wounded in
HEADQUARTERS, December 28, 1863. The rebels had three men wounded.
On Monday morning, December twenty-first, This raid has developed some interesting facts, the First Maine cavalry, with the Second, Eighth, which I would like to impart, but forbear, on and Sixteenth Pennsylvania cavalry regiments, account of their military importance. C. assembled at Bealton Station, on the line of the
Orange and Alexandria Railroad, preparatory to
their departure for Page Valley, Perryville, and Doc. 27.
the cosy little town of Luray. It was the inten
tion of Colonel Charles H. Smith, of the First THE EFFICIENCY OF THE BLOCKADE. Maine cavalry, who commanded the expedition,
to start at daylight, but owing to two of the FLAG-Suip MINNESOTA,
regiments having returned to camp from a teNewport News, Va., December 21, 1863. dious campaign of three days only the preceding Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy: evening, a delay of a few hours was necessary to
Sır: In reference to the excessive running of replenish exhausted stores of forage, ammunition, the blockade off Wilmington, as reported in the and subsistence. rebel journals, and copied in our own, I beg At eleven o'clock A.M., every thing being in leave to call your attention to the following ex- readiness, the four regiments took up their line tracts from private letters recently found on the of march for Sulphur Springs. After a short prize steamner Ceres, which plainly show that all halt, the line was formed, and the bugle-notes such statements are fictions :
echoed : “Advance.” A march of a few hours Captain Maffit, in a letter to Mr. Lamar, dated brought the expedition to Amisville-a small, Liverpool, October, says: “The news from dilapidated village, whose inhabitants are all of blockade-runners is decidedly bad. Six of the strong rebel proclivities, many of them furnishlast boats have recently been caught, among ing aid and comfort to the gangs of guerrillas inthem the Advance and Eugenie. Nothing has festing this vicinity. At daybreak, on the twenentered Wilmington for the last month.” ty-second, the expedition proceeded toward
The firm of William P. Campbell, of Bermu- Gaines's Cross-Roads, and, just at the left of da, says, in a letter to their correspondents in Amisville, a charge was made upon a few guerCharleston, dated December second, 1863: “It rillas, capturing one prisoner, and scattering the is very dull here. The only boats that came in remainder in all directions. At Gaines's Crossfrom Wilmington this moon were the Flora and Roads, a nest of Mosby's men was surprised and Gibraltar."
driven to the mountains. Thence, the expediCaptain Ridgely, senior naval officer off Wil- tion marched to Sperryville, where the enemy mington, reports, under date of the tenth in- were discovered holding Thornton's Gap, and. stant, that but one vessel has succeeded in upon the approach of our troops they offered getting in, to the knowledge of any of the block- considerable resistance to our advancing skirmishading vessels, and that on the night of the ers. A strong reserve making its appearance, the tenth instant. She was fired at and hit several / entire force fled to the numerous paths in the moun
VOL. VIII.-Doc. 19
REAR-ADMIRAL LEE'S REPORT.
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 addle. 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
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
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, buckies, 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 Near Sperryville, our advance-guard surprised on our front before them with little difficulty. and captured a two-horse wagon belonging to a As we arrived within sight of Luray, quite a rebel sutler.
An examination of the wagon by large rebel force were observed drawn up in line the inquisitive “Yankees " revealed a secret botof battle to check our advance, and with the ap- tom, in which were found a rebel mail and a parent intention of making a sufficiently strong quantity of medicines and dry goods en route for stand to contest our entrance to the town. The the rebel lines. This wagon was on its way from order was given for one of those resistless “Yan- the Upper Potomac, a strong argument in favor kee” cavalry charges which only. "greasy me- of increased vigilance in that department. chanics” and “Northern mudsills" can execute, At Little Washington, our advance-guard surwhen lo! the F. F. V.s and the Second F. V.s prised a small party of Mosby's guerrillas, kill. fled in the greatest disorder, utterly dismayed ing one and capturing another.
Here the expeand thrown into the greatest confusion by the dition halted and encamped for the night to rest temerity of Colonel Smith, who dared thus in- their horses, which were, if possible, more jaded vade their limits of the sacred soil. Owing to than their gallant riders. At daylight the march the fleetness of the chivalry, but few prisoners was continued, and on Christmas Eve the wear. were captured, and, their horses being in a much ied soldiers reached their comfortable winter better condition than ours, was fruitless to at- quarters in a high state of glee, every man havtempt further pursuit. At this point, two desert- ing provided himself with an abundant supply ers entered our lines, and, after being relieved of poultry, in order to properly celebrate Christof their arms, they were sent to our rear-guard. mas in the army. The expedition marched one Those deserters reïterated the same doleful story hundred and twenty-five miles in four days, inof the terrible condition of the “poor white flicting a serious blow to the enemy in the most trash of the South, many of whom they repre- vital part of their prosperity. I regret to ansent as being on the verge of starvation. They nounce that these perambulating “Yankee cavreport great disaffection throughout the ranks of aliers” were allowed to help themselves to sevthe rebel army, and said the President's Amnesty I eral dressed hogs, which were in readiness for
the satisfaction of more refined appetites, such as start the engine, which was done; but as we the disciples of Mosby, White, and other prom- were deprived of one boiler, and the fires were inent F. F. V.s. As our troops were out of ra- small on the other, the pressure fell so rapidly tions, Colonel Smith had no scruples in allowing that the gauge showed only five pounds. All his troops to indulge in the secesh provender. this time, the shells were wbizzing past us in all
On the person of the captured rebel sutler was directions, as fast as we could count, and occafound a revolver and a valuable gold watch. sionally one would strike, throwing the splinters Seven thousand dollars in shinplasters, repre- in all directions. The captain, half dressed, senting the currency of the would-be Confeder-sword in hand, was rushing around the deck, acy, were found on the prisoners whom we cap- encouraging every body, and giving orders for tured, some fifteen or twenty in all. A large firing and working the ship. The engine worked quantity of fine tobacco was confiscated in the slower and slower, and the captain came to the town of Luray. The town of Luray being sit- hatch every little while, shouting, “Give her uated in the centre of Page valley, is one of the more steam !" but all to no purpose; there was prettiest in Virginia. It consists of a large brick no steam to be had. How eagerly I watched court-house, several substantial churches, and the steam-gauge to note the first forward movethe streets of the town are laid out very tastily, ment of the pointer, and how long I watched in running at right angles, and lined with shade- vain! The engine was barely moving, and the trees on either side. The private residences are pressure was diminishing. The captain sent for superior to most of the Southern towns, and the chief-engineer, and told him that he must their architectural finish denotes the refined taste have steam; but what could he do? Already of their owners. Colonel C. H. Smith deserves we had been struck many times, and one man notice for the energy and rapidity with which was instantly killed, while we could not bring this difficult and hazardous movement was ex- our guns to bear, as we were not able to move ecuted. The valor and discipline of the moral the vessel. regiment under his command, and the excellent The Pawnee was at anchor three miles below, reputation they sustain for promptness and in the inlet, and the rebel batteries were masked. bravery on the field, among the various cavalry At last, the powerful blast of the blower began regiments of this army, is sufficient eulogium. to tell upon our fires, and joyfully we watched
J. E. H. 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. Doc. 29.
As we were able to increase the speed, we could FIGHT IN STONO RIVER, S. C.
manæuvre with more facility, and our shots
soon began to fall thick and fast among the The following extracts of a private letter from woods on the shore, near the village, and explodone 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 handWe had expected for some days to to Port ful of our troops stationed in the village. Royal, and the rebels, probably hearing of it, The eleven-inch gun was worked with most determined to give us a parting blessing. I had admirable precision and despatch, and its trethe morning-watch to-day, from four to eight mendous report was heard every three minutes. o'clock A.H., and was sitting in the engine-room, We continued to keep in motion, so as to destroy as usual, when one of the master's mates opened the enemy's aim, and as we now had plenty of the engine-room door, and wished me Merry steam, were able to move with great facility. Christmas." This put me in mind of home; The rebels also fired very rapidly, and with and while recurring in memory to the many deadly effect. A shell passed through the mainpleasant Christmas-days spent at home, I little top-mast, cutting away the shrouds, and scatterthought of what was at hand. It was not long ing the splinters all over the decks and the enbefore I was startled by the shriek of a rifle-shell gine-room. Whenever I stepped up to the hatch, close over my head, instantly followed by the the whiz of the shells was unusually distinct, loud summons of the officers of the deck : “All showing that the enemy were good gunners. hands to quarters! We are attacked !"
Word was now brought down that more men Instantly, all was confusion, as you may well were killed, and the carpenter came down to imagine. It was about six o'clock, and quite sound the pumps. But although she had been dark, so that we could not see from which side hulled many times, there was no leakage, though the attack came. I spread the fire, and started we had every thing in readiness for such an the blower, to get up steam quickly. We had event. The captain kept shouting,
" Give it to hauled the fires on the starboard and best boiler them, boys, we are driving them;" and showed some days previous, on account of a bad leak, no fear, only dodging the balls, as we all did. and so had only half our power. But I did the At last our rapid broadside fire of six guns best I could, and before the chief-engineer ar- began to tell, and soon the gallant chivalry rived, every thing was in readiness.
were in full retreat, leaving their guns in the The cable was slipped, and one bell struck, to woods. They could not stand our rapid fire,