« PreviousContinue »
On the afternoon of Tuesday, the 24th of November, 1863, Colonel Long, with one battalion of the 1st Ohio, 3d Ohio, and 4th Michigan Cavalry, and 17th Indiana, and 98 Illinois Mounted Infantry, quiety crossed Sherman's pontoons, and while the enemy's attention was attracted by Sherman's batteries started for Bragg's rear, and a little after dark were three miles in the rear of his right, where they came upon, and captured, eleven wagons laden with forage; and then moved on six miles further, when they stopped and fed; after which they moved on to Altamont, and destroyed the railroad and telegraph, and captured two couriers with important dispatches from Joe Johnson to Bragg.
Early on the next morning, having heard of a train of supplies belonging to Cheatham, en route from Longstreet to Bragg's army, Colonel Seidell, of the 3d Ohio, supported by the rest of the command, started to capture it.
After a rapid ride of ten miles, they came up with, and captured the train which proved to be a very valuable one, consisting of eighty wagons laden with Quartermaster's stores, and Paymaster's chest, containing eighty thousand dollars in Rebel currency, and five hundred in gold and silver. The guard, horses, and mules were also all captured.
Retracing their steps, they approached Cleveland, in the suburbs of which, they took six teams, and soon after three well-laden Quartermasters' wagons. The whole command then entered Cleveland, to the surprise and joy of the citizens, and consternation of the 24th Rebel Cavalry; who were not long in putting a safe distance between themselves and the "Yanks."
At Cleveland large supplies of wheat and flour were captured, and the factory for making percussion caps and shells was destroyed. Wednesday night was spent in Cleveland, and on Thursday morning a detachment was sent to Charleston, where a sharp fight occurred, with the loss to us of private Kasson, 3d Ohio. The 98th Illinois gave it to them with their “Spencers,” while the 3d Ohio charged their works, taking eight prisoners; the enemy opening on them with a battery on the opposite side of Chickamauga River. They returned on the Dalton and Kingston Railroad, destroyed it for twelve miles, and rejoined the command at Cleveland.
At four o'clock, A.M., on the 26th, the pickets were attacked, and at five the command was in line, and fought briskly two hours, and then fell back on the Harrison road, as the enemy appeared in force with artillery.
They arrived in Chattanooga, at eight o'clock, P. M., on the 26th, with three hundred and sixty-five prisoners, four hundred mules, and four Rebel flags; one of which belonged to the celebrated Buckner Guards, and was inscribed “victory or death.”
The Union citizens of Cleveland, presented the 3d Ohio with a fine flag; and seemed anxious to testify their good will in every way. Every thing they could do for the boys, during their short stay, was cheerfully done.
This raid was one of the best, and most successful of the war, and its execution could not have been entrusted to worthier hands. They proved themselves a veteran force, and rendered signal service to the army, at a critical time.
QUEER ADVENTURE AND NARROW ESCAPE.
LIEUTENANT MCINTIRE of the 9th Illinois Cavalry, relates that just as the fight near Summerville, West Tennessee, commenced, he arrived on the ground with a dispatch from General Grierson to Colonel Prince.
Finding himself surrounded and unable to escape, he sprang from his horse and crawled under a house; but fearing that this might not be a safe place, he crept to a cotton gin a short distance off.
In the gin he found a large heap of cotton-seed. Jumping into the heap he covered himself with the seed, so as leave only his head out, over which he pulled a basket.
Here the Lieutenant was feeling comparatively safe, an officer of the 7th sprang in the door, with a dozen Rebels at his heels. The officer ran up stairs and hid under some loose boards in the floor. The Rebels put a guard around the house and began a vigorous search.
Up stairs and down they went, several times, and every hiding place but the right one was examined. They knew that the officer was there, in some place, and they were determined to have him.
Presently the heap of cotton-seed caught their attention, and forthwith they commenced plunging their sabers into it. The heap was probed in all directions, but providentially without touching the Lieutenant's body.
At last, one of the Rebs, exasperated beyond endurance, at their ill-success, vented his anger on the basket over the Lieutenant's head, by striking it a furious blow with his sword.
Had the Lieutenant not kept a vigorous hold to the handle, the basket would have been knocked a rod. Just then some occurrence outside caused them to hurry away, and both officers escaped.
ESCAPE OF DR. RUCKER FROM A REBEL PRISON AND HIS
SUBSEQUENT ADVENTURES AND FINAL SAFETY.
DR. WILLIAM T. RUCKER, a well-known Union leader of West Virginia, who was captured at the surrender of Summerville, in Nicholas county, Va., in July, 1862, arrived in Washington in November, 1863, having escaped from the Rebel Penitentiary in Pittsylvania, Va. The story of his treatment and escape is full of interesting and instructive incident.
The Doctor was first sent, with other prisoners, to Sulphur Springs, where he was put in irons and otherwise harshly treated. He was afterward sent to Lynchburg, where, being well known, his active loyalty induced even greater severity. He was put in double irons, with the cuffs firmly riveted about his arms and legs.
In August he was sent to Richmond, and closely confined in Castle Thunder, with a special guard over him, to prevent his escape. While at Richmond he saw two Union prisoners shot at Libby, and one at Castle Thunder, on the most trivial provocations.
Governor Letcher represented to the Rebel Secretary of War, that Rucker was a notorious character, guilty of treason to the State of Virginia, and, therefore, he should of right be surrendered to the State authorities for trial. After considerable correspondence on the subject, the Confederate authorities consented, and turned over the prisoner to be tried for crimes alleged to have been committed against the State of Virginia. He was accordingly taken from the prison at Richmond, sent to Allegheny county, and confined in a jail to await his trial.
Ten 'separate indictments were brought against him -one for murder, one for treason, one for arson, three for horse-stealing, one for wagon-stealing, and one for bridge-burning. Dr. Rucker believes that he escaped being indicted for several other crimes, simply because they did not occur to the minds of the Grand Jury.
On the charge of murder, the prisoner pleaded a change of venue, which was sustained, and the case was sent to Botetourt county. On all the other charges he pleaded alien enemy, but being a citizen of Western Virginia, he was held to be a citizen of Virginia, and hence the plea was disallowed. The trial was several times continued, and often deferred, though the prisoner vigorously urged a trial, knowing that the sooner his case was brought to a crisis, the better it would be for him. He was forced to employ four different counsel at $2,000 each, and these were threatened with mobviolence if once they appeared in the defence.
When nearly a year had passed in a fruitless effort to procure a trial, during which time Dr. Rucker was held in close confinement, the United States Government determined to hold one Dr. Greene, an AssistantSurgeon in the Rebel army as a hostage for his return.
In June, 1863, he was removed to the prison in Pitt