Newspaper Page Text
Close Calls t
Col. (t. N. Saus.-y,
Many have related experiences of
dangerously "close calls," showing
narrow escapes cf individuals, which,
if all could be put in print, would not
only till volumes, but libraries. S une
of these bordered upon the miracu
lous. There were many instances
where whole commands casun within
the list of this category.
With The Journal's permission, I
will instance a few of these. Mc
Clcllau had bent his mighty army as a
great bow, nearly half way around the
capital, alike of the Old Dominion
and the young Confederacy. Daily
accessions to his ranks intensified the
peril to the heart of the youthful na
tion. Spade and pick were busy fac
tors strengthening the Federal posi
tion and rendering mure gloomy the
Johnson, at Seven I'ines, hud tempt
ed the fickle goddess, and a severe
wound from a shed fragment to his
person, and a failure of success to his
arms, hurt both his pride and his phy
sique. It was then the great Virgin
ian stepped upon the crimsoned stage
of the bloody drama as its star actor.
Mosby, then a scout, had penetra
ted MoClellan's line and returned with
such information as to start the caval
ry command on a dangerous venture.
Selecting eleven hundred horses and
thrco guns, Stuart left Richmond on
June 12, 18G?, for an investigation of
lu'cClellati's right flank. A bold dash
' kcthc outposts of the regulars, but
i..esc soon rallied behind a strong po
sition on Totopotomay creek, and for
a while delayed progress. Busy and
industrious flankers soon found cross
ings above and below that enabled ihu
Confederate troopers to ugain put the
Federal horses out of position and
kept them on the move untM their or- I
ganization was completely broken aud j
driven from' the field. 11 uart soon j
found he was within the lues of Me- I
Clellan's right flank and between his
army and its base of supplies at the
white house, on the I'auumkey river.
The Federal cavalry that had escaped '
soon apprised the main lino of the
daring forces upon their right wing,
and a ttrong force was thrown across
the route by which Stuart hud broken
through the Federal position. The
escape of the train from Tunstal sta
tion to the white house put the strong
garrison there upon notice, and they
promptly assumed tho defensive.
Surpriso under these circumstances
was no longer possible, and tho way
back blocked by a strong force. Tho
position of Stuart was very perilous,
but the resourceful cavalier did not ,
Joso his wits.
Promptly ordering the ooluinn for
ward, he pressed along on or corre
sponding to und iu rear of the line of
McClelland's huge army.
All night these troopers, under
splendid guides, moved, und blazed
their path with burniug wagons.
Speed was now tho prime factor of tho
forces; therefore, the command could
not be cumbered with captured wag
ons. Tho guards and teamsters were
made prisoners, tho horses and mules
detached and the movement prised
Daylight found the colurnnjin the
viainity of Long Bridge on the Chick
ahominy. Stuart's information was
that he would find a pontoon here, re
placing tho permanent structure de
stroyed by his troopers two or three
weeks before, during Johnston's retro
grade movement up the peninsular. '
In this ho was disappointed. .A sharp
rise in the river made the ford impos
sible, so down stream tho column was
turned, to find uo better conditions at
Burn or Ford's bridge. This struc
ture hud been sawed off on either side
of the river and dropped into the
stream, leaving these approaches us
abutments, but with a fatal gap where
once stood a good, secure bridge.
Here was a continuance of the quan
dary. How was Stuart to pass the
swollen river and keep his artillery?
About a fourth of a mile from the
wrecked bridge was an abandoned to
becoo farm. It seems like a provi
dential supply of material for an im
promptu bridge. Willing hands, with
out tools, soon demolished tho struc
ture. Lifting the sills upon poles,
strong arms quickly transported these
to the river end sucoceded in getting
them across. These just lapped the
gap between the abutments by about
nine inohes. Quickly the weather
boarding from the barn was brought,
laid upon these sills, and an impro
vised bridge was ready for the artille
In the meantime, most of the horses,
under skillful hands, were suooosBful
ty swum across the deep and rapid j
liver. During the anxious hours the
bridge was. under construction, Fitz
Lee, v*itb a strong portion of the com
mand and the artillery, took position
in our rear to prevent any sudden
eruption upon the working force.
iti Atlanta -Journal.
, Happily, no attack was made. In
'act, no force approached the raiders
while engaged in this perilous duty.
Uecalliug the outpost and the guns,
the whole command was noon across
j the turbid stream. Then the impro
vise <1 bri?gc was thrown into the river.
Pressing forward, tho command, about
l-J'l 1?. ni . reached the hanks of the
.James, about thirty-miles below Rich
mond. Here Home forage was secured,
the horses fed, and the men rested.
j After nightfall, the march was rc
: sumcd. The command passed in
sii^bt of over twenty of the enemy's
gunboats and transports, but without
mob-station, until it was about to re
enter the Confederate lines, when a
few shells from a scout gunboat were
fired at the column, but without effect.
Th e expedition brought into the Con
federate lines 10D officers and men as
prisoners, 2h'5 horses and mules, and
destroyed property of the Federal
crmy, that could not be moved, esti
mated by competent Federal authority
well up in seven Ggurcs.
Tho troops engaged in this foray
were two days and two nights enclosed
behind the mighty Army of the Poto
mac, and in their march in rear of and
within three miles of General McClel
lan's headquarters. This moviog
column was totally lost to the Federals
during this time. In breaking Mc
Clellan's right, Stuart sustained the
serious . loss of the gallant Latane,
who fell while leading the charge that
smashed the regulars and opened the
way through the F.edoral lines. This
was the only loss to Stuart.
For this daring and successful feray
upon the rear of the Putomac army,
Stuart and his troopers received the
hearty congratulations of General Lee
in General Orders No. 74, June 23,
181)2. Fur two days Stuart and his
troopers were completely shut off from
any aid or assistance, and all that time
in deadly peril of utter destruction;
but be safely compassed the object of
bis venture, with fru.' as before
enumerated, and that with the loss of
but ont; man, the gallaut Captain John
Nor were these the only fruits, for
it was pructically upon the line bluzed
out by Stuart on this raid that Jack
son was directed t) move when he
swooped down from the valley upon
McCIellau's flauk, which terminated
in the fcderul defeat in the seven
days' battles of Richmond.
There are few instances during tho
four years of thatGcrce struggle where
there was a closer call than in the
Sharpsburg had been fought, and
history had recorded upon her tablet
oue of the bloodiest of indecisive bat
tics. When the sun sank to rest on
the evening of tho 17th of September,
18(52, the crimson glow that veiled his
face portrayed tho life blood of thou
sands of bravo men who had that day
grappled in deadly embrace for the
mastery of that bloody field. Tho
dawn of the 18th found these two
giants facing each other where they
had dropped from heroic exhaustion
tho evening before, the one too terri
bly punished, tho other too weak to
assume the aggressive.
Each, as he closely scanned his op
ponent, watched for soruo aggressive
or tactical movement whilo they rest
ed upon their amir. Finally a brief
truce was arranged for burying the
dead. When darkness "rolled back
the curUiu of the night and pinned it
with a star" tho relative positions of
the two armies remained unchanged.
The active mind of Leo grasped the
truth that reinforcements were rapidly
coming to McCIellau's help, while
none were within hail of his lines.
Then he knew he. must yield the nor?h
bank of the Potomac. Undercover of
darkness his forces passed the river
molested, and the morning of the
19th of September found the Army of
Northern Virginia again on Virginia's
soil. Then MoClellan suddenly be
came aggressive. Ho rushed a corps
in hot pursuit and thought he found
tho way unblocked. But Lee had
taken the neoessary presaution to pre
vent any poaching upon his preserves.
He had left Hill (A. P.) with 2,000
muskets and a fair complement of
guns at Sheppardstown ford. These
were so posted that their presence was
not revealed to the hot pursuers. Into
the Potomao they pushed. Hill al
lowed them to swarm into tho river
until they wore from shocmouth to
armpit in the stream, whon he turned
loose tho dogs of war with suoh terri
ble and fatal energy ho tore tho ad
I vanoing enemy into fragments. So
terrible beoamo the confusion that
order and command passed from this
harnessed bos*, and in the stampede
that followed, as many perished under
the water as shell and ballet killed,
until the bloodstained river became
literally dammed with the slaughtered
I This dampened McClellan's aggres
siveness, and lie sat down upon the
north hank of the Potomac to rest, re
cuperate and recover. Lee likewise
improved this impromptu truce and
waited the next move of McClellao
upon the hloody chessboard.
Public clamor, that hydra-headed
monster, raved at McClellao*a listless
ness and raged at his inactivity. Even
Mr. Lincoln became urgently impa
tient at this delay.
The restless Stuart chaf"d at this
enforced rest. He ill-hrooked lethargy
and must again turn time into oppor
On the !Hh of October, 1802, he se
lected 1,Sill) troopers under Hampton,
Colonels Koonuy Leo and William E.
.Jones and the ''boy major,'' .John
Pelham, with four guns. With secre
cy and speed Stuart moved fur Mc
Coy's ford, and at dawn found the
crossing and soon the whole command
was safely across. This was not ac
complished, however, without detec
tion. Captain Logan, of the Twelfth
Illinois eavalry, in command of a
nearby picket post, took position
where he could, unobserved, watch
the moving raiders.. As early as 7:30
a. m. General Kenly, at Williamsport,
and hy 10 o'clock General Prooke, at
Hagerstown, knew of Stuart's move
ment north ot the Potomac.
Stuart pressed rapidly forward upon
tho national pike and so close that ho
literally trod upon the heels of Gen
eral Coze's division that had passed
just ahead of him, so close that Stuart
possessed himself of several stragglers
who carelessly loitered and fell into
the Confederate hands.
Fortunately for him there was no
federal cavalry on the immediate lino
of his match to attack or harass him.
Strict orders had been issued hy Stuart
not to molest the persons or property
of citizens of Maryland. So his col
umn pressed rapidly for the border
land. Ouce across the Pennsylvania
State line, foraging parties got active
ly to work impressing Btock and cap
turing United States government prop
erty. Stuart reached Chatnbersburg
at S p. m. on tho l()th. A demand
for tho surreuder of the town was
promptly acquiesced in. Here was
found publia property and stores to
the value of over a quarter of a million
dollars. What could not be utilized
by Stuart was destroyed. In Cham
bersburg there were also 28tJ soldiers,
mostly sick aud convalescent. The.so
were paroled. Near this towu a huu
gry raider approached a farm from
which the ptale member* of the house
hold had fled, leaving only the women
and children. An application for
food was answered with a scowling re
sponse that there was none in tho
house. The hungry Confederate said
he had never before indulged in such,
but his condition was so desperate he
would have to satisfy his terriblo hun
ger with one of the fat babies of the
household. A demonstration that
looked like he was in ''dead earnest"
soon procured for him a bountiful sup
ply of grub.
Day dawn found the raiders in the
saddle, with head of column turned
toward Gettysburg, until the command
had cros&ed the Catoclin mountains.
At Cashtown, Stuart turned south
ward and marohed though Fairficld
to Etnmotsburg, which be reaohed
near sunset on the 11th, having
marohed 31} miles since leaving
Chambersburg. After a few moments
for rest and refreshment, the column
resumed the march at a trot. Soon
after dark a Federal oourier, bearing
dispatches, was captured. Tho infor
mation acquired was of great value to
Stuart. From those dispatohes he
learned Col. Rush had at Frederick
City the 6th Pennsylvania cavalry,
tho 1st Maine oavalry, Cole's Mary
land battalion of oavalry, the 5th Con
necticut infantry, the 29th Ohio in
fantry and Battery "K," 1st New
York Light artillery. And also that
two brigades of infantry had embarked
on trains with steam up, ready to be
moved in any direction when tho true
location of the raiders was positively
To avoid theso formidable dangers,
tho head of tho column was turned
eastward through Rooky Ridge for
Woodsboro. Thus apprised of some
of the forces placed to intercept him,
Stuart continued all night at a trot, as
speed was now the prime fr.otor of his
movement, so that by daylight he en
In 24 bouts Stuart ha'.' marohed 65
miles and kept his artillery. At
Hyattstown he was still twelve miles
from the Potomac Under the direc
tion of the ooolest and best of guides
and scouts, Stuart pursued his route
towards Poolesville. Passing on in
tho direction of the mouth of Mono
oacy, he encountered Pleasanton, who
had determined the ford, at the mouth
of the Monooaoy, as Stuart's intended
crossing back into Virginia.
From tho Federal stores at Cham
bersburg the raiders had liberally sup
plied themselves with blue overcoats.
Clad in these, it was an ea9y decep
tion to approach unmolested within
close proximity of Pleasanton, when
Stuart turned his troopers loose with
' 'Chargel" and speedily Pleasanton
was broken. Pushing a gun after him
Pelham opened a rapid fire whioh con
firmed Pleasanton in tho belief the
ford at the mouth of the Monooaoy
was Stuart's objective point. Hooney
Lec, with the large convoy of captured
bornes, turned off to the left and
pressed forward for White's ford,
trusting this point was left unguarded.
His worst fears were realized, for the
precipitous bluff overlooking end com
manding White's ford was bristling
with Federal bayonets. The situa
tion seemed so intense, Col. Lee
promptly requested the presence of
Stuart. His reply was he was fully
occupied and Lec must take the ford
at all hazards.
riacing his gun in battery, Lee pre
pared his column for a chargi. How
over, Lee's mind reverted to a certain
game known to the cult as "draw,"
sometimes as "poker." A permissi
ble feature of that game is "bluff."
Calling up a trusty trooper he directed
him to fix a white handkerchief to his
sabre, advance upon the enemy and
carry a formal demand for a surrender
of the fort and its garrison, strength
ening the demand with the informa
tion that Stuart was i.i the Federal's
immediate front with his whole force,
and 15 minutes would be allowed for a
reply. The limit expired and no re
ply. H&ugers were thickening around
the weary raiders. Action, prompt
and effective uow became absolute.
Forming his column for the charge, he
opened with his one gun upon the
strong position. Only a shell or two
and in good order, with drums beat
ing, the D9th Pennsylvania moved out
with skirmishers well to the rear and
marohed eastward down the river.
The gate was open, the way clear,
and at the ford and for the eminence
rushed Hooney Lee and his troopers.
There was no desire to bring the ene
my to bay or bring on an aotion.
What be wanted was simply the right
of way back to "Ole Virginny." As
soon as the ford and its approaches
were secured, he rushed a courier back
to Stuart with the joyful intelligence.
Withdrawing from one position to an
other, the gallant Pelham with his two
guns, continued to keep Pleasanton
and Pennington at arm's length.
Stuart had in the meantime dispatch
ed one courier after another to Butler,
who still held the post of honor and
danger. On the advance Butler was
assigned the head of column; on the
retreat, he brought up the rear. These
couriers were dispatched with instruc
tions for Butler to withdraw and meet
Stuart with the portion of the raiders
under his immediate command, at the
junction of the roads. Oo Stuart's
arrival at the intersection of the
roadp, Butler had not arrived. Turn
iug to Captain Blackford, his chief
engineer, he remarked: "I very much
fear we will lose our rear guard."
Why so? asked Blackford. "Because
I have sent four couriers to Butler
with orders to meet me here, and he
has not yet arrived." replied Stuart.
"Let me try," then said Blaokford.
Stuart paused a moment, then an
swered: "If you will; but I fear the
same fate will overtake you. If you
will go, good-by." Dashing down the
road Blaokford found Butler with his
one gun in battery ready to repel an
attack gathering around him. "Gen
eral Stuart says withdraw instantly at
a gallop, or you will be cut off," hur
riedly exclaimed Blaokford. "I don't
think the horses can move the gun at
that pace," replied Butler. "Then
abandon the gun and save your men."
ejaoulated Blaokford. "Well, we'll
see what can be done," coolly answer
ed the gallant Carolinian.
Ordering the gunners to limber up
and mount, he direoted the men to
move at speed. To Butler's glad sur
prise the horses responded to whip
and spur at a gallop and down the
road the command went at a breezy
paoe. Pelham and Stuart held Pen
nington off, and as Butler rounded
into the road to the ford, his command
had to run the gauntlet of fire. It
dashed through the fire into the river
and were quickly on the other bank,
safe from further molestation.
Beside the stores and prisoners cap
tured at Chambersburg, the raiders
rounded up 1,200 horses and safely
brought them into the Confederate
Stuart's luck had been marvelouB.
After leaving Chambersburg, he
marohed ninety miles inside of twen
ty-seven hours, although cumbered
with his artillery and a large herd of
oapturcd horses and though wearied
by the excessive tax of two days and
nights of constant marohing together
with some hours of sharp conflict, he
foroed the passage of the Potomac un
der the very eyes of foroes fresh and
whioh largely outnumbered his own.
His only oasuality was the wounding
of ono man. Two men who had strag
gled were oaptured.
One more remarkable instanoe be
fore this paper is completed: On the
13th of September, 1864, Lee's army
I v/as oonoentrating at Warrentoo. His
I flank movoment had flung Meade baok
toward ManasBas. Stuart was ordered
with two brigades to make a reoonnoi
sanoo towards Catlett's station, on the
O. & A. railroad, and report his ob
servations promptly to General Lee.
To perform this he passed through the
little bamlct of Auburn and proceeded
toward the line of the railroad. As
he moved through the wooded country
and oame to the open country that
bordered the railroad, he was surprised
to find Meade's army moving steadily
northward. Stuart at onoe dispatched
Major Venable to inform General Lee
and advised a prompt attaok upon the
marohing oolumn so as to out it in
two, then beat each wing>in detail.
Major Veoable attempted to reach
Warrcnton over the route Stuart had
couic, but to hia surprise be found
Auburn in possession of a strong col
umn of the enemy. By a more cir
cuitous route he avoided the enemy
and safely reached General Lee, later,
however, than Stuart had timed.
For seme reason General Lee did
not accept Stuart <* suggestion and the
proponed attack was not made. He
remained in observation of the moving
column long enough for Major Vena
ble to have reached General Lee, and
was anxiously awaiting the sound of
Lee's guns in attack upon Meade's
flank Despairing of this ho started
to retrace his steps when to his sur
prise he found a heavy column in his
rear. Here was a great dilemma.
Fr.mt and rear great columns of Fed
eral troops were marohing. Along the
railroad and the parallel dirt roads the
bulk of Meade's army was pressing for
Manassas, while behind Stuart the
Second and Third army corps securely
locked him in. Between these two
colunis stood the two brigades, won
dering what would be tho result.
Stuart kuew his peril and rapidly con
centrated his force between the sur
rounding hills, which raised their
friendly tops between his command
and tho heavy columns of the enemy.
Night kindly lowered the curtain of
darkness over and around the belea
guered troops. Rushing his seven
cannons to the crest of the bills over
looking the ford of Cedar Cre/,t. noth
ing remained but to watch, wait and
keep quiet. The troopers stood to
horse to restrain any restlessness in
their steeds, but ever and anon some
hungry mule in the ammunition wagon
would rouse the echoes of the hills
with discordant brays. Stuart's hope
was that General Lee would attaok
and thus cause a diversion in his favor;
but this hope vanished. Dawn found
tho situation unchanged. The hope
of concealment must vanish when the
sun would rise. A few shots on the
side of the enemy in the direction of
Warren ton, warned Stuart that work
was about to commence there. Now
was the time for action. His seven
guns rained shot and shell upon the
surprised foremen. His left flank to
ward's Catlett's station was his weak
point and against this a strong coun
ter attack was made. Against this
Col. Kufiin led his splendid First
North Carolina cavalry in a mounted
charge. Ho over-rode a strong skir
mish line of the enemy, most of whom
surrendered, but his force was repell
ed by the heavy infantry battle line,
leaving their gallant commander dead
upon tne field. The enemy was check
ed by this charge of Ruffin, and
Stuart, seizing the opportunity the ar
tillery was withdrawu from the hills
and with the baggage wagons pr.nacd
rapidiy in rear of the enemy and by a
bold dash were released from a trap
that looked hopeless of escape.
No less than six bold men had suc
cessfully passed through the enemy's
lines during the night, and acquainted
General Lee of Stuart's great peril.
Stuart coofidently expected General
Lee would attack at or beforo dawn to
relieve tension of this corduu around
him. A part of Ewell's corps did
move out to attack but they claimed
the tiro from Stuart's guns passing
through aud over the enemy arrested
their forward movement. ,
The strain that night was severe
upon the nervous tensiou of Stuart
and his troopers, but these men had
been with the gay and gallant cavalier
in serious difficulties before and trust
ed bis skill and sagacity would provide
means of escape.
Not to his ability, courage or nerve
did Stuart attribute his wonderful
escapes from these and other dangers,
but to the God of hait'es did he
ascribe his marvelous escapes, and on.
down to the sad and painful episode
at Yellow Tavern he gave the glory of
all his achievements to the Lord
Almighty. Here with his usual in
trepidity he threw himself with about
eighty men upon the head of a bri
gade, saving Riehmond, but yielded
up the life of as gallant a oavalier as
ever drew blade or strode a steed.
Sedgwick, one of the best corps
oomm-inders in the Federal army, aud
a companion in arms in the ?>ld army,
said of Stuart: "He was the best
cavalry officer ever foaled in America."
Captain John Estin Cooke, the
author, one of Stuart's military house
hold, lovingly wrote:
"Never was a cavalier like ours.
Not Rupert in the days before;
And when his stern, hard work was
His grief, joy, battlea o'er.
His mighty spirit rode the storm,
And led his men once more." '
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In the world. Come aud see it.
Yours in earnest,.
VANDIVER BROS. & MAJOR.
ave d list Jrieoe5 ved
Two Cars Fine Tennessee Valley
Red Cob Corn.
You run no risk in feeding this to your sioi^.
Will also make the very finest meal.
Come quick beforo it is all gone.
O. D. ANDER80N.
?5ft?$T A LONG LOOK AHEAD
A man thinks it is when the matter of lift
insurance suggests itself?but circumstan
ces of late have shown how life hangs by s
thread when war, flood, hurricane and fire
uddenly overtakes you, and the only way
- sure that your family is protected i?
fu&|gg^ caee'of calamity overtaking yon is to n>
oure in a solid Company like?
The Mutual Benefit Life Ins. Co,
Drop in and see us about it.
M. M. HATTISON,
Peoples' BankJBulldlnff, |AKD2B8OX0?