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WASHINGTON, D. C., THURSDAY, JANUARY 25, 1900.
VOL. XXIV?NO. 17?WIIOLK NO. 1275.
OPENING OF THE MISSISSIPPI.
By John Mcelroy.
THE ARMY'S DARKEST HOUR.
BfffiHiBff of the Rf*Bl?r Sie*e?Reor
(??iiatloB ? Terrtftr Bombardment.
Snmmon* to Surremler?A Bin? that
Failed?Another <.allant Awiault aid
At 6 o'clock on the morning follow
ing the doleful May 27 Gen. Banks sent
& flag of truce to Gen. Gardner, re
questing a suspension of hostilities un
til 2 o'clock, to enable the dead and
wounded to be brought off the field.
Gen. Gardner replied that he would
grant it, on condition that Banks with
draw all his men to a distance of SOU
yards and that the vessels in the river
cease firing and return to their original
Banks declined to do this, but re
newed his request, and promised to send
only unarmed parties to carry off the
dead and wounded. Some 12 letters
were exchanged on the subject, con
suming three-fourths of the day. Gard
ner complained that men were working
on batteries and skirmishers were push
ing forward, and Banks replied that he
had sent orders for the work to cease
and the skirmishers to halt. Finally a
truce of four hours was agreed upon,
to run from 3 o'clock.
Farragut sent a note to Banks sug
gesting that he attack along the river
bank, beyond the flank of the rebel
lines, where the fleet could assist him
with its fire, but somehow this plan did
not commend itself to Banks
While the dead and wounded were
being brought in Banks's men were
making good use of the time in care
fully studying the positions in front and
laying their plans for establishing bat
teries and lines of investment.
On the morning of May 29 the real
work of the siege began, with the troops
taking up substantially the positions
they had gained during the assault of
May 27. The Engineers went busily to
work designating positions for batteries,
tracing lines for breastworks and sur
veying roads through the woods and
across the ravines, to bring all parts of
the army into ready communication.
The shortened line enabled the divisions
to be closed up on one another and the
Brig.-Gen. Richard Arnold, the Chief
of Artillery, was ordered to bring up the
siege artillery, which was manned by
the 1st Ind. H. A., and it was rapidly
emplaced, with the field guns, behind
suitable cover. Altogether, Col. Irwin
says, there were 40 heavy pieces, of
which six were eight-inch seacoast
howitzers, eight 24-pounders, seven 30
pounders. four six-inch rifles, four nine
inch Dahlgrens, four eight-inch mortars,
three 10-inch mortars and four 13-ineh
mortars. Beside these were 60 field
pieces, ranging from six to 20-pounders.
The nine-inch Dahlgrens were lent by
the fleet, and were mounted in battery
and worked throughout the siege by
three gun's crews (51 men) from the
Richmond and one crew (11 men)
from the Essex. They were under com
mand of Lieut.-Commander Edward
Terry, of the Richmond, and did splen
did service. The battery was first es
tablished 748 yards from the enemy's
works, but later advanced to 340 yards.
Gen. Banks reorganized his army, in
preparation for the new phase of opera
tions. Despairing of getting any rein
forcements from Gen. Grant, he stripped
the Teche country of the slender garri
Bons he had left to guard the roads to
New Orleans and gained eight regi
ments, which he distributed around to
make good to the various divisions the
losses sustained in the assault.
Gen. Geo. L. Andrews returned to his
position as Chief of Staff, and Gen.
Dwight was assigned to the command
of Sherman's Division, and it and
Augur's Division were made the Left
Wing, under command of Gen. Augur.
The Right Wing, composed of Grover's
and Weitzel's Divisions, was placed un
der the command of Grover. Halbert
E. Paine's Division was brought to the
center, to cover the Jackson road, the
heavy artillery and assist Grierson's
Cavalry in standing off Logan's Cavalry,
a very strong body of horsemen, who
were cutting off communications with
the country outside and besieging the
The 41st Mass. had been mounted
during the Teche Campaign, and was
now caljed the 3d Mass. Cav., and as
signed to Grierson.
The siege batteries, which were num
bered from 1 to 24. were established
In the best locations that could be se
cured, at a distance of from 600 to
1,200 yards from the enemy's works,
And made a rough semicircle about
THE PRIEST-CAP NEA
eight miles long, from Foster's Creek
to the river below.
The Frljthtful Climate.
The climate of that low-lying. In
tensely hot, malarious region was sim
ply deadly in its effects upon the troops
brought directly from their homes in
the cool, healthy highlands of New;
England. Every regiment suffers mosi
from illness in the few months follow
ing the transition of Its member* from
home life to% the entirely different sur
roundings of thtv camp. The majority
of Banks's regiments were new nine
months regiments, and worse condition^
could hardly be imagined than tnose fo
which they were subjected. The worst
fortune of all came to the 16th N. H..
commanded by Col. James Pike,
which had been organized at Concord,
Oct. 24, 1862, for nine months. The
official records shew that it did not
lose a man in battle, but 221 died from
disease in its nine months' service. It
was assigned to garrison Butte-a-la
Rose, at the junction of the Bayous
Aichafalaya and Alabama, a position of
the highest strategic importance, since
it controlled so large a portion of the
communications of western Louisiana
and Texas. The place itself was raised
but slightly above the surface of the
water, and tradition is that the Indians
ha.i built it as a refuge from the floods.
In the very excellent history of the 16th
N H., by Adj't Townsend, the follow
ing description is given of the place and
the life there:
"When we took possession, Butte-a
la-Rose was essentially a little island
surrounded for miles with water, ex
cepting 011 the west, where land could
>e reached through a swamp at a dis
tance of five or six miles.
"At the north, also, there were two
>r three plantations on the shores of
the Atcliafalaya that were not entirely
under water; but at the south, as far
as Brashear City, and east, as far as
Port Hudson, even the arable land was
covered with water in many places to
the depth of from seven to 10 feet, so
that the small, flat-bottomed stern
wheel steamers that ply in those waters
were sailing at that time through door
yards and over corn and cane fields.
Nearly all fcncing was out of sight un
"Butte-a-la-Rose, aside from being a
very strategic position from a military
point of view, proved also to be such
from several other points of view. It
was the grand rendezvous of mosqui
toes, fleas, wood-ticks, lice, lizards,
frogs, snakes, alligators, fever bacteria,
dysentery microbes, and every con
ceivable type of malarial poison.
? "From about sunset till daylight the
mosquitoes came upon us in dense bat
talions. Had it not been for the mo
Barracks mm mm ^
BUTTE a'lA R05
squlto bars, that were issued to us when j
we were being devoured by those pests j
at Brashear City, not a man of us,
seemingly, could have lived at Butte
a-la Rose for a fortnight.
"One of our correspondents in writ
ing home thus speaks of those tor
" 'Let me pay my respects to those
little winged cohabitues with ourselves
of those detestable surroundings.
These little rascals are comparatively
civil and respectful during the day,
but at the approach of night their
scattered forces are heard returning
from all quarters, and can be seen
'?massing" their columns in the imme
diate vicinity of their Intended point]
of attack, and piping up their accursed
R THE JACKSON ROAD.
strains as a kind of prelude to com
bined assaults upon those whose blood
" 'Denuding ourselves of hat, blouse,
vest, and pants, after a careful and
most wary tucking of the folds of ouf
net under the edge of the blankets and
performing sundry imposing flourishes
ajoynd our heads with some outspread
Northern paper, we slyly but quickly
raise a portion of the gauM aforesaid
and make a plunge within Its generous
rW?s&. Jteadjiusti ng the _ n^t anj
straightening 5uf our pedal limbs, we
compose our thoughts and listen with
complacency to the gathering of wrath
and baffled malice from those in
" 'And as We r&ft from the heated
labofs of the day within the mazy
fortress, and listen to the continuous
hum and buzz of those disappointed in
habitants of the swamps and marshes,
secure in our assurance against their
ptinging lances, and think of the blood
that would flow should they succeed in
breaking down our frail barrier, wo
thank nature and art for gauze and
"For miles on still nights the croak
ing of frogs and hooting of owls could
be heard, and were at first amusing but
afterwards distressing. The moccasin
snakes, whose bite is deadly, were so
bold and numerous that they some
NEAR BITTE-A-LA-ROSE ? Bt'SH
WHACKRr.S FIRING ON FEDERAL
times had to be shot out of our path
way while we were passing between
"Alligators, too, at night while hunt
ing and killing their prey kept up an
almost continuous splashing, which was
doleful enough in those desolate re
gions, and more than once those treach
erous and ravenous creatures com
pelled our pickets, who at night were
not allowed to tire upon them, to move
in n?'ar to our barracks for safety.
"We must not forget in this enum
eration of pests that we had, neverthe
less, some friends among the Insect or
rather reptile family, which often
warned us against the approach of
snakes and other venomous creatures.
"We mean the bright-eyed and so
ciable little lizards that at times seemed
almost as numerous as house-fiies in
our Northern homes in Summer time.
They would run over our barracks and'
clothing, and in many ways appeared
to be desirous of making our ac
quaintance and courting our friendship.
At times when we were asleep they
would drop into our hands and play at
circus over our faces if we did not
wake, or if we would allow them to do
so. The only trouble was that their
touch seemed a little too cold and
slimy for solid comfort.
"Almost from the date of taking pos
session of that fort we seemed at singu
lar disadvantage. We had no sutler
and scarcely any sutler's supplies. Our
sutler had gone North with the body
of his son, who was killed April 13 by
falling from the cars on the passage
from New Orleans to Brashear City.
The afflicted father, who by his genial
nature had won our esteem, had the
heartiest sympathy of our men when
the death of his promising lad was an
"As the days wore on, we found our
selves without lemons, oranges, or
fruit of any kind, for which we had an
intense craving in consequence of the
different kinds of fever that had begun
to prey upon us.
"The discomfort of those who were
deprived of tobacco was especially
noticeable, and any of our readers who
have used tobacco for years and then
suddenly have been deprived of it know
how keen is the distress.
"The quids that had been chewed
and even re-chewed were not thrown
away, but were dried and then smoked.
We do not vouch for the statement, but
Recently we were told by ohe of our
comrades tnat some of our tobacco
users during those days when no fresh
supplies could be had, would secrete
the second-hand quids under the floor
ing or among the timbers of their bar
racks and then stand guard over them
with a musket.
"It became manifest after a time
that an effort ought to be made to fur
nish the men in some measure with
what are known as sutler's supplies.
Accordingly, for that purpose the Ad
jutant, with full powers but without
funds, though having some credit, was
dispatched to New Orleans.
"At this point a confession that we
promised to publish must be made. On
inquiry as to what articles wotild be
of special usefulness to the men, we
were told that among other provisions
a quantity Boststter's Bitters should
be provided, as they would prove a most
excellent prescription for such of our
| men as were suffering from chills.
"A stack of recommendations extoll
ing their merits and enumerating the
remarkable cures wrought by them was
furnished, and accordingly two or three
cases of Hostetter's Bitters were put on
"Those bitters with other goods
reached Butte-a-la-Rose in safety, and
were sold to those who could pay for
them and given to those who were
without funds. But some of the men,
who probably were more chilly than
the others, took overdoses, and in con
sequence became staggering drunk.
"The Adjutant, therefore, had the
mortification of discovering that
though he was President of the Tem
perance Society of the regiment, he had
furnished almost pure whisky to the
men under the label Hostetter's Bitters.
But as no ill had been intended he was
not deposed from office. .
"We not only were without a sutler
at that time, but our Chaplain, in con
sequence of sickness, had gone North
on leave of absence, and our Quarter
master was not with us, and most of
the time during our stay at Butte-a
la-Rose we were without a Surgeon.
"Dr. Campbell had died; Dr. Sanborn
was North on a furlough; Dr. Fisk, be
sides being overworked, had been as
signed duty, if we remember correctly,
at Brashear City, and^Dr. Sleeper was
late in reporting, though, as we recall
the facts, it was without fault on his
"Meanwhile our men were sickening
rapidly and dying almost daily. Had
it not been that occasionally a negro
or poor white would come to the garri
son w.th a row-boat load of fresh vege
tables, together with a few berries and
eggs and a small quantity of poultry,
which were exchanged for coffee and
tea, we must have famished, in our sick
and nauseated condition, on such ra
: tions us tho Government then supplied.
| "The at^ospMere a little after sun
fa11 and on through the night was al
uiost insufferable, and our sick men
when breathing it were conscious that
every breath was so much more poison
ad''r-d to their blood.
"There must have been on our rolls
at one time or another while we were
at Butte-a-la-Rose not fewer than 600
or 700 men. But under date of May
20 the regiment could muster only 150
"It should be borne in mind, too, that
many of our number, in consequence
of previous exposures and hardships,
were sick and debilitated when they
reached that place. As would be ex
pected, a move pitiful sight than our
regiment presented during the last two
weeks of our stay at Butte-a-la-Rose
hardly can be imagined.
"Wasted away by various forms of
disease, men who had weighed 200
pounds or more were reduced to half
that weight. One of our company on
cers, Capt. Sanborn, Co. E, whose ordi
nary weight was considerably above
200 pounds, could not tip the scales
"Some Of our men were covered with
burning and painful eruptions, others
were yellow as saffron, others were
shaking with ague, Others were bloated
with dropsy, and ail were sallow and
The men and officer* begged earnest
ly to b? relieved and ?ent to some other
post of duty, but the place was so im
portant and the need of men so great
that this could not be done until Banks
decided to abandon the whole country
and bring up every man to Port Hud
son. The 16th N. H. was of small value
as a reinforcement, because, as Col.
Iiwin says, everyone was suffering from
some aggravated form of hepatic disor
der, due to malarial poisoning, and even
the men that were called well were all
yellow, emaciated and restless, or so
drowsy that the sentries would go to
sleep on their posts at midday. It was
decided, therefore, to retire the regi
ment from the fighting linf, to which
ii had been assigned, and assign it to
guard the general ammunition depot.
Its place in Paine's Division was taken
by the 28th Conn., brought from Pen
Organization of the Army.
The organization of the army, as giv
en May 31, was as follows:
Maj.-Gen. Christopher C. Augur.
First Brigade?-Col. Chas. J. Paine?
2d La., Lieut.-Col. Charles Everett; 21st j
Me., Col. Elijah D. Johnson; 48th Mass., |
Col. Eben F. Stone; 49th Mass., Maj.
Charles T. Plunkett; 116th N. Y., Capt.
Second Brigade?Col. Stephen Thom
as?12th Conn., Lieut.-Col. Frank H.
Peck; 75th N. Y., Col. Robert B. Mer
rltt; 114th N. Y., Col. Elisha B. Smith;
160th N. Y., Lieut.-Col. John B. Van
Petten; 8th Vt., Lieut.-Col. Charles Dil
Third Brigade?Col. Nathan A. M.
Dudley?30th Mass., Lieut.-Col. Wil
liam W. Bullock; 50th Mass., Col. Car
los P. Messer; 161st N. Y., Col. Gabriel
T. Harrower; 174th N. Y., Maj. George
Artillery?1st Ind. Heavy (seven
companies). Col. John A. Keith; 1st Me.
Battery, Lieut. John E. Morton; 6th
Mass. Battery, Lieut. John F. Phelps;
12th Mass. Battery (one section), Lieut.
Edwin M. Chamberlin; 18th N. Y. Bat
tery, Capt. Albert G. Mack; 1st U. S..
Battery A, Capt. Edmun C. Bainbridge;
5th U. S., Battery G, Lieut. Jacob B.
Miscellaneous?1st La. Engineers.
Corps d'Afrique, Col. Justin Hodge; 1st
La. Native Guards, Lieut.-Col. Chauncey
J. Bassett; 3d La. Native Guards, Col.
John A. Nelson; 4th La. Native Guards,
Col. Charles W. Drew; 1st La. Cav.,
Maj. Harai Robinson; 2d R. I. Cav..
Lieut.-Col. Augustus W. Corliss.
Seeond DirUkiL |
Brig.-Gen. William Dwight.
First Brigade?Col. Thomas S.
Clarfc?26th Conn., Lieut.-Col. J. Sel
den; 6th Mich., Lfeut.*CoI. E. Bacon;
15th N. H., Col. John W. Kingman;
l 128th N. Y., Lieut.-Col. James Smith;
| 16 2d N. Y,, Llout.-Col. Justus W.
Third Brigade?Brig*-Gen. Frank S.
Nickerson?14th Me., Col. Thomas W.
Porter; 24th Me., Col. George M. At
wood; 28th Me. (detachment). Col.
Ephraim W. Woodman; 165th N. Y.,
Capt. Felix Agnus; 17fith N. Y., Maj.
John Gray; 177th N. Y., Col. Ira W.
Artillery?Capt. William Roy?1st
Ind. Heavy (one company), Capt. Wil
liam Roy; 21st N. Y. Battery, Capt.
James Barnes; 1st Vt. Battery, Capt.
George T. Hebard.1
Brig.-Gen. Halbert ?. Paine.
First Brigade?Col.J Timothy Ingra
ham?4th Mass., ColJ Henry Walker;
16th N. H., Col. James Pike; 110th N.
Y., Col. Clfctoo H. Bike.
Second Brigade*?Cel. Hawkes Fear
ing, Jr.?8th N. H., Capt. William M.
Barrett; 133d I*. Y.. Col. Leonard t>. H.
Currie; 17 3d N. Y? Capt. George W.
Rogers; 4th Col, Sidney A. Be&TT
Third Brtgaae:~-Col. Oliver P. Good
ing?31st Mass. (seven companies),
Lteut.-Col. W. 8. B. Hopkins;. -38th
Mass., Ma). James P.. Richardson; 53d
Mass., Col. John W. Kimball; 156th N.
Y., Lieut.-Col. Jacob Sharpc.
Artillery?Capt. Richard C. Duryea?
(Contiaaad on p*f? ?**.)
WINCHESTER TO APPOMATTOX.
Service of the Cavalry in the Last Two Months of the War.
A Wonderul Record of Severe and Brilliantly Successful
By MOSES HARRIS, Major, 1st U. S. Cav.t Retired.
The beginning of the year 1865
found the First and Third Divisions
? of the Cavalry Corps in camp in the
j vicinity of Winchester, and the troops
| were directed to make their camps as
? comfortable as possible, with a view to
their occupancy for a considerable
I period. The severity of the weather,
i however, permitted only a moderate
degree of comfort. Tentage and fuel
were both scarce, while the horses were
entirely without shelter. Snow had
fallen to the depth of several inches.
us no cordial greetings as we rode
along, but we remembered their harsh
experience of the previous Summer and
pardoned their dark looks.
Upon reaching the North Fork of the
Shenandoah, on the 28th, an attempt
was made to ford the stream, but after
several men and horses had been car
ried down by the swift current of the
swollen river, the pontoons were
brought up, expeditiously laid, and the
command crossed with but slight delay.
The advance guard struck Rosser the
next day at Mount Crawford, but he
was brushed aside with ease by the
leading brigade, the rest of the com
GETTING THE TRAIN T
and the mercury hovered in unpleasant!
proximity to the zero point for days in I
succession. The railroad had been
completed to Stephenson's Depot, four
miles from Winchester, and supplies
were hauled from that point in wagons;
thus providing a well-stocked commis
sary for officers and men, and abundant
forage for the horses; a condition of
affluence which went far towards com
pensating for the adversities of the
Humors there were of other allevia
tions afforded by the social life of the
town; the assurance of the continued
protection of the Union troops bringing
to the surface the loyal element which
had been Qverwhelmed and crushed by
the weight of Secession sentiment. It
was even whispered that the allegiance
of some of the fair Confederates to the
"sacred cause" had not been proof
against the wiles of the "blind god,"
and that the "hated Yankees" had been
found less black than they had been
painted. But. alas! these pleasures
were not for the line. Those fortunate
fellows of the staff were on the ground
and, as usual, had the inside track.
As the days wore away a restless feel
ing seemed to pervade the camps. All
the talk and discussion about the camp
fires indicated an eagerness to be up
and doing, to finish the work that still
remained. It was not thought that the
task was a light one, but there was an
agreement of opinion that the Spring
campaigns would result in the more or
less complete overthrow of the Confed
eracy and collapse of the rebellion; and
so, when the order to march came, al
though unexpected, it was very wel
On the morning of the 27th of Feb
ruary we bade a cheerful good-by to
our camps, and leaving the tents stand
ing, the long column was stretched out
on the familiar Valley Pike, headed up
the Valley. The desolate landscape, the
blackend ruins of burnt buildings, the
deserted houses, and fields shorn of
their fences, together with the gloomy
and lowering skies, presented anything
but a cheerful picture; the inspiriting
sense of movement and action was,
however, superior to all depressing in
fluences, and the way was cheered by
the jokes and laughter of the "bold
dragoons" as they rode along in happy
freedom from all care.
A Magnificent Cavalry Force.
A magnificent force of cavalry it was.
Ten thousand gallant troopers, men of
intelligence, free citizens of a free coun
try, fighting for a cause which could
but strengthen and confirm every cour
ageous impulse. They had been edu
cated, trained, and seasoned by years
of most exacting service against an
enemy whose courage and tenacity of
purpose had won the admiration of
the world. Free from all old-world
theories and traditions, they had put
to the test all means of offensive power
given them, and had retained with con
fidence those which had proved effec
tive. With a versatility of resource
which can exist only with great intelli
gence, their efficiency had been demon
strated under all possible conditions of
service. In numberless encounters
they had shown themselves superior to
the cavalry of the enemy; on the field
of battle they had charged successfully
with the saber against infantry lines;
and, fighting dismounted, they had re
peatedly repulsed and overthrown the
best infantry of the Confederate armies.
Their leaders had also been educated
and trained in the hard school of ex
perience, and by the process of selec
tion and the survival of the fittest, rep
resented the best talent in their profes
sion which the Nation afforded. Add
to this the knowledge that they were
under the direction and guidance of
their great commander, Sheridan, who
had won their hearts by his just con
fidence in their strength, who had
rescued them from a subordinate and
humiliating position, and whose In
domitable spirit haa left Its impress
upon the heart of every trooper, and
we can believe that this body pos
sessed a force which could not fall to
exert a most powerful Influence in that
contest of courage, endurance, and
aklll, which was to end the mighty
struggle of four weary years.
The good people of Straaburg, Wood
stock and tt* other Valley towns gave
H ROUGH THE MUD.
mand being scarcely aware of any ob
Early Weald Fight.
On March 2 we reached Staunton,
where it was learned that Early was at
Waynesboro, 10 miles away, and had
declared his intention to fight there.
The 1st U. S. Cav. Avas at this time on
duty at Gen. Sheridan's headquarters;
but Custer's Division having been or
dered on to Waynesboro to accept
Early's challenge for a fight, the 1st
U. S. Cav., through some misapprehen
sion, followed in its wake and had the
good fortune to share in the final over
throw of Early's forces.
Custer went at his task with his ac
customed impetuosity. His disposi
tions were made with hardly a mo
ment's delay, the regiments being as
signed to their positions as fast as they
came up. The 1st Cav. was ordered to
support the 8th N. Y., which was to
charge, in column, down the road and
through the town, when the general as
sault should take place. Soon the
trumpets sounded the advance; the
scattering shots of the skirmish line
were followed by rattling volleys of
musketry and some rapid discharges of
artillery, and as the dismounted line,
with inspiriting yells and cheers, rush
ed to the assault, we broke into column
at a gallop and went splashing down
the road after the 8th X. Y. The rain
had been pouring down incessantly for
several days, a,nd the roadway was a
sea of liquid mud, marked only by the
fences on either side. We were al
ready well splashed, but as we dashed
through this pasty mass, with heads
down to save our eyes, we were pelted
and plastered with the sacred soil be
yond all recogniton. Some unlucky
troopers of the leading regiment who
had been unhorsed, as they scrambled
out of the way, were suggestive of
nothing so much as unfortunate flies
crawling from a pool of molasses. As
we galloped through the town the firing
had almost ceased, and we heard off
to the right and rear the victorious
shouts of Custer's men. The complete
ness of this victory was only marred
by the escape of Early and Rosser, who
wisely made prompt and effective use
of their horseflesh. The captures in
this engagement were 1,600 prisoners,
11 pieces of artillery, 17 battle-flags,
and a large quantity of supplies and
means of transportation. The prison
ers were sent back to Winchester with
an escort of 1,500 men, by which the
command was depleted to that extent,
it being impossible for them to rejoin.
The Confederates were, of course,
outnumbered in this affair; but the
position was a strong one and could
not have been carried without severe
loss had any serious effort been made
to hold it. As it was, our losses were
so trivial as hardly to be worth men
tioning, while the moral effect of this
first victory of the campaign was of
great value. Waynesboro appeared al
most deserted, and, headquarters hav
ing come up, we bivouacked in the
streets of the town, making use of the
vacant buildings for shelter from the
We reached Charlottesville on the
evening of the 3d, and were, it is be
lieved, the first Yankee soldiers to visit
that place. Being still attached to
headquarters, we bivouacked In the
town, and some of us, following the ex
ample of the staff, accepted the hospi
tality which was freely and cordially
proffered by the people near our camp.
An evening made delightful by music
and song and the presence of fair wom
en, who showed their good breeding by
avoiding allusion to all unpleasant
subjects, still lingers in memory. The
comfort of that clean and seductive
bed; the surprise of finding our cav
alry boots relieved of their load of mud
and neatly polished, by our chamber
door; the exquisite breakfast-table,
with its bright silver, delicate china,
and snowy cloth and napkins, presided
over by a lovely white-haired old lady,
whose son (a Surgeon in the Confed- >
erate army, on leave of absence) asked '
a reverent blessing on the food set be- <
fore us. All these pleasant remem
brances are never to be lost, but cher
ished ip admiration for that nobility
of character which could hold the
claims of hospitality superior to all '
sectioMl hats an* Mltw?.
While we wore enjoying: the good
things of Charlottesville, our comrades
of the Reserve Brigade were having a
hard time back wlih the wagons,
which, with infinite toll, were being
dragged through the rod clay of tho
nearly bottomless Virginia roads. They
finally camp up on the 5th; and on tho
morning of the 6th we bade our hos
pitable frionds good-by. with the hope
that they might, thenceforth, bo spared
ali harsher experiences of war. It
could be seen that they folt that their
cause was hopeless, although they pro
fessed unbounded faith in the ability
of Gen. Lee an<l the courage of their
soldiers. Tho columns marched in the
direction of Lynchburg; Custer's DIvl
| sion along the railroad, glvirig proper
attention to its destruction, while Devln
! followed the canal with the same ob
i ject. On the 7th we reached HowarUs
: ville, on the James River, and on the
! night of the 8th an unsuccessful at
tempt was made to solze the bridge at
' Duguidsville before it should be de
stroyed by the enemy, by a forced
march, the horrors of which are still
vivid. The condition of the roads was
indescribably bad; tho rain fell In tor
rents, and the darkness of Kgypt could
not have exceeded tho thick blaoknoss
which surrounded us. But we plunged
along through the doep mud. encoun
tering all sorts of obstacles, and ko??p
ing the road only with the greatest
Marching: Aronn?l find Aroond.
It was afterwards reported that dur
ing this night-march one of the divi
sions marched several tttnes around
an inclosed field before it was discov
ered that it was traveling in a circle;
a circumstance which seemed so prob
able that nobody was inclined to doubt
the truth of the report.
The unceasing rain and the diffi
cult ies of the march had told severely
upon tho horses, besides exorcising a
depressing influence upon the men; and
there appeared to be a general feeling
of relief and encouragement when, it
having been found impossible to cro?*s
the James River, the column was head
ed towards the north and our armies.
The towpath of the canal (which was
a narrow causeway between the canal
and the river) appearing somewhat
firmer than the country roads, an at
tempt was made to use it for the march
of tho column and the trains; but it
soon became frightfully cut up, and its
narrowness was such that the stalling
! of one team stopped everything in rear.
While we were strung out in consider
able confusion along this narrow way,
! wagons and mules mired down in front
preventing all progress, some scouting
parties of the enemy were seen on the
opposite bank of the river, and the
i thought that a battery of artillery
might open on us from that secure
positon while we were In this predica
ment, was not comforting. However,
the battery did not make its appear
ance, and as soon as possible the tow
path was abandoned for the roads far
ther back from the. river, which, if not
less muddy, afforded more freedom of
movement. The canal was effectually
destroyed by cutting the causeway be
tween it and the river at various points,
and blowing up the viaducts.
The Negro Refifm.
While marching through this region,
hitherto unvisited by the Union armies,
many hundreds of negroes, men. wom
en and children, had joined the column
in search of ??freedom's land." They
were, for the most part, on foot, carry
ing their worldly possessions in bun
dles and packs. Their condition was
one of almost absolute destitution, and
yet, with that freedom from trouble
some care which is the characteristic
of their race, they were as cheerful and
happy as they could have been had they
possessed everything worth having in
life. The energetic Quartermaster of
the expedition. Capt. William H.
Brown, of the 5th Cav., by effecting
some sort of an organization among
these colored patriots, was enabled to
make effective use of their services in
helping along his mud-impeded train.
At Columbia, which we reached on the
10th. we lay over a day to wait for
them; and here, for the first time In
many days, we enjoyed a few hours of
On this expedition, as on others of
like character, men and horses were
subsisted by foraging liberally in the
country passed through. The people,
in many instances, deserted their homes
upon the approach of the Union troops,
and seldom complied when instructed
to produce their supplies, so the troop
ers were of necessity compelled to help
themselves. This, of course, led to
some demoralization, but acts of ma
licious valdalism were almost unknown,
the excesses of the men being general
ly confined to a liberal provision for
their personal needs. Food, fuel and
forage were considered public property
wherever found, and at Columbia to
bacco was added to this free list; the
well-filled warehouses which were lo
cated there supplying in great abund
ance the wants of the entire command.
On the 13th we marched to Gooch
land. and on the 15th reached Ashland,
the Virginia Central Railroad having
been in the meantime very thoroughly
destroyed for many miles. Gen.
Sheridan's ruse of a threatening ad
vance towards Richmond enabled tha
command to cross the North Anna
without molestation, at Mount Carroel
Church, on the morning of the 16th,
and to reach the White House on the
Pamunkey, where abundant supplies
awaited us, on the ISth of March.
Moral Effect of March.
The rain which had fallen almost
incessantly during the progress of this
expedition had rendered it one of fear
ful hardships, which had severely test
ed the powers of endurance of the
troopers, seasoned veterans though
they were. Nearly one-third of the
horses had been abandoned on the
march or rendered totally unservice
able, while the worn and jaded condi
tion of those which remained gave
striking testimony to the severity of the
work which they had been called upon
Although the command was tnus
seriously depleted and weakened, there
was no discouragement or want of sol
dierly spirit, and it was felt that the
results achieved fully compensated for
all losses and sacrifices. The last rem
nant of Early's army had been cap
tured or dispersed, and the beautiful
Valley of the Shenandoah, that high
way of armies, finally and definitely
t elieved from the burdens and suffer
ings of war, which had so long been its
portion; vast quantities of supplies and
war material had been destroyed, and
two of the enemy's important lines of
supply rendered useless. It may also
be believed that the moral effect pro
duced by the unopposed march of this
destroying column was no unimportant
factor in the final result.
Ib Rerlew Before Lincoln.
On the 26th of March we marched
to the James River, which we crossed
an the pontoon bridge laid Just below
the Dutch Gap Canal, all unconscious
of the fact that we were passing in
review before the great Commander-in
Chief, the wise, the patient, the kind
and generous President who, in the in
scrutable providence of God, was so
soon to yield his life, a last supreme
sacrifice to freedom's cause.
On the following day we went Into
jO?ttnuod mm page six.)
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