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The Morning standard. (Ogden, Utah) 1910-191?, December 25, 1910, Part Two, Image 13

Image and text provided by University of Utah, Marriott Library

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85058406/1910-12-25/ed-1/seq-13/

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OW Captain Newbury Saved the Life of a Help
ii less Wounded Comrade and Won a Union Commission
mission i
HIS remarkable story Is supplied by Gen
T eral J Madison Drake historian of tho
Army and Navy Medal of Honor Legion
U S A niul has boon taken by him from the
records under his care
Captain Edward S E Newbury the hero of
the tnlo Is now living In Elizabeth N J halo
and hearty bearing no marks of the terrible
experience through which ho passed early in tho
civil war Soon after the incident here set
forth Newbury captured n desert from tho
F Union lines ns he was about to Join the Con
I federates This man was the first Union soldier
i to suffer death for tho crime of desertion in tho
i great war For his valuable services ITowbury
il was rewarded with n commission of lieutenant
in the Eleventh New Jersey and served until
t June 1865 when he returned to New Jersey
with tho rank of captain
Copjrlrtit Jill br the Now York UtralJ Co All rtebU rtirrroU
13 WS of the enems plans or Intentions any
J NEWS of news WitH eagerly sought in the fall
of that bitter year 1S01 nttcr the disaster at
f Bull Run when Washington scorned about tr
be engulfed in a triumphant Confederate ad
vance and the energies of the authorities were bent
to defensive preparation about the capital
McClcllnn was centring and reorganizing the new
Army of the Potomac Just beyond ul Richmond tho
forces of an elated Confederacy were gathering Be
f tween lay debated ground where neither side di
rected definite measures ami across which the lines
faced each other
It was early In November that General Kearny
commanding the First Now Jersey brigade then sta
tioned In Alexandria Just to the south of Washing
ton determined to employ scouts upon the hazardous
work of feeling out conditions toward the Confeder
ate position The sbso of Johnsons force vena n mat
ter of wild conjecture bin swift descent was feared
t nnd Konrny felt flint total Ignorance of what ho must
expect from that able and determined rebel lender
could no longer continue with safety lie cast about
him for volunteers Willing to venture themselves Into
f the danger zone In search of Information
k Scout duty It Wrt culled Mitt that wns merely
a euphemism for the service of a spy The men
r knew It They Knew that scouts would run extreme
t risk of capture and that swift and terrible punish
ment would fair to them If they were taken It wan
r no rose water service The courtesies of war stern
f nt the hest would bring little comfort to the Union
t man foulid hovering about the Confederate front at
t such a time Short shrift and an unhonored grave
lay ahead nf such a one and In the event of success
nothing better than the doubtful recognition and
questioned glory accorded any spy
Among those who offered themselves for the dan
gerous but necessary undertaking was Edward S E
p Newbnrr of tho Third Now Jersey Nowbury was
a native of North Carolina where he had lived on
his fnthers plantation unlll tho outbreak of tho
war Having made his way to the home of an
f uncle In Morris county N J he had enlisted In the
Third just as it was about to start for the front
The young mini wns detailed with Corporal Thomas
P Edwards of Ills company to push into the country
toward Richmond Their orders wore to USe their
best efforts toward gelling word of the plans and dis
position of the Confedernto forces For the rest they
were lo lie governed by their own wit and by clrcum
stances Wit this vague commission and with full
understanding of the porilfl ahead the two left the
Alovamlrlu camp on the evening of November 4 and
hit for the South
Edwards had picked up directions from a fugitive
negro lhut would lend them to the home of Mr Fllz
hugli n wealthy planter who was known to be Influential
ential at Klehmond Time plantation lay some ten
miles from the Union lines and It was the suggestion
of Edwards that they should approach It in the hope
of overhearing some conference or conversation that
might proc of value Kltzhugh he argued would be
fully Informed of the Confederate plans and would
be most unlikely to suspect the presence of lurking
scouts It was possible then that they might secrete
themselves on the premises might even Intercept a
messenger or In some oilier way place themselves on
i the track of Information
t Close upon nine oclock they groped Into the planta
tion grounds It was a moonless night with a raw
wlnll and low hung clouds that gave promise of rain
Mailing their way among the cabins of the negro
quarters they came up to the house only to and It
dark and apparently deserted A faint light appeared
at the window of ono of the cabins and stealing
cuiitiourily across to It they looked within
An aged negro was silting by a rude cot on which
lay an emaciated young slave tossing In fever They
entered and quietly made Inquiries as to the where
abouts of Fltzhugh The negress who with her 111
son represented the remnant of her masters body of
servants told them that tho planter bad removed his
family to Richmond n few days before but that he
would return In a few hours with some friends before
closing tho house The scouts hastened to take their
leave assuring the woman that they would return
fir MJr errand next du
e entered tho house easily by way of a window
and after cautiously striking lights looked about for a
hiding place But Newbury disapproved of the ar
When they left the house again they tool with thorn
the bed blankets some odds and ends of food and a
tiny tin cup which Edwards for some inscrutable rea
son Insisted upon appropriating They had cause to
l bo grateful for that cup before the adventure was
3 met i
metTimes were t tired the bed was soft and the blankets
were warm and they had not been settled beyond the
boxwood hedge many minutes before they both fell
asleep It was after midnight when they were aroused
by the padding of hoofs along the frozen road Creep
ing through the hedge they saw five horsemen pull up
before the residence and dismount One was loft in
charge of tho animals and the others with laugh and
clatter entered tho house The ruddy tlnnh of fire le
llected from the windows showed that the party Was
preparing for u comfortable session
But the scouts did not feel secure enough to ap
proach Immediately and leaving their hiding place
they crawled to the rear of the house
Their first Intimation that suspicion was abroad
came with the sudden cessation of the sounds uf rev
elry In the mansion Uneasy though scarce willing
to abandon a situation of BO much promise they
agreed In whispers to occupy the sizable log cabin
Just at the rear of the house which was used as a
kitchen There were two doors to this kitchen front
and back They decided that by concealing them
selves within each guarding a door they would be
safe from detection while assuring themselves from
surprise The corporal accordingly took his Stand
just Inside the cabins front entrance whllp Newbury
sought a similar position at the rear
The men now listened Intently They heard nothing
from time direction of the house The tinkling of dead
leaves in the chill wind was all that came to their
cars With carbines ready and revolvers In hand they
waited while the conviction grew upon them that the
darkness hold some danger that was chxllug and clos
ing In on them
Edwards peering Into the sombre mystery of the
night saw a dim figure flit across his line of vision
lie gave a signal of warning to Newbury A moment
later the figure reappeared still In front of the cabin
It stood for a moment and then slowly and silently ap
proached As the man came on Edwards backed
gently away The Southerner advanced until lie
blocked the doorway of the cabin where again ho
stood listening and watching
The scouts stilled their breathing Twice Edwards
raised his carbine and covered the unknown It was
a pointblank shot From where ho stood the Cor
poral could almost have touched tho man with the
carbine Rut each time he lowered his weapon re
membering that his mission was not to engage In
Suddenly there was a sharp exclamation from the
figure in the doorway and the darkness was spilt by a
bright Hash The roar of the explosion Will followed
by a yell of pain from tho Corpornl who wounded as
ho was charged upon his assailant believing that tho
only hope lay In breaking through the ring of their
enemies The Southerner fled Into the night shouting
as he ran and Edwards sprang through the hedge
Newbury confined by the nliiM and the uproar had
only tho vaguest notion of what had taken place Not
knowing that the Corporal had jumped for the open he
called him Iipcatcdiv liy gaunt and receiving no an
swer began to grope about the floor thinking that his
companion had been killed Ly the time ho had made
certain that Edwards was not In the cabin there was a
crackle of shots outride and the party of the house
came In a ru rim for the front door of tho kitchen
Newbury blazed his carbine toward the spurts of
lame and whipping up Ills revolver emptied the
chambers as fast as he could whirl the cylinder Time
attackers huddled for a moment under this vicious
tire Then one of them raised a howl
Im down Fitjchugh
Flight of the Party
The Southerner ovidenlly thought that there
were several Yankees In the kitchen nnd not know
ing what other force might bn near they retreated
They waited for no more Dragging the one who
had been wounded they rode away Into the night
Newbury reloading his weapons hastily heard tho
pound of hoofs on the frozen road once more clump
ing off In the direction of Richmond and tlnnlly dying
away In the distance
Now Newbury although he bad been somewhat
tardy In getting into the action found It to
his liking lie bad just begun to find the affair In
teresting As It stood he found slink cause for
satisfaction or any hand lie was left without the
news he had como after without his companion
who had apparently vanished into thin air and with
out any achievement to Ills credit greater than hav
ing winged one of the assailants
While the Indignant nnd disappointed young man
was consoling himself with Imaginary lire and
slaughter and counting up his available ammunition
ho was startled by a noise as of splintering wood along
the fence to his right Making his way cautiously In
that direction ho heard further sounds Indicating that
some one was trying to climb the fence Ill crawled
through the Held carbine levelled amid came suddenly
The Corporal was In fearful plight The bullet
from the pistol of tho unknown assailant had entered
tho arm just above the elbow At the moment Ed
wards had been holding his arm tight against his
body and the ball emerging six Inches higher had
whirled by ono of the strange freaks of such projec
tiles ripped through his side and lodged against the
bplmil column Almost paralyzed below his waist
terribly weakened he had yet made shift to drag him
self to the fence and attempt to pull himself over
Newbury made rapid examination that revealed
the desperate nature of the wound By every human
probability the Corporal would die within uu hour
lie could not walk could not even stand There was
no help In this enemys country The Union lines
wer ten miles away A Confederate detachment
might shortly be dxpectcd The whole region was
Confederate territory To add to the dIUIcultlcsr the
promise of the lowering clouds was fulfilled and It
began to rain a cold sharp penetrating ralu
Hut the young private never for a moment hcsi
tnted The fighting spirit of the man rose to meet the
problem He first propped Edwards up against the
fence where he could hold on with his hands Then
straddling the top he strained and dragged and lifted
until he bad raised tho Corporal to his own hovel nnd
could lower him on the other aide
Edwards was heavily built of greater weight than
Newbury by some twenty pounds He was entirely
unable lo render any assistance In covering ground
and the private found It necessary to kneel In the
road worry the helpless Corporal onto his back and
stagger along half trailing hut currying the buid
In this way they won to a neglected field of standing
corn a short distance from thu plantation mansion
More Edwards mufti no longer endure his snferhmg
and called lo Newbury to set him down
For Gods sake get me water he griped My
wounds levered mint Im burning with thirst
Newbury reached for his canteen and found that he
had lost It somewhere In the darkness The Corporal
Once He Crouched in a Clump of pushes
While a Detail of Confederates Marched By
had cast his own aside In hlc first struggle through
the field FJul Edwards remembered where lie had
left his lifivorsnck by the fence
That tin cup Is Inside he said Get mo water
Making his companion as comfortable as possible in
till sleeting rain tho private rtole back timid recovered
the tin cup Ills first thought was to seek water at
the plantation but he remembered thai he was no
longer In n position to risk encounter with a detach
ment The Corporal was now entirely dependent upon
him and he dared not place the others slender chance
Of life In peril
A quarter of n mile away was Aeccrtluck Creek
which they had crossed on the journey out and New
bury could recall no nearer means of procuring relief
for his comrade Hastening through the darkiaw In
that general dlicctlon hu came nt lust to the creek unil
Oiled his cup With this shallow reeeptable which
held no more than one good mouthful of the fllH lolls
water guarded carefully In his two hands best out
upon his return I I
Succored Wounded Comrade
There was no ray of light to guide hlm1he way
was uneven leading across fields and fences Twice
ho stumbled and each time he lost part of the water
lie had arrived at the cornfield at lust when his toot
caught In a trailing vine and he sprawled headlong
The painful trip was all to be repented
At the second attempt he reached the Ido of his
wounded comrade to find the Corporal sobbing wkh
weakness and dlscounigeincMit Udwards had made
up his mind that the private had deserted him New
bury propped up his head and pive him the few drops
left In the cup bin the Corporals fever had heightened
and the small portion was no more than an aggrava
tion He cried aloud for more and Newbury com
forting and soothing him set patiently forth upon
another Journey
lie lost count of the number of times he went back
and forth between the creek and the cornfield with cue
llllle Cup that night but when a gray dawn broke
sullenly he wiu dill at the task abd Edwards was
still unsatisfied Again an < J again he had travelled
the way unmindful of his own weariness amid content
If he brought momentary comfort to the Corporal But
now the coming of day made the vicinity of the plant
lion doubly dangerous and Newbury decided that they
must gut away Not for a mouent did he consider de
serting the wounded man Ills one thought was to
bring Edwurds oIT for he knew what would Inevitably
result from capture and he know moreover that the
Corporal must die If medical attendance was not soou
Edwards was now on the verge of delirium with
pain and fever He had no control over his legs or
his shattered arm Newbury fashioned a kind of rude
sling from their belts and passing it about the others
body lifted him once more ou his shoulders With the
Corporals sound arm drawn down over his neck to
case tho strain ho staggered off through tho cornfield
for the creek
The rain hud not abated The wind was higher
Drenched and chilled burdened beyond his strength
and exhausted by the night and lack of food Newbury
held doggedly to his task He was forced to stop and
let Edwards sill to the gioiind through sheer Inability
to proooed before he hull covered a hundred paces
lie Improved the halt by dKenidlug fiY m his own per
Ron and that of Edwards every arliele Unit Would lex
wen the weight UN revolver he hud Iurudthi his
pocket while IIP used his carbine as a eluniMy staff
The carrying nf the weaponn bore upon him lioavlly
and he was tempted to abandon them Hut Ill re
tlccted that to bo without anna In the eiiomyii coun
try would lay him open to the attnil of even 11 < Inh
picket mind he detennlued to kcopthem Again In
took his burden on hLs back and struggled on
The quarter mile to the creek was made try slow rml
painful stages but Nowlmrv covered at last and
omx In the cop o along the sllmofolloafer for the
time His problem nor wim to cTecla eroding The
stream was too deep nnd swift lu allow offoidlng
He knew that the bridge a mile further along was
closely watched by the Confederates v ho lu fact
were encamped on both sides of It In coming to the
Fltxhugh plantation lie and Edwaids had made use of
It fallen tree which gave n precarious support from
bank to hank He knew that It would bo almost im
possible to set the helpless Corporal acroxs that pros
trate trunk but after searching In vain for n boat he
was left with the natural bridge as tho only ril crna
More dlflicuH Journeying along the bank brought
him to the trco which WIlt rooled on the opposite
shore It had snapped high and lay before him at a
dangerous upward slant He had good reason tofear
that Confederate outposts were stationed in the woods
bcyoml and ho proceeded with the utmost caution
lIe hung Edwards over the trunk in front of him and
hitched along an inch at a time pushing tho other
ahead At each Instant be was forced U hng tho
u Jllort clutching the Corporal desperately At each
Instant he had to fight for the balance df both ex
pecting loi he plunged with the wounded man into the
waters beneath
Ho had won to tho break of the tree at the stump
some thc feet above the ground and ias prcparlni
to lower Edwards When sudden movcnTent of the
Corporal flung his weight to the side Ho made a
wild snatch for the trunk but was unablo to regain
his hold nail the two men fell together and heavily to
the ground
A terrible scream of agony broke from Edwards
His wounded arm had been crushed beneath hlrx The
torture was more than he could ondure and again nnd
lying crumpled as he fell the shriek was re
gated Ncwbury in tenor lest he should bring an
> utpost upon them tried to silence him But Edwards
was now quite dcllrlour He raved babbled called
his Maker and could not he quieted Newbury
had but one recourse Hamming the Corporals hand
kerchief Into the shouting mouth he bound his own
about the others head and stretching himself at full
length upon the poor hianglcd body put forth 111 his
strength to suppress the frightful convulsions that
shook It
By this heroic method he forced Edwards ttQ He still
listening the while for thoapproach of enemies Ap
parently he had reached the cud Still more ban ulne
miles from succor surrounded by hostile troops weak
wet and famished with u crazed and helpless com a
panion he might well have despaired But It was not
in Newbury to despair Not for the flicker of a thought
did ho contemplate gVlng up the grim effort he had
set himself
Thought Him Dead
After some tlmo Edwards grow css violent The I
maniacal energy called forth by fever and excruciat 1
ing pain passed Suddenly be relaxed and lay still
Newbury bent over him anxiously fearing that life j
had fled with that spasm But the Corporals heart
was still beating faintly and Ncwbury hastily tear 1
ranging his sung shouldered tho unconscious man I
once more and tottered on Into the woods
All that day he held his course more by Instinct
than by coiiKcIous direction toward the Union lines
He kept away from the roads and from dwellings la
boring through fields and coverts Onco ho crouched
in a clump of bushes while a detail of Confederates
marched by within fifty feet of him He was unable
to make more than a few yards at a stage throwing
himself down In the mud beside his burden to gather
a little strength after a dozen faltering steps scram
bling up again and pressing ahead unlll he could go no
On always on That was the oue Idea he clung to
After the llrst mile or KO he was In HtUe better shape
than the Inanimate Edwards His mind was in a
dare Objects swam before him dizzily lie had lost
all sense oft time or distance It seemed to him that
through nil eternity he had been struggling on through
a chlllj hell of wet brown leaves rain and wind
dragging a torn and bloody body He ceased to think
of Edwards as a living man who must be rescued Hi
no longer even cared to know whether the Corporal
still breathed not It could have made no differ
ence Ho wad capable of but the one purpose to go
on si I ways on and to take the body with him With
out that single definite hold upon things he must have
given up and waited for death himself
In the early part oC the afternoon he slipped as he
was trying to raise the Corporal and fell The shock
took what little force ho had left for a space and
eloping his eyes he parsed Into a painful and uneasy
doze While he was in this condition something stoic
Into his brain that until now had found no lodgement
there He bad done the best he could n voice seemed
lo whisper he had done more than any ninn oven 1
the bravest could le expected to do Why not leave
Edwaidtf hidden In the brush and make bk own way
to the Union lines Why not hurry on and get help
Was that not Uio safest and tho wisest way
He awoke with a start and n savage word on his
lips Ho hated himself for the traitor suggestion that
had crept upon him In his weakness Crawling over
to Edwards he hoisted the burden once again to his
back gained his feet under the protest of every limb I
and went on always on
IIe afterward retained no eoni louuLss of the Int
tcr part of that Grange and terrible Journey It le j
mulued In his memory UH a dark blot hazed wit j
vague horror But through the afternoon he still
tolled ahead and through one more marvel hu was not
teen by the Confederate
It was seven oclock in the evening fourteen hours
after Newburys start from tho plantation that the
soldier at a UnIon picket post started Up with levelled I
rifles at a dim shape that came crawling and trundling
slowly over the ground toward them It gave no
answer to their halls and cautiously they eauio out to
m ot It thinking to find some Injured animal or they
knew not what
AB they came up they saw that It was a man He
was creeping on all fours ami on his back was
strapped the body of another They called to him
but he did not answer only crept on and on Then
pitying hands took hold of him add as they relieved
him of his burden he scrambled to his feet stared
about him wildly and then collapsed Private New
bury necvlari lit close attention ti did Corporal Ed
wards that night
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