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ting on the north bank of the Po, and on the left of the army at Spotsylvania Court-House; the various campaigns against Sheridan, Kautz, Wilson, and the later cavalry leaders on the Federal side, when, Stuart having fallen, Hampton commanded the whoat great cavalier fell, he took charge of the whole as rankingofficer. His first blow was that resolute night-attack on Sheridan's force at Mechanicsville, when the enemy were driven in the darkness from their camps, and sprang to horse only in timeichmond. Then came the long, hard, desperate fighting of the whole year 1864, and the spring of 1865. At Trevillian's, Sheridan was driven back and Charlottesville saved; on the Weldon railroad the Federal cavalry, under Kautz and Wilson, was nearlr did the Federal cavalry ever achieve any results in that region until the ten or fifteen thousand crack cavalry of General Sheridan came to ride over the two thousand men, on starved and broken-down horses, of General Fitz Lee, in April, 1865.
t fight was about eight or ten thousand, and Sheridan's about forty or fifty thousand. General Early, and less than three thousand cavalry. General Sheridan's force he makes, upon a close calculatio day, in reference to the forces of Early and Sheridan at the battle of the Opequon. The latter repred muskets in the second engagement with General Sheridan. I was a staff officer for four years inraces all the forces of Early's command. General Sheridan, according to official statements, had unesult followed on the 9th of September, when, Sheridan having superseded Hunter, the attack was madey in motion against the Confederate left, General Sheridan had been virtually defeated. Every assausent a defiant front to the powerful force of Sheridan, until the middle of October. On the 19th he, re-formed their line under General Wright. Sheridan, who had just arrived, exerted himself to retmove at the same time I moved to the attack. Sheridan's infantry had been recruited fully up to its[8 more...]
o be an officer of rank and distinction, entrusted with important duties, and eventually with the guardianship of the whole extent of country north of the Rappahannock and east of the Blue Ridge. The people of the region speak of it, with a laugh, as Mosby's Confederacy, and the name will probably adhere to it, in the popular mind, for many years to come. Let us pass to these latter days when Colonel Mosby gave the Federal forces so much trouble, and aroused so much indignation in Custer, Sheridan, and others, whose men he captured, and whose convoys he so frequently cut off and destroyed. The question of most interest is-Was Colonel Mosby a partisan officer, engaged in a perfectly legitimate warfare, or was he a mere robber? The present writer regards any imputations upon the character of this officer, or upon the nature of the warfare which he carried on, as absurd. If the Confederate States army generally was a mere unlawful combination, and not entitled to be regarded as belli
so much the great events of war as its pictures and incidents of which he discourses. He revives its romantic scenes and gay adventures, only-remembering its smiles, sighs, laughter, tears, its gloom or sunlight, as it actually lowered or shone. The writer of this eulogy has carried a musket, albeit he never did hard work with it; has served in the artillery, and loves it, as he honours the great arm which thundered upon every battle-field, and held the rear, all along the Valley, against Sheridan, and fired the last gun of the war at Appomatox. It is simply not possible that he could utter a word against those heroes of the infantry and artillery whom he is proud to call his comrades; but he remembers with most interest and pleasure the gay days when he-followed the feather of Stuart, that fleur des chevaliers. In the saddle, near that good knight of the nineteenth century, war became a splendid drama, rather than mere bloody work; a great stage, whereon the scenes were ever shifti
John Esten Cooke, Wearing of the Gray: Being Personal Portraits, Scenes, and Adventures of War., Stuart's ride around McClellan in June, 1862. (search)
been ruined, as there was no way of getting out. The Emperor Napoleon, a good soldier, took this view of it; when tracing out on the map Stuart's route from Taylorsville by Old Church to the lower Chickahominy, he characterized the movement as that of a cavalry officer of the first distinction. This criticism was only just, and the raid will live in history for three reasons: i. It taught the enemy the trick, and showed them the meaning of the words cavalry raid. What General Kilpatrick, Sheridan, and others afterwards effected, was the work of the pupil following the master. 2. It was on a magnificent arena, to which the eyes of the whole world were attracted at the time; and, 3. In consequence of the information which Stuart furnished, Gen. Lee, a fortnight afterwards, attacked and defeated General McClellan. These circumstances give a very great interest to all the incidents of the movement. I hope the reader has not been wearied by my minute record of them. To the old so
John Esten Cooke, Wearing of the Gray: Being Personal Portraits, Scenes, and Adventures of War., On the road to Petersburg: notes of an officer of the C. S. A. (search)
iant military results. Candid and true. They lose more heavily — the enemy-than we do, but our precious blood flows daily. Poor Charley —! A braver soul was never born into this world than his; and, since something happened to him, he has been quite reckless. He is dead yonder, on the slopes of Hanover, fighting his guns to the last. And that greater figure of Stuart; he has fallen, too! How he would have reigned, the King of Battle, in this hot campaign, clashing against the hosts of Sheridan in desperate conflict! What deathless laurels would he have won for himself in this hurly-burly, when the war grows mad and reckless! But those laurels are deathless now, and bloom in perennial splendour! Stuart is dead at the Yellow Tavern yonder, and sleeps at Hollywood; but as the dying Adams said of Jefferson, he still lives --lives in every heart, the greatest of the Southern cavaliers! His plume still floats before the eyes of the gray horsemen, and history shall never forget him!
John Esten Cooke, Wearing of the Gray: Being Personal Portraits, Scenes, and Adventures of War., A fight, a dead man, and a coffin: an incident of 1864. (search)
A fight, a dead man, and a coffin: an incident of 1864. The incident about to be narrated occurred in November, 1864, when Early with his 8,000 or 9,000 men had been compelled to retire up the Valley before Sheridan, with his 30,000 or 40, 0000; and when, in the excess of their satisfaction at this triumph of the Federal arms, the Federal authorities conceived the design of ferreting out and crushing in the same manner the band of the celebrated bandit Mosby — which result once achieved byManassas, guarding that whole country. With the transfer of active hostilities, however, to the Valley, in the summer and fall of 1864, he had turned his attention more especially to that region. There were to be found the trains of Hunter and Sheridan, the wandering parties of Jesse scouts, clad in gray, whom he delighted to encounter: in the Valley not [north? ] east of the Ridge was his most favourable field of operations-and, above all, it was there that his services were chiefly needed to
from that moment he regarded the event as a mere question of time. No reinforcements reached him, while Grant grew stronger every day by reinforcements from Washington and Sherman's army-two corps from the latter-and soon he had at his command Sheridan's excellent force of 12,000 or 5,000 cavalry. He was pushing heavy columns, one after another, toward the Southside road, and at any moment a general attack might be expected all along the lines, while the elite of the Federal force was thrown ing to cut off old Uncle Robert at Burkesville Junction; and another replied, Grant can get there first. There, in a few words, was the essence of the situation. General Grant held the Southside Railroad, and was pouring forward troops under Sheridan toward the Danville Railroad, to which he had a straight cut without a particle of obstruction, except a small force of cavalry-less than two thousand effective men — under General Fitz Lee. General Lee, on the contrary, was moving by a circuito