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[17]

Chapter 2:

  • The battle of seven pines.
  • -- the Pamunkey expedition.



31st May 1862.

This sanguinary fight owes its strange name to seven solitary pine-trees, standing just at the place where death raged most terribly, and where the battle was decided in favour of our arms. About 30,000 men were engaged on our side, whilst the enemy brought about 45,000 into the field. The ground was very unfavourable for operations on either side — a broad wooded flat, intersected with morasses and open spaces; and the roads were bad and marshy beyond description, owing to the late violent rains.

I do not propose giving a general description of the engagement, but shall confine myself to my personal experiences and impressions, for having no military position as yet, and only taking part in it as a deeply interested spectator, I had no insight into the plan of the commanding general.

As General Stuart's cavalry could be of little service in the fight, he had been ordered to place it in reserve at the centre, and on the right and left flanks; but he himself was as usual in the thickest of the fray, giving assistance, counsel, and [18] encouragement to the rest, and letting nothing escape his observation.

General Longstreet commanded the right wing, and had taken up position on a hill commanding an extended view.

The battle was beginning: along the whole line rang the sharp irregular fire of the skirmishers, only now and then broken by the thunder of one of the numerous batteries; soon, however, the cannonade became general, and the rattle of small arms preceding the boom of the heavy guns sounded like the sharp explosive crackle one hears before the deeper rumbling of the thunder.

It was at this moment that General Stuart sent me with the first order to Colonel Lee. To reach him I had to ride more to the front, and to cross a morass, where some horses belonging to the ambulances were standing. Just as I rode past I heard a loud whiz in the air, and saw one of the horses struck down, and at the same moment was almost deafened by an explosion, which covered me with mud and water. This was the first shell that had burst so close to me, and a strange feeling came over me at the thought of having been so near death. It was not fear, but a vivid realisation of the pitiless power of destruction which is let loose in war. I discharged my commission without farther adventure, and returned to the Generals.

The battle had meanwhile been turning in our favour; our troops were slowly pressing back the whole Federal line; only in the centre of our right wing a North Carolina brigade had begun to give way a little before the superior strength of the enemy. Instantly General Stuart was at the spot, encouraging the troops to hold the position until our reinforcements could arrive. I followed him into the hail of bullets, of whizzing grape and bursting bombs, one of which rolled between my horse's legs.

Our men had now expended almost all their ammunition, [19] and were falling back, when General Stuart, here with threats, there with eloquent entreaties, rallied them, and brought them forward again into the battle to check the enemy as they pressed hard upon us.

A Virginia brigade soon came up as reinforcement. With banners flying, and loud war-cries, they threw themselves unhesitatingly on the foe, driving them before them, and taking their earthworks, which bristled with cannon.

The setting sun lighted up with crimson splendour a broad and bloody battle-field, strewn with the dead and wounded of the enemy, and as many brave Confederate soldiers. Numerous prisoners were being brought up from all sides, whom every man and officer not absolutely required to fill the thinning ranks was employed to convey away. Thus I was commissioned by the General to conduct eight soldiers, and a Lieutenant-Colonel who had been wounded in the neck, to join the other prisoners already on their way, by hundreds, to Richmond. These men had been captured by General Stuart and myself in the melee that succeeded the impetuous onset of the Virginians. Terrible was it to see on every side the wounded returning from the battle: here a man with his head bleeding, there another with shattered arm or leg, reddening the path with his blood; then the more severely wounded in the ambulances, groaning and wailing in a manner that made my heart shrink. I was then little accustomed to scenes like this.

In this battle, though it could not be called a general one, and though its consequences were of no great importance, the victory, though costly, was complete. Thousands of our brave soldiers were killed or wounded, and amongst them several generals, one being Johnston the General-in-chief who, just at the close of the fight, was wounded in the shoulder by a ball.

General Stuart remained on the battle-field till late at night, and we galloped off together after the last cannon-shots had [20] died away. The ride to headquarters was a dreadful one: hundreds of conveyances, some taking the wounded to Richmond, some coming out from the city with provisions for the troops, were crossing each other in the almost impassable turnpike, and the groans and cries of the wounded were mingled with the curses and shouts of drivers, whose vehicles obstructed the way with broken wheels or exhausted horses.

Many of the inhabitants of Richmond had sent their carriages, and the hotels their omnibuses, to bring off the wounded: the greater number of these slightly-built equipages lay broken in the road, and would never again be available for any purpose whatever.

General Stuart's headquarters were at a farmhouse named Montebello, which was situated on a hill near Richmond, and from which we had a splendid view of the town, the river, and the environs. To this house we galloped for a short night's rest. Here General Stuart thanked me with only too much warmth for the small services I had rendered during the battle, and said that he would have much pleasure in placing me on his Staff as a volunteer aide-de-camp.


Sunday, 1st June.

We returned very early the next morning to the battle-field, where there seemed to be a renewal of the fight; faint musketry fire was audible, and the thunder of cannon roared through the morning air.

Not without risk did we reach the field, so rotten was the way and so full of holes, often from four to five feet in depth, and filled with water, so that one could not ride a hundred yards without one's horse slipping and falling. Hundreds of waggons were stuck fast in the road, many of them upset, [21] with the horses lying drowned in front of them, and several still filled with wounded men groaning piteously.

After a considerable time we reached the scene of the previous day's victory. Never shall I forget the impression made upon me by this first sight of death and devastation to which I afterwards became so well accustomed.

The most horrible spectacle was that presented near the bastions and earthworks which the day before had been stormed by our men. Friend and foe were lying here indiscriminately side by side, mown down in multitudes by musketry and by the guns which we had afterwards taken. The enemy's artillery had here lost all their horses, which lay by dozens, piled one upon another, and all around the ground was strewn with weapons, haversacks, cartridge-boxes, ammunition, &c. These articles, abandoned by the enemy, were used by us most profitably for the better equipment of our own troops.

A South Carolina brigade had taken up its position in the intrenchments near us, and the men lay behind the breastwork full of confidence and good-humour, quite unmindful of the heaps of slain, and breakfasting on the enemy's provisions, which had been left behind in great quantities.

General Stuart had scarcely ridden with us into the intrenchments, when a cannon-ball hissed over our heads and tore up the earth about fifty yards behind us. Other shots followed in rapid succession, and each time the balls came nearer and nearer to our little group. General Stuart, paying no attention to the cannonade, remained until he had completed his observations of this portion of the field, and then desired me to ride with him to our extreme right. We had to cross an open field, and as soon as we had reached it the firing began anew. Nearer and nearer to us fell the shells, exploding with a deafening report and covering us with earth. We were evidently a mark for the fire of a whole battery, and even [22] General Stuart, who till now had tranquilly pursued his way, turned round in surprise when the fragments of an exploded grenade flew hissing between us, and said, “Lieutenant, they are firing at us here; let us ride a little faster!”

We had still about three hundred paces to go before a friendly grove would hide us from the enemy, but this short distance seemed to me like so many miles, and was one of the hottest rides I ever had in my life. The Federals divined our intention only two well, and overwhelmed us with the fire of a whole battery, so that it is almost a miracle that the General and I escaped uninjured.

As we afterwards learned, the Yankees had stationed a scout at the top of a lofty pine-tree, who, when he saw the General, gave the artillery the first direction: he paid for it with his life, for one of our sharp-shooters detected him, and by a well-directed bullet brought him down.

The battle was not renewed; the firing grew fainter and fainter, until towards one o'clock it ceased almost entirely. About this time we returned to the spot where General Longstreet had taken his position the day before, and where several of our generals were assembled, to whom I was presented by General Stuart. President Davis soon came up, congratulating the Generals, and expressing his great satisfaction at the issue of the day.

I had now the opportunity of closely observing General Longstreet for the first time. He was a stout man, of middle height, and most agreeable countenance; his long brown beard gave something leonine to his appearance; an engaging simplicity was his prevailing characteristic, manifested not less in his manners than in his dress. It consisted, like that of most of the leading generals of the Confederate army, of a small black felt hat, a tunic-like grey coat, much faded, on the collar and sleeves of which the devices indicating his rank were scarcely distinguishable, a pair of grey trousers, and [23] military boots with Mexican spurs; a small sword was his only weapon. His steady courage-displayed rather by perfect composure under fire, and serene indifference to the extremest peril, than, like that of Stuart, in fiery charges and daring enterprise-his constant energy in the campaign and obstinacy in the fight, and his strict obedience to orders, made him one of the most useful, as he was always among the most conspicuous, officers in the Confederate service. By these he gained the full confidence of the army and its commanding general, Robert E. Lee, who used to call him his war-horse. Longstreet's soldiers were perfectly devoted to him, and I have frequently heard friendly contentions between officers and men of his corps, and those of Stonewall Jackson's, as to which of the two was the most meritorious and valuable officer.

President Jefferson Davis is a tall thin man, with sharplydefined features, an air of easy command, and frank, unaffected, gentlemanlike manners. I had the honour of being presented to him, and was struck with the simple friendly tone in which he conversed with me. He examined with great interest an excellent Damascus blade, an old and tried friend of mine, and said he was very glad to know that he had so good a sword and so strong an arm to wield it in his army.

The next day did not pass without excitement. A renewed attack from the enemy was expected, and our troops were kept for the greater part of the day under arms. From time to time a single report of cannon was heard, generally fired from our side at the air-balloon which the Yankees had sent up for reconnoitring. General Stuart, who commanded our outposts, was constantly in motion, and we were seldom out of the saddle. Our rendezvous and momentary halting-place was near a small farmhouse standing peacefully among hickory and oak trees. Turned into an hospital, the ghastly features and mutilated limbs of the wounded men stretched [24] upon their beds of pain within the building, formed a dreadful contrast to the cheerful exterior.

On the 5th everything was quiet again. On the 6th General Stuart changed his headquarters, and we removed with bag and baggage to a farmhouse about four miles distant, inhabited only by an old man named Waddle. This place, standing at some distance from the highroad, was surrounded by copses and thickets, and afforded us a capital opportunity of recovering from our fatigues. We had to provide our own food, which, in consequence of the prevailing scarcity, was scanty and bad; a little bacon and maize-bread composed our breakfast, dinner, and supper, and we thought it an extraordinary luxury when we could gather wild strawberries enough in the wood to make a dish to add to our repast.

General Stuart, though he sometimes employed me to carry reports to the different generals, usually took me with him on his short reconnoitring rides, in order to make me acquainted with the surrounding country, the position of the army, and the commanders of the divisions and brigades.

Towards dusk on the 8th we set out on one of these expeditions, escorted by half-a-dozen of our couriers, and I soon perceived that our ride was to be extended to a greater distance than usual. It was late in the evening when we reached the last of our outposts, and I was not a little surprised when the General here dismissed his escort, and desired me alone to accompany him farther. Silently we rode through the lonely wood, whilst the darkness grew deeper and deeper around us, and the stillness of the forest was only broken by the strange tones of the tree-frog and the melancholy cry of the whip-poor-will.

We soon found ourselves within the enemy's lines; at any moment we might stumble upon one of their patrols; and General Stuart smiled significantly when he saw me examining the loads of my revolver, and observed that we would not [25] employ firearms except in the last resort, and that in case of an encounter we must make use of our sabres. This ride was strangely exciting to me; now that I have become so accustomed to such expeditions, I could go through it with the most perfect composure, but then I was feverishly agitated, and every rustling bough, every bird flying past, increased the strain.

After a ride of about five miles we reached a small house, and on General Stuart's knocking at the door in a peculiar manner it was opened to us. The house was inhabited by an Irishman and his family; and here General Stuart had appointed a rendezvous with one of the spies, in order to obtain an authentic report of the enemy's position. This man had not arrived, so we fastened our horses to the fence and went into the house. Hour after hour went by, but still no one came, and it was past midnight when General Stuart became convinced that some unlooked — for hindrance must be detaining him. No persuasion nor promises of money, not even my offer to accompany him, could induce the old Irishman or his son, a lad of seventeen, to walk over to the spy's abode, which was about two miles distant, and near one of the enemy's camps. So the General and I were obliged ourselves to undertake this dangerous expedition, and with the first glimmer of daylight we mounted our horses and cautiously set off. The peculiar repugnance of the Yankees to patrolling at night and the heavy rain favouring our enterprise, we arrived without misadventure at the man's dwelling just as the reveille was sounding in the camp only 400 paces distant. The spy being very ill in bed, General Stuart had to dismount and go to his bedside; and when the General, extremely well satisfied with the information he had obtained, swung himself into the saddle, and we galloped back, it was with a great sense of relief we approached our lines, where we were [26] greeted with delight by our men, who had begun to entertain considerable anxiety on our account.

Such rides and expeditions were habitual with this bold General, and we often escaped as by a miracle from the dangers which surrounded us. It was only by this exposure of himself that he could insure the extraordinary success which invariably crowned his expeditions and military operations.

The object of this excursion soon appeared. Our cavalry force received orders to provide themselves with rations for three days, and on the 12th we commenced that ride round the army of General McClellan which attracted so much attention even in Europe.


June 12, 1862.

It was two o'clock in the morning, and we were all fast asleep, when General Stuart's clear voice awoke us with the words, “Gentlemen, in ten minutes every man must be in his saddle!”

In half the time all the members of the Staff were dressed, and the horses had been fed; and the ten minutes were scarcely up when we galloped off to overtake the main body, which we reached by about five o'clock. Our command was composed of parts of the different regiments of the brigade, and consisted of about 2500 cavalry, with two pieces of horse-artillery. None of us knew where we were going; General Stuart only communicated the object of the expedition to the colonels commanding; nevertheless every one followed our honoured leader with perfect confidence. We marched the whole day long without halting, and towards evening bivouacked near the little town of Taylorsville in Hanover County, where we were already within the enemy's lines. At daybreak we again mounted our horses, and our [27] vanguard was soon reported to have met with a party of the enemy's dragoons, who on their approach had hurried off in hasty flight. Without waiting to pursue them, we continued our march, greeted everywhere with enthusiasm by the inhabitants, especially by the ladies, who for a long time had seen none other than Federal troops. I was in company with Stuart the whole time, constantly near the vanguard, and could note that every operation was initiated and superintended by the General himself. A few miles from Hanover Court-house we surprised a picket of the enemy's cavalry, every man of which fell into our hands from the suddenness of our attack. Whilst we were occupied with sending the prisoners to the rear, our advance-guard came back at a run, hotly pursued by a large body of the enemy's dragoons. Our leading squadron spurred immediately forward to meet the attack, and, having obtained General Stuart's permission, I joined them as with loud war-cries they hurled themselves against the blue masses of the enemy. The Yankees were not able to withstand the impetuous onset of the Virginia horsemen, and, after a melee of a very few minutes, there commenced a most exciting chase, which was continued for nearly three miles. Friend and foe were soon enveloped in blinding clouds of dust, through which pistol and carbine shots were seen darting to and fro like flashes of lightning. The larger number of the enemy escaped, thanks to their fresher animals, but we took many of them prisoners, and their dead and wounded men and horses encumbered the road as we pushed along. Half an hour later our advanceguard again came in collision with the enemy, who had rallied, and, with strong reinforcements, were awaiting us. Two squadrons of the 9th Virginia Cavalry were immediately sent forward to the attack, and I received orders from General Stuart to hasten with our main column to the scene of action. I rode at once to bring on the main column; but [28] though I used the utmost speed to get back in time to take part in the charge, when I arrived at the scene of the sharp conflict the work had already been done. The enemy's lines were broken and in full flight, leaving many of their dead and wounded, and a large number of prisoners, among whom were several officers, in our hands. We had to lament the loss of the gallant Captain Latane, who, while boldly leading his men, fell pierced by five bullets. In a few seconds the 1st Virginia Cavalry had arrived, and we instantly dashed forward in pursuit.

The enemy made one more attempt to rally, but their lines were broken by our furious attack; they fled in confusion, and we chased them in wild pursuit across an open field, through their camp, and far into the woods. When we had returned to their camp the work of destruction began. Every one tried to rescue for himself as much as possible of the articles of luxury with which the Yankees had overloaded themselves, but few succeeded in the end; for, in accordance with the well-laid plan of our leader, flames flashed up, now in one place, now in another, and in a few minutes the whole camp was enveloped in one blaze, hundreds of tents burning together presenting a wonderfully beautiful spectacle. Many horses and mules, and two captured standards, were all that we carried off with us. After half an hour's halt our destroying cavalry again set forth; our track of blood and fire pointing out to the enemy the path which we had taken.

We now found ourselves in the heart of the enemy's position, and their encampment lay around us on all sides. At one point of our journey, the house occupied by the Federal Commander-in-Chief, General McClellan, as his headquarters, surrounded by the white tents of a very large camp, was plainly visible at the distance of about two and a half miles. Our situation would have been one of extraordinary peril, [29] had not the boldness and rapidity of our movements disabled and paralysed our adversaries.

On either side of the road we constantly seized upon unsuspecting Federal soldiers, who had no idea of the close proximity of the dreaded Stuart until collared by his horsemen. A considerable number of waggons laden with provisions and goods fell into our hands, among them one containing the personal stores of General McClellan, with his cigars, wines, and other dainties. But we could not be burdened with booty, so the entire train was committed to the flames, the champagne popped bootlessly, and the cabanas wasted their fragrance on the air. Three transport-ships which lay in the river Pamunkey near at hand, laden with wheat, corn, and provisions from all quarters, were seized by us, together with the guard and the agents stationed there, and ere long the flames mounting towards heaven proclaimed how complete was our work of destruction. A brigade of the enemy's cavalry here sought to intercept our way and to detain us till the troops, which were marching upon us from all sides, could arrive; but it was broken by our first attack, and crossed our path no more.

Thus towards evening we reached the railroad which was so useful to the enemy in giving them communication with the north; and just as the demolition of the road-bed was about to begin, the train was seen coming up. Without delay General Stuart posted a portion of his men on either side of the embankment, with orders to fire if the train refused to stop at the station. The train moved slowly nearer and nearer, puffing off the steam, and we could soon perceive that it was laden with soldiers, most of them being in open carriages. As the command to stop was disregarded, but on the contrary the movement of the train was accelerated, firing began along our whole line. The engine-driver was shot down by Captain Farley, to whom I had lent my blunderbuss; but before the [30] deadly bullet reached him he had put the train in somewhat quicker motion, so that we could not make ourselves masters of it.

A battle of the strangest description now arose. Some of the soldiers in the train returned our fire, others sprang out to save themselves by flight, or lay down flat at the bottom of the carriages. The train, though its motion had been quickened, was not going at so rapid a pace that we could not keep up with it by galloping hard. Meantime, having had my hat almost knocked off my head by one of the enemy's bullets, I became so wildly excited that, without heeding our own fire, I spurred my horse over the embankment, and very soon had discharged all the five charges of my revolver at the foe. We heard later that few of the occupants of the train had escaped unhurt; the greater part were either killed or severely wounded. I reproached myself afterwards with having so given the reins to my passion; but after all I only acted in obedience to orders and the requirements of war. After having done as much injury as we could to the railroad, we proceeded on our march, whilst the last beams of the sun lighted up the scene of destruction.

It had been a hard ride and a hard day's work, and my parched tongue was cleaving to the roof of my mouth, when one of our men galloped up to me, and held out a bottle of champagne, saying, “Captain, you did pretty hot work to-day. I got this bottle of champagne for you out of McClellan's waggon. It will do you good.” Never in my life have I enjoyed a bottle of wine so much. Late in the evening a baggage-train and two sutler's waggons fell into our hands, and we took possession of a large quantity of luxuries, such as pickles, oysters, preserved fruits, oranges, lemons, and cigars.

About ten o'clock we had an hour's rest to feed our horses, and then rode on all the night through towards the Chickahominy [31] River, which we reached at five o'clock in the morning. From the reports we had received we expected to find little difficulty in fording the stream, but who can describe our astonishment at finding it so swollen by the rain which had fallen in the mountains during the past twentyfour hours that the water was more than fifteen feet deep! At the same time our rear-guard announced that a whole division of the enemy was on our track. Every one felt the weight of the danger that threatened us, every one looked with anxiety towards our leader, who, with the greatest possible calmness and coolness, gave his orders and made his arrangements. Two regiments and two pieces of horseartillery were ordered, in case of an attack, to cover our retreat; whilst all the other available men were dismounted, some of them being employed to build bridges, the others to swim the river with the horses. A bridge for foot-passengers was hastily constructed across the stream, which was about ninety feet in breadth, and the saddles, &c., were carried over it. All the swimmers took the unsaddled horses through the river, some riding them, others swimming by their side, with one hand holding the mane and the other directing the horse. This last expedient I thought the best, and in this manner I took sixty-five horses myself through the angry torrent. After about four hours work a second bridge for the artillery was completed, and more than half the horses had reached the other side of the river; also the prisoners, about five hundred in number, and hundreds of captured horses and mules. The first cannon was drawn by the soldiers across the bridge, which, standing the test well, the second soon followed, and then the reserve regiments. Towards noon all were in safety on the other bank, General Stuart being the last man to cross the bridge, which we then destroyed. Hitherto I had had no sensation of fatigue, but after this hard work in the water I [32] felt it severely in all my limbs, and we had still to march the remainder of the day and all the night before we could rest in security. Both horses and men performed wonders during this expedition. We were in the saddle almost uninterruptedly for two days and two nights, fighting for a considerable part of the time, and for ten miles working our way through the swamps of the Chickahominy, which had been hitherto considered impassable.

On the morning of the 5th we arrived safely within our lines, and bivouacked about six miles from Richmond. As soon as I had attended to my horse, who had carried me nobly through the severe fatigue, I fell fast asleep, and so continued during the whole day and night. We had been wonderfully successful in our expedition, having made a wide circuit through the enemy's immense army, and thoroughly acquainted ourselves with its position, which had been our chief object. At the same time, we had destroyed the enemy's communication, burned property to the amount of millions, captured hundreds of prisoners, horses, and mules, and put the whole Federal army in fear and consternation. We were warmly greeted everywhere on our return, and every sort of honour was paid to General Stuart's name. This ovation was extended to officers and men, and wherever any one who had taken part in this famous expedition was seen, he was besieged with questions, gazed at as a hero, and entreated to relate his own adventures and the story of the ride.

The Richmond press teemed with praises of General Stuart and his followers, and even the journals of New York did not fail to render homage to the conception and execution of this bold enterprise.

I had been very fortunate during the expedition in rendering services of various kinds to General Stuart, which obtained his cordial recognition in the Official Report, and in [33] this manner secured for me at once a position in the Confederate army.1

A quiet time now followed at headquarters. Both horses and men needed rest after exertions so long continued and fatiguing. The weather was glorious, and all nature had put on the full beauty of spring. Around the house which we inhabited white and red roses bloomed in sweet profusion, covering and climbing over the walls, and the wild honeysuckle added its fragrance to that of hundreds of magnolias blossoming in the neighbouring swamp. In the fierce heats of June no refreshment could be more delicious than that afforded by the shade and perfume that dwelt along the cool densely-wooded morass, as, in our rides about the camp, we frequently crossed the small tributary rivulets, and let our horses drink of the dark, clear water flowing over the pebbly bottom.

My relations with General Stuart had now become of a most friendly and intimate character. The greater part of my time was spent in his company. In this manner I became acquainted with his amiable and accomplished young wife, and his two bright-eyed little children, Flora and Jemmy, five and three years of age respectively, whose tender affections I was not long in securing. Mrs Stuart, during a considerable period of the war, lived from time to time at her husband's headquarters, as they might be established at a point more or less safe and accessible; and I do not remember that I have ever seen a more interesting family circle than they presented, when, after a long ride or hazardous reconnaissance, General [34] Stuart would seem to forget, for a brief interval, the dangers and duties of his exciting life in the enjoyment of his domestic happiness. The bold rider and dashing swordsman playing with his children, or listening to his wife as she sang him a ballad, was a picture the soft lights of which were in effective and pleasing contrast with the Rembrandt shadows of the dark wood and the rude warriors that lay there. General Stuart had married a daughter to Colonel Philip St George Cooke, of the U. S. Dragoons, a Virginian by birth, and West-Pointer by military education, who had remained in the Federal service, and was now making war upon his native State as a brigadier-general of President Lincoln's appointment. On several occasions, during the campaigns in Virginia, General Stuart came very near making a prisoner of his father-in-law; and I believe it would have given him greater satisfaction to send General Cooke under escort to Richmond than to capture the mighty McClellan himself.

The military family of General Stuart consisted of fourteen or fifteen high-spirited young fellows, boon companions in the bivouac, and excellent soldiers in the fight, of whom, alas! seven were afterwards killed in battle, three received honourable and dangerous wounds, the effects of which will follow them through life, and two were carried off by the enemy to languish in loathsome Northern prisons. It was, indeed, a hazardous service upon which we had entered; but little disturbed were we by a thought of the peril, or if such a thought ever intruded upon us, it was only to unite together in closer friendship the sharers of a common destiny.

On the morning of the 20th June, General Stuart, with a significant smile, gave me his official report of the Pamunkey expedition to carry to the Secretary of War, General Randolph. [35] I soon perceived the meaning of this smile when the commission of captain in the Confederate Cavalry was delivered to me by the Secretary, with the most flattering expressions respecting my conduct. Full of gratitude, I returned to headquarters with a sense of hearty satisfaction such as I had not known for a long time. We were not, however, to rest many days at headquarters on the laurels of the Pamunkey expedition. During the night of the 25th there came again to us marching orders: before midnight all were in readiness; but as there was no moon, the darkness detained us till the morning, when the rising sun found us in the saddle, fresh and eager for the performance of whatever duties the day might impose. Events of the greatest military significance were on the wing — events on which the eyes of the world were to be fixed, and by which the genius of more than one commander was to be determined-events whose place in history will for ever remain undisturbed by the unhappy issue of the American War.

1 I trust I may be pardoned for introducing here that passage in the Report which refers to the part I took in the expedition. General Stuart says:--

“Amongst those who rendered efficient services in this expedition I cannot forget to mention Heros Von Borcke, formerly of the Prussian Brandenburg Dragoons, who distinguished himself by his gallantry, and won the admiration of all who witnessed his bravery and his military conduct during the expedition. He highly deserves promotion.”

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