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[139] was always reassuring to see him in the saddle when there was any chance of a fight. General Pleasonton's staff was partly composed of men who became distinguished. The Adjutant General was A. J. Alexander, of Kentucky, a very handsome fellow, who was afterward a brigadier general with Thomas in the West. Among the aides was Captain Farnsworth, Eighth Illinois Cavalry, who so distinguished himself in the coming battle, and in the subsequent operations south of the Potomac, that he was made a brigadier general, and with that rank fell at Gettysburg at the head of a brigade of cavalry which he had commanded but a few days. Another aide was the brilliant Custer, then a lieutenant, whose career and lamented death there is no need to recall. Another was Lieutenant R. S. McKenzie, of the engineers, now General McKenzie of well-won fame — the youngest colonel of the regular army; and still another was Ulric Dahlgren. General Pleasonton had certainly no lack of intelligence, dash and hard-riding to rely on in those about him. Colonel B. F. Davis, Eighth New York Cavalry, in advance, led his brigade across the river while the light was still dim. He fell in a moment, mortally wounded, on the further bank, and should be remembered with special honor, for he was a Southern man, and a graduate of West Point. He was called “GrimesDavis by all his army friends, and was the beau ideal of a cavalry officer. His most famous exploit was his escape with his command from Harper's Ferry, when Miles, led on by treason or infatuation, abandoned all the grand surrounding hills to the enemy, without a struggle, and awaited his own inevitable surrender in the basin below, although it was written before him, in characters mountain-high, that Harper's Ferry cannot be defended except on Bolivar, London and Maryland Heights.

Colonel Davis' troops had now no sooner emerged from the river at Beverly ford, where the water was scarcely stirrup-deep, than they encountered the enemy's. pickets, to whom they were, doubtless, an astounding apparition from the fog. Piff! paff! went the carbines, and our troops on this side pressed on faster, the narrowness of the ford road and of the ford itself compelling them to move in column of fours. Major McClellan describes the alarm and confusion existing among Stuart's exposed artillery and trains while Colonel Davis pushed his advance rapidly toward their camp. In his eagerness to profit by the surprise, he rashly rode with his skirmishers, if not in front of them, and was shot by a soldier on foot, who sprang from behind a tree in the edge of the first wood. He was borne back in a blanket just as General Pleasonton gained

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B. F. Davis (4)
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