previous next
[592] Pickens. This act proved to be in advance of the popular feeling, and many murmurs were excited; but it was ratified by the command at its next meeting.

About the time of the formation of the Southern Republic, at Montgomery, fearing that Virginia would not take part in the movement, the captain of the Black Horse relinquished his command, and was commissioned captain in the army of the Confederate States.

On the 16th of April, 1861, the day before the Ordinance of Secession was passed by Virginia, orders were received by Lieutenant Randolph, commanding the Black Horse Cavalry, and by Captain Ashby, to assemble their respective commands and proceed, without delay, to Harper's Ferry. The object of this expedition was to capture the stores and munitions of war collected at that place, so necessary to the Confederates in the struggle in which they were about to engage. Success depended upon secresy and dispatch, and every available means was employed to collect the commands. By ten o'clock at night the Black Horse had left their homes, not to return for four weary years-many of them never. With light hearts they marched, in happy ignorance of the future, until, when within a few miles of their destination, they heard the explosion of the arsenal. When this sound fell on their ears, they felt that they had been thwarted in the object of the expedition. But on their arrival things were found not so bad as apprehension had painted. The rifle works on the Shenandoah, it is true, were entirely destroyed, but the fire in the musket machine-shops had been arrested after about a third of the machinery had been wholly or partially destroyed. The building in which the manufactured arms were deposited contained over twenty thousand stand of Minnie rifles and rifled muskets, of which about seven thousand fell into the hands of the captors uninjured, and many others in a condition that admitted of repair. A large proportion of the hands employed were sent, with the uninjured machinery, to an armory established in North Carolina. The Black Horse Cavalry, after remaining several days on picket duty at Harper's Ferry, was ordered on similar service, to Berlin bridge, which crosses the Potomac from the county of London. It was while the command were at Harper's Ferry that Major Thomas J. Jackson, of the Virginia Military Institute, was ordered, by Governor Letcher, to take command, and the high reputation which he had won in the Mexican war inspired the volunteers with cheerfulness and confidence.

From Berlin bridge, the Black Horse was ordered back to Warrenton, where the vacant captaincy was filled by the election of

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Robert Randolph (1)
Lizzie Letcher (1)
Thomas Jonathan Jackson (1)
Turner Ashby (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
April 16th, 1861 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: