previous next
[81] nights, there was a chance that we might take the whole party together; otherwise, our design was to take the individuals from their abiding-places.

We were piloted by a scout named Hogan, one of those who became so efficient under Sigel's direction — than whom no general in the army appears so well to understand the business and the benefits of scouting. Hogan and all the privates of our party belong to the First Indiana cavalry, a detachment recruited as a bodyguard, and which has acted as such under Rosecrans, in Western Virginia, Fremont, Sigel, and is now with General Howard.

Better soldiers than those of this guard do not exist, and their “story” is much more worthy of being told, while it would be more interesting, than that of the Missouri Guard to which Mrs. Fremont devotes a book. It was this guard, with some of the Sixth Ohio cavalry, that, led by Captain Dahlgren, made the famous raid into Fredericksburgh last fall, and which rebels even confess was the most daring feat of the war. The story is worth repeating. Fifty-two men, more than fifty miles from any support, pierced through the enemy's pickets, forded the Rappahannock, and dashed into Fredericksburgh, which was occupied by five hundred rebel cavalry, of whom they killed and wounded a number, and at one time captured one hundred and twenty, bringing off over forty, recrossing the river and returning with a loss of one man killed and one taken prisoner. The rebels were so badly scared that many of them did not pause in their flight until they reached another body of troops several miles below Fredericks-burgh.

To return to the narrative of our expedition — which, however, will be found to amount to very little. We started at about four o'clock P. M., and travelled by unfrequented roads and paths through the woods, fording creeks, picking our way among trees and transcending fences in a rather aboriginal style. We did not find our nomadic friends at their rendezvous, and it as necessary to seek for them at their several places of abode. This is a rather unpleasant business for men of humanitarian feelings — as all of our party were — for one does not like to batter at doors in the dead of night, frightening women and children out of their wits when they peep out and behold armed men surrounding their domicil and hear them thundering for admittance. A soldier's duty in such a case is plain, for it will not do to let a house which may conceal a rebel soldier, or perhaps arms and supplies, remain unsearched. When a hastily dressed dame appears with a tallow candle and a supplicating air, her fears must be quieted in the most delicate manner, and if she assumes the indignant and hurls all sorts of epithets at the Yankee barbarians, a little pleasant raillery suffices; but, in either case, the search must be proceeded with. When these people find that they are treated with courtesy, and that all their rights are respected as much as is consistent with military necessities, they soon lay aside the one sort their demeanor of apprehension and the other of railing scorn. In most of these houses will be found supplies of provisions concealed in cellars and garrets, and in some cases arms and munitions of war.

We were not fortunate on this occasion, and it would seem that those we sought had information of our approach. We found but one rebel soldier comfortably sleeping in his bed, and his gun was discovered hid in a closet. Two horses were found in the stable, one of which had evidently been captured, as it was branded “U. S.” We reached camp about sunrise the next morning, having made a circuit of perhaps thirty miles during the night. Such is a scouting expedition, with less than average results.

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 Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Fredericksburgh (New York, United States) (2)
West Virginia (West Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
Sigel (2)
Hogan (2)
Fremont (2)
Rosecrans (1)
Howard (1)
Dahlgren (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: