previous next

[457] days — to be thrown against the disproportionate hosts already mentioned. Yet these brave troopers, with their noble, but now fallen leader at their head — entirely Virginians and North Carolinians — felt the importance of each man acting well his part. The road to their devoted capital was open. Many a little child had gone to bed supperless, and would rise crying to a helpless mother for bread, whose cries and earnest entreaties had failed to influence the hellish outcast vandals to leave her one dust of flour or meal. Burning fences, mills, and houses lit up their hellish course. A stream lay between them, the bridge across which was burned. This difficulty was to be overreached. Across the river, in front, two narrow cow fords were discovered--one below and the other above the bridge. A party from Gordon's brigade were dismounted and engaged the enemy in front across the river, while Wickham and Lomax led around below and Gordon above. As Gordon reached the point above, the enemy's pickets were seen guarding the ford. Woodland skirted the banks. Colonel Evans, of the Fifth North Carolina cavalry, was ordered forward to charge and take it at all hazards. Sabres were drawn; Captain Galloway, with his company, led in front. The Colonel gave the word, “Forward, my brave boys,” which was responded to with a deafening yell, and onward they dashed to the ford, which was almost impassable. Horses and riders went down in the stream, yet up they grappled, and soon reached the bank, which was readily cleared of the party holding it, and which gave the regiment an exciting chase for several miles. Many of the enemy's horses fell dead in the road, while our horses got near enough occasionally to lay a blue coat in the dust, and take several of the hindmost in. Wickham, by taking a near route, reached Beaver Dam in advance of Gordon, and just in time to pitch into this living column, “which fared but middling.” He killed and captured a large body of them.

Where Beaver Dam stood nothing remained but charred and burning ruins of buildings, and two trains of cars, with their contents, that were not consumed, scattered profusely over the ground. The farmers' fencing, far and wide, lighted up the midday sky with a lurid glare.

“Our evil deeds come home to us,” struck us as most beautifully illustrated by the following incident: Along the road where our vengeful troopers had cleaved down the thieving villains the fencing had been fired by the more advanced fugitives. The main column had charged on after them, through the livid flames, that were almost lapping each other from both sides of the road. Hard by the fence, just in good roasting distance, lay a wounded raider, unable to move himself; the flames from the burning fence were fast approaching him, and the wind from the contrary direction seemed hurrying them up to the poor wretch, who was wincing and cringing at the horrible catastrophe awaiting him from his comrades' own devilish hands. But the benevolent principle, “if the enemy thirst give him drink,” relieved him from his awfully pending self-wrought fate. Our loss at this point was only a few wounded.

Here the enemy had divided his forces, one column going in the direction of Hanover Junction and the other taking the Negrofoot road. Generals Stuart and Fitz Lee, with the brigades of Wickham and Lomax, followed on the former route, and General Gordon, with his brigade, pursued the latter. General Gordon followed on till a late hour in the night, and bivouacked near Beach Ford, on the South Anna river, placing himself within a few miles of the Yankee camp. Early next morning he advanced and by daylight attacked them on Mrs. Grenshaw's farm, and, after a heavy skirmish, drove them steadily before him down upon the mountain road. Here the enemy had massed a heavy body of reinforcements and taken up their position around Mr. Goodall's. The dismounted men of the enemy were posted strongly behind the houses and woods; a heavy body of cavalry was drawn up in an open cornfield to the right of the road, while another body was placed immediately down the road and on the edge of the field. Our dismounted men were thrown out on each side of the road. While the cavalry was advanced, the dismounted men, under a most galling fire, broke with a fearful yell, and, simultaneously, the mounted men responded — the Fifth North Carolina--the colonel gallantly leading at the head; The squadron of Captain Galloway dashed at the body on the left in the corn-field, and Captain Harris dashed upon the body down the road. The fierce onset of both these advance squadrons, seconded by a detachment of the First and Second regiments, broke the Yankee columns simultaneously. The scene beggars description. The entire field was wrapped in smoke and dust — the steady charge of the dismounted men drove everything from the flanks. Yelling like demons, they kept pace almost with the horse — helter-skelter, the flying Yankee horse crowd and jam down the road. The troopers goad them behind, and while the carbineers empty many a saddle from the flanks, the falling dust tells that they are making fast time in the distance.

About four miles from the opening scene the pursuit is called off. The field and roadside are dotted with blue coats, and the wood through which the carbineers passed has its sprinkling too.

Individual instances of daring are numerous; and we hope not to be invidious in mentioning an instance. In the charge, the Yankee colors at one time being almost within reach, Lieutenant Lindsay, of the Fifth North Carolina, dashes at them and grapples with the color-bearer. As he reaches for them an expert shift from one hand to the other by the color-bearer saves them from his grasp; but with a well-plied stroke of the sabre, he almost unhorses the bearer, who, bleeding, reels, but gathers his equilibrium, and, by means of the fleetness of his

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.
Beaver Dam (Wisconsin, United States) (2)
South Anna (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.
Gordon (6)
Wickham (3)
Lomax (2)
Galloway (2)
Virginians (1)
J. E. B. Stuart (1)
Robert L. Lindsay (1)
Fitz Lee (1)
William Harris (1)
Grenshaw (1)
Goodall (1)
James Evans (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: