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The affair at Frederick city.

A correction of General Johnson's account.

By Captain David Waldhauer, of the Georgia Hussars, Jeff. Davis Legion, Hampton's Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia.

I read the interesting address of General Bradley T. Johnson in the December number of the Southern Historical Society papers, and feel it my duty to correct the total inaccuracy of his account of the little dash at Frederick City. Lieutenant William W. Gordon, myself and four other members of the Georgia Hussars, Company F, Jeff. Davis Legion, were ordered to report to headquarters. I am now informed by Mr. E. A. Silva, at that time Sergeant-Major and Acting Adjutant, that the orders from headquarters named me for the duty. We did not know what it was until we reported to Major Barker, Adjutant-General of Hampton's brigade. We there found twenty men, whom Major Barker ordered to report to me. They had been detailed from every command of Hampton's brigade, except the Second South Carolina.

Major Barker rode up by my side in front of my detachment into the centre of Frederick, explaining my duty. I was to picket the byways, prevent straggling, and push the men through. When General Hampton came along after the brigade had passed, he, in person, ordered me to gather my men and take the rear.

It was sharp work from that time, for a squadron of the Second South Carolina, that had been on picket at the Monocacy Bridge, retreated hastily through the city, probably giving to Burnside's advance [418] the impression of a stampede. By that time, however, I had gathered and formed my twenty-four men and wheeled them by fours, left in front, the four Georgia Hussars in front, to face the column of cavalry that I saw advancing.

My mind was too fully occupied\by affairs in front to notice what was in my rear, but as General Hampton knew I had but a handful of men opposed to General Burnside's army, it is reasonable to suppose he ordered some support, and I think it likely the Second South Carolina was that reserve, as Colonel Butler, from the rear, sent me word through my Lieutenant, William W. Gordon, to charge. Not being under his jurisdiction, but under the direct orders of General Hampton, I considered that I was acting on my own responsibility, and as the enemy were climbing a long and high hill, I calculated that by the time they reached its brow they would become spent and disordered, and an easy prey.

My calculations were not far out of the way. When we started for them they commenced firing ‘criss-cross’ in their own ranks, and probably killed some of their own men. Before our charging column got within a hundred yards of the head of their column, their column broke and they ran over each other, upsetting cannon and horses, and firing off the cannon in their own midst, with not a Confederate within fifty yards of them.

As to the Second South Carolina running over guns and horses, it is all a mistake, and will be denied by that gallant regiment, which earned too much honor and glory to claim what does not belong to them.

Lieutenant Gehan, if there was any such person, did not ‘lead the fight,’ nor to my knowledge, follow it. If there were any members of the Second South Carolina engaged in that dash, they did not legitimately belong there, but had ‘straggled to the front,’ as our gallant boys had a habit of doing.

Lieutenant Gordon captured Colonel Moore, of Ohio (commander of the advance), and his coal-black steed, but, as the brigade of infantry were firing upon us, he gathered what men he could find in the confusion and confronted the infantry brigade in order to retard them and allow us to reap the harvest of our charge in arms, equipments and prisoners.

We retreated with our prisoners under fire of a brigade, by orders from General Hampton, through his gallant son Preston, who was afterwards killed, that we were being flanked. The killed, wounded and captured numbered more than our force. [419]

This little affair had the effect of retarding Burnside's army from four o'clock in the afternoon until six o'clock next morning, and materially aided in the capture of Harper's Ferry, Burnside having gained only three miles in fourteen hours. My force, composed of Company B, Captain Henderson, from Okalona, Mississippi, and the Georgia Hussars, from Savannah, Georgia, lost twelve out of thirteen, officers and men in proportion, in thirteen months, and never were stampeded. I have never doubted if I had had them with me at Frederick, instead of a mixed command, we would have carried that gun and horses off in the face of Burnside's army. The horses were not killed, as stated in General Johnson's article, but knocked down, and the cannon upset over them by their own troops.

John Esten Cooke, in ‘Surry of Eagle's Nest,’ gives the credit of this affair to Pierce Young, who was miles away. Now it is given to Butler. Neither of those soldiers need or would accept what doesn't belong to them. They are knights ‘without fear and without reproach.’

Savannah, Ga.

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