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 In its operations, until the army began its movement from Manassas to Yorktown, the Black Horse, being familiar with the counties of Prince William, Fauquier, and Culpeper, through which the army was about to cross, and having a complete knowledge of the roads, water-courses, and points suitable for camping, was of great value in furnishing guides, for which purpose large details were made from it. In that famous charge at the battle of Williamsburg, with all the color-bearers and buglers at the head of the columns, with not a sabre or pistol drawn in the whole regiment, and impeded by a dense wood, where they had run into the mouth of McClellan's army of fifty thousand strong, the sable plumes of the Black Horse waved, and when Colonel Wickham was pierced through the body, General, then Major William H. Payne, took command, and was himself next day badly wounded. Details were at that time made from the Black Horse to carry dispatches between the general commanding, and Fort McGruder. Judge James Keith, of the present Court of Appeals of Virginia, then a private in the company, is said to have made many marvelous escapes, and greatly distinguished himself. General Longstreet, wishing men for picket duty, after failing to secure a guide from that section of the country, was much annoyed, when General Stuart remarked that he always counted on the Black Horse in emergencies. ‘Send to it,’ Stuart said, ‘and you will be furnished with a guide to any point in Virginia.’ It so happened that some of the men had attended William and Mary College as students, and knew the roads as well as their own in Fauquier. The Black Horse took part in the raid around McClellan, simply for observation, and it is a miracle that they were not all captured.
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