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A striking War incident. [from the Baltimore, Md., sun, December, 1901.]

How General ‘Jeb.’ Stuart lost his life in Recapturing a borrowed Maryland Battery.

General Bradley T. Johnson, the distinguished Maryland exCon-federate, writes to the Sun as follows, giving some hitherto unpublished military dispatches connected with the operations of Maryland troops in the battles around Richmond in 1864:

Among your collection of unpublished military dispatches you may include these two, which have never been printed. In October, 1863, I was ordered by General Lee to assemble the Maryland Line, then in separate commands in the Army of Northern Virginia—except the Latrobe Battery, which was with the Army of the Southwest —at Hanover Junction, to guard the five long, high bridges there, over the North Anna, the South Anna, and the Middle river, all within a mile or two of each other, and which were vital for Lee's communication with the Valley, with Richmond, and thence the whole South.

I there collected the Second Maryland Infantry, First Maryland Cavalry, First Maryland Artillery, Captain Dement; Second Maryland Artillery, Captain Griffin (the Baltimore Light), and the Fourth Maryland Artillery, Captain W. Scott Chew; the Third Maryland Artillery. Latrobe's Battery served in the west, and was never in my command.

The Maryland Line, thus gotten together, was the largest collection of Marylanders who ever fought under the gold and black. Our duty was very important, and we picketed the country all to the east and down the Pamunkey to New Kent.

Shortly after midnight I received the following from General Jeb Stuart, who was then at Taylorsville, a mile and a half distant, with the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia:

Military dispatch.

May 11th, 2:30 o'clock A. M., 1864.
To Colonel B. T. Johnson:
Colonel,—General Stuart directs me to say that he would be glad to obtain one of your light batteries to assist him to-day, as he [228] is short of artillery. Our cavalry is interposed between the enemy and Hanover Junction. General Stuart will return the battery as soon as the present emergency has passed. The enemy encamped last night at Ground Squirrel bridge. They had orders to start at 12 o'clock to-night (over). General Stuart is now moving down the Telegraph road, and desires you to send the battery by the same route.

Very respectfully, your old sergeant,

H. B. M'Clellan, Major and Adjutant.

On receiving this request I rode at once to Taylorsville to see General Stuart. He was lying flat on his back, his head on a saddle, and so fast asleep that McClellan and I turned him over without being able to waken him.

I explained to McClellan that my orders were to protect those bridges, and therefore I couldn't join him in his race after Sheridan; that I had spent the winter in horsing and harnessing my batteries, and that they were now the very finest batteries in the army in guns, horses, harness, and men, and that I wanted Stuart to be very careful of the one I sent him, which was the pick of the command, and, above all things, I wanted it returned as soon as possible and intact.

McClellan made all the necessary promises for his chief, and I went about my business of guarding the bridges.

During the morning I received the following from General Stuart, which was, I think, the last word he ever wrote, for he was killed that afternoon at Yellow Tavern in a charge to protect my battery:

headquarters Sixth cavalry corps, May 11, 9 A. M.
Colonel,—As the enemy may double back from this direction to Verdon, as above, you will oblige me very much by so arranging it as that I may get the information in time to turn upon them before they get away. Be sure to barricade the roads with felled trees, in case they start in that direction, and also send information to our wagon trains, in rear of General Lee's army.

Communicate with me by way of the Telegraph road.

I left a small picket at Ashland, which, however, may run in at [229] any moment. I have not yet learned whether the enemy has passed Yellow Tavern or passed near James river.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. E. B. Stuart, Major-General.

With the intuition of a great soldier Stuart threw himself on Sheridan's rear, and thus drew him away from Richmond to give time for troops to get into the city to defend it. In the ensuing fight Griffin, of course, had his battery well out of the fighting line, and it was captured by the enemy. Stuart instantly charged with a regiment and recaptured the guns. In a moment they were retaken by the Federals, and Stuart again retook them.

After the charge was over a dismounted Federal cavalryman, trotting back on foot, shot him with a revolver, striking him in the side, which killed him.

So Stuart lost his life in defense of the banner battery of the Marylanders.

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