Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.
McDonald's Cavalry Regiment.
I propose communicating a brief detail of the movements of McDonald
's Regiment of Confederate States
I must first say, however, that though this is termed McDonald
's regiment, the justly celebrated and distinguished Turner Ashby
, the Lieut. Colonel
, is the soul of it. The men of the regiment repose the most explicit confidence in him, and are devoted to him.
The regiment is composed of the very bent material — of young men of the first order of intellect — the sons of Virginia
's first and noblest citizens — brave and gallant to a letter.
is a noble representative of their character — is the very soul of chivalry — and they are proud of and delight to serve under him.
On last Saturday a detachment of this regiment, under the command of Ashby
, left Winchester
about 2 o'clock, and took the road leading to Harper's Ferry
There were in all, I presume, some one hundred and fifty men. being a private in the ranks, I, of course, knew not to what point we were to march.
Many were the conjectures that were made, but all seemed to concur in the belief that we were going to the Ferry
At night we encamped at this place.
Early the next morning, (Sunday,) we were again put upon the march, taking, as we did the morning before, the road leading to the Ferry
.--We were now satisfied that we were going there.
Nothing could have pleased the pays better.
The probability of a brush with the enemy seemed to act them frantic with delight.
Looking around upon my comrades in arms, I beheld the light of battle beaming in every countenance.
The joy of a meeting with the Yankees
seemed already to purpose every one.
We steadily continued on our march, giving no head to the ten thousand eager advisers we met by the way, who warned us not to go to the Ferry
; that there were "masked batteries" at this and that place, and that if we did venture into the town we would certainly be all destroyed.
Nothing, however, could daunt the intrepid Ashby
, or turn him from his predetermined course.
He knew the men he commanded — at least a portion of them — and knew them to be brave.
They had fought by his side on Kelley's Island
, and he well knew they would fight with him again.
With the courage of the "Mountain Rangers, " the corps he long commanded, he was thoroughly acquainted; and with them by his side he felt sure of success, let him encounter any odds.
Fortunately for us, perhaps, we marched into the town without encountering anything whatever.
There was not a single Federal soldier to be seen on this side of the river.--We soon discovered, however, several on the opposite shore, where it was reported they had a battery of one gun. This we did not believe, from the fact that they would have opened fire upon us as we marched into town, if the gun, as reported, had been there.
We soon commenced a diligent search in town for any straggling soldiers that might have been left there.
Not succeeding in finding any, we ventured down to the river, where we had the pleasure of exchanging shots with the Federals
The distance fired was considerable, yet we are confident of having killed or crippled some four or five.
The only damage done us was a horse shot in the leg. A Lieutenant in the Shenandoah Rangers
was riding him.
The firing continued tolerably brisk for some time.
The distance being so great, however, there was little execution done on either side.
We remained several hours in the town, and then march I back to this place.
Though we had no fighting of any consequence, yet I conceive our march into Harper's Ferry
remarkable for daring and boldness.
We knew not but that the town was full of Federal soldiers.
We were certain that on Saturday evening there were six companies there, and we supposed they were there still.
We were also confident they had a battery on the Maryland heights
, and felt sure they would open upon us. Yet, in the face of all this, about one hundred and fifty gallant and brave boys, in broad daytime, marched into the streets of the town, and ventured far enough even to fire at them on the other side, killing or wounding several.--We have the pleasure to know that we were the first Southern soldiers to venture into the place after its evacuation by Johnston
Since Sunday, we have been scouting this entire country.
I am confident there is not now a Federal soldier on this side the Potomac
They sometimes venture over in the night.
A mill near Shepherdstown
was burned some nights ago, and last night they destroyed a mill at Harper's Ferry
We anticipate some rare sport in a few days.
Of our further movements, I shall be pleased to inform you.