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The Black Horse cavalry.

Colonel John Scott.
The Black Horse Cavalry was organized, or rather first set in line, by Captain D. H. Jones, United States Army, afterward a Confederate general, at Waterloo, on the Rappahannock river, in Farquier county, Virginia, on the 18th of June, 1859, the anniversary of the battle of Waterloo. On that day, so auspicious for liberties of mankind, did this command come into existence which was destined to act so distinguished and important a part in the prolonged effort to establish the independence of a Southern Republic. Already had the storm-cloud began to gather, the hurricane to lower in the distance, and the organization of the Black Horse Cavalry was the first step which was taken in Fauquier county to meet the prognosticated war. The first captain elected was John Scott, a planter, residing in the neighborhood of Warrenton, and the author of “The lost principle.” Robert Randolph, a young lawyer of the Warrenton bar, was chosen first lieutenant; Charles H. Gordon, a planter, residing near Bealton, was elected second lieutenant. The noncommissioned officers were: William R. Smith, first sergeant, who was during the war elected a lieutenant of the command, and was afterward one of the most distinguished captains of Mosby's Partisan Battalion, but was killed, sword in hand, in a night attack on a Federal camp at Harper's Ferry; James H. Childs was elected second sergeant; Richard Lewis was elected third sergeant; Robert Mitchell was elected fourth sergeant. The corporals were: Wellington Millon, Madison Tyler, N. A. Clopton, and M. K. James. These were all young gentlemen of the first respectability, and were either themselves planters or [591] the sons of planters. The rank and file were composed of young men of the same social material with the officers. Among then were to be found James Keith, now well known as one of the ablest and most distinguished judges in Virginia, and William H. Payne, a leading member of the Virginia bar, who, during the war, rose to be a brigadier general in Stuart's cavalry division. Another, a young lawyer of brilliant promise, was Thomas Gordon Pollock, the son of the author of “The Exode,” a sublime production, and on his mother's side was sprung from the heroic blood of the Lees. During the war he was transferred, with the rank of captain, to the staff of Brigadier General James L. Kemper, and fell in storming Cemetery Heights. When it was discovered, in the spring of 1860, that the law allowed a third lieutenant to the command, an election was held in the town of Warrenton to fill the vacant post. There were several candidates, but the captain requested the men to elect A. D. Payne, which was done; for at that early period he discerned in him those high military qualities which, in the field, he afterward displayed. He has survived the war, and is now a distinguished member of the Warrenton bar.

The first service which the command was ordered to perform was to report to Governor Henry A. Wise, at Charlestown, Virginia, at which point were being collected the volunteer companies of the State to insure the execution of John Brown and his associates. When the command reached Piedmont station, now Delaplane, on the Manassas Railroad, it fell in with the “Mountain Rangers,” a cavalry company, which Captain Turner Ashby, afterward so brilliant a figure in the Confederate army, had recruited in Upper Fanquier. Together these companies marched by night, fording the deep and rapid Shenandoah, and reported at daylight the next mooring to the Governor at Charlestown. A detachment of the Black Horse escorted the prisoners to the place of execution, while the rest of the command was employed in keeping clear the streets, for it was feared even at the last moment that an attempt would be made to rescue Brown. Upon the return of the command to Warrenton, the ladies of that patriotic town received them graciously, and gave in their honor a handsome ball. So early was the strong and lasting covenant made between the women and the soldiers of the South!

The John Brown war, as the people called it, gave an immense impulse to the secession sentiment of Virginia, and when South Carolina seceded and coercion was talked of, the captain of the Black Horse immediately tendered his command to Governor [592] Pickens. This act proved to be in advance of the popular feeling, and many murmurs were excited; but it was ratified by the command at its next meeting.

About the time of the formation of the Southern Republic, at Montgomery, fearing that Virginia would not take part in the movement, the captain of the Black Horse relinquished his command, and was commissioned captain in the army of the Confederate States.

On the 16th of April, 1861, the day before the Ordinance of Secession was passed by Virginia, orders were received by Lieutenant Randolph, commanding the Black Horse Cavalry, and by Captain Ashby, to assemble their respective commands and proceed, without delay, to Harper's Ferry. The object of this expedition was to capture the stores and munitions of war collected at that place, so necessary to the Confederates in the struggle in which they were about to engage. Success depended upon secresy and dispatch, and every available means was employed to collect the commands. By ten o'clock at night the Black Horse had left their homes, not to return for four weary years-many of them never. With light hearts they marched, in happy ignorance of the future, until, when within a few miles of their destination, they heard the explosion of the arsenal. When this sound fell on their ears, they felt that they had been thwarted in the object of the expedition. But on their arrival things were found not so bad as apprehension had painted. The rifle works on the Shenandoah, it is true, were entirely destroyed, but the fire in the musket machine-shops had been arrested after about a third of the machinery had been wholly or partially destroyed. The building in which the manufactured arms were deposited contained over twenty thousand stand of Minnie rifles and rifled muskets, of which about seven thousand fell into the hands of the captors uninjured, and many others in a condition that admitted of repair. A large proportion of the hands employed were sent, with the uninjured machinery, to an armory established in North Carolina. The Black Horse Cavalry, after remaining several days on picket duty at Harper's Ferry, was ordered on similar service, to Berlin bridge, which crosses the Potomac from the county of London. It was while the command were at Harper's Ferry that Major Thomas J. Jackson, of the Virginia Military Institute, was ordered, by Governor Letcher, to take command, and the high reputation which he had won in the Mexican war inspired the volunteers with cheerfulness and confidence.

From Berlin bridge, the Black Horse was ordered back to Warrenton, where the vacant captaincy was filled by the election of [593] William H. Payne, heretofore, as before stated, a private in the command. This gentleman was, at that time, a member of the Warrenton bar, and had been, along with Captain B. H. Shackleford, a Secession candidate for the State Convention which cut the ties which bound the Commonwealth to the Federal body. His genius, gallantry, and recognized devotion to the Southern cause pointed him out for the vacant post. Captain Payne marched his command to the Fauquier Springs, where it was mustered into the Confederate service, and from that point conducted it to Manassas, where, together with a few other companies, it formed the nucleus of the Army of Northern Virginia, with which, through all vicissitudes, it remained until the final day of dissolution at Appomattox Court-House. At the time when a raid was made by Captain Tompkins, of the Federal army, on Fairfax Court-House, where the lamented Captain John Quincey Marr was killed, the Black Horse, at the request of their captain, were ordered to that point, from which they performed much arduous scouting duty, and became well known to the enemy. Upon the advance of General McDowell, the Black Horse rejoined the army at Manassas. On the 4th of July, in an attempt to ambuscade a detachment of the enemy, two members were killed and several wounded by the mistaken fire of a South Carolina regiment of infantry. In the memorable battle of the 21st of July, in which so absolute a victory was won by the Confederate arms, the Black Horse Cavalry distinguished itself in the pursuit of the flying enemy, and the next day were thanked by President Davis in a speech. Soon after the battle of Manassas, the Black Horse Cavalry was selected by General Joseph E. Johnston, commanding the army, to be his body-guard. In this capacity it received Prince Napoleon and his suite, consisting of Count Sartiges and others, upon their visit to the Confederate army, escorted them to the general's headquarters, and was, the next day, the escort at a review of the army at Centreville.

In the fall of 1861 the command was incorporated in the Fourth Virginia Cavalry, when Captain William H. Payne was promoted to be major of the regiment, and Lieutenant Robert Randolph succeeded to the captaincy, but was soon after detached to form the body-guard of General Earl Van Dorn, commanding a division at Manassas. When General Earl Van Dorn was assigned to an independent command in the further South, he made an unsuccessful application to be allowed to carry the Black Horse with him. In the spring of 1862 the command accompanied General Johnston to Yorktown, and on the march was employed as scouts in the rear, and as guides [594] to the brigade and division commanders, on account of their familiarity with the roads, water-courses, and points suitable for camping. When the army reached Culpepper county it was reported that the enemy, under General Sumner, had advanced as far as Warrenton Junction. General Stuart ordered a detail of ten of the Black Horse to change overcoats with the Governor's Guard, theirs being of a dark hue, and recrossing the Rappahannock to report the movements of the enemy. This detail did not rejoin the command until the march from Richmond to the Peninsula. The Fourth Virginia Cavalry was kept behind the earthworks, extending from Yorktown to James river, until General Johnston began to withdraw his forces. The regiment was then sent to Yorktown, and brought up the Confederate rear from that point of our lines. As soon as McClellan discovered that the rifle-pits in his front had been vacated, he pressed forward and overtook the Fourth Regiment about a mile and a half before it reached Fort Magruder. On this ground, the next day, the principal part of the battle of Williamsburg was fought-one of the best contested of the war, the number of troops on the Confederate side being taken into account. The Fourth halted and then slowly fell back, passing Fort Magruder. The Federals followed, and when they reached the edge of the woods, ran out Gibson's Battery — to engage a Confederate battery in the fort. At the same time a company of the Richmond Howitzers, stationed on elevated ground on the opposite side of the road, also engaged the Federal battery, and a brisk cannonade was exchanged. General Johnston, who occupied a favorable position for observation, discovered that Gibson's Battery was worsted in the encounter and ordered the Fourth Virginia to charge. The regiment was already stripped for the fight, and passing Fort Magruder in a rapid charge, captured the Federal battery. Leaving a few men to take care of the capture, the regiment proceeded by that road into a dense wood, the land on either side of it being too miry for the operations of cavalry. At about two hundred yards after entering the woods, where the road made a sudden turn, the regiment ran upon a large body of opposing cavalry, when Colonel Wickham ordered it to fall back to the edge of the woods. In the execution of this movement Colonel Wickham was pierced by a sabre, and a color-bearer had his flag wrenched from his hands.

Colonel Wickham, being disabled from his wound, relinquished the command of the regiment to Major Payne. Toward nightfall the command was moved back to Williamsburg, and camped for the night. The next day the Fourth Virginia occupied in the line of [595] battle the vacant space between Fort Magruder and the redoubt to its right. The Federal skirmishers advanced against this part of the line, and took position in some timber which had been cut down the past winter. They opened a destructive fire upon the regiment by which several were killed and wounded-among them Major Payne, very severely. He was conveyed to a hospital in Williamsburg, and fell into the enemy's hands when the Southern army withdrew. Finding that the cavalry could not cope upon terms of advantage with sharpshooters thus posted, the regiment was relieved by infantry and moved further to the right of the line of battle.

After the battle of Williamsburg the Confederate army continued its retreat on Richmond, the cavalry protecting the rear. The Black Horse participated in the dangers and hardships of this service, in performing which they were compelled to subsist on parched corn. Near Hanover Court-House, while on picket duty, the Black Horse assisted in checking the pursuit of General Branch's North Carolina troops by Fitz John Porter, who had overpowered and badly worsted them, and in this effort lost many men wounded and prisoners. The command took part in Stuart's raid around McClellan's army as it lay before Richmond, which was esteemed at the time a brilliant and hazardous feat, and participated in the fight at the old church in Hanover, where the gallant Captain Latane was killed.

The regiment to which the Black Horse was attached was now, for a time, camped near Hanover Court-House, and while here an interesting incident took place. An English officer, who warmly sympathized with the Southern cause, presented, at Nassau, to a captain in the Confederate navy a rifle of beautiful workmanship, which he desired him, on his return to Richmond, “to present to the bravest man in the Confederate army.” The naval officer, embarrassed by the scope of his commission, and not knowing, to be sure, where he should find the bravest soldier in the Southern army, thought he could best fulfil his commission by giving the rifle to Captain Robert Randolph, to be by him presented to the bravest man in the Black Horse Cavalry. But Captain Randolph was as much embarrassed in the execution of this commission as the naval captain had been, for how was it possible for any one to say in that command who was the bravest man2 Robert Martin was the first sergeant, and in that capacity had displayed the highest qualities of a soldier, and had, in consequence, won the esteem and respect of both men and officers. Robert Martin, too, was foremost in every fight. He appeared to court danger for itself, and it seemed there was nothing he so little valued as life. To him, by general consent, therefore, the rifle was awarded as “the bravest of the brave.” [596]

About this time General Lee, having heard that Burnside had been moved by sea from North Carolina, and was at Fredericksburg, sent a brigade of cavalry, which embraced the Black Horse, to make a reconnoissance in that direction. The command saw active service and gained valuable information for the General, and on its return to Hanover Court-House, the battle of Cedar Mountain having been fought, it was ordered to join in the pursuit of Pope. The Fourth Regiment crossed the Rappahannock at Wallis' ford, and, marching through farms, regardless of roads, came into the main road from Culpepper Court-House to Fredericksburg, and turning to the right, attacked the cavalry protecting Pope's extreme left and drove it across the Rappahannock at Ellis' mill. Turning toward Brandy Station, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, the command found that General Lee, with Longstreet's Corps, had established his headquarters at Willis Madden's house. Continuing its march, it crossed the railroad and rejoined Stuart, who, with Jackson's Corps, pursued the enemy to the crossings of the Rappahannock at the railroad bridge and Beverly's ford. Thus were the two armies again confronting each other, but on opposite sides of the river. In this situation General Lee, with the ultimate purpose of forcing an action, marched his army by the left flank, and crossing the Hazel river into what is known as the Little Fork of Culpepper, grouped his whole army on the Upper Rappahannock, opposite the Fauquier Springs.

But Stuart's Cavalry, during this movement, had been detached from the army, and crossing the Rappahannock at Waterloo, the first drill-ground of the Black Horse, passed through Warrenton, and attacked, in the rear of Pope's army, Catlett's Station at midnight, thus striking his line of communication with his base of supply. This brilliant exploit resulted in the capture of Pope's headquarter wagons, the destruction of large army stores, and the capture of many prisoners.

Upon the return of the cavalry to the army, across the Rappahannock, the Black Horse was assigned to duty at the headquarters of Jackson, who was about to make his celebrated flank and rear movements on Pope's army, which culminated in the second battle of Manassas.

It had been the purpose of the Confederate commander, when he took position on the Upper Rappahannock, to cross his army at the Fauquier Springs, and occupying Lee's ridge and the adjacent highlands, to compel Pope to deliver battle at some point between Warrenton and Bealton. With this object in view he had crossed [597] Early's Brigade, of Ewell's Division, on what is known as the Sandy Ford dam, a point two miles below the Springs, to protect the men engaged in repairing the bridge at the Springs, over which the army was to pass. But this able plan was defeated by heavy rains, which fell the night before, and swelled the river to such an extent as to interrupt work on the bridge. This enforced delay enabled the Federal general to anticipate his opponent in the occupation of Lee's ridge, and secured to him the advantage of position which Lee had been maneuvring to obtain. Prompted by his military genius, Lee determined to cross the Rappahannock higher up, at Hinson's ford, and marching through Upper Fauquier to gain Pope's rear and compel him to engage battle on other ground than that on which the Federal army was so strongly posted. In pursuance of this plan, Jackson began his movement through the country above designated, until he struck Pope's line of communication at Bristow Station and Manassas Junction, as Stuart had before struck it at Catlett's Station. But the blow delivered by Jackson was a far more serious one; for, in order to regain his lost ground, the Federal commander was compelled to fight the second battle of Manassas. When Jackson struck the railroad at Bristow Station, where the sound of his cannon first apprised Pope of his whereabouts, he left General Ewell to guard the crossings of Broad run. He then moved down the railroad to Manassas, where he captured, in addition to several trains of cars, a large amount of army supplies, all of which were destroyed, except such as could be applied to immediate use. When this capture was first reported to the enemy, it was supposed to have been made by one of Stuart's raiding parties, and in consequence a New Jersey brigade of infantry, stationed below Manassas, was ordered up to retake the place. Possessed with this belief, the command marched to within a short distance of the fortifications, when it was found that it had to cope with Jackson's infantry, instead of Stuart's cavalry. The guns from the fortification opened upon the advancing Federals in front, while on their left flank they were assailed by Braxton's Battery. In this trying situation the brigade behaved in a soldierly manner, and marched from the field with ranks unbroken and colors flying. But when they reached the woods they broke when they were charged by a detachment of twenty of the Black Horse, commanded by Jackson in person, and many prisoners were taken.

Noiselessly and swiftly Jackson traversed the country between Hinson's ford and Bristow Station. With such caution was his march conducted, under the shelter of forest lands, by day, no campfires [598] being allowed by night to indicate the presence of an army, that the enemy were kept in complete ignorance of the important movement. The perilous expedition, and the responsibility which attached to it, did not depress the General, but acted rather like an elixir upon him. His spirits rose high, and he relaxed much from his silent and austere mood. On the march he conversed freely with Lieutenant A. D. Payne, whose roused spirit kindled with his own at the approaching conflict, when a second time a great battle was to be fought on the border land of the hostile republics. The General used few words, but probed his subject to the bottom. His conversation was chiefly about the war, and he expressed himself freely about the merits of the officers of the Federal army, but with more reserve as to the Confederate officers. They were passing through the country of General Turner Ashby's nativity, and were at one time near the place of his birth and the scenes of his early life. Ashby, but a little before, and while attached to Jackson's army, had been killed, about the close of the magnificent campaign in the Valley. The career of the deceased officer had been brief, but as glorious as the morning star before it brightens into the perfect day. In a single sentence, Jackson photographed this peerless soldier, who has-been so justly compared, for generosity and courage, to the immortal Black Prince. He said: “Ashby was born a soldier, and I feel his loss now. He was a man of intuitive military perception; his judgment was never surpassed.”

At The Plains, a village on the Manassas Railroad, about four miles east of Salem, Lieutenant A. D. Payne, with thirty men, was sent back to guide and accompany General Lee, who was with Longstreet's Corps, while Captain Randolph, with the rest of the Black Horse command, remained with Jackson. The lieutenant retraced his steps, and reported to General Lee as he was crossing the Rappahannock at Hinson's mill. The troops were hurried on in the direction of Salem, the track over which Jackson had just passed, and encamped for the night between that point and Orlean. General Lee made his headquarters at Prospect Hill, the seat of the late Dr. Jaquelin A. Marshall, and was then the residence of his family. With his staff, the General found quarters in the house, but Lieutenant Payne and his men camped in the yard. By some unaccountable neglect, the main highway, leading past Prospect Hill from Orlean to Waterloo, and from thence to Warrenton, had not been picketed nor guarded, so that there was that night between the Confederate general and the Federal army, which lay scattered between Waterloo and Warrenton Junction, nothing but this open [599] highway. In this exposed condition things remained for several hours, when it was discovered by Colonel Charles Marshall, the vigilant aide-de-camp of General Lee. About midnight, with consternation, he aroused Lieutenant Payne, and communicated the fact to him, and that the nearest brigade was a mile distant. With his whole force, all the roads in the direction of the enemy were picketed; but, fortunately, the enemy were not apprised of the General's exposed position, and the night passed without alarm. The next day, just before the head of the column arrived at Salem, information was brought to General Lee that a body of the enemy's cavalry were approaching that place. Lieutenant Payne, with his small detachment, was thrown forward to reconnoitre, for the rest of Stuart's cavalry were with Jackson. He dashed into the village, but was soon driven out by overwhelming numbers, and he endeavored, but without success, to entice them into an ambuscade prepared for them by General Longstreet. During the skirmishing which took place with the Federal cavalry, several prisoners were captured, from whom information was gained that Lieutenant Payne had struck Buford's Brigade of Federal cavalry, who, having captured some of Jackson's stragglers, had heard from them, for the first time, of his. movement. The next day General Lee reached Thoroughfare gap, but did not succeed in forcing a passage through it till late in the evening. During the entire day he was uneasy for Jackson's safety, and, in the evening, requested Lieutenant Payne to send him a soldier who was acquainted with the passes of Bull Run mountains. The man was stripped of all the indicia of a soldier, and, dressed in the garb of a countryman, was mounted on a lame horse and a wagon saddle. Thus equipped, he was started with a dispatch for Jackson, concealed on his person, and was directed, at every hazard, and with all celerity, to deliver it.

Later, Lee directed Lieutenant Payne to make a reconnoissance to the rear of the force opposing him at Thoroughfare gap, and report without delay. Taking with him a party of five or six trusty men, the gallant officer made a detour to the right, and succeeded in reaching the turnpike, which connects Warrenton with Alexandria, near New Baltimore, about nine o'clock at night. From that point, he proceeded down the turnpike, and, mixing with the enemy, discovered that they were retiring rapidly toward Gainesville. This highly important information he quickly communicated to the Confederate general, at the residence of Colonel Robert Beverly. The next day, about noon, in advance of Longstreet's march, this detachment of the Black Horse opened communications [600] with Jackson's Corps, near Groveton, a place on the Warrenton turnpike, below New Baltimore. As soon as the two corps of the Confederate army were again united, Lieutenant Payne, with his detachment, was ordered to report to his command. The Black Horse, thus consolidated, took part in the great battle of the 30th, the Second Manassas, in which General Pope was as disastrously defeated as McDowell had been on the same ground. In this engagement, many members of the Black Horse were fatally wounded, among them Erasmus Helm, Jr., than whom there was no braver soldier nor more charming gentleman.

The second battle of Manassas continued through three days, and was unsurpassed for severity by any fought during this bloody war. The effect of the heavy rain, which had prevented Lee from crossing his army at the Fauquier Springs, was now experienced in all its force; for Pope, in this prolonged struggle, was heavily reinforced from McClellan's army transported from Harrison's Landing, which could not have been done had the battle taken place in the vicinity of the Rappahannock according, as we have seen, to Lee's first design. The Federal army, having been routed from every position it had occupied in the battle, retreated into the strongly intrenched camp at Centreville, whose fortifications had been constructed by the combined skill of Johnston and Beauregard during the first winter of the war, and now a second time offered its shelter to a broken, defeated and demoralized Federal army. On Sunday morning, while the victorious army was recruiting its wearied virtue and binding up its wounds, Lee and Jackson, sitting on a fallen tree, were engaged in close consultation. Their horses were grazing at a short distance, when an alarm was given that the Federal cavalry were approaching. The two generals sprang for their horses, but failed to secure them, and in doing so Lee fell forward and so injured his hands as to be compelled to ride in an ambulance through the ensuing Maryland campaign with his hands bandaged and in a sling. At this critical moment two privates of the Black Horse tendered their horses and the officers were again mounted. But it proved to be a false alarm. At noon the Confederates began to march to Pope's rear, at Centreville, passing Sudley church and Cub run bridge, the object being again to interrupt Pope's communications, and compel a renewal of the conflict. When the Federal general discovered this movement he moved out of the ramparts at Centreville, and with disorganized masses recommenced his retreat toward the Potomac. From the crest of a high hill Jackson saw the retreating columns, and, at the same time, observed a detachment of the [601] Federal army as it was taking position behind the Independent and unfinished Manassas Railroad. This was evidently a force thrown out to protect the Federal retreat. Jackson immediately attacked it, but with an inadequate force, and the fight at Chantilly took place, which lasted until night. It is left to the future historian to inquire why the entire strength of the Confederate army was not employed against the retreating columns of the enemy. Perhaps it was because Fate had declared against the establishment of the Southern Republic, and it was by such means that her conclusions were to be wrought out.

Flushed by this victory, it was determined to cross the Potomac and carry the war into the enemy's country. If this military policy had been adopted as promptly after the first victory at Manassas, it is clear that the Confederate States would have been triumphant in the war. The sound policy of secession would then have been vindicated, and have marked the beginning of a great nation instead of being hawked at as a “perfidious bark built in the eclipse” that has wrecked the fortunes of a people.

The army marched for Edwards' ferry. Along the route there was manifested by the people the greatest curiosity and desire to see their great General-“Stonewall Jackson,” as he had been baptized on the battle-field. Groups would be collected on the road, composed of all ages and both sexes, black and white crowded together. When Jackson would be pointed out to them they would send up a great shout, and the General, lifting his cap, would gallop away from the applause. In this connection an amusing incident occurred which created no little merriment, and exemplifies the liberties his soldiers would sometimes take with “Old Stonewall,” as they called their darling. The Black Horse sent forward one of their members to ride as near to Jackson as military etiquette would allow. He was, by all odds, the ugliest fellow in the command; indeed, the Black Horse used to brag that he was the ugliest fellow in either army. When the next admiring crowd was passed, and they demanded to see the great captain, this soldier was pointed out to them. When they shouted and cheered he halted, and, with the utmost complaisance, received their compliments. Jackson, of course, had galloped on as usual. When the General, turning in his saddle, saw what was going on, he was greatly amused, and the joke was repeated until the novelty wore off.

The Black Horse accompanied Jackson in his expedition to Williamsport, Martinsburg, and Harper's Ferry. At the latter place he employed the pen of Lieutenant A. D. Payne to copy his order [602] of assault to be delivered to his officers-orders which were never acted on, as the place was surrendered before the assaulting columns began their work. The General remained at Harper's Ferry till a late hour of the night, disposing of the prisoners and the material of war which he had captured. He then started, escorted by Lieutenant Payne, with a detachment of twenty of his command, to reach Lee's headquarters at Sharpsburg, leaving his army to follow. At daybreak, a little out of the town, the party halted, and built a fire in a skirt of woods. Here Jackson slept while a party was sent to discover the position of Lee's headquarters. As soon as this fact was reported to him he joined the general commanding. The next day the battle of Sharpsburg was fought, during which the Black Horse acted as aides and couriers. In Jackson's report of this campaign he extols the conduct of this command, naming and complimenting its officers.

When the Confederate army recrossed the Potomac, General Stuart made strenuous efforts to have the Black Horse restored to the cavalry division. He wanted them to accompany his raid around McClellan's army at Harper's Ferry, where it lay gathering strength for another invasion of Virginia. But Jackson would not agree to Stuart's proposal. He said: “I know the, Black Horse, and can employ the greater part of the command for staff duty.” In this raid Stuart took with him fifteen squadrons of horse, composed of details from his regiments, one of which the writer of this commanded. The raiders crossed an obscure ford of the Potomac, above Harper's Ferry, General Wade Hampton, with a battery of horse artillery, being in the van, and camped that night at Chambersburg. The next day they passed through Emmettsburg on their return to the Potomac, and, marching all night, early the ensuing day reached White's ford of the Potomac, below Harper's Ferry, having thus made the circuit of the Federal army. But here Stuart encountered a formidable force of infantry and cavalry, stationed to oppose his passage of the river. Without hesitation, and with that undaunted courage which he showed on every battle-field, he drove the enemy before him, rapidly threw his command over the river, without so much as losing a horse-shoe, and marched off for the army headquarters as the artillery of the enemy was taking position on the heights he had just evacuated. As he passed their camps the infantry cheered him, a compliment they were always slow to pay the cavalry.

When McClellan crossed the river at Harper's Ferry, Lee was encamped at Winchester. Jackson then restored the Black Horse to its place in the cavalry division, for Stuart was ordered to throw [603] himself in front of the advancing columns of McClellan, and delay his march until Lee could again interpose between the Federal army and Richmond. In obedience to this order, Stuart crossed the Blue Ridge into Loudon county, and heavily skirmished with the Federal advance through that county and Upper Fauquier. At Union, near the dividing line of the counties, he held his position so well that it was not until the evening of the second day that he was compelled to relinquish it. At Upperville, Markham, and Barbee's cross-roads, Stuart made stands until compelled to retreat by the pressure of numbers. In the meantime, Lee crossed the Blue Ridge, at Chester gap, and took position on the south bank of the Rappahannock. He was there informed that McClellan had been relieved, and Burnside promoted to the command of the Federal army, and that he had indicated his intention of marching toward Fredericksburg. Lee again put his army in motion, and posted it on the Spottsylvania Heights, at Fredericksburg, and confronted Burnside on the opposite side of the river. The Union army again suffered defeat, and again changed its general.

In the winter of 1863, while General Hooker was on the north bank of the Rappahannock, the Black Horse was detached from the Fourth Virginia Cavalry, and ordered to Lower Fauquier and Stafford county to report the enemy's movements to General Lee. During this time the command performed many brilliant exploits in its numerous encounters with the enemy, captured three hundred prisoners, and minutely reported Hooker's movements. Its services were handsomely acknowledged by General Lee and General Stuart in general orders.

An incident that occurred at this time illustrates the nature of this service. General Fitz Lee, with a brigade of cavalry, had crossed the Rappahannock, at Kelly's ford, and moving down the north bank of the river, had driven the enemy's pickets to within three miles of Falmouth. At Hartwood church he captured a number of prisoners, and detailing a guard of men, whose horses were in a weak and crippled condition, ordered Lieutenant A. D. Payne to take command and conduct them to the army, crossing at the United States ford. But he informed him that he would, in all probability, fall in with a company of Confederate cavalry which had been on picket. After proceeding about two miles, Lieutenant Payne came suddenly on a body of cavalry drawn up in the road, and discovered, after calling to know to which flag they belonged, that they were a squadron of the enemy. He immediately turned about, and, ordering the guard to shoot any prisoner who should [604] attempt to escape, endeavored to return to Fitz Lee. Finding himself rapidly pursued, he turned off the main road, but soon encountered, drawn up in line, another force of Federal cavalry. He passed very near to them, and, much to his relief, succeeded in reaching his brigade. There he informed Major Morgan, of the First Virginia Cavalry, of the perils he had escaped, and, directed him to the place where he would find the squadron he had last seen. Major Morgan at once, with an adequate force, repaired to the spot, finding the enemy occupying the same position, who at once surrendered. When Morgan returned with his prisoners, Lieutenant Payne inquired of their commander why he did not attempt to rescue the prisoners. The officer replied, “I was only waiting to surrender, for we were all too much excited to see that the greater part of your force were prisoners.” Lieutenant Payne replied: “I was not quite that far gone; but if you had made an attack I should have been compelled to withdraw the guard and let the prisoners go.”

When Fitz Lee returned to his position on the left flank of the army, Captain Randolph, again in command of the Black Horse, gave permission to ten or a dozen of the men to follow the march of the enemy toward Fredericksburg and pick up stragglers and horses. This they did for some distance, but finding neither men nor horses, the party returned. Two of them, however, “Old blaze” and Joe Boteler, concluded to follow the hunt yet longer. A narrative of their adventures may prove interesting, and will at least show how such work may be done. Near the Stafford line they stopped at Mrs. H.‘s and applied to have their canteens filled with brandy. This the old lady positively refused to do, saying: “You are in danger enough, without adding to it by drink.” But she relented when they promised to bring her back “six Yankees.”

And this is how they complied with their engagement. Between Spotted tavern and Hartwood church, the scouts charged with a yell a small party of the enemy and succeeded each in capturing a mounted cavalryman. These prisoners were disarmed and dismounted, and ordered to remain on the roadside until the captors should return. To induce them to do so, they were told that there was a force in the woods who would capture them if they attempted to escape. Depositing the arms and horses with a citizen, the scouts continued their ride in the same direction. Soon they came in sight of the rear guard of a cavalry force, and, taking advantage of a body of wood to conceal their numbers, charged with a shout. This hurried the retreat, and two of them, who had straggled, were taken prisoners. A little [605] further on they met a soldier in blue, who proved to be an Irishman, and not suspecting an enemy, was easily added to their list of captures. Retracing their steps, they called for the horses and arms they had left, and, to their surprise, found their first capture waiting for them by the wayside. Remounting them on their own steeds, they met a little boy, who informed them that there were “three Yankee cavalrymen” at his uncle's, who lived a mile from the road. The horses were a temptation which the scouts could not resist, but the difficulty was how to dispose of their five prisoners while they went to secure them. Knowing two ladies zealous for the cause, they prevailed upon them to furnish a supper for the captured soldiers, but to delay in its preparation until their return. As fortune would have it, there were at the house two citizens who were charged with having taken the oath. The captured horses and arms having been secreted, with the exception of two carbines, these were loaded and given to the suspected citizens, and they were ordered to stand guard at the door. They were frankly told of the suspicion that attached to them, and that if they allowed the prisoners to escape they would be sent to Castle Thunder. The scouts followed their boy guide to his uncle's gate. One of them entered by the front door while his companion went around to the rear. As he entered the sitting-room on the first floor he found three Union soldiers. They sprang for their arms, which they had left in the hall, but the other scout coming to his companion's assistance, they were forced to surrender. One of them proved to be a courier of Colonel Kellogg, of the Eighteenth Pennsylvania, and had on his person valuable dispatches. The next step was to secure the horses, which having done, the Confederates returned with their additional prisoners and relieved the citizen guard. Supper over, the party started for the Confederate camp, but stopped at a house on the road, where the prisoners were allowed to sleep until daylight. Passing Mrs. H.‘s, where they had been supplied with their brandy, they exhibited their eight prisoners, two more than they had promised to bring. As they entered camp with their captures, they were warmly congratulated by their comrades, and sent forward by Captain Randolph to General Stuart's headquarters. When told of the adventures of the scouts, the General expressed great satisfaction, but remarked it was the first time in his experience he had ever known whisky or brandy entitled to be put on the credit side of the sheet.

In the ensuing campaign of 1863, the Black Horse constituted a part of Stuart's cavalry division, and participated in the battle of [606] Chancellorsville, the severe fight at Brandy Station, and in all the movements conducted by Stuart to mask the movements of Lee's army in the Valley of Virginia as it was being marched for the invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania. At Aldie, in the county of Loudon, the Black Horse, under command of Lieutenant A. D. Payne, covered itself with glory. The Southern cavalry had been pressing the pursuit from the direction of the Blue Ridge, during the day, and had brought the enemy to a stand at a point on the Middleburg road two miles from Aldie, and at an equal distance from that place on the Snickersville road, these two roads converging at Aldie. Colonel Mumford was in advance with the Fourth Regiment, the Black Horse being the leading squadron. He halted his command, and taking with him two pieces of artillery, he ordered Lieutenant A. D. Payne to follow with his command. He posted the artillery on a prominent point in the angle formed by the two roads, and commenced firing on the enemy who were advancing in large numbers on the Snickersville turnpike. To capture the guns placed in this exposed position the Federals sent forward a regiment of Massachusetts infantry. In this critical position of his guns, Colonel Munford ordered Lieutenant Payne, who had not with him more than thirty of his men, the rest being scattered as videttes, to charge the advancing column of cavalry, but never expecting, as he afterward said, to see one of them return alive. Lieutenant Payne formed his men in the turnpike in a column of fours, and down upon the enemy he rode with a loud cheer, the dust concealing the insignificant nature of his force. The regiment, thus deceived by the boldness and impetuosity of the attack, fired at random and was thrown into confusion. A number of prisoners were captured before they discovered their error, and returned to the attack. But the object of the cavalry charge had been attained and the guns were withdrawn in safety, and the timely arrival of the rest of the brigade saved the detachment from destruction.

When Stuart discovered Hooker's intention to cross the Potomac at Edwards' ferry, he left two brigades of cavalry posted between Lee and the Federal army to continue to perform outpost duty, while with the rest of his division he moved to the rear of the enemy's cavalry, and placed himself between the Federal army and Washington. This he effected, crossing the Bull Run mountain, and, after raiding through Prince William and Fairfax counties, recrossed the railroad at Burk's Station, where he found a large store of forage of great value to his tired animals. From this point he marched to the Potomac, at Senecca falls, where, as the fording was deep, the [607] caissons were emptied and the bombshells carried over by cavalrymen in their hands. After capturing a canalboat laden with commissary stores, Stuart proceeded to Rockville, in the direction of Washington City. Here a large Union flag was flying, which he would not allow his men to pull down, saying he was not fighting the flag, but his real motive was that he wanted it as a decoy. From Rockville several regiments were sent in the direction of Washington, who captured the long wagon-train so often spoken of in connection with this campaign. It was drawn by more than an hundred mules, and seemed a rich prize; but it proved in the end a serious disadvantage, for it retarded the movements of the command, beside requiring a large detail of men. This raid produced great consternation among the enemy, and drew from Meade's army all his available cavalry to oppose it. But for this encumbrance Stuart could to better advantage have engaged the enemy, and destroyed, or, at least, interrupted the communications with Washington and Baltimore. At Westminster, eighteen miles west of Baltimore, the Fourth Virginia Regiment charged a regiment of Federal cavalry, driving a portion of it toward Baltimore, and the rest toward Frederick. From this point Stuart proceeded to Hanover, in Pennsylvania, where he engaged a large cavalry force under General Kilpatrick. In this fight the Second North Carolina Regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel William H. Payne, formerly captain of the Black Horse. He bore himself with conspicuous gallantry, and was taken prisoner in a charge which he led, the regiment sustaining considerable loss in killed and wounded. The effort of Kilpatrick to detain Stuart was foiled by this fight, and he moved on to Carlisle barracks, which, with his artillery, he set on fire. From Carlisle the Southern cavalry marched to Gettysburg, and took position on Lee's left, near Huntersville. They took part in the battle on the memorable 3d of July, 1863, in which the Southern Confederacy received its death wound. Upon Meade's advance into Virginia, Lee retired to the south bank of the Rapidan, with headquarters at Orange Court-House, where he remained until October 11th. He then determined to assume the offensive.

With this intent he ordered General Fitz Lee, with whom the Black Horse was serving, to cross the Rapidan at Raccoon and Morton's fords, where he found himself face to face with Buford's cavalry division. In the fight which ensued, the Black Horse lost some of its bravest men, and the Fourth Virginia two of its most gallant officers. This spirited attack, combined with an attack by General Lomax's Brigade, compelled Buford's retreat to the direction of Stevensburg, closely pursued by Lomax. Captain Randolph, in [608] command of the Black Horse, with some other men from the regiment, arrived at Stevensburg as the Third Virginia Cavalry had been repulsed. Being in line of battle he charged the Federals with great spirit, and drove them back on their dismounted line. Captain Randolph then ordered his men to fall back a few hundred yards in an open field, and there rallied them around their colors, under a heavy fire of the enemy. By this gallant conduct a large number of the Third Virginia, with their lieutenant colonel, were rescued. For this service General Fitz Lee complimented Captain Randolph in high terms, and said it was the most beautiful sight he had ever witnessed. This commendation was greatly valued by the command, but it had been dearly bought by the loss of many of its bravest members. General Fitz Lee continued the pursuit of Meade as far as Bull run, who, occasionally, turned upon his pursuers, and punished their audacity, as at Bristow Station. General R. E. Lee fell back to the Rappahannock, General Fitz Lee on the railroad, and Stuart, with Hampton's Division, on the turnpike, bringing up the rear. As soon as Fitz Lee crossed the river he sent two of the Black Horse back to watch the enemy's advance, and report his progress in rebuilding the railroad, but with permission to take any other men with them they might select. They crossed the river and recruited Sergeant Joseph Reid, of the Black Horse, a man remarkable even in that army and in that command for sagacity, calmness in the moment of danger, and a lion-like courage. Having collected much valuable information the party reported to General Fitz Lee, who ordered Sergeant Reid to take command of his scouts operating in Lower Fauquier, Prince William, and Stafford counties. So well did he perform this hazardous service, that he has left with the people of those localities many a thrilling tale of his daring and hair-breadth escapes. In consequence of information sent by Sergeant Reid, that the Federal army was moving toward the Rappahannock, furnished with eight days cooked rations, and sixty rounds of ammunition, General Lee withdrew to the south side of the Rapidan. During this movement Meade advanced to Mine run, in Spottsylvania, where an undecided affair took place between the two armies, the Fourth Virginia Cavalry holding Roberson's ford on the Rapidan and repelling the efforts of the enemy's cavalry to effect a passage of the river at that point. From this point the Black Horse, with the exception of Sergeant Reid's party, were sent to Upper Fauquier and Loudon counties to observe and report the enemy's movements, on which duty they remained during the winter, at the close of which they were ordered to report to the regiment at Orange Court- [609] House. In the spring of 1864, before Grant, who now commanded the Union army, began his forward movement, General Sedgwick made a reconnoissance in force in the direction of Madison Court-House, and was met by A. P. Hill's Corps. In the collision which ensued Second Lieutenant Marshall James, one of the most gallant officers of the Black Horse, with a small detachment, greatly distinguished himself. In the latter part of April the cavalry corps marched to Fredericksburg and took position on the right of the Army of Northern Virginia. In May they broke camp to meet Grant's advance from Culpepper into the Wilderness by way of Germanna ford.

On the 4th and 5th of May were fought the battles of the Wilderness, after which Grant commenced upon Richmond his celebrated movement by his left flank. The Black Horse engaged in the desperate fighting which lasted for several days, in which the cavalry was employed to stem the torrent of Grant's advance until the infantry could be marched around to his front. During these engagements the Black Horse lost heavily in killed, wounded, and prisoners. Among the latter was a young Englishman by the name of Alston, who had crossed the sea to join this command. He was as gallant, in army phrase, as they make them, and true to the cause for which, he had staked his life. While in prison his friends in England sought to procure his release, and the Federal authorities were willing to set him at liberty upon condition of his returning home and taking no further part in the war. But Alston would not consent to be separated from his comrades. He was, in due course of time, exchanged, but died in Richmond before he could rejoin his command.

On Sunday, May 8th, the Southern cavalry were driven back to a position near Spottsylvania Court-House, where they formed a thin screen, behind which the infantry was concealed. The enemy advanced in full confidence of encountering only the force they had been driving, from cover to cover, since earliest dawn, but they were met by a murderous fire from a long line of battle, which sent some cf them to the rear, but stretched most of them on the field. The day after the battle of Spottsylvania Court-House, Captain A. D. Payne ordered two of his chosen scouts to report for duty to the general commanding. They were directed to approach as near Chancellorsville as possible and report whether the troops that had been stationed at that point had been moved toward Spottsylvania Court-House, and to discover, if possible, at what point Grant was concentrating his army. The scouts, being entirely unacquainted [610] with the country, were sent to General Early, in the hope of obtaining a guide. But while Early could not furnish them a guide, he concerted with them signals, which, being communicated to the pickets, would enable them to re-enter his camp at any hour of the night, and himself conducted them through the lines of General Joe Davis' Brigade. Protected by the darkness, they soon found themselves in the midst of Grant's moving army, and made the discovery that the troops from Chancellorsville had been moved up to Spottsylvania Court-House, and that the centre of Grant's camp was south thirty degrees east from a particular house which had been marked on General Lee's diagram of the country, and furthermore that the Federals were throwing up earthworks. As soon as this information was communicated to General Lee, he turned to his map, and, drawing the line as the scout had reported, appeared greatly pleased. He said to the officers around him: “I am in the right position.”

On the evening of the 9th, the cavalry followed Sheridan in his raid on Richmond, and had desperate fighting with his rear guard. On the 10th, the Black Horse, under command of Captain A. D. Payne, charged a party of the enemy and captured a number of prisoners. On the 11th, the Confederate cavalry, still in pursuit of Sheridan, renewed the fight at the Yellow tavern, near Richmond, in which General Stuart was mortally wounded. On the 12th, they engaged the head of Sheridan's column, at Meadow bridge, on the Chickahominy, but, overwhelmed by the weight of superior numbers, were compelled to withdraw. In the execution of this order, Lieutenant Colonel Randolph, a former captain of the Black Horse, was instantly killed. A braver and more beloved officer never perished on the field.

On Grant's arrival near Richmond, a desperate engagement occurred near Harris' shop, in which the Southern cavalry behaved with great gallantry, fighting for many hours as infantry, and for the greater part of the day resisted and obstructed the advance of Grant's whole army, until Lee had time. to get his troops up from his line of battle and deliver the heavy blow which the next day he inflicted on the Federal army at the Second Cold harbor. In this sanguinary engagement the Black Horse lost more than half the men taken into action.

Soon after, at Trevellyann's Station, General Hampton fought, perhaps, the bloodiest cavalry fight of the war, in which the Fourth Virginia Regiment behaved with conspicuous gallantry, sustaining again a heavy loss. Sheridan was now compelled to retire upon the [611] main body, harassed by the Confederate cavalry, by whom he had been completely foiled in his attempt upon the communications leading to Richmond by way of the Virginia Central Railroad and James River canal. Returning to Lee's army, the Black Horse were occupied in arduous picket duty, and engaged in daily skirmishes, taking part, also, in the overthrow of Wilson's cavalry raiders.

In August, 1864, General Fitz Lee's cavalry division was sent to reinforce Early in the Valley, who had fallen back after his campaign against Washington. In the fight at Waynesborough the Black Horse was the leading squadron of the Fourth Regiment, and was especially complimented by General Early. After driving the enemy through the town, the Confederate cavalry halted on a hill in the western suburbs, when an officer in the Union service, Captain J. A. Bliss, faced his squadron, and, placing himself at its head, ordered a charge. But his men followed not their gallant leader. He, not looking to see, or, as it appeared, caring whether he was accompanied by his command, dashed alone into the midst of the Black Horse. No one fired at him, the men not wishing to kill so brave an officer. With his sabre he wounded several of the command, and some one knocked him from his horse, and might have killed him but for the interposition of Captain Henry Lee, a brother of Fitz Lee, who, observing the dismounted officer to make the Masonic sign, went to his assistance.

During this campaign, and after the affair just mentioned, George W. Martin and Campbell, of the Black Horse, with a member of the First Virginia Regiment, were returning from a scout late in the evening. It was raining, and the soldiers had their oilcloths thrown over their shoulders, which, in a great measure, concealed their uniform. On looking back, they saw three mounted men coming up behind them, whom they inferred were Union soldiers, as they were in the rear of Sheridan's forces. Drawing and cocking their pistols, they rode slowly, that they might be overtaken. The Federals--for such the party were-had had their suspicions aroused, and also prepared for the fight. As soon as they came alongside of them, the scouts wheeled and demanded a surrender, when they were fired upon by their opponents. They proved to be Lieutenant Meiggs, of Sheridan's staff, and two orderlies. Lieutenant Meiggs' shot passed through Martin's body, but he braced himself, returned the fire, and killed Meiggs. The other two scouts captured one of the orderlies. The other made his escape, and reported to Sheridan that his party had been bushwhacked, who, in retaliation, ordered the burning of every house [612] in a radius of five miles. Joshua Martin was carried to the house of a farmer, where he was tenderly nursed until sufficiently recovered to return to his home in Fauquier. After the war closed, General Meiggs, believing that his son had been assassinated, sought to have Martin arrested and tried by a court-martial for murder; but when the facts, as above stated, were certified to him by Captain A. D. Payne, the matter was dropped, for Lieutenant Meiggs had been slain in open and legitimate war. George W. Martin is now at home, a prosperous agriculturist, and one of the most respected citizens in the community in which he resides.

In the month of December, the Black Horse was ordered into tardy county, and performed hazardous but thankless service among the “Swamp Dragoons,” as the disloyal element in that county named itself. They suffered severely from cold, but consumed large quantities of pork and apple brandy, in which, at that season, that inhospitable region abounds.

Returning from this duty, the command proceeded to Richmond, where it remained until the beginning of the final act in this stupendous tragedy. They fought side by side with their brethren of the cavalry at Five Forks, who never displayed a more indomitable spirit than in these closing scenes of the war. They were in the saddle day and night, marching and fighting without food, and without sleep, in the vain endeavor to protect the Confederate trains from the swarming hordes of the enemy's cavalry. At High bridge, the Black Horse shared, with their comrades of Fitz Lee's Division, the last rays of glory that fell on the Army of Northern Virginia, capturing an infantry brigade, and slaying its commander on the field. Near Farmville, the cavalry repulsed a division of Gregg's cavalry, which came upon them unawares, and nearly succeeded in capturing General Lee. But, instead, in this collision, General Gregg was taken prisoner. On April 9th, General Fitz Lee was ordered to hold the road from Appomattox Court-House to Lynchburg, which he did, in spite of repeated efforts by the enemy's cavalry to wrest it from him, until a flag, conveying the intelligence of a truce, compelled him to pause in his advance upon the enemy. Thus, sword in hand, the Black Horse, which had formed the nucleus of the Army of Northern Virginia, was found at the post of duty and of danger when that army of tattered uniforms and bright muskets surrendered to overwhelming numbers and resources. Of this army it might be said: “Vital in every part, it could only by annihilation die.” The division of General Fitz Lee did not surrender until some time afterward; but, being cut off from the main body of the [613] army, the Black Horse patiently awaited the approach of night, and, under its friendly cover, sought their various homes, which, four years before, they had left to fight for and protect. But the command was again collected at the Fauquier Springs, by order of Lieutenant Ficklin, Captain A. D. Payne being then a prisoner of war. They had resolved to repair to Johnston's standard, which was still, as they thought, flying in North Carolina. But the writer of this article repaired to their rendezvous, and informed Lieutenant Ficklin that General Johnston, too, had surrendered, and that the cause for which they had all fought had been lost. The Black Horse Cavalry was then disbanded, on the margin of the same river on which it had been organized, and but two miles lower down the stream.

The Black Horse Cavalry may now be found settled, for the most part, in their native seat, Lower Fauquier, as diligent in peace as they were courageous and faithful in war. But members of the command may be found scattered among the States, assiduous, in all the fields of enterprise, to catch the golden six miles of fortune. Of the Black Horse it may be said, as it was said of Cromwell's Ironsides, except that they tread the higher walks of life: “That, in every department of honest industry, the discharged warriors prospered beyond other men; that none were charged with theft or robbery; that none were heard to ask an alms; and that if a baker, a mason, or a wagoner attracted notice by his diligence or sobriety, he was, in all probability, one of Oliver's old soldiers.”

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