67.-General Stuart's expedition of June 13th, 14th, and 15th.
Official report of the exploit.
Richmond Dispatch account.
It being determined upon to penetrate the enemy's lines, and make a full and thorough reconnoissance of their position and strength, Gen. J. E. B. Stuart
ordered the First, (Col. Fitz-Hugh Lee
,) Ninth, (Col. F. H. Fitz-Hugh Lee
,) and Fourth Virginia cavalry, (Lieut. Gardiner
commanding,) to hold themselves in readiness.
these regiments however, did not turn out more than half their usual strength, the Fourth not having more than four companies in the field.
The Jeff Davis
troop were also incorporated in the detail, as also two pieces of Stuart
's flying artillery--a twelve-pound howitzer and a six-pound English rifle piece — the whole force not numbering more than one thousand four hundred men, if even the total reached that number.
On Thursday, at dawn, this column proceeded down the Charlottesville (Brook Church) turnpike, and had gone some distance without molestation, when the vanguard overtook, some eight or ten adventurous negroes journeying rapidly towards the Federal
These runaways were secured and sent to the rear, and as night was drawing near, pickets and videttes were placed, and the column camped for the night near Ashland
, it being considered imprudent to progress further.
Towards the morning signal-rockets were fired, and answered by our troops at the lines far to the rear, and as soon as day broke the column proceeded on its march.
Carefully and cautiously journeying, the Federal
lines were penetrated, when horse-pickets discovering our videttes advancing, the videttes hastily retired, according to orders, upon the main body concealed by woods in a turn in the road.
Being near Hanover Court-House, the Federals
were wont to proceed thither daily for forage, as a captured picket informed the men, but on this occasion had orders to proceed as far as possible toward Richmond
It being thought possible to capture the whole detachment, dispositions were accordingly made, but upon the appearance of the second squadron of the Ninth, (composed of the Caroline dragoons, Capt. Swan
, and Lee
's light horse, Lieut. Hungerford
commanding,) under command of Capt. Swan
, the enemy's outpost hastily galloped back, and their main body took to flight, Capt. Swan
's squadron dashing after them down the road, making a splendid race of two miles at a killing pace.
Having proceeded thus far, and near the
Court-House, the enemy seemed to have been reenforced, and made a stand on the road, and in fields to the right and left of it. Thinking to flank them, and capture the whole force, Colonel Lee
, of the First, proceeded round their position to cut off retreat, but the movement occupying longer time than desired, the second squadron of the Ninth prepared to charge.
And as they trotted toward the enemy, the Federal
leader could be plainly seen and heard haranguing his troops, urging and begging them to act like men, and stand.
His eloquence was of no avail, and as the second squadron of the Ninth increased their pace, and came near to them with flashing sabres, the Federal
officer gallopped toward them, thinking his men would follow.
Not so, however, and as he wheeled his horse back again, our men were upon him; he fell shot in the head; his men gave a feeble volley with pistols, and scampered off the field in ludicrous style, leaving killed and wounded behind, and many prisoners.
Capturing outposts and pickets in great number, and overtaking wearied horsemen, it was ascertained that the force engaged were squadrons of the Fifth United States regulars, who had seen hard service in Texas
and the Indian
countries, and had never refused a charge before.
Their camps were reported to be adjacent, and proceeding thither every thing was destroyed and put to the torch.
From several captured in and about these camps it was ascertained that several regiments were waiting for our advance up the road, and as their pickets were stronger and more numerous than usual, it was deemed advisable to halt.
The second squadron of the Ninth were dismounted and thrown to the front, (on the skirts of the wood, to the right and left of the road,) to act as skirmishers and defend the artillery, which was moved up and took position commanding a bridge in the hollow — the enemy's force and ours being screened from view by rising ground at either end of the road — our force being farther from the front than theirs.
Appearing in considerable force, the enemy advanced in admirable order; but, suddenly facing to the right about, were quickly retreating, when the dismounted men poured a galling volley into them, emptying many saddles, and causing much confusion.
Reforming, they were a second time reinforced, and came on to the charge up the rise in gallant style.
Burning to distinguish themselves, the third squadron of the Ninth, (composed of the Essex
light dragoons, Capt. Latane
, and Mercer County
cavalry, Lieut. Walker
commanding, under command of Capt. Latane
,) had received orders to charge the advancing enemy, and putting spurs to their steeds, dashed gallantly along the road, the brave Latane
fifteen paces in front.
“Cut and thrust,” shouted the Federal
“On to them, boys,” yelled Latane
, and the meeting squadrons dashed in full shock together.
The front of either column were unhorsed, and the fight became instantly hot and bloody.
singled out the Federal
commander, and cut off the officer's hat close to his head, but the Federal
dodging the cut, rode past, and as he did so, discharged two revolver loads at Latane
, killing him instantly.
The enemy rapidly giving way, our men shouted in triumph, and cut right and left, pistolling the foe with frightful accuracy and havoc; and seeing the Federal
commander in pursuit of Adjutant Rodins
, (who was himself in pursuit of an enemy,) a private dashed after him and clove his skull in twain.
The battle between these rival squadrons, though of short duration, was fierce and sanguinary in the extreme.
Scattered in all directions, and apparently paralyzed by the relentless fury of this corps, the enemy fled in every direction, leaving killed, wounded, horses, accoutrements, etc., in profusion upon the dusty roads.
Successful pursuit being impossible, their camps were visited and destroyed; wagons on the road were overtaken and burned, and the entire route from Ashland
, by Hanover Court-House and Old Church, to Station No. 22
's, we believe,) on the York River Railroad, was naught else but a continuous scene of triumph and destruction.
Commissary and quartermaster's stores were seized and burned at every turn; prisoners and horses were taken and sent to the rear, and by the time of their arrival at the railway station, more than one million dollars' worth of Federal property must have been captured and destroyed, besides scores of prisoners riding in the rear.
Upon approaching the railroad, cars were heard advancing, and the whistle sounded.
By orders every man was instantly dismounted and ranged beside the track.
Again the whistle blew, and thinking the force to be a friendly one perhaps, the steam was stopped, when the Caroline
troop, opening fire, disclosed the ruse, and, putting on steam again, on sped the train towards the Chickahominy
, and despite logs placed on the track, made good its escape, but the carriages being but uncovered freight-trucks, and having soldiers on them, the slaughter that ensued was frightful.
Many of the enemy jumped from the train, and were afterwards captured or killed to the number of twenty or more.
The engineer was shot dead by Lieut. Robinson
Still adding to their conquests at every step, a detachment was immediately sent to the White House
, on the Pamunkey
, and discovering four large transports moored there, and some hundred wagons or more, with teams, etc., in a wagonyard, all these were instantly seized, to the great fright and astonishment of the Federals
, and the torch immediately applied to all things combustible.
One of the transports escaped and floated down the river.
The contents of the other three were chiefly valuable commissary and quartermaster's stores, vast quantities of army clothing, grain, fruits, and sutlers' stores.
Tempting as they were, all things were laid in ashes, the horses led off and the prisoners secured.
Thinking that the enemy would send out an overwhelming force in pursuit, an unlikely route was selected, and the whole command proceeded in triumph to New-Kent Court-House. New-Kent Court-House being the rendezvous, the fourth
squadron of the Ninth, under command of Capt. Knight
, (consisting of the Lunenburgh troops and Lancaster
cavalry,) having burned the transports and wagons, joined the column on its route thither.
“Hab we got Richmon‘ yet, boss?”
asked a darkey in a corn-field, turning up his eyeballs in admiration of the “Maryland
cavalry;” “well, if we ain't, we soon shall, for McClellan
and our boys is sure to fotch him.”
Others, however, proved keener-sighted than the negro: women ran to the wayside cottage-door; a flash of triumph mantled their cheek; and, as the eye kindles into a flame of admiration, tears trickle down, and “God bless you, boys,” is all they say. Now arid then an old man is met by the wayside, pensive and sad, but recognizing the horsemen, he stops, looks astonished, and throws up his hat for the “Maryland
cavalry,” just arrived.
Others wave handkerchiefs--'tis useless to deceive them, for a woman instinctively discovers friends or foes at sight.
“Our cavalry here!”
exclaim they in wonder; and with hands clasped upon their breast, mutely, but eloquently, gaze.
“Take care, men, take care.
Heaven bless you; but take care — the enemy are everywhere.”
Such is their gentle warning, given to the weary, dusty, chivalric column dashing through the country in the enemy's rear.
The advance-guard having reached New-Kent
, and found an extensive sutler's establishment, some dismount and enter.
Every description of goods that taste or fancy might require are found in profusion here.
Clothes of all descriptions and qualities, cutlery, sabres, pistols, shoes, preserves, conserves, boots, stationery, wines, liquors, tobacco, segars, tea, coffee, sugar, tapioca, maccaroni, champagne, sherry, and burgundy in great quantity; in fine, all that men could buy for money was there discovered, while round the store lolled Federal soldiers, and the sleek, fat proprietor eloquently holding forth upon McClellan
's wonderful genius as a commander, and the speedy subjugation of the rebels.
Our wearied horsemen called for refreshments, which the sutler handed to the “Maryland
cavalry” (!) with great alacrity; but when pay was demanded our troopers roared with laughter, told the proprietor who they were, and much to his surprise and indignation, pronounced them all prisoners of war. As the other troops arrived it was found that a magnificent Federal ambulance had been captured on the route, containing many valuable medical stores.
The vehicle and contents were burned when overtaken, the driver, good-looking, well-dressed doctor, and companions, being accommodated with a mule each, and were at the moment to be found among nearly two hundred other nondescripts — sailors, teamsters, negroes, sutlers, etc., etc., in the motley cavalcade at the rear.
Helping themselves liberally to all the store afforded, our troops remained at the sutler's till nearly midnight, (Friday,) when, being comparatively refreshed and all present, the head of the column was turned towards the Chickahominy
Champagne, we are told, flowed freely while any remained; wines, liquors, and segars were all consumed.
Yankee products of every description were appropriated without much ado, and with light hearts all quietly journeyed by a lonely road, near the main body of the enemy, and a little before dawn of Sunday were on Chickahominy
's bank, ready to cross.
Being far below all the bridges, and where deep water flows, they knew not how or where to cross!
Here was an awful situation for a gallant band!
Directed to Blind Ford, it was fifteen feet deep!
The enemy had blocked up all the main roads, and had thousands scouring the country eager to entrap or slaughter them — but two miles from McClellan
's quarters, within sound of their horse-pickets — and without means to cross!
Quietly taking precautions against all surprise, strict silence being enjoined upon the prisoners, first one horseman plunged into the flood and then another, at different points — all too deep; no ford discoverable, no bridge!
The horses, it was thought, would follow each other and swim the stream — it was tried, and the horses carried away by the current!
Breaking into small parties, the cavalrymen swam and re-swam the river with their horses, and when some fifty or more had been landed, a strange but friendly voice whispered in the dark: “The old bridge is a few yards higher up — it can be mended!”
'Twas found, and mended it could be!
Quietly working, tree after tree was felled, earth, and twigs, and branches were carried and piled up on the main props — old logs were rolled and patched across the stream, yet after long and weary labor the bridge was built, and the long and silent procession of cavalry, artillery, prisoners, and spoils safely and quietly passed this frail, impromptu bridge, scarcely any sounds being heard but the rush of waters beneath.
Once across and in the swamp, all was industry and expedition.
Artillery-axles sank low in the mire--ten Yankee horses were hitched to each piece, and as the first rays of morning crimsoned the tree-tops, the long line rapidly sought the shade of woods away from the Federal
Yet our troops had not proceeded far when the advance were halted.
“Who comes there?”
cried the Federal
horsemen in the swamp.
“Who goes there?”
calls another, and quicker than thought our advance-guard (by order) dash away into the open ground; the Federals
fire half a dozen shots, and rush in pursuit.
Into the thicket some half-dozen Federal horsemen dart after our men, and quicker than lightning are surrounded and prisoners!
Once more within our lines, all went merry as a marriage-bell.
Quickly the dirty, weary band sped along the Charles City
road, dawn revealed them to our pickets, and they entered our camps faint and famished, but the noblest band of heroes that ever bestrode a charger, or drew a battle-blade for their birthright as freemen.
“What, then, was the general result?”
asked we of a wearied, dusty trooper, watering his jaded and faithful animal by a roadside spring.
“The result,” answered he, proudly, but much exhausted, “the result?
We have been in the saddle from Thursday morning until Saturday
noon, never breaking rein or breaking fast.
We have whipped the enemy wherever he dared to appear, never opposing more than equal forces; we have burned two hundred wagons, laden with valuable stores, sunk or fired three large transports, captured three hundred horses and mules, lots of side-arms, etc. ; brought in one hundred and seventy prisoners, four officers, and many negroes; killed and wounded scores of the enemy; pleased Stuart
, and had one man killed — poor Capt. Latane
This is the result; and three million dollars cannot cover the Federal
loss in goods alone.
As to myself,” said he, mounting and trotting away, “I wouldn't have missed the trip for one thousand dollars. History cannot show such another exploit as this of Stuart
He spoke the truth, honestly and roughly, as a true soldier serving under an incomparable leader.
More words are not now needed; the whole country is astonished and applauds ; McClellan
is disgraced ; Stuart
and his troopers are now forever in history.
Richmond Examiner account.
We have the pleasure this morning of chronicling one of the most brilliant affairs of the war, bold in its inception and most brilliant in its execution.
On Thursday, Gen. J. E. B. Stuart
, with the First and Ninth regiments of Virginia
cavalry, and the cavalry of Cobb
's Legion, and three of Stuart
's artillery, left our lines on a reconnoissance of the enemy.
The artillery pieces were drawn by twelve horses, and four spare horses to each.
The force reached Hanover Court-House on Thursday, and soon after engaged near the Old Church two squadrons of the enemy's cavalry, whom they dispersed by a charge, killing and wounding about forty of them, and taking a number prisoners.
The force then proceeded down to Putney's Landing, on the Pamunkey River
, where three large steam transports were lying, loaded with commissary and ordnance-stores for McClellan
These they captured and burned with the stores, there being no means of conveying them away.
This accomplished, the cavalry proceeded on toward Tunstall
's station, on the York River Railroad.
When within a short distance, a train was heard coming down the road going in the direction of West-Point
The track was immediately barricaded, and a portion of the cavalry was dismounted, and drawn up to receive the train with their volleys if it did not halt.
In a few moments the train came dashing along, loaded with soldiers.
As soon as the engineer saw the position of affairs, he put on all steam, and the engine knocked the obstructions from the track, when the long file of dismounted cavalry now opened upon the train a terrible fire that ran along its whole length.
The engineer was shot dead at his post, others fell from the tops of the cars, and it was evident that inside the cars the slaughter was very great.
The train, completely riddled with bullets, kept on its way.
The cavalry, after this exploit, pushed around in the rear of the Chickahominy
to James River
, falling upon a train of about one hundred wagons on the way, which they burned, securing the horses and mules, and taking one hundred and seventy-five prisoners. All this work was accomplished during Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Gen. Stuart
returning to his headquarters about five o'clock yesterday morning.
The fruits of this three days exploit are one hundred and seventy-five prisoners, between three hundred and four hundred horses and mules, three stand of colors, and the destruction of the enemy's stores, transports and wagons, valued at between two hundred thousand and three hundred thousand dollars. We lost but one man in the skirmishing, and that, we regret to say, was Capt. Latane
, of the Essex
The prisoners, one hundred and seventy-five in number, arrived in the city yesterday after-noon, in charge of a cavalry escort, and were confined in the prison corner of Twentieth and Cary streets.
As we have before stated, the force comprising the reconnoissance consisted of the First and Second regiments of Virginia
cavalry, General Stuart
; the Jeff Davis Legion
, the cavalry of the Cobb Legion
, and three pieces of artillery, These rendezvoused during Thursday at Ashland
, and started to the work on Friday morning. Captain Latane
was killed in the skirmish near Tunstall
He commanded a squadron of cavalry, and acted very gallantly.
Five balls struck him in the body, and he fell from his horse and died instantly.
A number of the Yankees
were killed and captured here, and several of our men wounded slightly.
When approached at close quarters, the Yankee
cavalrymen tumbled from their horses and took to the woods and thickets, leaving their horses and equipments in our possession.
The body of Capt. Latane
was placed in an ambulance, with the wounded, and sent back over the route toward Ashland
The depot at Tunstall
's was burned, and the most valuable portable property secured.
The train fired upon consisted of eight flats or gondolas, filled with soldiers, and was coming from the direction of the White House
An attempt was made to turn the railroad switch, so as to bring the train to the station, but it was found to be locked.
When the train was first heard approaching, the cavalry was some distance from the road, and had to ride very hard to get up in time to obstruct the track and deliver a volley, which did great execution, the Yankees
falling from the cars by scores.
The cavalry kept in rapid motion in detached squads, so as to prevent any information of their whereabouts from being conveyed to the main body of the enemy.
Halts were only made long enough to complete the work of destruction at the various points, and to pick up a few prisoners in their path.
All round they could be seen skipping over the fields like frightened deer; but their capture was deemed hardly worth the danger a halt would incur.
Thus our forces went for thirty miles down to Charles City Court-House.
daylight on Saturday morning, they passed up in sight of the Federal
At the Chickahominy
, a bridge was constructed across, and the cannon passed over, with the exception of one caisson, which was lost, the cavalry swimming their horses.
Considerable quantities of oranges, lemons, pine-apples, raisins, and other delicacies, rare in this section, secured from the spoils captured from the enemy, were brought to this city yesterday.
Much praise is accorded Gen. Stuart
by his command for his bravery and coolness, he being the first to plunge his horse into the Chickahominy
in regaining this side, remarking, as he did so: “There may be danger ahead, men, but I will see. Follow me.”
We learn that McClellan
's telegraph communication with Fortress Monroe
was cut by the cavalry, about three miles this side of the White House
The horses and mules captured from the enemy arrived in the city yesterday.
The mules are fine-looking animals, and will be quite an acquisition to the transportation department.
The prisoners taken were made to swim the Chickahominy
, or a portion of them.
In their circuit round, the cavalry came upon and burned several small Yankee camps and five or six sutlers' stores, one of them filled with coffee.
The Federal property destroyed will certainly amount to one million of dollars
The men were in the saddle forty-eight hours--men and horses being without food or sleep for that period.
Throughout the city yesterday, the “circuitriding” of the entire length of the enemy's lines by Gen. Stuart
, was regarded as the most dashing and successful feat of the war. In the North
, it will doubtless afford the papers an opportunity of heralding “another great Union victory.”
They are welcome to all such, and as many more as they can gain.
Between four and five o'clock yesterday evening, the negroes, miles and Yankees captured by Gen. Stuart
, (an account of whose exploit will be found elsewhere,) were marched up Main street under an escort of cavalry.
, on foot, marched first, between files of horsemen; the negroes came next, some on foot and others in wagons; while the mules, to the number of two hundred, unbridled and of their own accord, followed the procession in a drove.
At the corner of Eighteenth street, the Yankees
and negroes were wheeled to the left, and conducted to the Libby prison
, while the mules were sent to stables in another direction.
On their arrival at the Libby prison
there were found to be one hundred and forty-five Yankees and sixteen negroes.
We give the names of the officers, together with their rank and the place of their capture.
They were all taken on Friday, the thirteenth instant; Capt. James Magrath
, company G, of the Forty-second New-York, and Lieut. John Price
, of the Forty-second New-York, were captured at Tunstall
's station, on the York River Railroad; Lieut. H. B. Masters
, of the Fifty-fifth New-York, at the White House
; and Lieut. Charles B. Davis
, Sixth United States regular cavalry, Lieut. Wm. McLean
, company H, Fifth United States regular cavalry, and Assistant-Surgeon Adam Trau
, Fifth United States regular cavalry, at Old Church, Hanover
There were about twenty regulars among the privates, the balance being members of the Forty-second New-York volunteers.
The whole party, negroes and all, had been drenched to the chin by the heavy rain that had just fallen, and, shivering with cold, their teeth chattered in chorus as their names were being registered.
While the Yankees
were being disposed of, an intelligent negro prisoner, named Selden
, who belongs to Mr. Braxton Garlick
, standing up in the wagon in which he had been brought to the city, entertained a large crowd of citizens with an account of the state of things in the neighborhood of Waterloo
His master, Mr. Garlick
, is a refugee at present in Richmond
His farm, in Waterloo
, is situated on the Pamunkey
, six miles above the White House
He left home on the approach of the enemy, who, until dislodged on Friday, have been in quiet possession of his premises.
We give Selden
's account: His business was that of a weaver, but the Yankees
on their arrival, destroyed his loom and put him to work in his master's corn and flour-mill, where he was employed when taken by our cavalry.
, a negro named Moses
, and himself were running the mill.
took all the flour the mill could turn out, and paid cash for it. The Yankees
had not injured anything of Mr. Garlick
's except the loom, but they had treated Selden
, individually, very badly.
They took all his eggs and wrung all his chickens' necks and eat them before his eyes, and would not give him a cent.
All of his master's negroes were at home.
They were afraid to go with the Yankees
Being interrogated as to the circumstance of his capture by our men, Selden
About an hour by sun Friday evening, Mr. Clots, Moses and myself were at work in the mill.
The Yankees were just eating supper.
Some of them were in their tents, and some were sitting about under the trees.
Suddenly I heard such a mighty hurrah out of doors that I thought heaven and earth had come together.
Running to the door, I saw the Yankees running in every direction, and our men pursuing and catching them.
One Yankee jumped into the Pamunkey and tried to swim across, but our men fired at him and he sunk directly.
This was the only firing done.
Philadelphia press account.