Pouncing on pickets. [from the Richmond Dispatch Feb. 14, 1897.] bold dash of a detachment of the 9th Virginia Cavalry. Forty-nine Yankees captured. A well-planned and neatly-executed nocturnal raid Interestingly related by one of the Participants—Perilious return journey.
To the Editor of the Dispatch :In the latter part of the month of November, 1862, the 9th Virginia Cavalry Regiment, commanded by Colonel R. L. T. Beale, held position on the extreme right of General Lee's army on the Rappahannock, and were encamped in the vicinity of Lloyd's, in Essex county. The duties of the regiment were to guard the river shore with an extended line of pickets. These pickets were frequently aroused and entertained by the passage up the river of Federal gunboats and transports, communicating with Burnside's army at Fredericksburg. Quite frequently, also, an exchange of rifle shots was made with the Federal pickets on the Northern Neck shore of the river. Many men of this regiment had their homes and families on that side of the river, and the sight of the Union horsemen riding unchecked over the roads and fields so familiar to them aroused in many breasts an intense desire to cross the river and strike the enemy a blow. Into this feeling none entered more heartily than the Colonel himself. Accordingly, scouts were dispatched to ascertain the enemy's exact position, strength, disposition of sentinels, and also to search for boats sufficient to carry over several hundred troops. An application was at the same time forwarded to headquarters for permission to cross the river with 300 men. The scouts returned promptly, having ascertained that one cavalry regiment—the Eighth Pennsylvania—was on outpost duty, encamped at Greenlaw's, in King George, and picketing the river as far down as Layton's Ferry. One squadron, quartered at Leedstown, held the extreme left of their line. The scouts carefully noted the houses in which the men of this squadron slept, where their horses were picketed, and how their sentinels were posted at night. Only two  boats—a large batteau and a skiff—could be secured, and these were duly provided with oars and concealed in a marshy creek, a mile or two above Leedstown, in readiness for use. These preliminaries having been arranged, the necessary permit from General Lee was awaited impatiently. It came on the 1st of December, but forbade that more than one hundred men should be allowed on the expedition, or an officer holding rank above that of major. In consequence, the purpose of attacking the entire Federal regiment, was abandoned, and a plan arranged for capturing the squadron at Leedstown.