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How Gen. Banks's army was saved.

Williamsport, Md., May 26, 1862.
dear father and mother: You have probably heard by this time of the three days fighting from Strasburgh and Front Royal to Martinsburgh. Our company and company B were ordered to Front Royal, in the mountains, twelve miles from Strasburgh, last Friday, and when we got within two miles of our destination we heard cannonading. The Major ordered the baggage to stop, and our two companies dashed on, and found several companies of our infantry and two pieces of artillery engaged with several thousand of the enemy. Just as we arrived on the field, Col. Parem, who had command of our forces, rode up to me and ordered me to take one man and the two fastest horses in our company, and ride for dear life to Gen. Banks's headquarters in Strasburgh for reenforcements. The direct road to Strasburgh was occupied by the enemy, so I was obliged to ride round by another, seventeen miles. I rode the seventeen miles in fifty-five minutes. Gen. Banks didn't seem to think it very serious, but ordered one regiment of infantry and two pieces of artillery off. I asked Gen. Banks for a fresh horse to rejoin my company, and he gave me the best horse that I ever rode, and I started back. I came out on the Front Royal turnpike, about two miles this side of where I left our men. Saw two men standing in the road, and their horses standing by the fence. I supposed they were our pickets. They didn't halt me, so I asked them if they were pickets? They said no. Says I: “Who are you?” “We are part of Gen. Jackson's staff.” I supposed that they were only joking. I laughed, and asked them where Jackson was. They said he was in the advance. I left them and rode to Front Royal, till I overtook a soldier, and asked him what regiment he belonged to. He said he belonged to the Eighth Louisiana. I asked how large a force they had, and the reply was “twenty thousand.” I turned back and drew my revolver, expecting either a desperate fight or a Southern jail; but the officers in the road didn't stop me, and I was lucky enough not to meet any of their pickets. But if it was not a narrow escape, then I don't know what is. When I got out of the enemy's lines I rode as fast as the horse could carry me to Gen. Banks, and reported what I had seen and heard. He said I had [23] saved the army. In less than an hour the whole army was in motion towards Winchester. After I left Front Royal to take the first despatch to Strasburgh, our two companies of cavalry, who were covering the retreat of infantry and baggage, were attacked on three sides by about three thousand of the enemy's cavalry. Our boys fought like devils, till nearly half of them were killed or wounded, and then retreated to Winchester. Captain White, William Watson, Henry Appleby, and nine or ten men of our company are killed or taken. William Marshall is all right, except a slight sabre-wound in the shoulder. We had a battle at Winchester, got licked, and retreated. Our company and company E were ordered to cover a Parrottgun battery and bring up the rear. We rode all the way from Winchester to Martinsburgh with cannon-shot and shell flying around us faster than it did at Bull Run. We crossed the Potomac last night. It was so dark that we couldn't find the ford, and had to swim our horses across. We have got our batteries in position on this side, and the rear of the army is crossing. From your son,

Charley H. Greenleaf, Company D, Fifth N. Y. Cavalry.

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Banks (5)
Stonewall Jackson (2)
E. Ross White (1)
William Watson (1)
Parem (1)
William Marshall (1)
Charley H. Greenleaf (1)
Henry Appleby (1)
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May 26th, 1862 AD (1)
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