Doc. 188.-General Stoneman's raid through Virginia, April 29 to May 7.
Colonel Kilpatrick, with his regiment, the Harris Light cavalry, and the rest of the Illinois Twelfth regiment, have just arrived at Gloucester Point, opposite the fort. They burned the bridges over the Chickahominy, destroyed three large trains of provisions in the rear of Lee's army, drove in the rebel pickets to within two miles of Richmond, and have lost only one lieutenant and thirty men, having captured and paroled three hundred prisoners. Among the prisoners was an aid to General Winder, who was captured, with his escort, far within the intrenchments outside of Richmond. This cavalry have marched nearly two hundred miles since the third of May. They were inside of the fortifications of Richmond on the fourth, and burned all the stores at Ayle's Station, on the Mattapony. On the fifth they destroyed all the bridges over the Pamunkey and  Mattapony, and a large. depot of corn and stores near and above the Rappahannock, and came in here in good condition. They deserve great credit for what they have done. It is one of the finest feats of the war.
Rufus King, Brigadier-General Commanding Post.
Colonel Kilpatrick's report.
Major-General Stoneman, I left Louisa Court-House on the morning of the third inst., with one regiment (the Harris Light cavalry) of my brigade; reached Hungary, on the Fredericksburgh Railroad, at daylight on the morning of the fourth, destroyed the depot, telegraph wires, and railroad for several miles, passed over to the Brook turnpike; drove in the rebel pickets down the pike across the Brook; charged a battery and forced it to retire to within two miles of the city of Richmond; captured Lieutenant Brown, aid-de-camp to General Winder, and eleven men within the fortification; passed down to the left to the Meadow Bridge, on the Chickahominy, which I burned; ran a train of cars into the river; retired to Hanovertown, on the Peninsula; crossed and destroyed the ferry just in time to check the advance of a pursuing cavalry force; burned a train of thirty wagons, loaded with bacon; captured thirteen prisoners, and encamped for the night five miles from the river. I resumed my march at one A. M. of the fifth; surprised a force of three hundred cavalry at Aylett's, captured two officers and thirty-three men; burned fifty-six wagons and the depot, containing upward of twenty thousand barrels of corn and wheat, quantities of clothing and commissary stores, and safely crossed the Mattapony and destroyed the ferry again, just in time to escape the advance of the rebel cavalry pursuit. Late in the evening I destroyed a third wagon-train and depot, a few miles above and west of Tappahannock, on the Rappahannock, and from that point made a forced march of twenty miles, being closely followed by a superior force of cavalry, supposed to be a portion of Stuart's, from the fact that we captured prisoners from the First, Fifth, and Tenth Virginia cavalry. At sundown I discovered a force of cavalry drawn up in line of battle above King and Queen Court-House. The strength was unknown, but I at once advanced to the attack, only, however, to discover that they were friends, a portion of the Twelfth Illinois cavalry, who had become separated from the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Davis, of the same regiment. At ten A. M., on the seventh, I found safety and rest under our brave old flag, within our lines at Gloucester Point. The raid and march about the entire rebel army, a march of nearly two hundred miles, has been made in less than five days, with a loss of one officer and thirty-seven men, having captured and paroled upward of eight hundred men. I take great pleasure in bringing to your notice the officers of my staff, Captain P. Owen Jones, Captain Armstrong, and Captain McIrvin, Doctor Hackley and Lieutenant Estis, especially the latter, who volunteered to carry a despatch to Major-General Hooker. He failed in the attempt, but with his escort of ten men he captured and paroled one major, two captains, a lieutenant, and fifteen men. He was afterward himself captured, with his escort, and was afterward recaptured by our own forces. He arrived this morning. I cannot praise too highly the bravery, fortitude, and untiring energy displayed throughout the march by Lieutenant-Colonel Davis, and the officers and men of Ira Harris's Light cavalry, not one of whom but was willing to lose his liberty or his life, if he could but aid in the great battle now going on, and win for himself the approbation of his chiefs. Respectfully submitted,
Lieutenant-Colonel Davis's report.
headquarters Twelfth Illinois cavalry, Gloucester point, Va., May 10, 1863.General: In compliance with your request I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Twelfth Illinois cavalry since leaving the main body of the cavalry corps, on the South-Anna, on the morning of Sunday last. My orders were to penetrate to the Fredericks-burgh Railroad, and, if possible, to the Virginia Central, and destroy communications. Should we cross the Virginia Central, I was to make for Williamsburgh, said to be in possession of our forces. We marched before daybreak, passing down the bank of the South-Anna, through a region never before occupied by our forces. We burned one bridge, and dispersed a party of mounted guerrillas, who made a poor attempt to oppose us. We struck the first railway line at Ashland. Lieutenant Mitchell, with about a dozen men, was sent ahead to occupy the place. We dashed into the village, and took it without loss. There were but few of the enemy there, and they escaped us. We captured their arms, however, and destroyed them. Words cannot describe the astonishment of the inhabitants at our appearance. I assured them that no harm would be done their persons or property, and were soon better acquainted. We cut the telegraph wire and tore up a half-dozen rails, and piling a quantity of boards in some trestle-work south of the town, made an immense fire which soon consumed the entire structure. While at this work, a train of cars, approaching the town, was captured and brought in for inspection. It proved to be an ambulance train from Fredericksburgh of seven cars filled with two hundred and fifty sick and wounded, officers and soldiers, with a guard. Among them was an aid of General Letcher, and several officers of considerable rank. We received their version of the late fight, and paroled  them, and let them go, leaving the cars for the benefit of the poor fellows who were more seriously injured. The engine and tender of the train, together with another found in the town, were rendered completely useless by a mechanic from the ranks. We found here a large stable filled with rebel horses and mules. Some of them we took with us, but were obliged to leave the most of them. We destroyed twenty wagons, with harness, etc. We left Ashland at six o'clock P. M. A few miles from the town word was brought us that eighteen wagons was camped in the woods near by. I sent Captain Roder, with companies B and C, to destroy them, which he did. We struck the Central Railroad at Hanover Station, about eight o'clock P. M. Although wearied and exhausted by our day's labor, I thought it best to complete the duty assigned us, and break all the enemy's connections before resting. Not an enemy opposed us. We captured and paroled about thirty officers and men at the station; they made no resistance. Captain Shears was ordered to destroy the trestle-work, which reached about ten rods to the south side of the depot. The work was effectually done by the same process as at Ashland, and by its blaze we could clearly discern the confederate guards passively standing at the other end. We also burned a culvert, and cut the telegraph wires, and burned the depot buildings, store-houses, stables, and a train of cars, all belonging to the confederate government, and filled with property. It would be impossible to give a precise statement of the damage here inflicted upon the enemy. It must have been great. There were more than a hundred wagons burned, a thousand sacks of flour and corn, and a large quantity of clothing and horse equipments. The buildings and cars were full of property, collected for the use of the Southern army. All private property we respected, and I believe that none whatever was destroyed. By the light of the burning buildings we left the station and marched for the court-house, which had been previously occupied by Captain Fisher with companies A and G, who had placed pickets there and taken a captain and four men prisoners. We passed through the court-house and marched down to within seven miles of Richmond, where we bivouacked till eight o'clock the next morning, when we marched for Williamsburgh. At Tunstall Station (near the White House and the Richmond and Yorktown Railroad) a train of cars filled with infantry and a battery of three guns, was run out to oppose us. I thought it best to make an effort to break through before the men could be got out of the cars, or the battery in position I therefore brought up my two foremost squadrons, and ordered a charge, which was executed by them, Charles Reanes, with companies D and F, taking the lead, and followed by Captain Sheares, with companies H and I. This charge was made most gallantly. The infantry filled the embankment of the railway, and poured upon us a severe fire, but my men dashed up to the embankments in splendid style, and, with carbines and pistols, responded to the fire with equal effect. It was, however, impossible to break through. There were formidable rifle-pits to the left of the road, and the enemy soon filled them, and we were forced to retire, with a loss of two killed and several wounded; among the latter, Lieutenant Marsh, who was among the foremost in the charge, and who received so severe a wound in the right arm, that we were obliged to leave him in one of the neighboring houses. Failing to penetrate the enemy's lines at this point, I determined to cross the Pamunkey and Mattapony Rivers, and make for Gloucester Point. In this movement I had nothing to guide me but a common map of the State of Virginia, and I was in entire ignorance of the position of the enemy's force, except that the line before me was closed. My information was of that poor sort derived from contrabands. I selected Plunkett's Ferry, over the Pamunkey, and occupied it, after driving away a picket on the other side, with whom we exchanged shots. We crossed in a boat holding fifteen or eighteen men and horses, which was poled over the river. Our passage was not disputed. In the same manner we crossed the Mattapony, at Walkertown, after driving away a picket, two of whom we captured. Between these two ferries a portion of the command under Major Bronson, became detached, and did not join us until the seventh instant. They captured fifteen rebels and destroyed a quantity of saddles at King and Queen Court-House. From Walkertown we marched to Gloucester Point, having travelled a distance of over two hundred miles, much of it through Southern homes, never disturbed by the presence of the enemy. Not far from Saluda we captured and destroyed a train of eighteen wagons, loaded with corn and provisions. Our total loss in the expedition has been two commissioned officers and thirty-three enlisted men. We brought with us one hundred mules and seventy-five horses, captured from the enemy. We captured, in the course of our march, a much larger number, which we could not bring on. The amount of property destroyed is estimated at over one million of dollars. Respectfully submitted,
To Brigadier-General Rufus King, Commanding at Yorktown:
To Brigadier-General Rufus King, Commanding at Yorktown:
H. Davis, Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding.
Account by a participant.
headquarters Stoneman's cavalry corps, Friday, May 8, 1863.I will commence the narrative at the time when it may be said the command first entered the enemy's lines by crossing Kelly's Ford. This was effected, without damage, on the morning of Wednesday, April twenty-ninth, the Eleventh, Twelfth, and Fifth army corps crossing on the same day. One division, however, of General Stoneman's command, that commanded by Gen. Averill, forded the river near the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, and soon after crossing encountered a small force of the enemy's cavalry,  and a fight, in which artillery was employed for a short time, ensued — the enemy retiring after a brief contest. The loss on either side was small. General Averill's orders were understood to be to proceed along the road toward Culpeper and Gordonsville, and by a dashing flank movement to keep the enemy's troops, known to be located in that vicinity, employed, while detachments from the main column were engaged in the most important duty of cutting off the rebel army of the Rappahannock from its base of operations. Unfortunately, Gen. Averill's command did not protect the right of the main body, and, as a consequence, the operations at different points were materially interfered with. His guns were heard on Thursday, and from prisoners subsequently captured, we learned that a large force had been encountered at Rapidan Station, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, and after a short fight, General Averill retired. At all events he was not seen, nor his anxiously listened for guns were not heard again. General Buford went to the left after crossing Kelly's Ford, and had a skirmish with the enemy. The enemy charged and were repulsed; before they advanced again an abattis was constructed out of trees; the enemy charged, received a volley and retired, leaving one dead man on the field. General Stoneman, with the bulk of his command, remained near Kelly's Ford until nightfall, when the order to march was given, and the whole force crossed and bivouacked a short distance beyond a little rivulet — now much swollen by the recent rains — known as Fleshman's River. Here, in an open ploughed field, the troops slept soundly, without other protection from a cold, pitiless rain-storm that prevailed all night, than that afforded by their blankets and rubber cloths. The night was dreary in the extreme. All fires were prohibited, all bugle calls were suspended, and orders were delivered sotto voce, so that the enemy should have no opportunity whatever of judging of the number or position of the force. These precautions were carefully observed during the nine days campaign, and to this may be attributed in part the success of the enterprise with so little loss. Thursday morning, (April thirtieth,) the whole command was aroused from slumber before daylight; after a little shaking and wringing, “boots and saddle” was whispered to the different commanders, and we were soon upon the road again. The facility with which man adapts himself to any circumstances — particularly if a little disagreeable in point of fact — was exemplified this morning. The night had been cold and wet, just about as disagreeable weather as one meets during a lifetime, and nearly every body was drenched to the skin, and yet not a man could have been found willing to own that he was in any way uncomfortable. In fact, the comfortable night's rest obtained in three inches of mud and water, was the boast of every one. “Never slept better in my life,” said a gentleman of the medical persuasion, who had just wrung the water out of his blankets and seated himself in a soaked saddle, and who the day before was suffering the torment of rheumatic pains from head to foot. What the worthy doctor expressed, all experienced. Our pickets were charged upon during the night by strolling rebel cavalry, but the camp was not alarmed; in fact, the affair was not generally known in camp. The same movement was repeated at early dawn, without damage. Our troops are quite conscious of their strength, and will not easily be scared from their purpose. The command, which had before been culled of all sick men and doubtful horses, was culled again to-day, and all pack animals save about twenty, all weak horses, and all sick or weak-kneed troops were sent back across the river. The command was at last in light marching order. To-day, being well within the enemy's lines, great caution was exercised; proceeding a few miles through a piece of woods in parallel columns, a large open space of rolling ground was reached, when a halt was made in the woods, and the whole district was patrolled for an enemy. These precautionary plans were carried out during the whole expedition. The exercise of caution was particularly necessary to-day, because cannonading could be heard on the right — supposed to be in General Averill's command. The advance of General Buford's column arrived near Minot's Ford, on the Rapidan, at one o'clock P. M. Lieutenant Penn Gaskell, Aid-de-Camp, with a squadron of the Fifth cavalry, crossed, and dashing up the river, caused some one thousand six hundred rebel infantry — assembled to protect the crossing at Raccoon Ford, two miles above — to leave in great haste. They succeeded in escaping with a piece of artillery which they had intended to use upon the head of General Gregg's column. Lieutenant Penn Gaskell followed the flying fugitives for five miles on the road toward Orange Court-House, (capturing a lieutenant and nine men — mostly artillerymen,) and General Gregg crossed the river at Raccoon Ford without difficulty. At night the whole force encamped on a hill commanding the ford, with orders to be in the saddle at two A. M. Friday, May first, another cold, wet night, was passed in the open air, and all pretended to enjoy it hugely, and the men were standing to horse at the hour indicated, but the march was not commenced till after daylight — a guide was wanted. Major Falls, of General Gregg's staff, foraged to supply the deficiency, and soon after caused much amusement by dashing along the line at the head of the column with a reliable contraband astride his horse behind. To-day, at Orange Spring, a lieutenant on Jackson's staff, named Mount, was captured while returning from Fauquier County, where he had been on a short leave of absence. He alleges he was captured only when his horse became unmanageable. The approach to Orange Spring was very quiet, and so close upon a column of rebel cavalry that they were forced to throw away several wagonloads of provisions, and abandon their jaded  horses and accoutrements. A few stragglers were captured. Among the captures to-day was a rebel engineer and team filled with the implements employed in his department. At two o'clock P. M., scouts reported that several hundred of the enemy's cavalry, with a train, were escaping by a side-road on our right. Colonel Wyndham was sent in pursuit, and went to the vicinity of Madison, without overhauling the force, however. There was some straggling to-day, owing to the desire of a few of the rear-guard to obtain peach brandy, which the inhabitants deal out liberally, with a view, no doubt, to making captures. The day and night being pleasant, the command marched until half-past 3 o'clock Saturday morning, May second, when a halt was made at Greenwood, one mile west of Louisa Court-House. Here was reached the Central Virginia Railroad. Detachments were sent up and down the road for miles to destroy the track, culverts, and bridges, and also to act as pickets to prevent surprise. The work was well done. Just at dawn, Colonel Kilpatrick charged into Louisa Court-House. The visit of Yankees was entirely unexpected, and the people were caught napping, just as they had rolled over for a morning snooze. The possibility of the invading troops being Yankees was not dreamed of until several straggling rebel soldiers had been arrested. They supposed it to be Stuart's cavalry. When the scales had fallen from their eyes with the rising of the sun, the whole town was panic-stricken. Fully believing the villainous falsehoods so industriously and pertinaciously circulated by the Jeff Davis despotism at Richmond, as to the treatment the people had everywhere received at the hands of our soldiers, they were much relieved when assured that their lives would be spared, and that private property would not be interfered with, except in such cases as all civilized nations consider legitimate — supplying the actual necessities of the troops. After this assurance, the people talked freely and unreservedly with officers and men. A breakfast — consisting of corn, hog, hominy, and rye coffee — was obtained at the hotel for two dollars. For shilling calico, two dollars and fifty cents per yard was asked at the stores; very poor whisky, thirty-two dollars per gallon, and every thing else was proportionately high. The people of this town, like those of many others I have visited in rebeldom, occupy a humiliating position. They are not innate secessionists; in fact, but few of the people think for themselves at all. That labor is performed for them at Richmond, and all they have to do is to pay. Jeff Davis has full control over their minds; they are passive instruments in his hands, and, as a rule, but few have any excuse for opposing the Government of the Union, except that they are told to do so by the master demons of the rebellion. To-day the people of Louisa saw for the first time Uncle Samuel's postal currency, and offered any number of confederate paper dollars for Uncle Sam's paper representative of twenty-five cents. Greenbacks are held in high estimation. A pair of shoes, for which a store-keeper demanded twenty-eight dollars, were offered for seven dollars, if paid in greenbacks. The reader should bear in mind that this was in a place where the rebel government has heretofore held undisputed sway. While halting in Louisa, a squadron of the First Maine cavalry, picketing the Culpeper road, was attacked by a superior force, and, after a most gallant resistance, fell back, leaving two dead. The First Maine and Second New-York were sent to their support, when the enemy fled. The ladies, yesterday, along the road, assured us that we should have “plenty of fight” at Louisa Court-House. But like many other rebel boasts, the wish was father to the thought. At four o'clock P. M. Saturday, May second, the railroad having been destroyed for miles, and a number of cars and bridges — over Greenwood and Hickory Rivers — burned, horses and troopers well supplied with rations, the command was moved upon a hill to the east of the town, and there for an hour awaited the threatened attack by troops known to be approaching from Gordonsville. But the two regiments at the west of the town were quite sufficient to induce a retrograde movement of both infantry and cavalry. At five o'clock the command started for Thompson's Cross-Roads, (or Four Corners,) which point was reached at about half past 11 o'clock P. M. From here the different expeditions started to cut the enemy's lines. At twelve o'clock midnight, General Stoneman called all of the principal officers together, and explained his general plan of operations. The commander of each detachment was directed to specify points to be destroyed — the special object of his mission accomplished, he was allowed the widest latitude for any further operations. By half-past 2 o'clock Sunday morning, May third, the several expeditions had started. The moon was shining brightly, the roads were comparatively good, and for once in the history of the war, every thing was in harmony. Colonel Wyndham, of the First New-Jersey cavalry, with his own and the First Maine regiments--in all about five hundred men, took a southerly direction, and crossing Owen's Creek, Licking Hole Creek, Little Licking Hole Creek. Little Byrd Creek, and several other creeks, reached Columbia, on the James River, at about eight o'clock A. M. The approach of the force had been heralded, but no one believed it. The man who went to the trouble of riding ten miles to give the inhabitants notice, was almost mobbed by the people — they doubted his sanity. “What I! Yankees near Columbia?” said one citizen. “It is impossible; Jeff Davis would not permit such an invasion” of the sacred soil. The furnisher of the unwelcome news had dirt thrown at him, was hooted at, and followed by a crowd of excited people, who were threatening him with all sorts of vengeance, just as the advance-guard of Colonel Wyndham's force, under Major Beaumont, dashed into town. There were no soldiers there. A dozen or more citizens succeeded in  escaping across the river, and spreading the astounding intelligence, and soon after a squad of troopers appeared in the distance on the opposite bank. The people south of the river did not believe the story told by the fugitives. One man rode with his servant down to the river-bank to see for himself. The servant seized upon the opportunity to ride into our lines. He was not pursued. A planter sent a son mounted on a valuable horse to ascertain the news — believing the force to be Stuart's cavalry. The boy asked an officer if the Yankees had been whipped, and was told that they had. He expressed his satisfaction and was about leaving, when the officer told him he wanted a horse, his own was jaded. An exchange was speedily made. The boy was evidently somewhat puzzled at this summary proceeding, but thought it all right no doubt, as it was Stuart's cavalry, and he rode off to tell his father the news. A negro who manifested some joyful emotion upon hearing that the Yankees were coming, was severely whipped by his master just below Columbia, a few hours before we reached the spot. The negro, upon being released, reiterated his former expression, and an attempt was made to whip him again. But he escaped, jumped into the river and was drowned. The old negro preacher on the plantation where the above occurred, told me that his master “cursed de Yankees cause dey made ‘im loss a fifteen-hundred-dollar nigger.” In the canal at Columbia were found several boats loaded for Richmond with baled hay and commissary stores, all bearing the stencil mark of C. S. A. Another boat from Lynchburgh arrived during the day. The torch was applied to the boats; bridges across the canal — of which there were several — and a large quantity of medical and commissary goods found in a ware-house, were either burned or thrown into the river. The bank of the canal was cut at several points within five miles, and the locks destroyed. At Columbia the canal crosses the James River in a massive stone aqueduct. No one seems to have known of this structure; at all events nothing was brought along to secure its destruction. The engineer of the command, and Major Beaumont and Captain Thomas, of the First New-Jersey cavalry, each made special effort to destroy this structure. There was no blasting tools to be had; several kegs of blasting powder, however, were found in a store-house, and three of the kegs were confined in a cask, and the cask filled with pressed earth. The water in the aqueduct being eight feet deep, it was designed to sink this machine over one of the piers and destroy the same upon the Maillefort plan of blasting rocks under water. Every thing was arranged and the cask was being lowered into the canal by means of a rope, when, unfortunately, the rope broke, and the cask could not be recovered again within the time prudence dictated that absence from the place would be desirable. Several negroes, who followed that night, allege that two rebel regiments, with eight pieces of artillery, entered the place within two hours after Colonel Wyndham evacuated it. At about four o'clock P. M., the detachment marched down the canal bank for about five miles, forded Byrd Creek, and taking the Fredricksburgh pike so far as it went in the right direction, arrived at Thompson's Four Corners at ten o'clock the same night. This command during the day captured several hundred horses, and was followed into camp by a drove of negroes. The movements of General Gregg's command upon the Fredericksburgh and Richmond Railroad at Ashland and vicinity; that of Colonel Kilpatrick and Colonel Davis, upon the Virginia Central road, between the South-Anna and Richmond, and the destruction of all the pike bridges on the South-Anna, of trains of cars, of commissary stores and depots, have been referred to in a previous letter. Each of these detachments captured a large number of horses, and destroyed immense amounts of property in use by or ready for the agents of the rebellion. Sunday and nearly all day Monday, General Buford's command was stationed near Shannon Hill, and a detachment under Captain Drummond was sent to destroy the canal and bridge near Cedar Point, which work was most effectually accomplished. Sunday night, the third, it is believed both Hampton and Lee's brigades were encamped within two miles of General Buford. On the morning of the fourth, a picket, consisting of sixty men, commanded by Lieut. Stoddard, of the Fifth cavalry, was attacked. Fifteen of our men were captured. Among the number missing are two officers, supposed to have been captured. Tuesday the fifth, the whole of the command concentrated near Yanceyville, and during the day divine service was held in the St. James's church at that place. The Rev. O. A. Brickman, Chaplain First Maryland cavalry, officiated, and a patriotic and fervent prayer was offered by Major C. H. Russell, of the same regiment. In the afternoon the retrograde movement was commenced. General Buford's division made a circuit, passing near Gordonsville. General Gregg's division crossed the South-Anna at Yanceyville, and on Friday morning, May eighth, the whole force reached Kelly's Ford in safety. On Thursday, just after crossing Raccoon Ford, General Stoneman sent Lieutenant Sumner, of his staff, as bearer of despatches to Gen. Hooker, with whom he had not communicated since the twenty-ninth ultimo. Taking with him an escort of sixteen men, Lieutenant Sumner went to the Germanna bridge, with a view to reaching, if possible, United States Ford. The result of the battle near Fredericksburgh was not then known. Information obtained from residents near Germanna bridge satisfied Lieutenant Sumner that it would not be prudent to go further in that direction. He accordingly proceeded to Richards's Ford, and with great difficulty succeeded in crossing in safety. The escort being unable to ford the river, moved back five miles to a farm-house where they stopped for the night, and next morning overtook General Stoneman at Kelly's Ford. Not an armed rebel was seen by this party.  To sum up--General Stoneman moved about within the enemy's lines at will for nine days, with a force not exceeding five thousand men; disabled every line of communication between the army of the Rappahannock and the rebel capital, and the canal through which more than one half of their supplies are received — so that, in the opinion of competent judges, neither line, provided the rebels have every facility for the work, can be repaired in less than four weeks; destroyed millions of dollars' worth of commissary stores, and other supplies; obstructed travel upon the main pikes, by destroying all bridges over large streams; gave the citizens of ten counties, namely, Culpeper, Spottsylvania, Orange, Hanover, Henrico, Louisa, Goochland, Fluvanna, King William, and New-Kent, an opportunity to see for themselves that not only are the Yankee soldiers confident and in good spirits, but are really human beings and not inhuman savages, as represented by the Richmond chivalry; captured hundreds of horses, and above all met the one great objection made to the Emancipation Proclamation, so far as the counties visited are concerned, by letting the colored population know that they are free, and weakening the producing class in rebeldom by the removal of hundreds of able-bodied men, and sowing the seed of demoralization among the rest, so that the laboring class, in fact as well as theory, becomes a dangerous element. All this has been accomplished by the raid of General Stoneman, with the loss, probably, of less than one hundred men, all told — only two of whom were killed. As an offset to this loss, our troops killed a number of rebels, and captured between one and two hundred prisoners. In the counties visited there were but few rebels found at home, except the very old and the very young. In nine days travel I did not see fifty able-bodied men who were not in some way connected with the army. Nearly every branch of business is at a standstill. The shelves in stores are almost everywhere empty; the shop of the artisan is abandoned and in ruins. The people who are to be seen passively submit to all that emanates from Richmond without a murmur; they are for the most part simple-minded, and ignorant of all that is transpiring in the great threatre about them. An intelligent-looking man in Columbia laughed heartily when told that Union troops occupied New-Orleans — Jeff Davis would let them know it were such the fact; and I could not find a man who would admit that the confederates had ever been beaten in a single engagement. These people do not even read the Richmond papers, and about all the information they do obtain is what is passed about in the primitive style, from mouth to mouth. Before this raid they believed that the Union soldiers were any thing but civilized beings, and were stricken with terror when their approach was heralded. Of six churches seen in one day, in only one had there been religious services held within six months. One half at least of the dwelling-houses are unoccupied, and fast going to decay. The fear of famine was everywhere expressed; the government seizes upon every thing that can go to sustain the army, leaving those who are not in the army to shift as best they can. Many have provisions concealed to avoid the searching eyes of the government agents. Through the agency of negroes, large quantities of provisions thus hid away were brought to light for the benefit of Union soldiers. The farmer's fold is regularly culled of all marketable sheep, swine, and beeves, and what is left behind is not fit for the butcher's stall. The larder of the largest planters contains little else than bacon and corn-meal. The wheat crop, now coming forward, is immense — in fact, little else has been put in the ground. The rich valleys of the James and Rapidan Rivers are vast wheat-fields — more, in fact, than can be gathered, unless the army is turned to this work. The negroes are not numerous enough for the task, even were they not in a fair way of being so thoroughly demoralized as to refuse to work unless paid in “greenbacks.” The negroes everywhere have an idea — how it got into their heads they cannot exactly tell, but it is there — that the Yankee troops were their friends, notwithstanding the contrary assertion of their masters, whom from infancy they have been taught to obey. They everywhere crowded upon our columns and begged to be permitted to go along, and not unfrequently brought one or more horses with them as a sort of bribe. They pointed out where valuable horses were concealed, gave information as to the movements of confederate troops, and at several places sat up all night to bake corn cakes for the Yankees, and for which they asked no remuneration. Some of them were so overjoyed at the sight of our soldiers that they gave vent to their feelings in prayer, thanking Jesus fervently for sending us.
--New York Times.
The following is a summary of the work accomplished by General Stoneman's expedition:
|Railroads broken, places,||7|
|Supply trains burned,||4|
|Canal boats burned,||5|
|Trains of cars destroyed,||3|
|Telegraph stations burned,||4|
|Wires cut, places,||5|
Richmond Examiner account.
Richmond, May 5, 1868.At an early hour yesterday morning several persons reached the city who were on the ambulance train at the time of its capture by the Yankees  on Sunday evening. From one of them we obtained some particulars of the affair. As the train neared the hotel at Ashland, a couple of shots were fired at the engine, which was at once stopped. The Yankees were the Twelfth Illinois regiment, five hundred strong, and commanded by a Colonel Davis, who said he was originally from King George County, Virginia, and claimed kin with President Davis. By order of the Colonel the engine was uncoupled and burned. All the sick and wounded and passengers were then paroled. No interference was made with private property. Just as the train was first hailed by the Yankee cavalry, several persons who were in the back car, among them a bearer of despatches from General Lee, jumped off and succeeded in escaping, and are supposed to have made their way to our forces at the South-Anna, or to Hanover Junction. The Yankee Colonel was disposed to be very chatty. He said he knew the country around about Ashland like a book, that he had fox-hunted over it many a time. The privates were not so complacent; they seemed rather uneasy, fearing surprise. One of them was heard to ask another how he liked the country. The fellow said he didn't like it altogether: he feared it was unhealthy to people from so far north. The Yankee horses were first-rate, and all in good order. The sick and wounded on the train were immediately taken into the houses of the residents of Ashland and the vicinity, and attended by the ladies. The only property destroyed by the raid-makers was the engine of the ambulance train, an old engine lying at Ashland, and some two hundred yards of the railroad track. At eight o'clock A. M., a courier reported at Headquarters that the Yankee cavalry, to the number of five thousand, were at Warwick's farm, five miles from that city. About the same time another courier brought information that the enemy had appeared at Hungary Station, a station ten miles up the Fredericksburgh Railroad. These announcements, of course, produced some excitement, though persons who had had any experience of couriers' stories received the accounts with many grains of allowance. All, however, believed that the Yankees, a part or a whole of the same who had been at Ashland on the day before, were in the vicinity of the city, with the design, not of attacking the capital, but of inflicting still further damage upon our railway communication with the army of Northern Virginia. At seven o'clock A. M. a telegraphist had been sent, with an engine and tender, up the Central road to repair the wires. Upon the receipt of the above news, much uneasiness was felt for the safety of the above party. About eleven o'clock, a youth who had ridden in from Atice's, brought information that the engine had been captured by the Yankees at the railroad bridge over the Chickahominy, five miles north of this city, a locality made memorable by the fact that near here, on the twenty-sixth of June, 1862, General A. P. Hill begun the great battle of Richmond. Between eleven and twelve o'clock yesterday morning, Major John F. Wrenn, with about eighty men of his cavalry battalion, who on Sunday started to Hanover Junction, returned to this city by the Mechanicsville turnpike. From one of the men we learned the adventures of the company during their brief absence from the city. On their way to the Junction, when three miles on this side of Ashland, they met on the mountain road a considerable body of Yankee cavalry. Major Wrenn at once drew up his men in line of battle, but the enemy showing no disposition to make an attack, he advanced upon him. A skirmish at long-range ensued, in which forty or fifty shots were fired on each side. One Yankee was seen to fall from the saddle. No one was struck on our side. Major Wrenn, finding the enemy's force superior to his own, fell back slowly toward Richmond. During the night, General Pryor rode out from the city alone, and joined Major Wrenn. The men remained in the saddle all night, falling back slowly, and watching the enemy. At five o'clock this morning the retreating party came in sight of the Brooke bridge, on the Brooke turnpike, three miles from the city, when, to their surprise, they found it occupied by a detachment of several hundred Yankees. Seeing his retreat in that direction cut off, and the Yankees pressing on his rear, Major Wrenn wheeled his column to the left, and made across the country for the Meadow Bridges, which, on nearing, he discovered to be also in the possession of the enemy. Without loss of time he bore still further east, and by dint of urging his jaded horses to their utmost, was enabled to reach and cross in safety the Mechanicsville bridge, from which point access to the city was unobstructed. General Pryor and Major Wrenn at once repaired to the camp of the battalion at the old fair grounds, and set about collecting fresh horses with which to resume the field. Between one and two o'clook P. M., John L. Phillips and James Crone, the telegraph operator and engineer, who had started out in the morning to repair the wires on the Central Railroad, returned to this city on foot. They give the following account of their expedition: They left the city at seven o'clock A. M., with an engine and tender, having with them two negro firemen. They proceeded as far as Peake's, eighteen miles from Richmond, without seeing any signs of the enemy. At this place they were met by a section master of the road, who informed them that the Yankees were at Hanover Court-House, where they had staid all night. Upon the receipt of this information they immediately reversed the engine and started to return. On nearing the bridge over the Chickahominy the engineer discovered the Yankees employed in burning that structure. Leaving the free negroes to shift for themselves, Crone and Phillips leaped from the engine and plunged into the dense under-growth of Chickahominy swamp. The Yankees pursued them a short distance, and gave up the chase. They then made the negroes put a full head of steam on the engine, and run it into the stream over the broken span of the bridge. Having done all the damage they conveniently could to the bridge and railroad, they robbed one of negroes of his hat  and silver watch, and, leaving behind them a couple of horses that were too much jaded to keep up with their hasty movements, took up their departure in an easterly direction. The negroes jumped upon the horses and rode into town. The nearest approach to this city ever made by hostile Yankee was accomplished on yesterday morning. When McClellan beleaguered the capital of the Confederacy twelve months ago, and “On to Richmond!” was the watchword of his numberless legions, five miles was the least distance ever between him and the object of his hopes and ambition. But on yesterday morning, at nine o'clock, three hundred Yankee cavalry visited the farm of Mr. John B. Young, on the Brooke turnpike, two miles from the corporate limits. Their stay, it is true, was brief, but they enjoyed one of the finest views of the spires and house-tops of the city, and were rewarded by the acquisition of three fine horses, which they stole from Mr. Young. One of the horses they took from a buggy standing before the door. The first intimation Mr. Young had of the proximity of an enemy, three blue-coats galloped up to his house from the rear and began to put a halter on his buggy-horse. He stepped out of the house and asked the man what he was doing. The fellow replied that he was about to take that horse by “orders from headquarters.” Then the truth that the individual before him was a live Yankee, for the first time flashed across his mind. He at once concluded that General Lee must have been defeated, and that Hooker was marching on Richmond. Having secured the horses, the Yankees rejoined the main body, who were drawn up in line on the pike in front of the house. The Yankees were in much terror, evidently expecting every moment to be pounced upon by the rebel forces. The first explanation Mr. Young received of this sudden apparition of Yankees upon his peaceful premises was from a regiment of our troops sent in pursuit of the enemy. General Winder, attended by one of his aids, was out on the Brooke pike yesterday morning making a reconnoissance, when he narrowly escaped capture by the Yankee freebooters. He saw approaching him a body of cavalry; mistaking them for Wrenn's battalion, he was on the point of riding up to them, when his aid discovered their nationality. The General and his aid galloped on leisurely, soon leaving the jaded cattle of the Yankees out of sight. This was the same party who visited Mr. Young's farm. A lieutenant, James Brown, who had been on a visit to Mr. Paleskes, a few miles up the pike, had a short time before been arrested and paroled by them after being robbed of his horse.