"OPERATIONS OF OUR CAVALRY.
THE MICHIGAN CAVALRY BRIGADE."
By: E. A. Paul
The New York Times, August 6, 1863
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC
Sunday, Aug. 2
The miscarriage of several letters intended for the Times, giving accounts of recent cavalry movements, renders a brief resume of their contents necessary.
When marching into Maryland and Pennsylvania, the spirits of the Union troops were buoyant, because they felt that the enemy had placed himself in a position from which it would be impossible to escape without loss of all his materials of war. This accomplished, the war would be practically at an end. How bitterly all were disappointed need not be repeated here. There were not wanting those who professed to believe that this disappointment would tend greatly to demoralize the army, and in such an extent as to undermine all further aggressive operations until a reorganization could be effected. But how different the result? When the order was given to recross the Potomac, the troops moved forward as cheerfully as ever, cracking jokes and singing their marching songsthe most common being the very ones prohibited eighteen months ago by their commanding General, whose stars are now somewhat obscured. Remaining a day behind at Boonsboro, and crossing at Berlin, on my way to the cavalry command at Snickers Gap, I passed on the road in two days all of the infantry organizations. It was exceedingly agreeable to find the troops again so cheerful, greeting "Old Dixie" familiarly, and pointing out, as they went along, localities well known to most of themevery town, village and city having its history with some portion of the army.
The cavalry recrossed the Potomac at different points. That under Gen. Gregg harassed the rear of the enemy, while Buford, Custer, and Merritt operated upon their left flank and "interior lines," doing the double duty of annoying the enemy on his flank and at the same time protecting their our immense wagon trains from the raids of bushwhackers, who are to be found everywhere in Virginia. This will always be the case until the Burnside policy is adoptedpermitting no man to stray within our lines unless he takes the oath of allegiance. The futile attempts to hold Mosby and his sixty men in check has probably cost the Government, during the last year, quite as much as any single army corps, and still Mosbys band was as active and destructive today as it was one year ago. The reason of this is quite plain to those familiar with this beat. While he has nominally a small force, no matter how many men he may lose, his command is always full, and then all the male white population of Northeastern Virginia cooperate with him. Citizens do picket duty, act as spies, and a greater or less number of farmers in every neighborhood always have horses ready saddled, and Mosby is regularly informed of every movement made by any body of Union troops, and they also stand ready to take a hand whenever a fight is the order of the day. When any of these citizen soldiers are called to an account, they are equally ready to make oath that they have done nothing to aid Mosbya majority of them believing such oath not to be binding.
Full justice, as I have already said, in many instances, has been rendered to regiments, and sometimes whole brigades of our cavalry force. The service of which deserve more than a passing notice of the troops thus neglected are the four regiments-First, Fifth, Sixth and Seventhknown as the Michigan brigade, at present commanded by Col. Town of the Firstformerly by Gen. Custer. These regiments, taken as a whole, will compare favorably with any cavalry regiments. The officers and men for the most part are those who, by entering the service, made large sacrifices, and who were prompted to the step by as patriotic motives as ever inspired the breast of a true lover of his country. Soldiering with them is not a pastime, a spree, a holiday, but a duty, and men thus animated, whatever they to do is done well.
How such men can dies is illustrated by following incidents: After the fight had closed on the right at GettysburghFriday night, July 3Lieut. Barse found his brother, Corp. H. S. Barse, of Company E, Fifth Michigan Cavalry, upon the field, wounded in the abdomen. He had him conveyed to the hospital, where Dr. Wooster pronounced the wound a mortal one. Lieut. Barse communicated the intelligence to his brother who, to his surprise, manifested no great emotion. A moment afterward he asked his brother if he desired to send any word through him to their parents, as his duties would require him to leave with his regiment at once. The dying boy raised his eyes calmly until he met the agonized gaze of his brother, and looking at him steadily for moment said, "Yes. Tell Father and Mother that I died doing my duty in a noble cause, and that I contented." The Lieutenant, a soon as he could regain sufficient composure, knowing that his brother was much attached to a young lady, asked him, "Do you wish to send anything to any one else?" "Yes," he replied, "tell Emily the same," and the brothers parted never to meet again this side of the grave. I cannot refrain here from relating a circumstance in connection with this case, reflecting o great credit upon one citizen of Pennsylvania, at least. After the rebel army had recrossed the Potomac, Lieut. Barse obtained permission to take his brothers body to Detroit. Visiting Gettysburgh, the lowest price for which any person would carry himself and the remains of his brother thirty miles, to a railroad depot, was Sixty Dollars, a sum which he actually paid.
I have space to-day for one more incident of many that have come under my own observation. Peter H. Campan, (not "Campo", as his name appears in the Times official list of July 29) Company D, Seventh Michigan, was mortally wounded at Boonsboro. When his captain called to see him at the hospital, and told him that he was badly wounded, Campan, who was only a boy, said, "Yes, Captain, I know I must die; but Captain," he concluded earnestly, "have I always done my duty?" Such are representative Michigan soldiers.
These regiments participated in most of the battles under Gen. Kilpatrick, during the fifteen days cavalry fighting in Maryland and Pennsylvania and I therefore annex the substance of the official reports of the commanders of these regiments.
THE FIRST MICHIGAN CAVALRY
Second Brigade, Third Division Cavalry Corps
Capt. Jacob S. Green, Adjutant-General Third Division Cavalry Corps:
SirIn compliance with the terms of the circular issued from Division Headquarters on the 2d inst., I have the honor to report the First Michigan cavalry, as engaged under my command, in the following mentioned battles and skirmishes, since the 29th day of June last, as follows:
At Hanover, Pa., June 30, the regiment was not actively employed. It was ordered to support battery M, Second artillery, which was in position on a hill in rear of the town, until a late hour of the afternoon, when the battery was ordered to a new position. The regiment was ordered to hold the hill (the old position) by order of General Farnsworth, since deceased.
At the battle of Hunterstown, July 2, the regiment was put in line of battle on the right of the road, near the village. One squadron, under the command of Capt. A. W. Duggan, was detached to hold a road leading into the town from the rear. This platoon was actively engaged, and did good service.
On the 3d July, the regiment, with the others composing the Second brigade, was ordered to repel an attack on Gen. Meades right. The position of the regiment was frequently changed during the day, but without meeting the enemy until about 4 P.M., when the Seventh Michigan cavalry, which had made a charge, and the Fifth Michigan cavalry, which had been deployed as skirmishers, were rapidly driven in by the enemys cavalry (Hamptons brigade), the duty was devolved upon the First Michigan of saving battery M and the day, which was then going against us. Nobly did the "old First" do its duty. Charging in close column, the troopers using the sabre only, the host of rebel myriads were immediately swept from field. Never before in the history of this war has one regiment of National cavalry met an entire brigade of Confederate cavalry, (composed as this brigade was of regiments, each of which equalled in point of numbers the First Michigan) in open fieldin a charge and defeated them. By the blessing of God, were not only defeated, but they were driven from the field in great confusion, and this regiment held the ground until ordered to a new position. I cannot say too much in praise of the officers and men of my command upon this occasion. That each did his duty is verified by the fact that the loss of the regiment in ten minutes was six officers and eighty men. Space in this report will forbid any mentioning individual deeds of heroism, but I shall embrace the opportunity offered by the Commanding General, in other form of doing so.
The division to which this regiment is attached moved early on the morning of the 4th ultimo to Emmitsburgh. From thence it proceeded toward Monterey. Before reaching that place the enemy was discovered in force upon the hills to the right of Fountaindale, a small village, some miles this side of Montereythis regiment being in advance of the columnwas sent upon a road leading from the right of the town and to Fairfield Gap. Upon reaching the gap, the enemy were found occupying it. A charge was made by Lieut.-Col. Stagg with one squadron which, with the aid of the other portion of the regiment, deployed as skirmishers, was successful in driving the enemy from the gap. The regiment held the position until the entire column and train had passed, though the enemy made a strong effort, with superior numbers, to drive it out. My command sustained a heavy loss here. Lieut.-Col. Stagg, leading the charge, had his horse killed under him, and falling, was seriously injured. Capt. Wm. R. Elliott, while bravely leading his company, was mortally wounded and died the next morning. Lieut. James S. McIlhenny, at that time, commanding Company G, was killed instantly at Capt. Elliotts sidel 17 men also were lost in this engagement. I must embrace the present opportunity of paying a parting tribute to the memory of the noble men whose names I have above mentioned. Elliott and McIlhenny were, indeed, true types of the Union soldier. Both of them had volunteered, impressed with the idea of the justness of the cause of the Union. They devoted their whole time to their dutiesever ready and faithful in their discharge. They died as the Union soldier loves to die, leading in the charge. They died, too, earnestly endeavoring to perpetuate the beloved institutions of our country on the anniversary day of its birth. Two officers and six men were lost the same evening at Monterey.
On the 5th ultimo, at Smithfield, the regiment supported Battery M, United States Artillery, but sustained no loss. At Hagerstown on the 6th, it performed the same duty, and was equally fortunate in not meeting with loss.
At Boonsboro on the 8th, though the regiment was frequently under fire, it sustained no loss.
On the 12th, the regiment had the advance to Hagerstown. Five companies were deployed as skirmishers before the town. A squadron was ordered by Gen. Kilpatrick to charge into and through the town. The order was promptly executed, the enemy being driven in confusion from the streets, with the loss of several prisoners. One many only of this regiment was injured upon this day. On the 13th, the regiment was ordered on outpost duty, and was engaged with the enemy most of the daysustaining a loss of three men severely wounded.
On the 14th this regiment was first to come to the relief of the Sixth Michigan cavalry, which had engaged the enemy near Falling Waters. The brave Weber had just made his gallant charge, as the regiment came up, joining with the Sixth, fighting on foot. The enemy were soon driven from the field. It was here that the Michigan brigade, led by the General commanding in person, did noble work. Each regiment vied with the other in deeds of daring. Five hundred prisoners, one gun, two caissons, three battle-flags, and a large quantity of small arms, attest the labor done. The First Michigan had the honor of capturing two of the three battle-flags, and the Forty-Seventh regiment Virginia infantry as wellat least so much as was on the fieldbeing fifty-six men and five officers.
This engagement was the last that the regiment participated in under my command. Since that time Maj. Weber has had command of it. Permit me here to speak of the late Capt. Charles J. Snyder, of my regiment, who was mortally wounded while gallantly leading a squadron of the Eighteenth Pennsylvania cavalry, in the streets of Hagerstown, on the 6th July. He had been detailed from the regiment for some days as an Aide for Gen. Kilpatrick, and was ordered by that officer to assist in the charge. Fearlessly he went upon his duty, and, as an eyewitness informed me, nobly did he discharge it. Meeting six sturdy Confederates, he engaged them single handed, cutting three of them out of the saddle and putting the rest to flight, though he received the pistol shot which caused his death, and a saber cut on the head as well, early in the melee. The memory of this brave and noblehearted man will ever be cherished with brotherly fondness by officers and men of the First Michigan cavalry.
C. H. Town, Col. Comg.
Maj. Brewer, who now commands the regiment, reports it to have been engaged on the 24th July for several hours in the attack on Hills column at Newbys Cross-roads, where seven men were lost. On the 29th ult. the regiment, under Maj. Brewer, made a reconnaissance to Salem and Barbers Cross-roads, having slight skirmishes at both places, capturing a number of prisoners, and destroying a saw-mill and other buildings belonging to Maj. Williams, who is attached to Mosbys guerrilla band.
It was Sergts. Alphonso Chilson and James R. Lyon, of the First Michigan, who captured the Forty-seventh Virginia colors, together with a Major and seventy men at Falling Waters. The Forty-seventh was deployed, the Major and forty men were standing together in a hollow, when Sergt. Chilson marched up to the flag-bearer and seized the flag, at the same time Sergt. Lyon ordered the whole party to surrender, which order was very quickly obeyed, the rebels throwing down their arms. Passing them to the rear, Sergts. Chilson and Lyon captured twenty more men of the same regiment, all of whom they safely escorted to the rear. Privates Edward Ives and Edward Clark, in the same battle, captured the colors of the Fortieth Virginia regiment near the pontoon bridge, and while the rebels were destroying the bridge.
Capt. Snyder, who was in the first attack upon Hagerstown, was shot on Potomac Street, the ball entering on the left side of the abdomen, and coming out near the opposite without injuring the intestines. He was engaged with the enemy some twenty minutes and drove them three hundred yards after receiving his wounds, and feeling weak he then dismounted in front of the Franklin Hotel, where he was taken in and kindly cared for by the proprietor, and the citizens generally. A few minutes after this our troops were driven from the town, and not until a week afterward, when the town was taken possession of by Gen. Kilpatrick, was the fate of Capt. Snyder and others known. As our advance guard marched in Capt. Snyder was seen on the hotel balcony. He was doing well at that time, and when the troops moved forward all his most intimate friends bid him good-bye, and congratulated him upon having a "six weeks leave of absence wound." He was in good spirits and spoke hopefully of joining the command soon. After leaving him thus, the shock the announcement of his death one week afterward gave his friends can well be imagined. He died of lockjaw.
The Fight on the Mountain
At Fairfield Gap, one squadron, under Capt. Wells, deployed as skirmishers, while the second squadron, Capt. Elliott, of Company C, killed and Lieut. McIlhenny, of Company G, killed, charged. The horse of Lieut.-Col. Stagg, who led the charge, was shot, and falling upon him the Colonel received severe internal injuries. Surgeon Wooster sent him to Washington, but Col. Staggs spirits would not permit him to remain there, and accordingly he rejoined the regiment at Berlin. Remaining one night he was again compelled to leave on account of his injuries. The regiment held the Gap for three hours. Company C lost 20 men. One squadron, under Capt. Brevoort and Adjutant Mathews, was in advance of the main column going over the mountain and received the first charge of grape and canister fired by the enemy that dark, stormy night. Capt. Brevoort, with commendable foresight, just before the cannon was fired, placed his men on either side of the road, thereby saving many lives, for when the enemy fired, they aimed their piece as near as they could in the dark at the head of the column. Not a man in the extreme front was injured, while there were several severely injured a little further to the rear.
A Narrow Escape
At the fight at Williamsport, when our line was compelled to fall back hastily, a party of eight men, composed of Lieut. Calerick, Sergt.-Major DeWitt C. Smith, Chief Bugler Rice, of the First Michigan and one man from the Fifth New York, two from the First [West] Virginia, and two from the Sixth Michigan, who had been with the advanced line of skirmishers, found themselves suddenly cut off, and enveloped within the enemys line of skirmishers. Just as they had got into a barn-yard, surrounded by a high fence, to escape notice, two or three of the enemy espied them, but as it was nearly dark, they were not recognizedparticularly after one of them answered the others that "these are our fellows." Abandoning their horses, the party sallied forth during the night to escape. Running upon the enemys pickets at every point, they fell back, and awaited daylight. All the next day the rebels were in sight, and the party remained concealed by a fence between the two wheat fields. At night they made another unsuccessful attempt to get out of the lines, and finally fell in with some citizens, who furnished them citizens clothing, and with whom, thus disguised, they remained for nearly a week, until, in fact, our troops again advanced upon Williamsportthe day the rebels recrossed the Potomac. Another party of eight skirmishers, under Sergt. Waterman, was cut off in the same fight. They escaped by taking a round-about route, passing through Louden, Chambersburgh, and Monterey to Hagerstown, where they rejoined their command. In the fight at Gettysburgh Capts. Alexander and Haskell and Lieut. Hickey escaped.
FIFTH MICHIGAN CAVALRYMAJOR DAKE
June 30-Moved from Littlestown, Penn., toward Hanover, Penn.; met the enemy; four squadrons dismounted as skirmishers, the remaining four squadrons in reserve, mounted; drove the enemy after severe skirmishing, from the field, and at night bivouacked in Hanover.
July 1Marched from Hanover to Berlin, Penn.
July 2Marched for Gettysburgh; arrived there on the morning of the 3d. The regiment was rear guard.
July 3At 10 a.m. moved out and met the enemy on the right at Gettysburgh. The regiment was dismounted to fight on foot. On the left of the brigade Major Ferry was killed. Participated in several charges that day.
July 4Moved from Gettysburgh toward Emmettsbur; Co. A was dismounted to skirmish on the line of march. Proceeded to Monterey, Md., in the mountains. Seven squadrons dismounted to fighttwo squadrons remained mounted and charged toward the rebel battery. Three of the seven squadrons moved to the right of the main road, three miles from Emmettsburgh and dismounted; captured a train and prisoners, the whole command participating.
July 5Proceeded to Smithsburgh, burning train on the way; two squadrons dismounted. Moved out at night, the regiment serving as rear guard.
July 6Arrived at Boonsboro; moved to Hagerstown and dismounted. Remained in rear, as support or reserve. Proceeded toward Williamsport, Md., the regiment was dismounted and supported the battery by the road. Mounted and moved toward Boonsboro, bivouacking at Jones Cross Roads.
July 7Arrived at Boonsboro, remained during the day and night.
July 8Moved out on the pike toward Funkstown; deployed as skirmishers on the right, on foot. Col. Alger was wounded here. Charged and drove the enemy in force from a wood, which was afterward hotly shelled. Subsequently, the enemy fell rapidly back, while the regiment pursued him closely until dark. Returned to Boonsboro at night.
July 9Remained quielty at Boonsboro during day and night.
July 10Proceeded to the right of Funkstown and picketed the right during day and night.
July 11Still on picket and support for the battery.
July 12Moved toward Hagerstown. Charged through the city, everywhere driving the enemy. Lieut.-Col. Gould was wounded in the charge. Two squadrons dismounted on the left of the city and drove a superior force from its position. Picketed during the rest of the day and night.
July 13The regiment remained on picket in and around the city for the day and night.
July 14Moved out of Hagerstown in the advance to Williamsport; charged into the town. Met no considerable force. Moved to the right of the town and up the river bank and drove a small force of the enemys rear guard across the river. Captured a considerable number of prisoners. Rejoined the brigade at Falling Waters.
July 15Marched to Boonsboro.
July 16Marched to Berlin, on the Potomac, and remained day and night.
July 17Crossed to Purcelville and Snickers Gap, arriving at the latter place about A.M. Dismounted and employed as skirmishers. After skirmishing some time, took possession of, and held the Gap for the night. Several prisoners were captured.
July 18Remained in possession of the Gap all day, and then returned to Purcelville.
July 19Marched from Purcelville to Upperville.
July 20Moved toward Ashbys Gap; dismounted, deployed as skirmishers, and moved up into the mountains; the advance resisting a cavalry charge, while the skirmishers, driving the enemy from the Gap, took possession of it. Returned to Upperville same night.
July 21Still at Upperville. On 22d moved to Manassas Railroad.
July 23Moved to Amissville.
July 24Moved to Newbys Crossroads in advance, ten squadrons dismounting to fight; deployed as skirmishers and moved on the right. Two squadrons, mounted, remained in line in front. After some skirmishing, obeyed order to fall back.
C. P. Dake
Major, Fifth Michigan Comg.
SIXTH MICHIGAN CAVALRY, COL. GRAY
On the morning of June 30, this regiment, with the Fifth, occupied Littlestown, Penn., where Company A was out on a reconnaissance toward Westminster; the remainder of the regiment (nine companies) proceeded to Hanover. On approaching the last named place, we came upon the enemys skirmishers, whom we drove to their guns, which we unexpectedly found posted on our right, supported by a large force of cavalry. Their battery opened upon us, when we withdrew. In making this movement, we were completely flanked by another body of the enemys cavalry, outnumbering my command six to one. I placed to companies (B and F) in position to protect our rear and to check the enemys advance. These companies met, by counter charges, three successive charges of the enemy, with a loss on our part from 15 to 20 captured, and a loss to the enemy of several wounded and captured. The regiment then moved by the left of the road to Hanover, and there reported to Gen. Custer.
Company A having been afterward called in from Westminster Road, joined a portion of the Fifth Michigan cavalry and, later in the day had an engagement with a cavalry force of the enemy.
On reporting to Gen. Custer at Hanover, this regiment was at once deployed as skirmishers, forming a line of battle one mile in length, advanced upon the enemy and drove them until they withdrew.
On the evening of July 2, the regiment encountered the enemys cavalry at Hunterstown. Company A, under command of Capt. H. A. Thompson, charged a brigade of cavalry, and, though suffering great loss, so checked the enemy as to enable our battery to be placed in a position. Three other squadrons then dismounted, and, with their rifles, drove the enemy back, when the guns of our battery caused them to precipitately leave the field.
July 3, 1863At Gettysburgh, the regiment was ordered to the support of the battery: four companies being pushed forward in front dismounted; four remaining, through a great part of the engagement, mounted and immediately on the left of the battery, exposed to the shot and shell of the enemys guns. The other companies were engaged as skirmishers to the front and right.
July 4At Monterey, when the attack was made on the enemys train, this regiment dismounted and deployed as skirmishers, fought the enemy who were advantageously posted in the woods on either side of the road and supported by two guns. Here again the enemy was driven with great loss on their part and slight on ours.
July 5At Smihburgh this regiment was employed in supporting the battery.
July 6At Hagerstown, the regiment having been in rear of the column of march, was ordered to the front, but on arriving there, Gen. Custer, having driven the enemy, ordered us back.
Same day, at Williamsport, passing in the direct range of the enemys guns, thereby losing one officer killed and three men wounded, the regiment was posted on the front and to the right of our battery, and connecting with the skirmishers of the First Michigan cavalry, protected our own guns and held the enemy, who was advancing on our right until the remainder of the command left the positionthe First and Sixth being the last to retire.
July 8At Boonsboro, this regiment was deployed to the left of the Hagerstown road, and after a sharp and hotly contested engagement, lasting several hours, repulsed and routed the enemy, and drove him three miles, and until night closed the pursuit. The rebel Gen. Stuart was, in person, directing the assault in front of this regiment on that occasion.
July 11This regiment was ordered to do picket duty before Hagerstownits line extending from the Cavetown and Hagerstown turnpike on the right, toward Funkstown on the left. Here during the entire day we were engaged skirmishing with the enemys sharpshooters. Our loss was only two wounded; the enemy was seen to carry some of his dead and wounded from his line.
July 12Participated in the capture of Hagerstown.
July 14At Falling Waters, this regiment being in advance of all others, came upon a division of the enemys infantry in a very strong position behind earthworks on the crown of a hill. The advance guard, Companies B and F, under command of Major P. A. Weber, charged them up to and within their fortifications. An entire brigade surrendered to this mere handful of men, when another brigade, drawn up in line in rear of the first, opened a murderous fire upon the gallant little band, in which the others who had just surrendered also joined, and the survivors were compelled to withdraw, leaving the bodies of many of their gallant and lamented comrades within the rebel works, a witness of their noble and heroic daring. The remainder of the regiment deployed as skirmishers, then engaged the vastly superior force of the enemy, but overpowered by numbers, fell back to the cover of a hill, where they were joined by the First Michigan cavalry. These two regiments then marched forward, charged the enemy, who fled with great loss. The fight soon became a rout and soon nothing was to be seen of that division but the dead and wounded covering the fields and the crowds of prisoners in our hands.
July 20This regiment participated in the capture of Ashbys Gap, and by order of Col. Town, brigade commander, proceeded rapidly to Berrys Ford, on the Shenandoah, where we encountered the enemy strongly entrenched on the opposite side of the river. After a skirmish, lasting some hours, there being no means of crossing the river, we were ordered to return. Our loss was three wounded.
July 24Engaged in the reconnaissance from Amissville to Newbys Cross Roads. This reigment, under command of Lieut.-Col. Foote, was deployed as skirmishers, and occupied the left of the line. After driving the enemys line of skirmishers and accomplishing the object of the reconnaissance, the command was ordered back to Amissville. On the return, this regiment, occupying the (then) right, and in a narrow lane, found itself flanked by a brigade of the enemys infantry, but succeeded in effecting the movement with but little loss.
Geo. Gray, Colonel
Commanding Sixth Michigan cavalry
SEVENTH MICHIGAN CAVALRYCOL. MANN
At Hanover, Pa., on the 30th of June, the regiment having the advance of the brigade in its rapid return from Abbottstown, was thrown into position on the left of the turnpike, to the left and front of battery M, Second United States artillery. Two squadrons were dismounted and advanced as skirmishers, under the command of Lieut.-Col. Litchfield. In the progress of the action the regiment was moved to the right of the town as support to battery M. The skirmishes, after having advanced beyond the town and exhausted their ammunition, was withdrawn. At about 5 oclock P.M. Companies C, H and E, under command of Maj. Newcombe, were sent to occupy the town, which they took possession of and held until night when the enemy withdrew.
At Hagerstown, on the 2d of July, the regiment, except one squadron held in reserve, was advanced on the left as dismounted skirmishers.
At Gettysburgh, on the 3d of July, on the extended right of our line during the early part of the day, the regiment, as reserve and as a support to battery M, occupied various positions on the field. At about 4 oclock P.M, the regiment was ordered to charge the advancing line of the enemys skirmishers, who were closely supported by their cavalry reserve.
A desperate but unequal, hand-to-hand conflict here occurred. The regiment being finally obliged to retire twice, rallied under a sharp fire from the enemy, without support or cover, and returned to the charge, and held the field until the advance of the First Michigan.
At Monterey on the night of the 4th of July, two companies, under command of Capt. Armstrong, were detached to hold the mountain road on the right. The remainder of the regiment fought on the right as dismounted skirmishers.
At Smithburgh July 5, the regiment supported battery M, and occupied the extreme left.
At Hagerstown July 6, the regiment having supported the battery in the early part of the affair, was afterward advanced on the right nearly past the town, when it was dismounted and thrown forward as skirmishers, driving the enemy beyond the town, and was then recalled.
At Williamsport same day, supported a battery.
July 8, at Boonsboro, in the early part of the action, supported battery M, on the right of the Hagerstown road. As our line of skirmishers were falling back, Maj. Newcombe, with his battalion, dismounted and advanced to their support. The line advanced under a heavy fire and drove the enemy from the woods. Reinforcements coming up a charge was made, and the enemy were driven from the field. The remainder of the regiment supported the skirmishers, and were exposed to a heavy fire.
On the 12th of July, the regiment being temporarily attached to the First Brigade, with it entered Hagerstown under a sharp fire from the enemy. In the afternoon the regiment was advanced to support the infantry at the extreme right of the town.
At Falling Waters, July 14, on coming into action, Maj. Granger was dispatched to the right, where, from the enemy a 10-pound Parrott gun which, after having been turned against the enemy with great effect, he brought from the field. Another portion of the regiment went to the support of the skirmishers, and the remainder as a support to Battery M. The enemys column advancing to charge this battery, that portion of the right supporting itseventy sabresadvanced to the charge and brought from the field 400 prisoners, with the battle-flag of the Fifty-fifth Virginia. The dismounted skirmishers of this regiment captured the Colonel of the Fifty-fifth Virginia, with several other officers and a squad of men.
Geo. K. Newcombe
Major Seventh Michigan Cavalry, Comg.
MOSBY AND THE SUTLERS
Mosby and his command of bushwhackers have had rich pickings lately among the sutlers trains. When the Union army had passed on toward the Rappahannock, on its return trip from Maryland and Pennsylvania, the usual swarm of sutlersmost of whom owing to the position of the armyfollowed on from Alexandria and Washington. Their trains contained from 15 to 50 wagons each, and generally without any other guard than the sutlers and employees. Some of these trains have reached the army without interruption, but a majority have been pounced upon by the loquacious Mosby, who carries away all he can of the useful and destroys the remainder of their loads. Mosby uses a great deal of strategy in the capture of trains. He has a particular penchant for sutlers goods because he generally runs less risk in attacking them, because not so well guarded, and then Government trains only carry the coarser commodities. Recently he rode half a day with a sutlers train, between Alexandria and Fairfax Court-house, making himself quite familiar with the business of his traveling companions, and representing himself to be a Quartermaster in some cavalry regiment. When arrived near Fairfax Court-house the train halted. The quondam Quartermaster tied his horse to a wagon and moved off for the alleged purpose of taking a nap. He soon returned, however, with his party, and captured the whole train. Unfortunately for Mosby, but fortunate for the sutlers, one of our cavalry squads soon after started in pursuit, and recaptured all but two or three of the forty or more wagons originally taken.
But Mosbys career will soon be brought to a close, if the recent order, which compels all citizens residing in that portion of Virginiaeast of the Blue Ridge and north of the Rappahannockto take the oath of allegiance or go outside of our lines, is vigorously enforced. Mosby professes to have only sixty men, but then he has the white population of the district he roams as auxiliaries, to picket towns, roads, act as spies, &c. Remove these agents, and Mosby would soon be forced to seek another field to operate in.
HOW A SURGEONS AMBULANCE WAS SAVED
When, on the 30th of June, 1863, the rear of Gen. Kilpatricks cavalry division was attacked in the town of Hanover, Penn., the first charge fell upon a remnant of the Eighteenth Pennsylvania cavalry. This command was somewhat scattered, and the rebels, passing through it, came upon the private ambulance of Dr. Wood, chief surgeon of the division. Two soldiers, named Spaulding and Forsyth, occupied this vehicleboth hospital attendants. As the enemy approached, they made a vigorous attack upon the covering of the wagon with their swordscutting a dozen or more holes in the topwhen Spaulding, who was sick, suggested to Forsyth, who was driving, that he (Spaulding) should drive, and the other drive off the assailants with a six-shooter one of the party had. This arrangement was carried into effect; the enemy were driven away, and the worthy surgeons traps were saved to the service.
A BRAVE SOLDIER
In the same battle, Folger, a private in Company H, Fifth New York cavalry, performed an act of great coolness and daring. He got mixed up some way in the charge upon the Eighteenth Pennsylvania cavalry, not having time to reload his carbine, he picked up a loaded one some person had dropped, shot a horse upon which the rebel Col. Payne was riding, the falling into a tan-vat, and it was with difficulty Folger saved him from drowning. Just at the moment the Colonel was safely out of the vat, his orderly rode up, and presenting a pistol to Folger, ordered him to surrender. Folger hesitated, but looking up the street and seeing the advance of the Fifth in the celebrated charge made at that time, suddenly seized upon his unloaded carbine, and aiming it at Mr. Orderly, in no very complimentary terms, ordered him to surrender or he would blow his brains out. The orderly, completely taken by surprise at this turn of affairs, surrendered without making any resistance, so that young Folger, youthful though he be, by the display of a little coolness and daring in extremes, not only saved himself from capture, but captured a colonel and a private from the ranks of the enemy during the heat of battle.