Cavalry; or Three Years in the Saddle
In the Shenandoah Valley
By C. Armour Newcomer
Read Chapters Seventeen-Twenty
Chapter 21: Sent to West Virginia &
The latter part of January, 1864, the Battalion was
again ordered to leave camp for West Virginia, and join
the forces sent to pursue a Confederate Division
operating in that locality; the Confederates had
captured and destroyed a train on the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad. Colonel James A. Mulligan, with a Brigade,
including his famous Irish Regiment, the 23d Illinois
Infantry, were in pursuit of the Rebels. General Thomas
L. Rosser, with his Brigade of Cavalry, and General
McCausland, were in command of the Division of
Cole's Cavalry, with a number of Federal troops, left
camp at Harper's Ferry and marched to Winchester; thence
to Romney. The Battalion in advance captured the pickets
at the latter place. A force of Confederates were
occupying a position at Mechanics' Gap, four miles from
Romney. Major Cole, after capturing the pickets,
continued to the foot of the mountain and awaited the
arrival of Colonel Fitzsimmons, commanding a New York
Regiment, who was in command of our forces. A number of
Confederate officers, who had been invited by a citizen
living one mile from the Gap, to partake of his
hospitality, were compelled to leave him and his family
rather hastily, at our approach, mounting their horses
and making their escape in the mountain; myself, with
others of Cole's men, however partook of the royal feast
that had been prepared for the host's Rebel friends, to
the great disgust of a number of fair ladies who had
come out from Romney to help entertain the Confederate
officers. Perhaps it was somewhat rude for the boys to
seat themselves at the table without being invited, and
eat that which had been prepared for others, to the
great disappointment of the mistress of the house arid
her old colored cook. I however insisted upon paying for
the meal and counted out fifty dollars in good
The command was ordered to attack the enemy in their
stronghold; the mountain on either side of the road
running through towers fully four hundred feet in
height, and the gap in the mountain is not one hundred
yards wide. One Regiment of Confederate Infantry were
stationed at this point to contest our advance. If we
could succeed in forcing a passage, we would then be in
the rear of the Confederates retreating before Colonel
Mulligan. We crossed a small stream of water at the foot
of the mountain, a small body of the enemy's Cavalry
falling back at our advance. When we had gotten to
within a few hundred yards of the Gap, the Rebel
Infantry, stationed on the top of the mountain opened
fire. The Battalion fought this Regiment the entire half
day, using their trusty carbines with good effect. On
one side of the road the mountain is almost
perpendicular, and at times when one of our bullets took
effect the Rebel soldiers shot would plunge out in open
air and tumble clear to the bottom of the mountain. Why
the Colonel commanding our forces failed to use the two
twelve pounder cannon and shell the enemy from their
elevated position, has always been a mystery to me, but
I suppose the commanding officer had an object in not
doing so, that he did not see fit to divulge to those
under him. At the close of the day we fell back out of
range of the enemy's guns. Orders had been given out
that the command would make an early start on the
Old Billy Staton, a member of Company D, (who in
general appearance very much resembled Colonel Miles,
who had been killed at Harper's Ferry,) the men would
always address as the "Colonel." The old gentleman was
extremely neat in his dress and the buttons on his
uniform were always bright and shining. He wore a large
brass wreath on the front of his hat, with the letter of
his Company in the center, that could be seen at a great
distance. Uncle Billy had been in the thickest of the
fight. A rifle ball struck the old man's hat, passing
through the brim, without injuring him in the least; one
of the boys dismounted and handed him his hat. He coolly
remarked that "he was thankful to the 'Johnnies' for not
spoiling the handsome brass wreath on the front of his
hat." The old man was a good soldier, he had served in
the Mexican war and could always be relied upon in the
time of a fight.
The command lost several men in killed and wounded;
the exact loss of the enemy was not known, at least five
were known to be killed, as they fell from their lofty
height to the foot of the canyon, or mountain.
Our pickets had exchanged shots with the enemy during
the first part of the night. At two o'clock the
following morning the men were again in the saddle and
on the move, we rode rapidly through the mountains until
daybreak, when we halted and fed our horses; each man
had been provided with sufficient forage the night
previous. We were now within a few miles of Moorefield,
in West Virginia. The smoke from a large camp fire could
be plainly seen in that vicinity. A body of soldiers was
seen advancing upon Moorefield, some distance off. It
proved to be Colonel Mulligan, who had been following
the enemy, on the west side of the mountain. Our
Captain, who had ridden hard from Mechanics' Gap, joined
with Mulligan and prepared to attack the enemy. The
Regiment of Confederates whom we had fought the day
before, at Mechanics' Gap, had retreated after dark,
leaving only a small squad on picket, who had been doing
the firing at our pickets the night previous. The Rebels
could now be seen falling back in the direction of
Strasburg, with Rosser's Cavalry covering their retreat;
our Cavalry following, the advance exchanging shots with
the enemy. The order was given to trot, gallop, and
before the command was given to "charge" a courier
dashed up and our command was halted, and for some cause
known only to the Commanding Officer, the enemy were
permitted to retire without giving them battle.
Mutterings of discontent could be plainly heard
throughout the ranks. The men were anxious to engage the
enemy, but they could do nothing without orders.
I am stating plain facts, but do not wish to
criticize the action of any one.
Cole's Cavalry, with a Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment,
returned to Romney and back to Harper's Ferry. The
defeat of Mosby at Loudoun Heights had given Cole's
Cavalry a great reputation, and on our return from the
mountains of West Virginia, it was rumored that the
Battalion would be raised to a full Regiment.
Chapter 22: Re-enlistment & List of Officers
On February 13th, 1864, three-fourths of the Old
Battalion re-enlisted for the war. They were granted a
furlough of thirty days, and at once set out for their
homes, not however before" visiting old Frederick City,
where they were given a reception such as no command
ever received. Captain Vernon who had been so severely
wounded in the head, on the night of Mosby's attack, and
whose home was in Frederick, was now sufficiently
recovered to be up and about. The Captain, with the
Mayor of the town, the corporate and County authorities,
a large concourse of citizens formed into line, and the
whole body marched through the streets. Church and fire
bells rang, flags waved from every available point and
cannon boomed a welcome to the returning Battalion. It
was certainly a gala day, arid the reception made the
boys feel proud. The Honorable Madison Nelson, one of
the Judges of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, made a
speech to them in the city hall, into which they were
conducted to the strains of "Home, sweet home." A
banquet followed, after which the members of the Old
Battalion sought their respective homes.
Honorable Augustus Bradford, the Governor of the
State of Maryland, sent for Major Cole and personally
congratulated and complimented his Battalion in the
highest terms, and suggested that he augment the
Battalion to a full Regiment. The Governor stated he had
taken the greatest interest in the Cavalry command.
There was no difficulty in obtaining the necessary
Before the furlough had expired two additional
Battalions, of four Companies each, had been raised in
different parts of the State and reported for duty at
Frederick. Major Cole became the Colonel of the
Regiment; Captain George W. F. Vernon, of Company A,
Lieutenant Colonel; Lieutenant A. M. Flory, of Company
B, Major of the First Battalion; J. T. Daniels, a new
recruit, Major of the Second Battalion; Robert S.
Mooney, Major of the Third Battalion; Sergeant O. A.
Horner of Company C, Adjutant; Lieutenant Daniel Link,
succeeded Captain Vernon, of Company A; Lieutenant John
Rivers, was made Captain of Company B; Sergeant Henry
Buckingham was made Captain of Company C; Captain Frank
Gallagber continued as Captain of Company D, but in the
hospital, not yet recovered from a fractured leg, and
Lieutenant Samuel Mills was in command of the Company.
A very small percentage of the old non-commissioned
officers had been promoted in the new Companies, which
caused much disappointment and dissatisfaction among the
members of the Old Battalion. Colonel Cole said in
speaking to the writer, of this slight to the men who
had assisted in making the name of Cole's Cavalry a
household word in Western Maryland, that it was a
mistake he had often regretted. Influence had been
brought to bear upon the Governor and he had
commissioned a number of new officers without consulting
with the Colonel of the command.
Chapter 23: Roster of Officers Under Reorganization
The full Roster of the Officers of the Regiment was
COLE'S MARYLAND VOLUNTEER CAVALRY.
Original organization of First Battalion, August
10th, 1861. Augmented to a full Regiment April 20th,
Field and Staff:
- Henry A. Cole: Colonel, promoted from Captain
Company A to Major, August 1st, 1862, to Lieutenant
Colonel, March 7th, 1864, to Colonel, April 20th,
- George W. F. Vernon: Lieutenant Colonel,
promoted from Second Lieutenant Co. A, to First
Lieutenant, June 8th, 1862, to Captain, October loth,
1862, to Major, March 7th, 1864, to Lieutenant
Colonel, April 20th, 1864; wounded January 10th, 1864,
having left eye shot out in midnight attack on camp by
- J. Townsend Daniel: Major, March 19th, 1864.
- A. M. Flory: Major, promoted from First
Lieutenant Co. B, to Major, April 20th, 1864;
honorably discharged, October 2nd, 1864.
- Robert D. Mooney: Major, promoted from First
Lieutenant Co. I, to Major, April 20th, 1864.
- Oliver A. Horner: Major, promoted from private
Company C, to Corporal, August 31st, 1861, to First
Sergeant, June 10th, 1862, to Second Lieutenant,
January 15th, 1864, to First Lieutenant and Adjutant,
April 20th, 1864, to Major, February 1st, 1865;
captured July 7th, 1864, and escaped same day.
- Charles Ostrelli: First Lieutenant and
Adjutant, promoted from private Company I, to Sergeant
Major, May 1st, 1864, to First Lieutenant Co. E,
December 30th, 1864, to Adjutant, February 1st, 1865.
- Walter R. Way: Surgeon, promoted from
Assistant Surgeon, April 20th, 1864; honorably
discharged and appointed Assistant Surgeon United
States Volunteers, December 3rd, 1864, by order
Secretary of War.
- D. W. Onderdonk: Surgeon, promoted from
Assistant Surgeon, January 24th, 1865.
- John Mcllvaine: Assistant Surgeon, promoted
from Hospital Steward to Assistant Surgeon, May 17th,
- H. F. Winchester: First Lieutenant and R. Q.
- H. H. Vernon: First Lieutenant and R. C. S.,
died at Frederick, Md., June 23d, 1864.
- Samuel J. Maxwell: First Lieutenant and R. C.
S., promoted from Sergeant Co. C, to Company
Commissary Sergeant, January 1st, 1863. Re-enlisted as
a Veteran Volunteer, February 13th, 1864, promoted to
First Lieutenant and K. C. D., July 7th, 1864;
captured September 2d, 1862; exchanged December 18th,
- Charles Cole: Chaplain.
- Charles L. K. Sumwalt: Sergeant Major,
promoted from private Company K, to Sergeant,
September 1st, 1864, to Sergeant Major, January 6th,
- H. G. Winter: R. Q. Sergeant, promoted from Q.
M. Sergeant Co. D, to E. Q. M. Sergeant, May 1st,
1864, Veteran Volunteer.
- W. L. Curreno: R. C. Sergeant, promoted from
private Co. C, to Corporal, June 10th, 1862, to
Sergeant, May 7th, 1864, to R. C. Sergeant, September
1st, 1864, Veteran Volunteer.
- Samuel J. Wolf: R. Saddler Sergeant, promoted
from Saddler Co. C, to R. C. Sergeant, November 1st,
1864, Veteran Volunteer; captured September 2nd, 1862;
exchanged December 18th, 1862.
- Charles S. Long: Chief Trumpeter, promoted
from private Co. F, to Chief Trumpeter, May 1st, 1865.
- James R. Scott: Hospital Steward, promoted
from private Company C, to Corporal, January 1st,
1863, to Hospital Steward, December 1st, 1864, Veteran
Volunteer; wounded at Leesburg, Va., September 2d,
1862; captured September 14th, 1862; exchanged
February 18th, 1863.
- James McDonald: Veterinary Surgeon.
: Promoted from private to
Sergeant, to First Lieutenant, to Captain; honorably
discharged, January 24th, 1865.
Captain Franklin Hitchcock: Promoted from private
in Company C, to Second Lieutenant Company A, to First
Lieutenant, to Captain.
First Lieutenant Cooms: Deserted, 1861.
Second Lieutenant Hanson Green: Resigned,
First Lieutenant Charles W. Beatty: Promoted
from Farrier to Fifth Sergeant, to Second Lieutenant,
to First Lieutenant, Veteran Volunteer.
Second Lieutenant D. E.Orrison: Promoted from
private to Corporal, to C. Sergeant, to First
Sergeant, to Second Lieutenant.
- Captain William Firey: Dismissed May 30th,
1864. The dismissal of Captain Firey from the Army was
greatly deplored by not only the members of Company B,
but by the rank and file of the entire Old Battalion.
Captain William Firey was a brave, conscientious
gentleman and soldier, and ever ready to do a kindness
for those under him. The Captain had been sick for
some time, and when he became convalescent he took
command of his company on a scout, and when the
command went into camp for the night, near Upperville,
Va., the ground was very damp, some one suggested that
he, the Captain, lodge at a house not far distant;
unfortunately the building was outside of his picket
line. During the night the enemy charged down upon the
picket post and captured several men. Charges were
preferred against Captain Firey for being outside of
his lines in the enemy's country, and placed the blame
upon him for lack of discipline. He was
court-martialed and dishonorably dismissed the
service, after serving his country so gallantly for
over two years.
- Second Lieutenant Albert Metz: Killed in
action June 15th, 1863.
- Captain John L. Rivers: Promoted from private
to Q. M. Sergeant, to Second Lieutenant, to Captain.
- First Lieutenant Frank Burr
- Second Lieutenant Charles W. Mann: Promoted
from private to Q. M. Sergeant, to First Sergeant, to
Second Lieutenant, Veteran Volunteer.
: Resigned June 10th,
First Lieutenant Washington Morrison: Resigned
June 10th, 1862, promoted from Second Lieutenant to
First Lieutenant John Motter Annan: Killed
accidently at Frederick, Md., November 14th, 1861.
Captain A. M. Hunter: Promoted from Bugler to
Second Lieutenant and to Captain; captured September
2d, 1862; exchanged December 18th, 1862; honorably
discharged, September 28th, 1864.
Captain Henry Buckingham: Promoted to Corporal
from Private, Corporal to Sergeant, to Second
Lieutenant, to Captain; mustered out with Regiment
June 28th, 1865.
First Lieutenant William A. Horner: Promoted
from First Sergeant to First Lieutenant, June 10th,
1862; captured September 14th, 1862; exchanged
February 1863; honorably discharged, September 28th,
First Lieutenant O. D. McMillan: Promoted from
First Sergeant to First Lieutenant, Veteran Volunteer;
captured September 2d, 1862; exchanged December 18th,
1862; mustered out with Regiment.
Second Lieutenant H. I. McNair: Promoted from
Sergeant to Second Lieutenant; resigned January 2d,
1864, to accept promotion in 3d Maryland Cavalry.
Second Lieutenant William A. Mcllhenny:
Promoted from private to Corporal, to Q. M. Sergeant,
to Second Lieutenant, Veteran Volunteer; wounded at
Charlestown, October 18th, 1863; mustered out with
Second Lieutenant Oliver Horner: Promoted from
private to Corporal, August 31st, 1861, to First
Sergeant, June 10th, 1862, to Second Lieutenant,
January 15th, 1864, to First Lieutenant and Adjutant,
April 20th, 1864, to Major, February 1st, 1865;
captured July 7th, 1864, and escaped same day at
- Captain Pierce K. Keirle: Resigned June 18th,
- Captain Francis Gallagher: Promoted from
Second Lieutenant to First Lieutenant; captured
September 2d, 1862 ; exchanged December 18th, 1862;
honorably discharged, September, 1864.
- First Lieutenant Robert E. Milling: Dismissed
Sept. 1st, 1862.
- First Lieutenant Samuel S. Mills: Promoted
from private to Q. M. Sergeant, to Second Lieutenant,
to First Lieutenant; captured at Leesburg, Va.,
September 2d, 1862, and at Winchester, August 20th,
1864, escaping both times; honorably discharged
December 2d, 1864.
- Captain Tapham Wright Kelly: Independent
Company consolidated with Company D and commanded the
Company until close of war. First Lieutenant Henry A.
Bier, Second Lieutenant C. F. Benchoff.
- Lieutenant Sam Sigler: Promoted from private
to Bugler, to Second Lieutenant; captured at
Smithfield, August 22d, 1862; exchanged December,
1862; honorably discharged, September, 1864.
- Captain G. J. P. Wood: Dismissed September
26th, 1864, revoked May 11th, 1865, by order of the
President of the United States.
- Captain John P. Forrest: Promoted from private
to C. Sergeant, to First Sergeant, to Captain.
- First Lieutenant Charles V. Duncan: Resigned
- First Lieutenant E. V. Gannon: Promoted from
private to Sergeant Company A, to First Lieutenant,
- Second Lieutenant John T. Hickman: Wounded in
action at Charlestown, Va., August 22d, 1864;
honorably discharged on Surgeon's Certificate of
Disability, November 2d, 1864.
- Second Lieutenant P. Walsh: Promoted from
private to Q. M. Sergeant, to Second Lieutenant.
- Captain William F. Bragg.
- First Lieutenant H. B. Younger: Captured
August 5th, 1864, at Keedysville, Md.; exchanged
- Second Lieutenant Uriah Garber.
- Captain George M. Kershner.
- First Lieutenant Frank D. Kerr.
- Second Lieutenant Thomas McAtee: Resigned June
- Second Lieutenant John T. Nolle: Promoted from
private to First Sergeant, to Second Lieutenant.
: Killed in action at
Charlestown, Va., August 22d, 1865.
Captain J. W. Kraft: Raised Company of Heavy
Artillery, consolidated with Cole's Cavalry, assumed
command Company H, August, 1864.
First Lieutenant E. H. Johnson: Dishonorably
dismissed, January 25th, 1865.
First Lieutenant Joseph B. Swaney: Promoted
from Second Lieutenant.
Second Lieutenant Robert Butler: Promoted from
private Company I to First Sergeant, to Second
First Lieutenant A. Woodhull: Dismissed April
Second Lieutenant Alexander M. Briscoe:
Promoted from private to Q. M. Sergeant Company F, to
Second Lieutenant Company I, to First Lieutenant ;
captured at Hagerstown, July 29th, 1864; escaped from
Hospital, at Columbia, South Carolina, with assistance
of Miss Carrie Karey, a Southern lady, February 14th,
- Captain L. M. Zimmerman: Promoted from private
to Corporal Company A, to Sergeant, to Second
Lieutenant, to Captain of Company K; captured at
Leesburg, Va., September 2d, 1862; exchanged December
10th, 1862; wounded at Loudoun Heights, January 10th,
- First Lieutenant George E. Owens.
- Second Lieutenant B. F. McAtee: Resigned
November 14th, 1864.
- Second Lieutenant Charles H. Barto: Promoted
from Sergeant Company H to Chief Trumpeter, to Second
- Captain John H. McCoy: Promoted from private
to Corporal Company F 2nd Maryland Infantry, to Second
Lieutenant, to Captain, and transferred to Company L.
- First Lieutenant A. A. Troxell.
- Second Lieutenant Charles J. Gehring.
: Promoted from
private Company F, to Sergeant, to Second Lieutenant,
First Lieutenant George M. Lease: Promoted
from private to Q. M. Sergeant Company A, to First
Lieutenant of Company M, Veteran Volunteer; wounded
August 24th, 1864.
Second Lieutenant C. A. Santmyer: Promoted
from private to First Sergeant, to Second Lieutenant.
Chapter 24: Shenandoah Valley
After the Regiment had been properly equipped they
saw much hard service and kept up the reputation the Old
Battalion had made; they participated in the Valley
Campaign, with Sheridan, and lost a number of men in
killed and wounded.
The members of the first, or Veteran Battalion, as
they were called, had returned to camp at Frederick
City, their thirty day's furlough having expired, and
were now thoroughly equipped and ready for duty, and
were ordered to join General Sigel, then moving up the
Shenandoah Valley, participating in the disastrous fight
at New Market, May 15th, 1864. The Battalion was only
saved from annihilation or surrender by their desperate
courage, and superb fighting qualities, that had before
enabled it to cut its way through opposing ranks of the
enemy. The Battalion suffered severely and many a poor
fellow bit the dust in this engagement. In this battle
Sigel was badly beaten by Breckinridge, and his Germans
completely routed, and many of them captured by the
Boys' Brigade of Cadets, from the Virginia Military
Institute, commanded by Colonel Scott Shipp. Colonel
Shipp was wounded and the command devolved upon
Professor Captain Henry A. Wise, who after the war
became Superintendent of the Public Schools of Baltimore
City. The Cadets charged and captured a battery. Senator
Faulkner, John A. Wise, and many others who have since
risen to the eminence, were in the Cadet Brigade, which
lost a large percentage of their membership in killed
On the return of the command to Harper's Ferry, the
Battalion was again sent to Loudoun; they had not met
Mosby since the latter's defeat on the 10th of January.
After scouting several days, we came upon a portion of
his command at Upperville, and also at Snickersville;
defeating them at both places and capturing several
The two new Battalions of Colonel Cole's Regiment
went from Frederick to Camp Stoneman, near Washington,
for the purpose of being mounted and equipped.
After the defeat of Sigel, he was superseded by
General Hunter, who was ordered to clear the Valley of
all Confederate forces, and these two Battalions were
temporarily armed with muskets and assigned to Colonel
Mulligan's Brigade of Infantry, which had charge of a
wagon train loaded with ammunition and provisions sent
to General Hunter, whilst on his famous raid to
Lynchburg, Virginia. Two-thirds of the old Battalion who
were mounted and a number of the new men owning their
own horses, under command of Major Daniels, and Captain
Daniel Link of Company A, had been detailed to take the
advance of Hunter's army, destroying a large amount of
Confederate property, including a wagon train captured
near Lynchburg. They participated with Hunter in the
battle at Harrisonburg, June 3d, 1864, Piedmont, June
5th, Tye River, June 7th, and Lynchburg, June 17th and
18th, and also at Lexington, Buckhannon and Salem.
Lee hastened Early's Corps to the aid of the
Confederates at Lynchburg. Hunter was several hundred
miles from his base of supplies, and Early massed such
an overwhelming force in front of him that he was
compelled to fall back; retreating up the Kanawha
Valley, in West Virginia. Early, instead of continuing
in pursuit of Hunter, changed his course to the
Shenandoah Valley, and had gotten to Leetown, within ten
miles of the Potomac River, where he struck Colonel
Mulligan's Brigade, who had started with a supply train
for Hunter's army, and was repulsed. A portion of the
old Battalion, who had not gone on the raid with General
Hunter, had been sent from Leetown by Colonel Mulligan
in the direction of Winchester. Mulligan had sent his
train back to Harper's Ferry. In leaving the camp Cole's
men went to Charlestown, and then out the Berryville
road. In going through Charlestown it was observed that
the citizens were congregating upon the street corners,
and from their general manner something unusual was up.
Lieutenant Sam Sigler, of Company D was in command of
our scouting party of sixty-five men. Night was
approaching when we met a farmer who informed us that
Early was at Winchester and was expected to be in
Charlestown next day. After this information we
concluded to return to camp, but halted several miles
outside of Charlestown, on the Summit Point Road,
supposing that if Early was at Winchester, the men of
his command living around Charlestown, some of them
would get to their homes in advance of the Confederate
Army, and our conjectures were correct. I had charge of
the pickets; the-men were dismounted in a strip of woods
standing by their horses. I had relieved the guard after
midnight, and had gotten but a short distance from one
of the pickets when I heard the man on duty halting some
one, and called upon me to return to his post. The
comrade I had relieved from duty I sent to the reserve,
with instructions to have the command ready to mount.
When I approached the sentinel he had under arrest a
horseman, who upon investigation I discovered was a
mounted Infantryman, and he informed me that he belonged
to Early's Army, and had left his command at Winchester.
After a short consultation among ourselves we concluded
to return to camp and started at once. In passing
through Charlestown on our return, many houses were lit
up; we knew the occupants were expecting their friends,
and at daylight we came into the camp at Leetown.
Lieutenant Sigler started at once to Colonel Mulligan's
headquarters, with the prisoner we had brought in. The
men unsaddled their horses, and the next instant we
heard the pickets on the outpost firing. The bugle
sounded " boots and saddles," the men had scarcely time
to mount their horses when the enemy was upon them; had
our scouting party remained away thirty minutes longer
than we had, the Rebels would have gotten to the camp
first. Our detachment of Cavalry were instantly thrown
out in advance of Mulligan's brigade as skirmishers and
engaged the enemy. Sigel who had been restored to the
command of the lower Shenandoah Valley, had his
headquarters at Martinsburg. Mulligan, with his Brigade,
repulsed the enemy, and Sigel immediately evacuated
Martinsburg without coming to Mulligan's assistance, and
fell back into Maryland, after which he ordered Mulligan
to fall back across the Potomac at Shepherdstown, arid
from thence Sigel took his entire command to Maryland
Cole's new Battalions were under fire for the first
time at Leetown and they behaved most admirably, forming
line of battle in face of an artillery fire with
promptitude that would have done credit to older
I do not wish to criticize General Sigel's movements.
It is a well known fact that it left Early a clear pass
over South Mountain, to Frederick, and resulted in his
nearly capturing Washington. The Capital was defenseless
until the arrival of the 6th Army Corps, which General
Grant promptly threw around it.
On July 6th, 1864, Adjutant Q. A. Horner had charge
of a wagon train sent from Harper's Ferry to Frederick,
and reported to Colonel Higgins, in charge of the post.
Rumors of Rebels advancing upon Frederick from
Boonsboro, had been received at headquarters; Colonel
Higgins ordered a scouting party, composed of members of
the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry and Means' Loudoun
Rangers, an independent Virginia Battalion, to go in the
direction of Middletown under command of a Major Thorp ;
about seventy-five men in all. Colonel Higgins requested
Adjutant Horner with his few men, some eight or ten, to
accompany Thorp, and take the advance. The column had
advanced to within one mile of Middletown, when they
came upon the enemy's picket post; Adjutant, Horner
immediate ordered his men to charge and drove the
pickets upon their reserve, about twenty-five men, who
in turn charged Horner's small squad. Major Thorp with
his entire command "right about" and dashed back towards
Frederick, in the greatest disorder, and behaving in the
most cowardly manner.
Adjutant Horner finding it was impossible to check
the enemy, was compelled to fall back and in doing so,
the Adjutant's horse was shot and fell upon its rider,
who was captured by the Rebels, but succeeded in making
his escape; concealing himself in a small negro cabin.
The Confederates re-established their picket post
immediately in front of the house; Adjutant Horner found
an old coat and hat belonging to the former occupant of
the building which he donned and leisurely walked out
into the yard and succeeded in making his escape to the
mountains, walked to Frederick and reported at
headquarters in his unmilitary garb. After procuring
suitable clothing and a fresh horse he returned to his
regiment at Maryland Heights.
Read Chapters Twenty-five - Twenty-eight
Interested in Cole's Cavalry? Then try our archived
edition for a complete listing of Emmitsburg &
Solders of Company C, Coleís Cavalry 1861-1865