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Cole's 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 & Mechanicís Gap

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 Confederates.

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 Confederate money.

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 following morning.

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 authority.

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 as follows:

COLE'S MARYLAND VOLUNTEER CAVALRY.

Original organization of First Battalion, August 10th, 1861. Augmented to a full Regiment April 20th, 1864.

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, 1864.
  • 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 Mosby's Guerrillas.
  • 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, 1865.
  • H. F. Winchester: First Lieutenant and R. Q. M., (dismissed.)
  • 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, 1862.
  • Charles Cole: Chaplain.

Non-commissioned Staff:

  • Charles L. K. Sumwalt: Sergeant Major, promoted from private Company K, to Sergeant, September 1st, 1864, to Sergeant Major, January 6th, 1865.
  • 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.

Company A:

  • Captain Daniel Link: 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, December, 1862.
  • 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.

Company B:

  • 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.

Company C:

  • Captain John R. Horner: Resigned June 10th, 1862.
  • First Lieutenant Washington Morrison: Resigned June 10th, 1862, promoted from Second Lieutenant to succeed Annan.
  • 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, 1864.
  • 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 Company.
  • 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 Middletown, Md.

Company D:

  • Captain Pierce K. Keirle: Resigned June 18th, 1863.
  • 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.

Company E:

  • 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 June 8th,1864.
  • First Lieutenant E. V. Gannon: Promoted from private to Sergeant Company A, to First Lieutenant, Veteran Volunteer.
  • 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.

Company F:

  • Captain William F. Bragg.
  • First Lieutenant H. B. Younger: Captured August 5th, 1864, at Keedysville, Md.; exchanged April, 1865.
  • Second Lieutenant Uriah Garber.

Company G:

  • Captain George M. Kershner.
  • First Lieutenant Frank D. Kerr.
  • Second Lieutenant Thomas McAtee: Resigned June 11th, 1864.
  • Second Lieutenant John T. Nolle: Promoted from private to First Sergeant, to Second Lieutenant.

Company H:

  • Captain B. F. Hauck: 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 Lieutenant.

Company I:

  • Captain W. L. Atkinson.
  • First Lieutenant A. Woodhull: Dismissed April 6th, 1865.
  • 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, 1865.

Company K:

  • 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, 1864.
  • 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 Lieutenant.

Company L:

  • 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.

Company M:

  • Captain L. H. Greenewald: Promoted from private Company F, to Sergeant, to Second Lieutenant, to Captain.
  • 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 and wounded.

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 prisoners.

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 Heights.

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 veterans.

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 & Gettysburg names: The Solders of Company C, Coleís Cavalry  1861-1865