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Cole's Cavalry; or Three Years in the Saddle

In the Shenandoah Valley

By C. Armour Newcomer

Read Chapters One-Three

Chapter Four: Tobacco Warehouse and Belle Isle

We arrived at Staunton, and were placed on the cars and started for Richmond. On arriving at the Confederate Capital, we were escorted before the Provost Marshal, who directed that we be searched and it is useless to state everything of value was taken from us. Our names, company and command were taken down by a young clerk, but it proved afterwards were not entered on the ledger, and caused us much inconvenience later on. We spent several days in the Old Tobacco Warehouse, known as Libby Prison, and with a number of others, sent to Belle Isle. Our names were called and each man answered to his name as it was mentioned. When the officer calling the list had gotten to my name, he requested me to step to the front, at the same time remarking he would like to speak to me; at the conclusion of the roll call. He turned to me and inquired where I was from and whether I had any connections living in the south? I replied in the affirmative, and mentioned a number who were then in the Confederate service. In speaking of a relative, the officer grasped my hand and mentioned the one referred to as his own brother-in-law. The guard and prisoners looking on could not understand why the Confederate Officer was shaking my hand and speaking so kindly to me, a Union soldier. I had found a friend and determined to make the best of it. The officer stated he was in charge of the guard on the Island, and I should not hesitate to speak to him on the following day, as I would recognize him, whilst he might not know me among so many.

Several days passed and I saw nothing of my new friend. After several weeks, I was informed by one of the guards, that he was sick in the hospital, a month rolled around, when one day I was gratified to see the officer coining down the line and I did not hesitate to attract his attention. He was much pleased to see me again. After informing me of his attack of sickness, he promised to interest himself in my behalf, a very amusing incident occurred. It was positively forbidden for any one to trade with the prisoners. The officer noticed a man with a barrel of apples; he had been selling them to the prisoners. The man was placed under arrest for violating the rules and he called two of the guards and dumped the apples from the barrel upon the ground. The temptation was so great, and not having tasted fruit for so long a time, I forgot for the moment that I was speaking to my relative's brother-in-law, and dropped on my knees, filling my hat with the pedler's apples. I felt so mortified at behaving so rudely that I failed to speak to the officer after this occurrence. The lieutenant was from Jackson, Mississippi.

There was now over six thousand "Yankee" prisoners, as we were called by the "Johnnies," on the Island. It was rumored that our Cavalry were raiding in the rear of General Lee's Army, and an effort would be made to release us from captivity. The authorities at Richmond became alarmed, and our captors commenced paroling us, working day and night for several days. Three thousand paroled men left us one Saturday morning and the remainder were to follow on the following day. The names of the thirteen members of Cole's Cavalry who had been captured with myself, could not be found, as the slip of paper the clerk had written our names upon, had been mislaid and the names never entered on the register. We were sent with the paroled prisoners over to Richmond, and another examination of the rolls failed to find our names.

We went to Aikin's Landing, on the James River, and after a consultation the Confederate Paroling Officer had a guard placed over us and we were ordered back to Richmond, suspected of having broken our parole and of giving fictitious names. In witnessing our former fellow prisoners marching upon the United States transports and we thirteen of Cole's men sent back again to prison, our feelings can better be imagined than described. On the following morning after being returned to Richmond, our guards delighted in showing us the papers giving an account of our return and commenting, stating we would be court martialed and would likely be shot or hung. This was not very encouraging for us. In prison I was speaking about what our fate would be, when I remarked, "I suppose our time has come," one of our number, Thos. Eltonhead, a jovial fellow, jokingly remarked "he" would wager an oyster supper, that we would neither be shot nor hung."I replied that "I accept the bet; it was a good one if I lost." In a short time the authorities discovered their error and we were released. I had lost my bet, and was happy for it.

Chapter Five: Home Again

On our trip from Richmond to Baltimore, I was taken sick and we were sent to the parole camp at Alexandria, Virginia, remaining there several weeks. In the meantime I recovered my health. A number of our command, who had been taken prisoners, and paroled at various times, had been sent to parole camp at Annapolis. I could not get away from Alexandria by pass, my friend Eltonhead and myself fell in with a squad that had been exchanged and we succeeded in getting on the north side of the Potomac River, and in a short time reported at Annapolis. I had no difficulty in getting permission to visit my home, and remained there until I was properly exchanged, when I again reported to my commanding officer at Harper's Ferry; in my absence many changes had occurred and many of my old comrades had been killed or wounded. Harper's Ferry had surrendered; and the great battle of Antietam had been fought and won by the Union Army.

Major Cole and his Battalion were constantly on the move in the summer of 1862, averaging twenty-five days of the month in the saddle, scouting through Loudoun and adjoining counties, east of the Blue Ridge Mountains and in the Valley and through West Virginia. The command on the various raids, invariably subsisted upon the country; never taking any supply wagons. And it is a remarkable fact that one hundred miles were repeatedly covered in twenty-four hours. It was rumored at Harper's Ferry that General Pope had defeated General Lee at Manassas, and Colonel Miles, commanding at the Ferry, ordered Major Cole to go to Leesburg, the extreme right of the Army of the Potomac, to capture stragglers of the Confederate Army who were reported in that vicinity.

Companies A, C and D were ordered to move at once. Company B had been for some time operating in the mountains of West Virginia. The three Companies crossed the Potomac River at the Point of Rocks, and arrived at Leesburg, Virginia; the advance exchanging an occasional shot with straggling bands of Mosby's and Major White's Confederate Cavalry. When the command had gone several miles south of the town, it was observed that the Confederates were becoming more numerous, the rear guard was kept busy repulsing numerous onslaughts, and upon the hills on all sides were noticed increased numbers of the enemy, Major Cole concluded to fall back to the Potomac River.

Lieutenant Green of Company A, who had relieved Company C in the advance, was confronted with a large body of the enemy's cavalry. Lieutenant Green concluded that the forces were other than Mosby's and White's, and he immediately sent Sergeant Lewis M. Zimmerman to the rear to notify Major Cole, he himself falling back with his advance upon the main column, stubbornly contesting the advance of the Confederates. When Lieutenant Green reached Major Cole, the Major had formed the command in a field surrounded by a stout post and rail fence, and it was none too soon, for the Confederates charged over the hill. It was now discovered that instead of being a few Companies, it proved to be a brigade of General Lee's Cavalry. The gallant Maryland Battalion fought five to one; they discharged their pieces in the face of the enemy, but it was useless to contend against such overwhelming numbers. Major Cole gave the command to draw sabers and charge; a number of the Battalion succeeded in cutting their way through the enemy's column, whilst a few of the men took to the mountains and reported at Harper's Ferry on the following day. It is not known how many of the Confederates were killed. Cole's gallant command sustained a loss of over thirty men, killed and wounded; many receiving Saber cuts.

In numerous instances the men refusing to surrender were cut down by the enemy's sabers.

Casualties in Company A.

Leesburg, Va., September 2; 1862.

First Sergeant —— Hall, killed. Corporal Julius Apple, killed. John Hall, wounded. Basil H. Albaugh, wounded. Thos. M. Wachter, wounded. Jas. H. McDevitt, wounded. Wm. Tinternian, wounded. J. H. Stottlemeyer, wounded. Edward Stone, wounded. 0. A. Wheeler, wounded.

Casualties in Company B.

Having waited for this list until the last moment, we were compelled to go to press without it.

Casualties in Company C.

Leesburg, Va., September 2, 1862.

George Ceise, killed. Corporal Wills, wounded. Samuel Bostick, wounded. Joseph E. Wible, wounded. Jas. A. Scott and Saml. N. McNair were both severely wounded, McNair receiving a musket ball clear through the lungs.

The following were captured and paroled on the Field:

Captain A. M. Hunter, wounded. Sergeant 0. D. McMillan, wounded.Sergeant S. J. Maxwell, wounded. Sergeant Geo. Gwinn, wounded. Corporal Wills, wounded. S. J. Wolf, wounded. E. O. Reck, wounded. W. H. Scott, wounded. Geo. L. Gillelan, wounded. Jacob Hartzell, wounded. D. Wright, wounded. Orderly Sergeant O. A. Horner., Sergeant A. A. Annan, and Private W. A. Mcllhenny deserve special mention for their bravery at Leesburg.

After the command having cut their way out, Sergeants Horner and Annan, and Private Mcllhenny were surrounded by the enemy, and single-handed they forced their way through the Rebel line, using their sabers to good advantage; joining with a few comrades they brought up the rear and reported at the camp at Harper's Ferry, each comrade having slain one or more of the enemy.

Casualties in Company D.

Leesburg, Va., September 2, 1862.

Charles Davis, killed. —— McCann, killed. John W. Sullivan, killed. John W. Williams, wounded. Chas. Bennett, wounded. Esom Edmonds, wounded.

The following day most of the command had gotten safely back to Harper's Ferry, being familiar with the mountain roads; Colonel Miles in command at the Ferry, congratulated Major Cole for his gallant fight against superior numbers of the Confederates, and was surprised that the entire command had not been captured.

It matters not how serious an affair may be, there is always an amusing side to the same. There was a comical fellow belonging to Company D, (George Cox,) better known and called by every one the "Captain," born and reared at Harper's Ferry; he was well acquainted in Loudoun and adjoining counties.

Many the time was when apple jack was hard to get; the Captain would swing several canteens across his shoulder, visit some of his former friends and neighbors, and invariably return to camp with canteens full, and the Captain as full as the canteens. He would be the life of the picket post and could tell more amusing yarns than any man in the battalion, and naturally became quite a favorite. There was one peculiar thing that puzzled the boys, and that was after the fight at Leesburg, the Captain seldom could be prevailed upon to go on a scout, or could he be gotten into a fight; it had gone on for some time and the Captain was requested to explain his conduct, in his own quaint way he would remark he had killed his man and lie knew it to be a fact. He stated that when he enlisted he had fully made up his mind to kill one of the enemy, and if every Union soldier would do likewise, the Confederate Army would be annihilated. Naturally the boys were much interested to know how and when the Captain had slain one of the enemy, and in his own way, said, that when Major Cole gave the command to charge, he was only provoked at the Major for not giving the order sooner, he had managed to get out of the field and had been cut off, but struck the pike, leading to the Point of Rocks, and had commenced to congratulate himself, he was all right, when he discovered three horsemen in his rear galloping towards him and commanding him to surrender. Visions of the horrors of Libby Prison and Andersonville loomed up before him, and he concluded he would give them a run for it. The loads had been shot from his carbine and revolver, and knowing he could not contend against the three "Johnnies" with his saber, he kept repeating the little verse about the man, "that fought and ran away, lived to fight another day." He refused to halt; he counted each shot as the enemy discharged their pieces and was gratified when the firing ceased, and two of them drew rein and halted, but one bloodthirsty Grayback kept thundering on behind .him, and was in the act of drawing his saber with the intention of cutting him down; (the Captain was encouraging his horse and vowing if he succeeded in making his escape he would never be caught in such a scrape again,) he noticed a large rock in the center of the road; his horse cleared the obstruction, but the Confederate in trying to draw his saber pulled his horse too close to the bank, and in jumping over the rock his horse stumbled and fell upon its rider and broke his neck. That is the way Captain Cox killed his man. He contended that if the fellow had not been following him his horse would not have fallen and the rider would not have been killed.

Cole's Troopers

By Jas. A. Scott of Company C

How the memories flocking come, Of the trial-days of war, Blast of bugle, roll of drum, Round the Heights of Bolivar!

From the mists of vanished years Cole's brave troopers come to view; And the past all reappears, And is acted o'er anew.

We behold the column stand, In the serried ranks of war, Heart to heart and hand to hand, On the Heights of Bolivar.

Then we trace them from their camp, Oft through battle fires and flames, While their horses thundering tramp From Potomac to the James.

And from Loudoun's hills and plains, To and fro in strength and pride, Marched they, oft with crimson stains, To the fur Ohio's tide

On the march by day or night, Songs of love or war they sang; How that one their chief delight "Glory, Hallelujah!" rang!

'Neath the midnight's gloomy arch, 'Neath the sun's meridian ray, When the summons came to march Swift they mounted, and away!

O'er the river's rugged ford, Over hill and mountain crag, Subject to their leader's word, Heart and eye upon the flag!

Oft in hunger and distress, Scorching heat and bitter cold Their endurance none the less Nor their loyal hearts less bold.

Wheresoe'er the foe was found On they charged with shot and steel, Or they nobly stood their ground 'Mid the cannon's thunder-peal!

Hear them shout at Winchester As they dash into the fray Where in battle thrice they were, Each a dark and bloody day!

How to mem'ry rise again Charlestown, Smithfield, Berryville, Woodstock, Romney, Moorefield's plain, Leesburg, Aldie, Rectortown,

Waterford and Upperville, Gettysburg of world renown Loudoun Heights, whose mem'ries thrill! Cedar Creek, and Fisher's Hill!

Ashby's Gap, Monocacy, Sbarpsbnrg's day of loyal might, Sad Newmarket's tragedy, Piedmont's well-contested fight;

Fall of Staunton, Lexington, Lynchburg and its dire retreat Empty haversack and gun In starvation, dust, and heat!

Some went down to bloody graves, Struck with shot or shell or blade, Others died in mud and caves In the horrible stockade!

Others perished by degrees From the wounds received in strife, Some a prey to fell disease, Slowly yielded up their life.

Now the marches long and sore, Fights by day, alarms by night, Now the shot and cannon's roar, Call to mount and march and fight.

Are to them forgotten things; But in reminiscent thought, Mem'ry oft the spirit wings To each well remembered spot.

And the rustic there at eve, 'Neath a dim and dusky sky, In his fancy may conceive He can hear them pass him by.

Hear the clashing of their steel, Hear their song now soft, now loud! See the column march and wheel, Men and steeds of mist and cloud!

Chapter Six: Siege of Harper's Ferry.

The command, an arriving at Harper's Ferry after their disastrous fight at Leesburg, counted up their losses, and in a few days were again ready for active service.

The Confederates were moving upon Harper's Ferry in great numbers, General Dixon S. Miles, U. S. A., in command, was being surrounded. The great guns on Maryland Heights were booming day and night, the forces at Bolivar Heights were contending with a force in their front, and it was rumored the Confederates had crossed the river farther west, and the enemy was gradually working their way in the rear of the Union forces on Maryland Heights. It was evident to all that Harper's Ferry must fall; there was not space sufficient to handle all the troops concentrated at Harper's Ferry; they were in a trap; their opportunity for evacuating the Post had been lost and there was nothing to be done but surrender. The rank and file thought they had been sold out and did not hesitate to give expression thereto. After the capitulation, Colonel Miles was shot and killed, and it was generally supposed by one of his own men. If he was a traitor he received his just deserts. A great injustice has been done Colonel Miles, as he was a competent officer, and the stigma upon his name should be removed. He was under orders from Washington, and it was his duty to obey.

There was a large force of Cavalry at the Ferry. General Jackson was expecting to get the horses that Lee's Army so much needed. Major Cole had his little band of Cavalry drawn up in line, and stated, that without a doubt, they would all be prisoners on the following day. If the men so willed it they should endeavor to cut their way through the enemy's lines. Every officer and man in the command that had a horse fit for duty told the Major they would follow him, let it be to victory or death. Lieutenant Green and Lieutenant Samuel Mills, of A and D Companies, urged their men to prepare themselves for the worst, and every man was supplied with an extra amount of ammunition. The officers of the various companies personally superintended seeing that no man carried any extra luggage.

Colonel Miles approved of the undertaking and issued the following order:

Headquarters Harper's Ferry, Va., 14th Sept., 1862. special order No. 120.

1st. The Cavalry force at this Post, except detached orderlies, will make immediate preparation to leave here at 8 o'clock tonight, without baggage, wagons, ambulances or lead horses; crossing the pontoon bridge and taking the Sharpsburg road.

2nd. The Senior Officer, Col. Voss, will assume command of the whole; which will form in the following order: the right at Quartermaster's Office; the left up Shenandoah Street, without noise or loud command, viz: Cole's Cavalry, 12th Illinois Cavalry, 8th New York Cavalry, Rhode Island Cavalry, 1st Maryland Cavalry. No other instructions can be given to the Commander for his guidance than to force his way through the enemy's lines to our army.

By order of Col. Miles, (Signed) H. C. REYNOLDS, Lieut. and A. A. A. Genl.

It was soon known ,that Cole's Cavalry was going to undertake a hazardous task as soon as night approached. Officers and men of the different Cavalry commands besieged Cole's camp and requested that they be permitted to join with Major Cole, and go out with the Maryland boys; the request of course was granted, and at ten o'clock on the night of September the 14th, 1862, Cole's Battalion took the advance over the pontoon bridge across the Potomac River, with their brave Major in the lead, arid the following regiments: 12th Illinois, 8th New York, Battalion of the 1st Maryland, and a Rhode Island Regiment, making in all twenty-one hundred Cavalrymen. Lieutenant Hanson Green of Company A, with three men, were detailed as an advance, and were the first to cross the bridge. Lieutenant Green and his companions were thoroughly familiar with the country, and their courage had been tested in many an engagement. It was deemed necessary to have one in whom Major Cole had implicit confidence as advance guard. One mile above Harper's Ferry the advance was halted by Confederate pickets. The night was very dark. Major Cole coming to the front with the command failed to halt, the Rebel vedette discharged his piece and fell back. The Cavalry continuing to advance until near Sharpsburg, Maryland, where they came upon the enemy guarding a wagon train, and the Rebels supposing the Federal Cavalry to be a Brigade of their own command failed to fire upon them, Major Cole captured the train without the loss of a man. At daylight, when near Hagerstown, he discovered it was General Longstreet's ammunition wagons, and the capture of this train proved a great loss to the Confederates. It has been said, that in a great measure the battle of Antietam, which was fought a few days later, was won to the Union side because General Longstreet's Corps of General Lee's Army had run out of ammunition. But for the loss of the train, captured by Major Cole, the battle of Antietam might have gone against General McClellan. The train was taken to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

It is needless to state that General Stonewall Jackson was surprised and disappointed the following day, when he entered Harper's Ferry with his forces, Miles having surrendered, to find that the large body of Union Cavalry had cut their way out.

General McClellan was much gratified at having this large body of Cavalry join his army, which did good service.

It is just and proper that I should mention an incident that occurred during the siege of Harper's Ferry. Colonel Miles desired to communicate with General McClellan, who was then at Middletown, Maryland; Colonel Miles sent for Major Cole and communicated his wishes, as it was necessary to have some one carry this important message who possessed undoubted courage. The message was of too great importance to entrust to one of his men, and Colonel Miles stated he desired Major Cole should deliver the dispatch to General McClellan in person. Major Cole left headquarters at midnight, and passed through the Rebel lines, and safely delivered the message. General McClellan personally thanked Major Cole and sent him back with a reply to Colonel Miles at Harper's Ferry, where he arrived in due time to take his command and other Cavalry out of the besieged garrison.

Major Cole and his command were ordered by General McClellan to annoy the enemy on the flanks. The membership of the Battalion, whilst constantly receiving recruits, had now become greatly reduced, their-loss in killed and wounded had been heavy. The command being a perfectly Independent Battalion which had been raised by a Special Act of Congress, was subject to the orders of no one, except the General commanding the Department. The Battalion could perform more valuable service than if they had been brigaded. There was now not more than one hundred and fifty men answering roll-call, but that small body of troops, captured, killed and wounded more Confederates in the summer and fall of 1862, than the Battalion had in active service.

In October, 1862, General Stuart's Confederate Cavalry made their famous raid around General McClellan's Army, and the only prisoners taken from Stuart was at Hyattstown, Maryland, where Cole's Cavalry charged the rear guard and captured twenty-five of Stuart's raiders.

Captain Firey's Company B had not been with the Battalion for some months, they had been detached, and operating in the mountains of West Virginia and Western Maryland. Firey's Company as it was known in that section, had met with severe losses during the year of 1862. They had performed much hard service, and many of the original members had been killed off, and like the other three Companies they were recruiting at all times. In the winter of 1862, Company B again joined the Battalion at Harper's Ferry.

Chapter 7: Harassing the Enemy

General Geary's Division started on a reconnaissance to Winchester in the winter of 1862. Major Cole with the command were again given the post of honor in the advance. They captured a number of prisoners at the various towns and villages passed through; on arriving at Winchester the Battalion charged through the town, driving out a small body of Confederates. General Geary again returned to Harper's Ferry.

The command was kept constantly on the go. There was scarcely a day that Cole's men were not on a scout either in Loudoun or Jefferson Counties. Captain Baylor, of the 12th Virginia Confederate Cavalry, had been annoying our pickets stationed outside of Bolivar Heights. Baylor's Company was raised in the neighborhood of Charlestown, Smithfield and vicinity, and was the same Company that had captured the thirteen members of Company D at Smith-field during the summer. There was more than the usual desire to meet this particular Cavalry Command; the boys were anxious to repay them for past reverses received at their hands. They had not long to wait. Shots had been exchanged between the two commands almost daily for some time. At Halltown, six miles south from Harper's Ferry, there is a small stream of water. Baylor's men were doing picket duty several hundred yards south of the stream, and Cole's pickets a short distance north «f the stream. The men on picket duty arranged among themselves that hostilities should cease at a certain hour of each day, and both commands come to the stream and water their horses. It was no unusual sight to see Confederate and Union Cavalrymen watering their horses at the same time arid frequently exchanging papers and trading coffee for tobacco.

A detachment of the Battalion, under command of Captain Vernon, started on one of their daily raids, and had gone through Halltown, driving the Rebel picket from his post in the direction of Charlestown. A portion of Baylor's Cavalry attempted to intercept them; shots were exchanged, Baylor's men falling back, when Captain Vernon's rear guard galloped up and reported the Rebels were coming up the pike, in the rear. The 12th Virginia had as they supposed the "Yanks" in a trap. Both front and rear columns began to advance more rapidly upon Captain Vernon, down the pike. Captain Vernon discovered he was in a tight place, but surprised the enemy by charging the column in his front, with drawn sabers. Baylor was completely surprised at this move, and before he could recover, Captain Vernon had him a prisoner, with a large number of his men, including Lieutenant Baylor, a son of the Captain. Captain. Vernon gave the command to right about, and with the prisoners he had taken, charged the squadron who had attacked him in the rear, capturing more of their number, and the rest scattering like sheep to the fields and making their escape. The most of Baylor's Company, with himself and his Lieutenant, were brought safely into the Union lines. Captain Baylor's Company of the 12th Virginia was heard of no more, at least not in the vicinity where they were organized.

The command received a number of recruits after the first of January, 1863, and a large number of our members who had been captured and had survived the tortures of Libby Prison, Belle Isle and Andersonville, had now been exchanged and returned to the command for duty.

The Battalion in the Spring of 1863, was again ready for active work, and was ordered to Kearneysville, on the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road, twelve miles west of Harper's Ferry, from where detachments were raiding the country and capturing Confederates who were visiting their homes, for the purpose of placing crops in the ground.

Captain Vernon was Provost Marshal at this point, and his guards were patrolling the country. A number of Government horses with the "U. S." stamp upon them had been taken from the farmers, and all citizens desiring to pass through the lines were compelled to get a pass from the Provost Marshal. The Captain had his headquarters in a small one-story log house, and all contraband goods captured, were stored in this building before being sent to Harper's Ferry. A citizen who had been selling the soldiers liquor had been arrested, and a barrel of whiskey found on his place confiscated. The whiskey was brought to headquarters and placed in the room used as the Provost Marshal's office; the driver after unloading the liquor set the barrel on end instead of simply rolling the same in, and it was not long before every one in camp knew there was a barrel of whiskey in the house, and some of the men were determined to have it out. The guard was on duty day and night at the front door, and it was no easy matter to get the barrel out without being observed; at last, one of the men secured a long auger and gained entrance to the cellar, in the rear of the house. It was raining and the guard had no thought of what was going on; a number of camp kettles were brought from the camp and the soldiers in the cellar bored a hole through the flooring and through the bottom of the barrel. The liquor flowed through and was caught in the kettles, passed out of the window and hastily carried off. On the following morning, when Captain Vernon discovered his loss he was not in the best of humor and the guard received a severe reprimand.

Chapter Eight: Engagement at Sharpsburg

When General Milroy advanced up the Shenandoah Valley, Cole's Cavalry continued their headquarters at Kearneysville, and later, when General Milroy met with his disastrous defeat at Winchester, June 15th, 1863, the Battalion with Major Cole in command, covered his retreat and were the last Union soldiers to reach the Potomac River.

After General Lee crossed into Maryland, the command met a detachment of Confederate Cavalry at Sharpsburg, and had quite a spirited fight; we were now acting as partisans and constantly annoying the enemy, capturing their pickets and picking up stragglers, and were on the move day and night.

Major Harry Gilmor was in Frederick; and Captain Vernon with a detachment of forty men, charged the town and drove Gilmor and his command through the streets, capturing several of his men. The citizens, seeing it was Cole's men that had made the dash into the town, raised their windows and cheered, and the ladies waved their handkerchiefs as we went through.

Lieutenant Link of Company A, deserves special mention for his bravery on this occasion. Gilmor lost one man killed and one wounded, besides three men captured.

It has been a disputed question when and where the first gun was fired on Pennsylvania soil, and at what place the first blood was spilled; let me state, without fear of contradiction, that it was at a place called Fountain Dale, Adams County, Pennsylvania, near Monterey Springs, and by a portion of Cole's Maryland Cavalry, under command of Lieutenant William A. Horner and Sergeant O. A. Horner, of Company C. The Confederate Cavalry were visiting the farms and pressing into the Confederate service the farmers' horses; Lieutenant Horner came upon a squad of the Rebel Cavalrymen, at Fountain Dale, with twenty stolen horses in their possession; the Lieutenant and his men captured fifteen out of the twenty-five Confederates, and recaptured the farmers' horses; the enemy lost one man killed and one wounded. Sergeant O. A. Horner deserves special mention, having captured a Rebel officer, who was a bearer of dispatches from General Lee to General Ewell. The dispatches were turned over to General Meade, commanding the Federal forces and were of great importance. Sergeant Horner was later promoted to a Major's position.

Historical Society Note: Many hours of investigation has uncovered that these dispatches were not captured by Sergeant Horner. The dispatches referred to were captured by Samuel McNair at Gettysburg, Pa.

General Lee's Army had now passed through Maryland into Pennsylvania and General Meade had superseded General Hooker of the Army of the Potomac; Major Cole was ordered to remain at Frederick with sixty men and the remainder of his command were assigned to duty as scouts, guides and couriers, owing to their fitness for this dangerous work, and their familiarity with the country; later following General Lee into the Shenandoah Valley, where the command was again united.

The writer was one of the sixty men that remained at Frederick with the Major; we were encamped on the western outskirts of the town. The Maryland Brigade, under command of General John R. Kenly, were encamped several miles from Frederick, guarding the bridges over the Monocacy and the fording at the Potomac River at the mouth of the Monocacy; Major General French was in command of all troops around Frederick, and a portion of his men were guarding the gaps in the South Mountain.

Read Chapters Nine-Twelve

Interested in Cole's Cavalry? Then try our archived edition for a complete listing of Emmitsburg & Gettysburg names: The Solders of Company C, Cole’s Cavalry  1861-1865