Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Brett Schulte.
And Now One of the Unfortunates Wants to Find the Captor.
EDITOR NATIONAL TRIBUNE: With your permission I will relate an incident that occurred under my own personal observation, which I have never seen in print, and which I think ranks favorably with almost anything I have read since the war.
The Federal cavalry attacked on De. 1, 1864, the forts at Stony Creek Station, Va., capturing two forts and a large lot of commissary and ordnance supplies belonging to the Confederate army.1 In my four years’ experience in the Confederate service I do not think I ever witnessed such a charge as this regiment made, charging mounted against well-protected earthworks well garrisoned with artillery and infantry that had seen service in some of the most hotly-contested engagements of the war. Their onslaught was irresistible, and the garrison was compelled to surrender. I, with five others, one of whom was a First Lieutenant, attempted to escape, and had gotten about a quarter of a mile from the forts when we were overtaken by a mounted cavalryman, who, placing his revolver to the head of the Lieutenant, demanded our surrender. We had leveled our muskets on him and were about to fire when the Lieutenant, realizing that the chances were that he would have the top of his head blown off, ordered us to throw down our arms. Obedient to the command of our captor we fell in in two ranks. He ordered one of our number to hand the Lieutenant’s sword and our guns up to him. He marched us back to the forts, where the balance of the prisoners were. When about to turn us over to the officer in charge of the prisoners, he cooly informed us that we were very foolish in surrendering, as he had nothing to shoot with except his saber, his pistol and carbine being empty.
On our way back to the forts in conversation with the Lieutenant he told what regiment he belonged to, but as nearly 30 years have elapsed, I have forgotten what regiment it was, but think it was a Pennsylvania regiment, probably the 1st or 4th [Pennsylvania Cavalry].2
I have written this article with a double object in view; first, of honoring a brave man, though an enemy; and, second, of finding out who he was. If still alive he will confer a great favor by making his address known through THE NATIONAL TRIBUNE, as I would be willing to travel many miles for the privilege of meeting him. Should this fail to reach him, and any of his comrades reading it, who are cognizant of the facts in the case, and can give his present address, will be gratefully remembered.—CAPTURED.3
- SOPO Editor’s Note: On December 1, 1864, Gregg’s Second Cavalry Division of the Army of the Potomac took the road to Stony Creek Station to see how much Confederate cavalry remained. They captured the two forts guarding the depot, burned badly needed supplies, and captured almost 200 prisoners before holding off several attacks from Confederate cavalry nearing the area. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: The anonymous Confederate author is probably correct. The 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry made the mounted charge against the rear of the two Confederate forts, and would have been in the most likely position to round up his small band after the fort had fallen. ↩
- Captured. “’Scooped.’ And Now One of the Unfortunates Wants to Find the Captor.” National Tribune 3 May 1894. 3:2. ↩