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5825Re: [TalkAntietam] Re: Capture of Longstreet's ammunition train, 9/15

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  • G E Mayers
    Sep 7, 2009

      Any idea who that Confederate artillery Lt. was?

      Yr. Obt. Svt.
      G E "Gerry" Mayers

      To Be A Virginian, either by birth, marriage, adoption, or even
      on one's mother's side, is an introduction to any state in the
      Union, a passport to any foreign country, and a benediction from
      the Almighty God. --Anonymous
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "eighth_conn_inf" <eighth_conn_inf@...>
      To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, September 07, 2009 9:15 AM
      Subject: [TalkAntietam] Re: Capture of Longstreet's ammunition
      train, 9/15

      The train was captured by the Harpers Ferry escape column which
      consisted of the following units:

      Twelfth Illinois Cavalry under Col. Arno Voss which arrived with
      White from Martinsburg, the Eighth New York Cavalry under Col.
      Benjamin F. "Grimes" Davis, a squadron of the First Maryland
      Cavalry commanded by Capt. Charles H. Russell, the Seventh
      Squadron of Rhode Island Cavalry (a three-month unit) under Maj.
      Augustus W. Corliss, a squadron of the First Maryland Potomac
      Home Brigade Cavalry (also known as "Cole's Cavalry") led by Maj.
      Henry A. Cole, and some 20 officers and men from the Loudoun
      Virginia Rangers commanded by Capt. Samuel C. Means.

      As dawn was breaking on 15 September, the column halted to rest
      the horses and tired troopers who had been in their saddles for
      more than eight hours; they chose a point near the
      Hagerstown-Williamsport Turnpike about two and a half miles from
      Williamsport to reform. As the column again began its ride north,
      the sound of many wagon wheels was heard coming from the
      direction of Hagerstown. Scouts reported a large wagon train
      heading south and the commanders decided to capture it.

      The Eighth New York and the Twelfth Illinois were formed in line
      on north and south sides of the road respectively with the
      Maryland and Rhode Island cavalry in reserve. With most of the
      Union troopers hidden from view, Col. B. F. Davis with a small
      contingent of the Eighth captured the first wagon and sent it
      quickly over a dirt road to the Greencastle Turnpike, which ran
      from Williamsport to Greencastle, to the west and sent it
      speeding north. One wagon at a time suffered this fate until all
      were sent north or destroyed. The outnumbered Confederate cavalry
      escort from the First Virginia Cavalry harassed the rear of the
      retreating train but were not able to inflict any damage despite
      bringing up two guns due to the efficient screen the Union
      troopers provided. An articulate British-born Confederate
      artillery lieutenant with the wagon train described well its

      "At about ten o'clock at night I started. It was intensely dark
      and the roads were rough. Towards morning I entered the
      Hagerstown and Williamsport Turnpike, where I found a cavalry
      picket. The officer in charge asked me to move the column as
      quickly as I could, and to keep the trains well closed up. I
      asked him if the enemy were on the road, and he told me that it
      was entirely clear, and that he had pickets out in every
      direction. It was only a few miles now to Williamsport, and I
      could see the camp-fires of our troops across the river.I was
      forty or fifty yards ahead of the column, when a voice from the
      roadside called out "halt!".In a moment it was repeated. I
      quickly rode to the side of the road in the direction of the
      voice, and found myself at the entrance of a narrow lane, and
      there adown it were horses and men in a line that stretched out
      far beyond my vision.I said indignantly: "How dare you halt an
      officer in this manner." The reply was to the point: "Surrender,
      and dismount! You are my prisoner!".I was place under guard on
      the roadside, and as the trains came up they were halted, and the
      men who were with them were quietly captured. In a short time the
      column moved off in the direction of the Pennsylvania line. I was
      allowed to ride my own horse. By the side of each team a Federal
      soldier rode, and, by dint of cursing the negro drivers and
      beating the mules with their swords, the cavalrymen contrived to
      get the jaded animals along at a gallop.I had a cavalryman on
      each side of me, and tried vainly to get an opportunity to slip
      off into the woods. Soon after daylight we reached the little
      village of Greencastle, Pennsylvania, where the citizens came out
      to look at the "Rebel" prisoners. They hurrahed for their own men
      and cursed at us. Even the women joined in the game. Several of
      them brought their children to the roadside and told them to
      shake their fists at the "d----d Rebels." Still there were some
      kind people in Greencastle. Three or four ladies came to us, and,
      without pretending to have any liking for Confederates, showed
      their chartable disposition by giving us some bread and a cup of
      cold water. My horse was taken from me at Greencastle and ridden
      off by a dirty-looking cavalryman. Then the Confederates,
      numbering a hundred or more, were packed into the cars, and sent
      by the railway to Chambersburg."

      Included with the Rebel prisoners were six men from Company B of
      the 9th Virginia Cavalry who had been detached from Fitzhugh's
      Brigade at Highland on the 13th and, after missing the Brigade
      wagons, fell in with Longstreet's wagons.

      Before 10 A.M., the wagon train reached Greencastle,
      Pennsylvania, with ninety-seven wagons, 600 prisoners, and many
      beef cattle having burned about 45 wagons. The Confederate wagon
      train was Longstreet's ordnance train which had left Hagerstown
      that night on its way to Virginia.

      Larry F.

      --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, Robert Moore <cenantua@...>
      > Hello all!
      > Just wanted to see if anyone knows the particulars behind the
      > capture of Longstreet's ammunition train on 9/15/62. I know
      > that Cole's Cavalry (1st PHB/Maryland Vol. Cav.) was the unit
      > involved in bagging the train.
      > Thanks!
      > Robert Moore
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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