Aunt Katy's Civil War Tale
The letter continues: "We stopped for the night not far from Fredricksburg and drew three days rations and about one days forage (for the horses) and were told it would have to last us five days. We started early Monday morning and took the road to Richmond. We went as far as Beaver Dam Station, on the Gordonsville railroad and stayed overnight, burnt the station and tore up the track for some distance. Took the road again in the morning and rebs annoying the advance and rear guard all the way.
"Wednesday morning found us not far from Richmond where we tore up the Fredricksburg railroad. Here the rebs seemed determined not to let us go any further and we had a severe skirmish. We had one man killed in our company but none hurt. We drove them out and moved and the next morning at daylight were within four or five miles of Richmond. The rebs attacked us furiously both in front and rear and for a while it looked rather dubious about getting out. But we finally forced way through and halted awhile in Mechanicsville.
"Here the Johnnys made another stand but soon had to skeedaddle and we met with no more opposition. The whole Cavalry corps is along and we have done some damage but what it all amounts to is more than I know. There has been terrible fighting between the Army of the Patomac and Lee's Army and there is many thousands more widows and orphans than there was two weeks ago. God help them. How the battle has gone I don't know or what we are going to do now is more than I can tell"
The days following were busy with moving here and there but they found time to bathe in the Matapony River and he counted 65 dead horses along one line of march. The 25th they made contact with their supply train and got their mail which was as welcome as rations.
June 20, 1864. Dunkirk, King and Queen co., Va.
"We left New Castle on the Penisula the 7th and took the road back towards our old fighting ground on the Rapidan. We didn't march very fast and no one knew where we were going. But on the 11th we seemed to find what we were looking for as we came upon the Rebs near Trevillian Station of the Virginia Central Railroad. Here we had the hardest fight the cavalry has yet been engaged in. Our regiment suffered the most of any in the division. We lost 50 men killed, wounded, and missing including our colonel who was mortally wounded and left back there with quite a number that were too badly wounded to move. I escaped without a scratch although bullets fell like hail some of the time." (Actually a spent minie ball fell into his boot after ricocheting off a tree but he didn't tell about that till much later.)
Opposite White House, evening of the
"This is the 47th day we have been in the saddle and some of the time we have been in them all night but we are tough and enjoy it first rate, which is a blessing. It seems to be a piece of good luck for a fellow to get wounded this summer if he don't get too hard a clip.
"I have got a rebel letter I will send you as a specimine of Southern literature. It was taken out of the post office at Spotsylvania Court House when we came through there. As it had never been opened, Miss Sally never had an opportunity to give him her sentiments in regard to this note. There were many other letters taken away at the same time, some of them with worst writing and spelling than this.
"We found a nigger here with a horse and cart and some groceries that he had bought in Richmond. I saw the bill of sale which was 4 pounds of sugar at $11 per pound, $44. Three quarters of a pound and one ounce of coffee at $15 per pound and he paid for them in money that was one third discount so he paid $80 and there was two dollars and some cents due yet. I wonder what folks in our part of the country would think to pay such prices.
"I am getting to be something of a Peace Man, and if we don't have better success soon than we are having just now I am afraid we shall have to give up all hope of putting down the rebellion and will have to make peace on most any terms."
In August they were having trouble with Moseby's Raiders but he mentions it only in his diary. On the 14th at Harpers Ferry he "visited an extensive cave near here. Didn't see much for the want of time and lights." The next day one of the men Moseby had captured returned dispelling the rumor that the paymaster had been captured. It was just the usual delay in getting paid.