George Baylor.

Bull run to Bull run; or, Four years in the army of northern Virginia. Containing a detailed account of the career and adventures of the Baylor Light Horse, Company B., Twelfth Virginia Cavalry, C. S. A., with leaves from my scrap-book (Volume 2) online

. (page 9 of 27)
Online LibraryGeorge BaylorBull run to Bull run; or, Four years in the army of northern Virginia. Containing a detailed account of the career and adventures of the Baylor Light Horse, Company B., Twelfth Virginia Cavalry, C. S. A., with leaves from my scrap-book (Volume 2) → online text (page 9 of 27)
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testimony has led him to the opinon that a verdict of guilty
cannot be found on it, and that another trial could not bring-
out any new evidence, and recommends that Captain Baylor
be placed on the footing of an ordinary prisoner of war." But
Judge-Advocate-General Holt, the doughty soldier that
warred on women and would have crucified the Saviour
of mankind, dissents from the opinon of General Hitchcock,
and advocates another trial by court-martial.

A second court-martial was accordingly convened at Cum-
berland in Fe1)ruary, 1864, and after the mockery of a trial
on the charges:

" Charge i. — Violating a flag of truce.
" Charge 2. — Murder."

The specifications of these charges set forth that on the
/th day of February, 1862, the prisoner exhibited, or caused
to be exhibited, on the south side of the Potomac river at
Harper's Ferry a flag of truce, and thereby induced one
George Rohr, a loyal citizen of the United States and in the
military service thereof, and in charge of a flag-of-truce boat,
to proceed across the river toward such flag, and that when

Bull Run to Bull Run. 133

said boat had arrived at or near the ])hice at which said flag
or signal was exhibited it was hred into by the said Baylor
or by his command, and the said Kohr was fired at and
wounds inflicted on him, of which he died on the said 7th of
February, 1862.

And. although the evidence showed conclusively that there
was no flag waved from the south side of the river, the boat
in charge of Rohr was no truce boat, the men in it thoroughly
armed, and my father at the time in Charlestown, eight miles
distant, the court found a verdict of guilty; but its finding
was immediately set aside by General B. F. Kelley, command-
ing the department, and his action approved by Secretary
of War Stanton, and the prisoner ordered held for exchange.

The flag of truce on the south side of the stream was Uncle
John Sorrell, a servant of my father's, shouting across the
river to the Yankees to come over and get him, that he
wanted to get over, and the crew^ of the boat were pirates and
robbers, fully armed, crossing the river for the purpose of
aiding and helping Uncle John to escape. But Uncle John
was true to his colors, and having accomplished his ruse dc
guerre, made tracks for Charlestown and left his quondam
friends to the mercy of a picket detail of my father's company
stationed under the trestling of the Baltimore and Ohio rail-
road at this point. When Uncle John heard of the treatment
my father received on account of this affair, he lived in holy
horror of falling into the Yankees' hands, and remained with
the company during the war, and died some years after the
war at the old homestead, where he was kindly cared for by
my father and family.

After the second trial my father continued a prisoner with
no intimation of an exchange, so on the 29th of February,
1864. he addressed the following letter:

Hon. E. M. Stanton,

Secretary of W' ar :
Sir. — I have been a prisoner fifteen months. I was cap-
tured in December, 1862, being at the time severely wounded

134 Bull Run to Bull Run.

in the lungs, and the long confinement and exposure I have
been compelled to endure has tended greatly to increase my

I have been held under charges which I never com-
mitted, which many of your of^cers, high in rank, who were
familiar with the circumstances, could attest.

These charges have been removed, and I am now held
as a ])risoner of war, for exchange. I was captured prior to
any interruption of exchanges under the cartel. All officers
captured month's after have been exchanged. I was held
under charges which, being removed, should entitle me to an
immediate exchange.

If }'ou should reject the above application for my ex-
change, can I not be permitted to go South, on parole for a
period of sixty or ninety days, with the understanding that
if my government will not release an officer of equal rank now
held by it, I will return to captivity at the expiration of the
parole? Very respectfully,

Robert W. Baylor,
Captain Twelfth Virginia Cavalry.

But the above application for exchange and parole were
refused, and my father remained in close confinement until
October, 1864, ^ period of twenty-two months in all, when he
was finally exchanged and released from a cruel barbarity.
Holy Writ teaches us there is a great tribunal where justice
is fully administered and the wrongs of this world are righted^
Somebody must answer for the misery caused and the cruelty
inflicted on my father, and I will only say, as one of our pious
artillerymen used to pray, as he touched ofl^ his guns, " May
the Lord have mercv on their souls."

Wm. C. Frazier.


The fierceness of the fight! How saber drove
At sword! How swift and strong the strokes that fell!
Their dreadful deeds I pass unsung; they dwell

With unessential night, whose awful screen,

Hid them from notice; they were deeds that well

Deserved a noon-day sun, and to have been

By the whole world at once in cloudless glory seen.

On the 2 1 St of April, oiir l)rigcule, under General William
E. Jones, broke camp at Lacey Springs, Rockingham county,
Virginia, and moved westward across the mountains on what
was familiarly known as Jones's West Virginia raid.

On arriving at Moorefield we found the Potomac swollen
by recent rains and impassable. The brigade was compelled
to ascend the river to Petersburg to effect a crossing, and
even at that point the passage was attended with danger and
loss of life, and our artillery, the loss of which was soon
realized, had to abandon the trip and return to the Valley.

The passage of the Potomac was alarming and exciting and
many sad and many laughable incidents occurred. Some
feared to cross and remained anxious spectators on the bank.
Two men in the Sixth Cavalry were drowned. Sergeant-Major
Figgat, of the Twelfth, was swept froni his horse, but saved
himself by grasping his horse's tail, and was safely landed
with his steed about a quarter of a mile below. Many of our
of^cers and men prepared themselves for the emergency by
shifting their coats and arms to their horses, and making all
necessary preparation for a struggle with the waters. As the
art of swimming was unknown to me, I trusted in God alone
to bear me safely over. I remember yet the depressing still-
ness of the men on this occasion, as the column slowly moved
through the water. The Israelites never moved through the


Pull Run to Bull Run. 13/

Red Sea with more awe and solemnity. As we neared the
opposite bank, beyond the danger line, this awful silence
was broken 1)\- the stentorian voice of Sergeant 'rriissell,
" Close up, men; bear up tlie stream." This great (lis])lay of
courage, after the crisis was jiassed, caused much mirth
among the boys at the Sergeant's ex])ense, and the order
was often repeated along our journey, never failing to pro-
voke laughter and jollity.

On arriving at Greenland Gap we sorely missed our artil-
lery, as the enemv was found in buildings conunanding the
pass and his dislodgment cost us a loss of six men killed and
twenty wounded. With one piece of artillery this loss would
have been avoided and precious time saved.

In the attack on this place, seventy-live prisoners, arms,
and equipments, and several w^agons were captured. Hurry-
ing on from Greenland Gap and reaching the Northwestern
Grade, the Maryland Battalion and the Tw^elfth Cavalry were
sent to Oakland. Company B had the advance, and entered
Oakland at 11 A. M. on the 27th of April (Sunday), and sur-
prised and captured a company of tifty-seven infantry and
three officers. Many of the Federal soldiers were found
(much to their credit) at church with their sweethearts, and
it was with much regret that we were compelled to sunder
these loving hearts for a short time. We found the girls
more pug-nacious and less tractable than the men. A very
pious member of our company, ordered to arrest a \ ankee
who was walking with a girl, approached the couple with a
courtly bow. tipping his hat and courteously informing the
combatant he was a prisoner. The soldier recognized the
situation and succuml)ed at once, but the girl broke out^ in
a most awful tirade of abuse, which culminated in. " You
l)al(l-heade(l son of a ."' As our pious conu-ade re-
turned with his prisoner, he exclaimed, " Please God. 1 never
heard a woman talk that way before."

It was on this occasion that ex-Postmaster-General Wilson
humorouslv accosted a lady, apparently not pleased with the

13S Bull Run to Bull Run.

new visitors, and asked if she did not think " the rebels were
better looking than the Yankees," to which she contemptu-
ously replied : " You good looking ! You look like your mous-
tache had been dyed three weeks in buttermilk." This was
not very Mattering to the pride of our embryo Postmaster-
General, who even yet prides himself on that moustache.

Destroying the railroad bridges east of the town, the rail-
road and turnpike bridges over the Youghieny, and a train
of cars, our column moved on Cranberry Summit (now Terra
Alta), capturing a lot of maple sugar and fifteen soldiers and
twenty home-guards, who were paroled and released, as were
also the prisoners taken at Oakland.

Moving rapidly west, Kingwood and Morgantown were
entered without opposition, and on the morning of the 28th,
our force rejoined General Jones and the remainder of the
brigade near Independence.

While in Morgantowai our boys cut down the Stars and
Stripes, found floating from the top of a tall flag-pole near
the court-house, and as I have no expectation of running for
office, I must, in justice to the truth of history, penitently
acknowledge that I was an accessory before, in, and after the
fact. It was while in this town that two of the most gallant
and chivalrous members of Company B were with difficulty
prevented from fighting a duel in the street of the town over
the charms of one of its fair ladies. After resting a few hours
near Independence, we again entered Morgantown, capturing
many fine horses, which had been successfully run off at our
first entrance and l)rought back after it was supposed our
forces had made their final departure. Hon. W. L. Wilson's
canvass for Congress in after years was much burdened by
the ca])ture of these horses, as he was charged with having
stolen them all.

Passing over the bridge at Morgantown, we started in the
direction of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, but prudence counsel-
ling us that a further advance into the enemy's country was
dangerous, in the extreme, we counter-marched and moved

Bull Run to Bull Run. i^p

On the 29th our brig-ade attacked Fairmont, which was
defended by 400 infantry and 300 home-guards. As the
enemy seemed incHned to (Hspute our entrance, the larger
part of our command was dismounted and the assault begun.
Our squadron (Companies B and I), under command of the
gallant Captain Charles T. O'Ferrall (now ex-CoNcrnor of
V^irginia), were directed to reconnoiter on our right, where,
being assured a charge would l)e successful, we dashed into
the town and the enemy fled in confusion. Finding the
flooring of the suspension bridge torn up, we speedily relaid
it, and our regiment and a portion of White's Battalion cross-
ed, and, passing up to the railroad bridge, found it guarded
l)y 300 men. After a vigorous assault on both sides of the
river, the enemy raised the white flag, and 275 prisoners were
secured. A few' moments after the enemy stacked arms, a
train with artillery and infantry arrived to reinforce this
guard, but they were met by our men and soon forced to re-

The bridge was destroyed. One piece of artillery, 300
small-arms, and many horses were captured, twelve men
killed, and twenty wounded. Our loss was three wounded.
Leaving our wounded in the hands ot friends, at dark we re-
sumed our march, and the next day reached Bridgeport,
where forty-seven prisoners, arms, and horses were cai)tured,
a bridge destroyed, a train run into the stream, and the trest-
ling burned. Continuing our march, we entered Fhilippi
about noon the next day. From Philippi wc nioxed to Buck-
hannon. where we found General Iml)oden, and after a short
halt proceeded to \\>ston.

On May 6th, a portion of our brigade, including the
Twelfth regiment, moved to West Union, where the bridges
to the right and left of the town w-ere burned and ninety-four
prisoners taken and paroled. On the 9th we reached Oil
Town, where a large accumulation of oil on the banks of the
river was set on Are, and the burning fluid, spreading o\'er
the river, the novel spectacle of a river on Are was presented.

140 Bull Run to Bull Run.

and some fleeing- l)oatmen just ahead of the rolhng- flames ren-
dered the scene exciting indeed. From Oil Town we jour-
neyed to (ilenvifle, Sutton, and Summersville, where we re-
joined (ieneral Imhoden. From this point we returned by
slow marches to the V^alley. In thirty days our brigade
travelled nearly 700 miles, killed twenty-five to thirty of the
eneni}', wounded se\enty-flve to eighty, captured 700 prison-
ers, with their arms and equipments, one piece of artillery,
two trains of cars, burned sixteen railroad l)ridges, and de-
stroyed one tunnel. 150,000 barrels of oil, and brought home
with us about 1,200 horses and 1,000 cattle. The consterna-
tion caused among the enemy by this raid was astonishing,
as will appear from a few telegrams :

Wheeling, April 28, 1863.

General Ripley: Post-of^ce and banks are all packing up
to leave; 1.500 Imboden's Cavalry within thirty miles. I
have no men nor trains. Shall I blow up the depot in case
it is necessary? A. R. Buffington,

Captain of Ordnance.

Washington, April 28, 1863.

A^Iajor-General Schenck, Baltimore, Md. :

Have you no troops in Pennsylvania and Maryland wdiich
can promptly be thrown into Wheeling by the Pennsylvania
railroad? The enemy seems to march more rapidly than we
move by rail. H. W. Halleck,


Washington, April 29, 1863.

Major-General Schenck, Baltimore, Md. :

Two companies have gone from Sandusky to Wheeling,
and Governor Todd has also sent, it is said, some others to the
same place. The enemy's raid is variously estimated at from
1,500 to 4.000. You have 40.000 under your command. If
you cannot concentrate enough to meet the enemy, it does
not argue well for vour militarv dispositions.

' H. W. Halleck,


Jos. D. Fry.

14^ Bull Run to Bull Run.

Hakrisburg, April 28, 1863.
Hon. E. M. Stanton:

It is reported to me that the rebels have taken and now
hold Morgantown in force. Please say if you have any infor-
mation, and if force will be sent on. if there. We have no
force in the State, and you could send troops before we could
organize an}-. A. G. Curtin,

Governor of Pennsylvania.

But President Lincoln, with his usual sagacity, sums up
the situation in a nutshell, and replies:

Hon. A. G. Curtin :

I do not think the people of Pennsylvania should be
uneasy about an invasion. Doubtless a small force of the
eneniA' is flourishing about in the northern part of Virginia
on the " screwhorn " principle, on- purpose to divert us in
another quarter. I believe it is nothing more. We think we
have adequate force close after them. A. Lincoln.

Our brigade reached the Valley the latter part of May, and
in the flrst part of June crossed the Blue Ridge and joined
the ca\'alry corps under General Stuart near Culpeper Court-
house. On the /th. General Stuart had his great cavalry re-
view on the plains near Brandy Station, and on the 8th, Gen-
eral R. E. Lee reviewed us, preparatory to a forward move-
ment on the 9th; but the enemy anticipated this movement
by crossing the river with the Federal cavalry corps under
General Pleasanton, 10,000 strong, and two brigades of in-
fantry. Early on the morning of the c;th, the ball was opened
north of Brandy Station near St. James church, the enemy
driving in our pickets and attacking the reserve of the Sixth
Virginia Cavalry of our brigade about 6 A. M. Our regi-
ment, which was camped near, was hastened forward to re-
inforce the Sixth, and the fight soon became animated, charge
and counter-charge, first one side, then the other being the
■\'ictor. The two op]:)osing forces of cavalry were nearly equal
in mnnbers, about 10.000 on either side, the Federals having
the adxantage alone in the infantry support. The fighting

Bull Run to Bull Run. 143

on the center of the line was entirely on horseback, and the
gronnd was well adapted to cax-alry movements. Here was
fought the greatest cavalry engagement of the war. and
fought in real cavalry style and manner. The sight was
grand. Sabers clashed and horses and riders fell together.

Our first onset was with the Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry,
and as we drove them back from our guns, which were almost
in their grasp, to the woods from which they had emerged,
another regiment issued forth to its aid, met and repulsed our
charge, and soon they in turn were repulsed. These charges
and counter-charges continued until noon, without any de-
cisive advantage to either side, but with considerable loss to
both, in men and horses.

At this critical juncture, our regiment and White's Bat-
talion were ordered to repair in haste to Fleetwood Hill,
about a mile in our rear, to meet a column of Federal cavalry
under General Gregg which had passed to our right and rear
and was in possession of Brandy Station.

The Twelfth regiment moved ofT in a gallop. Company B
in the advance, with instructions to charge the enemv as
soon as he appeared in sight. The regiment, in the great
haste with which it repaired to the point designated, became
much scattered and lengthened out. with Company B consid-
erably in advance. \\'hen the summit of Fleetwood Hill was
gained, we discovered the enemy's cavalry, which proved to
be the First Maryland, coming up the southern slope of the
hill, in platoons, with its flag and guidons fluttering m the
breeze, closelv followed by the First Pennsylvania and the
First New Jersev to our left, all under the command of Colo-
nel (Sir Percv)'\Vvndham. who. in 1862. our brigade had
captured near Cross Keys. These Federal regiments pre-
sented a beautiful, but awe-inspiring, sight to .)ur little troop:
but Lieutenant Rouss, in obedience to orders, gave the com-
mand to charge, and down the slope we darted, striking the
head of the column an

Online LibraryGeorge BaylorBull run to Bull run; or, Four years in the army of northern Virginia. Containing a detailed account of the career and adventures of the Baylor Light Horse, Company B., Twelfth Virginia Cavalry, C. S. A., with leaves from my scrap-book (Volume 2) → online text (page 9 of 27)