James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

. (page 26 of 190)
Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 26 of 190)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


ginia, Mary Elizabeth, Henry C. Ivelsey, Alice Olivia,
and Charles William.



CHAPTER XVI.

SUSSEX AND WARREN IN THE WAR OP
THE REBELLION (Continued).

TIIIC FIRST NEW JERSEY CAVALRY.
k— ORGANIZATION OF TlIK BEGIMBNT.

The FiB8T Reqimeni of'New Jersey Cavalry was
composed largely of Sussex County men. It was
raised in Augusl and September, L861. The order of
the President calling for a regiment of volunteei
cavalry from the State of New Jersey was issued to

lion. William llalsted, of Trenton, on the 4th of
August, and allowed only ten days for raising the
regiment ; subsequently, ten days more were added to
the time. For some reason, Governor Olden, then
the executive of the State, did not not see lit to rec-
ognize the proposed regiment as pari of New Jersey's
contingent of volunteers, and consequently it had to
be raised under wholly independent auspices. Col.
Halsted addressed himself with characteristic energy
to the work of raising the regiment.

On the 24th of August the lir-t fair companies,
under command of Maj. M. II. Beaumont, arrived
in Washington, and only a week after six other com-
panies were brought in by Col. Halsted himself, the
in": into camp on Meridian Hill.

The regiment "a- originally organized as follows:
Colonel, William Halsted; Lieutenant-Colonel, J. II.
Alexander; First Major, Myron II. Beaumont; Sec-
ond Major, Henry 0. Halsted; Surgeon, William W.
I.. Phillips; Assistant Surgeon, Ferdinand \. I..

Dayton ; Acting Adjutant, W. E. Morion! ; < 'haplain.

Henry B. Pyne; Quartermaster, Benjamin B. Hal-
sted.

Oompini;/ .1. t lap lain, John II. Shelmire; First
Lieutenant, Jacob El, Sackelt; Second Lieutenant,
.lane- I I. 1 [art.

Company />'. Captain, Itichard C. Lewis; First

Lie ant, William Frampton ; Second Lieutenant,

.lames Tompk inson,

Company C. Captain, Ivins D. Jones; First Lieu-
tenant, John S. Ta-h; Second Lieutenant, William
W. Qray.

Company l>. -Captain, Robert N. B yd; First Lieu-
tenant, John Worsley ; Second Lieutenant, Henrj W.

Sawyer.

Company /.'. -Captain, John W. [tester; First



Lieutenant, Patton J. Yorke ; Second Lieutenant,
1 rancie B. Allibone.

Company F. — Captain. John H.Lucas; First Lieu-
tenant, Moses W. Malsbury; Second Lieut
Aaron 6. Bobbins.

( bmpany 0. — < laptain, John II. Smith : First Lieu-
tenant. George W. Wardell; Second Lieutenant,
Peter A. BerthofF.

Company II. — Captain, II. C. Perley; First Lieu-

tl 1 ci 111, William T. I nm an ; Second Lieutenant, My r

Asch.

"■my I. — Captain, Benjamin W. Jones; I"ir-t
Lieutenant, James Hunt; Second Lieutenant, Ed-
ward Field.

Company A'. — Captain, Virgil Broderick; First
Lieutenant, Thomas R. Haines; Second Lieutenant

John Fowler.

Company I.. — Captain, William W. Taylor; First
Lieutenant, Hugh H. Jancway; Second Lieutenant,
Frier 11 Lang I

Company AT. — Captain. John P. Fowler; F'ir-t
Lieutenant. Horace W. Bristol; Second Lieutenant,
Samuel Warbag.

Such was the official roster of the regiment when
the companies took their place- in camp. In the un-
settled and confused state of things which followed

during the two or three succeeding months, several
important changes were made. The lieutenant-
colonelcy was conferred permanently upon Joseph
Earge, formed} an officer in the Prussian service,
hut for some years a naturalized citizen of the
1 aited States. His Bevere discipline at first occa-
sioned some rev. dt, hut ill the cud il was justified by

1 regiment, who proudly saw themselves attaining
the order and efficiency of true soldiers. During the
month of December the regiment was assigned to the
division of Gen. Heintzelman, and. Col. Halsted
having become involved in difficulty with the War
Department, Lieut.-Col. Earge assumed command.

There was a sudden resumption of energy and
discipline. Well sustained by the senior major, wine
though young, was familiar with the routine of the
cavalry service, Earge Bet to work to make soldiers

of the officers and men. As a first Btep he sent the

most inefficient officers and men before thi 1
ining hoard in Washington, thus starting the rest
into activity. ... In the five weeks of this r
soldierlj Bpirit was implanted in the men. which pr. -
Mi- virility through all 1 hi luble."

By the middle of January, Col. Halsted bad Bettled
his difficulty with the War Deportment He was
therefore restored to his regiment, which was n
from the jurisdiction of I en. Huntzelman.

d was nearly seventy year- of age, and his

herculean labor- and perplexities had so worn upon
his physical strength as tu render doubtful his ability
to endure the cavalry service. Therefore, upon the



III 1," its



108



SUSSEX AND WARREN COUNTIES, NEW JERSEY.



reorganization of the regiment by the State, he was
superseded by Sir Percy Wyndham, an Englishman
by descent, who had been a colonel in the Sardinian
service, a soldier under Garibaldi, and a chevalier of
the Military Order of Savoy.

We give from Foster's history of the regiment Col.
Wyndham's order upon assuming command :

"Headquarters First New Jersey Cavalry,)
" February 9, 1802. >
"[Regimental Order No. 1.]
"I, Sir Percy Wyndham, colonel-brigadier of the Italian arniv, having
been recommended by Maj.-Gen. McClellun, and duly commissioned its
colonel of the First Regiment of New Jersey Cavalry by the Governor
of the State of New Jersey, do hereby assume command of this regiment,
which from this day is known and recognized by the Governor of New
Jersey as the First Regiment of New Jersey Cavalry. The monthly
allowance made by the State to the families of her volunteers will here-
after be paid to the relatives of the patriotic sons of New Jersey who are
in the ranks of this regiment. The regiment is now well armed and
splendidly mounted, and all that is needed to put it in the most efficient
state is strict obedience to orders and thorough military discipline; and
til • colonel commanding desires the assistance of all officers and men to
attain this end, — the well-being of the regiment being the first.
"Sir P. Wyndham,

" Colonel CoiniiuiiHliiin.'

II.— SERVICE IN THE FIELD.

Spending the winter and early spring in scouting
and picket-duty, the regiment, on the 18th of April,
1S62, was ordered to Fredericksburg to join Gen. Mc-
Dowell. On the 20th it proceeded towards the lower
extremity of North Neck, whence a party of twenty
men, under Lieut. Walter R. Robbins, was sent
towards the extremity of the Neck upon a difficult
expedition, which they accomplished without loss,
returning with some two hundred negroes and a num-
ber of horses. On the following Saturday and Sun-
day the regiment made a reconnoissance across the
country to the Potomac, and on the 28th returned to
camp near Falmouth. Here the regiment was bri-
gaded with the First Pennsylvania Cavalry, under
command of Brig.-Gen. George D. Bayard. Remain-
ing here engaged in picket-duty till May 25th, at that
date the brigade moved across the river and advanced
on the plank road as far as Salem Church, whence it
pushed on to the front of the army, within hearing of
the guns at the battle of Hanover Court-house. At
this point orders were received to march into the
Shenandoah valley for the purpose of opposing Stone-
wall Jackson, and the regiment and brigade took up
the line of march on the 28th. In five days they ar-
rived at Strasburg, where they captured about one
hundred and fifty rebel stragglers.

The Second Battalion of the First Cavalry, headed
by Lieut.-Col. Karge, at once pushed forward in pur-
suit of the retreating enemy, and, overtaking the
rear-guard, charged upon them, capturing a number
■ if prisoners. At length the rebel line of cavalry ap-
peared drawn up across the road and covered by a
small Stream, the bridge over which had been hastily
destroyed,

" At this moment Wyndham brought up the rest of
lis regiment at a gallop, and without pause the three



battalions, in different columns, were thrown across
the stream against the enemy. The fourth squadron,
— Companies D and F, — covering their advance in a
ravine, struck the road close to the enemy, and in
close column of fours wheeled into it to charge. Just
as they debouched upon it a deep voice from the tall
wheat of the adjacent field called out, 'Ready, aim!'
and a regiment of rebel infantry rose up from their
concealment. ' Down on your saddles, every man !'
shouted Capt. Boyd as the order to fire issued from
the rebel commander. Each man stooped to his
horse's neck, and the whole volley whistled harmlessly
over the heads of the troops, riddling the fence be-
hind. Simultaneously with the infantry, the rebel
cavalry in the road opened right and left, uncovering
a section of artillery in position. ' Right about, wheel,
march, trot, gallop !' shouted Boyd with an energy
proportioned to the emergency. As the column
dashed round the bend of the road a few scattering
shots from the infantry were sent after it, killing the
blacksmith of Company D, while just as the rear got
out of range the canister of the artillery tore along
the causeway, — too, late, however, to hurt them.

"The rebel battery continuing its fire, the First
Battalion (Beaumont's) took a wider sweep and now
came towards the road in the rear, while a portion of
the Third, under Haines and Janeway, strove to take
it more in front. As our men, advancing, set up their
wild cheer, the supporting rebel cavalry broke and
retreated in disorder, leaving the guns without pro-
tection and causing the artillerists and drivers to
waver. But by each gun sat the officer of the piece
with his pistol in his hand, holding the men sternly
to their places. Deserted by their supports, our men
still pressing on, and their pistol-shots whistling in
advance of them, these gallant fellows forced their
gunners to limber up as accurately as if on drill, and
then at a gallop the pieces were whirled along to the
rear. Maj. Beaumont and Capt. Bristol and Kester,
with Sergt. Fowler, of Company E, and half a dozen
men, dashed forward in pursuit through the field by
the side of the road, firing their pistols as rapidly as
the chambers would revolve, but the severe march of
the past week and the desperate speed of the morn-
ing's chase told now cxhaustingly upon the horses. In
spite of all their efforts they were left behind, though
Fowler, one of the corporals, and a private named
Gaskill, found their animals so crazy with excite-
ment as to be unmanageable. After the flying battery
they raced with headlong speed, plunging at last right
into the ranks of the rebels, who were obliged, in self-
defense, to fire at those who were thus riding them
down. Within a few yards of the rebel general
Ashby himself Fowler was shot dead, the corporal
wounded, and Gaskill unhorsed and taken prisoner.

"The scenes of the day closed with a fight between
the rebel . artillery and the First Maine Battery,
which had intercepted them, the shells falling thickly
among the men of the First New Jersey, who, as



SUSSEX AND WARI.KN IN THE WAR OF THE REBELLION.



lull



night came on, bivouacked upon their lir-t battle-
Held. Ashby, without loss, drew nil' his command."
It will be impossible, in tin- -pan- allotted t" this
jjketch, to follow the regiment through all its more-
pen to.

The rebels in their retreat destroyed the bridge
arm-,- a hraneh ol'the Shenandoah, then swollen with
the receill rain- ; hilt on the second day after the bat-
tle our forces crossed and continued their march to
.\r» Market. On Friday, the 6th of June, the army
arrived at Harrisonburg. A considerable battle was

fought with the < ■ 1 1 . ■ i 1 1 \ at Cr088 Keys, on the road to

Ton Republic.

As Bhelmire, with the leading squadron, passed the
line of Sawyer's skirmishers, the latter called oul to

him to take eare, for the enemy was in force in the

r !- beyond. The captain answered in hi- resolute

way, " I have been ordered to charge any force I may
meet, and it is my duty to try and do it." With these
words he continued on. Wyndham carried his whole
ion' forward with drawn Babres, all id' them wild
with the excitement of the race. "Gallop! Charge/"

were his orders, and tin' whole body, lull f-arrayed.

blunged forward to the attack. Two men — Charles
Parry and William Traughan — fell dead, and a lad
named Jonathan Jones reeled, mortally wounded,
from his horse. The enemy were posted in the woods
in force, ami nothing was left to our men hut to
retreat and form line in the open field. Shelniire and
Wyndham, however, had entered tin 1 woods, and the

former, being driven hack, was pressed by tl ueiny

upon the right of the line just forming, throwing

everything for the moment into inextricable confu-

Bion, and resulting in a retreat of our forces from the

field

"Among the last to retire was Capt. Thomas
Haines. Jn the midst of the confusion hi- slender
form was COUSpicUOUS as he called to the men of his
Company and sought to rally them around him. As
hi' was crossing the heavy ground bordering the
stream a s.piad of the Virginia cavalry, led by an offi-

cer in a long gray eoat, who sal en-el and easily U]

hi- bounding charger, came down upon the think of
itives. A bullet from that olli -it's pistol pene-
trated i he hody of Capt. Maine-, who dropped, dying,
from his horse. Broderick, in whose companj he had
been lieutenant, was close behind him when he fell.

Rising on his horse, he turned round upon the rebels,
Bnd, shouting 'Slop!' lired his revolver at their
leader. The Officer reeled in his saddle, and his men.
Batching him in their arms, hurried hack from tin-
spot. Broderick stooped over Haines and called him

by name, hut there was no answer and no ti to

pause. Leaving the lifeless form as tin- enemy again

pressed upon him, he sadly spurred his horse to a re-
newal of his (light."



The above action, known as the battle of Cross
Keys, closed the campaign of Gen. Fremont in
the Shenandoah valley. Gen. Pope then assumed

command. Tin- First New Jersey Cavalry Was or-
dered to assist Gen. Hatch at Gordensville and Char-

lott. villi- in holding the railroad and pn

neCtion with the valley. Hatch failed to comply with

tin- instructions of Gen. Pope, and marched hi- com-
mand, by way ol' Sperry villi-, to I'ulpeper ( lourt-house.

On the last of July the regiment marched to the Rap-

idan and guarded the crossings, of that river from
Rapidan Station to Cave's Ford.

tin the night of the 7th of Augii-I. " Stonewall"

Jackson crossed with fifteen thousand men at Bar-
nett's Ford. The following morning, at three o'clock,

i.l. Karge, with a hattali.ni ol' the regiment, moved

around tin- lilt ol' the enemy, where the rebel cav-
alry had left their tracks tin- night before. Dividing
his force and pursuing different directions, they dashed

upon and captured a party at breakfast, coming oil'

with twenty-three pri

('apt. Boyd, in the evening, found himself cut oil'
from his command and pursued by a party of the
enemy. Dashing into tin- woods, he managed n
elude the foe, and the next morning joined his regi-
ment as it was forming in line of battle.

The regiment behaved with great intrepidity at the
battle of t'edar .Mountain. It is said that in this ac-
tion the steadiness of Capt. Lucas saved the day.

Col. Karge was sick in the hospital al Culpeper

Court-house. A- soon a- he returned to his regiment
he issued the following congratulatory order:

"[llrgimrnl.il Order V- 1 ]

'■ III AI'yCAHTKRB FlHST NlH .IlltS V t'ANMI'.Y. 1

"Camp hi in Cudab Hoi xi its, Va., Aug. 14, lft

landing officer of Oils regiment take* the tint opt

log his high gratlflcatlon h( Hi.- cuul mil brave beuarloi t

both ill- men una tin- ofllcerj during the l.i-i nation. Although himself

, ,. i,-j — ...i. ho ni watching tin- movement! of the regiment

and it- Intrepidity while uwlrr o galling I'm- "ill limited pride.

M.M Beanmnut, In c land of the regiment, arnultted liim—if nobly

na mi oulcor li* hli 1 » -l - — .ni.i it ,\.-. ii.-iii in. uir - which lie pi i-

forraed ler a iicnvi tie- of ihell.

" Tl linn. in. I,- i till heurtfall thnnke to you,

brave defenderi ..f your i trj and ) prim Iplea, Mid you may well

rod Unit the di f the 91h of August will I. :

npon lila heart aa the day on which he liai lean thi reglnienl nurtured

tun n mmandlug < il lice

of the coolneea, pniiupl oliodlence to ordera, and energetli perl

of rli.-ir duty by Fluapttal Steward Samuel C. I.u Orderly Wllllaui

6unw,Corp. Vo -it. — , Ami i ree,and ibe men

to Uie hotnltal donartmenl without excepti and la give Ibem the

llt.tt, k- -l I i . miii l.itiv.- M.-nti I. - I fr -in

i danger and ander e beei

- Hi order ..f



Mi-






Mt'Utt.J.'



• Tin- body -if Capt Hnlnea "us In n row daj ireoovared,eomefrloudlt
funiiiT in tin- neighborhood having glean II decani burial i b
wire removed and lotamid in tho Hurrli iiibarg obarchvard.



In relation to th.- action of this regiment at Cedar
Mountain, .Mr. Foster remarks, —
"The glorious resistance shown by our small for.,

on the 9th was ii"t followed Up by Gen. l'ope on the
10th, though the enemy was actually leaving bis train
and artillery ti .unless in the Mad, in a Confused appn -

hension of pursuit front us ; and on the 18th the First



110



SUSSEX AND WARREN COUNTIES, NEW JERSEY.



Regiment was ordered, with the other cavalry, to
cover the rear in a retrograde movement."

At Brandy Station, on the 20th of August, the
regiment, with its hrigade, consisting of the First
New Jersey, the First Pennsylvania, and the Second
and Tenth New York Cavalry, was engaged with
Stuart's (rebel) cavalry. "At the moment when the
head of the opposing forces came together a lieuten-
ant commanding the first platoon of the Second New
York (Harris Light) Cavalry drew rein and backed
his horse through the ranks behind him. Instantly
the whole column halted in confusion, and a moment
after the whole regiment broke and swept back, thus
opening the centre of the field and forcing Karge to
change front with his line. Before, however, the new
formation could be completed, the masses of the en-
emy swept down upon the front and flank." Karge
emptied the chambers of his revolver into their ranks,
and then, throwing the weapon at their heads, dashed
among them with his sabre, followed by the men
around him. The enemy gave way before the impet-
uous charge. But, with both flanks of his line broken,
all that he could hope to do was to regain the reserve
in the rear and rally under cover of his charge ; and,
accordingly, skirmishers and main body, with one
accord, spurred to the rear, fighting hand to hand as
they did so with the foremost of their pursuers. A
wide ditch stretched across the field, and was relied
upon by the colonel to assist the reserve in their
charge. Many of the exhausted horses fell as they
strove to leap it, and headlong above them rolled the
pursuing rebels. As he drew near the ditch, the last
man of the Jersey ('?), Lieut. Bobbins' horse fell
dead beneath him. Bobbins kept his feet, and ac-
tually sprang across the ditch on foot, but he was
soon seized by his pursuers, dragged to the rear, and
cut down while a prisoner, though fortunately saved
from death by a metal plate in the top of his cap."
In this engagement Karge was disabled, Hicks hurt
and unhorsed, Robbins and Stewart fell into the en-
emy's hands, and many others were captured, but
were cut out by the well-timed charge of Broderick,
Lucas, and their comrades.

Instances of heroism and soldierly bearing are nu-
merous in the history of this regiment. For example,
at Cedar Mountain : " There was a slight confusion
in the ranks of Company A. 'Steady, there!' cried
the commanding officer. Two men — Washington
Ruimer afid Albert Young — drew their horses out of
the ranks and saluted, saying, quietly, ' We are hit,
sir,' as they moved to the rear. The ranks closed up
again like a wall, and in ten minutes these two men,
instead of nursing their hurts, had the balls extracted,
tin: wounds bandaged by the surgeon, and before the
blood had clotted on the lint were once more back in
their places."

At Aldie, on the 30th of October, Stuart, with a
large force of rebel cavalry, made an onslaught upon
. oneman's pickets, capturing all but a dozen or more



men. " Capt. Kester at once gathered his men to-
gether, and, forming in the village street, awaited the
onset of the rebels. Down the hill they came with a
headlong dash, expecting to carry everything before
them, and, wheeling into the village, rode at our
little squadron. But the brave band never wavered
at their approach, and instinctively the leading files
of the Virginians began to lessen their speed. At the
moment when their ranks were thus thickened and
confused Capt. Kester poured into them a volley from
his carbines, and then, with sabres drawn and a ring-
ing cheer, his troops charged the startled enemy.
Back rushed the rebels to escape the shock, and after
them went the captain, while close upon his heels fol-
lowed the rest of the First New Jersey, eager to press
the advantage."

At Brandy Station, Col. Wyndham was in com-
mand of the Second Brigade, composed of the First
New Jersey, First Michigan, and First Pennsylvania
Cavalry. Maj. Janeway commanded the regiment.
In his report to the adjutant-general of the State he
says, —

".Col. Wyndham moved his troops with such celer-
ity that we were upon the enemy almost before they
were aware of our vicinity. The fight lasted four
hours, and was a continued succession of the most
brilliant charges ever made. Every officer acted with
the utmost bravery and coolness, and it is impossible
for men to behave better than did ours. They proved
themselves well worthy of the State from which they
came, and more cannot be said in their praise."

The severity of the engagement at Brandy Station
is attested by the fact that out of thirty-nine horses
in the second squadron twenty -seven were left on the
field, and that of two hundred and eighty ofiicers/and
men in the regiment six officers and over fifty men
were killed, wounded, or missing. Of the three
senior officers on the field, Wyndham received a ball
in his leg, which unfitted him several months for
active service, and Broderick and Shelmire never
came off the field alive.

As the battle opened at Gettysburg on the decisive
day, — July 3, 1863, — the First Jersey was advanced
from the very rear some two miles to the front, ar-
riving just in time to see the dense column of the
rebel cavalry pouring upon the flank of the army.
Leaping from their horses, forming line as they
touched the ground, and starting at once into a run
in the very face of the enemy, the regiment dashed at
the nearest cover, where, supported only by a little
squadron of their own reserves, they prepared to
check the progress of the entire force arrayed against
them. "And they did it, and more, even driving
back" the assailing columns. Refusing to dismount
in spite of the storm of bullets constantly whistling
over the heads of his men, Janeway rode from end to
end of the lino of skirmishers, encouraging, warning,
and directing its every portion. Advancing from
point to point, heralding each renewed charge with a



sussex and warren in the wab of the rebellion.



Ill



cheer which shook the enemy worse than the bullets
of their carbines, for more than ;i hundred yards tin-
First Jersey pushed their little line, and at last, with
ammunition exhausted, they still held their ground,
being the rebels with their revolvers.

At length the Third Pennsylvania Cavalry ca

upon the line, and the First New Jersey was at lib-

.ii to retire. But no ! Borrowing! nunition from

the Pennsylvanians, they held their gr mnd, cheering
lustily and Singing defiance at the rebel-. Meantime,
the grand attack of Longstreel had been made and
repulsed, and all that remained was for the cavalry to
sweep away the rebel horse from the Hank.

Guarding the line and picketing far to the front.
the First Jersey watched through the night upon the
bloody ground until the welcome light of the nation's
birthday permitted them to seek a brief season of re- ]
pose.

A i Sulphur Springs and Brislow Station the reputa-
tion df the regiment was well sustained. " The s( ady

fire of ('apt. Malsbury's squadron, though i iposed

largely of recruits, completely frustrated the attempts
of the enemy."* The First New Jersey came out of
this contest with the lo-s— wonderfully small under



Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 26 of 190)