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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 1 (Peninsular Campaign)
Page 1039 STUARTS RAID. Chapter XXIII.

them without their firing a gun, and set about obstructing the railroad, but before it could be thoroughly done, and just as the head of our column reached it, a train of cars came thundering down from the Grand Army. It had troops on board and we prepared to attack it. The train swept off the obstructions without being thrown from the track, but our fire, delivered at only a few rods distance, either killed or caused to feign death every one on board, the engineer being one of the first victims from the unerring fire of Captain Farley. It is fair to presume that a serious collision took place on its arrival at the White House, for it made extraordinary speed in that direction. The railroad bridge over Black Creek was fired under the direction of Lieutenant Burke, and it being now dark, the burning of the immense wagon train and the extricating of the teams involved much labor and delay and illumi- nated the country for miles. The roads at this point were far worse than ours, and the artillery had much difficulty in passing. Our march was finally continued by bright moonlight to Talleysville, where we halted 34 hours for the column to close up. At this point we passed a large hospital of 150 patients. I deemed it proper not to molest the surgeons and attendants in charge. At 12 oclock at night the march was continued without incident under the most favorable auspices to Forge Bridge (8 miles), over the Chickahominy, where we arrived just at daylight. Lee, of the Ninth, by personal experiment having found the stream not fordable, axes were sent for and every means taken to overcome the difficulties by improvised bridges and swimming. I immediately dispatched to you information of my situation and asked for the diversion already re- ferred to. The progress in crossing was very slow at the point chosen, just above Forge Bridge, and learning that at the bridge proper enough of the debris of the old bridge remained to facilitate the construction of another, material for which was afforded by a large warehouse adja- cent, I moved to that point at once. Lieut. Redmond Burke, who in every sphere has rendered most valuable service and deserves the highest consideration at the hands of the Government, set to work with a party to construct the bridge. A foot-bridge was soon improvised, and the horses were crossed over as rapidly as possible by swimming. Burkes work proceeded like magic; in three hours it was ready to bear artillery and cavalry, and as half of the latter had not yet crossed, the bridge enabled the whole to reach the other bank by 1 p. m. Another branch of the Chickahominy still farther on was with some difficulty forded, and the march was continued without interruption toward Richmond. Having passed the point of danger, I left the column with Colonel Lee, of the First. I rode on to report in person to you, reach- ing your headquarters at daylight next morning. Returning to my command soon after, the prisoners, 165 in number, were transferred to the proper authority; 260 horses and mules cap- hired, with more or less harness, were transferred to the quartermasters departments of the different regiments, and the commands were sent to their respective camps. The number of captured arms has not been as yet accurately ascertained. A pole was broken, which obliged us to abandon a limber this side of the Chickahominy. The success attending this expedition will no doubt cause 10,000 or 15,000 men to be detached from the enemys main body to guard his communication, besides accomplishing the destruction of millions worth of property and the interruption for a time of his railroad communica. tion.


Page 1039 STUARTS RAID. Chapter XXIII.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 1 (Peninsular Campaign)
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