Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 39.djvu/102
90 Southern Historical Society Papers.
mired for the devotion to duty and for risking their Hves upon the perilous edge of battle in defense of homes and country.
I can only add that the glorious Stuart continued to ride grandly on his way, the Ninth Virginia still holding the post of honor at the front. Passing the Old Church, we hastened on toward the York River Railroad. Soon it was crossed and night came on but not halting. On we marched into the county of New Kent. All that long night was spent in the saddle, pushing our Avay toward the lower Chickahominy, which we reached in the early morning, only to find that the bridge over which we intended to cross had been burned. But General Stuart was equal to the emergency. He soon had his rear guarded and the men swimming their horses over, while others were tearing down an old barn, out of which a temporary bridge was constructed.
On this the artillery and the few horses that remained were taken over. The bridge was again burned, in order to prevent pursuit. Again there was an all-night march, as we hurried up through the county of James City and on to Richmond, which city we reached about midday on Sunday, June 15th, and went back to our camp that afternoon.
We brought back many trophies of our raid, consisting of several hundred prisoners and as many horses. But these went little way towards compensating the Essex Light Dragoons for the loss they had sustained in the death of their gallant captain.
As the years have crept on and I have called back to memory one incident after another of the deeds of daring and scenes of danger through which the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia passed in the four years of conflict, I recall none more splendidly conceived, more dashingly executed, and showing more favorable results than Stuart's raid around McClellan at Richmond.