Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 29.djvu/244

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


228 Southern Historical Society Papers.

is short of artillery. Our cavalry is interposed between the enemy and Hanover Junction. General Stuart will return the battery as soon as the present emergency has passed. The enemy encamped last night at Ground Squirrel bridge. They had orders to start at 12 o'clock to-night (over). General Stuart is now moving down the Telegraph road, and desires you to send the battery by the same route.

Very respectfully, your old sergeant,

H. B. M'CLELLAN,

Major and Adjutant.

On receiving this request I rode at once to Taylorsville to see General Stuart. He was lying flat on his back, his head on a saddle, and so fast asleep that McClellan and I turned him over without being able to waken him.

I explained to McClellan that my orders were to protect those bridges, and therefore I couldn't join him in his race after Sheridan; that I had spent the winter in horsing and harnessing my batteries, and that they were now the very finest batteries in the army in guns, horses, harness, and men, and that I wanted Stuart to be very care- ful of the one I sent him, which was the pick of the command, and, above all things, I wanted it returned as soon as possible and in- tact.

McClellan made all the necessary promises for his chief, and I went about my business of guarding the bridges.

During the morning I received the following from General Stuart, which was, I think, the last word he ever wrote, for he was killed that afternoon at Yellow Tavern in a charge to protect my battery:

"HEADQUARTERS SIXTH CAVALRY CORPS, "May n, 9 A. M.

"COLONEL, As the enemy may double back from this direction to Verdon, as above, you will oblige me very much by so arranging it as that I may get the information in time to turn upon them before they get away. Be sure to barricade the roads with felled trees, in case they start in that direction, and also send information to our wagon trains, in rear of General Lee's army.

" Communicate with me by way of the Telegraph road.

" I left a small picket at Ashland, which, however, may run in at