Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 24.djvu/221

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[From ilu- Ki. Imiond Dispatch Feb. 14, iSgy.]


Bold Dash of a Detachment of the gth Virginia Cavalry.


A Well-Planned and Neatly-Executed Nocturnal Raid Interestingly Related by One of the Participants Perilious Return Journey.

To the Editor of the Dispatch:

In the latter part of the month of November, 1862, the gth Vir- ginia Cavalry Regiment, commanded by Colonel R. L. T. Beale, held position on the extreme right of General Lee's army on the Rappahannock, and were encamped in the vicinity of Lloyd's, in Essex county. The duties of the regiment were to guard the river shore with an extended line of pickets. These pickets were fre- quently aroused and entertained by the passage up the river of Fed- eral gunboats and transports, communicating with Burnside's army at Fredericksburg. Quite frequently, also, an exchange of rifle shots was made with the Federal pickets on the Northern Neck shore of the river.

Many men of this regiment had their homes and families on that side of the river, and the sight of the Union horsemen riding un- checked over the roads and fields so familiar to them aroused in many breasts an intense desire to cross the river and strike the enemy a blow. Into this feeling none entered more heartily than the Col- onel himself. Accordingly, scouts were dispatched to ascertain the enemy's exact position, strength, disposition of sentinels, and also to search for boats sufficient to carry over several hundred troops. An application was at the same time forwarded to headquarters for permission to cross the river with 300 men.

The scouts returned promptly, having ascertained that one cavalry regiment the Eighth Pennsylvania was on outpost duty, encamped at Greenlaw's, in King George, and picketing the river as far down .1* Lay ton's Ferry. One squadron, quartered at Leedstown. held the extreme left of their line. The scouts carefully noted the houses in which the men of this squadron slept, where their horses were picketed, and how their sentinels were posted at night. Only two