Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/245

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inv friend and playmate, and I saw him shot from a distance, but did not at the time know who it was.

Early in November Captain A. E. Richards, with ten men, was M-iit to the rear of Sheridan's army, then lying between Middletown and Strasburg. From a position near the turnpike, in the course of the day he captured fifteen prisoners, among whom were Captain Brewster, of Custer's staff, and his brother, a lawyer, bound on a ranva^ing expedition to the army in the interest of General McClel- lan. There were also among the prisoners a news-boy and a drum- mer-boy. The news-boy had often before been captured by Richards, but had always been released, and on this occasion received the same clemency. The drummer-boy claimed his liberty likewise, and pleaded hard for it; but Richards said: "No; the drum excites men to battle, but the newspaper is often the source of demoralization and defeat." As the prisoners, in charge of Dr. Sowers, were pass- ing through Ashby's Gap, they were met by Mosby, who, when in- formed that they belonged to General Custer's division, determined to retaliate upon them for the death of the Rangers who had been executed at Front Royal. He, therefore, ordered them to be kept under close guard until his return to Fauquier.

In a few days Mosby left Moumjoy with twenty-three men in the Valley, and proceeded to Rectortown to execute his purpose. Mean- while, another party of Custer's men had been captured by Mount- joy and left in charge of Jimmy Chilton, at the residence of a citizen on the Blue Ridge. These prisoners were confined in a school-house, and appeared to be comfortable and cheerful, expressing their sur- prise at receiving such kind treatment at the hands of Mosby's men. One of them, especially, was inclined to talk. He was young, hand- some, intelligent and gentlemanly in appearance. The conversation was so pleasant and friendly that Jimmy quite forgot the belligerent relation in which they stood to each other. But soon the tranquility of the scene was rudely and painfully disturbed by the entrance of two Rangers, who, without preliminary, demanded of the prisoners to whose command they belonged. Several promptly responded:

" We belong to Custer's Division."

" Then," said the men, " you are to be hung. Come along."

The announcement produced a terrible shock; and the prisoner to whom reference has been made, rose up and with great calmness, said :

"I understand the reason for this. It is in retaliation for the