Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/280

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276 Southern Historical Society Papers.

[From the Richmond, Va., Dispatch, July 16, 1897 ]



The Ninth Virginia and Eighth Illinois Regiments Cross Sabres The Former Suffer Severely, but Cap- ture Some Prisoners.

During the campaign in Maryland in 1862, the Qth Virginia Cav- alry was attached to the brigade commanded by General Fitz Lee. After nine days spent among the fine hay and rich yellow cornfields of Montgomery and Frederick counties, the regiment crossed the Catoctin mountain at Hamburg, at dawn on the morning of Septem- ber i4th. Hamburg was a rude and scattering village on the crest of the mountain, where the manufacture of brandy seemed to be the chief employment of the villagers, and at the early hour of our pas- sage through the place, both the men and women gave proof that they were free imbibers of the product of their stills, and it was not easy to find a sober inhabitant of either sex.

To our troopers, descending the western slope of the mountain, the peaceful valley below, dotted over with well-tilled farms, with a bold stream winding down among them, presented a scene of un- usual beauty and loveliness. Near a large grist-mill the command was halted, after a march of several hours, and here rested beneath the shade of a large apple orchard until 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The distant boom of artillery assured us of the bloody conflict going on at South Mountain, the issue of which we were in suspense to know. The march in the afternoon brought the command to the vicinity of Boonesboro, where a brief halt was made after nightfall to rest and feed the horses. Near midnight the march was resumed in the direction of the mountain pass above Boonesboro. The disas- ter to our arms in the fight of the previous day was now made man- ifest, as artillery, ambulances and infantry were met retreating down the mountain. The brigade, having ascended a mile and a half, per- haps, above the town, was held in readiness to charge in column of fours. The nature of the ground was ill-suited to the operation of