Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/92

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88 Southern Historical Society Papers.

made, after the column had debouched into a public road. Col- onels Powers and Stockdale then rode down the line and gave in- structions for every man to examine his arms and see that guns were freshly capped; that the command would move by fours, the ranks to be kept closed, and the men to strictly obey every order of their officers. Lieutenant Dan Williams, of Hoover's com- pany, a penniless soldier, had command of the advance guard, with instructions to capture the videttes and pickets; the battalion being just behind, ready to charge the moment the first shot was fired by the enemy. Shortly after the battalion moved down the main road, Lieutenant Williams returned with a prisoner, a young Swede, who could only speak a few words of broken English. From him Col- onels Powers and Stockdale learned that the Fourteenth New York Metropolitan Cavalry Regiment was in camp about one-half mile further on; that it was a full regiment, numbering over 800 men, all foreigners, none of them having been in the United States three months, and they had just reached Banks' Army from New Or- leans three days before. Stockdale' s Mississippi battalion numbered 250 man, yet Powers and Stockdale determined to make a supreme effort and annihilate this Federal regiment. Lieutenant Williams succeeded just at dawn of day to capture the outer videttes: the command then closed up, and, as the inner outpost was reached, broke into a trot, and as the Federals fired broke into a gallop and reached the Federal encampment at the same moment with the guard. The enemy's tents were pitched to the right and left of the road bordering the woods; the colonel's and other staff officers' quarters being at the far end of the encampment, on a slight eleva- tion. The enemy were


many of the men were still sleeping no time was given them to get their arms and make a stand, even if they had any such inclination. Stockdale' s men swept through this camp like a hurricane, firing into the tents, right and left, and yelling at the same time like de- mons. These Swedes were so demoralized and panic-stricken that they practically offered no resistance, throwing themselves face downward on the ground, many on their knees, begging for quarter or praying in a foreign tongue to be spared.

The prisoners were hurriedly got together, disarmed and dis- mounted, and sent under a guard of 150 men back to the Confeder-