Stuarts Ride Around McClellan


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They continued to Col. As they rode towards Richmond, the troopers could see the masts of Union vessels on the James River. On the morning of June 15 Stuart left the column under the command of Col. Fitz Lee and rode ahead to report to Robert E. The rest of the Confederate troopers entered Richmond on the 16 th.

New Kent County Tourism www. New Kent County Community Site www. Charles City County History www. Hanover County Historical Society www. Civil War Trails www. Maps of Stuart's Ride J. White House Landing and Peninsula Campaign. Copyright 17 by Stran L. The horses had stalled in a mud-hole, and the driver, cutting them out from the wagon, made his escape. The sergeant in charge stood his ground and was captured. Here was a prize indeed, as in those days we were poorly armed. In order to save time, a man furnished with an ax was sent to cut the telegraph wire, while the rest of the party was engaged in rifling the wagon.

While these operations were in progress a body of Federal cavalry, suddenly turning a bend in the road, made their appearance. As soon as the Federal officer in command saw us he called a halt, and, standing still in the road, seemed at a less to know what to do. His men drew their sabers, as if about to charge, but they did not come on. By this time the telegraph had been cut and the wagon disposed of.

Our men were hastily mounted and formed into column of fours, with drawn sabers, ready for any emergency. There we stood, eyeing each other, about two hundred yards apart, until the head of the main Confederate column came in sight, when the Federals retreated down the road leading to the White House. One man of the Federal party was sent back along the road to Tunstall's station, now only about half a mile off.


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I supposed, of course, that this messenger was sent to warn the Federal troops at Tunstall's of our approach. I was, however, afterward informed that he galloped through Tunstall's but never stopped, and when some one called to him, "What's to pay? The road now being clear, we marched on briskly, and arriving near the station charged down upon it with a yell. We could see the enemy scattered about the building and lounging around before we charged them. The greater part scattered for cover, and were pursued by our people.

I pushed straight for the station-house, where I found the captain of the company of infantry, with thirteen of his men, standing in front of the building, but with no arms in their hands. Only one of them seemed disposed to show fight. He ran to the platform where the muskets were stacked, and, seizing one of them, began to load. Before he could ram his cartridge home, a sweep of the saber, in close proximity to his head, made him throw down his gun, and, jumping into a ditch, he dodged under the bridge over the railroad and made his escape.

I had no time to pursue him; but, turning to look after the others met the captain, who, sword in hand, advanced and surrendered himself and his company as prisoners of war.

Stuart to Ride Around McClellan Yet Again!

I then proceeded to obstruct the railroad. To do this effectually, I caused a tree to be cut down which was standing on the side of the road. It fell across the railroad. In addition to this, I placed across the an oak-sill about a foot square and fourteen feet long.

Stuart's Ride Around McClellan

I had barely time to do this before a train from the direction of Richmond came thundering down. At this time General Stuart, with the main body, arrived at the station. The engine driver of the coming train, probably seeing the obstructions on the track and a large force of cavalry there, suspected danger, and, being a plucky fellow, put on all steam, and came rushing down. The engine, striking the obstructions, knocked them out of the way and passed on without accident.


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General Stuart bad dismounted a number of his men, and posted them on a high bank overlooking a cut in the road, just below the station, through which the train was about to pass. They threw in a close and effective fire upon the passing train, loaded with troops. Many of these were killed and wounded. It was now the second night since leaving camp, and the well-filled haversacks with which we started from camp had long since been empty.

The march had been so rapid that there was little opportunity of foraging for man or beast. Except a little bread and meat, brought out to the column by the country people as we passed along, we had had nothing since daybreak. The men were weary and hungry, and the horses almost exhausted by the long fast and severe exercise.

Stuart's Ride Around McClellan

As soon as a proper disposition had been made of the prisoners and of the captured horses and mules, the column moved on. Down through New Kent County, to a place called New Baltimore, we marched as rapidly as our condition would permit. I was still in the command of the advance-guard, marching some distance ahead of the column, and had orders to halt at this point, and await the coming up of the main body. Fortunately, an enterprising Yankee had established a store here, to catch the trade of all persons passing from McClellan's army to his base of supplies at the White House.

He had crackers, cheese, canned fruits, sardines, and many other dainties dear to the cavalryman; and in the brief hour spent with him we of the advance were made new men.


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  7. I fear little was left to cheer and to invigorate those in the rear. The main body arriving, "forward" was the order-straight down through New Kent to Sycamore Ford on the Chickahominy. A beautiful full moon lighted our way and cast weird shadows across our path. Expecting each moment to meet the enemy, every bush in the distance looked like a sentinel, and every jagged tree bending over the road like a vidette. Marching all night, we arrived at the ford between daybreak and sunrise; and here our real troubles began.

    Shadows of Lighting: Jeb Stuart & the CSA Calavary

    To our chagrin, we found the stream swollen by recent rains almost out of its banks, and running like a torrent. No man or horse could get over without swimming, and it happened that the entrance to the ford on our side was below the point at which we had to come out on the other side. Therefore, we had to swim against the current. Owing to the mud and mire, it was not practicable for any number of horses to approach the river at any point except by the road leading to the ford.

    We therefore tried it there for two long hours. The 9th Cavalry made the trial. After repeated efforts to swim the horses over we gave up, for we had crossed over only seventy-five men and horses in two hours. While we were trying to reach the opposite bank Stuart came up, and, finding crossing at this point impracticable, rode off to find another farther down the river.

    At a point about one mile below, known as Forge Bridge, he succeeded in throwing across one branch of the river a bridge strong enough to bear the artillery, and upon which the men, having been dismounted, could walk. Here the approach on our side was higher up stream than the point at which we would come out on the other side. Stuart decided to rebuild the bridge at Forge Site which Joe Johnston had burned as he retreated up the peninsula.

    Using spare wood from a nearby barn, they strengthened the structure and planked its top only to set fire to it when they had crossed. The fire attracted some nearby Yankee cavalry, who skirmished with Stuart's rear guard. Lee late on June 14th. Fitz Lee camped behind Confederate lines on June 15th and the column returned to Richmond the following day. Stuart had ridden ahead to inform General Lee of his success. Confederate papers had a heyday with the expedition.

    A rebel force of cavalry and artillery, variously estimated at from 1, to 5,, came around our right flank last evening, attacked and drove in a picket guard Here they met a force of infantry which I sent down to meet them, when they ran off. I have several cavalry detachments out after them and hope to punish them. No damage has been done to the railroad. Three separate dates are sometimes given for the end of the expedition, June 14th when Stuart arrived at Lee's command center , June 15th when a majority of troops crossed into Confederate territory and June 16th, when Fitz Lee reached Richmond.

    Stuart "rides around the Union Army," raiding supplies and battling small groups of Yankess during the Peninsula Campaign.

    Stuarts Ride Around McClellan Stuarts Ride Around McClellan
    Stuarts Ride Around McClellan Stuarts Ride Around McClellan
    Stuarts Ride Around McClellan Stuarts Ride Around McClellan
    Stuarts Ride Around McClellan Stuarts Ride Around McClellan
    Stuarts Ride Around McClellan Stuarts Ride Around McClellan
    Stuarts Ride Around McClellan Stuarts Ride Around McClellan
    Stuarts Ride Around McClellan Stuarts Ride Around McClellan

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