Augusta County: Diary of DeWitt Clinton Gallaher (1864-1865)
About DeWitt Clinton Gallaher:
DeWitt Clinton Gallaher was born in Jefferson County, Virginia (later West Virginia), on August 2, 1845. As a youth, he moved with his family to Waynesboro, Virginia, and later attended school at Hampden-Sidney College, Washington College (now Washington and Lee), Munich University, Germany, and the University of Virginia. After the war, Gallaher moved to Charleston, West Virginia, to practice law. He died in 1926. This diary describes his service in the 1st Virginia Cavalry and includes details about his work as a provost guard and about his relationship with fellow officers and soldiers.
I accepted a position on General John D. Imboden's staff with the rank of Captain, as aide-de-camp, while his command was operating in the Shenandoah Valley. Though he was very kind to me and I was "messed" with him and his staff and we had orderlies and colored servants and everything to make a soldier's life comparatively pleasant, I very foolishly (I now think) became afraid the war would end without my being in some big battle. So I, in October, 1863, resigned all the comforts of a staff officer and joined as a private in Co E, 1st Virginia Cavalry, then down with General R. E. Lee's army on the Rapidan River, Culpepper County, Virginia. While with Imboden, we made one or two raids into Hardy County, now West Virginia, and had some sharp fighting; but I longed to be "with Lee" all the time.
June 8, 1864
THIS DIARY BEGINS THERE: June 8, 1864. (Former notebook or "Diary" is lost)
Marching to overtake General Sheridan's Cavalry raid. Marched from Ashland, Hanover County, towards Frederick's Hall, in Louisa County. Followed him several days, skirmishing continually. Finally caught up with his main forces at Trivillians on the R. R.
Fight at Louisa C. H., and a very hard one at Trivillians Station on the old Va. Central (Now Chesapeake and Ohio) Rail Road. Here I got a fine Yankee Carbine (a short shot gun for cavalry), discarding my old one. We badly worsted Sheridan so much that he tried to get back to Grant as fast as he could.
We pursued Sheridan, who finally eluded us, towards Bowling Green, Caroline County, Virginia.
Camped near Milford Station, on R. and F. Rail Road.
March towards the White House Near the York River. Remain around there several days. Fight with negro infantry.
March back to Battom's Bridge.
March in the night and long after daylight to near Charles City, C. H. and not far from Harrison's Landing on the James River.
Fight--a sharp one, with Gregg's Cavalry near Charles City C. H. Our Regiment was dismounted and we were sent in on foot. In determining who were to dismount, the Company was lined up and counted by fours, that is; every fourth man was to hold the horses of Nos. 1, 2, 3, and his own of course, and take and keep them in there rear, as far as practicable out of danger, and to bring them up, if a retreat were ordered or in any other emergency, when there was a terrible scramble to mount and get away. It fell to me to dismount and go in that day. I shall never forget that day or the next!
It was very warm, burning hot, and just before the charge was ordered we were in the edge of some woods and under fire of artillery and small arms, a piece of shell--called shrapnel now--struck my left boot and as I nearly fell some of the boys (Jim Kerr and Phil Coiner) wanted to carry me off, supposing my leg was broken. When ordered to advance and charge the enemy there, we crossing an open field running as fast as we could, the Yankees began to "Skedaddle" and flee! I got close up to a General, or a bunch of officers, trying to rally their fleeing men and took deliberate aim at him and can never understand why he did not fall as he galloped away. He may have only been wounded. We followed them on foot for three or four miles in a blazing sun. I was never so tired in my life carrying my carbine pistol and ammunition, but the excitement kept me up. We drove them until it was too dark to follow. They ran clean away into the night. Oh How glad I was to again mount my faithful horse and go into camp for the night!
I was so stiff and sore from that running fight yesterday I could hardly saddle my horse and mount him. Expecting an attack, for Grant was still pressing Lee, we were again ordered to go in dismounted and await the attack. It again fell to my lot to dismount!
As Lee was falling back, I well knew that if in the fight our Regiment was ordered to retreat, I could not run--was too sore and stiff from the previous day's exertions. I know if we retreated I was sure to be either captured or killed. I could not run back to our "Led Horses." So I took off my jacket, fastened it to my saddle and took off a gold ring my mother had given me and told the boy holding my horse that I did not expect to be back again and to give or send the ring to my mother for me, and told him to send my horse home and that he could have my other things.
Well, down into the woods we went, ready for a fight and expected attack, but after lying there several hours we were recalled and again mounted our horses. The Yankees had gone in another direction, so we marched after them towards the famous "Malvern Hill" the scene of a bloody battle the year before on McClellan's retreat, where driven by Lee, he (McC) sought the protection of his gunboats on the James River. So much of my foreboding of prison or worse!
We cross on a pontoon bridge James River near Drury's Bluff, as Grant changed his attack on Richmond by placing his army on the south side of the river, near Petersburg, and most of our army followed to that side.
We lie in the woods all day, the first real rest for about 50 days. The last three days were terrible--very hot and the dust inconceivably thick, and men suffering.
Moved camp to within about 6 miles of Petersburg overlooking the James River.
Pass through Petersburg and fight--and whip General Wilson's Yankee Cavalry, capturing 13 peices of artillery, all of his wagons and 300 or 400 runaway negroes whom Wilson had picked up and harbored.
We follow Wilson's cavalry to Jarretts Station on the "Petersburg & Weldon Rail Road"--as it was then called, now the A. C. L., and encamp there that night.
Leave Jarrett's Station and March nearly all day until we encamp for the night. Within about 2 miles of Dinwiddie, C. H.
March to within 2 miles of Reams Station on the Petersburg & Weldon R. R. marching about all day. Encamp there that night.
Lie in camp all day. Grateful rest!
Was put on Provost Guard duty today. This "guard" was over prisoners, etc., temporarily. My horse got badly chocked-- thought he was dying for awhile. He came around all right.
July 7th to 27th
In camp in woods near Petersburg. Very hot. But little to eat for man or horse. Feed so scarce we waded a swamp near by and cut grass for our poor horses. They even barked pine trees so famished were they. Our fare was "hard (very hard) tack"-- crackers which we cooked in grease from fat pork. I went into Petersburgh one day and found 1/4 lb. of pepper! Quite a find. It cost me $2.50 for the 1/4lb., but it was worth it. We used it to "season the hard tack and grease. With the pepper, it gave some tang to it and of course, pep too.
July 28th (1864)
"Boots and Saddles" was blown by the bugler at 10:11 p.m. and we hurriedly moved out of camp and through Petersburg in the night and crossed James River on Pontoon bridges back again to the north side, and in the sultry heat and fearful dust of thousand of horses, we went into Camp about 6 miles below Richmond and remained there that night. (29th)
March down the Charles City Road a couple of miles. Halt in the hot sun a long time. I buy a real loaf of bread and prize it highly, for I was really sick today. Went back to our artillery Camp for the night.
Some of us were sent to Chaffin's Bluff overlooking James River to stop all cavalry men from going into Richmond-- Stragglers etc. I found I was near a man named Hoppe, who knew my family. I called at his house and they gave me something to eat. We were called off our post about sundown and again crossed the James River on a pontoon bridge (there were three of them) to the South side--so we had crossed all three pontoons--marched until after midnight and went into camp and slept like a rock.
August 1st (1864)
Got up before daylight and marched through Petersburg again and went into camp just where we previously had been. Bath in a nearby creek. It was fine after all those days of torrid heat and dust.
August 2nd (1864)
My 19th birthday! How I spent it? My dinner? Cold water, cornbread (made of meal, grease, and water) and fat bacon! I quote from my then taken notes--"How differently spent from my usual way of doing so! Nobody to bestow upon me their smiles and gifts." I was put on guard that night over some Yankees and vagabonds--stood two hours as guard in the night thinking of the dear home in the Valley. Dave Drake came in from his home and gave me a snack. Drake was a messmate and had been home on furlough.
I go out "foraging." Get some peaches and get a dinner at Mr. Carter's. Ate very heartily!
I did some writing for Captain Henry Lee in his tent. Today I bought a canteen of sorghum molasses. Great treat!
Went to see Sam Priller who was sick at a Mrs. Blick's and got my dinner there. A "war-time" dinner. Returned and "Boots & Saddles" blew--Marched back to old camp again near Petersburg. Marched until 1:00 a.m. Very tired out. Had to rise at 5:00 a.m.
Got up at 5:00 a.m. and marched to near Manchester opposite Richmond. Went into town to get something to eat. Camped near the town.
August 7th (Sunday)
Left camp and marched to and through Richmond--up Pearl to Main St., to 3rd to Broad and to Brooke Turnpike. As we were riding along at corner of Franklin and 3rd St., someone called my name. I found it was Miss Laura Kent, whom I had met and known in Waynesboro. She begged me to accompany her to her home, corner of 1st and Franklin and get something to eat. I was terribly dusty from marching in such clouds of dust as a Brigade of horses can and did raise. Tried to beg off, though terribly hungry, but she insisting, I yielded. The streets were full of Church goers at the time. I tied my horse in front of her home and entered with her to the parlor, where interntaining some well dressed officers in flashy uniforms and shining boots, evidently swivel-chair sissy officers around Richmond, who looked almost shocked to see a private, dusty and not very neat sitting at a marble top table eating from silver and china! I was so fussed and felt so awkward, I really could eat but little. So I told Laura I "had a sick comrade" and if she would fix up a lunch I would take it to him. She readily did so. Bidding her goodbye, I rode away to overtake my command. Needless to say, that soon after leaving, I threw my reins on the neck of my horse and the "sick comrade" ate and enjoyed that lunch. I ate every crumb of it. I overtook my command at the Yellow Tavern (where our old Commander General J. E. B. Stuart was killed in the May previous) Go into camp for the night at Ashland.
March to within two miles of Beaver Dam Station on Rail Road. (Now the C&O R. R.)
As we were marching along in lower Orange or Louisa County, I heard a wonderful cheering of our men. The cause was that most of our Regiment and Brigade were from the section where the mountains were and the boys had been down in the God forsaken "lowlands" and were so sick of them that when they first caught sight of the Blue Ridge, their hearts were thrilled and a joyous shout and cheer went up. It reminded one of the "Retreat of the Ten Thousand Greeks" who cried with joy "Thalatta! "Thalatta!" (The Sea! The Sea!) When they got so near home! (See Zenophon's Anabasis for this.)
In camp near Front Royal. Had a meal at a Mr. Buck's. Enjoyed it. Hear the Yankee Cavalry are in the neighborhood. We had expected this. General Jubal T. Early, then in command of the Valley, had but few cavalry and had appealed to General Lee to send him some, as Sheridan's Cavalry had been running over the few cavalry that Early had. Hence Fitz Lee's old Brigade (ours) was sent to him.
The Yankees came up and we attacked them. We were badly managed and were repulsed at Guard Hill with some loss; went into the Camp of the previous night.
Some of us got a girl at the big mill near Luray to make us some real coffee. Very fine. Brucie Trout was the girl and she was very pretty and kind to us.
Marched to within 6 miles of Winchester on the Plank Road. We had a scrap with Yankee Cavalry below Winchester on the Berryville Road. It rained in torrents and we got soaked through and through. Horrible night we had! Hungry--wagons not up with us--fearfully tired, and sleeping in the rain.
On the March I went to a man's house named Knode, who was a friend of my mother's family. Got a "snack" there. In camp at a Church in Lee Town (Jefferson County). Rains very hard. In the suburbs of Lee Town, Dr. Gregg Gibson, a cousin of Amelia, my brother William's wife, lived in the old Tucker home. A beautiful old colonial house, with a grove of "ancestral" trees around it, and with an immense garden with a vine clad brick high wall all around it, radiant with flowers and beautiful shrubery. Here, my sister in law, just married in that house was staying. Her old home was in the Vicinity and William had taken advantage of our troops being in possession there temporarily and had gone down and married Amelia. I called to see her. You can imagine the pleasure and surprise that visit was! I got off for a visit to Mr. Abel's that night and slept in a bed! Met some girls there from the Luray Valley named Lionberger. An old friend, Joe Crane had married one of them.
Rejoin my command at Lee Town, which had been inactive for several days, and in camp. Marched through Martinsburgh and encamp at Falling Waters on the Potomac River, and nearly opposite Williamport, Md. Here we found many old "union" farmers (sympathizers with the North) and we helped ourselves to their orchards and fine hay (for our weary horses.)
We drive the Yankees across the Potomac and shell the town of Williamsport across the river. We watered our horses in the Potomac, the same we had ridden from the "Wilderness" in May, then to Richmond, Petersburg and in the many fights all summer. We made no attempt to cross into Maryland but rode to Shepherdstown about 20 miles away, where I saw some relatives and many old friends. Went into camp at Billmyer's Mill about two miles from town towards Charles Town where we camped for the night.
My horse "Don" which I had ridden from May all through our marches and fights becoming lame from a disease common in the army called the "greasy foot" starting from the "scratches" caused by going through so much mud and such hard service. We lay out in a big field nearly all day grazing our horses and taking it easy, as the enemy showed no disposition to attack us for which we were ready. Took some flour to a Miss Dawes who lived nearby and she baked it for me.
Encamped at an old Yankee CAMP near Winchester, our regiment ordered down on the Opequon to "picket." Late in the night we were ordered to go on a reconnoiter towards Berryville. Saddled up and started, very dark and not knowing when or where we would run into the enemy. We were sent down there, about 10 miles, to find out if the enemy was there in much strength. Well, we found them! As we rode into Berryville, our company in advance, we ran right into a big column of Yankees starting out on a raid. It was our Regiment against a Division of Cavalry. We retreated in haste and our Company being in the front in the advance down there, of course we had to cover the retreat back towards Winchester. It was pitch dark and as we flew up the Pike some of the boys got outside of the road, for there were no fences along there (the armies had burned them all up) and in the running through the woods along the road, two boys, Newt Finley and Sam Miller ran under an overhanging grape vine (as we learned afterwards), which caught and dragged them off their horses and were captured. The enemy pursued us some miles and it was a race, sure enough. The wonder is they did not capture the whole of our Regiment! I shall never forget that ride on that dark night! It was to laugh after it was all over, but not when we were riding for our lives and away from the capture or death or both.
The enemy advance and drive our pickets in, but probable it was only to "feel" us for they soon retired from our immediate front. I got permission to go into Winchester and spent the night at a Mr. Strikers, an acquaintance of our family.
September 15th to October 8th
I spent at home on furlough and certainly did enjoy it. General T. L. Rosser's command came to the Valley about this time and being an old friend of my family offered me a place with his brigade which was very welcome to me for I did not like my Captain, Tom McClung, a rough farmer who was tyrannical and abusive, especially to a boy who held himself as his superior socially. The "insolence of office" was not all in "Hamlets Soliloquy."
Arrived at General Rosser's headquarters, who welcomed me heartily, near Columbia Furnace in the "Back Road" in Shenandoah County.
Still with General Rosser. We threw up various breastworks on the side of the mountain near Fisher's Hill and hourly awaited and expected a battle.
General Rosser had me detailed to be at his head-quarters, nominally as a "courier" but really with all the privileges of a staff officer--riding and messing with him. It was no soft place, however, for he was as brave as a lion and he expected everybody around him to be in the thickest of the fight, carrying orders to the front, and to be with him and at his side whatever the danger and had no use for any other kind.
Lie in camp all day. I carrying orders and dispatches from General Rosser to the different commands. He was then in command of Fitz Lee's whole division, as well as his own Laurel Brigade--the 7th, 11th, 12th Regiments and Whites Battalion of the 11th Regiment. Hugh McGuire was captain of Co. E. He married my sister, Sallie, January 12th, 1865 and killed on Lee's retreat, dying at Amelia Springs, Virginia. No braver trooper ever lived!
We go on a raid at night and ride all night nearly and surround and capture a picket of Yankees--forty four in number. Some of our boys who lived in that vicinity guided us on bypaths until we got between the picketing battalion and their main body. Our raid was for the purpose of learning the location of the enemy's cavalry as to which we succeeded fully.
We rest all day in camp but about 10:00 p. m. we saddle up and start towards the enemy, and about 3:00 a. m. we ride into their pickets capturing them and about daylight we gallop into their main body's camp. Many of them were up and getting their coffee, etc. They scampered away leaving many prisoners. We followed and found them massed in thousands ready for us. These were all cavalry and horse artillery on the right flank of Sheridan's army. Soon, we heard heavy firing on our right where the infantry were. It proved to be Gordon's Division mainly who in the night had scaled the mountain side on Sheridan's left flank and broken into the camp of the 8th army Corps of Sheridan, before they were up out of bed, capturing great numbers, all their artillery, camp, etc. The Yankees were dumbfounded and panic stricken and fled with a "devil take the hindmost" race. Sheridan's whole army began to retreat in great disorder towards Winchester--about 16 miles away. "The day was lost" as it seemed to them and to us. About 3:00 p.m. General Rosser sent me along our front to obtain some information and to my disgust and amazement I beheld our infantry scattered and plundering in the Yankee's recent Camps and the Yankees rallying and about to advance, which later they did and upon reporting this to General Rosser, he ordered our cavalry company to fall back to the South Side of the Creek where his horse artillery galloped and went into position on the hills. There we awaited their attack, but they did not attack us, though we stayed there until after dark. From our position we could see our infantry retreating in great disorder just as the enemy had done in the early morning.
Briefly, the facts were these: Our men were half starved. When they got into the Yankee's camp, and found great stores of supplies they stopped and went to looting and plundering despite the efforts of their officers to induce them to follow the retreating enemy, but they moved not, except only a few.
Sheridan was in Washington that morning and hearing his army had been surprised and was retreating, he came on a special train to Winchester (100) miles and about 4:30 p. m. reformed his retreating army at Middletown or New Town and forced them towards our army, scattered and demoralized with plundering. As he had three or four times as many as Early, the result was a terrible defeat for us. They captured hundreds, recaptured all their artillery which we had captured in the forenoon and nearly al1 of Early's artillery besides. There is a narrow roadway on the Pike along there and a bridge and there being a jam and stoppage of wagons and artillery there, the capture was easily made of all our artillery (nearly) and a big wagon train.
Early fell back to Fisher's Hill that night about 4 miles from the early morning fighting.
About 9:00 p. m. General Rosser sent me over to General Early's on the Pike to learn the situation and to ask for orders. It was some miles away and about midnight I found him and his staff asleep near the Pike on Fisher's Dill. He was awakened and sent word to Rosser fully as to his plans. Meanwhile, I delivered Rosser's request to General Early to have one of Rosser's Regiments called in which was picketing on our extreme right--on detached duty, as our cavalry's main body was on Early's left flank. General Early said he had no one to send and that I would have to call the Regiment in as he would fall back at daylight. So I had to go. It was a rather ticklish business. The Regiment was some three or four miles away and the night very dark and I knew absolutely nothing of the roads. I was told they were along Cedar Creek. So off I started, riding with ears open and my pistol in my right hand ready for trouble. Finally passing through some very dark woods, I was challenged by a picket. Not knowing if I had run into a Yankee or riot, I wheeled my horse around ready to escape, if I had struck the enemy. I inquired of the picket "what Regiment is yours?" He replied and then, knowing who was in command of it that day, I asked him who was in command and he answering correctly; I advanced and told him to start out of there at once. So about daylight we reached the Pike where we found the army had left and only a rear guard just moving off.
Had we been a half hour later we would have been captured. By this time, I was about "all in," and so was my horse for I had ridden on him the night before and all day and all night just gone, and had nothing to eat for either man or beast except a few crackers and some oats and corn gathered from the Yankee Camp.
We fell back to Mt. Jackson about 20 miles south. The Yankees did not follow us.
Ordered to go to Staunton and have blanks printed and go to "leave" for a few days. I rode into New Market, about 7 miles away. Spent the night at Major Hawk's Head Quarters. He was General Early's Chief Commissary Staff Officer. I sent my horse back to camp.
Left New Market on the stage. I found Fred Effinger of Staunton top of stage and he and I enjoyed the ride. He told me there was a girl in the stage who had run off from home with a soldier and she had been in camp with him, of "easy virtue" etc. They discovered her in a soldiers uniform and sent her home. In passing an old frame house the stage came to a stop and the driver called to a woman standing in the door and said, "Here is your daughter!" I can even now see that awkward girl in uniform running up the walk crying and her poor old heart broken mother coming to meet her. Arrived in Staunton that night.
We advance across the Cedar Creek and gave a lively fight there. Dick Hill killed. A fine brave boy he was. We fall back across the Creek driven by an overwhelming cavalry force out- numbering us about four to one.
We again cross Cedar Creek and fight. Again overwhelmed and fall back towards Fisher's Hill on the Pike. "Doc" Long a brave boy, was killed today in a charge we made.
We again go to Rude's Hill to camp for the night.
Our Regiment goes in picket duty at Landis Mills. Clay Pilson and I are on post together all day and night.
Our Squadron was relieved today of picket by Co's "G and H" and we returned to the Reserve.
General Rosser sends me to Staunton. It rains very hard. I ride in the rain and stay all night at John Parkins about 6 miles from Staunton.
March to Bowman's near Mathais, and to Moorefield, Hardy County. Last night; we (Rosser's Head-Quarters) had supper at a house where we had a sumptious meal. There were seven kinds of preserves on the table, sausage, etc. People delighted to see and feed us. Just as we were about to go into camp we ran into about 300 Yankees who had come out from New Creek (Now Keyser) on the Baltimore & Ohio R. R. on a scouting expedition. We pitched into them and routed them badly capturing one piece of artillery and some prisoners--among them was "Nate" Goff, of Clarksburg, who was sent to Libby Prison in Richmond. He became famous while in prison because when the Confederate government threatened to hang him if the Yankees hung a certain Confederate, Goff wrote a letter saying "Do not consider me if it is your duty to hang that Confederate. I am willing to be sacrificed." Goff afterwards became U. S. District Attorney of West Virginia, then U. S. Judge and Secry. of War and finally U. S. Senator and still lives in Clarksburg. His son Percy Married Carrie Bassel, who is an older sister of Martha, my son Miller's wife. Goff and I often spoke of his capture by us, and he was and is one of the finest men I ever knew. As the purpose of the raid was to surprise and capture New Creek and its garrison, General Rosser knew that the Yankees whom we struck at Moorefield would ride all night to warn the New Creek garrison, he decided also to ride all night and get there first. So we rode all night in the rain through the mountains, guided the short way by some of our boys from that section. We beat them there and about 9:00 a. m. we came in sight of their camps, one on each side of the little narrow valley of New Creek.
Rosser sent Major Jim Sweeney of Wheeling in front with about 20 men to rush and capture their picket in the road, which we could see. This picket had erected as was often the case--a rail fence across the road and they on the inside of it, so that if surprised, the attacking party would be delayed by taking down the fence and they could gallop back in the meanwhile and give the alarm.
To our amazement and delight when they saw Sweeney's men coming they thought of course it was their scouting party who had gone to Moorefield and was returning, and they actually took down the fence and hailed our men. It was raining and it was a dark misty morning and when too late they discovered their fatal mistake and every man of them was captured and very quietly too. So the alarm was not given at all! Rosser divided into three parts; one rushed down the valley to the R. D. Station, one to the camp on the left hill side and the third to the battery of artillery on the hill to the right. Never were people more surprised, for they had no idea any Confederates were within 100 miles of them! It was all over in a half hour. The main objective of the raid was to get cattle for Lee's starving army. We gathered up about 500 fine cattle, several hundreds horses and about 700 prisoners and got away from there that afternoon. I picked up a wonderful little mule to send home to my little brother Hugh, who rode and kept him at home. That night many of our prisoners escaped and of these we cared little for we had a hard time feeding our own men and prisoners already in our prisons south. Many years after I met a member of the West Virginia Legislature who told me his brother, a Yankee soldier, was captured there and another brother was the officer in charge of the prisoners that night and the confederate "winked at" the Yankee brother's escape who was later killed near Richmond. We burned the depot and many supplies and I got a Sutler's trunk and found it full of nice clothing, notably fine woolen outside shirts, a fine pair of trousers, which after the war I wore and called my "New Creek Pants." Also many years after when I was a member of the Democratic State Executive Committee in West Virginia, there was a fellow member, Col. Tom Davis, a brother of Senator Henry G. Davis. He told me I must visit him at Keyser.(formerly as stated "New Creek") I told him I was there once and recalled our raid there and when I told him we had burned a big white painted store, when I had filled a bag full of plunder, he said, "Why you little rascal! That was MY store!" He was a union man and we had a good laugh over it. The Yankees sent a large force to intercept us from out of Cumberland but they were too late and we got away with all our booty. That night, we rode back to a Union man's place--a Mr. Babb whose son Charlie, I afterwards served many years on the Board of Regents of the W. Va. University and we often talked of that raid.
Left Mr. Babb and that afternoon stopped at Petersburg and stayed at a Mr. Cunningham's. They had several very pretty daughters and the family gave us a glorious welcome and those people had more to eat than we had seen anywhere during the war, for very seldom did any soldier of any army ever go there. The snow, a deep one, had fallen and some of us got out an old sleigh and took the girls out riding. I often met "Jake" Cunningham (who was the son of that family) in Charleston as he was an official in the Legislature. He said his family often spoke of me as the youngest and smallest one of our party there. We and our horses were certainly in clover there.
Left Petersburg and rode over the snow covered hills to a man named Dasher, where we had good rooms, though crowded, and plenty to eat. Dasher had a barrel of whiskey. Everybody nearly got "full" and there was a "pillow fight" up stairs. Holmes Conrad and Jim Thompson were in it. They acted like so many children all night. I shall never forget that night and its absurd and ridiculous events.
It was this day (December 10th) upon our return that we went sleigh riding. We took the girls out and in crossing the little river our sleigh upset and Perkins and I got out in the water 2 1/2 feet deep and righted the sleigh and rescued the girls. Upon our return to the house, The Cunningham home, I was dripping wet and half frozen and Mrs. C. gave me a hot toddy. I shall never forget it.
Sunday. No preaching for us. Captain Dawson, an Englishman who was on Rosser's Staff, had a fine voice so he and the girls gave us some very sweet music. We certainly were in an oasis of plenty and comfort. Dawson after the war was editor of a newspaper in Charleston S. C. and married there. Became famous as a writer and was murdered by a man who was in love with Dawson's clerk, a beautiful girl. The murderer was jealous of Dawson's influence over the girl who he (D.) had besought to throw the fellow over. But I think he was acquitted by a jury.
December 14th and 15th
Lie in camp.
March to Roller's--father of Rev. Robert Douglas Roller, who was for many years was Rector of St. John's Church, Charleston, W. Va. It was near Mt. Crawford on the Valley Pike on our way to Winter Quarters.
We march in the cold, very cold, weather to Staunton, General Rosser asks me to stay with Capt. Emmett, his Chief of Staff, who lay in Staunton wounded badly. Lost his leg.
Sunday. I stayed with Emmett most of the day to cheer him up and be of any service I could. I attended Episcopal Church. Reverend Dr. Sparrow preached. Hugh McGuire and I ride to Waynesboro. I to get a fresh horse and Hugh to court Sallie whom he later married. My horse had seen hard service and I had to get a fresh one.
Hugh and I remain at home all day.
Learning that the Yankees have gone back down the Valley we again march back to Staunton and go on out to Swoope's about 8 miles West of Staunton, having ridden about 35 miles in the cold. We expected to go into Winter Quarters at Swoope's but heard the Yankees were on a raid towards Charlottesville, I started in Staunton to go to see Lou Trout but General Rosser sent for me. We were going to attend a so called "Musical Soiree."
We march from Staunton to Waynesboro where General Rosser and some of us lunch at home and then we went across the Rockfish Gap, Blue Ridge Mountains, en-route towards Charlottesville, where we heard the Yankee raiders had gone back. Hugh McGuire and I spent the night at "Mirador," where Mr. James Bowen then owned and lived. His grand daughter Mary Funsten was there, a beautiful charming girl and a sister of the late Bishop Funsten who recently died in California. Col. Funsten was Col. of 11th Va. Cavalry, Rosser's Brigade, and his son "Boz" was captain of the 11th and was there that night and got "lit-up"--very. Mr. Bowen had lots to drink and was very generous with it. By the way, this country place "Mirador" later became famous as the home of Col. C. D. Langhorne father of the famous Langhorne girls, the "Gibson girls." Langhorne spent much money remodeling and beautifying this country seat and was buried there I think.
We ride down to Mechums River again and General Rosser went to Charlottesville and returned on the mail train. The Yankees having gone back to the Valley where they had started from, we also returned there arriving at Waynesboro about 11:00 p. m.
Christmas day. Dull day. Preaching in the old Academy by Huston (Hale? or William ) Hugh McGuire, Col. William Morgan of the 1st Virginia Cavalry, Brigadier General William Payne, and Lieut. Diggs of the cavalry all spend the night at my mother's. We had a very poor Christmas Day but a good dinner, (the last Xmas of the war!)
Moff King, Surgeon of 18th Cavalry, William B. Gallaher, Henry Bateler (Staying at my mother's) Ellie Fishburne, Charlie Gallaher and I all had some whiskey in Fishburn's lumber room; later we got egg nogg at old John Mann's little store. All of us got sick! Whiskey in those days was enough to make anybody sick.
The enemy and our troops in the Valley were practically going into Winter Quarters. The weather being fearfully cold. Our people had so little to eat for man or beast most of the cavalry were permitted to go home until called out and rest up their horses. Each army had a picket force down the valley below Harrisonburg to watch each other. I was glad enough to remain at home a while. Some of our cavalry who could not get home (inside the enemy's lines) went to Swoope's to remain awhile. General Fitz Lee was down at Bruce's on Main Street and the band gave him a daylight serenade. It was a sort of "gala Day" for old Waynesboro. Liet. Charlie Minnegrode of Fitz Lee's Staff was playing the devoted to Helena Withrow. He was later in April badly wounded on Lee's retreat. General Rosser at my mother's invitation went to Hanover and returned to our house with his wife and baby and remained there as guests for some time. She was Bettie Winston, of Courtland (their home) near Hanover C. H. and a lovely woman. Many years after in coming out of Richmond on the train with General Rosser and wife, a young lady got aboard and recognizing me said, "come back and see Bettie." I did so. When I was introduced to "Sallie," the young lady with them, I said "Miss Sallie," I have met you before!" "Where?" she said. "Why, at my mothers when as a baby I used to carry you around."
Spent the day quietly at home.
General Early had withdrawn his infantry and artillery from down the valley to near Fisherville, where they erected huts etc, and went into Winter Quarters. General Rosser and I rode up to see General Early who was at McCues near Fisherville.
General Early spent the night at our house. The cars ran off the track (a very frequent thing in those days of worn out rails,) at Christy's Creek below Waynesboro and Staunton. Generals Early and Rosser and I sit at the telegraph office all morning trying to get some telegraphic news.
General Rosser takes Mrs. Rosser, and baby out to Swoope's for a visit. Many of his brigade were there in winter quarter especially those whose homes were within the Yankee lines. General Rosser had the train stop at our house for his party to get aboard. The R. R. track was quite conveniently near the house. Miss Gussie Arnall ended her visit at our home today.
Hugh McGuire, Capt. of Co. E 11th Va. Cavalry and Sallie are married by Rev. W. T. Richardson in our parlor. We dance until 2:30 a. m.
Dr. Hunter McGuire of "Stonewall Jackson's staff, standing
with Evelyn Withrow
Mjr. Henry Kyd Douglass of "Stonewall" Jackson's staff, standing with Mary Johnson
D. C. Gallaher of 1st Va. Cavalry, standing with Mary Wood
Mjr. Genl. Fitzhugh Lee, standing with Betty Payne
Capt. O. B. Funsten, standing with (forgot her)
Capt. William McDonald, standing with Lou Withrow
A regiment of Cavalry encamp in our woods out at the farm and "society" in Waynesboro, the soldiers there and General Early's infantry in Winter Quarters near Fishersville added very much. They were a gay lot. We have a dance at our house tonight. Although all realized the war was going against us, and dreaded the spring campaign soon to open, still all were disposed to say "on with the dance, let joy be unconfined!" I often recall it and think we were dancing and gay right at the grave of the Confederacy.
I ran over to Charlottesville as Helena Withrow's escort who went to Piedmont Institute. I met the famous beauty Mag Cook, who later married Majr. Bob Mason, of Fitz Lee's staff also again see Janie Colston who later married Major Howard. Also see Miss Byrd Wellford and Betty Price of Hanover.
Major Warwick and Capt. Nightingale dine at my mothers.
Dr. Hunter McGuire who was staying with us (we always had soldiers staying at my mothers) and Mr. Reilly of Winchester left our house for Lexington I go to Staunton with Sallie.
I go to Richmond and spend about a week at Mrs. Nelsons, very kind to me. Richmond overflowing with officers, soldiers, etc. Everything out of sight in prices. Hotels packed. Dorsay Ogden playing at theater which was sufficiently filled. Everybody expecting a terrible campaign soon, and it surely came.
Leave Richmond and go to "Courtland" (General Rossers wife's home near Hanover C. H.) nearly fall in love with Sally Winston, Mrs. Rosser's younger sister. A lovely girl. She and I correspond for a while even while I was at the University later.
Leave for Richmond. See General Rosser there and he takes steps to have me assigned from Fitz Lee's division to Rossers. I go to find General Lee and find him at a dance, up on Franklin Street about Midnight. He signs the transfer or Assignment of which I was very happy.
I accompany General Rosser from Richmond to Courtland where I spend the night.
March 1st 1865
Tonight Capt. Hugh McGuire came home about midnight and alarmed us all by the news that the Yankees were coming up the Valley towards Staunton in heavy force. His squadron of Cavalry had been on picket at the bridge on the Valley Pike near Mt. Crawford, about 150 Cavalry were all that were there between Harrisonburg and Staunton. His squadron made the best stand they could at the bridge, but the enemy sent a large force up the river, which they forded and come in behind our men. It then became a race up the Pike towards Staunton. Some of our men were captured. Capt. McGuire lost his hat and rode to Waynesboro that night hatless. His account of that race was very amusing and thrilling too. Sheridan had started out from Winchester with about 9,000 picked cavalry to ride to Richmond and join Grant at Petersburg. Some of the cavalry galloped to Fishersville in the night and gave the alarm to General Early. The Yankees rode into Staunton that night. Early at once moved out his infantry, about 2,200 only, from Fishersville down to Waynesboro, they arrived there about daylight. Early and his staff came to my mother's for breakfast, where I saw him turn down a tumbler half full of whiskey before breakfast. (This was a weakness of his.) It was a rainy blue morning in every way. My Mother sent the slaves (negroes) horses, wagons etc., by my brother William across the Blue Ridge for safety. Everybody who had slaves, horses, etc., did likewise. Our wagons came very near being captured for they had just turned off the Main Road to Charlottesville when the enemy galloped a thousand strong near them and rushed on after the fleeing Confederates. So fast did these fellows ride that they got to Greenwood Depot, ten or fifteen miles from Waynesboro, that they fired into a train leaving there with munitions. They killed one of our men on the train. The mud was fearful and very amusing stories are told of that stampede of civilians, wagons, negroes, etc., over Rockfish Gap. This was the last fighting in the Shenandoah Valley.
The morning of this fight General Rosser with about 100 Cavalry (all he had there, for all the others were disbanded for the winter and many at Swoope's in Winter Quarters) rode up to within sight of Christy's Creek about 4 miles from Staunton. There we saw a blue column of Yankees coming. Rosser gave some orders to the officer in charge of the small cavalry force with him and taking about a half dozen of us with him he rode into the woods in bridle path until we reached a country road and then rode to Greenville and Staunton Road about 10 miles away. Rosser's object was to see for himself whether the enemy was going towards Lexington and Lynchburg or not, Genl. Hunter had gone the year before. We rode in the rain all day. We found no traces of the enemy on that road. Then we rode on to the Middlebrook and Staunton road and there found no signs of the enemy. Rosser's idea was that the movement towards Waynesboro was a mere feint to cover his real movement to Lexington. But he was mistaken.
About 4 p. m. Genl, Rosser turned to me and said, "Clinton, (he always called me so) you go back to Waynesboro and tell Genl. Early that none of the enemy has gone this way. And careful you do not run into the Yankees." Rosser and the others remained to watch if possible the movements of the enemy.
Off I rode in the rain not knowing where I would finally land, in Waynesboro, in prison or in another world. As I rode along I noticed every farm house closed. Not a soul to be seen. The people know the Yankees were near and had run off and hidden their horses, stock, etc., as best they could. Occasionally I noticed some one peering around the corner of a house or a tree watching me and no doubt they were wondering if I were a Yankee scout. I had a black oil cloth cape on to protect me from the rain, and of course, no one could tell whether I was a Yankee or Confederate.
Along about evening I heard a terrible rumbling and human voices as I neared the Staunton and Waynesboro road where the Tinkling Spring road passes it. To my amazement, as I drew nearer, I beheld the Yankee wagons going rapidly towards (!) Waynesboro, about two miles away! The mud was terrible and the wagon drivers and soldiers with them were shouting and swearing at their horses.
Rosser and all of us had heard artillery in the forenoon at Waynesboro and he remarked, "Well, I suppose Uncle Jubal has driven them off and they may come this way on their way to Lexington." How mistaken he was! Early had not driven them away. The shoe was on the other foot.
I soon got away from the road and rode through a lane to old man Shirey's house to learn the news. It was about dusk. I had noticed some camp fires out beyond his house in the woods. I rode up to his gate and halloed. He came out and recognized me and was scared to death almost. He cried out "For Heaven's sake, get away. Don't you see those Yankees? Over there in the woods and down there at my spring?" He then told me Early had been routed. So I rode into a lane leading over towards South River keeping in view for some distance those Yankees at the Spring, who if they saw me, supposed I was one of their men. I was trying to get across the river to the Mountain for the night. I stopped at Jim Irvine's who then lived at the Ellis place on the hill. It was raining and cold and he told me all he had heard about Early's defeat and gave me some corn for my jaded horse who had had nothing to eat all day and begged me to remain all night if I thought it safe but I declined. They begged me not to try to ford the river which was very high and out of its banks. But I swam my horse, dark as it was, over the river and soon met Phil Coiner of my old Company "E" 1st Cavalry, and he and I rode up into the mountains and slept on the ground all night. Old David D. Coiner joined us soon after we laid down. He was frightened to death. All night long he kept saying "It's a terrible time, Terrible time."
The next morning we could see from the mountain Waynesboro and vicinity. I noticed a big fire and a column of smoke right in a line with my mother's house, which I supposed was burning. I afterwards found out the fire was from burning a lot of Early's wagons on the hill in front of Shaws (now Antrim's) house on the hill.
Phil Coiner and I decided to ride into or as near as we could to Waynesboro. As we entered the town the last of the Yankees were leaving en-route to Charlottesville. I went home and got something to eat and listened to all that the Yankees had done while there. They (Hun like) had broken into my mother's smoke house, taken her hams, etc., broken into her pantry on her back porch and taken almost everything they could find. However, some edibles were saved by the following incident. Dr. Hunter McGuire of Stonewall Jackson's old staff, but now of General Early's staff, and chief surgeon was captured by the enemy and asked to be paroled and allowed to go to my mother's. Being a non-combatant, and of very high rank he was allowed to go. He brought with him a staff officer of Sheridan's and my mother had them a nice meal prepared. While doing so, she came in and appealed to the Yankee Staff Officer, Lieut. Vail, for protection. He at once gave her a guard and drove the thieving rascals off.
Dr. Hunter McGuires Capture:
He told me he was trying to escape and had reached a piece of woods, where the "Brandon" Hotel now stands in Basic, and finding his pursuers very close behind him tried to jump his horse over a low rail fence and get into the woods. But alas! His horse fell with him! An officer told the fellow to put his gun down, saying "He's MY prisoner." The Dr. told me he was a Mason and that he made a Masonic sign and the Yankee officer being a Mason also had saved his life. He said the enemy treated him very nicely and paroled him. My mother and children all hid in the cellar under our kitchen during the fighting. Fourteen of our men surrendered on our back porch where they had run when the stampede began. He also told me that while he and his Yankee protector were in our sitting room waiting for their meal, which my mother was preparing, (for our negroes had been sent away except one woman, Mammy Jane,) the Yankee officer noticed a Knight Templar picture on the wall. It had my father's name on it. He inquired who this Hugh L. Gallaher was? When told he said, of course, he would protect his family and did. He also stopped their plundering and burning down at the Tanyard nearby.
I think that he was a Col. Forsythe of Sheridan's staff. He wrote my mother after the war, as did Lieut. Vail. Stonewall Jackson had captured very many prisoners in 1862 at the battle of Port Republic about 20 miles below Waynesboro. They were marched to Waynesboro and put in the fields above our house. They were nearly starved. Vail wrote a note to my mother wishing to buy something to eat. But she went with a servant herself to see that Vail and not Confederate guards got the basket. Of course she refused any pay for it. Hence Vail wrote her after the war very often.
From March 3 to April 9, 1865
Early on March 3rd or 4th, General Rosser, as soon as he could gather some of his men together did so and started to intercept Sheridan, thinking he would go from Charlottesville towards Lynchburg. So we went up the Valley and crossed over the mountain near Greenville, gathering up men as we could. We went into Camp at Massie's Mills, Nelson County.
Finding the enemy was making for the James and Kanawha Canal we rode hard to catch up with him. But he rode hard too, very hard. We went to Columbia and Scottsville but were too late. Then it was a race to overtake them. The roads were so deep in mud we made but slow progress. The enemy's horses (about 9,000) wagons had cut those clay roads up so badly that for years afterwards the ruts and tracks could be plainly seen. I never saw anything before or since like those roads. We followed them until dawn in the County of King William. We first got sight of them riding very rapidly on the other side of the Pamunky River but then out of our reach.
Sheridan's forces then joined Grant and took an active part later on Lee's retreat to Appomatox.
Our Command joined Lee and was with him until April 9, 1865 at the surrender. As our cavalry were scattered all up and down the Valley and Rosser wanted them badly he sent me to the Valley to have their officers bring them to him, and I was so engaged when we heard Lee had surrendered. We did not believe it as first but soon learned the worst.
Notes by DeWitt Clinton Gallaher