[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.Then he galloped back to his own command, formed the 8th New York alongside the fork to take care of the wagons, and got the rest of the men lined up to handle the Confederate troopers.All unsuspecting, the sleepy wagon drivers took the right-hand fork, starting off on a road that led to Pennsylvania, while the 8th New York, riding single file, fell in beside the train.As the last wagon made the turn and the Rebel cavalry escort came up, Davis sent his Illinois troopers in on the charge with drawn sabers, and the surprised Rebels were broken up and sent scattering down the country roads in the dark.When it began to grow light the wagoners came to a little, noticed the blue uniforms, and asked the troopers what outfit they belonged to.Proudly the soldiers answered; 8th New York Cavalry.The teamsters pulled up in a hurry, swearing and fuming, and some of them jumped down to unhitch their horses, but the New Yorkers drew revolvers and persuaded them to climb back in their seats, and the train went jolting along, drivers very glum, cavalry bubbling over with delight.At about nine in the morning the whole cavalcade got to Greencastle, Pennsylvania, where Davis called a halt and examined his capture.There he found that he had seized nothing less than General Longstreet's reserve ammunition train—forty-odd wagons, each drawn by six mules, with some two hundred prisoners.He turned the train and prisoners over to the authorities and led his tired command into a field to get a little sleep.News of the capture got through the town, so that by the time the boys had their horses unsaddled and watered and picketed the townsfolk were coming out on foot and in buggies, carrying all sorts of things to eat—fresh bread, hams, baskets of eggs, and so on.The cavalry ate a tremendous breakfast and felt like heroes and stretched out for a good sleep in the shade, and one of their number wrote: "The boys thought that soldiering wasn't so bad, after all."5It was a bright little exploit, all in all, and looking back on it, in its setting, one feels a twinge of regret that Grimes Davis was only a colonel.A little touch of his spirit, just then, in army headquarters or in the various corps headquarters, would have made the story of the rest of the war very different indeed.For by the time he got to Green-castle with his captured train, the garrison at Harper's Ferry had surrendered; and Franklin, with eighteen thousand men, was sitting by the roadside five miles from the scene of the surrender, reflecting on the perils of his situation and warily doing nothing at all.And Lafayette McLaws was in close touch with Stonewall Jackson and A.P.Hill and was no longer in any danger whatever.2.Destroy the Rebel ArmyFrom his perch on top of South Mountain, Confederate General Daniel Harvey Hill could look down and see the war coming up to meet him like a tremendous pageant, unspeakably grand.Five miles to the east lay the Catoctin ridge, with three roads coming over to the approach to Turner's Gap.Down each of these roads rolled an endless blue column, pouring down the slope and into the open valley as if the weight of unlimited numbers lay behind it, growing longer and longer and spraying out at last, at the foot of South Mountain, into long fighting lines, rank upon rank, starred with battle flags.The general looked, and reflected that the old Hebrew poet who used the phrase, "terrible as an army with banners," must have looked down from a mountain on just such a scene as this.Hill was one of the least timid men in the army, but he confessed afterward that he never in his life felt so lonely as he had that day: all of the soldiers in the world seemed to be marching up against him, and he had only five thousand men to stop them, some of which were still back at Boonsboro.Over on the Union side there were men who saw the picturesque quality too.It was not very often, even in that day of close-order fighting, that an entire army was massed in the open where everybody could see it [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]