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6th Vermont Infantry

Kimball Collection

From Frederick Kimball's Scrapbook
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The Late Disaster to our Cavalry

The following account of the late attack and repulse of our cavalry, is from the pen of Hon. E. P. Walton, who reports it for his paper. It is, we consider, the most reliable sketch that has been written of that unfortunate affair :

I am now able to give an authentic account of the late lamentable affair of our cavalry with Mosby's company. On the 31st ult. Major Taggart learned that Mosby was at Drainsville, and ordered Capt. Flint, with detachments from companies A, B, C and D, to go out and capture him. Accordingly, Capt. Flint proceeded to execute the order. He struck Mosby's trail above Drainsville, and followed it to Broad Run, coming up with the enemy in that vicinity. Our men charged, when a part of the enemy reserved their fire until the two parties came to close quarters, when they poured a deadly fire, which broke our ranks, and at the same time the balance of the enemy charged before our men could rally. It is true that the reserve failed to give support, although the fact is not stated in the report which I have seen. Our loss was as follows :

Killed-Capt. Flint, Lt. Woodbury and private John Reed, 3
Wounded-Lt. Grout, (it is feared mortally,) Lt. Holden
and 17 privates, 19
Missing-Lt. Sawyer and 83 priv's, 84

Among the privates wounded are Augustus Paddock, (supposed mortally,) and Mr. Brewster, (severely,) both of Craftsbury. Of those reported wounded, two have since died, and two more are supposed to be mortally wounded. I have not the names. Probably Mr. Paddock is one of the four.

It is a remarkable fact that the heaviest loss, except in officers, was in Capt. Bean's reserve of 100 men, who in their retreat ran into a party of Mosby's men, and were badly used. It would have been safer had Bean advanced to the support of Flint's attack, instead of retreating. The enemy pursued our retreating forces, but were fought at every good opportunity by Lieut. Woodbury, with such men as he could rally, a distance of eight miles, and to a point within two miles of our camp at Vienna, at which point Woodbury was killed. Of course, it was Lieut. Woodbury's body, not Grout's, which was embalmed yesterday. The report adds that several of the enemy were killed and many wounded.

Our force was 135 men, and that of the enemy 80. Captain Flint attacked with 35 men the whole rebel force, and his men fought bravely, hand to hand, as long as it was possible for a force so unequal to do so, and at last retreated sullenly.

The reserve under Capt. Bean numbered 100 men-a force amply sufficient to rescue Flint and capture the enemy, if Bean had attempted it. When the fight commenced, a stout Virginia rail fence divided the parties, but the rebels threw down one length of fence to charge on Flint, and some of our own men had commenced to remove another, so as to get in the rear of

Mosby ;-so that the way would have been thoroughly prepared for Bean to attack Mosby both in front and rear, had he attempted to do his duty. By his miserable failure, Mosby escaped and our force was almost entirely cut up. Of 135 men, 106 are reported lost-leaving only 29 ! However, it is probable that some of the 84 reported missing have come in since the report was made. I cannot conceive any possible defence for Captain Bean, tho' I would be glad to do so, as every loyal Vermonter would also be. Military men here condemn him, of course, upon the report of the affair as it has come here, and as I have stated it. This report is so direct and authoritative that I cannot doubt it. In fact, a part of this statement is from an official report, and the remainder from a sergeant who was in Flint's attacking party. I feel perfectly justified, therefore, in sending it for publication.

"C. H. B.," army correspondent of the Free Press, writes as follows :-"Capt. Flint and Lieut. Woodbury, showed great bravery in rallying the men. They were two of the finest officers n the regiment and their loss is severely regretted by both officers and men."

Among the prisoners we notice the names of Geo. Skinner of Albany, Theodore P. Skinner of Irasburgh. There are doubtless many more from this vicinity.

The following account of the skirmish is extracted from a letter written by Sergeant Luther B Persons, of Flint's company, to his friends in Coventry :-"On Wednesday morning, April 1st, at one o'clock the Captain called me and wanted me to call up the men and then mount. The Captain, Lt. Grout, and thirty-three of us were soon in the saddle and moving in the direction of Drainsville. There were parts of five companies, all under command of Captain Flint. We expected to find Captain Mosby and a hundred of his men in Drainsville, and Capt. Flint ordered me to take ten men and go as advance guard. We found nothing at Drainsville. The Captain then told me to take my men and search Dr. Day's house. The Doctor's wife would let no one but me enter her room, she said, unless I insisted; so I went alone. She asked what we were searching for, and I told her "rebels; she said there were none there but she heartily wished there were.

We found not rebels there, but soon got traces of them, and followed them five miles, overtaking them abut daylight. As we came out of a piece of woods, I saw them and halted the advance, till I reported to the Captain, who told me to wait till the rest of the men came up and the ordered a charge, so we went in. Just as we got ready to charge the rebels saw us, and hurried to their horses which were all saddled at a barn yard near by. About half of them came out of the gate and some jumped the fence, while others used the wall as a breast work. Our carbineers fired their carbines, but the sabre companies rather hung back, so we were left unsupported. If they had gone in with their sabres, and given us a chance to load again, we should have had the rebels. It was a hand-to-hand fight. Capt. Flint was shot dead with six bullets.-Lt Woodbury was also shot dead. Lt. Grout was mortally wounded. A rebel struck me with his sabre, cut a hole in my hat and knocked me off my horse. I happened to turn just as he struck at me, and I warded off most of the blow. Another took my arms. I watched for an opportunity to get away, and did so, before they could put a guard over me, and got safely into camp. Only eight of our men have got back, twenty-five are killed, wounded, and prisoners from our company, and a good many from other companies. Mr. Reed of Irasburgh was killed."

Since the above was in type we have received from a friend in Craftsbury, the following letter written by Ephraim Brewster to his father in that town. We are glad to receive it, as it is the most definite account of the fall of Capt. Flint, and his last moments, that we have seen : "I promised in my last letter to tell you something about the fight, and will try to do so now. Capt. Flint came along past our tent about one in the morning of the first day of April, and wanted all who had horses good for anything to mount up as soon as possible, for they were going to catch Mosby. That was just what we wanted to do, and we were soon ready and on our way. They had left Drainsville and stopped at a plantation a few miles from there, where we found them about seven in the morning. We had hoped to surprise them, but instead of that found them all ready to receive us. Capt. Flint took the lead with his company, and cousin Augustus Paddock and myself were in the front set of fours, and therefore received their first fire.

In the first fire Capt. Flint fell on my left, with six balls through his body, and one John Reed of Albany fell on my left, with a ball through the breast. They did not hit me at that fire. They charged again and some of their horses began to rear and pitch every way, and either with or without help to wheel about and run. Most of us who stood our ground were either killed or wounded. A rebel rode up towards me and we commenced firing at each other. He hit me twice, the first ball passing through my leg, and as the second one passed through the groin I rolled off my horse without much exertion on my part, I can assure you. Well, as soon as I could, I raised my head on my hand and looked about me to see what was going on in other parts of the field. Every horse was turned and running for the woods as if the devil and all his angels were after them, and in fact they were for Mosby and his men are the devils unaccountables. I then looked the other way and saw our good Captain lying upon his face. I worked myself along to him and got there just as a rebel came up to take his arms and mine. I asked him to help me turn him over on his back, which he did. He did not speak after I got to him. I held his head while he breathed his last, then laid a rail under it and went to a house which was a few rods off. I had not been there more that five minutes before A. was brought in wounded. A ball had passed through his breast and out under the shoulder. Six more were shortly after brought in and one of them was Lieut. Grout. I never saw any one suffer as he did with his wound. His agonizing groans could be heard at a great distance. The ball struck a nerve, and every time his heart beat, it felt as if melted iron, was running down his leg, even to his toes. I warmed cloths and put them on his foot, for three or four minutes, but it made my own wounds ache so badly, that I was obliged to lie down again. We laid there, till three in the afternoon, when the surgeon came with an ambulance and examined us.-Three of us, he thought might be carried to camp, ten miles from there, and over a very rough road. Cousin A. could not be moved. I was very sorry to be separated from him, but could not help myself, for when they say go, we must go. They do not ask, if you would like to go-but it is go you must and go you shall. The rebels chased our men some five or six miles, shooting and slashing with the sabre. They did not hit Lieut. Woodbury until they had chased him about three miles. He would stop every few rods, and try to rally his men to make a stand against them, and was doing so, nobly doing his duty, when he fell. We ought to have beaten them, but our officers were too sure of them, and did not take proper precaution, and the rebels had on our uniform, so that it bothered us to tell which was friend and which was foe, while they knew all their men by sight; and then our horses were never under fire before, and the rebels' horses were used to it, which made all the difference in the world. And some of our men had never had an hour's drill on horseback, and I suppose that made some difference. In the chase they had the advantage too, for their horses were fresh, while ours were all tired out, and had had no grain but once for three successive days. Well, all it has amounted to is this : we have lost some of the best officers in our regiment, those who were loved and respected and mourned by all, and some 70 men wounded, killed and taken prisoners. It is a terrible blow to us, and one which it will take a long time to recover.



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