Scouts and Spies of the Civil War

By William Gilmore Beymer; Howard Pyle | Go to book overview

Rowand

To Major M. H. Young, of my staff, chief of scouts, and the thirty or forty men of his command, who took their lives in their hands, cheerfully going wherever ordered, to obtain that great essential of success, information, I tender my gratitude. Ten of these men were lost.—From Gen. Philip H. Sheridan's report of the expedition from Winchester to Petersburg, Virginia. February 27—March 28, 1865. Official Records, Vol. 46: 1: 481.

“Thirty or forty men, of whom ten were lost.” It was not chance which worded that phrase. Sheridan has chosen his words well. Of the ten, no one of them died as do men in battles; two were found by their comrades hanging by their own halter-straps; several more died like trapped animals, fighting desperately, at bay. And the others—never returned. Until the Great Book opens it will never be known where, or how, they died; they never returned, that is all. Of the ten, not a man was wearing the uniform of the country for which he died.

How many more went down in the remaining twelve days of the war I do not know; those twelve savage days that saw Five Forks and Sailor's Creek, Dinwiddie Court House, Deep Creek, Farmville, and Appomattox Station and the Court House; those days when the scouts worked night and day, and were in their own lines only long enough to give “information.”

To-day, of all that brave band to whom Philip Henry Sheridan tendered his gratitude, there remain but four—Sergeant McCabe, “Sonny”

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