Kentucky Cavaliers in Dixie: The Reminiscences of a Confederate Cavalryman

By Geo. Dallas Mosgrove | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI.
STAMPEDING WOLFORD'S CAVALRY.

"To horse! to horse! the sabers gleam;
High sounds our bugle call."

IF there existed a body of Federal troops that the Kentucky boys dreaded to meet, it was gallant General Frank Wolford's famous Kentucky command. They had the reputation of being invincible fighters, almost uniformly successful in their numerous conflicts. Our boys frequently discussed the probability of meeting that heroic band of Kentucky warriors, and speculated much as to the result of a conflict with them. All knew it would be Greek against Greek, Kentuckian against Kentuckian. I have forgotten the date and place, but it was during the East Tennessee campaign, in the autumn of 1863, that the long expected, if not hoped for, contest took place. Candor compels me to admit, however, that Wolford's boys scarcely had a fair show.

Early one morning, learning that there was a troop of Federal cavalry encamped a few miles in our front, Colonel Giltner determined to attack them forthwith, not knowing, however, that it was Wolford's cavalry. Detaching two squadrons of the Fourth Kentucky, the one commanded by Lieutenant Robert Alexander, of Company B, and the other, I think, by Captain Dick Gathright, of Company H, the colonel ordered one of them to the left of the road and the other to the right; both squadrons were to march in parallel columns, some distance from the road, and considerably in advance of the main column, the object being to turn the enemy's picket post, and surprise and capture the picket guard, and thus prevent, if possible, the enemy from being apprised of our approach. The plan succeeded beyond our most sanguine expectations. Alexander and Gathright went headlong into Wolford's camp, along with the pickets, and

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