Kentucky Cavaliers in Dixie: The Reminiscences of a Confederate Cavalryman

By Geo. Dallas Mosgrove | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXIX.
THE BATTLE OF SALTVILLE (Continued) -- THE RETREAT AND PURSUIT--GENERAL BASIL W. DUKE--COLONEL CHARLES HANSON-- FEDERAL DEPREDATIONS--ESCAPE OF THE FEDERALS.

EVIDENTLY the enemy had retreated precipitately and much demoralized, as they had abandoned guns, ammunition, hats, coats, horses and other miscellaneous camp paraphernalia. The hills and fields were strewn with their dead and the houses were filled with their wounded. Their ostentatious cry, "Delenda est Carthago," had been changed to that of "Sauve qui peut."

The ring of the rifle continued to sound the death-knell of the poor negroes. They were all killed--a multitude of them. The sable soldier was not accorded the privilege of surrendering himself a prisoner of war. I did not see any of the Kentuckians shoot a negro. A few of them, however, may have done so. Not having met the negroes in battle they had not the same provocation as the Tennesseeans.

General Breckinridge having ordered a scout from Giltner's brigade to find the missing Federals the dashing Captain Dick Gathright was sent on their trail in hot pursuit.

General Williams, with Duke's, Cosby's, Vaughn's, Robertson's and Dibbrell's small brigades, was ordered to take the road through Hayters Gap, and, if possible, intercept the enemy in Richlands. There was an unaccountable delay. I observed that General Basil Duke, whose brigade formed the advance of Williams' division, was promptly in the saddle and at the head of his column, restlessly impatient, awaiting the pleasure of Breckinridge or of Williams for him to move forward. I have often thought of the brilliant young general's appearance on that morning. He was the impersonation of the ideal cavalier, a veritable Prince Rupert or Henry of Navarre. His agile, symmetrical form was in constant, nervous motion. Restlessly turning in his saddle, his dark

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