Corporals Hamilton and Vaneman, of the 1st Virginia infantry, stationed at North Mountain, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, got permission to visit some friends, in the Virginia regiments encamped about Winchester. They started from Martinsburg in a stage coach. The coach contained five gentlemen and three ladies, among them Gen. Cluseret’s Adjutant-General, a Lieutenant on Gen. Milroy’s staff, and a Mr. Greer, from Wheeling. Shortly after leaving Martinsburg, the coach was upset, and the whole party were piled up in a miscellaneous heap on the road-side. The coach was soon righted, and after proceeding a few miles farther, two of the ladies got out. When near Bunker Hill, the coach was stopped by a gang of rebel cavalry, dressed in the uniform of Federal soldiers. The rebels cursed the occupants of the coach, and told them to get down and surrender, or they would blow out their brains, and of course the passengers surrendered. The rebels ransacked the trunks and valises. They permitted Mr. Greer and the young lady to go unharmed, but ordered the rest to unhitch the coach horses; and while this was being done, the Lieutenant of Gen. Milroy’s staff crawled in, and concealed himself between the body of the coach and the coupling pole. The rest of the prisoners were hurried off in the direction of Front Royal. The stage horses, not being “used to much feed,” were very thin and angular, and the boys thought it a very severe “rail ride” into Dixie. Upon reaching a small town called Middlebourne, the prisoners and their captors were charged upon by a body of Union cavalry, under command of the Lieutenant who had concealed himself under the coach. The rebels were completely routed. About fifty shots were exchanged. The Major commanding the rebels was wounded, as was the Lieutenant commanding the rescuing party. Two or three of the rebels were killed, and more than half of them were captured and taken to Winchester with the released prisoners.
The Lieutenant, who had concealed himself under the coach, as soon as the rebels were out of sight, borrowed a horse from a farmer, and started post haste for Winchester. Gen. Milroy immediately despatched thirty of the 1st New York cavalry towards Middlebourne in command of his Lieutenant, and fifteen to the point of departure from the main pike. The detachment sent to Middlebourne got there before the rebels, and lay in wait for them with the above result. The two Corporals returned to their regiment at North Mountain.
Originally posted 2008-09-18 01:53:57.