Jacob Hoke Writes About the Great Night Battle

Jacob Hoke. The Great Invasion of 1863; or General Lee in Pennsylvania, W. J. Shuey Publications Dayton OH, 1887. Pg. 451-453

On this same day (Saturday, 4th,) Kilpatrick’s cavalry division, reinforced by Huey’s brigade, of Gregg’s division, moved from Emmittsburg up to Monterey Pass, with the purpose of striking the enemy’s line. The following thrilling and graphic account of the terrific night attack by that bold and intrepid leader, has been furnished me by Dr. H. G. Chritzman, who was connected with Huey’s brigade. So far as I am aware no account of that affair has ever before been published. Dr. Chritzman, says:

“July 4th, we moved to Emmittsburg and reported to Kilpatrick; moved same evening to intercept Swell’s wagon-train which was reported to be near Monterey Springs. The brigade moved rapidly up the mountain road, striking Ewell’s wagon-train about three o’clock in the morning of July 5th, in the midst of a furious thunder storm, whilst on its retreat from Gettysburg.

‘At once there rose so wild a yell

Within that dark and narrow dell,

As if all the fiends from heaven that fell,

Had pealed the banner cry of hell.’

This, combined with the Plutonic darkness made it one of the nights long to be remembered. When we came up with the wagon – train, Federal and Confederate cavalry, wagons, ambulances, drivers and mules became a confused mass of pursued and pursuing demons whose shouts and carbine shots, mingled with the lightning’s red glare and the thunder’s crash, made it appear as if we were in the infernal regions. Especially so as the cries of the wounded often rose high above the din of the conflicting forces.

“Frequently a driver would be shot or leave his mule team, when the unrestrained animals would rush wildly down the narrow road, and in many instances the wagons with the mules attached would be found at daylight at the bottom of some deep ravine crushed to pieces, with the mules dead or dying. It was a fearful ride suiting well the fearless intrepidity of our daring commander. A Confederate brigade, then a long train of wagons and ambulances, then our brigade in the center, with Ewell’s corps in our rear, going down that narrow mountain road upon the principle of the devil take the hindmost,—you have Kilpatrick’s dash across Monterey Pass.

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