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Whittaker, Frederick, 1838-1889 / A complete life of Gen. George A. Custer: Major-General of Volunteers; Brevet Major-General, U.S. Army; and Lieutenant-Colonel, Seventh U.S. Calvery
(1876)

Chapter II. After Gettysburg,   pp. [181]-192


Page 182


GENERAL GEORGE A. CUSTER.
not to be able to see one's own hand if placed within a foot of
the organs of vision. The whole command, both men and
animals, were worn out with fatigue and loss of sleep. Then
imagine that, just as the head of this tired, hungry and sleepy
column nears the crest of the mountain, a piece of cannon
belches forth fire and smoke and destructive missiles directly in
front. Imagine all this, and a little more, and the reader can
then form some idea of what occurred to General Kilpatrick's
command on Saturday night, July 4th, 1863, as it ascended
the mountain to the Monterey Gap, and so across to Waterloo
on the western slope. The column commenced to ascend at
about dark, and arrived at the Monterey House, at the top,
between nine and ten o'clock. I The enemy had planted a piece
of artillery near this spot, so as to command the road, and also
had sharp-shooters on the flanks. It was intended to make a
strong defence here, as one half-mile beyond, Lee's train was
crossing the mountain on the Gettysburg and Hagerstown pike.
The Fifth Michigan Cavalry was in advance, and although on
the lookout for just such an occurrence, it startled the whole
column. A volley of musketry was fired by a concealed force
at the same time at the head of the column; the first squadron
of the Fifth broke, fell back upon the second and broke that,
but there was no such thing as running back a great way, o
that road. It was jammed with men and horses.
   The broken squadron immediately rallied, skirmishers were
posted on the most available points, the First Virginia, Major
Copeland, was ordered to the front, and upon arriving there
was ordered to charge. Charge they did, at a rapid gait, down
the mountain side into the inky darkness before them, accom-
panied by a detachment of the First Ohio, Captain Jones.
As anticipated, the train was struck, in rear of the centre, at
the crossing, just one half mile west of the Monterey House.
A volley was fired just as the train was reached. "Do you
surrender?"  "Yes," was the response, and on the First Vir-
ginia dashed to Ringgold, ordering the cowed and frightened
182


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