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After the Raid -- A Prisoner's Personal Account

The following is a personal account of Stuart's raid after the cavalry left the town of Mercersburg.

It is from a Philadelphia paper. "The Daily Evening Bulletin" . . Tuesday, October 28, 1862. It is transcribed verbatim.

Adventure Of A Prisoner With Stuart's Cavalry

The editor of the Mercersburg's Good Intent was made a prisoner, along with several other citizens, when Stuart's cavalry passed through that place. He escaped before they got back into Virginia. He describes his adventures after leaving Mercersburg as follows:

From Mercersburg they passed directly to Bridgeport, where, they made a clean sweep of James D. Scott's store, taking everything they could manage to carry away with them. Particular inquiry was made for Mr. Scott, but he eluded them by disguising himself in the dusty clothing of his miller, Mr. Hayes. St. Thomas was the next village they came to where they found a musket or two, which had been left near the road by the home guard; these they mashed to pieces by striking them over the fence. They also arrested one of the citizens, who was found armed and ready to show them fight. If we mistake not, the name of this brave man was Berger.

In a short time after leaving St. Thomas we arrived near the suburb of Chambersburg, where we came to a stand awaiting the surrender of the town in accordance with a demand that they had made through a small guard which had been sent forward under a flag of truce. Suffice to say the town was soon given up, for had it not been, it would have been shelled within thirty minutes after the surrender had been refused. What transpired here we shall not attempt to give the account of, as the papers of the place have given it already.

From Chambersburg we went on to Fayetteville thence on the pike to Cashtown, in Adams county, some seven miles east of Gettysburg, where they turned southeast pointing through that highly cultivated and fertile region known as "the tract" to Millerstown, from there to Emmetsburg, in Frederic county Maryland where they arrived just about sunset on Saturday. At this place they witnessed the strongest and most public outburst of rebel sympathy shown anyplace on the whole trip. Then women and children throughout the town waved their handkerchiefs and cheered for Jeff Davis, general Stuart and the southern confederacy. This of course was very gratifying to the Rebels, while it was most discouraging to us who were prisoners. From this place they hurried on to Creagerstown with speed, having been informed that a force of cavalry had passed up to Gettysburg to oppose them.

From Creagerstown to Woodbury they dashed on with fearful speed, having been informed at the latter place they were being pursued by a considerable force. There they arrested a considerable number of prisoners. From there they passed on to liberty, next to Newmarket, and from thence through three of four other little villages, the names of which we do not remember in order, till we arrived at Poolesville, several miles from the Potomac river where they affected their crossing. Prior to crossing the river they divided into two bodies, about one thousand taking to the right, reaching the river by a shorted route, while the left with the greater part of the booty, by a circuitous route, reached the river a little lower down- this being the party we were made to accompany. This was a well-devised strategy, for when the first party reached the river it attracted the attention of our forces and a short ineffective engagement ensued, during which the left division of the rebels with the numerous horses and booty they had captured, escaped across the river.
The point at which they crossed the river is several miles below the mouth of the monocracy, shown as we think as Edward's ferry. Perhaps a part of them crossed at now lands Ferry which is a little higher up the river.

It was about a half mile from the river we succeeded in getting off from these bold invaders. Our escape, although fought for all the way through was affected in a way we had not expected. When the cannonading was at its greatest height general Stuart placed six of us prisoners at a certain point with a guard by our side, and pickets at some distance around us. ... He left us when in about a half hour colonel butler came up in great haste from where the fighting was going on and called the pickets in with our guard, he hurried toward the fight and then turning to us prisoners he said, " if you will promise to give no ... to anybody and remain here an hour then you may all go where you please." to which all (six) assented but no sooner were the colonel and his party out of sight, that we all concluded that it was the part of wisdom and justice that we should immediately make good our escape, for fear they might have an easy victory and return again and take us with them. Simultaneously by these feelings we all made tracks on foot as fast as we could, which, from our exhausted condition was not very fast.

There are many instances, which came under our notice during our captivity, which were full of interest and feeling to us. As an instance, at Chambersburg we were placed upon an ammunitions wagon, or limber train as they called it. On inquiry, we were told the box in which we were seated contained percussion shells. When they began to drive at such rapid speed over the rough pike we asked the driver if there was not some danger of the shells exploding from the concussion that must of necessity take place among them from the jolts of the wagon, to which the driver replied that they did sometimes explode from hauling. A short time after we made this inquiry one of the wheels of the cannon carriage just before us run off, and came down the big gun with a crash. This mishap was soon repaired and on they went with increased speed to make up for lost time. It is impossible to describe one's feelings when every now and then the wheels would run over the stone piles on either side of the road, placed there to be broken for the road.

At times we were enraged at the inhuman wretches and we were secretly plotting and wishing their entire destruction; at other times we were trying to prepare ourselves for the exit into eternity but in no case could you feel willing to comply with the Christian injunction, "pray for those who despise you." Though apparently on the verge of the spirit world, we could not help wishing that a just retribution might soon fall upon them for their wickedness. Though in their hands we did not hesitate to tell them that we hoped that they all would be killed or captured before they reached the river.

As they were wending their way up the south mountain we had a suitable opportunity to inquire into the probability of the shells exploding from the concussion caused by the hauling. From various intelligent persons among them we were sure that the shells were not capped and could not be exploded in this way, so we made ourselves easy for the future on this head. As they passed along between Millerstown and Emmetsburg a two-horse carriage was met carrying a gentleman, lady and children, a family we suppose. The gentleman was taken by force, despite the cries and pleading of the helpless mother and children. Ever after this, southern chivalry made boast in vain of their gallantry and sense of honor. There no doubt was the flower of the so-called southern confederacy committing an act, which even barbarians would scarcely have done.

During the whole route from Chambersburg to the Potomac river, which, according to our calculation the way they went was near one hundred miles, they stopped to feed their horses only once neither did we get any regular meal to eat with them. It is true they did give us some of the edibles they extorted from the people along the way. Bread and apples were our principle diet till we got near the river, when they captured a two-horse wagonload of ginger cakes and crackers, which were intended for our army. This of course was a feast of good things.