Saturday, June 11, 2011

“We Fell Upon the Camp like a Small Avalanche”

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North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"
“The first traces of dawn colored the eastern sky at 5:20AM on Friday, March 10, 1865. [General Wade] Hampton and his Southern horse soldiers stood poised for the attack. “Follow me men,” cried Hampton, his voice ringing out for all to hear. “Charge!”

“In a moment the cavalrymen were dashing with a magnificent Confederate yell through [Northern General] Kilpatrick’s camp.” One of the legion’s officer’s recalled that we “fell upon the camp like a small avalanche.” The surprise was overwhelming. “Our Brigade swept out everything clean,” recalled Col. J. Fred Waring, the commander of the Jeff Davis Legion Cavalry of Wright’s Brigade. “Great numbers of the men were sobered while rising from their blankets,” recalled [a Northern soldier].

Trooper Posey Hamilton of Hagan’s Alabama Brigade thought he knew which tent [General Judson] Kilpatrick was in, so he and his friends were determined to nab the unsuspecting Federal commander in his bed…[though] Kilpatrick was in the Monroe House.

General [Robert H.] Anderson’s troopers managed to find a narrow trail through the swamp, but they had to squeeze together to make it across. The horsemen from his 5th Georgia Cavalry approached so stealthily that none of the sleeping Federals stirred until “one of the couriers (following the General) put the point of his saber through the blanket of one of the sleeping guards, who started up, and, by his outcry, woke the sleepers.” Anderson headed toward the Monroe house [and] in spite of the Federals fighting on foot with repeating carbines, the 5th [Georgia], mounted and using pistols only, broke them and after a brief scrimmage they fled.” Kilpatrick’s bugler was seized just as he was bringing his horn to his lips. He never got the chance to warn the rest of the camp.

“The Yankee camp looked like a cyclone had struck it all at once,” recalled trooper Posey Hamilton. “Their blankets were flying in the air, and then men were running about in every direction…while the men from the big tent were legging and heeling it down the hill to beat the band. If this was not a stampede on foot, then I never saw one.”

Read more HERE.

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