This past Tuesday evening, I did a presentation for the good folks of the Leesburg Va Civil War Round Table at the invite of my good friend Jim Morgan. The Round Table holds their monthly meetings in the famed Thomas Balch Library. Prior to the meeting, I got the grand tour of the facilities, and it’s more impressive than I had imagined – it was the first time I’d been able to see the library holdings. I will definitely be returning to spend a few days among their books, archives, maps, etc.
The subject of my talk was our new book on the retreat from Gettysburg, One Continuous Fight. Along with an overview of the book, I spoke in detail about a couple related episodes that we relate in the book. The first was the July 5, 1863 skirmish at Granite Hill southwest of Gettysburg along the Fairfield Road, a little rear-guard scrap previously unidentified until our book. It had a local connection for Leesburg since Lt. Col. Elijah White and 250 troopers of his 35th Battalion Virginia Cavalry were literally the rear guard of the Confederate main army retreat column. At about 6pm that day, Lige and his troopers, along with a couple of regiments of Ewell’s Corps and an artillery battery, skirmished with elements of Sedgwick’s Federal 6th Corps. A small-scale charge by the Federals was repulsed, and the action only served to harass the rear of Ewell’s column and stymie Sedgwick’s pursuit.
The second episode I talked about was the Gettysburg retreat experience of the commander of the 4th Texas Infantry, Lt. Col. Benjamin Franklin Carter. Carter was badly wounded in the face, hand, and leg during the assault on Little Round Top of July 2, and was taken along the retreat in the wagon train of wounded. Too badly wounded to continue toward Hagerstown, Carter was left in the care of some citizens along the Pine Stump Road. He was soon captured by pursuing Federals and taken to Chambersburg. Cared for there by the mother of a Federal officer whom Carter himself had cared for during the Battle of Second Manassas until Carter was taken to a hospital and died on July 21, Carter’s experience is an amazing twist of fate. I am currently finishing up a detailed article about Carter’s story that we will have published in Gettysburg Magazine. The Round Table folks seemed to enjoy the talk and we had over a half hour of questions and answers that I very much enjoyed.
It was a great pleasure meeting Craig Swain, who comments here frequently and on Eric’s blog, and also meeting local historian Richard Crouch. Richard and I share an interest in Lige White, the Loudoun Rangers, and crazy ol’ John Mobberly, and sometime-member of White’s band and also Mosby’s Rangers. Mobberly was hunted down and killed at the end of the war, and I will be profiling him here on this blog soon.
The hospitality of the Round Table members was wonderful, and I really enjoyed my visit. On my way out of town on Wednesday morning, I stopped at Lige White’s grave in the Union Cemetery, and also made a quick visit to White’s Ferry on the Potomac. Loudoun County is one of the prettiest places on Earth as far as I’m concerned, and I look forward to each time I can visit.