Sunday, July 31, 2011

August 3, 1861 (Saturday): Welby Carter Goes Scouting

Point of Rocks, Maryland

LEESBURG, August 3, 1861.


SIR: In obedience to your orders to Colonel Stuart I was sent up to find out the position of the enemy at Harper's Ferry and down the river to Edwards Ferry. There is about one regiment at Harper's Ferry, and they have made and excellent ford at that place, so that they can cross at time, the water not being more than three feet deep. At Sandy Hook, just below, there are two encampments, I suppose one regiment in each camp. There are a few at Berlin, Point of Rocks, and Edwards Ferry-one or two companies at each place. They are all on the Maryland side, except those at Harper's Ferry. One hundred and forty of them came over the river to Lovettsville on last Thursday, but soon went back, after getting something to eat. I think if we had a battery on this side, opposite their encampment, we would give them some trouble. Doubleday has a large gun and, I think, part of his battery on the Maryland Heights opposite Harper's Ferry. There was a man by the name of Stewart, a native of Maryland, who passed through here to-day on his way to Maryland, and who has been in the habit of passing and repassing from Virginia to Maryland, they say, to bring us arms and ammunition. I don't know the man, but only mention hm that you may know of his movements. He said he was just from Richmond, and one of the captains here told me he had a pass from General Beauregard.

Your obedient servant,

Captain, First Regiment Cavalry.

Official Records Series I, Vol. 51, Part 2, Page 211

R. Welby Carter is the subject of an essay in Robert. K. Krick's "The Smoothbore Volley That Doomed The Confederacy".  Among the contemporary comments upon Carter's apparently well known cowardice is this from a Sargeant who knew him "Carter, of whom I shall have but little to say....Not withstanding [that] he was always fat and looked greasy, I never knew of any member of the regiment to possess enough of cannibalism to ever wish to eat him."  This is one of the more flattering comments made of Carter during the war.

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