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Text for Page 050 [03-18-1862]

              A Cavalry [unclear word]

[newspaper clipping: first column]
A Reconnoissance Party in Rebel Country
  �Two Days with the First Jersey
  Cavalry�From Camp Custis to Occo-
  quan�A Deserted City.
From Our Special Correspondent,
	  QUARTERS, within two miles of Alexandria, Va.,}
					March, 18, 1862.}
  An order from Headquarters to Col. Wyndham to
dispatch a squadron for the purpose of making a
reconnoissance to Occoquan and beyond�the first of
several scouting parties�and I am invited to accom-
pany it.  Of course, I accord an eager assent; for 24
hours of drenching rain under canvas, albeit whiled
away in society of the jolliest description, has vehe-
mently inclined me for out-o�-doors exercise, and this
promises to include a spice of adventure, if not of
danger, for we are going into a notoriously Secesh
neighborhood, the scene of the exploits of Texan
Rangers, �Yankee Killers,� and of more than one
covertly murderous assault upon our troops�indeed
some distance further than Union men have yet
dared to penetrate.  Then, too, I trust to get an
opportunity of carrying into effect my intention of
visiting some of the abandoned Rebel forts, tem-
porarily frustrated, as detailed in my last, by the
anticipated departure of this Division on Thursday.
So, after a hasty breakfast, taken standing, I am in
my saddle in good time, riding merrily by the side of
the friendly leader of the squadron out of the cam.
		      OUR PARTY
  Our party numbers upward of 120 men, stalwart,
hearty-looking fellows, clad in military blue, high-
booted, armed with revolvers, clanking sabers, and
thirty-two of them, with breech-loading Burnside
sarbines, charged with formidable brass cartridges.
These are detailed especially as flankers and skirm-
ishers.  All the men sit their horses well, riding
with long stirrups, trooper-fashion, and there is a 
bonhommie and esprit du corps among them pleasant
to witness.  They belong to companies A and L of
the regiment�the 1st New-Jersey Cavalry�and our
Major informs me that the former are, almost ex-
clusively, of Quaker stock, hailing from Bucks
County, Pa.  I think of courageous George Fox, of
Thomas Lurting, the heroic Quaker seaman, and
resolve that the �Friends� of to-day have not de-
generated from their ancestry.  Company L is com-
posed of Jerseymen, like their comrades of agricul-
tural antecedents.  Their officers are as follows:
Major M. H. Beaumont,x a gentleman of adventurous
and varied experience, who, though a young man,
has served his country by land and sea, been captured
by Texas Indians, traveled on both sides of the At-
lantic, and seen a good deal of life, both civil and
military;  Capt. J. H. Shelmire, known in Philadel-
phia as the very efficient putter-down of rioters in
1844; Capt. H. H. Janeway, from Jersey City�of

[Gunn�s handwriting]
	x Page 43.

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
whom I shall have to tell an incidental story pres-
ently�and Lieuts. J. R. Sackett and Hart.  At-
tached to these, in his professional capacity, is As-
sistant-Surgeon F. V. Dayton, son to our Minister at
Paris, and the most hospitable and companionable
of professionals, and the writer.
  The day had dawned bright and beautiful, but the
morning is now overcast and chilly, threatening rain.
We ride at first in a south-easterly direction, along
the old Mount Vernon road, following the course of
the Potomac, which meanders muddily on our left,
beyond the line of scrub oaks, pines and sparse tim-
ber occasionally hiding it from our vision.  Two and
a half miles bring us to Dogue Creek, whence we
turn southward for Accotink Run and village.  The
roads have been deluged by the heavy rains of yes-
terday, hence as we go slashing through the puddles
and great pools of miry water, our boots and horses
are plentifully bespattered with a solution of the
sacred soil, of the nastiest, reddish-brown consistency.
But a chill, dank wind is blowing over the hill tops,
which promises to do something towards accelerating
our progress�if it doesn�t rain again.  We pass a
ruined blacksmith�s shop, sundry desolated houses
and barns, a man carting away fragments of the 
latter, nothing else human.  By half-past 11 we 
have done seven miles, and are at Accotink village.
  About a score of houses, mostly white, wooden-
built ones, some of the decayed, mean tumble-down,
appearance characteristic of rural Dixie, with a run
or creek beyond it�that is Accotink.  The inhabit-
ants had an election some twelve months back, on
the question of putting Virginia out of the Union,
judiciously superintended by a party of Rebel caval-
ry, in which the purity of election was so admirably
conserved that those who voted against Secession and
Davis found early emigration a matter of necessity.
These fugitive loyalists are now returning.  We ride
to the run, discover that its current, swollen by the
rains, has encroached considerably on the road, and
is hurrying toward the Potomac with all the speed of
a mill-race, so that an immediate passage across is
impossible.  (Of course, a bridge couldn�t be expect-
ed in the oldest-settled State on the continent.)  In
consequence, we are reduced to the position of the
clown in the classic fable�waiting until the river
runs dry, or sufficiently so for our purpose.  A halt
is ordered; the men dismount, group and feed their
horses, increase the circulating medium of the village
by the purchase of pies; and we have an
hour and a half of leisure and loafing.
The surgeon and myself find that our lines have
accidentally fallen in pleasant places, for we are in-
vited to dinner by a local shoemaker from Mount
Holly, N. J. (one of the ex-refugees recently alluded
to), and in his house, in company with himself, his
wife, and pretty daughter, we take our Sunday�s               
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