Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

May 7, 2013

Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

May 7 — To-day some Yankee cavalry advanced up the Valley as far as New Market, eighteen miles below Harrisonburg. When the report of their advance reached our camp we were ordered to move immediately with the battery to the Valley pike and select a good stand for the butcher business. We marched in quick time down the Warm Spring pike to Harrisonburg, and then went two miles below town on the Valley pike and put our guns into battery on a hill that afforded a first-class position which commanded the pike for a mile and a half on our front. All our available force in the Valley was in line and ready for the fray. My gun was in position on the extreme right of the line, in the edge of a wood and in perfect range and line with the pike for a mile in our front. Our force all told is very small at present, as General Jones’ brigade of cavalry is still raiding around somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia.

We remained in battery until after dark, then fell back a short distance and bivouacked for the night. The Yankees did not advance any further than little above New Market. As we were going to the front to-day great excitement and stir-up prevailed among the citizens in Harrisonburg and the country around. Refugees of all descriptions, sheep, cattle, and dogs, were streaming hastily up the Valley pike and out the Warm Spring road, conglomerated in one grand mixture of men, cattle, horses, negroes, sheep, hogs, and dogs, all fleeing from the invading foe and trying to escape the bluecoated scourge that was coming. One old citizen from down the Valley somewhere undoubtedly saw the Yankees this morning before he started, for when he passed us as we were going to the front he did not stop to tell us the news, but shouted, as he hastened and pressed toward the West Augusta Mountains: “Hurry up! you ought to been down there long ago.”

In Harrisonburg the excitement was set in the top notch. I saw men loading wagons with all kinds of furniture and household goods for removal to a more congenial clime, where war’s dread alarms are not so frequent. I saw one man running through the street with a clock under his arm. I suppose he was determined to run with time. I saw another man hastily leaving town with a fine mirror, striking out toward the heart of Dixie. War is surely a stirring-up affair, especially when it breaks out in a fresh place among peace-loving citizens.

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