April 1863 Letter by Private William A. Moudy, 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry - Skirmishing in Lower Shenandoah Valley - "Word was given to charge on them with the saber"

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April 1863 Letter by Private William A. Moudy, 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry - Skirmishing in Lower Shenandoah Valley - "Word was given to charge on them with the saber"

375.00

Item No. 1027504

A wonderful April 1863 letter written by Private William A. Moudy of the 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Written from the regiment’s camp at Winchester, the letter describes an April 21-22 reconnaissance in the lower Shenandoah Valley toward Strasburg and Woodstock in which the Pennsylvanians encountered several groups of Confederates. Their first encounter was at a house that Moudy believed was used as a hospital, “there being a corpse in the house at the time.” Two rebels were killed and a cache of powder and ammunition was found inside, resulting in the house being burned. Moving on, the yankee cavalry shot two more “bush-wackers” as they approached Woodstock. At Woodstock “was one company of rebs, but we came on them so sudden that they had no time to escape,” Moudy wrote. “These all scattered, each one taking his own course.” Thirty of the rebels reassembled about four miles out of town and, as Moudy’s company approached:

We soon seen them coming up over a little hill in a charge…thinking they could make us run, but no sooner did we see them that the word was given to charge on them with the saber, which was instantly done by every man in our company. We went into them charging and yelling like a set of independent devils. They soon found we were determined and therefore they broke and run in all directions, and you would have been surprised to see our boys after them. We captured the most of them at this place. Our visiting was complete. Not a man did we lose, nor hurt on our side, whilst we killed some eight or ten and captured 30 with their horses and all of their arms.

Records show that Moudy survived the war, mustering out with the regiment at Raleigh in July 1865. The full transcript of his letter follows:

Head Qrs 13th Penna. V. C.
Winchester Va.
April 24th / 63

My Dear Mother
Your kind letter dated 17th came duly to hand on the 21st and as a matter of course was glad to hear from you and the rest of the friends once again. And in reply to the same I will try to give ou all of our doings since my last to you.

On the night of the 21st we got orders to be ready at two in the morning with two days cooked rations in our haversacks. Where to, of course, we were not able to ascertain. However, the morn found us on our march taking the Romney Pike until we were about five miles from this place, then taking a southerly direction towards the mountains (the name of which I do not know) and we went at a pretty lively gate and found pretty good roads until we reached the mountains, when they became a little rougher. Pretty soon after entering the mountains we came to a very nice white house which was used as a rebel hospital (there being a corpse in the house at the time) and it appears some reb soldiers were there at the time to bury this man and were offering some resistance to our advance guards, who immediately opened fire upon the rebs and shot two of them so badly that they died before we left (there was none of our men hurt here). We then searched the house and found it to be a real rebel nest. They had a large amount of powder and cartridges stored in it. Our Gen. then gave orders for the house to be burnt which was immediately done. Thus ended that reb’s nest. We then took up our line of march and marched about five miles further where we shot two more bush-wackers, left them lay dead on the mountain, and went on. The next place was Woodstock. Here there was one company of rebs, but we came on them so sudden that they had no time to escape. These all scattered, each one taking his own course. We did not get very many of them here, but after we got about four miles beyond Woodstock we began to see some of them, and we went a little further, and our camp was in the advance at this time. We soon seen them coming up over a little hill in a charge (there was about thirty of them) thinking they could make us run, but no sooner did we see them that the word was given to charge on them with the saber, which was instantly done by every man in our company. We went into them charging and yelling like a set of independent devils. They soon found we were determined and therefore they broke and run in all directions, and you would have been surprised to see our boys after them. We captured the most of them at this place. Our visiting was complete. Not a man did we lose, nor hurt on our side, whilst we killed some eight or ten and captured 30 with their horses and all of their arms. We then went to Strasburg and encamped for the night, and next morning moved back to this place. The following will show a statement of the event. We rode 66 miles, whipped the rebs, and captured a large amount of arms and clothing. The following are the party comprising our expedition. The 12th & 13th Pa Cavalry, 116th & 123rd Ohio Infantry, and one section of artillery, and about 200 of the Third Virginia Union Cavalry, but there was none of them engaged but our company, and I think the Third Virginia had a brush with them in the morning and they lost two men. This was all that was lost on our side, they having came another way. Our Colonel gave us (I, E, & our Comp) great praise for the gallant charge we made and making the rebs run so fast. The expedition was commanded by Brig. Gen. [Washington] Elliott.

Mother I sent you $2.00 in the other letter and hope it has reached you. Enclosed you will find $1.50 cts and a 25 cts bill of southern scrip. Also three portraits of Gens. Banks, Sigel, and Ellsworth. All these things you will keep. We were paid off on the 18th of the present month and I sent 35 dollars to John Corman with Lt. [Jacob A.] Graham. I wrote a letter to Mrs. Corman to tell John to keep five dollars out and give it to you as you may need it. As my letter is getting rather long I will have to close. This leaves me and all the rest in good health and spirits. Hope it may find you enjoying a similar blessing. Write soon and believe me to be your most affectionate Son.
Wm. A. Moudy

I can not tell how soon I will be home.

The letter was written on four pages of a stationery sheet measuring about 7” x 9 3/4”. It is in very good condition with even toning throughout. Creased where originally folded.

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