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General Kelley, page 4


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dry limbs as possible and make a line of campfires which would satisfy the enemy that we were lying in bivouac calmly unconscious of our impending fate. At 9 P. M. I gave an order to withdraw down Back Creek to the Potomac, and the retreat was executed in perfect military order. The artillery moved first, then the infantry, and the cavalry guarded the rear. At midnight the little army was all at the river and the first streak of dawn broke upon the last man to wade to the Maryland shore. With as neat precision as in action of the drama, a large force of Confederate cavalry came dashing down the creek, with a mighty thundering of hoofs and the wild blare of many bugles, just in time to find the game beyond reach and drawn up in line of battle on the other shore, ready to receive early callers. But the cavalry had no mind to make such a call. With loud yells and a few stray bullets it headed back up the creek at a slow trot.

Thus a smart Virginia woman foiled three great, if not the greatest Confederate leaders in one of the best pieces of strategy the history of the war affords. I did not forget Nathaniel. I had carefully noted his name, and as the years passed by, after peace was restored I watched the youngster's growth until he became of suitable age for a Cadetship. Then I made a special trip to Washington to see President Grant and told him of our providential escape through the agency of the boy and his mother. It was the first time the secret had passed my lips. Then I said:

"Now, Mr. President I have never asked a favor from the Government and I shall never ask another. I want you to help me pay this debt of gratitude and loyalty. I want this lad appointed as a Cadet at the Military Academy, and I want it done today."

The President sat and smoked two minutes at least without speaking, though it seemed ten. Finally he said: "It will be done today, Gen. Kelley. It is very appropriate and I will do it with pleasure."

Within two hours the appointment was brought to the hotel by one of the executive clerks and placed in my hands to deliver to Master Nathaniel Pendleton. The young man went to the Academy but did not get in. Like most Southern youngsters of quality at his age, he was a good Latin and Greek scholar, but was short in the English elements. He is now publisher of a prosperous newspaper at Berkeley Springs. W. Va., a better station in life than to be an Army Lieut, in time of peace."

General Kelley gave me the sequel to his escape from the North Mountain Gap. In February 1865, when the war was drawing to a




ID:
gctg188

Creator:
From Fannie Ward Hinebaugh's Scrapbook

Date:
1956

Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Subject:
Maryland, History

Coverage:
Western Maryland, 1750-1963

 
 
Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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