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George Dyer Cavalry Transcript
Washington, Friday Oct. 16th, ’63
I went down to Culpeper about the20th of September; went out to the front of the [frontlet?] paid there a while, was somewhat disturbed by a fight close by where Kilpatrick got licked, attached myself to the 1st Maine, moved with them, on a night march of 11 hours, got poisoned with the water vat, came here, was sick a fortnight, and have just got out. Didn’t finish, but have to go again to pay another regiment if I can ever find them. The 1st Maine were in good shape, all the Companies in. I paid I think, and near 100 have joined since from the dismounted camps. The Col., Lt. Col., Major & Doct. Stevens were mustered in from date of Comm. while I was there. The musters have since been suspended in part and new musters called of a later date. So that the officers are all now mustered.
The regiment is a very fine one, but it is worn down to almost the indestructible elements of humanity. It is the best regiment in the Division, if not the best in the Corps. It is now in the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Divis. Cavalry Corps – Gregg’s Division , Gregg’s Brigade. Pleasanton’s Corps had when I was there about 10,000 effective men – in three divisions – Pleasanton is a handsome young fellow, of the lady killer style. Small, foppish, perfume and yellow kids – good officer, brave man. The Division Generals, Buford and Kilpatrick are dashing headstrong youngsters. Gregg is older, or more cautious. On the late retreat Gregg’s Brigade bore the brunt of the fighting, from Sunday to Wednesday night and lost heavily, 450 men it is said. The 1st Maine Cavalry lost considerably, but I can’t hear how much. Lee somehow picked up a big force, I think clearing out Richmond vicinity, and tried to make a big rush by Meade into Washington and came mighty near it. It was a trial of legs from Culpeper to Centreville. They say Lee has 100,000 men, say 65,000. Meade had about 45,000. On the retreat our infantry were rather in the upper hand, the cavalry rather at disadvantage. At Centerville Meade meets with 15,000 troops from Washington, which numbers will be 25,000 by tonight. He is [in a?] strong position. It was expected that Lee would attack today. If he does he will get awfully thrashed. If he don’t fight at once, he has got to back out or starve, because the rains have come and feed can’t be hauled over mud roads.
I reckon active operations of the Army of the Potomac, properly Army of observation are over for this year, and they will soon go into winter quarters.
Regards to all,
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