The Rose of the World and the Jessie Scouts

One of my grandfathers was named after Francis Marion ‘The Swamp Fox’ who fought the British in the thick growth of the swamp.

Marion Francis “Frank” Rosamond (1848-1935)

John Fremont named a guerilla unit ‘The Jessie Scout’ after his wife, Jessie Benton, my kindred. The Scouts sent spies against the Confederacy, and fought the same way Marion did. Pan’s Labyrinth raises the Spanish Maquis from the dead to battle the Facists who accpepted help from Hitler who bombed them with dive bombers. Maquis means “a small mountain, covered with weeds”. This is the Rose of the World Mountian protected by thorns.

God has written this story because he wants all the world’s religions to unite under the Rose of the World. This is the story my late sister, Christine Rosamond Benton, would surely put her signature to – if she were alive!

Meher Baba said he would string all the religions of the world together – like pearls. That became my mission after I died. The Roza Mira prophecy is but a stage for the really big show. We will meet on Thornmont and behold the beautiful sleeping maiden – the crown princesses of the world.

Jon Rosamond Presco

Pan’s Labyrinth takes place in Spain in May–June 1944, five years after the Spanish Civil War, during the early Francoist period. The narrative of the film interweaves this real world with a fantasy world centered around an overgrown abandoned labyrinth and a mysterious faun creature, with which the main character, Ofelia, interacts. Ofelia’s stepfather, the Falangist Captain Vidal, hunts the Spanish Maquis who fight against the Francoist regime in the region, while Ofelia’s pregnant mother grows increasingly ill. Ofelia meets several strange and magical creatures who become central to her story, leading her through the trials of the old labyrinth garden. The film employs make-up, animatronics and CGI effects to bring life to its creatures.

The term “maqui” comes from the French term “maquis” (“a small mountain, covered with weeds”), which comes in turn from the Corsican term “macchia”, meaning “dense, deep forest” or “thick vegetation”. It was the expression used for privateers when, fleeing from the authorities, they would seek refuge in the mountains of Corsica.

Marion Francis “Frank” Rosamond (1848-1935)

Francis Marion (c. 1732 – February 27, 1795[1]) was a military officer who served in the American Revolutionary War. Acting with Continental Army and South Carolina militia commissions, he was a persistent adversary of the British in their occupation of South Carolina in 1780 and 1781, even after the Continental Army was driven out of the state in the Battle of Camden.
Due to his irregular methods of warfare, he is considered one of the fathers of modern guerrilla warfare, and is credited in the lineage of the United States Army Rangers. He is known as the Swamp Fox.

The Spanish Maquis were Spanish guerrillas exiled in France after the Spanish Civil War who continued to fight against the Franco regime until the early 1960s, carrying out sabotage, robberies (to help fund guerrilla activity), occupations of the Spanish Embassy in France and assassinations of Francoists, as well as contributing to the fight against Nazi Germany and the Vichy regime in France during World War II.

The British especially hated Marion and made repeated efforts to neutralize his force, but Marion’s intelligence gathering was excellent and that of the British was poor, due to the overwhelming Patriot loyalty of the populace in the Williamsburg area.
Colonel Banastre Tarleton was sent to capture or kill Marion in November 1780; he despaired of finding the “old swamp fox”, who eluded him by travelling along swamp paths. It was Tarleton who gave Marion his nom de guerre when, after unsuccessfully pursuing Marion’s troops for over 26 miles through a swamp, he gave up and swore “[a]s for this damned old fox, the Devil himself could not catch him.”[6] Once Marion had shown his ability at guerrilla warfare, making himself a serious nuisance to the British, Gov. John Rutledge (in exile in North Carolina) commissioned him a brigadier general of state troops.
Marion was also tasked with combating groups of freed slaves working or fighting alongside the British. He received an order from the Governor of South Carolina, to execute any blacks suspected of carrying provisions or gathering intelligence for the enemy “agreeable to the laws of this State”.[7]

Benjamin meets with his former commanding officer Colonel Harry Burwell (Chris Cooper) and is given the rank of colonel to lead the local colonial militia due to his combat experience, tasked with keeping Lord Cornwallis’s (Tom Wilkinson) British regiments pinned south through guerrilla warfare. French Major Jean Villeneuve (Tchéky Karyo) helps train the militia and promises more French aid. Benjamin’s militia harass British supply lines, capture goods including some of Cornwallis’ belongings, and burn half the bridges and ferries leading to Charleston. Lord Cornwallis perceives these actions as uncivilized and blames Tavington for creating this reaction with his brutal tactics. Irritated at his lack of progress and insulted by Benjamin’s clever ploy to free some of the captured militia, Cornwallis reluctantly allows Tavington to use whatever means necessary.

*”As we every day got our parallels nearer the garrison, we could see them very plain when they went out to a brook or spring for water. The Americans had constructed a sort of moving battery, but as the cannon of the fort were brought to bear upon it, they were forced to abandon the use of it. It had not been used for some time, when an idea struck old Squire Kennedy (who was an excellent marksman) that he could pick off a man now and then as they went to the spring. He and I took our rifles and went into the woods to practice at 200 yards. We were arrested and taken before an officer, to whom we gave our excuse and design. He laughed, and told us to practice no more, but to try our luck from the battery if we wanted to, so we took our position, and as a fellow came down to the spring Kennedy fired and he fell. Several ran out and gathered around him and among them I noticed a man raise his head and look round as if he wondered where that shot could have come from. I touched my trigger and he fell, and we made off for fear it might be our time to fall next.”

These graves are right along a paved road in the woods (I mean, the stones are right along the road). This cemetery is in bad shape. No one is taking care of it. It is over grown in weeds, trees and with poison oak and ivy everywhere. David, Mark and I ventured out into the cemetery a little ways. Couldn’t go to each stone because the poison oak & ivy is soooo thick. There aren’t many stones. Some graves are marked with field stones and doesn’t have any writing on them, and some of the field stones looked as those they had been chiseled on but you couldn’t read it. There are Mays buried there and one stone was a Williams. Stones are in bad shape, you can hardly read them. They have black mildew, moss or what ever from the trees, all over them. There is one stone laying on the ground in perfect condition. No mildew or anything on it. You can read it clearly. It is the marker of Lucrete Mays born Dec 14, 1797 died Feb 14, 1845. Y’all, this is probably Sarah “Sally” Mays Rosamond’s mother. What do you think?1812
Jacob Ludwig Grimm and Wilhelm Carl Grimm
Grimm, Jacob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm (1786-1859) – German
philologists whose collection “Kinder- und Hausmarchen,” known
in English as “Grimm’s Fairy Tales,” is a timeless literary
masterpiece. The brothers transcribed these tales directly from folk
and fairy stories told to them by common villagers. The Sleeping
Beauty (1812) – A wise woman (witch) prophesies that the newborn
princess Rosamond will prick her finger on a spindle and die
when she is fifteen. Another wise woman softens the spell to a
hundred years’ sleep.
IN TIMES PAST there lived a King and Queen, who said to each
other every day of their lives, “Would that we had a child!” and
yet they had none. But it happened once that when the Queen was
bathing, there came a frog out of the water, and he squatted on the
ground, and said to her, “Thy wish shall be fulfilled; before a year
has gone by, thou shalt bring a daughter into the world.” And as
the frog foretold, so it happened; and the Queen bore a daughter so
beautiful that the King could not contain himself for joy, and he
ordained a great feast. Not only did he bid to it his relations,
friends, and acquaintances, but also the wise women, that they
might be kind and favorable to the child. There were thirteen of
them in his kingdom, but as he had only provided twelve golden
plates for them to eat from, one of them had to be left out.
However, the feast was celebrated with all splendor; and as it drew
to an end, the wise women stood forward to present to the child
their wonderful gifts: one bestowed virtue, one beauty, a third
riches, and so on, whatever there is in the world to wish for. And
when eleven of them had said their say, in came the uninvited
thirteenth, burning to revenge herself, and without greeting or
respect, she cried with a loud voice, “In the fifteenth year of her
age the Princess shall prick herself with a spindle and shall fall
down dead.” And without speaking one more word she turned
away and left the hall.
Every one was terrified at her saying, when the twelfth came
forward, for she had not yet bestowed her gift, and though she
could not do away with the evil prophecy, yet she could soften it,
so she said, “The Princess shall not die, but fall into a deep sleep
for a hundred years.” Now the King, being desirous of saving his
child even from this misfortune, gave commandment that all the
spindles in his kingdom should be burnt up.
The maiden grew up, adorned with all the gifts of the wise women;
and she was so lovely, modest, sweet, and kind and clever, that no
one who saw her could help loving her.
It happened one day, she being already fifteen years old, that the
King and Queen rode abroad; and the maiden was left behind
alone in the castle. She wandered about into all the nooks and
corners, and into all the chambers and parlors, as the fancy took
her, till at last she came to an old tower. She climbed the narrow
winding stair which led to a little door, with a rusty key sticking
out of the lock; she turned the key, and the door opened, and there
in the little room sat an old woman with a spindle, diligently
spinning her flax.
“Good day, mother,” said the Princess, “what are you doing?” “I
am spinning,” answered the old woman, nodding her head. “What
thing is that that twists round so briskly?” asked the maiden, and
taking the spindle into her hand she began to spin; but no sooner
had she touched it than the evil prophecy was fulfilled, and she
pricked her finger with it. In that very moment she fell back upon
the bed that stood there, and lay in a deep sleep, and this sleep fell
upon the whole castle.
The King and Queen, who had returned and were in the great hall
fell fast asleep, and with them the whole court. The horses in their
stalls, the dogs in the yard, the pigeons on the roof, the flies on the
wall, the very fire that flickered on the hearth, became still, and
slept like the rest; and the meat on the spit ceased roasting, and the
cook, who was going to pull the scullion’s hair for some mistake he
had made, let him go, and went to sleep. And the wind ceased, and
not a leaf fell from the trees about the castle.
Then round about that place there grew a hedge of thorns thicker
every year, until at last the whole castle was hidden from view,
and nothing of it could be seen but the vane on the roof. And a
rumor went abroad in all that country of the beautiful sleeping
Rosamond, for so was the Princess called; and from time to time
many Kings’ sons came and tried to force their way through the
hedge; but it was impossible for them to do so, for the thorns held
fast together like strong hands, and the young men were caught by
them, and not being able to get free, there died a lamentable death.
Many a long year afterwards there came a King’s son into that
country, and heard an old man tell how there should be a castle
standing behind the hedge of thorns, and that there a beautiful
enchanted Princess named Rosamond had slept for a hundred
years, and with her the King and Queen, and the whole court. The
old man had been told by his grandfather that many Kings’ sons
had sought to pass the thorn-hedge, but had been caught and
pierced by the thorns, and had died a miserable death. Then said
the young man, “Nevertheless, I do not fear to try; I shall win
through and see the lovely Rosamond.” The good old man tried to
dissuade him, but he would not listen to his words.
For now the hundred years were at an end, and the day had come
when Rosamond should be awakened. When the Prince drew near
the hedge of thorns, it was changed into a hedge of beautiful large
flowers, which parted and bent aside to let him pass, and then
closed behind him in a thick hedge. When he reached the castleyard,
he saw the horses and brindled hunting-dogs lying asleep,
and on the roof the pigeons were sitting with their heads under
their wings. And when he came indoors, the flies on the wall were
asleep, the cook in the kitchen had his hand uplifted to strike the
scullion, and the kitchenmaid had the black fowl on her lap ready
to pluck. Then he mounted higher, and saw in the hall the whole
court lying asleep, and above them, on their thrones, slept the King
and the Queen. And still he went farther, and all was so quiet that
he could hear his own breathing, and at last he came to the tower,
and went up the winding stair, and opened the door of the little
room where Rosamond lay.
And when he saw her looking so lovely in her sleep, he could not
turn away his eyes; and presently he stooped and kissed her, and
she awaked, and opened her eyes, and looked very kindly on him.
And she rose, and they went forth together, the King and the
Queen and whole court waked up, and gazed on each other with
great eyes of wonderment. And the horses in the yard got up and
shook themselves, the hounds sprang up and wagged their tails,
the pigeons on the roof drew their heads from under their wings,
looked round, and flew into the field, the flies on the wall crept on
a little farther, the kitchen fire leapt up and blazed, and cooked the
meat, the joint on the spit began to roast, the cook gave the scullion
such a box on the ear that he roared out, and the maid went on
plucking the fowl.
Then the wedding of the Prince and Rosamond was held with all
splendor, and they lived very happily together until their lives’

Pan’s Labyrinth takes place in Spain in May–June 1944, five years after the Spanish Civil War, during the early Francoist period. The narrative of the film interweaves this real world with a fantasy world centered around an overgrown abandoned labyrinth and a mysterious faun creature, with which the main character, Ofelia, interacts. Ofelia’s stepfather, the Falangist Captain Vidal, hunts the Spanish Maquis who fight against the Francoist regime in the region, while Ofelia’s pregnant mother grows increasingly ill. Ofelia meets several strange and magical creatures who become central to her story, leading her through the trials of the old labyrinth garden. The film employs make-up, animatronics and CGI effects to bring life to its creatures.

The term “maqui” comes from the French term “maquis” (“a small mountain, covered with weeds”), which comes in turn from the Corsican term “macchia”, meaning “dense, deep forest” or “thick vegetation”. It was the expression used for privateers when, fleeing from the authorities, they would seek refuge in the mountains of Corsica.
In France, the term was first used to refer to a group of guerrillas of the French resistance against the German occupation of France during World War II. The resistance fighters in these encampments were referred to as “maquisards”.
The term became synonymous with the anti-Francisco Franco guerrillas in Spain. Many of the Spanish maquis also participated in the French resistance movement.

Hundreds of thousands of Republican soldiers and civilians crossed the French border ahead of the advancing Nationalist troops in Catalonia. Once on the other side, they were put in concentration camps by the authorities. There were 22 camps in total: Barcarès, Agde, Saint-Cyprien, Argelès-sur-Mer, Berck-Plage, Montpellier Chapallete, Fort Mahon Plage, Tour de Carol, Septfonds, Baste-les-Foages, Bram, Haros, Gurs, Vernet d’Ariège, Rivesaltes, Fort Colliure, and Rieucros in Metropolitan France and, in French North Africa, Camp Morand, Meridja, Djelfa, Hadjerat-OM’Guil, and Ain-el-Curak. In these camps, exiles began to reorganize themselves into guerrilla groups.
In the camp of Argelès-sur-Mer a series of meetings were held. Members of the PCE and the Juventudes Socialistas Unificadas (Unified Socialist Youth) participated. In October 1940, the decision was made to organize anti-fascist actions in France, together with the French resistance, against the Vichy government. This was the beginning of the Spanish involvement on a grand scale in the fight against the occupation of France.

“The Jessie Scout was a Federal soldier, dressed and armed a la Rebel.  He was named after Mrs. Jessie Fremont, wife of the General of that name, who first suggested that mode of obtaining information.
“When a Rebel was captured, his furlough or pass was taken from him, and also his outer garments.  A soldier was then found, who resembled him in size, age, and general appearance.  The Rebel’s uniform, from hat to boots, was put upon this man, who assumed the name of the prisoner, and the Federal left the camp, a soldier of the Confederacy…. These Jessie Scouts generally preceded the advance of the army, and they frequently picked up a great many prisoners, without creating any alarm.  I made the acquaintance of many of them, and found them bold, dashing, reckless, good fellows.  I met Major Young, Sheridan’s chief of scouts, and found him eminently fitted for outpost duty and border warfare.”

A great deal of mystery regarding the “Jessie Scouts” still remains, however.  A recently discovered letter written by Michael Sheridan, General Sheridan’s aide and the man responsible for handling the Secret Service Fund that was carefully audited following the Chicago fire, provided additional details about Henry Young’s final mission for Sheridan.  In a letter written on December 11, 1908, Michael Sheridan explained:
      “Major H. H. Young, who commanded these scouts, went to Mexico in 1866 to aid Juarez in driving the Imperialist forces from that country.  Some twelve or fifteen of the scouts accompanied him and all were killed there by a detachment Juarez’ army through a mistake, they having been taken for Imperialists.  Campbell, one of the best, was buried at Arlington about three years ago.  I do not know where his family are if any of them could give any information as to his Civil War career.  I am sorry that I cannot help you more.  I remember little about their deeds for the very nature of their service compelled Gen’l Sheridan to keep everything between him and Major Young most secret and yet these scouts were not sleuths but enlisted men who performed their dangerous duties through patriotic motives and not for gain.”
      Michael Sheridan knew far more than he admitted to the Harper’s reporter.  He handled his brother’s secret service fund and chose to take what he knew to the grave rather than reveal the secret mission into Mexico undertaken by the brave Young and his Jessie Scouts.
      Sheridan’s auditors mentioned the expenditure of $2100 to hire a schooner to the “Rio Grande” and pay the scouts that Michael Sheridan believed were killed accidentally by the Liberal Mexican army Sheridan was aiding covertly – probably in defiance of Congress.

Published in 1912.  Written by
Alexander Hunter, CSA
(of the Black Horse Cavalry)
Download the Book
There was not a home within Mosby’s Confederacy where the name of the Jessie Scouts was not spoken with bated breath. They came and vanished; there was a mystery about them that could not be fathomed; the crying children were threatened into silence by them, as were the bairns of the Scottish Lowlands hushed by their mothers telling them that Black Douglas would catch them. They were an organized Union band from the frontier—scouts, or rather spies, picked men, cool, fearless and utterly merciless. They dressed up in the Confederate uniform, and operated inside our lines; their chief aim was to kill dispatch-bearers, and send the papers to the Federal headquarters; also do all the harm they could to the Rebels. They were not regu­larly enlisted men, and examination at the War De­partment shows that they were not borne on the rolls of the army, but Mr. Staunton, Secretary of War, had a vast Secret Service fund at his disposal, and they must have been highly paid, for the risks they ran were so great that no ordinary men would undergo them for either love or money.
This outlaw organization was named for Jessie Fremont, the brilliant wife of General Fremont, who com­manded a detachment of U. S. Dragoons on the fron­tier of the Far West in the fifties. Mrs. Fremont was of the dashing type of woman, a splendid horsewoman, a good shot, and often accompanied her husband on his campaigns against the Indians of the plains. She was the idol of the troops and the backwoodsmen, and a shining light in society in Washington in 1861 and 1862, when her husband commanded the army in the Valley until he went down in defeat and oblivion before Stonewall Jackson. The living survivors of Long-street’s Corps, who, in that never-to-be-forgotten forced march from Gordonsville to Thoroughfare Gap in August, 1862, to unite with Jackson, will remember the thrill which ran through them as they saw the body of a soldier clad in gray, swinging from the branch of a big oak by the roadside. His face was covered by a handkerchief, and the motionless figure swung and turned in the passing breeze. As we filed past, not a whisper was heard in the ranks. It was the first hanged man many of us had ever seen. After we had passed every soldier in the line was inquiring the cause. We were told by our officers that it was a Yankee spy who had been caught and tried by drumhead court martial. It was a gruesome, awful sight. The men of Long-street’s Corps were veterans, and so familiar with death that a prostrate, lifeless figure would receive only a passing glance and no word of comment, but the sight of a man suspended between heaven and earth deeply moved those dust-covered, foot-sore soldiers. In the language of Holy Writ: “They looked, and they marveled greatly.” It was the body of a Jessie Scout! To state that yonder figure, swaying on the oak tree, when animate came within an ace of destroying Lee’s Army, would be received with an ironic smile or a cynical sneer, and the narrator accused of being a greater liar than Baron Munchhausen himself. The idea of a nameless man disputing the conquering legions of Lee seems not only improbable, but preposterous; and yet it is the very romance of history, and is a his­torical fact.
A word of explanation: After the battles around Richmond Lee sent Jackson northward to attack Pope. The initial battle of Cedar Mountain, in Culpeper, was fought, and the strategy of Lee was successful. The besieging army of McClellan on the James River was hastily recalled for the defense of Washington. Then Longstreet marched to unite with Jackson on the Rap­pahannock. Lee conceived a bold stroke, but it was against all the principles of military maxims: he cut his army in two and sent Stonewall Jackson by a detour of more than sixty miles to get between Pope and Wash­ington. Like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, Pope found his communications cut off, his base of supplies in the air, and his commissariat in flames. Yes, there was a big blaze at Manassas that August day; trains of cars loaded with provisions, hundreds of wagons jammed with supplies for the army, depots crammed with ordnance stores, corrals of beef-cattle, and better than all in Johnny Reb’s eyes was the sutler town. Such a collection of tents, shanties and stores was never seen outside the frontier. These sutler-shops were filled with the delicacies of life, and it was a sight in­deed to see the gaunt, hungry foot-cavalry of Jackson’s knocking off the heads of the champagne bottles and eating canned fruits; they satisfied aching stomachs that had been void for many a long day. In Messin­ger’s play of “A New Way to Pay Old Debts,” Justice Greedy exclaims: “Guts, croak no more, for you shall be filled.” And so it was with those famished gray-backs. Think of the thousands of starving Rebs, whose regular rations were hardtack and rancid pork, filling up on potted meat and champagne I
Pope faced his army right about, and hurried to crush Jackson’s isolated command. If there ever was a time when minutes were precious, that was the time. Jackson found that the combined armies of McClellan and Pope were closing in on his front and on his right and left flanks. Then Jackson performed a piece of strategy unique in the annals of war: he split his corps in two parts, and planted A. P. Hill in the center of the enemy’s line. Pope seeing this, consolidated his whole command and telegraphed to Halleck that “he would bag Jackson and his whole crowd.” Jackson then made a forced march to the right, reached Center­ville, and finding the left flank of the Union Army drawn in, ordered Hill to leave his campfires burning and slip off in the night and join him at Grovetown. The next morning Pope, having made his dispositions, hurled his whole force at the Rebel Army in his rear, and found—nothing. This caused Pope to make a new plan of battle, and this proved of infinite value to Jack­son’s men, giving his broken-down soldiers six hours of sleep. At Grovetown, near Thoroughfare Gap, Jack­son’s Corps of 17,300 men awaited the onset of Pope’s Army of 55,600 rank and file. The odds were hope­less. Jackson had only a limited supply of ammuni­tion, and that gone, surrender was inevitable. Napo­leon never prayed for Grouchy’s advance guard as did Jackson for the sight of Longstreet’s skirmish line. A high mountain separated him from his promised succor, with only one narrow gap where a thousand men could hold an army at bay. If this gap was seized by Pope, Jackson’s doom was written.
In the meantime, Longstreet made the greatest forced march of his life to reach the gap and join his forces to Jackson’s. The fate of the campaign hung upon a few hours—it might be minutes. Jackson, at bay at Grovetown, had successfully repulsed one great assault of Pope’s, but he had fought to the limit and could do no more than lie in line of battle and struggle on until the last shell of the artillery and the last ball cartridge of the infantry had been expended.
Now, whether Pope had bargained with the Jessie Scouts to delay Longstreet’s advance will never be known. There was some prominent soldier in the plot who had thoroughly coached the spy, and the scheme, desperate as it seemed, missed success by the turning of a hair.
Colonel John Cussons of Glen Allen, Va., was, at that time, captain of the Confederate Scouts, and wrote down word for word that scene in the mighty war drama of which he was the witness. He vividly describes the occurrence in a little pamphlet. This is Cusson’s narrative:
“This way I General Hood,” said the guide, grace­fully saluting and pointing northward as the head of Longstreet’s column swung towards the cast. The guide, well-mounted and wearing the uniform of a Con­federate cavalryman, was at the forks of the road near the village of White Plains, in Fauquier County, Va.
The road which General Hood was taking leads to Thoroughfare Gap in Bull Run Mountain, and is the only practicable approach to the field of Manassas where Stonewall Jackson was then struggling with the army of General Pope.
Hood halted his column and closely questioned the guide, feeling certain that he was in error; and yet it would seem that the guide must be right; he was in­telligent, confident, definite, certain of his instructions, and prompt and clear in his replies. He was a hand­some young fellow, with bold, frank eyes and a pleasant voice, and the precision of his statements gave weight to his words. The situation was critical; no exigency of war could be more so; it was not merely the issue of a battle, but the fate of a campaign which hung in the balance!
The time was 10 A. M., August 28, 1862.
“Did General Jackson give you these instructions?” asked General Hood.
“Yes, General.”
“About four hours ago; I left soon after sunrise.” “What route did you come?”
“North of the mountain, General, by way of Gum Springs; there is no other road.”
“Do you know where Stuart is?”
“I saw most of his command this morning; he is pushing, with his main body, for Sudley, to cover Jack­son’s rear. The brigade has gone north to guard the trains on the Aldie road.”
“Trains on the Aldie road!” exclaimed Hood; “what trains are you talking about?”
“Stonewall Jackson’s trains, General; he is pushing them towards Aldie, where I supposed you would join him.”
“I have heard nothing of all this,” said the General.
“Then I’ll tell you what it is, General Hood; those devilish Jessie Scouts are at it again—cutting off Stuart’s couriers. Jackson has heard nothing from Longstreet since yesterday morning, and he’s afraid you’ll follow the old order and try to join him by Thoroughfare Gap.”
“Where is Jackson?” asked General Hood.
“I left him a little south of Sudley Springs, on the high ground commanding the turnpike.”
“What is he doing?”
“Shortening his lines, General. You see Porter turned our right at Grovetown last night, and Mc­Dowell took Thoroughfare Gap, and Pickett was sent to attack Buford’s cavalry, who had seized the pass at Hopewell; at least that’s what Stuart’s scouts told me.”
“You say Jackson’s left is at Sudley Springs?”
“No, General Hood; I intended to say that his left was near Sudley Springs, about a half-mile south. Kearney and Hooker attacked there in column last night, doubling us up, and the enemy now holds both the road and the fords.”
“But that would make Jackson’s position untenable.”
“Yes, General, that’s the reason he’s falling back. They say McClellan has abandoned the James, and now covers Washington, and that Burnside has arrived from the coast. Within twenty-four hours—the way they figure it—Pope will have over a hundred thousand men. When I left there at sunrise Jed Hotchkiss had all the pioneers out; he was cutting roads and clearing fords, and bridging Catharpin Run, for that’s the only way out now.”
“How did you learn all these things?” asked Gen­eral Hood, and there was a note of severity in his voice.
“Absorbed them from the atmosphere, I suppose,” answered the guide rather languidly.
“Who, and what are you?” demanded General Hood, who was perplexed and anxious, yet scarcely suspicious of treachery, the guide was so bland and free and unconstrained.
“I am Frank Lamar of Athens, Georgia, enrolled with the cavalry of Hampton’s Legion, but now de­tailed on courier service at the headquarters of Stone­wall Jackson.”
“Where’s your sabre?”
“I captured a handsome pistol from a Yankee officer at Port Republic, and have discarded my sabre.”
“Let me see your pistol.” It was a very fine silver-mounted Colt’s revolver; one chamber was empty.
“When did you fire that shot?”
“Yesterday morning, General Hood; J shot a turkey-buzzard sitting on the fence.”
General Hood handed the pistol to Captain Cussons, commander of scouts. Cussons scrutinized the pistol, and the guide scrutinized Captain Cussons. As the Captain drew General Hood’s attention to the fact that the powder was still moist, showing that the pistol had been recently fired, the guide interposed, saying that he had reloaded after yesterday’s practice, and had fired the shot in question at another buzzard just before the column came in sight, but that he didn’t suppose General Hood would be interested in such a matter.
The guide was mistaken. General Hood was de­cidedly interested in the matter! Guides do not prac­tice marksmanship when on duty between the lines.
“Search that man!” exclaimed General Hood, im­patiently; for the General was baffled and still uncer­tain. All his life had been passed in active service, yet this was a new experience to him.
The search revealed strange things. In the guide’s haversack were little packages of prepared coffee and blocks of condensed soup and good store of hardtack, which facts the guide pleasantly dismissed with the re­mark: “It’s a poor sort of Reb that can’t forage on the enemy.”
The next discovery had a deeper meaning. In the lining of his vest were found the insignia of a Con­federate captain, the three gold bars being secured to a base which had a thin strip of flexible steel running lengthwise through it and slightly projecting at the ends. Further search revealed minute openings in the collar of his jacket, and into those openings the device was readily slipped and firmly held.
“What is the meaning of that?” asked General Hood, sternly.
There was an air of boyish diffidence and a touch of reproach in the young man’s reply. Its demure humor was half playful, yet modest and natural, and its effect on the spectators was mainly ingratiating.
“Really, General Hood,” he said, “you ask me such embarrassing questions. But I will tell you. It was just this way. Our girls, God bless them, are as de­voted and patriotic as can be, but you couldn’t imagine the difference they make between a commissioned officer and a private soldier.”
Communicative as the guide was, the General could not read him. He might be an honest youth whose callow loquacity sprung from no worse a source than that of inexperience and undisciplined zeal, or he might be one of the most daring spies that ever hid supernal subtlety beneath the mask of guileness.
Meanwhile the precious moments were slipping by 1 —the fateful moments; moments on which hung the tide of war; the fortunes of a great campaign; the doom perhaps of a new-born nation.
And there at the parting of the ways sat our boyish guide—frank, communicative, well-informed—leaning on the pommel of his saddle with the negligent grace of youth and replying with perfect good humor to all our questioning.
We had every reason to believe that Stonewall Jack­son at that moment was beset by overwhelming num­bers, and nothing seemed to us more likely than that the enemy would attempt to cut off our approach by the seizure of Thoroughfare Gap. If Jackson’s left flank was really at Sudley Springs, and his right at Grove-town, his right would be “in the air,” and a movement to turn it would virtually support an occupancy of the mountain passes. This would naturally drive Jackson northward, toward Aldie, as our guide had stated.
The whole situation was perilous in the extreme, and our doubts were agonizing. If the Federals occupied the pass at Thoroughfare they could easily hold it against our assault, and if Jackson should attempt to join us there, they could destroy him. On the other
hand, if Jackson had really retreated toward Aldie we must at once change our course and join him by a forced march northward, and to do that would be not merely to abandon the campaign as planned, but also to relin­quish to the enemy the short line and the open way to Richmond!
From his first moment of misgiving General Hood had taken measures to verify or discredit the guide’s story. Swift reconnaissance was made in each direction, but the roads were ambushed by Jessie Scouts and in­fested with detachments of Buford’s cavalry. Priceless moments were thus lost, and although we felt that Stonewall must be sore beset, yet we could not guess which road would take us to his battle or lead us away from it!
Meanwhile diligent questioning went on by staff offi­cers and couriers, the benefit of every doubt being freely accorded, for many of us believed, almost to the last, that the guide was a true man.
When General Hood first halted his column a num­ber of troops had strayed into the fields and woods to pick berries, and it was afterwards remembered that the guide’s attention seemed to follow the soldiers, es­pecially such of them as wandered toward a certain thicket near the edge of the forest. We were soon to learn the meaning of this, for in that thicket a frightful secret was hidden—a secret which, if discovered, would doom that guide to a shameful death—a death of in­famy—of nameless horror, his sepulchre the gibbet, his unburied flesh a loathsome meal for those evil birds which banquet on the dead. Was there some pre-vision of this in that swift glance which he cast toward the open country as he half turned in his saddle and took a firmer grasp on the reins? There were those among us who thought so afterwards. Yet he must have known that escape by flight was impossible.
In a moment, however, the startled gesture was gone, and there was again about him that same air of negligent repose, that same tranquility of spirit which was enhanced rather than impaired by the amused and half scornful smile with which he regarded the scrutiny of those around him.
While we thus observed him, there was a sudden commotion among the troops. Soldiers with grave faces, and some with flashing eyes, were hurrying from the eastward road. They had found a dying man, a Confederate dispatch-bearer, who had been dragged into the bushes and evidently left for dead. He had gasped out a few broken words, managing to say that his dispatches had been taken—torn from his breast pocket; and that he had been “shot by one of our own men!”
The situation now was plain enough!  That pre­tended Southern guide was in reality a Northern spy! He had taken his life in his hand and boldly flung it into the scale of war. The chances against him were infinite, yet so superb was his courage, so sedate his daring, that but for those unconsidered mishaps he would have won his perilous way; he would have blasted, at its fruition, the matchless strategy of Lee ; he would smilingly have beckoned that magnificent army to its doom! Never, perhaps, in all the tide of time did consequences so vast pivot upon incidents so trivial. Had General Hood followed the spy and turned to the left, a certain trend of events would have been inevi­table. Stonewall’s beleaguered detachment would have perished; Longstreet’s corps would have lost its base; Richmond would have fallen; John Pope would have been the nation’s hero; the seat of war would have drifted toward the Gulf States, and the great tides of American history would have flowed along other courses.
General Hood drew his brigadiers aside. The guide, or rather the spy, glanced toward them, but remained unshaken; there was a certain placid fortitude in his manner which seemed incompatible with ruthless deeds; there was something of devotion in it, and self-sacrifice, relieved, indeed, by just a touch of bravado, but with­out a trace of fear. None knew better than he that that group of stern-faced men was a drumhead court, and none knew better what the award of that court would be; he had played boldly for a mighty stake. He had lost, and was ready for the penalty!
There was a strip of forest where the roads forked, and among the trees was a large post oak with spread­ing branches. General Hood pointed to the tree, say­ing, that any of its limbs would do. A Texas soldier remarked that there was no better scaffold than the back of a horse, and the spy, approving the suggestion, sprang lightly up and stood on the saddle. Half a dozen men were soon busy in the tree, fastening a bridle-rein at one end and adjusting a loop at the other. As they slipped the noose over his head the spy raised his hand impressively:
“Stop!” he exclaimed, “I have three words more for you. I am neither Frank Lamar of Georgia, nor Harry Brooks of Virginia. I am Jack Sterry of the Jessie Scouts. I did not kill that rebel, but I was with those that did. His dispatches by this time are safe enough! I should like my comrades to know that I palavered with your army for a good half-hour, while General Pope was battering down your precious old Stonewall. Now, men, I am ready!—and in parting I will simply ask you to say, if you ever should speak of this, that Jack Sterry, when the Rebels got him, died as a Jessie Scout should!”  He folded his arms, and his horse was led from beneath his feet. General Hood turned aside, and, in subdued voice, gave the order of march, and the column moved on.
The writhing figure swung for a little while in the soft morning air, and was still, and there had gone forth to the God who gave it as dauntless a spirit as ever throbbed in mortal clay.
The distinguished and widely known Confederate surgeon, Dr. B. F. Ward of Winona, Miss., writes in a Jackson (Miss.) paper that he had read Cussons’ ac­count of the hanging of the spy, and said:
“I know it to be literally true, because I was present and witnessed the execution of Jack Sterry, who had baffled General Hood, and told him that the Federal General McDowell had possession of Thoroughfare Gap, and General Stonewall Jackson had sent him to join him at Gum Spring by taking the left-hand road, but Hood was too old a soldier to be caught.”
Doctor Ward was captured and made friends with a Federal surgeon, and further says: “Through his in­tercession I was given the liberty of the city without any restraint except my promise to return to headquar­ters at night. This explains why I was walking about the city without a guard. One day I was strolling aim­lessly along Broadway, cautious not to get off very far for fear I might be lost, when a man stepped in front of me, bowed gracefully, and said ‘Good morning!’ He was at least six feet in stature and would have weighed 18o pounds; he was very erect, with square shoulders, and the carriage of a trained soldier. He was elegantly dressed, his hair black, his eyes large, dark and penetrating, while a heavy black moustache drooped gracefully around the corners of his mouth. His lower jaw was rather broad and firmly set, and as he showed his white teeth and smiled at me, he seemed to say, ‘Now I have you.’ I was uncomfortable; he saw it, and was evidently amused. He said, ‘I think I know you.’ I replied, ‘No, sir; you do not, and I certainly do not know you.’ He said, ‘Yes, I met you once.’ I asked where? He said, Two years ago I took dinner with you in Strasburg, at the house of a widow lady, Mrs. Eberle; you had three friends with you. While you were at dinner two cavalrymen came in and took seats at the table. I sat directly in front of you on the oppo­site side of the table, and my companion sat next to you on your right. You asked me what cavalry we be­longed to, and I told you Ashby’s command. You then asked me a number of questions about Ashby, where he was, the size of his command, etc.’ Then looking me straight in the eyes, he said in a low, meas­ured, somewhat incisive tone, ‘My friend who sat on your right was hung by your people.’ The announce­ment went through me like a dagger of ice. I not only remembered the two cavalrymen, in their bright, new unsoiled uniforms, and the conversation, but I vividly recalled the features of the man who stood before me, and I realized with a shiver that the handsome young fellow who sat by my side at dinner was none other than the dashing and fearless Jack Sterry, whom I had seen hanged at White Plains.”
Scout Cussons continues his narrative. He says:
“On August 31, 1862, I fell into the hands of the enemy at Bull Run, and while my captors rested at a spring by the roadside a squadron of Federal cavalry rode up. They were as gay-looking a lot of dare-devils as I ever beheld, but what struck me even more than the dashing recklessness of the troopers was the splen­did quality of the horses they rode; many of the animals appeared to be thoroughbred; all were superb. There were perhaps a score of these troopers, and as they drew rein around the spring their bugler sounded ‘Peas on trencher,’ and in an instant—as by a stroke of magic —their whole appearance changed! the troop of Union cavalry had vanished, and there in its place was as jolly a group of rebels as ever sang ‘Jine the Cavalry’ for the delectation of that prince of cavaliers, the gallant and mirth-loving Jeb Stuart. This sudden and complete transformation was achieved by their simply flinging off their butternut-lined blue overcoats and disclosing the rebel gray beneath. All other clothing was prac­tically common to the troopers of either side. Both Federal and Confederate horsemen wore a service-stained sombrero, and each had his dusty trousers stuck in his still dustier boots, so that by merely pulling on or throwing off his blue overcoat he could in an in­stant be either a Northern or Southern soldier.
“Their organization had rather the freedom of a hunting party than the disciplined regularity of war, so that it was not easy to mark their leader. But one of them, apparently in command, presently threw himself on the wet grass and asked in a free yet courteous way what rank I held in Secessia, for I was in scouting dress. This led to an exchange of badinage which provoked plenty of laughter and a fair share of soldierly good feeling. Then came a pause, and looking steadily into my eyes he distinctly called me by my Indian name. Yet why did I not know him? That seemed so strange. He was familiar with Albert Sydney Johnson’s Utah march in 1857, yet he had never met the general and knew no member of his staff. He recounted Summers’ exploit with the Sioux at Ash Hollow, yet did not know Rubadeau or Big Phil or Louis Provo. He recounted particulars of the killing of Mat-tpne Io-wa on North Platte, and the swift vengeance of the Dakotahs; yet he knew no member of the Laramie garrison. He was quite familiar with life on the plains during the fifties, and though I probably knew and was known by every hunter and trapper and ranchman between the Sweet­water and Fort Bridges, yet I could in no way identify this mysterious plainsman. Finally the conviction set­tled in my mind that he had belonged to the robber band of Vasquez—a crew of bandits and cattle thieves whose caches extended from the Wild River Moun­tains to New Mexico, and who were known only by the dark trail of their remorseless deeds. For years that little band of robbers—some thirty in number—had been pursued with unrelenting zeal by the army of the United States, but it was like a combat between a prize ox and a gadfly. The robbers had their supplies secreted at short intervals throughout a vast and un­peopled region, and the Government troops could neither surround, nor starve, nor snow-blockade, nor trail them. The little band could cover a hundred miles without making a fire or leaving a sign; they could scatter in pairs and assemble at will wherever they would. The birds of the air were not more free.
“And the horsemanship of those Jessie Scouts was so noticeable. Most of them wore the Mexican spur and carried a buckskin lariat. Their scat was snug with the knee grip of the buffalo hunter, and many of their saddles had the double girth and threaded cinch seen only on the plains. As a matter of fact these Jessie Scouts were not scouts at all, but spies—spies who wore our uniform, impersonated guides, and slew our dispatch bearers without mercy. And yet the dar­ing fellows were not common criminals. They had standards of their own—an esprit de corps and point of honor which were absolute. They were immeasurably more dangerous than mere law-breakers, for they were adventurous and brave, and though doubtless they led evil lives, yet they could die well.”
I have given much space to the Jessie Scouts for the reason that they turned their attention to Mosby’s Con­federacy, and they would have been a deadly menace to the partisans, for they could call to their aid any detachment of Bluecoats nearest them. Their design was to mix with the people as far as they could without detection, and find out when and where the partisans would strike, and then warn the Federals so that they would be ready for them. Then again, they would mark the houses where the scouts made their head­quarters, and send the Bluecoats on a night-raid and gobble them up. Doubtless, they had high hopes of cleaning out Mosby’s Confederacy, and their schemes might have worked had it not been for the women. The Jessies tried again and again to pose as Confed­erate cavalrymen at the different homes they visited, but in vain; no matter how perfect they were in details relating to Mosby’s battalion, no matter how they ac­counted for their presence, they could not deceive the maids and matrons. One thing, their accent betrayed them; again, it was their make-up, and a certain inde­scribable difference that caused the women to stamp them as spies. Once the natives’ suspicion was aroused they became as close as clams, and would refuse in most instances to give them anything to eat. As soon as the people learned of the Jessie Scouts, they became ex­ceedingly circumspect, and they would far prefer to see a squad of Bluecoats ride up to the door than have a couple of spurious Graybacks enter the house. When two Confederate cavalrymen, unknown to each other, met, explanations and proof were required at pistol point, and to refuse to answer was to meet death.
Three times in one day, when going along the road from Orleans to Salem, I was halted by Mosby’s men, and not knowing who they were I watched them with a cocked pistol in my hand, while they read my transfer to the Black Horse.
Williamson tells in his book of meeting a party of Jessie Scouts. He states:
“On the evening of the 13th, on the turnpike, we saw a detachment of cavalry dressed in gray. We viewed them with suspicion for some time, and finally Colonel Mosby ordered Lieutenant Grogan to take a few scouts and meet them. Discovering them to be Jessie Scouts Grogan called out: ‘Come on boys, we will ride over them.’ But the Jessies did not wait; they broke and ran, leaving one dead and one prisoner.”

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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