250 SEVENTH REGIMENT INFANTRY.
videttes of the enemy, Wade Hampton in command, being in sight on the other side.
After some days of excitement, forming line of battle, marches and counter-marches, the
routine of drill again began, and this growing tedious, many of the men took advantage
of the lull to go home on short visits without leave, after failing to receive furlough.
They called this taking a "french," and indignantly disclaimed the idea of desertion.
Numbers, in fact, were so near their homes that they could easily make the round trip
between tattoo and reveille.
The Upper Potomac.
On the 29th of October, 1862, the Seventh Regiment was ordered on detached duty,
guarding a river front of about five miles from McCoy's Ferry to Dam No. 5, headquar-
ters at Four Locks. McCoy's Ferry was the point where Stuart's cavalry had broken
through on their famous raid, a few days before, surprising and capturing the signal
station on Fair View Mountain, close by. One of the most interesting points in the
vicinity was " Old Fort Frederick," built as a defense against Indians, and at that time
one of the few remaining structures to be found in this country worthy to be called a
From the summit of Fair View could be seen three States, the encampment of
McClellan's army at Harper's Ferry and Lee's encampment at Martinsburg. This look-
out was at that time a great resort for Union refugees from Virginia. Many of these
had served on the other side as unwilling conscripts. They were naturally very much
wanted, and they knew it. As our army advanced into the sacred soil, back went the
refugees, some piloting our columns as guides. These men were the most vigilant of
videttes, keenly snuffing the southern air for the dreaded cavalry raid.
The belt of Virginia soil immediately in front of the Seventh Maryland was
almost entirely inhabited by the families of these refugees, and the great rendezvous of
the refugees themselves was Fair View. Here they watched from day to day their
deserted homes across the river, sometimes witnessing with their own eyes their hogs
and sheep taken, often exchanging signals with their families, and when signals were
satisfactory, stealthily crossing in skiffs or wading the ford.
Many of the younger refugees had enlisted in Maryland cavalry regiments, and
under the command of such men as Cole, Vernon, Russell, Firey and others, did good
service as scouts and guides. Their presence and influence contributed materially to
impress upon those organizations the character for vigilance, enterprise and daring
for which they were distinguished.
But to the older and more timid refugees the regiment was indebted for many
panicky rumors, startling announcements, hasty "falling's in." It was characteristic
of the men upon every such occasion that they never became skeptical, but took
each alarm as it came, in perfect good faith, always "falling in" with as much alac-
rity as if the crash of battle were sounding in their ears.
Early in December, the regiment received its first instalment of " substitutes,'"
an accession of less than doubtful value. There were fifty or more in this batch, of
all nationalities, most of them suspiciously well drilled. These disinterested patriots