Sgt. Nelson Cole, Co. C, 2nd Vermont Infantry, On the Retreat

14 04 2022

Hair-Breadth Escape. – Sergeant Nelson Cole, of company C, second Vermont regiment, from Brattleboro, gives a very interesting account of his experience in the vicissitudes of war. A companion had been shot in the ankle, shattering the bone, and Sergeant Col was assisting him to the hospital when the retreat took place. Finding the enemy upon them, his companion begged him to leave him and take care of himself.

Emerging from his shelter, after a long run, he found himself in the midst of the enemy, who fired upon him; leaping the fences, he ran a couple hundred yards through the open ground, under a shower of balls, and again succeeded in reaching the woods, but was subsequently discovered and captured. While on their way to the Secesh camp they passed the hospital, when Cole begged to be allowed to get his coat. This was granted, and Cole sent to get it.

Finding the rear unguarded, he passed through the back window, and again took to the woods. He succeeded in eluding his pursuers, and, after a weary travel, found himself, nearly famished, in the vicinity of a mill. An elderly lady was the only person about, her son being an officer in the rebel army. She gave him food, and a hat and pair of pants belonging to her son. In this disguise, he passed for a Virginian, and, although three times stopped, succeeded in reaching the vicinity of Leesburg, where he sought shelter for the night. The people (females) professed themselves Union people, and he told them his story. After retiring, he heard a conversation going on, and, listening, he discovered a plan maturing to send for some neighbors, and seize the “Abolitionist.” He waited till all was quiet, and made his way to the Potomac, where he found a negro to row him across, and he came to the city on the Maryland side.

(Washington, D. C.) National Republican, 8/5/1861

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