Address of Arch. H. Rowand of Young's Scouts
at the Dedication of Young’s Memorial Statue
in Providence, Rhode Island

            ...When I speak of the patriotism of Harry Young, I want the term to be understood in its worthiest sense.  The man was no soldier of fortune, no mere seeker after adventure or the material rewards of valor.  With him love of country was a passion.  It was in the blood, born in him, and to the last it remained the dominant principle of his life.  When the Civil War broke out, Harry Young was a beardless boy, working as a clerk in an office in this city of Providence.  Physically there was nothing heroic about him, for he stood but five feet five inches high, and his appearance suggested a frail constitution.  But at the first call for men, the frail clerk proved to be, in heart and soul, a "little giant."  It was not enough for him to offer his own services to his country.  He must raise a company, and so, off he goes through the Blackstone Valley, driving from village to village, haranguing people at each stopping place and between times delving into a volume on military tactics.  And the people listened to him.  Slight and boyish as he was, his eloquence and earnestness won their hearts and within twenty-four hours he had a list of sixty-three volunteers.  He took the list to Colonel Slocum, but unfortunately Rhode Island's quota was already full and the brave lad was forced to return to his desk.  However, it was not long until his chance came.  Col. Slocum, impressed by the grit and intelligence of the lad, sent for him shortly afterwards, and June, 1861, Harry Young was mustered in as second lieutenant of Company B, Second Rhode Island Regiment of Volunteers.  The Captain looked his slight figure up and down and predicted that the boy would be flat on his back after the first march; but he wasn't.  On the contrary, he kept his end up with the best of them, won the confidence and affection of his men, and within six weeks, at Bull Run, in the absence of his superior officers, he led the company like a veteran and won his commission as a first lieutenant.  How the men felt towards their fiery little officer is well illustrated by an incident attending a visit made by his mother, Mrs. Young, and her daughter to the Portsmouth Grove Hospital, where they went to carry delicacies to the men of the Second Rhode Island.  Coming to the cot where lay one of the boys of Company B, Mrs. Young, whose identity was not known to the soldier, asked him, "Do you like your captain?"  "Like him, ma'am?" said the soldier, with a burst of enthusiasm.  "We think God A'mighty of him."  These few words express the feeling entertained towards Harry Young throughout his whole career in the army by every man who served with him or under him.  His chiefs and his comrades alike knew him as a man with a heart as big as a mountain and a spirit that shrank from no trial or danger, and every man of us thought God A'mighty of him.
            After the fight at Fredericksburg, Captain Young received a staff appointment, and this gave him opportunities to develop his genius for scout duty opportunities of which he eagerly and persistently availed himself.  In the Shenandoah Valley he found especially important work cut out for him.  After the battle of Opequon, Col. Oliver Edwards was in command at Winchester.  Young was his Inspector General and in that capacity was required to familiarize himself with the topography of that country, which he did by riding in a Confederate uniform over all the roads.  The Valley was then infested with guerrilla bands of rebels under Gilmor, McNeill and Mosby.  Young took especial delight in running down bushwhackers, cut-throats and robbers who conducted a reign of terror in the Valley.  One of these, a deserter from the Union army, was known as the "Prisoner Killer."  He was a tall, handsome, audacious rascal and in spite of his habit of murdering defenseless prisoners, he had friends in the valley and plenty of hiding places.  Captain Young, with a detail of two men, smoked him out, and the outlaw succeeded in shooting down Captain Young's two companions.  At the same time his own horse went down, and then he ran into a thicket with Young at his heels.  There the six-foot terror and the little fellow of five foot five fought it out with their fists, for both had lost their weapons and, by some miracle, Young whipped his man and, to the amazement of the two wounded soldiers lying in the road, out he came leading the fellow bound and thoroughly cowed.  That capture was a nine days' wonder at headquarters.
            In the latter part of October, '64, we headquarters scouts noticed a new staff officer with Sheridan, a slim little fellow, who appeared to be active, and made himself at home with the scouts, and when General Sheridan told us that he intended to increase the scouts into an organization of fifty men under Major Young, and asked us how we would like him as Chief of Scouts, we told him all right.
            From the moment he began the organization of his new command, Major Young's activity knew no pause.  After picking the best men he could find in Col. Edwards' brigade and adding to the list the seven scouts who had served under Sheridan, he found himself at the head of a body of fifty-eight men, seasoned veterans, all and ready for any test of their courage and endurance.  And the tests came, my friends, terrible and incessant, for Harry Young's brain was always busy and each day he had new plans and devices for harassing the enemy and demoralizing him.  For myself I can say that his genius was a marvel to me.  I had been doing scout duty since the fall of '62; first as one of Milroy's scouts, then under Custer, Averill, Hunter, and afterwards under Sheridan, but under Young I was to have a new experience and to learn more than I ever dreamed as to the possibilities of an organized secret service under the direction of a man with a unique genius for this work.  The position of a scout as the author of "Hampton and His Cavalry," tells us, requires not only coolness, courage, zeal and intelligence, but special faculties born in some few men," and these attributes Young possessed to such a degree that he was fitted to command such men born.
            That was the beginning of the unhappiest time that the Rebels had known since the beginning of the war.  Knowing that a band of daredevil Yankees in gray coats was abroad in the Valley, they never knew whom to trust and after dusk they were as liable to fire on a gray coat as a blue one.
            Besides cutting out work for his men, Major Young worked individually, taking the most amazing risks, but by reason of his coolness, his shrewdness and ready wit, almost invariably securing whatever information he went after.  Once he played invalid and lived for two weeks at a boarding house within the Confederate lines where he picked up a mass of important information.  He was as expert in the use of various disguises as any lightning change artist on the stage.  On one occasion, when he wanted to test a new disguise, the uniform of a Confederate colonel, he let himself be captured by men of his own old command, who took him to headquarters in triumph, thinking they had a prisoner of the first importance.  It remained a mystery to the poor fellows why the distinguished rebel immediately disappeared as if the earth had swallowed him.
            Very close to death was Harry Young on the third Sunday of January, '65, when under orders from General Sheridan he took 15 of his scouts with 50 cavalrymen – Sheridan's orders were for 50 picked men, but unfortunately instead of being picked men and veterans, they were new recruits.  With these men Young was to capture the Rebel picket line from Edinboro to Colombia Furnace, which he did successfully.  How, I will quote from a letter of mine to my father written from Winchester on January 23rd, 1865, being a boy's description of the capture of a rebel picket line:
            "I was in a pretty severe fight on Sunday last.  I will give you the particulars:  On Saturday night at 9 o'clock 15 of the scouts and 50 of the N.Y. Cav. left this place under the command of Maj. Young, Chief of Scouts, with the intention of capturing the enemy's picket post at Edinboro, distant from this place 36 miles.  At ten o'clock we passed our outer Videttes, passing through Newtown, and flanking Middletown, Strasburg, Maurytown, and Woodstock, and a little after daylight we struck the valley pike, at the narrow pass, and two miles from Edinboro, without the Rebs knowing a Yank was within twenty miles of the them.  Going in a pretty fast trot to the town, we dashed through and captured the Rebel Vidette at the bridge, just outside of town, with his horse tied to the railing of the bridge, leaving a man with him, we made for the reserve.  Fred Barry and myself being in front, was within twenty yards of the camp, the rebs being yet asleep in their blankets, when Barry giving a yell, one reb jumped out of his shelter tent, I let drive at him with my Navy, he gave up as did the balance of them.  It was the most complete surprise I ever witnessed.  Our capture was 1 lieutenant and 42 men.  Now, we had a very nice affair of it, had we got away with them, but we didn't get away with them, we were overtaken at Woodstock by 200 of them.  As soon as they came in sight of us, they charged us at Chew's Run, one mile this side of Woodstock.  We repulsed them.  The Major here sent orders for the main column to push ahead with the prisoners, having the scouts as a rear guard.  As we were moving along between the run and Maurytown, one mile distant from Woodstock, there were twenty rebels dashed off a hill to our right and not twenty yards distant, giving a yell as they came right on us.  We had it for about ten yards distant for a few minutes, they being reinforced, we were forced to fall back.  On coming in sight of the main column, they were in full gallop.  When the rebels charged on us from the hill, there was five of the 5th N.Y. Cav. just ahead of us; they ran like whipped curs and started the main body.  The Major sent me to stop them.  I only got them to stop by threatening to shoot the first man that ran, and I would have done it, as I had begged them to stop until I was so hoarse, I could scarcely speak.  They showed but little fight when they were stopped.  I never saw such cowards in my life.  We had a running fight for ten miles.  We lost all our prisoners.  Eight scouts are gone, one known to be killed, three wounded, two mortally, and four captured, only one of the captured being dressed in full gray.  Have heard he was shot after being taken.  If it is so, the first rebel we catch will die as sure as there is a hereafter.  Some 15 of the 5th N.Y. Cav. were captured.  One hundred of the rebels followed us to Fisher's Hill, where the pursuit ended.  I had several narrow escapes of being shot and captured.  Three times were the rebels within twenty yards of me, the fleetness of my horse alone saving me.  A grayback would yell out for me to surrender, but I couldn't see the point.  Of the 5th N.Y. Cav., I will say that most of them were new recruits; there were eight or ten of them that fought like men, the balance of them run like the devil.  Had we all old men of the 5th, we could have brought our prisoners off with safety.  The order of the detail by the General was for picked men of the 5th, the Colonel of the regiment sent new recruits, and some were so Dutch they could not understand English, hence the disaster.
            "I had finished my breakfast amongst the first at Woodstock when a one armed butcher, a strong Union man, named Koontz, walked by me and whispered, "two hundred on the back road coming."  I immediately went to Major Young, but he laughed and answered, "I will not budge until I have finished my breakfast."  Jim Campbell, a veteran scout, who died at Ft. Snelling, Minnesota, in 1904, as a headquarter scout and guide, protested, but it was no use.  The major went on with his breakfast, finished it at his ease and then gave orders to mount.  But it was too late.  The Confederate Cavalry were already dashing into the village.  At the sight of them our raw cavalry let the prisoners go and took to flight.  Young took in the situation at a glance: "Rowand," he shouted, "For God's sake stop the cavalry and bring them back."  Rowand did the best he could.  He stopped the Cavalry sergeant and threatened to blow his brains out if he did not help turn the men, but the men were crazed with fear and would not heed him or their sergeant.  Just then, Chrisman called, "Rowand come back, Young is down."  Sure enough, Young was down fighting fiercely beside his dead horse.  Chrisman, Rowand and Campbell charged into the enemy, got Young on a horse, and got out of that nest in a hurry.  Tom Cassiday, of Young's Company, and Jack Riley, who, thank God, is with us today, was taken at the same time, but Jack took a flying leap 15 feet over the wall at Fisher's Hill and joined us the next day.  In that fight of ten miles, the scouts had to fight almost unassisted ten times their number.  Young always remained in the rear, realizing he had made a mistake and fighting like a fiend to save his prisoners, but unfortunately the cavalrymen let the prisoners go, and were glad enough to get away themselves.  "When General Sheridan heard of this," again quoting from my letter, "He remarked his scouts were smart enough to be even with them, and we will wake them up again some fine morning." which Young did.  He said to us boys, "We will even up," and the next Saturday night without any cavalry, with 30 of his men, we again captured the enemy's picket line from Edinboro to Colombia Furnace, and got back to camp with all his prisoners without the loss of a man.  But still our fiery little commander was not satisfied.  He went to General Sheridan and told the General if he would give him a sufficient command of Cavalry that he would locate and capture Major Harry Gilmor, of Baltimore, Commander of the Maryland Battalion.  Sheridan told him to go ahead.  Two of his scouts under his orders, when to Moorefield, 58 miles from Winchester, on a bitter cold night, too cold for the rebel picket to stand out, he housed himself.  Two of these scouts went down to Moorefield and found where Gilmor was in Randolph's house, on the West Fork; they reported to Young the next day, and on the Saturday night Young with 20 of his men and 300 cavalry left Winchester, and at daylight on Sunday, February 4th, '65, walked into Gilmor's bedroom, and said to him: "Are you Col. Gilmor?"  "Yes, and who in the Devil's name are you."  "Major Young, of General Sheridan's staff."  "All right, I suppose you want me to go with you."  "I shall be happy to have your company to Winchester, as General Sheridan wishes to consult with you about some important military affairs."  Young would have his joke.  We took Gilmor to camp and Young and four of us landed him in Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, where he remained until July, '65, before he was paroled.  Sheridan considered this capture by Young as most important.  To quote General Sheridan's own words, "The capture of Gilmor severed the last link that bound the State of Maryland to the Southern Confederacy."
            "On the 27th of February, '65, Sheridan, with 10,000 cavalry, and Young's scouts in advance, left Winchester, the objective point being Lynchburg to join Sherman in North Carolina, to finish up Johnston.  The first night we camped in Woodstock, killed one Confederate scout and captured his brother.  The next day Young and his men were under fire every hour when at Mt. Crawford.  General Rosser remained in the rear of his men with his bodyguard.  Young and his men went after them, and Rosser only got across a burning bridge, south of Mt. Crawford, fifty feet in advance of Young and his men.  Rosser's brigade dismounting behind a breast work gave us scouts a volley.  The scouts got back and reported to Col. Capeheart, commanding the advance brigade, and fording the creek, struck Rosser's brigade in the flank, captured a large number and sent the balance whirling down the Valley.  March 3rd, wound up Early at Waynesboro.  Young and his men were in the front day and night.  The heavy rains caused the command to stop at Charlottesville, then to New Market, on the James River Canal, destroying every lock and dam to Colombia, which is about a hundred miles due west from Richmond.
            "On the night of March 10th, Young selected Campbell and myself to take important dispatches from Sheridan to Grant.  He got us an order from General Sheridan for the two best horses in the whole command.  Young begged us to be cautious and get through.  Sheridan said, "If you get captured, eat the dispatches."  We left our lines at one o'clock Saturday morning, March 11th, covered 145 miles and delivered the dispatches to General Grant, at City Point, the next day, Sunday afternoon.  Those dispatches were the first information General Grant had of Sheridan's move, and in those dispatches Grant was requested to send forage and rations to Sheridan's command at White House, on the Pamunkey River.  The rains and heavy rebel forces thrown in Lynchburg were the cause of abandoning that part of the trip.  Sheridan and his men, after a rest at White House with his scouts, joined Grant at City Point.  When our command rode into Grant's forces some of the boys yelled out: `No wonder Sheridan goes through the rebel lines; he had got a company of Johnnies in front.'"
            What they thought of Young's scouts in the Army of the Potomac, I quote from the "Last Hours of Sheridan's Cavalry" by General Tremain, April 3rd, 1865:
            "Scouts came in from every direction with reports of a small force in this or that locality which might be easily captured.  Custer and Devin were dashing their squadrons over every farm, taking many prisoners, and adding to the distraction of the enemy.  Near Deep Creek a fine battery of artillery was captured, while skirmishes and charges, lines of battle, and hurried marches were the order of the day.  Sheridan's scouts were now pre-eminently active and useful.  These anomalous characters – organized as a small battalion, under the command of Major Young, and composed of soldiers from different regiments, selected for their fitness for that particular duty – were a body of men without the slightest air of military appearance, but whose eminent services, in this and other campaigns, though not conspicuous, were most constant and valuable.  They were known everywhere as Sheridan's scouts.  Spreading themselves over the country in groups of two, three, or half a dozen, they cover the flanks and precede the advance of every column.  They learn every road, bridge, house, church, camp and every stable.  Not a quadruped within miles of Sheridan's cavalry escapes their inspection, or, if useful, their immediate appropriation.  Their constant riding makes it necessary that they should make these horse trades frequently, else their usefulness in the transmission of intelligence is seriously impaired.  Habitually they assume the uniform – if such it can be called – of rebel soldiers, though among them you will just as frequently see men in the garb of a Virginia planter; and F.F.V. [Fleet-Footed Virginian].
            "Their attachment to Sheridan was strong and reliable.  On the march, or in action, scarcely an hour passed that they did not bring him a direct report from distant and important quarters.  They visited the enemy's outposts, rode about his wagon trains, spied out his camps, and encircled the cavalry corps with a network of eyes and ears.  Seldom is a general in active campaign better acquainted with the news of his enemy than was Sheridan in this.  Aside from the information which each of his generals was able to send from his own immediate vicinity, these scouts were his only secret service.  They occasionally, too, accomplished deeds of valor.  It was in the afternoon of the 3rd, shortly after Custer's skirmish at Namozine Church, that two or three of these men, riding carelessly along the road, encountered the rebel general Barringer and staff."
            In the capture of General Barringer and staff on April 3rd, Young and a half dozen of us were miles in the enemy's lines; I was riding along the road in advance when McCabe and some of his boys came along on a trot, McCabe called out to me, "Young is back telling me he is going up to the next house to get something to eat."  McCabe had not passed me five minutes until I saw a rebel officer riding a beautiful gray horse; along with him were his staff, and just then I heard the word "surrender;" looking back, Major Young was laughingly leveling an old antiquated double barreled shot gun on me.  I said to him. "Look down the woods."  He looked and half wheeled his horse.  I said to him, "Don't go back; come up here quick."  I, being on higher ground, could see that nothing was behind Barringer and staff.  Young, on lower ground, thought it was a column of Confederate cavalry.  When he came up and saw the coast was clear back of Barringer and staff, I said to him, "McCabe and the boys are up at the next house getting something to eat; go up after them and I will go down into the woods and talk with these fellows."  I rode down and saw the Confederate was a Major General.  I saluted, and said, "What command, General?"  "I am General Barringer, of the North Carolina Brigade."  I belong to the 17th Virginia, Fitzhugh Lee's command," I replied.  He asked me if there were any more of the men around.  I told him half a dozen up on the road and would be down in a few minutes.  When Young and his men came down, I introduced Young as Major Grandstaff, of the 17th Virginia, one of Fitzhugh Lee's regiment.  After a few minutes talk, the signal was given, and we covered the General and his staff with revolvers and took them in.  Barringer was very angry.  When asked at headquarters that night what he thought of Sheridan's scouts, he said, "They are spies, spies; I would hang every one of them to the highest limb if I caught them."  He was very quickly informed: not in this war.
            The next day, out again, we were in the enemy's lines, and we came on a Colonel with one orderly, a sergeant.  We asked him who he was; said he was Colonel Chief on the way to take command of the North Carolina Brigade, that General Barringer had been captured by the Yankee scouts the day before.  Young very coolly informed him, "That is true.  I am the man that took him, and you can come along with us."  Colonel Chief was very much surprised, his orderly tried to get away, and no soldier could blame him, for when his saddle bags were searched was found the battle flag of the North Carolina Brigade.
            While Sheridan kept the Johnnies on the jump his scouts had no rest day or night.  After the surrender, back to Petersburg, then back to North Carolina to help Sheridan after Johnston.  In coming to the Stanton River, where we expected to ford, the scouts found the river too deep to ford, but there were ferryboats there, twenty feet long.  Young, quick as a flash, took in the situation, and said, "Boys, we will make a pontoon bridge."  Up and down that stream we went confiscating other boats, and in two hours we had a fair pontoon bridge that Sheridan and his cavalry crossed.  When Sheridan's engineer found out what Young had done, he in amazement said to Sheridan, "The scouts built a pontoon bridge over which the men are passing."  Sheridan, in his characteristic way, replied: "Young and his men would bridge Hell, if necessary, to get us over."
            Before we reached Johnston, he surrendered.  Back to Petersburg, then to Washington, thinking our work was done, but on May 22nd, '65, the day before the grand review, Sheridan was ordered to Texas to take care of Kirby Smith, who vowed he would never surrender, and Young and six of us scouts jumped the train that afternoon for Texas, and missed the grand review, no matter what we contributed to that event.
            The last time I saw Major Young was on the Rio Grande in August, '65, when I bade him good-bye.
            At the close of the war, General Sheridan showed his appreciation of Major Young's splendid services by sending a communication to the Secretary of War, in which he spoke in terms of admiration of his chief of scouts, and recommended that he be made a lieutenant-colonel by brevet.
            In his official report, the General wrote:
            "To Major H.H. Young, of my staff, and the thirty or forty men of his command who took their lives in their hands, cheerfully going wherever ordered, to obtain that great essential of success, information, I tender my gratitude.  Ten of these men were lost."
            This tribute from a man of the type of Phil Sheridan is worth a bushel of decorations.
            It was characteristic of Harry Young that he should come to his death fighting for the cause of liberty and democracy, even though it was not among his own people, but in a foreign land.  The Civil War being over, General Sheridan was sent to the Mexican border, Mexico being torn with dissension as a result of the occupation by the French and the placing of Maximilian on the throne.  Canalejas, the leader of the Mexican liberals, proposed that Major Young should join him with a band of picked men to serve him as a body guard.  Contrary to Sheridan's advice, Young accepted the proposal.  He crossed the border with fifty men only to find the Liberals in confusion.  Swarms of Mexican cut-throats surrounded the little force, which attempted to escape by swimming the Rio Grande.  In this attempt Young was shot and killed, and his body found an unknown grave.
            But, my friends, though we have not the consolation that would come from knowing that the body of this heroic American rests in the soil that he loved, close to those that were near and dear to him, there is compensation in the thought that his memory lives on....
            But a few words more and I am done.  Sheridan, writing of the scouts, says: "Ten of these men were lost."   Of the rest, but four survive: McCabe, Chrisman, Riley, and Rowand.  These four men are here, with full hearts, proud and happy to be able to join in the homage which, thanks to the commendable spirit of your legislature and the people whom the legislature represents, is being rendered today to that gallant son of Rhode island, our old commander.  In the name of the scouts, we congratulate you and we thank you.  You are doing justice to a splendid soul and we feel in every fibre of our being, for we did, and do "think God A'mighty of him."

Speech by Arch Rowand at the dedication of a statue to Col. Henry Young in 1911.  Statue is located at Kennedy Plaza in Providence, Rhode Island.

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