“War Comes to Brentsville”

Brentsville is a little area just a few miles from me.  Home of the Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre, Brenstsville offers a wealth of history and culture, much of which is little known. Once again, local historian and resident Morgan Breeden is to thank for helping to uncover what was.  The following was taken from Mr. Breeden’s March 2011 Brentsville Neighbors Newsletter.


Sergeant Mickler, of the Beaufort Troop,
South Carolina cavalry, Company B, was sent
by Colonel Butler, with General Hampton’s
permission, out of our lines, to act as scouts,
and do whatever damage they could to the
Yankees. He had command of a squad of picked
men from the regiment, and some few from the
First North Carolina cavalry. He has been all
along very successful in keeping the authorities
well apprized of the movements of the Yankees
in the section of country to which he was sent,
and varying the monotony by capturing, from
time to time, squads of Yankee cavalry, helping
thereby to arm, mount, and equip our hard-riding

But the handsomest affair that they have
yet been engaged in, occurred in the little town
of Brentsville, Prince William County. Two of
the squad were sitting in a house, near a high
road, unsuspicious of danger, when, on looking
out of the window, one of them observed a squad
of seven Yankee cavalry coming up to the house.

They managed to slip out o f the house
unobserved, mounted their horses bare-back,
hunted up Sergeant Mickler, and reported the
fact to him. He immediately took five others,
all of the same regiment, and went in pursuit,
and came suddenly in sight of the Yankees as
he turned a street in the village of Brentsville.
He charged the seven with his squad of six, but
being obliged to get through a brush fence the
best way they could, only three, who were well
mounted, succeeded in getting through in time
to take part in what followed. These three were
Sergeant Mickler and Private Schoolbred, of the
Beaufort Troop, Company B, and Color Sergeant
Sparks, of the Brooks Troop, Company K.

The Yankees tried their best to get away,
keeping up a determined running fight at the
same time. Only one of them succeeded in
making his escape; our gallant little party of
three succeeding in tumbling five of them from
their horses in the streets of Brentsville, three
of them dead, an d two wounded. They
captured, moreover, one of them unhurt.

The Yankees fought with pluck to the
last, but the vigor and vim of the attack was
too much for them. They were Michigan men,
and were quit e ind ignant at being called

Private Schoolbred particularly
distinguished himself, killing, according to a
confession of his comrades, two, and wounding
and taking prisoner a third, a Yankee lieutenant,
lately promoted for gallantry. He saved his own
life, and took the lieutenant by his admirable
self-possession. He was riding almost side by
side with the lieutenant, and had shot every
barrel of his pistol, when the latter, observing
this, turned on him with a fresh pistol, and,
putting the muzzle close to him, exclaimed:
“Now, I hav e yo u , you d _ _d r ebe l. ”

Schoolbred, with great coolness, threw his
empty pistol at him, and, with great good
fortune, struck the pistol pointed at him, and
knocked it out of the hand of the Yankee. He
then drew another pistol and shot the Yankee,
who, rolling off his horse, cried out: “I am
wounded; I give up.”

ARMYNOTE-BOOK. By“Personne,”Army
Correspondent. Columbia, S. C. 1864, Pages 41 &42

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