Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Civil War Oddities #107

During the Wilderness campaign, reporter Henry E. Wing of the New York Tribune was the only man from Union forces to reach a telegraph line with vital reports. He got there on foot, having been forced to abandon his horse when observed by Confederates. When he demanded the right to send lengthy dispatches to New York, U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton ordered his arrest.

Abraham Lincoln countermanded Stanton’s order and sent a train to bring Wing to Washington. After a dramatic 2:00 a.m. session in the White House, the president detailed for the reporter an escort of cavalry and artillery with which to return to the scene of his adventures. Wing triumphantly led them to the spot where he had hidden his horse in a thicket after Confederate Major John Mosby’s men spotted him.

Having recovered the animal, Wing resumed the task of trying to please his publisher, Horace Greely, and Tribune readers throughout the North.