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20_About, five-thirty (AM), he would return
Image by Jim Surkamp
READ AHEAD FOR SCRIPT AND IMAGES IN SCRIPT
Andrew Leopold’s Forlorn Hope (2) – by Jim Surkamp With Author Steve French
civilwarscholars.com/?p=13391 5515 words.
by Jim Surkamp on June 19, 2014 in Civilian, Confederate, Jefferson County, Union, Wartime
Andrew Leopold Warmaker To Peacemaker With Steve French, Author “Rebel Chronicles,” contact: [email protected]
Made possible with the generous, community-minded support of American Public University system, offering a quality, affordable, online education. Interpretations in civilwarscholars.com videos and posts do not in any way reflect modern-day policies and positions of American Public University System. More . . .
Redmond Burke, Andrew Leopold, and Their Gang Descend on The River Towns:
1_Leopold is ordered by General Stuart
2_on “detached service” and, with a small team
3_from Berryville to Shepherdstown
Leopold is ordered by General Stuart to join Redmond Burke on “detached service” and, with a small team, stays behind in the Potomac River area from Berryville to Shepherdstown while the main Confederate Army moves further south. His job is to find conscripts, carry mail between homes and soldiers, steal horses and watch the movements of the Federal army. Leopold in carrying mail, is also enabled to determine the names of, and whereabouts of able-bodied men not enlisted in his Confederate army, such as Jacob Hudson and Charles Entler.
The Wayward Letter:
4_One letter to be delivered that would cause much controversy
(One letter to be delivered that would cause much controversy was a “thank you” note to widow Lily Parran Lee in Shepherdstown. Gen. Stuart had been trying to order a new uniform while at The Bower. He had visited Mrs. Lee, a dear and trusted friend in Shepherdstown. Her husband, William Fitzhugh Lee, died at First Manassas/Bull Run wearing silver spurs Stuart had given him. It seems, according to the letter, that Daniel Rentch, a merchant in Shepherdstown, was commissioned and – did indeed have made – the famed cape that J.E.B. Stuart would wear in the war. It was delivered. In the letter Stuart tells Mrs. Lee to thank Mr. Rentch for the cape. Burke was carrying a letter between Stuart and Mrs. Lee, maybe this one).
Wednesday – November 19, 1862, Dam No. 4 on the Potomac River – Leopold’s First Victim:
5_Leopold’s First Victim
Fearing conscription, Unionist residents hastily relocated across the Potomac into the safety of Maryland. The large family of one Jim Dunn was making such a move across the river near the guard lock of Dam No. 4, wth some pickets from the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry watching from the Maryland side. Burke’s and Leopold’s gang suddenly appeared and with gunfire broke up the moving, leaving most of Dunn’s family stuck still on the Virginia side. Dunn was stuck on the Maryland side. Dunn asked three local men – Theodore “Mort” Cookus, a farmer with land on the Virginia side, Charles Ridenour and William Colbert – ambling along on the towpath – to help get his family and cargo across the river. After over an hour, the four men re-crossed the Potomac to the Virginia side. Burke and Leopold and others attacked again:
Author French Recounts Leopold’s Firing On “Mort” Cookus:
6_Author French Recounts
Suddenly Burke, Leopold, Hipsley and O’Brien appeared. Leopold shouted to Ridenour, “Halt you Yankee Son-of-a bitch!”. . . He (Ridenour) remembered Cookus crying out, “For God’s sake men, don’t shoot me!” Burke replied, “Surrender or we will surely kill you.” Then almost simultaneously, the captain and Leopold each fired once into the skiff. Cookus, now hit on the left side, jumped into the river. “After Cookus jumped out,” Ridenour later testified, “he swam twelve or fifteen feet and received three more shots. Every time the guns crack, he dodged his head under water. Capt. Burke says don’t kill him. Laypole says I will kill the son of a bitch.” And he did. Union Gen. George Gordon wrote: . . . a brave and plucky fellow named Cookus . . . plunged into the river and struck out vigorously for the Maryland shore. Two-thirds of the way across he was hit by a bullet and sank dead to the bottom of the river. – Gordon, p. 14.
– See more . . .
7_sank dead to the bottom of the river
Author Steve French:
8_they’re all back with Stuart
They are taken to Fort McHenry. The soldiers who are captured – they’re released very soon afterwards, paroled. And by January the first, 1864, they’re all back with Stuart at his camp near Fredericksburg, Virginia. That winter, as soon as he is exchanged and the others are exchanged, they’re back in the service – dispatched service – operating once again in the Shepherdstown/Berryville area, carrying mail back and forth between the citizens and armies, scouting and so on.
March 6, 1863 – Leopold – the Deserter’s Avenger in Shepherdstown:
9_he comes into Shepherdstown with John O’Brien
Author Steve French:
On the night of March the 6th, he comes into Shepherdstown with John O’Brien, and he’s hunting for a man named Jacob Hudson. He finds Hudson caring for his uncle at his house at Shepherdstown. And he knocks on the door with O’Brien. Evidently he doesn’t know Hudson, but Hudson has been talking about him around town. When Hudson opens the door, Leopold asks for Hudson – “Is Hudson in the house?” – Hudson immediately becomes scared and he runs toward the back door and he is shot down. George Brantner, who was a former Confederate soldier, he’s seated right in that room, cannot tell whether it was Leopold or O’Brien who shot the young man, but he sure identifies him later on, because Leopold met Brantner at the door and (Leopold) told him he had mail for him. Leopold will come down the street that night. He will tell one resident (Federal postmaster Elias Baker on German Street-JS) here in the town that he did shoot a man up the street and then they will leave the mail here and head back for camp.
10_Leopold Avenges Again
March 15-16, 1863 – Leopold Avenges Again at the Bridgeport, MD Ferry:
11_group of men go to Sharpsburg
Ten days later, on the night of March 15th & 16th, Leopold and a group of men go to Sharpsburg, Maryland, and, in Sharpsburg that night they steal six horses from an oyster wagon, parked outside of a local tavern. After midnight on the 16th, they return to try to get across the river. They go to Bridgeport where the ferry is, directly behind me, and they knock on the door. They say they have a dispatch to take to Harper’s Ferry to (Federal) General Stevenson. The young man, Charles Entler and his friend Samuel Jones, that are in the office that night, sleeping in the office, refuse to answer the door. Finally, Leopold starts tearing the shutters off the windows and Charles decides to come out. Samuel Jones would later say he knew it was Leopold at the door, but he was too scared, too frightened to say a word. As Charles comes out the door, his brother, Luther, who is in the ferry house himself, walks outside; and, as soon as he gets outside, he hears a man shout at his brother:
13_By God, I’m Captain Leopold
14_Charles, nineteen-years-old, runs off and dies
“By God, I’m Captain Leopold and I’ve been looking for you a long time.” Immediately the gunshot goes off, Luther turns, makes haste into his house to get his revolver. His brother, Charles, nineteen-years-old, runs off and dies in the road, going up towards Ferry Hill. Leopold and his men escape. Now, they’re wanted men. The Middletown Valley Register over in Maryland, a few days later, comes out with a long article about Leopold and his band and at the end of it says: “Leopold deserves a hempen collar.” So he’s a wanted man, not only by the authorities in Maryland, but by Union soldiers, especially Major General Robert Milroy, the famous “Grey Eagle,” who was headquartered at that time in Winchester.
April 21-22, 1863 south of Millwood, Va.- Leopold and his team are recaptured:
Towards the end of April around April 21st, Union forces are sent out of Berryville and they go to Castleman’s Ferry. That night, they will capture Leopold, and, once again, some of the Burkes – Hipsley and some other men when they surround the house, and they threaten to burn it down, if the Confederates don’t come out.
15_They’re taken to Winchester and put in the Clarke County jail
Author French continues:
They’re taken to Winchester and put in the Clarke County jail. While in that jail, one of Milroy’s citizen spies named Michael Graham from Woodstock, Virginia, talks to Leopold and find out what he wants. Leopold wants to either join the Union Army or be allowed to get out of jail and go to Ohio. In return he will tell Milroy who the scouts and spies are in the lower Shenandoah Valley. He will meet with Milroy, and Milroy will listen to all this, but Leopold plays his hand too fast, and tells Milroy what he needs to know beforehand.
16_brought before Federal Major General Robert Milroy
Leopold (Laypole, Leopole) is brought before Federal Major General Robert Milroy at Winchester, VA and begins bargaining:
Major-General SCHENCK,WINCHESTER, VA., April 25, 1863. Baltimore, Md.: Rebel [Andrew T.] Leopole, the last two days in irons, hoping for leniency, makes this statement:
Residence, Sharpsburg, Md. Enlisted in Confederate service two years ago, as ensign First Regiment Virginia (rebel) Cavalry, and remained in that regiment until Stuart’s appointment as brigadier, about a month after the first battle of Manassas, when I became ensign of his brigade, which I continued to be until last May, when I was transferred to the Virginia Cavalry as third lieutenant. I continued in that regiment until after the battle of Sharpsburg, in September last, when I was promoted to first lieutenant of Company D, same regiment, in which regiment I served until November 24 last, when I was captured at Shepherdstown. I remained a prisoner until January 6 last, when I was exchanged, and reported, as ordered, to General Stuart, at his headquarters, where I remained until January 13, acting as his couriers. On January 14, as ordered by him, I left for Castlemans Ferry, in command of 70 men, where I remained until last Tuesday, when, with 6 of my men, I was captured. My business there was to observe the movements of Federal forces, . . .
NOTE – At this point Leopold appears to be divulging intelligence on Confederate positions to Milroy in hope of leniency – JS:
and report to General Fitzhugh Lee, who is now between Markham Station and Manassas Gap Railroad and the Shenandoah River, about 2 miles east of the Blue Ridge, with the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Tenth Virginia Cavalry and two batteries. Regiments average about 350 men each. The locality of these troops is about 16 miles from Castlemans Ferry and 10 miles from Berrys Ferry. General Trimble, with three infantry brigades, is near Orleans, in Fauquier County. Lee’s and Trimble’s forces moved at the same time from Culpeper Court-House to their present position, where they arrived about two days before my capture. There are two other brigades one from Louisiana and the other from Virginia encamped between Sperryville and Little Washington. They belong to Trimble’s division. With each brigade is a battery, and a battalion of artillery besides, attached to the division. The brigades, I think, will average 1,900 men each. The two brigades near Sperryville came that far with the other brigades, and halted there. I saw Geueral Stuart on the 17th of this month between Salem and Jefferson, and learned from him that A. P. Hill, with a portion of his command, had left for the Valley by way of Hanover Junction, Charlottesville, and Staunton. I saw Hill’s baggage at Culpeper, and learned from the master of transportation that it was en route from Staunton. I heard General Stuart say that the Federal forces at Winchester would be captured as soon as the Shenandoah River became passable. I also learned from his general order book that Jones had been ordered to march to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and destroy certain trestle-work on that road. I am tired of fighting, and wish to take the oath of allegiance and retire into Ohio. I have always stood high with General Stuart, enjoyed his confidence, and, when at his headquarters, ate at his table.
Milroy concludes in this report:
The above statement is strongly corroborated by other circumstances and information. I recommend that Heintzelman be directed to ascertain the truth of the above statement, so far as it refers to Fitzhugh Lees and Trimbles forces and their locality. R. H. MILROY, Major-General. – Letter to Maj. General Robert C. Schenck from Maj. General R. H. Milroy. pp. 252-253.
Author French recaps:
They’re taken to Winchester and put in the Clarke County jail. While in that jail, one of Milroy’s citizen spies named Michael Graham from Woodstock, Virginia, talks to Leopold and finds out what he wants. Leopold wants to either join the Union Army or be allowed to get out of jail and go to Ohio. In return he will tell Milroy who the scouts and spies are in the lower Shenandoah Valley. He will meet with Milroy, and Milroy will listen to all this, but Leopold plays his hand too fast, and tells Milroy what he needs to know beforehand. So Milroy won’t agree to give him his freedom or allow him to switch sides and join the Union Army, but he will pack him to the prison at Fort McHenry.
Fort McHenry, MD – Leopold is not trusted, is tried after much delay and hanged:
So Milroy won’t agree to give him his freedom or allow him to switch sides and join the Union Army, but he will pack him to the prison at Fort McHenry.
17_Baker would write that Leopold is not trusted
Captain Joel Baker, the guard, comments that most of the prisoners of the group – there’s about eight or nine in the guard room – most of the prisoners are cultured gentlemen, but not Leopold. Baker would write that Leopold is not trusted by the other prisoners. They think he would sell them out for just a few cents.
Leopold is held in prison until mid-December, 1863, when he is put on trial by a military tribunal. He’s charged with a number of crimes, of being a guerrilla, murderer, violating an act of war, and being a spy. The tribunal is led by Col. W. W. Bates of the 8th New York heavy artillery. The Judge Advocate is Lieutenant Roderick Baldwin. Leopold will represent himself, but he will have the help of a local, Baltimore attorney, Milton Whitney Esq. who was well-known in Baltimore for many years.
18_he will have the help of a local, Baltimore attorney, Milton Whitney Esq.
Author French continues:
The trial opens up. A lot of local residents come from here to Fort McHenry to testify, including Daniel Rentch, Luther Entler, Samuel Jones, other men from Shepherdstown and also General Milroy will appear. The trial will go – on and off – for probably three, almost four, weeks. They break for Christmas a while; they break for different witnesses to arrive. Finally, two charges are dropped, but he is still charged with being a guerrilla and murderer, both capital offences.
19_wasn’t a guerilla, that he was a Confederate soldier
His defense rests on that he wasn’t a guerilla, that he was a Confederate soldier, especially dispatched into this area by J.E.B. Stuart. Also, he refused to admit that he had murdered Charles Entler. He said he didn’t have anything more to do with the murder of that young boy than any of the judges on the tribunal; and, he said the shooting of Cookus was just part of a local skirmish. So he denied being a guerrilla; he denied being a murderer.
In his summation, Lt. Baldwin, the Judge Advocate, would say: we owe something to the people of the border who have been hounded from their home, who have been murdered at their doorstep. We need to protect them.
The verdict comes back. He is convicted of murder: the murder of Entler, the murder of Cookus – and he is convicted of being a guerilla. Afterwards, the verdict and the results of the trial – goes up through the chain of command. Finally, they reach that April, Judge Advocate Joseph Holt. Holt reviews all capital cases for Abraham Lincoln. In a four-page review, Holt will say this man has been convicted of these crimes and he deserves the death penalty. In late April, 1864, Abraham Lincoln will sign off on that.
At that time, Leopold is taken from the guard room, shackled. He’s put in a cell, still in the inner fort, but not with the rest of the men on death row. During that month, there is a big escape from the guard room at Fort McHenry. William Boyd Compton leads the rest of the men in the escape and they all eventually get back to the Confederate lines.
On the evening of April the 22nd, Leopold will be informed by his chaplain, Doctor Reese, that his execution will be the next morning. He will meet with Reese that evening for prayer and communion. During the winter, Leopold would become a committed Christian. He studied the Bible frequently. He had another small book that he would study. They had prayer. Reese left for a while.
20_About, five-thirty (AM), he would return
About, five-thirty (AM), he would return. Once again, they would talk of the afterlife. Then he (Leopold) would go out under guard, get on the wagon atop his coffin, and he would ride to the execution site right outside the walls.
21_Robert Baylor of Charlestown was also a prisoner
Captain Robert Baylor of Charlestown was also a prisoner at Fort McHenry at the time. He was out on the grounds of the fort and as he passed Baylor, Leopold would wave to Baylor and said: “Tell the boys I remain true to the cause.” As they neared the execution site, he could see the soldiers of the fort lined up on three sides of the gallows. The gallows there could have four executions at the time.
22_Lew Wallace was there, later on the author of “Ben Hur.”
(Federal) Major General Lew Wallace was there, later on the author of “Ben Hur.” He was the commander-in-chief of the Eighth Corps Middle Department, and Brig. General W. W. Morris, the sixty-six year old commander of Fort McHenry was also there.
23_Leopold pointed to Gen. Morris and said
24_The hood was put on his neck
He was helped off the wagon. The reporter for “The Baltimore American” said that “Leopold went up the steps firm and undaunted.” Once atop the scaffold, he was asked for any last words and Leopold pointed to Gen. Morris and said: “Old man, you’re the reason I’m here. But I’ll forgive and I’ll meet you in Heaven.” After that, he stepped back. The hood was put on his neck by Private Elijah Brown, and then the rope put around his neck.
25_Leopold dropped into eternity
Just afterwards, Morris gave the signal, and then – Leopold dropped into eternity. He would hang there for about twenty minutes before the soldiers took him down. There were friends there in Baltimore, some of Leopold’s friends. They brought him back to Sharpsburg, where he was prepared for burial. A few days later, he was going to be brought to Shepherdstown to bury in the Soldier’s Cemetery. His plot will be right beside Redmond Burke, his old Captain. But he’s going to be brought across here by the undertaker, (with) of course his mother and sisters are with that group.
26_They’re going to ride up this hill
They’re going to ride up this hill. At the Entler Hotel, there is a group of Unionists shouting at the undertaker to go back. Beforehand these same people had (gone) to the cemetery and warned the over four hundred mourners there to leave, but they ignored them. They go to the cemetery – once again – there’s a big crowd there. Lots of girls crying and so on. He is buried.
Although maybe a year before, Leopold had been a hated person by most Confederates in this area because they heard that he was going to switch sides. By this time, he totally redeemed himself. His conversion to Christianity, his bravery on the scaffold had turned him into a local hero. Later on, that same day, the Unionists would strike. They would come back and would steal the undertaker’s hearse and his horses and ride away with them. Whether he was really guilty of every crime that he was accused is questionable. He wasn’t a guerilla. He was a member of the regular Confederate Cavalry and there’s some question, on the murder of Entler that it might have O’Brien did the shooting.
27_Mary Louise Entler
Mary Louise Entler who lived her life from rebel wild cat to 92-year old wise woman in Shepherdstown at the time she died there March 27, 1932 who carried mail with Leopold and tried to save him, wrote: “His fault was recklessness. He did not stop to consider what might be his fate if caught in the Union lines, and he had run the gauntlet so often without being caught that he became heedless of danger.”
28_he became heedless of danger