Image from regimental history facing page 504
|Sgt John Emerson Crawford
1st Maine Cavalry
A 21 year old resident of Warren ME, he mustered into Co F of the 1st District of Columbia Cavalry on February 8th, 1864.
Transferred into 1st Maine, Company C with rest of 1st D.C. Cavalry. Discharged for promotion March 9, 1865.
More images of John and his family after the war at: Kim & Mike on the Road
Cilley's inscription in Crawford's copy of the Regimental History.
Excerpt from the regimental history page 352: This event happened while Crawford was still with Company F of the 1st DC Cavalry during Hampton's Great Beefsteak raid.
Private Stephen Gray, of Co. K, thus tells the story of his day, so far as it came under his knowledge: -
At tho time of the raid on Sycamore church, September 10, 1864, the regiment was in camp close to the road running to Prince George Court House. We were on dismounted picket, and there were four posts between the church and the pickets of the Eleveuth Pennsylvania Cavalry, who were on our right, between us and the court house. The flret post, cloee to camp, was driven in first, and then the second and fourth posts fell back to the camp. On the third post were William H. Hill, of Co. K, John Crawford of Co. F, and myself, and we waited for the offlcer of the picket to relieve us.
We waited until the heavy firing was over, it seeming to us that the camp had been surprised, and either captured or the regiment driven away, when Hill and myself went to camp to see how matters were, while Crawford remained on the post to keep communication open for us. We found the rebels in full possession of the camp, and destroying what they could not take away with them. We hid in the bushes a short time, but the rebs came so near us we thought it would not be safe to remain longer, so we cautiously rejoined Crawford, and started up the road towards the court house. We had not gone far when we heard the sound of cavalry coming down the road, which we supposed was from the Eleventh Pennsylvania regiment, but which proved to be a number of the enemy's cavalry. We were ordered to surrender, and Crawford and myself were inclined to do so; but when the omcer stepped forward to take our arms. Hill, who was standing behind us, declared he never would surrender, and quickly brought his carbine to his shoulder and sent two shots into the body of the officer. Hill then turned and began flring into the ranks of the rebels, Crawford and myself following in quick succession. The enemy returned the flre, but we stepped behind some trees and kept up a brisk flre with our repeating rifles for a few moments, when, by Hill's advice, we ran into the woods some distance, and hid under the tops of some trees that had been recently felled. The enemy followed, but soon lost sight of us. We could hear them hunting for us in the woods, and could hear them talk about shooting us when they saw us, hanging us when they caught us, etc. Finally they concluded we had gone through the woods, and they returned to the road to take care of the offlcer. We judged from their conversation that others were killed or wounded, as well as he.
We crawled through the woods to near the house of a Union planter, where Hill had been on duty as a safe guard, when a young lady came running from the house and told us to run, as the rebels were coming. I went to the front of the house, and saw them coming across the fleld in large numbers - seemingly thousands of them. We at once started, and the rebs tried to cut us off; but we reached a ravine, into which we made our way a short distance, where they could not follow, mounted, though they sent several shots after us, without effect. We remained in hiding eome time, when I crept to the edge of the woods to see if they were still there, and found there were more there than before, and with artillery. We left our hiding place, moved up the ravine, and travelled a long distance in the woods, as we thought, when Crawford took a look out of tlie woods and saw the enemy, in battalions and regiments, moving hack in the direction of the church. We kept on our way, and late in the afternoon met our regiment coming back, deployed as skirmishers. About dusk we reached the camp of the Sixteenth Massachusetts regiment, where we were treated kindly and fed, having had nothing to eat for twenty-four hours.
The next day we passed the spot where the rebs came down upon us, where we saw three dead horses in the road. On reaching the camp we found the body of Lieutenant Mountfort lying in the shed by the church, stripped of everything, and even a finger cut off to secure a ring.