Maranville, Ebgert Lillie
Age: 15, credited to Poultney, VTVITALS
Birth: 01/08/1848, Ticonderoga, NYADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
Poultney Cemetery, Poultney, VT
Check the cemetery for location/directions
and other veterans who may be buried there.
Poultney Civil War Veteran Tells of Escape From Mosby's Guerillas.
By Mary Gilbert Smith.
"When we were in the Shenandoah," said E. L. Maranville of Poultney, who enlisted in the 2nd Vermont when he was 15 1/2 years old, "John S. Mosby, colonel in the Confederate service was in command of a band of robbers and cutthroats that preyed on our stragglers and robbed our supply trains. If a man was too sick to keep up with his company, he could get a pass that allowed him to 'straggle' for the day and catch up at night if he could. Mosby's men got a lot of these stragglers, and took everything they had. Along at the last they fooled us a lot by being dressed in our men's uniforms.
"In our regiment, as in others, there were men who didn't have too much courage. They banded together to stay by one another against Mosby's men and every one else. Eight of us who were young and had good teeth formed a band to get passes, go through the lines and get a turkey, a pig or anything else we could lay our hands on. One of the older men named us the 'Foolhardy Independent Sons of Satan.'
Lots of Caves.
"There are a lot of caves in and around Cedar creek. Two days before the battle one of the Sons said 'I've found a d--d big cave. Let's explore it.' We didn't know but it would be a month before the battle. So we got passes to go foraging, bought some candles from the sutler and went to that cave.
It had a big entrance, semi-circular at the top. A man couldn't ride a horse in, but he could lead one in. There were three entrances, but we didn't know it at the time. After we'd explored three big rooms we came to a flat rock like a big stool, and thought we heard water beyond. 'I'm going in,' one of the boys said. Then he decided not to. After three had backed out, I made up my mind to explore it myself. I discovered all I cared to, which was three rooms, and went back, but the boys were gone. A big, grizzled man, with hands as big as two of mine, stepped from behind a pillar and said: 'You're my prisoner.' I started to get my gun from behind a pillar, but he said: 'You won't need your gun. You'll go right along with me. Keep going to the right.'
Eight U. S.-Branded Horses.
"It kept getting lighter and lighter until we came out of another opening to the cave, about eight or 10 feet high. There on a bank sat five or six men and a boy a little older than I was, which was 16 1/2 at that time. There were eight horses, most of them saddled and bridled and all branded 'U. S.' on their flanks.
"The old man kept tagging me up and he said: 'You may ride that little bay horse. I'll throw you on.' The horse had no saddle and no blanket, but I jumped on. My blouse flew up and exposed the sharp dirk I carried on my hip along with my revolver. I don't know yet why the man didn't search me in the beginning. That was what Mosby's men usually did with their prisoners.
"I got my eye on the road, an old, overgrown one, and thought I could find my way back. We rode twice as far from here to Poultney to their camp. There was a fire there and a haystack against the building. I could hear roosters, hens and turkeys.
"They dismounted and I got off when I was told. The grizzled man brought me a big thick blanket and said: "There's your bed. You'll sleep under that tree by me.'
Boy Starts Fight Over Knife.
"The boy said: 'I want that there knife o' yourn. I saw it when you got on our horse.' I told him if he got the knife, he'd have to take it. He was a little older than I was, a long, lathy fellow, and he struck out right away. I was brought up among wrestlers and scufflers, scientific chaps who had taught me all they could. I touched him good and plenty over the eyelid with my fingertips, and brought tears to his eyes.
"He came on again and I gave him the collar and toe and threw him onto his shoulder. That hurt him and he didn't get up too soon. He swore and jumped around like a rabbit when he did. I took him over the other eye, and he groped like a mad-man then. I had to do for him or he'd have done for me. I gave him one over the ear and he went down.
Vanquished Sent Home.
"'You're licked,' said the old fellow. 'Take your gun and go home.'
"He was hardly out of sight when a nice-looking girl rode up, all ragged out to the handle with officer's boots and a black hat with a white feather in it. She never looked at me, but jumped off her horse and carried her basket to the old man. It had a hoe cake in it and other things too.
"Suddenly she turned on her heel and looked at me. 'You licked the boy,' she said. 'He started it,' I told her. 'I'm damned glad you licked him.' she said.
"She gave me something sweet and a piece of lean meat - pork, I think it was, and the man gave me a cup of coffee. Then she got onto her horse as quick as an officer, rode away, and I never saw her again.
'You'd better lay still,' the man told me, 'or you'll get filled full o' lead.' But I knew where the road was and calculated to take it. I lay there and planned and sweat. It would freeze on my face and stop; then I'd warm up and sweat again.
"Every little while the man would reach out in his sleep and slap me to make sure that I was there. About 3 o'clock I rolled up my blanket and laid it there, like me, so that he could hit it. I watched him do it once; then I tiptoed to the road.
"I never knew many boys that could outrun me, and a little fear always helps. I was going along like the devil, head down, when I struck something that went heels over head and I beyond it. 'O Lordy! Lordy! Lordy! it said.
Runs Into Negro.
"It was a nigger who had been out trying to get something, and I stopped his noise pretty quick. I told him I'd give him $5 if he'd take me to the Union lines. He wanted to tell his Mandy first, but I said 'No'.' Finally he cut a stick, took one end of it and gave me the other. 'We goin' to run,' he said, or those men goin' to kill you dead sure.' We ran till we ran into a Union cavalry picket.
"I told him I was a Vermonter, and he said he was one too. He said: 'I'll have to take you back to the picket post.' The picket post was at the old grist mill. He had to do all the talking, and he woke up the major, who was mad as the devil.
The major sent me back to my own regiment with a guide after I'd given the nigger his $5. I got there just as they were drawing rations. The Seven Sons had about given me up. While they were waiting for me, they heard the guerrillas come in at another entrance. They sneaked out of the one we'd gone in at and his in the bushes to wait for me. But the big fellow fooled 'em by sending his men out of the third entrance and then taking me out that way too.
Start for Petersburg.
"We had marching orders and started to Petersburg to join Grant's army. Then we got word that Early was coming and we came back to fight in the battle of Cedar Creek. I didn't get into the war until nearly the end of '63, after my oldest brother was killed. The Wilderness was my first battle, but it wasn't my last one. We Vermonters were in a lot of fighting."
Newspaper clipping in a scrapbook dated 1933, probably the Rutland Daily Herald.
Courtesy of William J. Powers.