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l beyond, and then sent scouts in every direction to ascertain the whereabouts of Mr. Stuart, who was supposed to be between the mountains. The scouts visited Snickersville, Middleburgh, Philomont, Salem, Paris, and other places in the valley, and brought back tidings that, learning of our advance, Gen. Stuart had accelerated his movements and passed out of the valley by the way of Snickersville, a portion of his force going through Ashby's Gap. A body of rebels had been sent to his support, thus indicating that the rebels were fearful of his being cut off. The bird having flown, and Gen. Stahel being unwilling to come home without effecting something, he certain their strength. Sending home four of his six pieces of artillery, and dividing his troops into two parties, he sent one, under Lieut.-Col. Sackett, to Snickersville, with instructions to proceed to Leesburgh, and thence return to Chantilly. This portion of the expedition followed the plan laid out for it, and made the rou
l Pleasanton, broke camp at Purcellsville, and began the onward march. Our road lay through a most beautiful section of country. The road winds through picturesque forests, over hill and through dale, now over a pure and limpid brook which flows down from the mountain, now by some more picturesque stream which meanders through the meadow. The famous Snicker's Gap at which the enemy are collected in large numbers, can be seen a short distance to the right. The insignificant village of Snickersville is clustered around the base of the ridge, while the tortuous road, as it winds through the gap, is plainly visible. Still the scouts ahead report no enemy, and we press forward, reaching Philomont at half-past 11 o'clock. This is a small secesh village of some one hundred and fifty inhabitants, situated on the Winchester and Alexandria road, about five miles from Snicker's Gap. Just before entering the town we halted, while the skirmishers went forward, ascertaining that some fifty
lt was made for the night, and this ended Friday, the first day of the reconnoissance. Saturday morning early, the whole command proceeded rapidly, by the shortest route, to the Winchester pike, and by sunrise the advance-guard had entered Snickersville without having met an armed rebel. In place of rain, this morning we had a fall of snow. The air was cold and bracing, the men in good spirits, and riding over the Blue Ridge at Snicker's Gap, was one of the real attractions before us. No formal halt was made at Snickersville, but Gen. Stahel pushed on with rapidity over the mountain to the Shenandoah River, capturing a few stray scouts, belonging to White's battalion, on the way, without firing a shot. Descending the mountain, the road, within one hundred rods of the river, inclines to the right. As the advance-guard turned this bend, the little village on the opposite bank--one hundred yard, distant — known as Snicker's Ferry, was brought into full view, and with it a patro