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[175] engage Hunter anywhere that day he could beat him, he disregarded topographical considerations of advantage, and sought his enemy at the nearest point.

Our loss was over 1,500 in killed, wounded and captured, but if the pursuit had been more vigorous it would have been far worse for us. The cavalry did make a demonstration after the battle, but my cavalry brigade, and about seventy-five or eighty Tennessee riflemen on foot, and McClanahan's six-gun battery, arrested their charge and drove them back, when we were permitted to move off without further molestation. The next day Hunter proceeded to Staunton, only eleven miles from the battle-field, and was there joined by Crook and Averill, increasing his force to some 18,000 men. We camped that night at Fisherville, seven miles east of Staunton, on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, and next morning fell back to Waynesborough, at the western base of the Blue Ridge, where we supposed Hunter would attempt to cross Rockfish Gap on his way to Lynchburg. Up to his occupation of Staunton, where his army was so much strengthened by Crook and Averill as to relieve his mind of all apprehension of disaster, his conduct had been soldiery, striking his blows only at armed men. But at Staunton he commenced burning private property, and, as will be seen further on, the passion for house-burning grew upon him, and a new system of warfare was inaugurated that a few weeks afterward culminated in the retaliatory burning of Chambersburg. At Staunton his incendiary appetite was appeased by the burning of a large woolen mill that gave employment to many poor women and children, and a large steam flouring mill, and the railway buildings. He made inquiries, it was said, for my own residence; but as I had sold it, a few months before, to a man of “loyal” proclivities, it was spared.

Hunter remained two or three days at Staunton, and on the 9th of June moved toward Lexington, on his route to Lynchburg. On the 8th, General Breckenridge arrived at Rockfish Gap with a small force drawn from General Lee's army, and assumed command, and immediately began preparing for the defense of Lynchburg. General John McCausland, with his cavalry brigade, was ordered to keep in front of Hunter, and delay and harass him as much as possible, a task which he performed with signal ability, skill, and bravery. Hunter having sent General Duffie, with the brigade under his command, into the county of Nelson, east of the Blue Ridge and south of Rockfish Gap, I was ordered in pursuit and to protect Lynchburg, which was almost defenseless, from surprise by this cavalry detachment. The people of Nelson and Amherst

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