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[448] camp. The summit being reached, it was now dark. “Why don't we rest?” was the anxious inquiry of the weary soldier, who thought capture nothing compared with starvation. The descent was terrible; cliffs of ten to thirty-one feet, down which the smooth-footed horse would slide, with scarce life enough to arrest his progress, except it be stopped by contact with a tree or some other obstacle. Many horses left alone staggered over the cliffs and were for ever lost. It was not until midnight we reached Blue Stone Creek, and all threw themselves upon the ground, hungry and tired. On Monday, the twentieth, we left our camping ground at three A. M., the third day, without food and no prospect of any; we pass along Blue Stone Creek, until we strike Tug Fork, Big Sandy. This day was extremely hot, and taking the Wyoming road, we camped for the night. This ended four days without food. Here cattle were killed, and we soon ate what little could be had, and by daylight, the twenty-first, every thing was ready. We travelled along the ridge until we struck the Guyan Mountain. The weather was warm and sultry, and our horses began to tire out and show signs of giving out. This was about thirty-five miles from Raleigh, in the mountains. No one knew the road. Here we procured a guide, who manoeuvred with us all day, and after we camped at night, we ascertained we were still thirty-five miles away. The guide had deceived us. Upon inquiring for him, we learned he had escaped to parts unknown, taking a horse and revolver. Had he been found, death would have been his fortune. We procured another guide. On the following day we started at daylight in search of Raleigh, hungry and tired. Messengers had been sent ahead to procure food for horses and men, when finding our forces had fallen back to Fayetteville, we camped for the night. At daylight the train from Fayetteville, with rations and feed, arrived. Three good, hearty huzzas rent the air for crackers and coffee, and in a few hours we reached Fayetteville, where we remained, rested our horses, and left on Friday morning, the twenty-fourth, for camp. All were tired and worn out, having been eleven days, part of the time (about five days) without food, and six nights without sleep, having been bushwhackers during the entire time, both annoyed by front and rear. We drew a large force after us, and proved that cavalry could go wherever it wanted, regardless of roads or expense.

We travelled over five hundred miles, over mountains of the worst character, and the most desolated country known to civilized men. Our loss in driving the troops was about eighty-five men and officers, killed, wounded, and prisoners. About three hundred horses were left on account of not being able to travel. While the loss is great to the Government, it is a success beyond a doubt. Some five thousand troops had been sent to intercept us on our backward movement, but we reached camp, tired out.

Rebel official report.

The enemy, one regiment of cavalry and parts of two regiments of infantry, about one thousand strong, rode into Wytheville a little before sunset yesterday. Almost at the same instant two newly organized companies and the employes of this place, in all about one hundred and thirty men, with two field-pieces, whom I had despatched under Major T. M. Bowyer by the passenger train, arrived. A sharp skirmish immediately commenced in the street and continued about three quarters of an hour, when Major Bowyer retired with a part of his men and brought them off in the train. Captain Oliver and two citizens were killed and Lieutenant Rosany badly wounded.

The enemy lost Colonel Toland, commanding the brigade, one other colonel, one major, and seven privates killed; one lieutenant-colonel and about twenty-five men wounded, and in our hands. The Lieutenant-Colonel, Powell, is reported mortally wounded. I am informed they lost every one of their field-officers. The command left Wytheville about ten o'clock last night, retreating toward Tazewell Court-House. It is now reported they are coming down Walker's Creek to this place. If they retreat by the way they came they will probably be intercepted and cut up. They paroled on their retreat seventy-five or eighty of our men, whom, I suppose, they found it inconvenient to carry off. Of course the parole under such circumstances is worthless under their own order. The damage to the railroad can be repaired in an hour or so. The jail, commissary, and quartermaster storehouses and several private houses were burned.

Samuel Jones, Major-General.

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