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[94] force was about ten thousand men, and Colonel Pegram's about four thousand. Their natural retreat was by way of Beverly and Huttonsville through the Cheat Mountain Pass, as it is called. North of this there is no road over the Alleghanies passable for artillery until the circuitous road running northeasterly from Leedsville through St. George and West Union to Moorfield is reached. If, therefore, by the capture of Beverly the road by Cheat Mountain Pass (and with it any other road south of it) were cut off, this north road was the only retreat open to General Garnett.

General McClellan's plans are best described in his own language. On the 23d of June he wrote a letter to General Scott. “I stated,” says he, “that it was now certain that the enemy had a force of some kind near Huttonsville, with a strong advanced party intrenched near Laurel Mountain, between Philippi and Beverly, and that their chief object seemed to me to be to furnish and protect guerrilla parties, which were then doing much mischief; also that the apprehensions which had existed on the part of our people of an attack by this party of the enemy were not well founded; that, as soon as my command was well in hand and my information more full, I proposed moving with all my available force from Clarksburg on Buckhannon, thence on Beverly, to turn entirely the detachment at Laurel Hill, the troops at Philippi to advance in time to follow up the retreat of the enemy in their front. That, after occupying Beverly, I would move on Huttonsville and drive the ”

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Winfield Scott (1)
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