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[600] no room for doubt that he was virtually beaten.

Gen. Crook, with 11 regiments, numbering some 6,000 men, had made directly for the Virginia and Tennessee railroad at Dublin station; 4 miles from which he was met by a far inferior Rebel force under McCausland, which fought bravely, but was beaten off, with a loss on our part of 126 killed and 585 wounded. The railroad here, and for a short distance eastward, was destroyed. And now the appearance of a considerable Rebel reenforcement, dispatched from Wytheville by Morgan before he fought Averill, impelled Crook to retreat to Meadow bridge; so that, when Averill reached Dublin, Crook was gone, which left him no choice but to follow. Thus the concentric movement upon Lee's flank and rear resulted, as usual with such combinations, in general failure, if not positive disaster. A force that, if concentrated, could have beaten all the Rebels in Virginia west of the Blue ridge, had been so dispersed and frittered away as to achieve less than nothing.

Grant at once relieved Sigel, sending Gen. Hunter to succeed him. The old, fatally vicious system of a concentric advance from opposite points on a common focus was still adhered to. Hunter, somewhat strengthened, at once resumed the offensive; the pressure on Lee by Grant's persistent hammering having constrained Breckinridge's withdrawal, with the better part of his force, to the defenses of Richmond; W. E. Jones, with most of the Rebel forces in the western part of old Virginia, including McCausland's, having been hurried forward to confront the new danger. The two armies met1 at Piedmont, near Staunton — Hunter's being somewhat more numerous2--and a spirited and well-fought action resulted in the defeat of Jones, who was shot through the head, and fell dead on the field. Among the fruits of this victory were 1,500 prisoners, 3 guns, and 3,000 small arms. It was, in fact, a rout; leaving the Rebel army incapable of further resistance.

Hunter advanced to Staunton, where Crook and Averill — no considerable force having been left by Jones to oppose them — joined3 him;

1 June 5.

2 Col. C. G. Halpine, chief of staff to Hunter, says of this conflict:

The forces actually engaged were about equal: Gen. Hunter having some 9,000 men actually in action, while the enemy had about the same — strongly posted, however, on a range of hills, horse-shoe shaped and heavily timbered, and further protected by rifle-pits and rail-fence barricades, hastily thrown up the night before. The Rebel morning report of the day previous, found on the dead body of Gen. Jones that afternoon, showed that he had then under him 6,800 regular Confederate soldiers; while we knew that he was joined on the morning of the engagement by Vaughan's brigade from East Tennessee, and also by about 1,500 militia — old men and young boys, not worth the powder required to kill them — hurried forward from Staunton and Lynchburg on news of our advance.

The fight, though not large in numbers, was singularly obstinate and fluctuating: the enemy beating back repeated charges of our infantry and cavalry, under Gens. Sullivan and Stahl--for neither the divisions of Crook nor Averill had then joined us; and it was quite late in the afternoon, after a long and sweltering day of battle, when the movement of the gallant Col. Thoburne's division across the narrow valley, and its charge up hill upon the enemy's right flank, decided the contest in our favor. Gel. Wm. E. Jones, their commander, was killed, as also four Colonels; and we had about 1,800 prisoners, including the worthless reserve militia, seventy regular officers, and 2,800 stand of arms, as the spoils attesting our success. But for the coming on of night, and the broken, heavily-timbered nature of the country, the famous feat of “ bagging” that army — so popular with Congressional orators and enthusiastic editors — might have been easily accomplished; for a worse whipped or more utterly demoralized crowd of beaten men never fled from any field.

3 June 8.

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