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[13] fight. Major Webster threw out a line of skirmishers, and our boys replied pretty effectively to their fire, and they retreated. We had not advanced far until we discovered a large force of cavalry, drawn up in a field, in our front and across a stream of water. Companies A and B, of the Twenty-fifth, were deployed to the right, and opened fire with their Enfields, whereupon the cavalry turned tail and retreated again, but halted and formed again on a level plain, to reach which they had to ascend a sloping piece of ground. Here we supposed they would make a desperate stand, as the ground was well adapted to the movements of cavalry; and as the space between the opposing forces was good for a charge, I imagined that as our line advanced, they would come thundering down upon us in true Murat style. And, indeed, with the number of cavalry drawn up in line before us, if they had made an energetic charge they could have done us considerable damage. Our boys were crazy for the order to forward. Ever since the first fire they had been wild with excitement, and had made the mountain ring with their cheers as the rebels retreated. Major Webster directed Major Owens, of the Second Virginia, to go to the left with the Virginia boys, turn the enemy's right, and attack them in the rear. As the Virginians filed past the Twenty-fifth to its position, the boys of each regiment cheered each other vociferously, and pledged themselves to conquer or die. Then the word was given to forward, and with cheer upon cheer, away we went on doublequick, and away also, before our impetuous charge, but with greater speed, went the chivalric Southern cavalry back to Huntersville, which was now revealed to us for the first time. Pausing a moment at the top of the ascent to let the men take breath, we could see several companies of infantry drawn up in the town, about half a mile distant. Again we moved forward, and the picture was quite lively to see; to our left across the fields, the Virginians advancing on doublequick towards the town, while our own regiment was moving forward on a charge, and the cavalry occupying the space between the two divisions, and all cheering lustily and full of determination to clean out the town. We went flying into town; the Major on horseback at the head of the men, swinging his cap and cheering, and everybody else seeming to exert himself to create as much noise as possible. But the rebels had fled before we reached the town, the cavalry flying out the road towards Staunton, and the infantry scattering through the woods in a very promiscuous and unmilitary style. With loud cheers we rushed through the street, and, as we gained the opposite side of the town, the boys saw a few badlyscared rebel infantry, and began blazing away at them as they ran up the hill-side. In the midst of the firing a young woman (and a handsome one at that) suddenly sprang from behind a log, and ran across the field towards her home, frightened almost to death, and leaping like a deer, (or dear,. if you please.) So soon as she was discovered the firing ceased, and there ended the fighting; part of the programme. We had killed one rebel and wounded seven, among the latter a captain, and had one of our boys, a member of Company E, Twenty-fifth Ohio, shot in the wrist. Thus we had achieved an almost bloodless victory, driven the rebels back from three different points where they had taken their stand, and now have possession of their depot of supplies.

And now we set about seeing what we had gained by the triumph. It did not take long, for Huntersville is not the most extensive city in America, nor the most beautiful. In fact, it was a very contemptible place, both in size and appearance, and in Ohio would be sneered at if it should aspire to the dignity of a county-seat. It has one church, a jail, and court-house — not remarkable for its architectural beauty; a dozen or fifteen dwellings, and three hotels, the latter being the best buildings in the town. It has been used chiefly for the quartering of troops, the citizens having nearly all deserted it some time ago. One or two families were still there, and from them we learned that there were about four hundred cavalry, and two companies of infantry stationed there to guard the rebel supplies. One cavalry company was from Memphis, Tenn., and was finely equipped. All of them were armed with Sharp's carbines and sabres. They were apprised of our coming the night before, scouts having seen us as we took dinner on Thursday, 17 miles back. Capt. Alexander, of Tennessee, who commanded the post, at once sent a messenger to the rebel Camp Baldwin, on the Allegheny mountains, and also despatched couriers through the country to collect and bring in the militia, who met them to the number of two or three hundred, swelling the rebel force to seven or eight hundred. We had not more than five hundred men, when we got to Huntersville, having only seven hundred originally, and at least two hundred of these had been left to guard various points in our rear. Capt. Alexander made his boast that he could whip us, but the result showed differently. The militia, or, as the boys say, the “flat-footed militia of Pocahontas County,” wouldn't stand fire, as they scattered like sheep at the first sound of a gun. We would have pursued, and might have secured a few infantry prisoners, but Major Webster wisely determined that we had better burn their supplies and return before the rebels had time to throw a superior force from Camp Baldwin in our rear, and thus cut off our return. There were two roads leading from that camp to the road by which we had to return, one striking it ten miles this side of Huntersville, and the other coming into it at Big Springs. The Major found five or six of the largest buildings filled with ample quantities of provisions, and at first he determined to take them from the buildings in order to save the latter, but finding it impracticable, he caused them to be set on fire, and seeing them far enough enveloped in flames to make their destruction certain, we set out on our return. As Huntersville receded from our view, the flames were leaping heavenward, and dense volumes of smoke rolling above, from this hole of

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J. D. Webster (3)
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