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[22] the Fourth Ohio, and drove the rebels from the rocks on that side. Some sharp firing occurred in that direction. In the mean time, but when the firing had nearly ceased on the mountains, the Eighth Ohio led the way down the Gap, followed by the First Virginia, Seventh Ohio, and the Fourth Indiana. Col. Dunning having passed on and taken the two pieces of artillery, with their caissons and horses, also a wagon and horses, with the Fifth Ohio regiment, returned and ordered the cavalry to charge. His orders were obeyed with promptness, but the rebels had taken to the mountains. The artillery could not be used, and not a shot was fired from cannon on either side during the action.

The rebels were surprised, and it was a complete rout. We found eight dead bodies on the field, or rather among the rocks; there may have been more, but they were not reported. And, singular as it may appear, not a man of ours received even a scratch from a bullet. I can account for this only upon the ground that our guns were some of the best in the world, while theirs were probably inferior arms.

The whole thing was a brilliant affair, and was over in a half-hour after the action commenced on the mountain.

Our force consisted of detachments of the Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, and Eighth Ohio, the Fourteenth Indiana, and the First Virginia, together with two companies of cavalry and Daum's battery, with a section of Howard's battery — in all, about two thousand five hundred men. Our information led us to expect about two thousand rebels, but the citizens and negroes agreed in stating their force at eight hundred. All went on well, until some crazy soldiers, encouraged by some of the officers, commenced burning houses; and I am sorry to say that several houses were burned along the road as they returned.

The mill and Blue's house, which were used for soldiers' quarters, were burned, perhaps properly, as they constituted a shelter, and might have been used again for a nest of bushwhackers, but the burning of dwellings along the road was a piece of vandalism which should be punished with death, not only of the men who did it, but the officers who countenanced and encouraged it.


Another National account, from a Private letter.

Romney, Va., Jan. 9, Fifth Regiment O. v., U. S. A.
You have no doubt learned by telegraph that at last our regiment has been brought in contact with the enemy. Perhaps a more detailed account, and one that you may be assured is honest, may not be uninteresting to you.

On Sunday night, the 5th inst., we were ordered to cook three days rations, and hold ourselves in readiness for a movement in light marching orders. The weather was intensely cold, the ground covered with six inches of snow, which a stiff northwester had drifted into heaps along the roads, rendering them almost impassable. Yet with what joy did the boys prepare their rations and discuss the prospects of a fight.

But that night passed and all day of the 6th without our receiving marching orders. On the evening of the 6th--my birthday — I was detailed as acting sergeant of the guard nightly placed over the intrenchments on the Winchester road. With a foreboding that I was about to miss an opportunity of joining the gallant Fifth in action, I walked the two miles of the slippery road, mounted the guard, and after giving the corporals their instructions, wrapped myself in my blanket and was soon asleep. I was awakened by the rumbling of artillery, and jumping up, learned from the boys that a large force was moving toward the enemy.

Taking my gun and blanket, and without saying a word to those I left behind, I joined the Fourteenth Indiana, then passing. Of course you will say I was wrong in thus “deserting my post,” but you would hesitate to blame me if you could imagine how hard it is for a soldier, young and enthusiastic in the cause, to see his comrades go into action and remain behind.

Our outpost pickets were more than three miles from our intrenchments, and our forces were proceeding against those of whose approach we were ordered to give warning. I may have disobeyed orders, but think that in acting as I did, I followed the spirit of my oath of enlistment. Well, it was one o'clock A. M. on the 7th, when I joined the column. The night was clear and very cold, the stars shining with that sparkling radiance peculiar to winter. The hills and valleys were clothed in a glittering garment of snow, and the whole scene wrapped in winter beauty.

But this snow tended materially to delay our movements. Even where the road was level our feet slipped at every step, making the march, as we afterward discovered, the most severe we had yet undertaken. But the prospect appeared so good for a fight that we hardly felt our limbs gradually flag in their efforts, or our steps more dragging and painful. The column marched in the following order:

First, the advance guard one hundred and fifty strong, composed of detachments from companies of the Fifth Ohio, all under command of Captain Symmes of Company C--Rovers. This guard, after we passed the outposts, was flanked by skirmishers, who scoured the hills on both sides of the road. Then came the Ringgold Cavalry, Captain Keyes, about seventy strong; then the Fifth Ohio, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Patrick, six hundred strong ; then the Fourth Ohio, Colonel Mason, Daum's Pennsylvania Battery, two pieces of Clark's Reg. Battery, the Eighth Ohio, Fourteenth Indiana, Seventh Ohio, and First Virginia, the whole force under command of Colonel Dunning of the Fifth Ohio. I had to make my way from the Indiana boys to the Fifth. Being obliged, of course, to use greater speed than the rest, and exerting to the utmost my pedestrian powers, I reached my company before it had passed the pickets at our outpost.

As soon as this point was passed, I was detailed,

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