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[23] with others, to take charge of the squads from our company who were skirmishers. You can imagine what work this was — breaking through the tangled undergrowth over the slippery snow. We were ordered back to our company as soon as relieved, and managed to remain with the extreme advance. As we approached every house on the road we surrounded it, and extracted from the owner what information we could concerning the pickets and position of the enemy. When we had got about fourteen miles we came upon their pickets, three of whom were cavalry and one infantry. As soon as we came in sight the horsemen mounted and galloped off toward the Gap, but Captain Keyes' men overtook and captured them. The foot-soldier was asleep when his comrades aroused him; he raised his musket, but Captain Keyes, pointing at him his revolver, ordered him to surrender, whereat he dropped his gun in the snow, and gave himself up. It was now broad day. The Gap was distant two miles, and the enemy unaware of our close proximity, and yet, to our surprise and disappointment, no rest was given us. The cavalry was ordered to the rear of the artillery, and Colonel Dunning, in a stentorian voice, ordered: “Forward double-quick!” No sooner did the boys take up the cadence of the step, than they commenced to yell like so many savages. This was unfortunate; for long before we came within good shot, the enemy was aware of our approach, and made their preparations.

About four hundred yards this side of Blue's Gap, is a bridge crossing a large stream. I was in the advance guard, and on coming to the bridge we saw four or five of the rascals tearing up the planks at the other end.

On seeing us they fled, but we had the ineffable consolation of tumbling them over, as they were running down the road. We replaced the plank, and now rejoined our company by command of Col. Dunning. I will now try to give you a brief description of the position, strength, and character of the enemy at Blue's Gap. The Gap is formed of two very high hills, which, as they approach the road, become fearful and towering precipices. The road and stream between these two hills are not more than twenty feet wide. This pass, so strongly fortified by nature, was defended by the two cannon of the enemy. The hill north of the Gap was protected by a rifle-pit, that on the south was undefended, the rebels supposing that human beings could not mount the rocky and almost perpendicular mountain side. Just back of the earthwork, on the north side, the hill descends abruptly to the road beyond; the hill, on the south, has a much more gradual slope. At the upper end of this gap are two roads branching from the main one, leading north to Little Capon, on the railroad, and on the south to Moorfield. Col. Dunning ordered the Fifth Ohio to charge the works on the north hill, the Fourth to go over the mountain on the south, and the Seventh to push along the road, as soon as we had well opened the action.

The Fifth mounted the hill with alacrity, but so difficult was the ascent that long before the brow of the hill was passed, and we came under fire, all order was at an end. I passed ahead of the company, and going among the Company A boys, was among the first to come into range.

There were only about three hundred men in the intrenchments. They fired about five rounds at us before we got to them. The Colonel, with his voice of thunder, as near us as the fallen timber would let him, encouraged us on to the fight. “Go in, now, at last, my bullies; go over their entrenchments!” “Remember Cincinnati!” For a time the bullets whistled over our heads with quite a charming music, but when about twenty yards from the rebels they scattered in every direction over the hills, leaving about twelve killed in the works, and as many prisoners. We who had come up first, rushed down the hill on the other side, and reaching the two cannon as they were about to be limbered up, bayoneted the gunners and secured the pieces and caissons. A few of us ran up the Capon road after the fugitives, but they soon scattered over the hills and disappeared. Two of them, however, fired at us from a house by the road-side, into which we rushed, accompanied by an Irishman from Company A. The rebels tried, in an awkward manner to defend themselves, but we pinned them to the logs of the wall and left them crying: “Oh! Oh!” The Irishman said they would never get any further in their letters!

In the mean time, the Fourth Ohio had gone over these hills like so many wild-cats, and captured thirty-five of the enemy. The other regiments were too far in the rear for the fun. We learned from the prisoners that the rebel force was one thousand eight hundred men, Virginia militia, under Col. Blue.

Of these forty were killed and about the same number captured. I counted thirty dead, and, strange to say, we did not lose a man! We burned Col. Blue's house, his mill and out-buildings, and many other houses in the vicinity used for quarters. We drove home a large herd of cattle, and hauled away a number of wagon-loads of ammunition and stores. After everything of value was destroyed, the order was given to return home. Although the road was in much better condition than during the night, yet the walking was fatiguing enough. We left the Gap at noon, and reached camp at four P. M., thus making the expedition and march of thirty-two miles in seventeen hours.

All but two regiments have had orders to leave this post for some point on the railroad; we are to remain behind.

--Cincinnati Gazette, January 21.

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