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[162] beyond Strasburgh, and was stopped at midnight, in perfect darkness, by an ambush and a barricade. Col. Figyelmesi, of Fremont's staff, who was in advance with the cavalry, went through the one and over the other, not without severe injury to himself by the fall of his horse As he felt his way along through the blinding storm, and over roads which were rivers of mire, a quick challenge came out of the darkness, and was answered with a demand for the countersign. “If you are Ashby's cavalry,” replied the rebel leader, “it is all right, come on.”

Recognizing Ashby's voice, Colonel Figyelmesi did “come on,” and answered with instant order to charge. One officer and fifteen men followed him, and with this handful he rode straight into the famous rebel cavalry, and scattered it with the shock. Ashby gave the order to retreat at the first moment, yet in the brief contest three or four rebels were killed.

It was impossible in the darkness and tremendous storm of that night to send forward the main column. General Fremont, therefore, encamped his troops where his lines had been formed, and at six next morning advanced again upon Strasburgh. A mile from camp a courier met him with the news that the head of McDowell's column was approaching the train from the other side. The General instantly put spurs to his horse, and dashing over four miles of frightful roads, passed infantry, artillery, and cavalry, and, with only his staff for body-guard, entered the main street of Strasburgh just as Gen Bayard, commanding the advance brigade of McDowell, rode in.

The First New-Jersey cavalry, Col. Halstead, came up shortly afterward, and with his regiment and the rest of his force, Gen. Bayard was ordered to press forward as rapidly as possible on the rear of the flying enemy. Stewart's Indiana and Sixth Ohio cavalry, under Col Zagonyi, who arrived very soon after, were also sent on, and in a few minutes Buell's and Schirmer's batteries, and the rest of the light artillery under Col. Pilsen, as fast as it could be brought to the front, were hurried ahead at full gallop. After a brief conference with Gen. Bayard, Gen. Fremont rode on with his staff.

The morning for once was clear and beautiful, and the pursuit had every element of interest and excitement. The troops ordered forward came up in quick succession, and as we rode on, cavalry and flying artillery constantly overtook and passed us, tearing furiously along the road in their eagerness to reach the front in time for the expected fight. Very soon came the sound of guns rapidly served, and we knew that the enemy had halted with his rear-guard, in hope of making a stand long enough to delay the pursuit. From a hill at the side of the road we saw the smoke of the guns and exploding shells, and then the cavalry, forming just below the crest of a hill a mile beyond us, in the endeavor to charge the battery in flank, rode over the summit, but were stopped by the timber and could not reach the guns. As Col. Pilsen brought up more guns, it soon became too hot for the rebels, and they hastily abandoned their position and retreated. A second stand was attempted some miles further on, but with no better success. Col. Pilsen's excellent judgment in placing his batteries, and the rapidity and accuracy with which they were served, again compelled the enemy to fly, closely pursued each time by the New-Jersey cavalry, which, during the whole day, were in the advance. A third time Gen. Ewell, who was in command of the rebel rear-guard, halted and turned his guns on his pursuers. It was his strongest position, and he doubtless hoped that here, at least, a few hours might be gained for the main body. So close was our pursuit, and so near the hostile forces, that Col. Pilsen, while reconnoitring the ground, in order to get his artillery most effectively planted, suddenly found himself within thirty paces of a body of rebel cavalry. They fired; his horse was shot under him, and horse and rider went down together. The Colonel's arm was badly crushed, but he was otherwise unhurt, though two bullets passed through his boots. A squadron of cavalry opportunely appearing, the rebels retreated, and Col. Pilsen was rescued and carried to an ambulance. His wound, though painful, was not serious; and in spite of it, he was next morning on horseback, and again in charge of the artillery.

All along the road, and in the woods on either side, were strewn the relics which a fugitive army had left in its trail. Arms, clothing, stores of all kinds, were profusely scattered. A caisson of ours which had broken down and been left by Cluseret on his reconnaissance the night before, was passed within three or four miles of Strasburgh. Dead, wounded, and exhausted soldiers lay by the side of the road. Numerous prisoners were taken, and they gave themselves up often with evident willingness. In one group were men from the Forty-second Virginia, Sixth Alabama, and a Louisiana regiment. One captain was taken in Strasburgh. He had ridden back for his sabre, which he carried in the Mexican war, and valued accordingly. It cost him his liberty. All sorts of reports of Jackson's strength and the condition of his army comes from the prisoners, but it may be gathered from them that he has about twenty-five thousand men, and is greatly in want of subsistence and supplies. In the rear is the famous Ashby's cavalry, fifteen hundred strong. People in the villages through which we passed told us that the army was hurrying on in panic, plundering all houses of provisions, and many of every thing else, and that the men were so exhausted that the officers were driving them on with their swords.

Woodstock was reached on Monday night. Lieut-Col. Downey, who again was sent forward to reconnoitre the town, found the rebel pickets on the opposite side, and was twice fired on, but escaped without injury. A negro woman told him that the rebels began to pass through the town at sunrise, and that their rear-guard had just gone on. In other words, Jackson has less than a day's start; and if his bridge-burning

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Pilsen (5)
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