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[18] the tow-path along the canal, which runs close by the Potomac, is six miles, while by the country road via Licksville, it is eight. As, however, the latter was certainly the safer, I took it. The roads were frightful. A cold pelting rain was pouring down, and night set in before I had half completed my journey. The bridges being all down, I had twice to swim the canal with my horse. The night was horribly dark, and the only feature of the desolate scene connecting one with civilization, was the telegraph-poles, my sole guides along the way. It was about nine in the evening when I reached the mouth of the Monocacy, whither I was led by the welcome sight of camp-fires ahead. Arriving, I found detachments numbering about seven hundred men, of the Sixth regular cavalry and the Eighth Illinois cavalry, who had arrived about an hour ahead of me, and were on their way to report to Gen. Pleasanton. As, however, it was ascertained that the General was some two or three miles below the mouth of the Monocacy, they had halted on the hither side of that stream, and the crossing being dangerous in the dark, they encamped on the road for the night. I spent it with them, horses and men both lying by the wayside-brisk fires fed by the fence-rails being kept up to counteract, somewhat, the effect of the drenching rain from which we had no shelter save our blankets. In the gray of the morning we pushed on to Gen. Pleasanton's quarters, at White's Ferry on the Potomac, about two miles below where the Monocacy empties into the stream. From the General we learned the story of the previous day. The cavalry reenforcement were many hours too late to be of any service. The whole rebel force had succeeded in effecting their escape into Virginia at this crossing about noon of Sunday.

Riding back to-day from White's Ferry to headquarters in company with General Pleasanton, I learned from that officer the chief points in his remarkable chase after the rebel cavalry. When he received his orders on Saturday morning from headquarters to proceed in pursuit he was stationed near Sharpsburgh. At seven A. M., he had started, his command consisting of portions of the Eighth Illinois cavalry, Third Indiana cavalry, and Eighth Pennsylvania cavalry, with Lieut. Pennington's battery of horse artillery. At eleven A. M. of Saturday they made Hagerstown. Thence they moved out on Clearspring road three miles toward Hancock, but were recalled to Hagerstown by a despatch from headquarters. From Hagerstown they were ordered to Mechanicstown, which they made at eight P. M. of Saturday. Here they first got scent of the rebels, who were returning southward on their detour from Chambersburgh, and were reported as having passed a little town east of Mechanicstown, half-past 11 Saturday night. From Mechanicstown, Pleasanton set out in pursuit at one A. M., Sunday morning. At five A. M. he reached Frederick, and thence went directly south to the mouth of the Monocacy, the rebels passing a little ahead of him, by a parallel road a little east, through Newmarket and Urbana. At eight A. M. the Union cavairy struck the Poolesville road, near the mouth of the Monocacy. Here the Union advance-guard met the rebel cavalry, from two thousand to two thousand five hundred strong, under command of Generals Stuart, Hampton, and Fitz-Hugh Lee. Pleasanton's force did not number over five hundred horse. The rebels were clothed in the National uniforms taken at Pennsylvania, and were mistaken for our own troops. The rebel officer; waited till the Union troops came close up, gave the salute, and then charged with carbines and pistols. At the same time they opened with two pieces of artillery, with the evident intention of forcing a passage to Monocacy Ferry. General Pleasanton was able to prevent this, and having succeeded at length in getting the battery in position on a hill by the roadside, opened upon the rebels, and shelled them in the woods. Thus thwarted, they made for the crossing at White's Ferry, and all that the small force of Gen. Pleasanton could do was insufficient to prevent their making good their escape at this point. They were all safely across by half-past 12 o'clock. No damage was done to our side except one man wounded; rebel loss not known.

Thus, unsuccessfully for us, ended this exciting cavalry race--one of the most remarkable on record, in which our force made the unprecedeented chase of ninety miles in twenty-four hours. If the General in command of the Union force did not capture the rebels, he certainly did the best he could under the circumstances. His force was entirely too small to cut off their re treat, after he did come up with them. It must be remembered that they had four men to his one; while the crossing was covered by batteries, planted on both sides of the Potomac. Besides, in the line of his pursuit, he was strictly subject to orders from headquarters, and was thus cut off from all the advantage he would have had by being able to make cross-cuts on the enemy as he found them.

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Pleasanton (7)
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