twenty-two miles west from Cumberland
A Federal scouting party had been sent out from New Creek
on the 26th, and Rosser
, marching all night, arrived within six miles of New Creek
at daylight on the morning of the 27th.
The village was strongly fortified, with one heavy gun enfilading the road on which Rosser
was moving toward it. General W. H. Payne
's brigade was put in front, with about twenty men in blue overcoats.
The column moved slowly toward its object, and citizens along the road, and travelers at that early hour thought it was the returning party that had gone out the night before on a scout.
Less than a mile from the two, the first picket was reached.
These men jocularly mocked the empty-handed returning party, but they were silently surrounded and taken along with the column.
was reached and entered.
On the left was a high hill, not steep, on which an infantry force of twelve hundred men was encamped.
The Federal troops were engaged in drying their blankets and preparing their breakfast, when the column of Confederates, suddenly breaking into line, charged the hill, and, without the loss of a single life, took eight hundred of these infantry.
The Confederates then proceeded to destroy the railroad bridge, and gather as much as they could carry away of the large supplies they found stored at that point.
, encumbered with many hundred cattle and sheep, and a long train of captured stores, turned his column homeward.
, a village seventy-five miles west from Staunton
, there were stored large supplies, guarded by a Federal garrison that did not exceed one thousand men. Rosser
, learning of this fact, took three hundred men from the several brigades and started before daylight from Swoope's Depot, on January 10th.
He spent that night, or a part of it, on a mountainside, without fires.
The snow was deep, and the weather bitterly cold.
Before daylight on the morning of the 11th, he was on a hill west of Beverly
, overlooking the garrison of Federal infantry in their wooden huts on the plain below.