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[412] particularly unless certain of surprise, would have been extremely hazardous; to wait till morning would have lost much time from my march to join General Lee, without the probability of compensating results. I, therefore, determined, after getting the wagons under way, to proceed directly north so as to cut the Baltimore and Ohio railroad (now becoming the enemy's main war artery) that night. I found myself encumbered by about four hundred prisoners, many of whom were officers. I paroled nearly all at Brookeville that night, and the remainder next day at Cookesville. Among the number were Major Duane and Captain Michler, Engineers, United States army. At Cookesville our advance encountered and put to flight a small party of the enemy, and among the prisoners taken there were some who said they belonged to the “Seven hundred loyal Eastern shoremen.”

Brigadier-General Fitz. Lee reached the railroad soon after daylight, the march having continued all night. The bridge was burnt at Sykesville, and the track torn up at Hood's mill, where the main body crossed it. Measures were taken to intercept trains,. but trains ran to the vicinity of the obstruction, took the alarm and ran back. The various telegraph lines were likewise cut, and communications of the enemy with Washington City thus cut off at every point, and Baltimore threatened. We remained in possession of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad nearly all day.

The enemy was ascertained to be moving through Frederick City northward, and it was important for me to reach our column with as little delay as possible, to acquaint the Commanding-General with the nature of the enemy's movements, as well as to place with his column my cavalry force. The head of the column, following a ridge road, reached Westminister about 5 P. M. At this place our advance was obstinately disputed for a short time by a squadron of the First Delaware cavalry, but what were not killed were either captured or saved themselves by precipitate flight. In this brief engagement two officers of the Fourth Virginia cavalry, Lieutenants Pierre Gibson and Murray, were killed — gallant and meritorious, they were noble sacrifices to the cause. 1[The ladies of the place begged to be allowed to superintend their interment, and in accordance with their wishes the bodies of these young heroes were left in their charge.] The fugitives were pursued a long distance on the Baltimore road, and I afterwards heard created a great panic in that city, impressing the authorities with the belief

1 Omit if published.--R. E. L.

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