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[268] roads from Petersburg down Patterson's Creek and through Greenland Gap, and the same evening Thomas's brigade arrived at Moorefield, and was crossed over the South Branch to within ten miles of Petersburg. Early next morning both forces moved upon Petersburg, but on arriving there it was found that the enemy had evacuated during the night, taking a mountain road to the head of New Creek, through a pass where it was impracticable to follow him, especially as there was a dense fog, rendering it difficult to discern objects at a short distance. The works at Petersburg were found to be very strong, with a ditch around them, and very strong abattis. There were large bomb-proof shelters, and appearances indicated that a good deal of work had been done lately. The works were destroyed as far as practicable, and some commissary stores and forage, and about thirteen thousand cartridges were secured. Thomas's brigade was then marched back to Moorefield, and Rosser was sent down Patterson's Creek to collect cattle and cut the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. He reached the road on the 2nd at the mouth of Patterson's Creek, and destroyed the bridge over the north branch of the Potomac. He also destroyed another bridge over the canal, and a lock of the canal itself. In the meantime a considerable cavalry force had made its appearance at Romney, and Rosser returned to Moorefield, which place he reached on the 3rd, with a number of cattle and sheep. McNeil crossed over to the eastern ridge of the Alleghany, and brought off over three hundred cattle.

After Rosser's return, I gave orders for the troops, trains, &c., to start back early next morning, as we had accomplished all we then could, and accordingly every thing but the cavalry was in motion very soon; and after Thomas's brigade had gone about four miles from Moorefield, a considerable force of the enemy's cavalry, with some artillery, made its appearance below Moorefield, on the road from Romney. I ordered Thomas's brigade to be brought back towards Moorefield, and Rosser to retire through Moorefield, and taking a position on the south fork of the North Branch, I awaited the approach of the enemy until after 12 o'clock, when he showing no disposition to attack, but contenting himself with manceuvering very cautiously, and Rosser's cavalry being too much reduced in numbers to attack the enemy's cavalry, which was in view and largely exceeded his own in numbers, I resumed my march back without molestation from the enemy, crossing over to Lost river that night and the next day (the 5th) to this valley. A large portion of the cavalry force which appeared at Moorefield went from Martinsburg and Charlestown, a brigade under Colonel Fish having lately been sent to the lower valley.

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