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[103]

The fight with the Bucktails.

On the evening of the 5th of June we arrived early at Harrisonburg, and leaving the Valley road turned to the left and went into camp. For the last two days we had been marching leisurely along closing up stragglers, and feeding the horses and men pretty well with the provisions the country afforded. Fremont had been very pertinacious, and was continually on our rear. From Strasburg up, the artillery — either of the pursuer or pursued — sounded continually in our ears from day-light until dark. But as we diminished our pace he slackened his, and indicated that though eager to strike a flying foe, he was not so well prepared to fight one which faced him. Since leaving New Market, such had been our attitude, willingness to fight him whenever the position suited us. On Friday morning, June 6th, we marched late. General Steuart had been relieved of his cavalry command and returned to the “Maryland line,” consisting of the regiment, the Baltimore Light Artillery, Captain Brockenbrough, and Captain Brown's cavalry company, which had joined us just after the fight at Winchester. He had also assigned to him the Fifty-eighth, Forty-fourth, and two other Virginia regiments.

That morning being the rear-guard we were late starting, and delayed by the enormous trains which were carrying off the plunder of the expedition, by the afternoon we had not marched more than three miles. The head of this column was then at Fort Republic, five miles distant, where a bridge spans the Shenandoah. While the cavalry under Ashby had dismounted, during one of those numerous halts, which render the movement of a long column so tiresome, a regiment of Yankee cavalry suddenly dashed through them. Quick as the Yankees were, however, they were not quick enough for Ashby, who instantly formed and charged, routing them totally, and capturing prisoners and horses.

Among his prizes was Sir Percy Wyndham--an itinerant Englishman — a soldier of fortune, who though without rank or position at home, had served in the Italian campaign of Garibaldi, and was a man of gallantry and courage. He was eagerly caught up by the Lincoln Government, when personal courage and dash were at a premium, made Colonel of cavalry, and sent off to the Valley to meet Ashby. His only interview with the Virginia Cavalier was when he was riding bareheaded behind one of Ashby's troopers — a prisoner. He expressed profound disgust at the arrant cowardice of his men, to which he attributed

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