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[446] and, if possible, destroy it; then to move down the Valley, cross the Potomac, and threaten Washington. On the 17th he reached Lynchburg, and Hunter arrived at the same time. Preparations were made for the attack of Hunter on the 19th, when he began to retreat, and was pursued with much loss, until he was disposed of by taking the route to the Kanawha River. On the 27th Early's force reached Staunton on its march down the Valley. It now amounted to ten thousand infantry and about two thousand cavalry, having been joined by Breckinridge and by Colonel Bradley T. Johnson, with a battalion of Maryland cavalry. The advance was rapid. Railroad bridges were burned, the track destroyed, and stores captured. The Potomac was crossed on June 5th and 6th, and the move was made through the gaps of South Mountain to the north of Maryland Heights, which were occupied by a hostile force. A brigade of cavalry was sent north of Frederick to strike the railroads from Baltimore to Harrisburg and Philadelphia, burn the bridges over the Gunpowder, and to cut the railroad between Washington and Baltimore, and threaten the latter place. The other troops moved forward toward Monocacy Junction, where a considerable body of Federal troops under General Wallace was found posted on the eastern bank of the Monocacy, with an earthwork and two blockhouses commanding both bridges. The position was attacked in front and on the flank, and it was carried and the garrison put to flight. Between six and seven hundred unwounded prisoners fell into our hands, and the enemy's loss in killed and wounded was far greater than ours, which was about seven hundred.

An advance was made on the 10th nearly to Rockville, on the Georgetown Pike. On the next day it was continued to Washington, with the hope of getting into the fortifications before they could be manned. But the heat and the dust impeded the progress greatly. Fort Stevens was approached soon after noon, and appeared to be lightly manned, but before our force could get into the works, a column of the enemy from Washington filed into them on the right and left, skirmishers were thrown out in front, and an artillery fire was opened on us from a number of batteries. An examination was now made to determine if it were practicable to carry the defenses by assault. ‘They were found to be exceedingly strong, and consisted of what appeared to be inclosed forts for heavy artillery, with a tier of lower works in front of each, pierced for an immense number of guns, the whole being connected by curtains with ditches in front, and strengthened by palisades and abatis. The timber had been felled within cannon-range all around and left on the ’

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