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[522] evening to Burksville, the junction of the Petersburg with the Richmond and Danville railroad. Here he destroyed all the depots, railroad switches and appurtenances, and tore up the road as far as possible in every direction from the junction, after which he rested for the night.

General Wilson, who, with the remainder of his force, had bivouacked at Nottoway Courthouse, on the afternoon of the twenty-fourth advanced across the country to Neberris station, on the Danville railroad, to meet General Kautz, who was to meet him at that place, destroying the road as he advanced. After forming a junction at that station the entire force advanced to Keysville and there bivouacked. The work of destruction was resumed early on the twenty-fifth and by three P. M. we had reached the vicinity of Staunton bridge, on the Staunton river, having completely destroyed every foot of railroad to that point. The distance from Burksville, measured on the map, is about thirty-five miles, and adding to this portions of Southside road which were destroyed the aggregate would not be less than fifty miles and probably more than that distance.

The Danville road was constructed in a fashion known to some extent in the extreme West, but now little used; instead of ordinary T rail, solid beams of wood, technically called stringers, are placed upon the ties, and along their inner edges are firmly fastened long strips of iron, known as strap rails. The stringers were of yellow pine, and being perfectly dry, it was only necessary here and there to place a few rails from an adjoining fence, ignite them, and set the entire structure in a blaze. Miles of railroad might have been seen at a time in flames, and at night the whole canopy of the heavens was one glare of light. By day the conflagration, adding to the already suffocating temperature of the atmosphere, rendered the heat almost intolerable, and many people living in the vicinity of the railroad were obliged to leave their houses and settle in cooler localities.

The rear of our column moving past the fires kindled by the advance was often compelled to leave the road and move at a respectable distance on the right or left, until after a little experience the plan was adopted of leaving depots and other buildings to be fired by those in the rear. The mode in which this work of destruction was accomplished was to dismount a portion of the command, and march them parallel with the railroad; face a regiment at a time toward the road, have them advance and ignite a section of the road in their front, and then resume the march. It was but the work of a few minutes for a regiment to perform its part, and the whole was accomplished nearly as fast as the column could move.

It is only necessary to remind the public of what is already known, viz.: The fact that this railroad is now the only one upon which Lee could depend for communication with the south, south-east and south-west, and the only route by which he could bring up troops or supplies to Richmond or Petersburg; and this being remembered, it is easy to appreciate the vast importance of the destruction of so large a portion of it. Even with the best facilities for repairing, it would require several weeks to place it in running order; weeks of exceedingly precious time to the enemy, and, considering the difficulties which embarrass them, including the army's interruption, it is doubtful whether they will succeed in reconstructing this railroad before the present campaign is decided.

The Weldon road, although but a small portion of it is torn up, is equally unavailable, and practically the rebel army under Lee, and the rebel Government are isolated by an interval of many miles from all railroad communication with the interior of rebeldom.

To return to the narrative of the raid. The force arrived in the vicinity of Staunton bridge, on the afternoon of the twenty-fifth. It was, of course, desirable to destroy the bridge, which was a very important one, and an effort was made to effect this object, General Kautz, who was still in the advance, being assigned to make the attempt. It was found that the enemy were fully prepared to defend it. Our approach had been heralded in advance, and the militia called hastily together from eight adjoining counties, had been concentrated at this point.

From this point the raiders moved in a northeasterly direction, toward Weylesburg, which they reached after a night's march, near daylight on the morning of the twenty-sixth, halting there for about one hour. The twenty-sixth, twenty-seventh, and the earlier part of the twenty-eighth of June were marked by few events of any importance, except that on the twenty-ninth, Brigadier-General W. F. H. Lee appeared on our left flank, which occasioned some little skirmishing, lasting but a very short time, and attended with few, if any, casualties.

On the twenty-eighth we reached the Nottoway river at Double bridge. The Second Ohio cavalry of McIntosh's brigade, having advanced, drove the rebel pickets before them some miles, before we reached the bridge. There was, however, no force there large enough to give us any trouble, and we crossed without difficulty early in the afternoon. Thence we moved on toward Stony creek, intending to cross the Petersburg and Weldon railroad at Stony creek station. It had been designed to cross some miles further south, at Jarrett's station, but it was ascertained that the road at that point was guarded by a heavy force, made up partly of militia and partly of troops sent up from Weldon, and the design of crossing there was, in consequence, abandoned.

The rebel pickets were met at the bridge, and no sooner had our vanguard, comprising a squadron or two of the Third Indiana and all of the Second Ohio, gone over, than the enemy began to show spirited resistance. They were, however, driven back along the direct road to the station, far enough to enable our entire

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