of powder, and commissary stores in great variety and abundance. General Duffie rejoined us here, having marched through Waynesboroa on to the Charlotteville and Lynchburg railroad, tearing up a small portion of the latter and capturing a good part of Jackson's wagon trains. Tuesday evening we camped at Buchanan. Averell, coming in before us, captured the Confederate Navy records of 1861 and 1862, together with twelve more canal boats heavily laden with provisions. On the fifteenth, while we were halting at the base of the Peaks of Otter, information was received that Breckinridge with ten thousand men was at Balcony Falls, intending to attack us on our flanks. In a good position for defence, General Crook awaited General Hunter's and the other division. The whole command then being assembled, and no foe appearing, we once more marched forward, stopping for the night at Taney Farm, almost at the base of the Peaks of Otter. Thursday noon we entered Liberty, with bands playing “Hail Columbia,” “Yankee Doodle,” &c. Halting, the whole command proceeded to tear up and demolish the railroad, including a bridge seven hundred feet long. For seven miles the work is maintained, and night closed in upon a scene of smouldering timbers, ties, and hopelessly bent and twisted rails. In Liberty were five or six rebel hospitals, in which were a large number of sick and wounded from Lee's army. We learn here that the rebels are rapidly moving all their stores from Lynchburg to Danville, anticipating the at least possible capture of the former place. Early on the morning of the seventeenth, having heard from Averell that the enemy were drawn up in good number in front of him at New London, we marched Crook's division in advance, by a road not laid down on maps, along the north of the railroad, crossing at James Church. This movement tending to bring us in the rebel rear, caused them to retire toward Lynchburg. Cutting across the country we endeavored to intercept their retreat, but arrived just too late on the main road. Stopping here for dinner we were within about seven miles of the city, on the road to New London. The pickets of the two parties were so close, that various uncomplimentary remarks were passed quite freely from one to the other. At four o'clock, with the Ninety-first Ohio, Second brigade of Crook's division, in advance, we moved out on the road, and in about two miles the rapid firing in front told us that we were near the enemy's first position. They opened on us with a vigorous cannonade, having evidently obtained the range of all prominent points in our lines by previous practice. The Third brigade being placed on the left of the road, the Second on the right, the order to charge was given. The main opposition was found on our right, the Ninety-first and Twelfth Ohio suffering most severely. The Third brigade having little but skirmishing, as it was, on the first charge, the rebels were driven back fully two miles to their line of breastworks, the Ninety-first Ohio gallantly capturing and bringing off the field a rifled gun made in Liverpool, a Blakeley's patent. I heard also that three other guns were captured in this charge, or rather series of charges, but have only been able to verify hearing by sight in the case of this one. During this attack both sides maintained a furious fire of shell, grape and canister, the rebel gunners evidently being skilful hands in the management of their pieces. Our loss was rather large here, especially in the Ninety-first and Twelfth, Colonel Turley of the former having his right thigh fractured. By the time our men were safely posted, and rested from their arduous three hours work, the moon had long been shining, and the thick darkness of the woods in our front, and the unknown character of the ground, forbade any further operations for the night. By this time the three brigades of Crook's division being encamped in line of battle, in the advance, were relieved by the First division, and the men camped and passed the night quietly enough, save occasional shots, as some incautious man of either party exposed himself too openly. Although but two regiments of our command, the Twelfth and Ninety-first Ohio, had been engaged to any great extent, the fighting this first day was remarkable, both for the rapidity of firing, and the steady perseverance of our men. It was confidently believed that had we arrived but a few hours earlier, we would have driven the enemy through Lynchburg that night. As it was we were compelled to halt, and during the whole night the locomotive whistle told us of the rapid arrival of heavy reinforcements, that were greeted with continual cheers of welcome by the foe in our front. Saturday morning came bright and clear, and after an early breakfast I rode out to a temporary hospital on the roadside, expecting every minute to hear a renewal of the battle. While talking to the wounded, the battery right in front of the hostal sent a few shells over into the rebel line, that were immediately replied to, their shells going over and around the building, though none struck it. Save this, no firing of any consequence happened during the entire morning, the time being occupied in changing the position of our various brigades, so as best to use them against the enemy's rapidly extending line. All this time a sharp skirmishing fire was kept up in our immediate front and centre, while a louder report, followed by the ominous whistle, told of the rapid flight of shot or shell. The First division occupied the advance line, while General Crook's division was sent off to the right, but returned almost immediately. As the General's practised eye saw that the enemy were massing for an attack on our centre, he advised the Commanding General of the fact, and recalled his division. It arrived not a minute too soon. Having seen the weakening of our centre, and not knowing of the return of
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Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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