previous next

[530] and the good results of his persistence became evident on Tuesday, when a similar attack was made upon Captain McMullen's battery, when the rebels were driven off, with a number killed and wounded.

On the evening of the twenty-first, General Crook, growing tired of the incessant skirmishing in our rear, determined to give the rebels a lesson, and, concealing the Thirty-third regiment on each side of the road, marched on. The over-confident bushwhackers — for such alone they are — followed, and, as usual, fired on our rear. A return fire from the infantry from the roadside greeted them, and killed fifteen and wounded several. Since then they have been very cautious of any too near approach to our columns.

At Salem we turned north on the road over Catawba Mountain to Newcastle, and on the night of the twenty-third we encamped at Sweet Springs, in whose beautiful grounds of old the chivalry were wont to assemble and disport themselves. Passing the night of the twenty-fourth at White Sulphur, we reached Meadow Bluffs on the twenty-fifth, without incident, save the great need of rations, which began to be felt so pressingly in the ranks. On the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh the march continued; on the latter day the command meeting wagons with abundant rations. Once more rest and quiet await us, and in a short time the army will be ready for another expedition, with, let us hope, better auspices.

Another account.

Gauley, July 1, 1864.
I have before me some accounts of our Lynch-burgh expedition, taken from late Lynchburg papers, which abound with the usual amount of truth that is found in rebel papers. And just here let me note the fact, that the staunchest rebels we met everywhere on our raid, confessed that they did not and could not know the truth in regard to the success or failure of any movements. Their papers dared not tell it, and the people all knew this to be the case.

After a highly mythical account of Saturday's skirmishing — which the distorted rebel imagination magnified into an immense battle over miles of country, and in which I learn that four thousand of our cavalry unsuccessfully charged on men behind rifle-pits and breastworks — certainly a new method of warfare — we read that:

The battle ended on Saturday afternoon, and the enemy retreated in great haste on Saturday night. Had they remained until the next day, we are satisfied, from the dispositions that had been made by General------, that they would have been captured. Their safety is not now an assured fact by any means.

The fearful mystery involved in the blank where the general's name should be, is truly appalling, and well designed to strike terror to the heart of any impudent raider. On a par with this is the doubt in which our safety was still involved. Certainly, the men in our gallant army will be surprised to learn that their enemies were so much more concerned about our safety than we ourselves.

“In many localities, on both the Salem and Forest roads, trees were felled and blockades of fence-rails and stones were made to impede pursuit. In removing these some hours were lost by our men.”

This is simply false. “Some hours were lost by their men,” but they were lost — when General Crook's division lay in line of battle, waiting for these eager pursuers, hoping, longing for their approach. But, no!--they halted just outside of range and continued there, until, tired of waiting, our men once more resumed their march. Do they forget — or perhaps it were contraband to mention it — the lesson taught their valiant bushwhackers by the Twenty-third Ohio at Buford's gap?

Hunter reached Liberty on his retreat Sunday about two o'clock, our forces but a short distance behind. His rear-guard was overtaken about two miles west of Liberty, on the road to Buchanan, and a sharp skirmish ensued, in which we are reported to have captured about one hundred prisoners, besides killing and wounding several.”

One would scarcely imagine from the above that our whole command remained in and about Liberty for dinner and rest nearly. the whole afternoon, from two o'clock till dark. The prisoners taken must be the few wounded left in Liberty under the charge of the three surgeons with the rebel hospitals.

But why pursue this veracious account further? The attempt was most industriously made to convey the idea that our army was disgracefully routed, and that our return was a retreat, and not simply a homeward march from a raid. And as we of Hunter's army draw nearer the Northern world — from the wilderness of mountains and valleys in which for four weeks we have been wandering — we find the same idea prevalent among our own people. Our gallant young General, Crook, was reported killed; five hundred only of his command were returning, the rest in Libby, or their last resting-place, from life's wearisome toils. Such reports, of course, have been most easily dispelled, but there still linger in many minds distressing doubts and fears of disasters most dire. These found partial expression in a despatch published in your city that seven thousand rebels had occupied LeWisburg, which, of course, was untrue. In the valley, no little surprise was manifested when they witnessed our quiet settling into camp life, with no fortifications, no alarms, or undignified hurry. Here they soon learned our true condition; but with you it may be more difficult to see why we failed to take Lynchburg, and why this failure does not constitute a defeat.

But we didn't take Lynchburg, and why? Simply because Major-General Hunter allowed a failure in the first, most important element of

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
R. T. M. Hunter (3)
George Crook (3)
McMullen (1)
Paschal Buford (1)
Buchanan (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July 1st, 1864 AD (1)
26th (1)
25th (1)
21st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: