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[33]

Very early on the 27th Kilpatrick drew out first and pressed on rapidly in order, if possible, to drive the enemy's outposts, scouts, and cavalry beyond the West Point Railroad. Feeling himself so well backed up, Kilpatrick was this time successful in holding on to the railroad.

Getting upon the railroad by twelve o'clock noon, I deployed in the usual manner, intrenched enough for protection in case of surprise, with the hamlet of Fairburn in plain sight. I put Kilpatrick out on our approaches so as to give us plenty of warning; Ransom was placed in reserve. Very soon the lively work of railroad breaking was undertaken. We could see different parties of the road destroyers; one party, now standing in a line, seized the rails and lifted all together, causing a long span to come up and be broken apart; another party, catching the ties, threw them upon a log fire to ruin them. Upon the top of a heap others piled the rails, each to be heated in the middle. Another group would run with a rail and push its hot part against a telegraph pole or tree, and run around the trunk in opposite directions.

The most effective disabling of a rail was done by using two short hand bars with a contrivance at one end of each to seize and hold the rail fast; two men at each hand bar turning the rail in opposite directions would make a twist. Two such twists prevented the use of a rail till it had gone again to a rolling mill.

Schofield had moved a little, enough to free his command for speedy work, and watched toward the east and north to cover all trains. Thomas had chasseed to the left, and he came up abreast of me at Red Oak Station; and we all, in the manner we have indicated, spent a day and a half crippling the West

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Judson Kilpatrick (3)
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