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[73]

During the winter of 1862-63, the citizens of Hardy and Hampshire counties were severely afflicted. The Federal forces were in possession of the region, and had constructed blockhouses along the railroad, and earthworks at various stations, which seemed to insure them against attack. There had also been constructed a number of ironclad cars, carrying pieces of heavy artillery, to aid in the defense of the road. General Milroy levied assessments upon the inhabitants, which caused great suffering, and not content with that issued an order banishing those who in any manner expressed sympathy with their State and the South. Hundreds of families were arrested under this order and forcibly expelled from their homes, without permission to carry with them the necessary means for support. Numbers of helpless women and children were sent through their lines without protection, but found a generous reception among the loyal people of the valley, who, on their own part, had not yet realized the terrible destruction awaiting them. An even greater terror to the citizens were the ‘Swamp Dragons’ and ‘bushwhackers,’ deserters and outlaws who harbored in the mountains and made predatory raids, in which the most fiendish outrages were committed.

In the hope of relieving the people from their oppressions, General Jones advanced upon Moorefield, while Imboden's battalion moved toward the same place through Highland and Pendleton counties. Moorefield was attacked January 2d, but Jones was repulsed. He succeeded in compelling the enemy to burn their stores at Petersburg, and then retired to New Market. The services of Colonel Dulaney, Captain McNeill, Lieut. C. H. Vandiver, and Privates J. W. Kuykendall and J. S. Hutton were particularly commended by the general commanding.

As the season for resuming military operations in Virginia approached, it was apparent that the Federals were massing their strength for another advance toward Richmond,

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W. E. Jones (2)
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