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[88] New River bridge. Colonel Moor, also, with two regiments, was to move from Beverly to Droop mountain. General Averell reached Petersburg December 10th.

General Echols, at Lewisburg, suspecting a Federal advance from Charlestown, sent Capt. Philip J. Thurmond on a reconnoissance, and he dispersed some Federal pickets on Big Sewell mountain and forwarded the startling intelligence to Echols of the proximity of a large body of the enemy. Thurmond skirmished with their advance as far as Lewisburg, where Echols made a stand before the town until all public property was removed, when he moved across the river, driving back the enemy's advance with McLaughlin's artillery. Being advised then of Moor's approach from the north, he fell back into Monroe county, where he was joined by McCausland's force, Gen. Sam Jones also arriving and taking command on the 14th. Averell meanwhile, making feints to confuse Jackson and Imboden, made his way safely to Salem on the 16th, and destroyed the stores at that point, destroyed four bridges and injured the track to some extent, but was compelled to make a hasty retreat in the afternoon of the same day. He found his way beset with difficulty, as General Early had reached New Market to direct the movement for his capture, and Gen. Fitzhugh Lee with two brigades had been ordered into the field. Echols was placed near Sweet Springs, and Jackson, ordered in every direction in the confusion, finally brought up at Clifton Forge near Covington.

Averell attempted to re-enter western Virginia by the Sweet Springs road, but meeting Echols, turned off on an obscure road to Covington, reaching there just as a detachment from Jackson was firing the Rich Patch bridge. He succeeded in getting part of his men across when Jackson cut his command in two, Colonel Arnett attacking, while Major Lady, with 50 men, three times during the night repulsed Averell's attempts to get the remainder of his cavalry across the bridge. At daylight

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