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[95] releasing prisoners, and burned the railroad bridge. Such exploits retained in this region large bodies of Federal troops sorely needed by Grant in the Wilderness.

Early in May important operations began, which involved the West Virginia soldiers, but which were conducted mainly in the Shenandoah valley and southwest Virginia. Gen. U. S. Grant, ordering a forward movement in all parts of the South simultaneous with his crossing of the Rapidan, directed Sigel to move two divisions of his army down the Shenandoah valley to Cedar creek, while Averell should make a dash into southwest Virginia, destroy New river bridge, work eastward to Lynchburg if possible, and in that case return to Staunton, where Sigel would meet him with supplies. The forces under Breckinridge by two brilliant battles, one won and the other lost, defeated the full carrying out of this plan.

Crook set out with his division in the last of April, marching 6,155 men by way of Fayetteville to Princeton, while Colonel Tomlinson's regiment, with Blazer's scouts, was sent by Lewisburg. At the same time Averell with 2,000 men was sent by way of Logan Court House to Saltville, Va., thence to strike Dublin Depot. On May 6th, Princeton was occupied with skirmishing. On the 7th, having entered Giles county, a Confederate force was found posted at the gap of Walker mountain but forced to withdraw. On the following day in a skirmish on Back creek before Dublin, Captain Harman, the famous partisan, was killed.

General Jenkins, who had only 200 men with him, took a position on Cloyd's farm, at the base of Cloyd's mountain, commanding the road to Dublin, and about 5 miles from that place, where he was joined by McCausland's brigade, fortunately just arrived at Dublin en route to Staunton, and by Browne's Forty-fifth regiment from Saltville, Dickinson's battery and the Botetourt artillery. The battle began early on the 9th with a Federal attack on the right. while a fierce artillery duel was opened at

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