On the 14th, Sigel
's advance finally reached Rude's hill
, near New Market
, pressing back Colonel Imboden
. Colonel Smith
, in command of Imboden
's force during that general's absence to meet Breckinridge
, formed his little brigade and held the town until night, artillery firing continuing during the day. In the morning Breckinridge
arrived with Echols
' brigade, Wharton
's brigade (Forty-fifth and Fifty-first regiments and Thirtieth battalion), and the Virginia military institute cadets under Colonel Shipp
The fight was opened by McLaughlin
's artillery, and presently the Confederate
line advanced, while Imboden
's cavalry and McClanahan
's battery occupied a hill commanding the enemy's left.
The fire from this position scattered Stahel
's cavalry, and Sigel
fell back half a mile, pressed by the Confederate infantry.
Men were falling rapidly now under a destructive artillery and infantry fire, and the Sixty-second regiment and the cadet corps made their famous charge upon a battery at the Federal
center, capturing it and the gunners, but suffering terribly in the movement.
defeated a cavalry charge and Sigel
was soon in retreat.
occupied Rude's hill
In this battle the Federals
lost 831 out of about 6,000, the Confederates
577 out of about 5,000.
Immediately afterward Wharton
's and Echols
' brigades were called to Lee
's army on the Cold Harbor line.
In the latter part of May, a Federal reconnoissance was made through Pocahontas
and Braxton counties
, gathering in a considerable number of partisan rangers, and horses and cattle.
was soon replaced by Gen. David Hunter
, who advanced to Mount Jackson
simultaneously with another incursion by Crook
, who left Meadow Bluff
on the last of May to attack Staunton
Thus was begun the Lynchburg
campaign, in which many West Virginians served with great credit.
's men stubbornly contested Hunter
's advance, and were reinforced by W. E. Jones