left the vicinity of Hancock
, on the morning of the 7th, and marched in the direction of Romney
, the head of his column reaching Unger's cross roads that evening.
The condition of the weather, and especially of the roads on which the sleet and snow, tramped by the marching soldiers, had become frozen and glassy so that it was with great difficulty that the troops could make progress, and almost impossible for the trains and artillery to be moved at all, filled the whole line of march with falling, disabled or killed horses.
The cold was intense, and the bivouac the night of January 7, 1862, was one long to be remembered by even Jackson
's hardy and much enduring soldiery.
The march could not be continued until the horses were rough shod, and Jackson
, ever impatient of delay, was forced to remain for some days at Unger
's for this purpose.
The day that Jackson
retired from Hancock
, January 7th, a detachment of the Federal
troops at Romney
, taking the road to Winchester
, fell on a body of some 700 Virginia
militia, under Colonel Monroe
, with Sheets
' company of cavalry, and 30 artillerists with two pieces of artillery, under Lieut. W. E. Cutshaw
, in the narrow gorge called Hanging Rock
, just across the North
river of the Big Cacapon, captured the Confederate
pickets about daylight and, having turned Monroe
's left, took his command by surprise, and pressing upon them with an overwhelming force scattered them in great confusion, capturing the two guns, part of the baggage and 7 prisoners. The Federal troops burned the mills and private houses at and near Hanging Rock
, and then returned to Romney
, burning houses and killing cattle on their way, encouraged to this vandalism by those in command.
Their track of 15 miles, from Hanging Rock
, was one continued scene of desolation.
On the 13th Jackson
resumed his march to Romney
During this delay he had not been altogether idle, for on the 10th he had dispatched, in opposite directions, Brig.-Gen. G. C. Meem
, with 545 militia infantry, toward Moorefield
, and Brigadier-General Carson
, with 200 militia infantry and 25 mounted militia, for Bath
, 16 miles away, to confuse the enemy as to his intentions, while Ashby
hovered near Romney
watching the movements of the Federal
Apprehensive of disaster, General Lander
, in command of the Federal
forces, evacuated Romney