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[478] and constructing a line of defenses in front of that city.

On the 18th, Rodes' division arrived, brought by rail from North Garden. Early, his command now concentrated, formed a line of battle some three miles west and in front of Lynchburg; in the afternoon met and repulsed Hunter's attack, and compelled him to retreat that night by the Salem road. The next morning the ‘army of the Valley District,’ which the Second corps had again become, promptly pursued Hunter, over a hot and dusty road, and attacked his rear in a skirmish at Liberty, and there encamped for the night. On the 20th, Early continued the pursuit to the entrance to Buford's gap, where he had another skirmish with Hunter's rear guard. From Liberty he had sent most of his cavalry across the Blue ridge, by way of the Peaks gap, to Buchanan, to hold the Valley and prevent Hunter from retreating in the direction of Lexington. This force turned from Buchanan toward Salem, and was ready to fall on Hunter's right flank and co-operate with Early's pursuit, on the 21st, to Big Lick, and then across to Hanging Rock, a gap in the North mountains, on the Salem and Sweet Springs turnpike. There it struck the flank of Hunter's retreat, which had been expedited by Imboden's cavalry, which had marched to the left and crossed the Blue ridge southwest of Buford's gap and fallen upon Hunter's rear and left flank at Big Lick (now Roanoke) and forced him in rapid retreat through Salem, harassing and damaging his rear and capturing a portion of his train at Hanging Rock, as he escaped into the mountains west of the Valley. Imboden followed the rear of Hunter's retreating army across to New Castle, on the 21st and 22d. Ransom's cavalry, the command that had marched by way of Buchanan, attacked Hunter's line of retreat at 1 a. m. of the 21st, at Hanging Rock, and also in the vicinity of Salem, aiding Imboden in creating dismay in the ranks of the baffled and retreating army at the latter place; Early's strategy having attacked it in the rear and on both flanks at the same time.

The night of the 21st, the Valley army encamped between Big Lick and Hanging Rock, and there it remained on the 22d, except Ramseur's division, which moved eastward to the vicinity of Botetourt Springs, where headquarters were established, while Ransom's cavalry marched northward to the vicinity of Fincastle.

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