bridges, railway stations and warehouses, iron works, woolen mills, lead works, and army supplies of all kinds, was very injurious to the Confederacy
, greatly crippling its defensive power in that region, and was also a serious blow to the army of Northern Virginia by depriving it of supplies from that great storehouse of agricultural wealth.
But the damage inflicted was by no means as great as was claimed by the Federal
officers, in command of the expedition, in their official reports.
Much of it was soon repaired, and the lead and salt works were again quickly put in operation and the railway trains to running.
Instances of heroism and fidelity to the Confederate
cause in these days of extremity were not wanting.
marched his command 90 miles in twenty-five hours, and reached Marion
in time to aid in forcing the enemy to retire, although he was greatly inferior in numbers.
Maj. J. Stoddard Johnston
, General Breckinridge
's adjutant-general, who was at Wytheville
without any force, collected six or eight men and held the enemy at bay for two hours, by establishing a picket post, to which they sent in a flag of truce and demanded an unconditional surrender.
He agreed, but required a half hour in which to withdraw his troops.
The terms were declined, but by his ruse he gained an hour and a half of time, and then left with his four men, having in the meantime saved a considerable quantity of stores by sending them eastward on the railroad.
He continued to picket with his handful of men, and kept up communication with General Lee
by telegraph, and probably by his bold doings prevented the enemy from advancing further.
Adjt.-Gen. H. T. Stanton
, of the Confederate army, reported that when the Federal
forces came to opposite the lead works on New river
, and found the ferryboat was on the other side, they offered $500 to any one who would bring it over; but no one was mercenary enough to respond.
They only reached the lead works by having a few bold troopers swim their horses across the deep river.
On the 2d of January, 1865, General Early
had a conference with Gen. R. E. Lee
, at Richmond
, in reference to the difficulties that confronted him in the Shenandoah valley, the lower portion of which was still held by a large army under Sheridan
, while but the fragments of an army, chiefly of broken down cavalry, remained in his command.
that he was left in the Valley