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[541] command, followed down the Valley, after the force conveying the prisoners, and encamped at Middle river. On the 5th, William L. Jackson arrived at Buffalo gap and sent a portion of his cavalry to aid Rosser, by way of the War Springs turnpike to Harrisonburg, where Rosser fell on the enemy's rear, late in the day, and pursued them to Melrose. On .the 6th, Colonel Smith's brigade followed down the Valley to join Rosser, who pursued the enemy to Rude's hill, where he again made a vigorous attack on their rear, on the 7th, and came very near recapturing the Confederate prisoners, McNeill having placed his rangers in front of them, at the bridge over the North Fork, thus bringing them between two fires, but they escaped by a ford on a farm road leading west. ward. Rosser made his attack at 10 a. m. This was probably the last noteworthy engagement that took place in the Shenandoah valley, where more than a hundred notable conflicts had been engaged in during the Confederate war.

On the 9th of March, General Rosser, who was now the ranking officer remaining in the Valley, having collected quite a body of his cavalry and learning that Sheridan's cavalry had turned from Charlottesville toward Lynchburg, determined to intercept and turn them back. Imboden's brigade, from the South Branch valley, reached Stauntonon the 10th, and on the 11th Rosser marched, at sunrise, with about 500 men, toward Lexington, encamping at Bell's, beyond Midway; marching at sunrise of the 12th, crossing the Blue ridge at Tye River gap, then by way of Massie's mills and Fleetwood and on by Hubbard's to Harris', three miles beyond Lovingston, where he went into camp at midnight. Sheridan had been frustrated in his attempt to get to the rear of Lee's army by finding that the bridge across the James, at Hardwicksville, was burned, and had turned down the river toward Scottsville, destroying property of all kinds as he went.

On the 13th, Rosser took the old stage road leading toward Charlottesville as far as Rockfish river, where he turned, through byways, toward Scottsville on the James, which he passed through, and marched down the river for five miles, following Sheridan's rear, along desperately muddy and badly cut up roads, until 10 p. m. On the 14th the pursuit was continued for 20 miles to

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