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[56] now under the command of Colonel Ramsey of the First Georgia, up the Horseshoe run road, marching all night and unmolested, reaching the Red House and the Northwestern turnpike at about daylight of the 14th, and safely passing that danger point of attack from the Federal forces at Cheat river bridge and elsewhere on the Baltimore & Ohio, not far away, which McClellan had ordered, by telegraph, to fall upon Garnett's retreating column.

The retreat from Laurel hill was managed so skillfully by General Garnett that Morris did not know he had left until daylight of the 12th. The pursuit was not continued, except by scouts, beyond Cheat river, where his command closed up about 2 p. m. The Confederate loss was small, but it included the brave and skillful Garnett, who was the first officer of rank to lay down his life for his native State. Ramsey continued his retreat on the 14th, followed at some distance in the rear by numerous Federal troops from along the Baltimore & Ohio, which failed to overtake him; crossed Alleghany mountain through Greenland gap; reached the South Branch valley at Petersburg, where the Federal pursuit ended, and thence turned up that valley and arrived at Monterey, 54 miles distant, several days later, with his command thoroughly disorganized but having suffered little loss.

McClellan telegraphed to Washington his first report of the battle from his camp in front of Rich mountain, on the 12th, and followed it with other announcements, of which Gen. J. D. Cox has written (Battles and Leaders of the Civil War):

It is a curious task to compare the official narrative with the picture of the campaign and its results, which was then given to the world in the series of proclamations and dispatches of the young general, beginning with his first occupation of the country and ending with his congratulations to his troops, in which he announced that they had ‘annihilated two armies, commanded by educated and experienced soldiers, intrenched in mountain fastnesses fortified at their leisure.’ The country was eager for good news, and took it as literally true. McClellan was the hero of the moment, and when, but a week later, his success was followed by the disaster to McDowell at Bull Run, he seemed pointed out by Providence as the ideal chieftain, who could repair the misfortune and lead our armies to certain victory.

On the 16th, leaving a force at Huttonsville and on Cheat mountain, McClellan returned to Beverly and proceeded to reorganize his army.

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