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[64] agreed, contingent upon that event, that he would next day order the movement by telegraph.1 He was then informed what companies would be under arms and ready to move at a moment's notice. This self-constituted committee then wired the captains of the companies along the above-named railways to be ready to move the next day, by orders from the governor, which, it was stated, would be to aid in capturing the Gosport navy yard, as a precaution lest information of the movement should reach Washington. It was well known that the guard at Harper's Ferry was only 45 men and could easily be captured if surprised; but Wise had information from Washington that a Massachusetts regiment, 1,000 strong, had been ordered to Harper's Ferry.

After the close of the conference the Ashbys, Funsten, Harman and Imboden secured ammunition and 100 stand of arms for the Martinsburg light infantry from the Virginia armory at Richmond, and had these moved to the railway station and loaded on a train before sunrise of the 17th.

Imboden, by telegraph, ordered all volunteer companies in the county of Augusta to assemble at Staunton at 4 p. m. of the 17th for marching orders. This produced great excitement, as that was a strong Union county, and the people assembled in Staunton in great numbers. When Imboden reached that place, in the afternoon of the 17th, he found his own company, the Staunton artillery, and Capt. William S. H. Baylor's West Augusta guards, an infantry company, drawn up to receive him. There were also present Maj.-Gen. Kenton Harper, commanding the Fifth division of the Virginia militia, and Brig.-Gen. William H. Harman, commanding the Thirteenth brigade of the Virginia militia, who had a telegram from Letcher ordering them into service and referring them to Imboden for information. He informed them, confidentially, of what had been done. Letcher had wired Harper to take chief command of the movement and Harman to call out the armed companies of his brigade. At 5 p. m. Harper left for Winchester by rapid conveyance, after ordering Harman to take command of the trains and troops that might report

1 ‘Jackson at Harper's Ferry,’ by Brig.-Gen. John D. Imboden, in ‘Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.’ Century Co., New York, 1887.

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