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[65] en route. Reaching Winchester at noon of the 18th, Harper received orders from Letcher to go on to Harper's Ferry.

The two companies from Staunton left by the Virginia Central railroad about sunset; at Charlottesville they were joined by Capt. W. B. Mallory's Monticello guards and Capt. R. T. W. Duke's Albemarle rifles, and at Culpeper by a rifle company. Manassas Junction was reached at about sunrise of the 18th, when Harman impressed a Manassas Gap railroad train to take the lead toward Strasburg, followed by the other trains that had brought troops to the junction. The Ashbys and Funsten left Richmond on the 16th to collect their cavalry companies, and those of the Black Horse cavalry under Capts. John Scott and R. Welby Carter of Fauquier; these to march across the Blue ridge and rendezvous near Harper's Ferry. Ashby sent men on the night of the 17th to cut the wires between Manassas and Alexandria and keep them cut for several days, to prevent information of this movement reaching Washington. Before 10 a. m. of the 18th, the trains reached Strasburg and the infantry companies took up the line of march for Winchester. Imboden, with great difficulty, secured horses for his battery, and by noon followed on to Winchester, 18 miles, which he reached about dark. The troops were coldly received by the majority of the people of that conservative town, quite unlike their conduct during the following years of heroic endurance.

Harper, reaching Winchester in advance, when the infantry arrived sent them forward by rail to Charlestown, 8 miles from Harper's Ferry, and then ordered back the train for the artillery. About midnight the infantry marched to Halltown, within 4 miles of Harper's Ferry, to which point the artillery was taken by train and the guns run forward by hand to Bolivar heights and put in position to shell the place if necessary. Harper, who thought the Massachusetts regiment had arrived at Harper's Ferry, was making his arrangements to attack the armory and arsenal at daybreak of the 19th, when at about 10 p. m. of the 18th a brilliant light from the direction of the armory convinced him that the Federal troops in charge had fired it and fled. He promptly advanced and took possession, but too late to extinguish the flames, which destroyed nearly 20,000 rifles and pistols,

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