his Thirteenth Virginia, regiment, and Col. S. B. Gibbons
, with his Tenth Virginia, by special train to Winchester
, in command, was instructed to also take Colonel Vaughn
's Third Tennessee regiment, which had just reached Winchester
, as part of his detachment, move toward Romney
without delay, and do the best he could to retard the progress of the Federal
troops toward the Shenandoah valley.
ordered Lew Wallace
to occupy Cumberland
with the Eleventh Indiana, June 10th, he warned him to be very cautious, but the ambitious colonel, learning that a considerable Confederate force was quartered at Romney
, Hampshire county
, in the South Branch valley
, left Cumberland
at 10 p. m. of the 12th, with eight companies of infantry, about 500 in number, and went by rail 21 miles southwest to New Creek
) station of the Baltimore
On the morning of the 13th, about 4 a. m., he started to march across the mountains, by a rough country road, hoping to reach Romney
, 23 miles distant, by about 8 a. m. When within a mile and a half of the town, coming from the west from Mechanicsburg
, his advance was fired upon by a mounted picket, which fell back and gave the alarm, although the camp had an hour's previous notice of his coming.
Pushing forward to the bridge over the South Branch
, he saw the little band of Confederates drawn up on the bluff in front of the town, supporting a battery of two guns which commanded the road by which he must approach.
's advance guard crossed the bridge on a run, and came under a warm fire from the windows of a large brick house not far to the right, which continued for several minutes, during which a second company crossed the bridge, and following up a ravine got into a position from which it drove the Confederates
from the house and into the mountain back of it. Wallace
then pushed a flanking party up a hill to the right, but before these men got within rifle range, the Confederates
limbered up their guns and retreated over the bluff.
The Federals at once entered, taking possession of empty houses and a lot of negroes, and searching for arms, and after a short stay returned to Cumberland
, making a forced march.
It was this movement that misled Johnston
and induced him to send Hill
The advance of Patterson
, within a day's