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‘ [163] God to bless them. The woods are literally covered with the baggage, coats and haversacks of the enemy. Though almost naked, my command is ready to move forward.’ Reynolds, who had been taken by surprise by Lee's advance, says in his official report: ‘So. matters rested at dark on the 12th, with heavy forces in front and in plain sight of both posts, communication cut off, and the supply train for the mountains loaded with provisions that were needed.’

Colonel Rust, at 10 p. m. of September ,13th, wrote to General Loring from Camp Bartow, to which he had returned, in obedience to undated instructions from Gen. H. R. Jackson, which read:

Dear Colonel: Return into camp with your command. So soon as you arrive, address a letter to General Loring, explaining the failure and the reasons of it. Show this to Captain Neill, quartermaster, and let him at once furnish an express ready to take your letter by the near route. If possible, get the postmaster, Mr. Arbogast, to go, and go rapidly and at once. Say in your letter that I am in possession of the first summit of Cheat mountain, and in hopes of something going on in Tygart's valley, and shall retain command of it until I receive orders from headquarters. It may bring on an engagement, but I am prepared, and shall whip them if they come.

P. S.—I cannot write here. Enclose this scrawl in your own letter. You had better return yourself at once to camp, leaving your command to follow. We had several skirmishes yesterday and killed several of the enemy.

It appears, from this letter, that General Jackson wrote it on the morning of the 13th, after hearing from Rust of the failure of his movement; that Rust, on receipt of it, returned to his old camp, followed by his command, which probably reached there some time during the night of the 13th. Rust's letter to Loring reads:

The expedition against Cheat mountain failed. My command consisted of between 1,500 and 1,600 men. Got there at the appointed time, notwithstanding the rain. Seized a number of their pickets and scouts. Learned from them that the enemy was between 4,000 and 5,000 strong, and they reported them to be strongly fortified. Upon a reconnoissance, their representations were fully corroborated—a fort or block-house on the point or elbow of the road, intrenchments on the south, and outside of the intrenchments and all around up to the road heavy and impassable abatis, if enemy were not behind them. Colonel Barton, my lieutenant-colonel and all the field officers declared it would be madness to make an attack. We learned from the prisoners they were aware of your movements, and had been telegraphed for reinforcements, and I heard three pieces of artillery pass down toward your encampment while we were seeking to make an assault upon them.

I took the assistant commissary, and for one regiment I found

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