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[65] Hill was the first of the war. The total force under the command of General Garnett at Laurel hill and Rich mountain, after the arrival of Ramsey's First Georgia, amounted to 4,500 men, a large number of whom were sick in the hospital. Against this little Army McClellan advanced with 20,000 men. On the 7th of July General Morris, commanding one of McClellan's divisions, about 8,000 strong, marched to a position one mile and a half in front of Laurel hill, while McClellan himself, with the rest of his force, advanced to Roaring creek, about two miles from Colonel Pegram's position on Rich mountain. The First Georgia moved out in front of Laurel hill July 8th, and soon encountered the Federal skirmishers, who, after the shelling of the woods by their artillery, attempted to occupy a position which included a round hill in front of Belington. Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, seeing them, quickly deployed his men, and exclaiming, ‘Up the hill, boys! and remember you are Georgians,’ led a gallant charge, which drove back the enemy with some loss. For several days skirmishing continued in front of Laurel hill, and on the 9th, while in ambuscade before the camp, the Georgians were under a heavy fire for several hours. On the 11th General Rosecrans led a strong force from McClellan's army around Pegram's left flank, and about two miles in rear of his position. While Rosecrans was making his attack at Rich mountain Morris was subjecting Garnett's troops at Laurel hill to a lively bombardment.

Late in the evening of the 11th Garnett was notified that Rich mountain could no longer be held. Accordingly he gave orders for the immediate evacuation of Laurel hill. In a pouring rain, which had continued almost without intermission since the previous morning, the Confederates began their retreat to Beverly, sixteen miles distant from Laurel hill and only five miles from Rich mountain. When within five miles of Beverly Garnett, being falsely informed that the Union troops had

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George B. McClellan (4)
R. S. Garnett (3)
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