occupied that place, retraced his steps almost to his abandoned camp, and leaving the pike at Leadsville
turned off upon an almost impassable road over Cheat mountain
into the valley of the Cheat river
, following the stream northward toward St. George
in the forlorn hope of turning the mountains at the north end of the ridges and then regaining his communications.
On the 13th the pursuing Federals overtook the Confederates
between Kaler's and Carrick's fords.
The First Georgia and Taliaferro
's Twenty-third Virginia, with a section of artillery under Lieutenant Lanier
and a cavalry force under Captain Smith
, constituted the rear guard.
were ordered to hold the enemy in check until the wagon train had passed, and then retire behind the Virginians, who were to defend the train until the Georgians had formed in a new position.
This system of retiring upon positions suited for defense was pursued without loss until Carrick's ford was reached, where the Twenty-third Virginia, whose turn it was to face the enemy, suffered considerable loss.
At the next ford, General Garnett
was killed, after giving the order for the rear guard to march as rapidly as possible and overtake the main force.
Here the direct pursuit ceased.
The Confederates, now commanded by Colonel Ramsey
, marched all night and at daylight passed Red House
, not far from West Union, where there was a large Federal force under Gen. C. W. Hill
, who had orders to intercept the Confederates
; but by the time Hill
's advance reached Red House
the Southerners had turned the mountains and were moving southward on fairly good roads.
's half-famished men, who had been marching without food, or opportunity to obtain any, moving now through a friendly country found no further difficulty in getting all needed supplies.
They had lost the greater part of their wagon train at Carrick's ford.
At the little town of Petersburg
the people turned out en masse
with abundance of food for the exhausted Confederates, who