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McCauslands regiments.

McCausland's command consisted of the 8th, 14th, 16th and 17th Virginia Cavalry, and Colonel Witcher's Battalion, to which had been added for this occasion the Marylanders of General Bradley T. Johnson. We left the vicinity of Martinsburg on Thursday night, and crossed the Potomac about noon on Friday, July 29th, at Cherry Run, about thirty miles from where we started. Harry Gilmer had asked the privilege of conducting the advance, which was granted, and when we arrived on the banks of the Potomac, the Marylanders were safely on the other side waiting for us. The river at this point was deep and wide, and it was a novel sight to see men scattered over the river with a firm grip on the horses' tails, slowly toiling to a small island in the middle of the stream, from which point it was fordable. Not a man or horse was lost in crossing, and two hours sufficed for the whole command to safely land and form. It was generally known where we were going, and when night came on we were twenty miles from the Potomac. It was a clear, starry night, and forty miles had to be made by daylight. Orders had been issued for the men to avoid boisterous talking or laughing, and so well were these instructions carried out that we passed through villages and towns with our 1,000 men and were not discovered by the sleepers. On the approach of dawn it was whispered around that we were in the vicinity of Chambersburg, and when it became broad daylight we were in line of battle on the high hills overlooking the doomed city.

The 8th regiment was dismounted and started into town, followed by a small detachment of mounted cavalry, on streets and alleys [318] converging at what was called the ‘Diamond,’ about the centre of the town. A battery of four small pieces occupied an eminence, which occasionally threw shells over the city, which, I suppose, was done to intimidate rather than harm.


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