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 Major-General David Hunter, the commander, was a Southerner by race and environment, and members of his family had often been honorably connected with the history of the State of Virginia. He had been an officer in the United States Army, and on the breaking out of the war between the States, ignored the traditions of his race and took up arms against Virginia. It is not the custom of those of Virginian blood to be disloyal to their State, and it is her proud boast that the roll of those who have been false is very short. What moved Hunter to act as he did must be developed by his biographer; it is enough for the historian to record the fact of his apostasy. Most Southern officers in the old service disapproved the secession of the States, but on the breaking out of the war, with rare exceptions, they resisted the powerful temptations held out as inducements to stay and join the Northern army. They preferred poverty and the uncertainties of the approaching conflict to a military distinction which could only be won by shedding the blood of their brothers and friends. With this faith they joined in the defence of their several States, whether they agreed with them in their political course or not. Such was the course of the Lees and the Johnstons, of Stuart and the Hugers, of the Maurys, and of hundreds of others who stood by their people, right or wrong They believed it alike the path of duty and of honor to draw their swords in defence of their native land, in the hour of its greatest need, and they turned a deaf ear to the whisper of that tempting thrift which is so often the reward of fawning. When Hunter and his army were approaching Staunton a part of his force, estimated at about eight thousand men, had a battle with a small, disorganized detachment under General William E. Jones, at a place called Piedmont, near Port Republic. The troops under Jones were much worn, and were weary with hard work, sharp fighting and scant rations. Those of Hunter were fresh, vigorous and well equipped. Jones and his men fought well, but he was killed early in the action. His death had a bad effect on his command, and it gave way in much confusion and with heavy loss. Much good was done during the confusion by Lieutenant Carter Berkeley and his two ubiquitous guns, which afterwards did such good service in the lines around Lynchburg and upon Hunter's retreat. After this disaster Jones' command, under Vaughan, fell back first to Fishersville and Waynesboro, and then towards Charlottesville. This left the Valley open as far as Buchanan, except for the
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