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But before we return to the scenes around Lynchburg incident to the attack, it may well be noted that Hunter, after reaching Salem, turned off to Lewisburg, West Virginia, and did not feel safe until he had placed his army far beyond the Alleghanies and upon the banks of the Ohio at Parkersburg. The effect of this remarkable line of retreat was that the Valley was left open, and Early seized the opportunity and at once commenced his march for the Potomac practically unmolested. On the 5th of July, Hunter and his command were at Parkersburg, on the Ohio, while Early, whom he was to obstruct, was crossing the Potomac river into Maryland.

Poor Hunter! he seems to have had few friends, and it is almost cruel to recite his history, but men who undertake great enterprises must expect to be criticised when they fail. He got little comfort, and expected none, from the Confederate leaders, but he got even less from the Federal, except when it came in the form of such reports as that sent by Captain T. K. McCann to General Meigs, the Quartermaster-General, in which he says that ‘General Hunter fought four hours on the 17th; on the 18th the General ascertained that Rebel force at Lynchburg was fifty thousand men, and from a prisoner taken it was reported that Lee was evacuating Richmond and falling back on Lynchburg, and consequently General Hunter was obliged to fall back.’ (Id., 679.) General Grant, however, on the 21st of June, wrote General Meade to know where Hunter was, and said: ‘Tell him to save his army in the way he thinks best.’ (Id., 657.)

On the 17th of July Halleck wrote to Hunter, giving him some directions in regard to his future movements, saying that “General Grant directs, if compelled to fall back, you will retreat in front of the enemy towards the Potomac, so as to cover Washington and not be squeezed out to one side, so as to make it necessary to fall back into West Virginia to save your army.” This order he disregarded most ignominiously.

In the same letter Halleck wrote Hunter that General Grant said that in the marching he does not want houses burned, but ‘that he wants your troops to eat out Virginia clear and clean as far as they can, so that crows flying over it for the balance of the year will have to carry their rations with them.’ (Id., 366.)

C. A Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, wrote to Grant on the 15th of July (Id., 332): ‘Hunter appears to have been engaged in a pretty active campaign against the newspapers in West Virginia.’ And Halleck on the same day wrote to Grant that he thought ‘Hun-’

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