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[307] army in motion and every man believed that there was work ahead of us that day.

The infantry could not cross the Tygart's Valley River, as the turnpike does, but had to keep on the east side of the river all the way down to Beverley's. One company of cavalry went in advance of the infantry. This was Captain McNeil's, and was selected because they were the best mounted men. After going a short distance, General Imboden told Captain McNeil to pick out five or six of the swiftest horses and put them far enough in front to apprise him of any approach. Billie was one of the horses chosen, and I rode him, Billie was in all his glory that day. The first party we struck was a foraging party, after corn and hay, with thirty-two good mules in the wagons. We rode right into them before they knew of our presence, and the guard of a dozen or so mounted men surrendered without a shot. Not a man or mule escaped. A little farther on our party of five met a quartermaster, with the rank of major. He was a big, fat Dutchman, and was mounted on one of the most beautiful sorrel mares I ever saw. The major thought that we were his men, coming back empty, and began to abuse us. We told him to see the fellows behind, and he passed on without stopping, and I don't think looked at us.

This is the last, and first, time that I ever saw that major, but, as I saw one of General Imboden's aids riding the major's mare the next day, I knew what had become of the major. Thus far not a shot had been fired, and our orders were not to shoot. Within a few minutes of passing the major we met quite a squad of cavalry, and as soon as they saw us they turned and ran, and we gave chase for mile or two, but did not overtake them. At the close of this race we had our first skirmish, which might have proved a serious affair had not a courier reached us just then with orders to press them, for the reason that, when the final dash was to be made for the breastworks, General Imboden wanted the infantry as close as possible. There were fully fifteen hundred Federal soldiers in the earthworks around Beverley, and if they had been determined men could have stood off a force three times their number. At first they put up a show of a strong fight, but became demoralized and abandoned their positions, and fled towards Philippi. The

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Valley River (West Virginia, United States) (1)
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John Imboden (3)
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