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[496] of the Alleghanies. Every now and then some farmer, armed with a rifle, perceiving, not without surprise, the long file of hostile troopers, would place himself in ambuscade within range of the road they had to follow. A shot was fired, the ball most frequently whistling by without hitting any one; occasionally a man would fall. The wounded soldier was picked up, and the march continued without stopping to avenge him. Finally, after following for a considerable distance a road adjoining the frontier line of Virginia and Tennessee, Carter reached Blountsville at eleven o'clock on the morning of the 30th. The object of his expedition was now evident; it was the destruction of the railway which passed near this village. Consequently, his march was accelerated as he approached this objective point. He proceeded toward a station formerly called Union, which the Confederates had named Zollicoffer, as the former appellation clashed with their political prejudices. It was guarded by three hundred mounted men, under Major McDowell. This officer, having but an indefinite idea of the approach of the enemy, and not wishing to believe the report, was proceeding alone in search of information regarding the Blountsville road, when he was met by General Carter, marching with an escort in advance of his column. McDowell was captured; and finding the Federals in such force, he sent to his soldiers an order to surrender without resistance. Carter thus took possession of the large wooden bridge which spans the Hobston River near the Union station. He hastened to burn it; then, after releasing his prisoners on parole, he followed the railroad southward, taking care to destroy the track. The cross-ties were piled up together, forming so many fires, upon which the rails were heated to be twisted out of shape. The Federals afterward got possession of a second bridge, thrown across the Watauga River, which they also burned. They thus rendered a section of sixteen kilometres entirely unserviceable, which, being comprised between two burnt bridges, formed a gap which could not again be thrown open to traffic so long as one of these two bridges should not be reconstructed. This interruption, which was the main object of the enterprise, was destined to cause serious inconvenience to Bragg's army, especially when it would have to fight a great battle involving the necessity of repairing

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