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[329] to unite with him. His brigade passed through Staunton late that afternoon, and General Lee followed very early next morning, with instructions to make all necessary arrangements to capture the raiding force, and with directions to move to any point that might be necessary according to the information which he might receive either at Lexington or elsewhere.

About the middle of the day I received a telegraphic dispatch from General Nichols covering one from an operator, stating that he had gone on the railroad that morning to within a mile of Salem, and that Averill was returning to that place, having been unable to cross Craig's Creek. If this was true, Averill must then attempt to make his escape by the way of the western route by Blacksburg, or the northern route by the way of Buchanan, and taking it for granted that it was true, I at once sent a copy by a courier to General Lee for his information, stating to him at the same time that as he was much nearer to Averill than I was, he might have other information on which to act, and leaving it to his discretion to move to Buchanan or to Covington as his information might justify.

When my dispatch reached General Lee he had united with Imboden at Colliertown, and after consultation with the latter he determined to move to Buchanan, as he had no information which warranted him in supposing that the dispatch from Lynchburg was not true.

During the night after I had received the dispatch informing me of Averill's return to Salem, I received another from General Nichols informing me that the information sent was not true and that Averill had succeeded after some delay in crossing Craig's Creek and moving on. It was now too late to reach Fitz. Lee by courier and I hoped that he might have had some accurate information.

I now determined to try to reach Jackson's position with one of the brigades of infantry, and Thomas' was sent next morning on the railroad, to endeavor to get

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