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[332] a few stragglers from different cavalry commands, which I could employ only as scouts to observe the movements of the enemy, but I pushed on in pursuit. After passing Harrisonburg, a battalion of mounted men exempt from regular service by age or otherwise, called the Augusta Raid Guards, came up, and were ordered forward in pursuit, but accomplished nothing. According to the organization of the command, the men were not bound to go beyond the limits of any adjoining county, and when they reached the Shenandoah line they halted, standing upon their legal rights, though it may be doubted if they would have stood upon them if the enemy had turned back.

This force of the enemy had now got beyond reach, and Thomas' brigade was halted at Lacy's Springs after having marched thirty-six miles since after nightfall the evening before. Walker's moved on to New Market and halted there, having then marched twenty-eight miles.

The movement in this direction had been made to divert some of the troops from the pursuit of Averill, so as to aid his escape; and the force making it now retreated rapidly to Martinsburg. Thomas being moved up to New Market, I rested the men a few days, and I then received directions from General Lee to send a cavalry expedition into the counties of Hardy and Hampshire to get some cattle and meat for his men. Our army was now very much straitened for provisions, especially for meat, of which they were sometimes devoid for days at a time. As soon as Fitz. Lee had returned from the pursuit of Averill I ordered him up to the vicinity of New Market, and when his men and horses had rested a few days he was ordered to cross the Great North Mountain into Hardy, try and dislodge an infantry force at Petersburg, cut the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad at the mouth of the South Branch of the Potomac, and of Patterson's Creek, gather all the beef cattle he could, and likewise get what of value was to be had.

By the last of December he was ready to move, and

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