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[338] the latter place, and also in collecting a considerable number of cattle and sheep, with which he returned to Moorefield in two or three days. The, enemy, however, had moved from Cumberland with a large force of infantry and cavalry, and also a brigade of cavalry from Martinsburg to intercept, but he succeeded in passing in safety between the columns sent against him. McNeil's company and part of Gilmor's battalion had been sent west to the Allegheny Mountains to collect cattle and were now returning by the way of Petersburg with a good lot of them.

The morning after Rosser's return I made preparations to retire with the prisoners, plunder, cattle, and sheep in our possession, and as we were moving out of Moorefield, the enemy's force consisting of Kelly's command from Cumberland and Averill's brigade of cavalry came in view on the opposite banks of the river, and opened with artillery. Thomas' brigade, which had moved across to the valley of the South Fork, and commenced retiring, was brought back a short distance and formed in line across the valley with the artillery in position, while Rosser's cavalry retiring through Moorefield took position below Thomas, sending out some skirmishers to encounter those of the enemy.

The object of this was to enable Captain McNeil to get in rear with his cattle, with which he was coming up on a road around our left flank, as we were then faced, and give time to the wagons and cattle and sheep to get well up the sides of the mountain, so that they might be protected against the enemy. As soon as this was done, and we could see the wagons, cattle and sheep slowly moving up the road on the side of the mountain, extending over a distance of some two or three miles, we withdrew gradually, but a small force of the enemy's cavalry followed at a most respectful distance, to the base of the mountains, where it halted.

Rosser's brigade took an obscure road to the left

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