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[157] ourselves on the certainty of capturing “Mudwall Jackson” and his fleet-footed ragged chivalry; but after a hard ride of nine miles, we found that the force sent out to intercept him were just too late, and only came up with his rear-guard. When we arrived, the fighting had already begun, and an artillery duel was in progress. We dismounted, and immediately formed into line of battle and went into the fight. The part of the brigade engaged drove him six miles, and he finally took position on the top of Droop Mountain. Mill Point was the depot for his supplies and stores, and these we captured and destroyed.

It was not part of the General's plan to drive him any farther, or bring on an engagement that day; for General Averill expected to form a junction with the forces of General Duffle, from the Kanawha valley, at Lewisburgh, on the seventh, two days hence. We, therefore, went into camp in the morning on the farm of McNeil, who had a son a captain in the rebel army, and uncle to the McNeil who infests the country about Moorfield, in Hardy County.

Here we found plenty of corn, oats, and hay for our horses, and they, together with the men, had a good rest.

At this place the boys made a purchase of butter. The price was five dollars in confederate money, but they purchased it for fifteen cents in postal currency. At night it threatened rain, but the sun rose clear next morning, with a high wind blowing; and after breakfast we mounted, and started for the scene of conflict.

Droop Mountain was a high, elevated position, overlooking the whole valley, the eastern face cleared, and the turnpike ascending that slope, and the rebel battery commanding every turn of the road and the whole country in the front, while the extreme point of the mountain was covered with woods. And this the rebels had fortified with a breastwork of logs, brush, rails, and rocks. Immediately under the point it was cleared, and very steep. In this steep hill-side was a spring, with swampy soil overgrown with tussocks of grass, briers, weeds, and burs. The western side of the mountain was covered with thick woods and heavy undergrowth, and to the westward another mountain, covered with timber, while the country in front was broken by low hills, partly open and partly wooded, and from the elevated position that the rebels occupied they could see almost all our movements below, and besides, it was exceedingly difficult to find a position for our artillery. Nature could not have made a stronger position, and this they had fortified; and when the rebel Colonel Patten arrived, he stated that “he could with his regiment, the Twenty-second, hold it against the whole of Averill's brigade;” but, poor fellow, he was wofully mistaken.

When the brigade arrived at Hillsborough, a village three miles from the top of the mountain, Keeper's battery was sent to the left, supported by the Fourteenth Pennsylvania; while the Tenth Virginia, Colonel Harris, and the Twenty-eighth Ohio, Colonel Moore, (German regiment,) were sent to the right, to endeavor to turn the rebel position. Next to the Twenty-eighth was the Third Virginia, Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson; then the Second Virginia, Lieutenant-Colonel Scott; and the Eighth Virginia, Colonel Oley. These were all old veterans, that had been trained in the valley and Eastern Virginia, under Milroy, Cluseret, and Bohlen. The skirmishers moved off in splendid style, with the supporting line close behind them, and in a very short time the firing became brisk and animated, and right gallantly did the regiments on the right perform their part, as they swept around the westward of the two mountains, while the regiments in the front moved more slowly; but it was a steady, onward movement, over a hill, across a field, through the woods, and across ravines, the rebels retiring, as if to husband their strength for their strong position.

The Second and Eighth moved up until they got within point-blank range of the rebel sharp-shooters, the Eighth exposed to a galling fire from the rebel breastworks, and right under the rebel battery that opened on us with shell, but we were protected with woods, and by lying on the ground the shot and shell passed over us. The skirmishers kept a constant fire, while the heavy roll of musketry on the right, as it curved around the mountain, was as steady as the fire fanned by the wind advances through the leaves on the mountain-side. The keen crack of the Enfields of the Tenth, and the deeper bass of the big bores of the Germans, could be readily distinguished, while overhead a strong wind made a deep, steady roar in the naked branches of the forest, and to heighten the grand battle picture, the woods were on fire, the branches of the trees crossing to the ground, under the effects of the shot and shell, accompanied by the heavy roar of the artillery, and music, and bursting of shell, and the constant roll of the musketry.

When the critical moment arrived, the Third and Second advanced, and just as the Eighth emerged from the woods the rebels began to waver, and with a cheer we charged up the steep mountain-side, and over the breastworks, officers and men mingled in confusion, covered with perspiration, dirt, and their clothes covered with burs. Just at this time Ewing's battery found a position, and opened fire on the rebels.

The rebel battery swept the point with grape and canister, but our men fought from behind stumps, trees, and logs; the gallant Tenth and glorious old Twenty-eighth closed in, and the rebels became terror-stricken and began to retreat, and then the retreat became a rout, while from our boys went up one prolonged cheer that was kept up, and the pursuit began immediately. It was a hard day's work, but officers and men worked with a will, and did their whole duty — no flinching, no shirking.

The rebel dead and wounded lay on top of the mountain, and almost the first one we saw was a dead negro, with gun in hand and cartridge-box buckled on; while prisoners were being taken


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