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[286] and cut the column in two if possible. At four o'clock on Saturday evening, the nineteenth instant, a courier from Captain Sprague announced the approach of the enemy by that road, and that he had commenced a skirmish with Averill's advanced forces. Jackson immediately ordered an advance of the Twentieth Virginia regiment by a blind road, so as to attack the enemy obliquely. He also ordered the Nineteenth Virginia regiment to advance on the Covington turnpike road, and to attack the enemy directly. At that point Jackson conceived the idea of taking a detachment of about fifty men, and move forward with them for the purpose of striking the enemy vigorously and cutting his column in two. In this Jackson succeeded perfectly. One half of the Yankees were thus separated from the other half, which was under the immediate command of Averill, and who rapidly passed forward toward the Island Ford bridge. Persons intrusted with the burning of the Island Ford bridge failed to do so, however, owing to the rapid advance of the enemy upon that point. The advance, under Averill in person, thus managed to make their escape across the bridge; but that portion of his command which had been cut off-consisting of one regiment and an entire wagon train — were held in check by Jackson's detachment of fifty men during the entire night. Soon after sunrise on Sunday, the twentieth, the heavy force which Averill had left at the bridge after he had crossed, to prevent Jackson from burning it, themselves fired it, and in a short time it fell into the river; and this produced much consternation among the Yankees who had been cut off from the bridge by the detachment under Jackson. Had Jackson's order to attack the Yankees furiously not been so tardily obeyed, the whole force which had been cut off, together with the entire wagon train, would have been captured. By failing, however, thus to attack, the Yankees had time to burn their train and to escape by swimming; in doing so, however, many of them were drowned.

The result of Jackson's operations was the complete capture of the Yankee ambulance train, about two hundred prisoners, their horses and equipments, a number of carbines and revolvers, forty or fifty negroes, (whom the Yankees were taking off,) eight of Averill's officers, including his adjutant-general, a lieutenant-colonel, Averill's horse, his servant, and a number of his maps of fifteen or twenty counties, in which nearly every house was put down, and, in numerous instances, the occupants of the houses given. Jackson also captured a number of mules and wagons. Jackson's loss was small.

Another account.

To the Editor of the Richmond Examiner:
The raid is over. Averill has gone, not “up the spout,” but back into his den. Cast your eye upon a map, and I'll tell you how he went and how he came. He came from New-Creek, a depot on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, in the county of Hardy, along the eastern base of the Shenandoah Mountains, through Covington to Salem, burnt things generally, and returned over nearly the same route. Imboden seized the gap where the Parkersburgh turnpike crosses the Shenandoah, and prevented a raid on Staunton. Averill left five hundred men to hold Imboden there, and pushed on toward Salem. That General could not pursue without uncovering Staunton, the force threatening nearly equalling his own. General Lee was informed of the situation of affairs.

Here commences the reign of Major-Generals and military science. Major-General Tubal A. Early came; Major-General Fitz-Hugh Lee came; Brigadier-General Walker came; Brigadier-General Thomas came; their staffs came. They all took a drink. General Early took two. Brigadier-General Wickham came; Colonel Chambliss, commanding a brigade, came. They smiled also.

When Averill was opposite Staunton, Fitz Lee was at Fry Depot, on the Virginia Central Railroad, a day's march from that town — a fortunate occurrence, indeed. Every body thought Averill was “treed” now. Lee was ordered across the Blue Ridge. He passed through Brown's Gap, and struck the valley turnpike at Mount Crawford, eight miles above Harrisonburgh — a miserable mistake; one day's march lost. He then marched toward Staunton; another day gone for nothing. He finally reached Staunton, where he ought to have been the first night. Still, there was plenty of time to cut Averill off. Lee and Imboden marched day and night to Lexington, and then toward Covington. They had yet time enough to intercept him. Here was committed the fatal and foolish blunder. While Lee and Imboden were on the road to Covington, in striking distance of that place, word was sent that the Yankees were marching toward Buchanan instead of Covington. No man ought to have put credence in a statement so utterly absurd as that the enemy was going from Salem to that place. Such a statement presupposes Averill deliberately placing himself past escape, and, therefore, run raving mad. Such improbable rumors should never be entertained a moment, much less made the basis of important military movements. The order was obeyed. The troops turned and marched back, and at night were neither at Buchanan nor Covington.

The story is told in a few words. The Yankees passed through Covington, and, to their great amazement, escaped. The rumor about Buchanan was the tale of some frightened fool. The enemy, in terror and demoralization, fled from Salem at full speed, destroying their train and artillery. Jackson knocked some in the head; the citizens beat the brains out of others. One farmer in Alleghany killed six. Some are scattered in the mountains, and are being picked up here and there. The rapid streams drowned many, but the main part have gone whence they came, wondering how they did get away. It is hardly necessary to add, the humblest private in the ranks, if he possessed sense enough to eat and drink, not only could but would have managed

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