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[270] moving up. Upon my approach his wagons were parked and all disposition made to meet my attack. The enemy's force (I have since learned numbered 1,100 men), I saw at a glance was much larger than my own. I dismounted three or four hundred men, and with the remainder in the saddle, I charged him front, flank and rear. The first onset was repulsed, but one piece of my artillery coming up (the enemy having none), my troops were much elated by this seeming advantage, and I charged him again, which was very successful, driving him into the mountains, and giving me possession of the entire train of ninety-five wagons and teams, excepting a few of the latter, that were cut away during the fight and run off, and the regiment I sent to occupy the road in rear of the train, failing to get up in time. These mules and a few ambulances were allowed to escape. The conduct of my men on this occasion, entitles them to their country's gratitude; indeed I believe it is the first instance during this war where cavalry attacked successfully a superior force of infantry. I lost in the action twenty-four men killed and wounded. The enemy's acknowledged loss, in killed and wounded, was eighty. I captured forty prisoners, two Captains and one Major. The train, which was heavily loaded with commissary stores, bacon, rice, coffee, sugar, &c., was turned over to General Early. Many of the wagons, however, had to be destroyed in consequence of the want of mules to bring them off — a number having been killed in the action and others ridden off by the fleeing enemy. On the morning of the 1st, I moved into Petersburg, the enemy having escaped upon one of the back roads, which it was impossible for me to guard with my small force.

The enemy in evacuating this place left almost all his baggage and a large supply of provisions, which fell into the hands of my men. From this place I proceeded, in obedience to instructions from General Early, down Patterson's creek, with the view of driving out the cattle, and for this purpose I sent Major Gilmer's and Captain McNeil's commands, under the command of the latter, into the Alleghany mountains, and placed one regiment in Mechanicsville Gap to prevent “Averill,” whom I expected from Martinsburg, from getting between me and General Early. I then pressed down the creek to its mouth, at which place there was a guard of one company, which I captured, and I destroyed here the railroad bridges across Patterson's creek, the Potomac and canal. I also destroyed one engine, all the property belonging to the road, the bridge for the pike across the canal, and one canal lock.

Learning that the enemy was in Romney in considerable force, and


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