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35 Series I Volume XXIX-I Serial 48 - Bristoe, Mine Run Part I

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Page 35 Chapter XLI. AVERELL'S RAID IN WEST VIRGINIA.

4. Gibson's battalion.

5. Ewing's battery.

6. Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry.

7. Third [West] Virginia Mounted Infantry.

The road crossed two mountain ranges before 10 miles had been traveled over. About 9.30 a. m., when about 12 miles from Callaghan's, a message from Captain Koening was received by me, at the head of the column, that the enemy were resisting his advance, and desiring re-enforcements. A squadron of the Second was sent on at a trot, and a squadron of the Eighth ordered forward. A few minutes elapsed when the enemy's cannon announced his purpose of disputing our farther progress and indicated his strength.

I at once started the column forward at a rapid gait down through a narrow pass, which soon opened out into a little valley a mile long, inclosed on each side by rugged rocky heights, covered with a stunted growth of pine, oak, and chestnut trees. At the opening the projectiles from the enemy's cannon first struck the head of our column. A jutting cliff on the right afforded protection for the horses of the Second and Eighth, and the dismounted men of the Second were at once ordered to the summit of the ridge on our right, and the squadron of the Eighth dismounted to the hill on our left. A section of Ewing's battery was brought up rapidly and planted on the first available position, where it opened briskly and with great accuracy.

The squadron of the Eighth, ordered to the left, mistook the direction in some way, and found itself on the right with the Second [West] Virginia. The main body of the Eighth [West] Virginia, led by Colonel Oley, however, soon made their way to the crest on our left. The Third [West] Virginia and Fourteenth Pennsylvania were ordered forward, and came to the front dismounted very soon.

I beg to call your attention to the fact that my column of horses, nearly 4 miles long, was now in a narrow gorge, and that during the time necessary for the Third [West] Virginia and Fourteenth Pennsylvania to arrive at the front, it was necessary that Ewing, supported only by the advance guard, should maintain his position against on attack of the enemy's artillery and infantry combined. The Second on the right, and the Eighth on the left, afforded some support, but Ewing's battery, with canister, not only resisted the approach of the enemy, but actually advanced upon him, in order to obtain a better position, and held him at bay until the arrival of the Fourteenth Pennsylvania and Third [West] Virginia, which were at once deployed to the right and left of the road, thus filing up the gap in my line.

The enemy gave away his position to us, and endeavored to assume another about half a mile in rear of the first, with his right resting upon a rugged prominence, his center and left protected by a temporary stockade, which he had formed of fence-rails. I resolved to dislodge him before he should become well established, and then, if possible, to route him from the field.

One of the guns of Ewing had burst, and the other five were advanced to within 600 yards of the enemy. Captain Koening was sent to advance the Third and Eighth, and orders were sent to the right also to advance. Gibson's battalion was thrown into a house and the surrounding inclosures which stood in front of the enemy's center. The enemy clung tenaciously to the wooded hill on their right, and Gibson's battalion was driven from the house by a regiment of the enemy which at that moment arrived upon the field. I immediately


Page 35 Chapter XLI. AVERELL'S RAID IN WEST VIRGINIA.

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