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8 Series I Volume XXXIII- Serial 60 - New Berne

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Page 8 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLV.

forty wagons (6 mules and horses to each wagon), loaded principally with artillery ammunition and hides, and 250 head of cattle, 120 being driven out and the remainder lost in driving them at night over the mountains. Marched on to Burlington. Captured at that place and at Williamsport and McLemar's Church some prisoners and supplies, and burnt the block-houses which the enemy abandoned in his flight. Although not an object of the expedition, it was determined to cut the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at New Creek Depot; so marched to Ridgeville and encamped at that place upon the night of the 4th instant. Marched at 4 o'clock next morning in a hail-storm, and though a point was reached within 6 miles of the depot, on account of the sufferings of my men and the impassability of the mountain passes to my smooth-shod horses was unable to proceed farther, so countermarched, and passing through Romney, returned to Harrisonburg via Brock's Gap, it being the only practicable route back to the valley.

Major Gilmor, who had been left with his own command and that of Captain McNeill to hold the gap on the Moorefield and Petersburg road, and to protect my flank and rear, in the mean time moved to Romney, and from thence to Springfield. The enemy, reported at 800 strong, with some artillery, abandoning the latter place in the night, Major Gilmor brought off about 3,000 pounds of bacon and some hard bread, horseshoes, nails, &c., and burnt the forage and other stores there and the winter quarters of the troops.

I secured on the expedition 27 wagons (8 of the original 40 being smashed up and burnt at the place of attack, and 5 overturned and abandoned in the mountains on the route back), 110 prisoners with their arms, &c., 460 head of cattle (lost between 100 and 200 traveling in the mountains at night, and which have since been sent back for, and if obtained will add up the number of head to over 600), and over 300 horses and mules.

Lost 2 men killed and 2 wounded in the attack on the train, and 1 left at Moorefield with feet frozen to such an extent that the surgeon thinks they will have to be amputated. My whole command were more or less frost-bitten, and suffered a great deal the weather being excessively cold during the whole trip; the ground was covered with snow and ice in going up and down the various mountains.

From my own observation and knowledge gained from my intercourse with the citizens of Hampshire and Hardy Counties, I have ascertained there are very little supplies to be obtained in these counties. Several hundred head of cattle and some sheep on Patterson's Creek and the South Branch of Potomac would perhaps include everything and the reason is apparent from the fact of the occupation of the country by the enemy from the commencement of the war. Averell was reported to have reached Grafton and to have been sent with his command on the cars to Martinsburg, the enemy judging that place would be the point of attack. My command has marched since the 11th of last month 555 miles in weather of uncommon severity, and deserves praise for the endurance displayed and hardships undergone.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

FITZ. LEE,

Major-General, Commanding.

Major General J. A. EARLY,

Commanding.


Page 8 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLV.

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