War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0262 Chapter IX. OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA.

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was communicated to the men, and then I started up the hill, accompanied by Major Reger, of your regiment, and Major Stewart and Colonel Wilson, who happened to be at our camp. When at the top of the hill, which is very steep and rough, we halted for the column to close up, and then struck into the forest. The rain pouring down in torrents and the night being very dark, the line of march could hardly be kept but by a constant effort on the part of the men to keep almost in contact with each other, and our line was often broken by the fallen trees, dense thickets, and precipices that we encountered. By the advice of Majors Reger and Stewart we took a course bearing to the left, but I soon found that that was bringing us too near the waters of Roaring Creek and the adjacent laurel swamps, as well as too near the position occupied by the camp of the enemy; therefore I protested against going farther in that direction, and was seconded in my views by Captain Lilley and others that were near; and as I had reconnoitered the ground on July 6, they yielded to my opinion and my guidance from that time. We then pushed on, bearing gradually to the right, that we might reach the gap to the north of Hart's, suffering much from the cold, as we were all drenched, and many of us had not eaten since morning. We did not halt much, and one time, shortly after leaving the camp, a low whistle on our right arrested our attention, and most of the line halted. I replied to the whistle and passed the order quietly to press on, and I have since learned from a prisoner taken from the enemy that a whole regiment was drawn up parallel to our line of march, and was only kept from firing upon us by the reply to our line of march, and was only kept from firing upon us by the reply to their signal and our continued moving.

Daylight found us two-thirds of the way to the top of the mountain, and then and there, to our great surprise and regret, we found that, instead of the whole command, I was only followed by a portion of Captain Lilley's company and some few others-some fifty men. We were sorely disappointed; but as there was no alternative for safety but rapid flight, as we were certain that the enemy would speedily occupy all the roads by which we could escape, therefore I urged upon the men the necessity for a prompt obedience of orders in marching forward, and they responded with cheerfulness an alacrity, and we pushed rapidly forward and across the summit of the mountain at sunrise through a notch, and following down a ravine we struck the Merritt road, much cut up by the passage of the Churchville cavalry and most of Lieutenant-Colonel Pegrams' regiment,which had passed over it the evening before, under the command of Major Nat. Tyler. We reached this road at about 8 a. m. of the 12th. Following down that road, we obtained a few mouthfuls of od at a house just on the edge of the valley, where Major Tyler and men had spent part of the night. Then we took across the fields and reached Beverly at about 11 a. m., where we found the people helping themselves to the abandoned commissary stores, and we were informed by Captain Stofer, who was seated on the porch of the hotel, that the enemy was expected every moment, and that our forces under Colonel Scot had gone to Huttonsville. We then helped ourselves to a supply of crackers, &c., from the stores and proceeded towards Huttonsville. Finding a large quantity of tents, blankets, socks, &c., abandoned by the roadside, just across Files Creek, we took each one a supply of these needful articles, just across Files Creek, we took each one a supply of these needful articles, and had started on when we met a team going to Beverly, which we impressed and sent back and loaded up, an then went on towards Huttonsville. Overtaking stragglers from various companies by the way, and it being rumored that the enemy was in rapid pursuit of us, we had our men fire off their guns and reload them, each one having held on to his gun, and then made all fall into