War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0265 Chapter IX. CAMPAIGN IN WEST VIRGINIA.

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caisson were no longer visible, the horses having run away with them down the mountain, in doing which they met and upset the second piece of artillery, which had been ordered up to their assistance. Seeing the infantry deserting the slight breastworks hastily thrown up that morning by Captain De Langel, I used all personal exertions to make them stand to their work until even I saw that the place was hopelessly lost. The last companies which left their posts were the Rockingham Lee Guard, commanded by Captain William M. Skipwith. On my way back to my camp I found the re-enforcing force under command of Captain Anderson, of artillery, in the greatest confusion, they having fired upon their retreating comrades. I hurried on to camp and ordered the remaining companies of my own regiment in camp to join them. This left my right front an right flank entirely unmanned. I then went back up the mountain, where I found the whole force, composed of five companies of the Twentieth and one company of Colonel Heck's regiment, drawn up in line in ambuscade near the road, under command of Major Nat. Tyler, of the Twentieth Regiment. I called their attention and said a few encouraging words to the men, asking them if they would follow their officers to the attack, to which they responded by a cheer. I was here interrupted by Captain Anderson, who said to me, "Colonel Pegram, these men are completely demoralized, and will need you to lead them." I took my place at the head of the column, which I marched in single file through laurel thickets and other almost impassable brushwood up a ridge to the top of the mountain.

This placed me about one-fourth of a mile on the right flank of the enemy, and which was exactly the point I had been making for. I had just gotten all the men up together and was about making my dispositions for the attack when Major Tyler came up and reported that during the march up the ridge one of the men in his fright had turned around and shot the first sergeant of one of the rear companies, which had caused nearly the whole of the company to run to the rear. He then said that the men were so intensely demoralized, that he considered it madness to attempt to do anything with them by leading them on to the attack. A mere glance at the frightened countenances around me convinced me that this distressing news was but too true, and its was confirmed by the opinion of the three or four company commanders around me. They all agreed with me that there was nothing left to do but to send the command under Major Tyler to effect a junction with either General Garnett at Laurel Hill or Colonel William C. Scott, who was supposed to be with his regiment near Beverly. It was now 6 1\2 o'clock p. m., when I retraced my steps with much difficulty back to camp, losing myself frequently on the way, and arriving there at 11 1\4 o'clock.

I immediately assembled a council of war, composed of the field officers and company commanders remaining, when it was unanimously agreed that, after spiking the two remaining pieces of artillery, we should attempt to join General Garnett by a march through the mountains to our right. This act was imperative, not only from our reduced numbers, now being about six hundred and our being placed between two large attacking armies, but also because at least three-fourths of my command had no rations left; the other one fourth not having loud enough left for one meal. Having left directions for Sergeant Walke, and given directions to Assistant Surgeon Taylor to take charge of the sick and wounded in camp and to show a white flag at daylight, I then called the companies, G and H, of Twentieth Regiment, with which and