mistake. In going down the turnpike I unexpectedly met with your regiment drawn up in the road a mile and a half from Beverly. I told you your regiment was needed at the battle which was then going on; that the enemy to the number of four or five thousand had gotten around Colonel Pegram's left flank, and were engaged with a few hundred of our men about a mile and a half in the rear of Colonel Pegrams' camp; that the enemy were on the left, and our men in and on the right of the turnpike as you would approach the camp; that our men had but one piece of artillery. You asked me if I would go with you and act as guide. I consented. You instantly put your regiment in motion in double-quick time. I remonstrated; told you we had to go between four and five miles up the mountain before we would reach the battle-field, and if the men traveled at that rate they would not be fit to fight when they got there. You then brought them down to quick time.
In going up the mountain we met with several men on horseback who had been in the battle; one, I recollect, of my company, who had been shot through the foot, and another whose coat had been shot across the shoulders. The latter told us that he was aid to Colonel Pegram, and that Colonel Pegram had been killed. Some of these men turned back and went with us part of the way up the mountain, but they all disappeared before your regiment stopped. On our way up I informed you of the death of Hughes, and you requested me not to mention it to your men, as it might dampen their spirit. When we arrived within about a mile of the battle the firing cease, and in a few moments a loud huzzah was heard coming form the position our forces had occupied when I left them. You asked me what that huzzah meant. I told you that I was fearful the Yankees had driven our men from the field and captured our artillery, for the shout came from about the place where our artillery and fortifications stood. You continued your march to within half a mile of the battle-ground, when I informed you that it was unsafe to go farther; that you could not with one regiment encounter successfully four or five thousand of the enemy, with the advantage of position, fortifications, and a piece of artillery. You halted your regiment; you and I dismounted, and in company with some of your officers passed around a turn in the road that we might see, if possible, how things stood at the pass on top of the mountain, when we did see, if possible, how things stood at the pass on top of the mountain, when we did see more men, as I told you at the time, exulting and shouting, than Colonel Pegram had in his entire command.
You were yet unwilling to go back, but requested me either to go myself or to send some of my men to reconnoiter. I told you I would not go, nor should any of my men go, for I was perfectly satisfied as to how things stood. A young man named Lipford, of your regiment, stepped forward and proposed to go it he could get a pistol and horse. Thus equipped, he went off up the road, but in a very short time we heard the shout from many voices, "Halt, shoot him," and the firing of several guns, and then another loud huzzah. It being now plain that the enemy had either killed or taken Lipford prisoner, you were satisfied that I was right, and that the enemy did have possession of the field. You appearing still unwilling to go back, some of your officers suggested that as the enemy's pickets could plainly be seen around the fields on each side of the road in which we stood, if you went forward the enemy would receive you in ambuscade, whereas if you went back they would probably follow, and then you could take them in ambuscade. This suggestion being approved by all of us who expressed any opinion, you marched your regiment down the mountain, leaving men in the rear to give you information of the approach of the enemy. In going down information was brought you that the enemy were in pursuit, when you put your men in position to receive them. After remaining there some time, and the alarm proving false, and all being quiet on the mountain, you returned to Beverly.
Had the firing been renewed, I know it was your indention to have returned to the battle. Shortly after arriving in Beverly you had a private conference in a room in the hotel with Judge Camden and Mr. Berlin. During the conference I consulted you on the propriety of removing the military stores from Beverly, when you gave the order that every wagon that could be obtained should be filled with them, and all the prisoners should be taken out of jail and put under a guard of your regiment; all of which was accordingly done. I and my company were with you during your retreat as far as Greenbrier River, and acted as scouts, and am free to say that the retreat was conducted in good order, both by yourself and regiment-the men, wornout by continued marching, in the rear, guarding prisoners and train. During the whole affair you conducted yourself with coolness and firmness becoming an officer.
Lieutenant, Churchville Cavalry.
Some of those we met in going up the mountain estimated the enemy at from eight to ten thousand, and it turns our that I acted wisely in not making an attack upon the enemy when I went up the mountain. Colonel Pegram estimates the number of the enemy engaged in the fight at tree thousand. I have no doubt they told him so in Beverly,