War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0204 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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of Palestine and Anderson's Ferry, if practicable; if not, by way of Gauley. Communicate your orders to him. I am much gratified with the behavior of your troops. Their excellent conduct deserves high praise.

ALBERT TRACY,

Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.

LEWISBURG, May 19, 1862.

(Received 10 a. m.)

Major General JOHN C. FREMONT:

Having received reliable information that General Heth had carried all his stores to Buchanan by way of Covington and boat down James River and was taking them from thence to Bonsack's Station by wagons, that there was a force of about 500 North Carolina troops at Buchanan and about 600 men at Bonsack's-some of the stores were being forwarded to Dublin Depot-it seemed to be the impression among Heth's men that it was the intention to push on a quantity of the stores to Dublin Depot; keep the line of the Tennessee road open in case he desired to fall back forward Lynchburg. With the intention of capturing these stores, transportation, and troops, Colonel Crook moved down toward Jackson's River Depot with about 1,000 infantry and 350 cavalry and four mountain howitzers, intending to march rapidly to Buchanan and Bonsack's and return to Lewisburg by way of Fincastle and Sweet Springs. The route by way of Covington to Buchanan, though a greater distance, was chosen partly because as we circulated a report that we were going to Staunton our destination would not be suspected until we passed some 15 miles below Covington, and partly because there was a rendezvous appointed some 8 miles below White Sulphur Springs for a number of Mountain Rangers. Reaching this rendezvous, we prepared an ambush with the infantry and sent the cavalry by another road to drive them in. They had, however, all retreated except their captain, sprig, a noted character, whom we captured at Callaghan's, in company with a few other bushwhackers of less note. We passed through Covington without resistance, pushed on to the Depot, captured on the way down one of a party of bushwhackers who fired at us as we passed, took possession of the telegraph office at the Depot, and discovered that the provost-marshal of Alleghany County had telegraphed to General Jackson at Staunton for two or three regiments, and was endeavoring to raise the militia of Greenbrier and Monroe. To use his own oppression, "The Greenbrier men had backed down, and there was a great prevalence of Union sentiment." We also discovered that Jackson had telegraphed that he would send a force down by way of Staunton and Floyd was to send two regiments by way of Sweet Springs. We deemed it proper, both to prevent an immediate advance from Staunton and to protect Lewisburg more completely, to destroy a railroad bridge some 10 miles out on the Central Railroad. Some prominent active secessionists of the county were arrested, and a notice posted on the court-house in Covington warning all secessionists against maltreatment of Union men under penalty of punishment. A numbers of Union men came out in our rear. The effect of the movement has undoubtedly been excellent in that country, and will aid much in the future protection of Union men.