War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0118 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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and meat rations for the men. Couriers were sent to General Imboden, and scouts in all directions for information. Country rumor put strong forces on all the roads, and the truth was nowhere to be had. Late in the evening a courier brought the information that Lieutenant [C. H.] Vandiver and party (8 men) had captured Independence and a Home Guard of 20 men, where, in the morning, the most reliable information of the country had already two regiments. Soon Lieutenant [J. G.] Shoup returned with the telegraph operator and instruments from Newburg, and all the other scouts returned without information. Fearing news would travel rapidly along the railroad, a force was thrown at once into Independence, and the two-span bridge near that place was effectually destroyed. My whole command crossed the railroad about dark, going north to form a junction with Colonel Harman. About midnight, finding forage, and having heard of Harman, we went into camp.

At daylight Harman joined us, bringing the first tidings of his and McDonald's success at Oakland and Altamont. The whole command was marched on Morgantown that day, the 28th, arriving about 12 m., and crossed the suspension bridge to the west side of the Monongahela River. Here we fed our horses, and rested until dark, when the line of march was taken for Fairmont. At 9 o'clock the command went into camp, and resumed the march at 1 a. m. Learning the bridge over Buffalo Creek had been injured and was guarded, a detour by Barracksville became necessary. This brought us into town by the road from the west. Finding the hills commanding this road occupied by the enemy, the command turned to the right through the woods and fields, flanking their position, and entered the town at a charge, pell-mell, with the fugitives. Soon Colonel Harman, with the advance, secured and repaired the suspension bridge over the river, and crossed his regiment with a portion of White's battalion. A part of the hostile forces in Fairmont retreated up the east bank of the river, the remainder going up the west bank, both joining the forces stationed at the bridge for its protection. As soon as the position of the enemy could be ascertained, simultaneous attacks were made on both sides of the river. After moderate resistance, a white flag was shown, and 260 prisoners surrendered.

Their arms were scarcely stacked before a train with artillery and infantry arrived from Grafton. The enemy at once commenced shelling our troops on the west bank of the river, and moved forward the infantry to recover the railroad bridge. These were promptly met by Colonel Harman on his side of the river. Lieutenant-Colonel Marshall, with great presence of mind, moved his horses under shelter of a hill, and called on his men to dismount and take up the captured arms. This call was most gallantly answered by the ever-ready Seventh Virginia Cavalry, and the reception of the new-comers was soon too warm for a long tarry. Colonel Harman sent me word that with slight re-enforcements he could capture the whole command, but as the bridge was my main object, I preferred to exert my whole energy in its destruction, and to allow the troops who could do me no more harm to escape. Lieutenant William G. Williamson, engineer, assisted by Captain [John] Henderson, formerly of Ashby's cavalry, in charge of working parties, commenced the task of destruction, and soon after dark had the satisfaction of seeing this magnificent structure tumble into the river. The bridge was of iron; three spans, each 300 feet. More than two years were required for its construction, and six months for the erection of the centers on which to fix the superstructure of iron. It cost $486,333. Much time must elapse before this gap can be closed. The fruits of this day's work (April 29) were 4 railroad