War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0949 Chapter XXXIX. EXPEDITION TO WYTHEVILLE, VA.

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Before reaching the town, I again received information from my scouts that the main body of the enemy, numbering about 1, 000 men, was within half a mile of the town, moving steadily and rapidly forward. I pressed on as rapidly as was practicable with an undisciplined command, and succeeded in reaching town just as the enemy made their appearance in sight of Main street, some 1, 200 yards distant. Not being familiar with the streets or the topography of the town, I was forced to be guided by circumstances, and first moved my command in the direction in which the enemy were approaching; but, after advancing a short distance in that direction, I found it impossible to procure a position which would be tenable for so small a force against so large a one. I therefore ordered Lieutenants Bozang and [H. H.] Alexander to move their company forward to check the advance, while the remainder of the command could be brought back to Main street, where resistance might be more successfully made. This order was obeyed promptly, and the officers and men behaved most gallantly. Lieutenant Bozang`s conduct on the occasion was conspicuously brave and his services most valuable. Although a deadly volley of buck and ball was fired into the head of the advancing column at a distance of not more than 30 yards, yet the impetuosity of the charge was so determined as to be irresistible, and Bozang and his gallant little command were forced from their position in a narrow street, and compelled to surrender to overpowering numbers. By this time the remainder of my force had been removed from Tazewell street (the one by which the enemy were approaching), and posted in such of the houses upon Main street as could be entered, many of the doors being closed and securely fastened. This position was held for about three-quarters of an hour, when we were forced to abandon it by overpowering numbers of the enemy, deployed as skirmishers on foot through the town. I ordered a retreat, and the town was left to the mercy of the foe. Had I remained longer, the result could not have been different, excepting that all of the brave men under my command must inevitably have been killed or captured. Owing to the severity of the enemy`s fire, and the unorganized condition of my command, they could not be withdrawn in order, and were, therefore, directed by me to quit the town as best they could, and to rally at the water-tank, a point upon the railroad a mile below the depot, whither I had ordered the train to be moved for greater safety. This they did, but before that point could be reached, the conductor, for some reason which has never been explained to me, moved off with his train, thereby compelling the command to make their way back to Dublin on foot. About 25 of the men who accompanied me were captured; Captain Oliver and 2 men were killed; Lieutenant Bozang and 3 or 4 wounded; and I have been informed that 2 of the citizens of Wytheville were also killed and some 50 or 60 captured. They, however, with the other prisoners, were subsequently released upon their parole. Owing to the great advantage we secured in fighting from houses and other shelter against mounted men in the streets, we were enabled to inflict far greater loss upon the enemy than we sustained, notwithstanding the disparity of numbers. The colonel commanding (Toland) was killed; the second in command (Colonel Powell) was wounded, and afterward left in our hands. Captain Delaney was killed; Lieutenants [Charles H.] Livingston, [William E.] Gusenan, and - were wounded and also left in our hands. Nine