their column at Crabtree's, on Clear Fork, but their rear was passing as he came in sight.
Here our force was joined by a company of the Eighth Virginia Cavalry (Captain [H.] Bowen), sent by Colonel McCausland from Princeton. From Crabtree's the enemy struck across East River Mountain, at Henry Dill's, by an almost impassable trace, our forces fighting them till dark. They were four hours in crossing the mountain. I had intelligence in time to have intercepted them, but no troops to do it with.
Major Holladay reached Liberty Hill at 4. 30 o'clock Sunday evening (18th), with 150 men, with horses very much jaded. The major informed me that Colonel Hodge could not be more than 3 miles behind him. I took these, with 40 of Colonel Peters' mounted men, and moved to Charles Tiffany's, where I knew the enemy would descend from the mountain, sending a courier to Colonel Hodge to urge him up as fast as possible, telling him that I should commence the attack the moment I met the enemy, and should look for early assistance from him. Arrived at Tiffany's, I heard that the enemy had crossed the turnpike through the Widow Harmon's fields, but had halted to rest. A courier overtook me here with a dispatch stating that Colonel Hodge, whom I had so long expected, was not on the road at all, but had been ordered by General Preston to a point half way between Saltville and Glade Spring. I sent a footman with a guide across the mountain to inform May that I should attack the enemy at daybreak, and, if possible, he must cross the mountain to my assistance, may had received my dispatch from Jeffersonville, and was already moving over. I had no hope of capturing the enemy now, but I believed a vigorous pursuit would save a large number of beef cattle and other property in Abb's Valley.
At daybreak we came upon them as they were getting out of Brown's meadow, and attacked their rear. A running fire was kept up until we came to Abb's Valley, where two Yankee companies were engaged in collecting several hundred beef-cattle. We charged into them, forcing them to abandon the cattle and a number of stolen negroes. I had 3 men killed and the Yankees had several. They were in the act of burning Fall's Mills as we came upon them. We continued the pursuit to Flat Top Mountain, when, finding that I would lose more men than the Yankees, I gave up the chase, and returned to Abb's Valley.
The vigor of the pursuit made by May and Morris is without par allel. In less than forty-eight hours, they pressed and fought the enemy for 110 miles without resting. The enemy had the advantage of being able to take fresh horses in front, while none were left for our men behind. The raid was a failure. The enemy lost 30 prisoners, 17 killed, and a large number wounded, and were compelled to abandon the stolen negroes and cattle, and were chased so closely as to be unable to do much damage to private property. Our loss was but 3 killed and a few slightly wounded, and our men had the satisfaction of recapturing Stollings' company. I do not know the number of killed and wounded in and near Wytheville. If General Preston's cavalry had come straight to me from Russell instead of going by Saltville, or if they had reached me by noon on Sunday, I could certainly have captured the enemy's entire force. The greatest energy and promptitude were displayed by Major May, Colonels Morris and Peters, their officers and men. The only trouble was, our force was not strong enough.