War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0959 Chapter XXXIX. EXPEDITION TO WYTHEVILLE, VA.

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[Inclosure Numbers 5. *]

APRIL 6, 1864.

I was in Abingdon, Va., when General William Preston received a dispatch from General Williams, at Liberty Hill, Va., announcing the approach of a raiding party of the enemy from the direction of Abb's Valley, Va. I at once mounted, and hurried on by way of Saltville, where I saw another dispatch from General Williams, requesting all of General Preston's cavalry to be pushed forward to tim at Liberty Hill, Va., as fast as possible. I pressed on, and joined General Williams at Liberty Hill on Sunday morning. Leaving General Williams there, I went on with a small company of Colonel W. E. Peters' command, who were endeavoring to intersect the probable route of the enemy. When we arrived, late at night, at what we supposed would be the crossing place of the enemy, we halted to wait for General Williams to come up with Colonel Hodge's cavalry. About midnight, General Williams came up with about 125 men, and showed me a dispatch that he had just received, announcing that Colonel Hodge's command had been ordered to a different point, and would not join him. General Williams, however, pushed on with his small force, and only halted once at daylight to rest and feed the horses for a few minutes. From that time the command did not halt until it had overtaken the enemy's rear guard, and continued fighting and pursuing them until, horsed and men utterly broken down, the pursuit was abandoned. General Williams did all, in my opinion, that any man could do. His report, which I have read, is strictly correct in every respect, as far as is within my knowledge, and I was with him during most of the time, and saw several of his dispatches to General Preston, Colonel Crittenden, and others.

Respectfully submitted.

H. S. BOWEN,

Colonel, Comdg. Twenty-second Virginia Cavalry Regiment.

[Inclosure No. 6.]

WYTHEVILLE, April 10, 1864.

I was with General Williams, in Tazewell County, when the Federals passed through on their way to Wytheville in July last, and it gives me pleasure to do whatever I can to refute the presumptions and gratuitous remarks of Colonel John McCausland (whose report I have just read) in reference to the part General Williams enacted. General Williams' report gives a faithful account of the pursuit of the enemy, the number and character of his troops, and no one could have acted with more promptitude, more dispatch, or more discretion than he did on this occasion, and the escape of the enemy can only be attributed to a want of a sufficient force to intercept them. Had Colonel Hodge's cavalry been sent straight to him lat Liberty Hill, as he requested, I am confident that he would have captured the enemy's whole force.

WM. M. PEYTON, JR.,

First Lieutenant, and Aide-de-Camp.

P. S. -General Williams' brigade was at Saltville, some 50 miles from the point at which the enemy passed out, while that point was only about 16 mile from Princeton, Colonel McCausland's headquarters.

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*Inclosures Nos. 3 and 4 are reports of Williams, July 24, p. 950, and Mc Causland, July 80, p. 961.

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