War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0961 Chapter XXXIX. EXPEDITION TO WYTHEVILLE, VA.

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Williams had only about 225 mounted men at his command, consisting of raw recruits, under the command of Major [A. J.] May and Colonel John D. Morris. General Williams received information about midnight, and although several miles distant from the camps of May and Morris, had all the available men in both commands in the saddle and in pursuit of the enemy at 4 a. m. The enemy had the start of General Williams' men of 15 miles, but they were overtaken at sunset that day, and all our prisoners released and several of the enemy killed and captured by our men. The only re-enforcements received by General Williams were about 100 or 125 men from General Preston, who arrived at Liberty Hill, Va., about midday on Sunday, with horses and men jaded, and having then 20 or 25 miles to march before they could possibly fall in with the enemy, who were on their return from Wytheville. General Williams in person led General Preston's men, and pressed forward as rapidly as the horses could travel. The enemy had passed two hours before he came upon their route, but he still pressed forward, and, as soon as he came up with their rear, attacked them, and continued the pursuit as long as the horses were fit for service. General Williams from the first acted with all the promptitude and energy that any one could have used. His force was not one fourth that of the enemy, and was broken down by the time it came up with the raiders. Had his request to General Preston for his cavalry been responded to, General Williams would, beyond doubt, have succeeded in destroying or capturing the raiding force. The report of Colonel McCausland in regard to General Williams' operations in incorrect in almost every particular. The enemy in their retreat passed within 15 miles of Colonel McCausland's force, which point was distant at least 50 miles from General Williams' main force at Saltville. The force that Colonel McCausland sent in pursuit of the raiders from Raleigh County, Va., was one company (Captain [H.] Bowen's) and a part of Captain [C. J.] Lewis' company, of Eighth Virginia Cavalry. What they numbered when they started from Raleigh County I know not; but when they came up with the men under General Williams' immediate command, in Abb's Valley, they did not amount to over 20 men; men and horses utterly broken down. I think that it is rather problematical whether, left to their own or Captain Bowen's orders, they could have stopped and driven back to Rocky Gap two regiments of the enemy.


No. 7. Report of Colonel John McCausland, Thirty-sixth Virginia Infantry, commanding Fourth Brigade.


Mercer Court-House, Va., July 30, 1863.

SIR: In accordance with your letter of the 29th, calling for a report of the movement of my troops and the part taken by them in connection with the recent raid on Wytheville, I will submit the following brief report: Having been forced from my position at Piney, near Raleigh Court-House, Va., by a superior force of the enemy under General