War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 1003 Chapter XXXIX. EXPEDITION TO WYTHEVILLE, VA.

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siderable confusion, many of them dismounting and leaving their horses, while they sought their own safety. The Thirty-fourth Regiment was immediately dismounted and ordered forward on the double-quick. Just at this juncture Colonel Powell fell, dangerously wounded, with a pistol ball through the back, and the Second West Virginia were not led into the fight as a regiment. The Thirty-fourth Regiment moved forward and attacked the court-house and several private buildings, which were strongly garrisoned by the enemy. The fire of the enemy was very murderous at these buildings, and here Colonel Toland fell, pierced through the vitals, while in the act of urging his men forward and making disposition of his forces. I was at that time considerably in advance, with the advance of the Thirty-fourth Geriment, and failed to hear of Colonel Toland's death until some time after its occurrence. Captain Gillmore pressed forward toward the depot, where he found the enemy in small force, but strongly posted, with two pieces of artillery. Lieutenant Abraham, of Captain Gillmore's company, with a detachment of the Thirty-fourth Regiment, charged upon the guns, shot down the gunners just as they were preparing to fire their second shot, and captured both pieces. In the meantime, the Thirty-fourth Regiment had deployed through the town and driven the enemy from every position, capturing a considerable number of prisoners. The soldiers and citizens, and when some of the women, fired from private dwelling-houses, taking deliberate aim. As soon as the dead and wounded were removed, Lieutenant E. W. Clark, acting assistant adjutant-general of the brigade, ordered the court-house and private and public buildings immediately adjacent, from which the rebel fire had been hottest, to be burned, and, subsequently, the main part of the town was fired and reduced to ashes. In the meantime, I had sent a force to the left of the town to destroy some small bridges and a culvert which were reported there. This was successfully accomplished. One short bridge and one culvert were destroyed. It was about 8. 30, the fight having been commenced at 7 o'clock. Having completely routed the rebels and driven them from every part of the town, I drew off my forces, when information came that the rear guard of the column, in charge of the prisoners, had been attacked by a force of 300 rebel cavalry and the prisoners retaken, together with several of our own men, including Captain Cutler, of Company C, Thirty-fourth, who had charge of the rear guard. By this time, Captain Millard, who had been sent to the Mount Airy depot, had returned and reported that a force of 300 rebels occupied the place, and that the bridge over Reed Creek was strongly garrisoned. Upon consultation with the regimental commanders, it was thought inadvisable to make any further demonstrations against the enemy. It seemed impossible to obtain accurate information of the enemy's position or strength, though all reports represented the bridge as strongly occupied. To remain and attack in the morning was to hazard the whole expedition, without assurance of accomplishing the object. I therefore concluded to draw off my command, and at 3 a. m., of July 19, commenced the return march. Having reached Queen's Knob, a spur of Walker's Mountain, about 12 miles from Wytheville and