then with me. This last-mentioned order was dated at Christiansburg, May 10, 1864, and was received at 8 a. m. on the next day. I immediately prepared to move with a force composed of Colonel William L. Jackson's brigade, numbering about 800 men; the Seventeenth Virginia Cavalry Regiment; two independent companies, under the command of Capts. William D. and P. J. Thurmond, respectively; a company of reserves from Pulaski County, under Captain Poage-amounting in all to about 1,425 men, 80 of whom were mounted-together with four pieces of artillery, under command of Lieutenant Jackson, and marched fifteen miles. Considerable delay was occasioned by having to cross New River twice.
On the day following (12th), learning that General Crook had crossed New River below New River bridge and was moving toward Blacksburg, I pushed forward to gain the top of the Gap Mountain. when my advance had reached within two miles of that point I ascertained through my scouts that the enemy had taken possession of the gap. I then determined to attempt to hold him check until my transportation could reach the Salt Pond road, so as to be able to fall back on that road; but owing to his greatly superior numbers my skirmishers were driven back, and I was compelled to fall back toward Brown's Ferry on the road on which I had advanced. The enemy having taken the Salt Pond road, I sent about 350 picked men, under Colonel Kesler, of Colonel Jackson's command, to harass him in every conceivable manner. On his march (the enemy's) over the Salt Pond road he was compelled to abandon a number of wagons, horses, cattle, and other property, which are being collected by Captain V. G. De L'Isle, post quartermaster, who informs me that the loss sustained by the enemy amounts to more than $1,000,000.
On the morning of the 13th instant I again moved my command toward Blacksburg for the purpose of joining Colonel McCausland, then in the vicinity of the Montgomery White Sulphur Springs, when I received intelligence of the approach of two brigades of the enemy's cavalry, under General Averell, by way of Blacksburg. The command pressed forward, and on arriving at the top of Gap Mountain I observed the enemy on Brush Mountain. I immediately sent forward two companies, under General Averell, by way of Blacksburg. The command pressed forward, and on arriving at the top of Gap Mountain I observed the enemy on Brush Mountain. I immediately sent forward two companies, under Lieutenant-Colonel, Tavenner, of the Seventeenth Virginia Cavalry, as skirmishers and prepared for battle. The enemy endeavored to force their way through the gap by turning our left, but failing in this precipitately retreated by the road on which he had advanced. Loss slight on both sides. Colonel McCausland having arrived on the field before night, ordered me to return to the Narrows, for the purpose of taking charge of the Government stores and sending a force to watch the movements of the enemy in the country of Monroe.
I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of the officers and men when facing General Crook on the 12th, and General Averell on the 13th. I derived much aid from the counsels of Colonel William L. Jackson, and take pleasures in expressing my confidence in his courage and ability.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. H. FRENCH,
Colonel, Commanding, &c.
Major CHARLES S. STRINGFELLOW,