effectually as they marched. General Averell led the advance on the Bedford turnpike, followed by Sullivan's infantry, the reserve artillery, and the baggage train. General Averell continued to drive McCausland before him, but in the afternoon reported that the enemy had been re-enforced, and was becoming stubborn. Encamped at night near the Bedford turnpike, seven miles east of Liberty, my cavalry advance near the Great Otter River. From this point I sent back the supply train of 200 wagons which had overtaken us at Lexington. Colonel Putnam, with his regiment of Ohio 100-days' volunteers, was detailed to guard it, and the train put under the direction of Captain McCann, assistant quartermaster. This train was accompanied by a large number of loyal refugees, both whites and negroes, and the route proposed for its return to our lines was by way of New Castle, Sweet Springs, Lewisburg, and Charleston, Kanawha. During the night received information from General Averell that he had a sharp contest with the enemy at New London and had driven him, but that he had evidently been re-enforced and was becoming aggressive.
Early in the morning of the 17th orders were given for the troops to move, but the march was delayed for several hours at the Great Otter River, owing to the difficulty in crossing the artillery, and in consequence we did not overtaken the enemy until 4 o'clock in the afternoon. At that hour Averell's advance came upon the enemy, strongly posted and intrenched at Diamond Hill, five miles from Lynchburg. He immediately attacked, and a sharp contest ensued. Crook's infantry arriving at the same time, made a brilliant advance upon the enemy, drove him from his works back upon the town, killing and wounding a number and capturing 70 men and 1 gun. It being too late to follow up this success, we encamped upon the battle-field. The best information to be obtained at this point of the enemy's forces and plans indicated that all the rebel forces heretofore operating in the Valley and West Virginia were concentrated in Lynchburg, under the command of General Breckinridge. This force was variously estimated at from 10,000 to 15,000 men, well supplied with artillery, and protected by strong works.
During the night the trains on the different railroads were heard running without intermission, while repeated cheers and the beating of drums indicated the arrival of large bodies of troops in the town yet up to the morning of the 18th I had no positive information s to whether General Lee had detached any considerable force for the relief of Lynchburg. To settle the question on this morning, I advanced my skirmishers as far as the toll-gate on the Bedford road, two miles from the town, and a brisk fire was opened between them and the enemy behind their works. This skirmishing with musketry, occasionally assisted by the artillery, was kept up during the whole of the forenoon. Their works consisted of strong redoubts on each of the main roads entering the town about three miles apart, flanked on either side by rifle-pits protected by abatis. On these lines the enemy could be seen working diligently as if to extend and strengthen them. I massed my two divisions of infantry in front of the works on the Bedford road ready to move to the right or left as required, the artillery in commanding positions, and Averell's cavalry division in reserve. Duffie was ordered to attack resolutely on the Forestville road, our extreme left, while Averell sent two squadrons of cavalry to demonstrate against the Campbell Court-House road on our extreme right. This detachment was sub-