War of the Rebellion: Serial 070 Page 0143 Chapter XLIX. THE LYNCHBURG CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

officer of Major-General Hunter's staff came to me, stating that the whole army was falling back, and that orders would be sent to me at what hour to fall back. I would here state that had I obeyed the orders brought by General Averell's aide, my loss must have been very great, if not my whole command sacrificed, as all my ammunition was exhausted and the enemy's forces massed in my front. Having held my position until 10 p.m., I took upon myself, the responsibility of falling back. This was effected in perfect order, my forces being withdrawn in the same order in which I advanced in the morning. Falling back for three miles, I re-established my line of battle, in order to ascertain if the enemy were following. At the same time I sent Captain Ricker, of my staff, to the headquarters of General Hunter. He returned two hours later, informing me that he could not find General Hunter's headquarters, and that the whole army had left the field. I then fell back on the Forest road, crossing to the main pike at the village of New London. Some time later I overtook the rear of our retreating army, about daylight, after having fought about ten hours and marched all night. At a distance of four miles from Liberty Court-House I reported to the major-general commanding the army in person. I was then ordered to move to the advance of the main column and select camping-grounds for the several divisions composing the army. I encamped my division orders to move forward immediately and occupy Buford's Gap, some sixteen miles from Liberty Court-House.

My advance, under Colonel Wynkoop, occupied that gap 1 a.m. of the 20th of June. My whole division reached this point and encamped at daybreak. At this point I employed my whole force in tearing up and destroying the railroad. I destroyed the railroad, burning all the depots and bridges for a distance of ten miles. From Buford's Gap I received orders to proceed to Salem via Bonsack's. At this place I caused the depot to be burned and an extensive woolen factory which was engaged in the manufacture of clothing for the Confederate Government. I reached Salem at 2 a.m. of June 21.

On the morning of the 21st I was ordered by the major-general commanding the army to proceed to Catawba Mountain Gap, which was reported to be held by the enemy and strongly blockaded. My orders were to clear out this gap and take the train through. This I did; I found about four miles of blockade, which was promptly removed and a small force of the enemy driven from the gap. Having passed the train over the mountain I received a signal dispatch from Captain Carlin, stating that the artillery was attacked and was without support. Though without any orders to support or picket the artillery I immediately sent one regiment back to the top of the mountain to assist the artillery, but the distance was too great for them to arrive in time to render any assistance.

At 7 p.m. of the 21st I was ordered to proceed, by way of New Castle Court-House, to the junction of the Fincastle and Sweet Springs roads, and there remain while the main army should pass. This I did, arriving at the point five miles beyond New Castle at daybreak of the 22nd. With the First Brigade I placed strong pickets on all the roads to Fincastle and sent out scouting parties, whilst the Second Brigade was held in line of battle all of that day and the succeeding night.