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History of Cambria County, V.2

HISTORY OF CAMBRIA COUNTY. 161
ened; there will be more security and quicker and safer transit of mail. * * *
    There is not an officer in our Division who has as much as a change of stockings with him; the most of them are ragged, and throughout the entire command there is no end to vermin. Some officers of our regiment have not got a shirt to wear and no chance of getting any, and for the want of blankets must pass the night shivering around a camp fire. * * * We are moving forward and back through this valley like a cotillion on a large scale.
    We commenced to back from Harrisonburg a week ago, not from the enemy, however, but I presume in order to contract our line. The bridge being already burnt in our rear by guerillas.
    Saturday evening at Fisher's Hill, a large force of the enemy's cavalry attacked our rear guard, causing a halt of the column until Sunday about 11 o'clock. Our cavalry supported by a few infantry made a charge on their whole line, using only the sabre, and completely routed them, cutting them down, over fields and roads and driving them through Edinburg, and kept up the pursuit long after night, until near Newmarket, where Longstreet's infantry lay. The result of this was the capture of eleven wagons and a few hundred prisoners. Our brigade acting as support lay on the turnpike between Fisher's Hill and Woodstock that night, and when the trophies began to come in it caused a regular laugh for it was the most fantastic parade I ever saw in military style. This makes about forty cannon captured since Sheridan took the offensive.
    On Tuesday we left Fisher's Hill and came through Strasburg to Cedar Creek, where we are at present encamped. Today the enemy appeared in full force on Fisher's Hill and unlimbered a battery on this side of the town and amused himself by shelling our camps; the most of which fell in the 54th slightly wounding a few men and several bursting rather unpleasantly near by headquarters, but as these things are common occurrences no person minds them much. Our Division subsequently moved out to reconnoiter and moved in line over a mile of ground under a terrific fire of shells, some of which burst in the line of our Brigade, tearing the men into pieces, but mostly passing over our heads. We advanced until close on to the battery, when it moved back, and we engaged their infantry for a short time, and then retired, having accomplished all we desired in the reconnaissance. We got back into our camp this evening. The total loss of our division was not more than two hundred killed and wounded, including one brigade commander. The loss in the 54th is about twelve killed and wounded.
    I am at present in command of the regiment, having no assistance nor anyone to take charge of my own company but a corporal; there being quite a number of officers sick and worn


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Created: 20 Mar 2003, Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury, Diann Olsen and contributors