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History of Cambria County, V.2

the Lafayette Cavalry, had started out, I immediately ordered Lieutenant Henry A. Myers, with 50 men, to re-enforce the guard, but before Lieut. Myers came up, Lieut. Speer was attacked near Burlington by a largely superior force of rebel cavalry, under Captain John H. McNeill, who succeeded in capturing lieut. Speer, with 11 of his men and 5 teams. Learning that Speer had been attacked, I promptly dispatched all my available cavalry, under command of Captain George T. Work, out on the Moorefield road, followed by 400 of the Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers and 200 of the First Virginia Volunteer Infantry, and one section of the Upshur Battery, Captain Alexander C. Moore, all under command of Lieutenant Colonel John P. Linton, Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers.
    Near Purgitsville, about 15 miles from this post, Captain Work met Lieutenant Myers, falling back before a force of about 300 of the enemy's cavalry, who were rapidly advancing. Captain Work concealed the main body of his men off from, but near, the road, and as they advanced along the road charged upon them, throwing them into confusion, killing 3, wounding 14 and capturing 3. Three of our men were wounded, but not dangerously, in the gallant charge, the enemy being fully two to one of our men.
    The enemy beat a hasty retreat in the direction of Moorefield. The infantry and artillery came up as rapidly as possible, but the rebels were in full retreat before they arrived, and it being by this time quite dark, the whole force encamped for the night.
    At daybreak the next morning the command started toward Moorefield. A short distance beyond Going's Ford they found about 200 of the enemy encamped on the opposite side of the river, but at a point where it could be forded. Captain Moore immediately brought up his section, and sent a few well directed shells into their camp, causing the rebels to leave precipitately, leaving behind in their flight a quantity of stores, grain and forage, with the wagons they had captured from Lieutenant Speer. A small force of cavalry and 150 infantry crossed the river, the infantry crossing in small boats, and totally destroying the rebel camp with all its stores, and the wagons, which they could not bring off.
    As the infantry could not be made available in a farther pursuit of the enemy, and it not being deemed prudent to go farther with the cavalry alone, the whole command returned to camp, where they arrived during the same night.
    Our loss is as follows: In the affair at Burlington we lost 1 lieutenant and 11 men captured, 5 wagons (which were subsequently recaptured and burned by us), and 25 horses. At Purgitsville we had 3 men wounded. The enemy lost at Purgitsville; Killed, 3; wounded, 14; captured, 1 officer and 2 men and 4 horses.

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Created: 19 Mar 2003, Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury, Diann Olsen and contributors