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History of Cambria County, V.2

    As we have noted, Gen. Lee had the great advantage in being able to keep his army on the east side of the Blue Ridge, and use the Shenandoah Valley for forays and raids to annoy Gen. Grant and to threaten Pennsylvania in order to compel Grant to withdraw troops from the Army of the Potomac. Lee had been doing these things with effect for three years. Grant considered the valley as a part of the field he should control. When he crossed the Rapidan river May 4, he also directed Sigel (Col. Campbell) to march up the valley and hold the enemy in check, but Sigel was defeated at New Market. Gen. Hunter, his successor, made a successful campaign until he reached Lynchburg on the evening of June 16. Lee recognized the importance of Hunter's movements and knew they would end in his defeat unless he could stop them. On June 15 and 16 he sent Stonewall Jackson's old corps under the command of Gen. Early, to re-enforce Gen. Breckinridge in front of Hunter at Lynchburg. It will be recalled that at this time Lee had retreated and was safely in his intrenchments at Petersburg. Gen. Hunter did not attack Lynchburg on the night of the 16th and during that time Early's forces were arriving. The troops of the 54th Regiment plainly heard the running of trains bringing in the troops from Lee's army.
    There were five companies from Johnstown in this fight, namely:

Captain Co. Regt.
Brigade. Division. Army of
John P. Suter. A. 54th Pa. Inf.
E.D. Yutzy.
J.M. Campbell,
Geo. Crook,
David Hunter
Thomas Lapsley, D. Same Same Same Same
David R. Lewis, E. Same Same Same Same
J. B. Dunlap, H. Same Same Same Same
Geo. W. Camp, I. Same Same Same Same

    Gen. Breckinridge was strongly intrenched, and Gen. Early's force coming in at the last moment gave him probably 20,000 men. Gen. Hunter made the attack on the morning of the 16th and by maneuvers kept up the fight all day. He renewed the contest the next morning but soon discovered that he could not accomplish his object. His ammunition was exhausted and food was very scarce, being a great distance from the base of supplies. By noon it was found that the enemy had surrounded him on the east and north, cutting off his retreat down the valley. During the afternoon he informed his officers that he would retreat as soon as darkness came on, that they should prepare but keep silent. His only change was to go west and

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