Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 30.djvu/300
292 Southern Historical Society Papers.
The report of General Crook, who was a very excellent officer, is particularly striking. After telling of his march and the occupa- tion of his corps on the lyth, he says (70 War of Rebellion, 121):
" Next morning I was sent to the right with my division to make a reconnoissance for the purpose of turning the enemy's left; found it impracticable after marching some three or four miles, and just returned with my division and got into position to support Sulli- van's division when the enemy made an attack on our lines."
Having said this, and without further word of explanation or de- scription of the result, he continues:
" On the retreat this evening my division brought up the rear. When I reached Liberty, I found General Averell had gone into camp on the edge of the town. The infantry were goipg into camp some mile and a half further on."
He sings no pean of victory, as did Hunter, but preserved a si- lence which is suggestive, if not eloquent.
General Sullivant made no report. All that General Averell says about the movements is an elaborate analysis of the causes of the failure, chief amongst which he asserts was General Hunter's delay at Lexington (70 War of Rebellion, 148). Colonel Frost, who com- manded a regiment in Crook's division, reports that on the i8th
"His command marched three miles to the right, and on the afternoon was ordered again to the front of the enemy's works, and were afterwards formed in line on our left under a heavy fire of ar- tillery. Our brigade charged the enemy and drove them back to his rifle-pits.
" Here the right gave wave, and our brigade being exposed to a close firing of musketry, grape and canister, we were obliged to re- tire about thirty paces to a new line of battle, which was held until orders were received to fall back. Marched all that night, and reached Liberty about 3 P. M. on the gth. (70 War of Rebellion,
Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes, afterwards President of the United States, in reporting the battle of the i8th, says:
"Pursued the retreating rebels and drove them from their rifle- pits to the protection of their main works. The works being too strong to be carried by the force then before them, the regiment retired in some disorder, but was promptly reformed before reaching our own lines. After leaving Lynchburg the officers and men of the