Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 38.djvu/238
224 Southern Historical Society Papers.
5,500 in all, against 8,ooo or 9,000 of the enemy. We lost about 600 killed and wounded and 50 prisoners."
General Breckinridge says : "This morning, two miles above New Market, my command met the enemy, under General Sigel, and defeated him with heavy loss. The action has just closed at the Shenandoah River. Enemy fled across North Fork of Shenandoah, burning the bridge behind him."
On May 18th, three days after the defeat, and on the same day of Grant's despatch directing that Sigel be sent up the Shen- andoah Valley, we find General Sigel expressing himself as fol- lows : "Inform General Crook that Breckinridge has probably concentrated his whole force against me. Echols is here and there are probably no troops of the enemy between Lynchburg and Staunton. On the latter place Crook should operate."
But the only response which this admonition appears to have evoked are these unequivocal words :
"Near Spotsylvania C. H. Major-General Halleck,
Washington, D. C. By all means, I would say, appoint General Hunter or any one else to the command of West Virginia.
U. S. Grant."
Major-General Sigel flits dimly through subsequent history . and then disappears. General Grant, although disappointed, was not discouraged by this double failure. We saw that he ordered the remains of Creek's army to rendezvous at Harpers Ferry. He had decided to renew the attempt to reach the Vir- ginia & Tennessee and the Virginia Central Railroads, and to conduct this renewed attempt, he selected Major-General David Hunter, who succeeded General Sigel in command of that de- partment.
General Hunter certainly achieved results more substantial than any that had fallen to his predecessor. He did reach Staunton, and did destroy the buildings and roadway of the Virginia Central Railroad. He did meet Brigadier-General W. E. Jones at Mount Hope, and defeated his forces and killed him. He did reach the precincts of Lynchburg and the line of