Page:A Memoir of the Last Year of the War for Independence in the Confederate States of America.djvu/47

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

troops as were at hand. Brigadier-General Hays, who was an invalid from a wound received at Spotsylvania Court House, had tendered his services and also aided in making arrangements for the defence. I rode out with General Hill to examine the line selected by him, and make a reconnoissance of the country in front. Slight works had been hastily thrown up on College Hill, covering the turnpike and Forest roads from Liberty, which were manned by Breckenridge's infantry and the dismounted cavalry of the command which had been with Jones at Piedmont, The reserves, invalids from the hospitals, and the cadets from the Military Institute at Lexington, occupied other parts of the line. An inspection satisfied me that, while this arrangement was the best which could be made under the circumstances which General Hill found himself, yet it would leave the town exposed to the fire of the enemy's artillery, should he advance to the attack, and I therefore determined to meet the enemy with my troops in front.

We found Imboden about four miles out on the turnpike, near an old Quaker church, to which position he had been gradually forced back by the enemy's infantry. My troops, as they arrived, had been ordered in front of the works to bivouac, and I immediately sent orders for them to move out on this road, and two brigades of Ramseur's division arrived just in time to be thrown across the road, at a redoubt about two miles from the city, as Imboden's command was driven back by vastly superior numbers. These brigades, with two pieces of artillery in the redoubt, arrested the progress of the enemy, and Ramseur's other brigade, and the part of Gordon's division which had arrived, took position on the same line. The enemy opened a heavy fire of artillery on us, but, as night soon came on, he went into camp on our front.[1]

  1. Hunter's delay in advancing from Staunton had been most remarkable, and can be accounted for only by the fact, that indulgence in petty acts of malignity and outrage upon private citizens was more congenial to his nature than bold operations in the field. He had defeated Jones' small force at Piedmont about ten miles from Staunton, on the 6th, and united with Crook on the 8th, yet he did not arrive in front of Lynchburg until near night on the 17th. The route from Staunton to Lynchburg by which he moved, which was by Lexington, Buchanan, the Peaks of Otter, and Liberty, is about one hundred miles in distance. It is true McCausland had delayed his progress by keeping constantly in his front, but an energetic advance would have, brushed away McCausland's small force, and Lynch-