Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/113

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97
Banter's Raid.

desolations seem already done—the whole world is sick—and one thinks only of a desert—a land to be uninhabited evermore!

We returned to Harrisonburg at night. Next day (Friday) Hunter entered Harrisonburg, halting overnight, and proceeding without opposition up the Valley on Saturday by the Port Republic road.

CHARGE THROUGH HARRISONBURG.

All day Friday the air was full of flying reports. All felt the enemy was at the doors. But men knew nothing. A single cavalryman in the afternoon reported Hunter at Lacey Spring. At this time a small squad of volunteer scouts—Captain G., Lieutenant M., B. F. R., I. N. B., T. J. A., and the telegrapher rode down the pike to observe their approach. On reaching the Liggett place, a half mile below town, the head of the enemy's column rose black over Gambill's hill, a little further on. They continued to pour over the hill in solid columns as we returned towards Harrisonburg, and came on quietly, their horses at a walk. Staunton was quickly warned; the Harrisonburg office closed, and our little squad on horseback waited their coming at the court-house and corner of east Market street, not wishing to leave till the last moment.

In a few minutes a squad of cavalry appeared on the little eminence, where the United States court-house now stands, halted a moment, began firing upon us, and drove upon us at break-neck speed.

One of our party was dismounted at the moment girthing his saddle when this little episode began. These men were dressed in gray, and not thinking of Jesse Scouts, we were saying to one another these were some of our own men just come in on some side road, when we observed them elevate their pistols and fire. And as we put spurs to our horses, our visitors, having already lessened the distance between us, pressed at our very heels, firing wildly and shouting, and receiving fire in return. As all went down the street like a roaring tide, we saw the brick-dust fly out of the Masonic building from random balls; the town was full of bluecoats in the time it takes to tell it, and as we neared a thin line of troops Imboden had drawn up at the edge of town, our unmannerly pursuers drew reins and retired.