Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/115

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99
Hunter's Raid.

southern edge of Harrisonburg they went in a steady flow. "There they go," said he. Every ear was catching his words. He would not permit a single man to show his head above the crest, though at so great distance from the enemy. After gazing at the scene, with sundry ejaculations, he exclaims, "Where do they go to? They do not appear on stretches of the Valley pike visible further south, yet they keep again out of the edge of the town."

It was suggested by one standing near that he throw his glass on the Port Republic road and see if they were there.

No sooner done that "Ah! there go the rascals—horse, foot, and dragoon," he cried. Taking the glass myself I could plainly discern the whole movement; here a body of infantry, then see the artillery horses tugging up the hill beyond the Butler house, now and then a horseman, no doubt an officer, spurring up the hill at one side of the moving column, in a full trot towards their front.

A courier was now dispatched in haste to Imboden via Bridgewater with a message McNeill dictated to me warning him he was being flanked in this way by the entire force of Hunter. "What its effect was upon that officer we shall see a little further on in my story.

Hurrah for John McNeill, a prompt and gallant fighter, always hanging on the flanks and rear of an advancing enemy.

Down from that hill, first northward to the Green mount road at Tom Harrison's—pushing right into Harrisonburg on one side as Hunter's rear guard pressed out on the other—stragglers scattering here and there as they recognized the dreaded gray coats, "Men must not break ranks to take these stragglers now, keep well in hand," was his stern command. Out up the Valley pike he swept, eagle-eyed, fierce, daring everything. Harrison-burgers stared with wide-eyed wonder, what few were at their doors, and plucked up hope again to see that Hunter was "surrounded."

What would be next?

I see yet, turning about as he saw us sweep up and pass him, swinging his hat and shouting to the boys. Colonel Algernon S. Gray, that man of noble spirit and most kind heart, who opposed the war of separation, but who loved the boys to the last.