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cavalry charged fiercely towards the upper part of the town. Three times they came gallantly on, and each time were hurled back by the thirteenth Massachusetts, under Captain Schriber. Our troops then fell back steadily into the town; and from behind the houses, in the corn fields adjacent, and wherever shelter could be obtained, poured in ceaseless volleys upon the enemy, who strove in vain to make headway against them. Colonel Geary had sent for reinforcements, and soon Lieutenant Martin, who had been stationed with a rifled cannon to protect the ferry, came up. Dashing through a scourging fire of shot and shell, he galloped into the town, and unlimbering in the street opened on the hights. Our forces now steadily advanced, firing as they moved, when the order to "fix bayonets!" passed along the line. A sharp clatter of steel followed, and then "charge!" rang on the astonished ears of the enemy. Forward, through the fire, the gallant band moved shoulder to shoulder, and swept the hights with loud cheers. The enemy undertook to rally, but our artillery, firing with the precision of rifle practice, dismounted their guns, and scattered their cavalry. The fight had lasted from eight till one, when the little band, scarce two hundred and fifty strong, encamped on the hights they had so gallantly won, and flinging themselves on the earth rested till midnight. Again summoned to their ranks, they took up the line of march, and retracing their steps, crossed the river unmolested. Our loss was only thirteen, while that of the enemy was over a hundred. Four days after, General Kelly advanced on Romney, and drove the enemy from it, capturing several prisoners.
BATTLE OF BALL'S BLUFF.
It being desirable to ascertain more exactly the position and numbers of the enemy in the vicinity, it was determined
LEE AT BALL'S BLUFF.
to make a reconnoissance, and at midnight on the twentieth, Colonel Devens of the fifteenth Massachusetts crossed over from Harrison's Island, at a spot known as Ball's Bluff, with about three hundred men, intending to take a rebel camp reported to be about a mile from the river; and after making a thorough reconnoissance to return to the river, and, if he thought fit, report, and wait for reinforcements. The means of transportation furnished him consisted of three miserable boats, capable, all together, of carrying only thirty men. Hence, it took him nearly four hours to get his little band over.
When he reached the shore, he found no road leading to the high bluff that rose dark and sombre above. The scouts, however, discovered a mere bridle path, which, after winding some sixty rods down the beach led to the top. Along this steep, narrow way, the troops marched in dead silence, and at length reached the top, where they halted till daybreak. Many a gallant heart as he looked down on the dark flowing river far below him, and remembered that it had taken four hours to cross it, felt that if met by superior numbers, his fate was sealed. There was no retreat—it was vic
tory, or death, or capture.
About daybreak, Colonel Lee, with a hundred men from the twentieth Massachusetts joined him, when he moved towards Leesburg, till he came to the spot designated as the rebel encampment; but found that the scouts in the darkness had mistaken corn-shocks for rebel tents. The sun had not yet risen when they came in full view of Leesburg. Seeing no appearance of the enemy, Colonel Devens determined, instead of returning, to report and wait for reinforcements. He did this without hesitation, because he knew a large scow had been added to the three boats in which he had crossed, capable of carrying sixty men at a time, while the stream was so narrow that a trip could be made in ten