On April 20, 1862, the Confederate garrison left Fort Johnson to protect Staunton, and to avoid being cut off from the rear by another advancing Union Army. Lt. Pryor describes the retreat from the mountain.
Camp at Westview, 7 mil
N, Of Staunton
My Dear Penelope,
I take the opportunity this morning to let you know what weev been doing since I last wrote you. Wee were lying quietly at Camp Shenandoah. Gen. Jackson dispatched to Gen. Johnson to meet him at Harrisonburg. Johnson went in 6 hours, but after he left wee received another message that Jackson had fallen back 6 miles south of Harrisonburg and left the main pike & turned turwards the Blue Ridge, which left the main road open for the enemy to go down to Staunton, & they were nearer than wee were. Wee were ordered to pack up amediately to go wee did not know where.
Wee left the old camp about one hour by sun, marched down to Buffalo Gap over the worst road & the darkest knight I ever saw 12 miles. I waded mud up to my knees for miles; I imagin that I had never seen any hard times before. Wee got to Buffalo Gap at 12 oclock at knight, it raining. Wee built fires, stood around them in the rain untwill late the next day before the train of wagons caught up. Wee then started on again toward Staunton; got to this place 4 miles from the gap and was ordered to halt to waite further orders, so wee are now here. I slept the first knight after getting here, was officer of the picket guard last knight.
I am just too tired & sleepy to write you any more now; will write you again in a few days if I get the chance.
Give my love to all.
I am yours,