14th Cavalry Regiment

Pennsylvania Volunteers

On the 18th of August, 1862, James N. Schoonmaker, a citizen of Pittsburg, and at the time a Lieutenant in the First Maryland Cavalry, received authority from the Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton, sanctioned by Governor Curtin, to recruit a battalion of cavalry, of five companies. So rapidly were the ranks filled, that on the 29th, the authority was extended to the recruiting of a full regiment of twelve companies. Recruits were principally from the counties of Allegheny, Fayette, Armstrong, Washington, Lawrence, Erie, and Warren, and from the city of Philadelphia, and rendezvoused, first at Camp Howe, and subsequently at Camp Montgomery, near the city of Pittsburg. At the latter camp, the issue of horses, arms, and equipments was commenced, but before it was completed, an order was received directing that all horses and equipments issued should be at once forwarded to the chief quartermaster of the Army of the Potomac, the battle of Antietam having been fought two days previous.

On the 24th of November, the organization of the regiment was completed, and the following field officers were commissioned: James M. Schoonmaker, Colonel; William Blakeley, Lieutenant Colonel; Thos. Gibson, Shadrack Foley, and John M. Daily, Majors. On the same day, it moved for Hagerstown, Maryland, where horses, arms and accoutrements were received, and drill in the school of trooper, mounted and dismounted, of the platoon, and squadron, and in evolutions of the line, was prosecuted.

On the28th of December, the regiment moved to Harper's Ferry, and went into camp on the Charlestown Pike, the advance post of General Kelly's command. It was here actively engaged in picketing all the approaches from the south and east, and scouting the region on both sides of the Shenandoah River, extending far into the passes of the Blue Ridge, and occasionally skirmishing with the guerrilla bands of White and Imboden.

Early in May, 1863, the regiment, with the exception of a detachment of dismounted men, under command of Major Foley, left at Harper's Ferry, was sent to Grafton, on the Parkersburg division of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, where it was attached to the mounted command of General Averell, in which it was associated with the Fifth and Sixth West Virginia Mounted Infantry, a battalion of the Third West Virginia Cavalry, two Independent Cavalry companies, Ewing's Battery, and the Twenty-eighth Ohio, and Tenth Virginia Infantry. For a time, the command was engaged in holding the towns of Phillippi, Beverly, and Webster, against a body of the enemy's cavalry, hovering upon the rear guard of his infantry column, which had made a raid upon the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and had escaped before pursuit from the force stationed at Grafton could be made. The command was finally assembled at Beverly. Leaving here the Tenth Virginia, and Ewing's Battery, Averell led the rest of his command to Webster, and sent the Fourteenth to Phillippi.

On the 2d of July, intelligence was received that the force at Beverly was surrounded by a brigade of the enemy under "Mudwall" Jackson, and the Fourteenth Cavalry was ordered to make a forced march for its relief. In the absence of the Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel, the regiment moved under command of Major Gibson. The enemy had the main road obstructed by barricades and fallen trees, behind which was concealed a heavy body of sharpshooters. Major Gibson, who was familiar with the country, led his command by a circuitous route, in the mist of the morning, and appeared on the plain opposite the town, with skirmishers deployed right and left, cutting off and capturing the rebel pickets, and compelling the entire hostile force to withdraw. The commandant of the post, Colonel Harris, of the Tenth Virginia, refused to order a pursuit, but on the evening of the 3d, General Averell came up, and directed an immediate advance. On the morning of the 4th, the hostile force was overtaken at Huttonville, and brisk skirmishing ensued, in which the regiment lost three wounded. The enemy was driven, and retreated beyond Cheat Mountain.

At evening of the 4th, information that a battle was in progress at Gettysburg was received, and the command, under Colonel Schoonmaker, was ordered to march at once to Webster, and thence to move by rail to Cumberland. At the latter place, it re-joined General Kelly's forces, and after a few days delay, proceeded to Williamsport, forming a junction there with the Army of the Potomac, on the 14th, the day following that on which Lee made good his escape across the Potomac.

On the morning of the 15th, the regiment moved up to Cherry Run, and crossing the river, now swollen by heavy rains, marched to within five miles of {Martinsburg, where the rebel army was encamped. Encountering the enemy's pickets, Colonel Schoonmaker was ordered to attack and ascertain his strength. This was promptly done, and his out-posts driven in upon the main body, with a loss of five wounded, returning at night to the Maryland side. A few days later it again crossed, and advanced to Winchester. Here the detachment which had been left at Harper's Ferry, on the opening of the campaign, joined it, having, in the meantime, done excellent service with French's column, destroying the enemy's pontoon bridge at Falling Waters, and capturing wagons, horses, and stores.

On the 4th of August, General Averell moved with his command on what was known as the Rocky Gap Raid. When approaching Moorefield, Captain Kerr, with a detachment of about fifty men, who had been ordered to move upon a mountain road to the left, after having captured some guerrillas, fell into an ambuscade, and though fighting manfully, was worsted, having one killed, and three wounded, and made his escape with a fragment of his command with difficulty. Moving through Petersburg, and Franklin, continually skirmishing by the way, and driving Jackson in a brisk engagement at Warm Springs, the command, on the 20th of August, encountered the rebel General Jones near the Greenbrier White Sulphur Springs, and at once attacked. The Fourteenth, dismounted, held the right of the line, the battle raging with great fury until night-fall, the enemy contesting the ground stubbornly, but being pushed back about three hundred yards. Three determined infantry charges of the enemy were handsomely repulsed by the Fourteenth. During the night, skirmishing was kept up, the enemy delivering an occasional volley. Assistance was momentarily expected from General Scamman, commanding in the Kanawha Valley, and who was supposed to be at Lewisburg, ten miles distant. The enemy was reinforced during the night, and the battle was renewed on the following morning, but no assistance coming, and the ammunition running low, a retreat was ordered. The loss in the Fourteenth was eighty, in killed, wounded, and missing. Lieutenants James Jackson, John W. M'Nutt, and Jacob Shoop, were among the wounded, and Captains John Bird, and Robert Pollock, were among the missing.

The command reached Beverly on the 31st, having been upon the march, or closely engaged for twenty-seven consecutive days, and traveled over six hundred miles. On the 1st of November, General Averell again led his command southward, on the Droop Mountain Raid. Crossing Cheat Mountain, he reached Huntersville on the 4th, whence, detaching the Fourteenth Pennsylvania, and the Third West Virginia Cavalry, he sent them by a detour from the main road on which he advanced, to out off a brigade of the enemy said to be stationed at Greenbrier Bridge, under command of “Mudwall" Jackson. But both roads were found obstructed by felled trees, and the wily rebel made good his escape. At Droop Mountain, the Fourteenth came up with the enemy, and drove him, with little opposition, to the summit. Here he had intrenched, and was prepared with artillery to fight; but by flanking the position with infantry, and pressing closely in front with dismounted cavalry, he was driven with the loss of two pieces of artillery, and almost his entire train. Pursuit was closely pressed as far as Lewisburg, but the troops failed to overtake him.

By easy marches, the command returned to New Creek, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, with the expectation of going into winter quarters; but on the 8th of December, Averell was again in saddle, faced for Salem. By rapid marching, a part of the time in the midst of heavy rains, he arrived at his destination on the 16th, and immediately commenced the work of destruction of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, and the immense stores of the rebel army there collected. Several bridges, and miles of track were destroyed, and depots, mill, and warehouse with grain, meat, salt, clothing and merchandise, to the value, as was estimated, of from two to five millions of dollars. Intelligence of this daring movement, and the immense destruction effected, soon spread, and the enemy, in heavy force, was moving on all sides for Averill's capture. The retreat was, accordingly, commenced, and pushed with all celerity, though greatly delayed by heavy rains and swollen streams. The enemy believed that the capture of the entire command was sure, and he was already debating upon the kind of punishment that should be meted out to it. By skillful demonstrations, the route of the column was concealed, and Averell succeeded in eluding the hostile forces.

“I was obliged," says Averell in his report, "to swim my command, and drag my artillery with ropes across Craig's Creek, seven times in twenty-four hours.” The creek was deep, the current strong, and filled with drifting ice.

On the20th, at Jackson River, the Fourteenth, while in rear, struggling with detrains, which could with difficulty be moved, the horses being worn out with incessant marching, was cut off from the column by the destruction of the bridge, and was supposed, at headquarters, to have been captured. General Early had demanded its surrender under a flag of truce, but setting fire to the train, which was completely destroyed, it forded the stream and made good its escape, re-joining the main column between Callahan's and White Sulphur Springs. That night the command swam the Greenbrier, now swollen to a perfect torrent, and crossing the Allegheny Mountains, by an old bridle path, moving the artillery by hand, it finally reached Hillsboro, at the foot of Droop Mountain, at midnight, and encamped. The roads were now icy, the horses were smooth shod, and to ride was impossible. From this point to Beverly, where it arrived on the 25th, the cavalrymen walked, leading their horses. Here, rations and supplies, much needed, were received, and proceeding on to Webster, it moved by rail to Martinsburg, where it went into winter-quarters. The loss in killed, wounded, and missing, in the entire raid, was about fifty. Such was the severity of the weather during the concluding days of the campaign, that the men, in marching over the frozen ground, had worn out their shoes completely, and their clothing was in tatters, in many instances having been burned in huddling around the fires. In recognition of the great service which the command had performed, the War Department ordered the issue of a complete suit of clothing to each member of the command, as a gift from the government; the only instance, as is believed, of the kind during the war.

In summing up the characteristics of the march, Averell says in his official report," my command has marched, climbed, slidden, and swam, three hundred and forty-five miles since the 8th inst." The service during the winter was of an exceedingly arduous character, consisting of picket, guard and scout duty, in which the men were kept incessantly employed. Averill's force was here increased to a full division, the First Brigade, in which was the Fourteenth, being placed under command of Colonel Schoonmaker.

On the 12th of April, 1864, the entire command broke up winter-quarters, and moved by rail to Parkersburg, on the Ohio river, whence it started, on the 2d of May, on a separate, but co-operative movement with General Crook's command through West Virginian, to the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. As the command proceeded south, the roads were found to be much obstructed, and frequent attacks were made upon the column by bushwhackers. At Abbe Valley, near Jeffersonville, an entire company of the enemy was captured. It had been the purpose of General Averell to have destroyed the immense-salt works at Saltville, but anticipating his designs, the enemy had posted a strong force for its defense, which was well intrenched, and supplied with artillery. Averell had no guns, and hence, deeming it imprudent to attack, moved on to form junction with Crook. But the enemy had now concentrated a heavy force in his front, and at Cove Gap, on the morning of the 10th, attacked him. After four hours of hard fighting, in which the advantage was on the Union side, the enemy brought up artillery, and Averell was obliged to withdraw. The loss of the Fourteenth in this engagement was twelve killed, and thirty-seven wounded. The enemy was now in superior force, and daily growing stronger.

Disappointed in the expectation of forming a junction with the column of Crook, the command pushed on to Blacksburg, on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, -destroying bridges and stores on the way, and finally came up with him: at Union, the united forces moving on to Lewisburg. Here, the two commands remained until the3d of June, when they were ordered to Staunton, to join the army of General Hunter, now moving on the Lynchburg campaign.

When the regiment started from winter-quarters in April, 1864, a detachment of dismounted men was left at Martinsburg under command of Captain A. F. Duncan. Before active operations commenced in the valley, General Sigel, who was in chief command, had the detachment well armed and mounted, and assigned to duty with General Stahll's Brigade. In the unfortunate action at New Market, on the 15th of May, it was hotly engaged, losing several in killed and wounded, and having a large number of horses killed while under infantry fire.

Falling back to Cedar Creek, it was re-mounted, and again started under General Hunter, who had succeeded Sigel, on a second campaign up the valley. At Piedmont, on the 5th of June, this detachment, which was in advance, encountered the enemy, driving in his pickets and developing his strength, when it gave place to the infantry. At a critical period in the battle, it advanced, dismounted, and carried an earthwork, taking some prisoners, and contributing largely to the triumph which was won, receiving the commendation of its superior officers for gallantry.

At Staunton the detachment re-joined the regiment, coming in from West Virginia with Averell and Crook, after having been separated from it for nearly two months. The united armies moved forward on the 9th, and on the 10th the Union cavalry drove Imboden from Lexington, on the 12th destroyed the buildings of the Virginia Military Institute, and on the 13th, moved to Buchanan, on the James River, skirmishing during the entire day. The enemy had fired the bridge across the James, which could not be saved; but the flames, which had spread to the town, were checked by the resolute exertions of the men of the Fourteenth.

Resting until the 15th, the column moved to New London, on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, and thence eastwardly towards Lynchburg, destroying track and bridges, and at a point four miles from the city, encountered the enemy. Line of battle was immediately formed, the regiment on the left, and drove him back to his fortifications in front of the town, capturing some prisoners and one gun. During the night following, the entire force came up and was formed for attack; but during the same night, General Early, with an entire corps from Lee's Army, had entered the place from the opposite side. An attack was made, and fighting was kept up during the entire day following, but with little success, the defenses being amply manned, and prepared with artillery to make a successful defense. Accordingly, at night, Hunter gave the order to retire, Schoonmaker's brigade forming the rear guard. At Liberty, the enemy's advance came up and attacked. For four hours this single brigade maintained the contest, holding him in check until the main column was well on its way towards the Kanawha Valley. The loss in the regiment in the engagement, was six killed and eighteen wounded; the loss in the rest of the brigade being much more severe.

At a gap in the mountains north of Salem, Rosser's rebel cavalry suddenly attacked and captured thirteen pieces. Schoonmaker's Brigade happening to be just at hand, was ordered in, and re-took the guns, with some prisoners, sustaining a loss in the Fourteenth of two killed and six wounded. Hastening forward over mountains and through valleys, parched by a summer's sun, the army, after enduring untold suffering, finally reached Parkersburg, whence it returned by rail to Martinsburg. Portions of the command, while upon the march to Parkersburg, were five days without food, and many died from hunger.

In the meantime, the rebel General Early had advanced down the Shenandoah Valley unopposed, crossed -into Maryland, and was now thundering at the gates of the Capital. Worn down with fighting, marching, and untold sufferings and privations by the way, Hunter's forces were in no condition for hard fighting. But Averell was not the leader to avoid an encounter when an enemy was to be fought, and accordingly attacked the rebel troops at Winchester, on the 20th of July, and routed them, capturing one General, one Colonel, and two hundred men, killing and wounding three hundred, and taking four guns and several hundred small arms. The Fourteenth lost three men wounded.

Four days later, the united commands of Averell and Crook were attacked by Early's combined forces, and driven with severe loss, Colonel Mulligan, commanding a brigade, being killed. The command fell back slowly towards the Potomac, contesting the ground stubbornly, and finally withdrew to Hagerstown. The enemy followed up, swarmed across the Potomac, and a raiding party, under M'Causland, burned the town of Chambersburg. As the enemy advanced, Averell withdrew with his command to Greencastle.

Major Gibson, who since early in July 1863, had commanded an independent battalion of cavalry, composed of four companies of the Third Virginia, and the Chicago Dragoons, Captain Julius Jaehne, returned to duty in the regiment on the 29th, and was assigned to command of the First Brigade, Captain Kerr leading the Fourteenth. As soon as the route of M'Causland from Chambersburg was known, Averell gave chase. Through M'Connellsburg, Hancock, where it was reinforced, Berkley Springs and Romney, the command pushed forward at headlong speed, and at Moorefield, on the South Branch of the Potomac, came up with the enemy. The charge was sounded, and " Chambersburg" was the battle cry. The Fourteenth had the right of the first line, two companies, under Captain Kerr, moving by the flank upon the rebel headquarters. With a wild shout the command moved forward, driving the enemy in confusion, and capturing two of his guns, the rebel General Johnson barely escaping with his life. Following up the advantage, the command dashed across the stream, captured two more guns, four hundred and twenty prisoners, four hundred horses, killing and wounding one hundred, and completely routing and dispersing the combined commands of M'Causland, Johnson, Gillmore, and M'Neill. The loss in the Fourteenth was ten killed and twenty-five wounded. Captain Kerr was among the severely wounded.

The command returned to Martinsburg, via New Creek, and Cumberland, where it remained for a few days, and then retiring across the Potomac, guarded the fords, acting under the orders of General Sheridan, who, with his main army, was stationed at Berryville. In the operations of the cavalry during the first half of the mouth of September, the regiment participated, being almost daily engaged with the enemy, and losing a number in killed and wounded.

On the 19th of September opened that series of brilliant engagements under Sheridan, in the Shenandoah Valley, which will ever render his name illustrious. In the battle which was delivered on that day, the enemy was driven at all points. The Fourteenth, under command of Captain Duncan, was posted on the extreme right of the cavalry division, and charged, with great heroism and daring, an earthwork, which it captured. The loss was very severe, Captain Duncan being among the killed.

Three days afterward, the division came up with the retreating enemy at Fisher's Hill, where it demonstrated upon the front, while other troops moved upon his flanks, and again he was driven in rout and confusion. The regiment suffered but small loss in this engagement. Early was pursued as far as Harrisonburg, where his force had become so thoroughly disorganized and broken, that little was left to follow. From Harrisonburg, the cavalry moved to Wier's Cave, where, on the27th, the enemy under Fitz Hugh Lee attacked, and a spirited engagement ensued, in which the Fourteenth, by its gallantry, won an order which directed Wier's Cave to be inscribed upon its flag.

Until the battle of Cedar Creek, on the 19th of October, the regiment was engaged in performing picket duty on the left flank of the army. In that desperate engagement, a detachment under Captains Miles and Duff participated, doing excellent service. After the battle, the regiment was sent into the Luray Valley on a reconnoissance, where, on the 24th, it had a sharp encounter, taking some prisoners. It then returned to the neighborhood of Winchester, where it went into camp.

The pickets of the command being much annoyed by small parties of rebel cavalry, the division, under General Powell, on the 12th of November, moved southward, and met the rebel General M'Causland at Front Royal, and after a severe engagement drove him, capturing all his guns and supply trains. The loss in the Fourteenth was fifteen in killed and wounded.

Upon its return to camp, the command went into winter-quarters, and was engaged in severe picket and guard duty. Two expeditions undertaken during the winter, by detachments from the regiment, one under Captain William W. Miles, on the 11th of December, to Millwood, and a second, under Major Gibson, on the 19th of February, 1865, to Ashby's Gap, resulted disastrously, the commands losing heavily in killed, wounded, and prisoners, Captain Miles being among the killed.

Winter-quarters were broken on the 4th of April, and the brigade moved up the valley to Cedar Creek, but without meeting the enemy, and on the 6th, returned to Berryville, where it encamped.

On the 18th, Lee in the meantime having surrendered, the command proceeded to Millwood, where Moseby was met, and terms of his surrender were settled. On the 20th, the regiment was ordered to Washington, and for nearly two months was encamped in the neighborhood of the city, participating, in the meantime, in the grand review of the national armies.

On the 11th of June, it was ordered to Louisville, Kentucky, but while on the way, its destination was changed to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Soon after its arrival at its destination, it was consolidated into a battalion of six companies, all surplus officers being mustered out. Company A, of the new command, under Captain Henry N. Harrison, was detailed as escort to General Dodge, commanding the department, and accompanied him on a tour of inspection, which extended to the Gunpowder River.

On the 24th of August, the companies remaining at the Fort were mustered out of service, and returned in a body to Pittsburg, where they were disbanded. Company A was mustered out on November 2d, soon after the return from its tour.

Source:  Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.


Organized at Pittsburg, Philadelphia and Erie October and November, 1862.
Moved to Hagerstown, Md., November 24, 1862,
thence to Harper's Ferry, W. Va., December 28.
Attached to Defences Upper Potomac, 8th Army Corps,
Middle Department, to March, 1863.
1st Brigade, 1st Division, 8th Corps, March, 1863.
4th Separate Brigade, 8th Corps, to June, 1863.
Averill's 4th Separate Brigade, Dept. West Virginia, to December, 1863.
2nd Brigade, 4th Division, Dept. West Virginia, to April, 1864.
2nd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, West Virginia, to June, 1864.
1st Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, West Virginia, to August, 1864.
3rd Brigade, 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, Army Shenandoah,
Middle Military Division, August, 1864.
1st Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, West Virginia, to April, 1865.
1st Separate Brigade, 22nd Corps, Dept. of Washington, to June, 1865. Dept. of Missouri to August, 1865.


Picket and outpost duty in the vicinity of Harper's Ferry, W. Va., till May, 1863.
Scout to Leesburg March 15 and April 21-24, 1863.
Ordered to Grafton, W. Va., May, 1863, and
duty protecting Phillippi, Beverly and Webster till July.
Forced march to relief of Beverly July 2-3.
Huttonsville July 4.
Moved to Webster, thence to Cumberland, Md., and to
Williamsport, Md., July 5-14, and join Army of the Potomac.
Advance to Martinsburg July 15.
Martinsburg and Hedgesville July 18-19.
McConnellsburg, Pa., July 30.
Averill's Raid from Winchester through Hardy, Pendleton,
Highland, Bath, Greenbrier and Pocahontas Counties, W. Va., August 1-31.
Newtown August 2.
Moorefield and Cacapon Mountain August 6 (Detachment).
Salt Works, near Franklin, August 19.
Jackson River August 25. Rocky Gap, near White Sulphur Springs, August 26-27.
Hedgesville October 15 (Detachment).
Averill's Raid against Lewisburg and
the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad November 1-17.
Cackletown November 4.
Mill Point November 5.
Droop Mountain November 6.
Averill's Raid from New Creek to Salem,
on Virginia & Tennessee Railroad, December 8-25.
Marling's Bottom Bridge December 11.
Gatewood's December 12.
Descent upon Salem December 16.
Scott's or Barber's Creek December 19.
Jackson River, near Covington, December 19.
Winchester March 22 and April 8, 1864.
Sigel's Expedition from Martinsburg to New Market, April 23-May 16 (Detachment).
Averill's Raid on Virginia & Tennessee Railroad May 5-19.
Grassy Lick, Cove Mountain, near Wytheville, May 10.
New River Bridge May 10.
New Market May 15 (Detachment).
Hunter's Expedition to Lynchburg May 26-July 1.
Piedmont, Mount Crawford, June 5.
Occupation of Staunton June 6.
(Detachment with Sigel rejoined Regiment at Staunton.)
Lexington June 11.
Scout around Lynchburg June 13-15.
Near Buchanan June 13.
New London June 16.
Diamond Hill June 17.
Lynchburg June 17-18.
Liberty June 19.
Buford's Gap June 20.
Catawba Mountains and about Salem June 21.
Liberty June 22.
Moved to the Shenandoah Valley July.
Buckton July 17.
Stephenson's Depot July 20.
Newtown July 22. Kernstown, Winchester, July 24.
Near Martinsburg July 25.
Hagerstown July 29.
Hancock, Md., July 31.
Antietam Ford August 4.
Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign August to November.
Near Moorefield August 7.
Williamsport, Md., August 26.
Martinsburg August 31.
Bunker Hill September 2-3.
Winchester September 5.
Darkesville September 10.
Bunker Hill September 13.
Near Berryville September 14.
Opequan, Winchester, September 19.
Fisher's Hill September 22.
Mount Jackson September 23-24.
Forest Hill or Timberville September 24.
Brown's Gap September 26.
Weyer's Cave September 26-27.
Mount Jackson October 3 (Detachment).
Battle of Cedar Creek October 19.
Dry Run October 23 (Detachment).
Milford October 25-26.
Cedar Creek November 8.
Nineveh November 12.
Rude's Hill November 23.
Snicker's Gap November 30.
Millwood December 17 (Detachment).
Expedition from Winchester to Gordonsville December 19-28.
Madison C. H. December 21.
Liberty Mills December 22.
Near Gordonsville December 23.
At Winchester till April, 1865.
Expedition into Loudoun County February 18-19 (Detachment).
Expedition to Ashby's Gap February 19.
Operations in the valley till April 20.
Ordered to Washington, D.C., April 20, and duty there till June.
Grand Review May 28-24.
Moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., June, and duty
in the District of the Plains till August.
Mustered out August 24, 1865.


Regiment lost during service:
2 Officers and 97 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded
and 296 Enlisted men by disease.
Total 395.







U. S. C. T.

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