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on the defensive until movements here force | Winchester, Merritt's couriers brought dethem to this-to send this way.

Early's force, with this increase, cannot exceed forty thousand men, but this is too much for General Sheridan to attack. Send General Sheridan the remaining brigade of the Nineteenth corps.

I have ordered to Washington all the one hundred day men. Their time will soon be out, but, for the present, they will do to serve in the defense.



The receipt of this despatch was very important to me, as I possibly would have remained in uncertainty as to the character of the force coming in on my flank and rear, until it attacked the cavalry, as it did on the sixteenth.

spatches from him, stating that he had been attacked at the crossing of the Shenandoah by Kershaw's division of Longstreet's corps, and two brigades of rebel cavalry, and that he had handsomely repulsed the attack, capturing two battle flags and three hundred prisoners. During the night of the sixteenth, and early on the morning of the seventeenth, Emory moved from Winchester to Berryville, and, on the morning of the seventeenth, Crook and Wright reached Winchester and resumed the march toward Clifton; Wright, who had the rear guard, getting only as far as the Berryville crossing of the Opequan, where he was ordered to remain; Crook getting to the vicinity of Berryville. Lowell reached Winchester with his two regiments of cavalry on the afternoon of the seventeenth, where he was joined by General Wilson's I at once looked over the map of the valley division of cavalry. Merritt, after his handsome for a defensive line (that is, where a smaller num- engagement near Front Royal, was ordered back ber of troops could hold a greater number) and to the vicinity of White Post, and General Grocould see but one such. I refer to that at Hall- ver's division joined Emory at Berryville. The town, in front of Harper's Ferry. Subsequent enemy having a signal station on Three-top experience has convinced me that no other re-mountain, almost overhanging Strasburg, and ally defensive line exists in the Shenandoah from which every movement made by our troops valley. I therefore determined to move back to could be seen, was notified early in the morning Halltown, carry out my instructions to destroy of the seventeenth as to this condition of afforage and subsistence, and increase my strength fairs, and without delay followed after us. getby Grover's division of the Nineteenth corps, ting into Winchester about sundown, and drivand Wilson's division of cavalry, both of which ing out. General Torbert, who was left there with were marching to join me, via Snicker's gap. Wilson and Lowell, and the Jersey brigade of Emory was ordered to move to Winchester on the Sixth corps. Wilson and Lowell fell back the night of the fifteenth, and, on the night of to Summit Point, and the Jersey brigade joined the sixteenth, the Sixth corps and Crook's com- its corps at the crossing of the Opequan. Kermand were ordered to Clifton, via Winchester. shaw's division, and two brigades of Fitz Lee's In the movement to the rear to Halltown, the cavalry division, which was the force at Front following orders were given to the cavalry and Royal, joined Early at Winchester, I think, on the evening of the seventeenth.

were executed:

CEDAR CREEK, VA., August 16, 1864.


To Brigadier-General A. T. A. Torbert, Chief of Cavalry, Middle Military Division. GENERAL-In compliance with instructions of the Lieutenant-General commanding, you will make the necessary arrangements and give the necessary orders for the destruction of the wheat and hay south of a line from Millwood to Winchester, and Petticoat gap. You will seize all mules, horses, and cattle that may be useful to our army. Loyal citizens can bring in their claims against the Government for this necessary destruction.

On the eighteenth the Sixth corps moved, via Clifton, to Flowing Spring, two miles and a half west of Charlestown, on the Smithfield pike; Emory about two miles and a half south of Charlestown, on the Berryville pike; Merritt came back to Berryville; Wilson remained at Summit Point, covering the crossing of Opequan creek as far north as the bridge at Smithfield; Merritt covering the crossing of the Berryville pike; Crook remained near Clifton, and the next day moved to the left of Emory. This posi tion was maintained until the twenty-first, when the enemy moved a heavy force across the Opequan at the bridge at Smithfield, driving in the cavalry pickets which fell back to Summit Point, and advanced rapidly on the position of the Sixth corps, near Flowing Springs, when a very sharp and obstinate skirmish took place with the heavy picket line of that corps, resulting very much in its favor. The enemy appeared to have thought that I had taken position near Summit Point, and that by moving around rapidly through Smithfield he would get On the afternoon of the sixteenth I moved into my rear. In this, however, he was mismy headquarters back to Winchester; while taken. During the day Merritt (who had been moving back (at Newtown) I heard cannonad-attacked and held his ground) was recalled ing at or near Front Royal, and on reaching from Berryville. Wilson had also been attacked

No houses will be burned, and officers in charge of this delicate but necessary duty must inform the people that the object is to make this valley untenable for the raiding parties of the rebel army.

Very respectfully,

Major-General Commanding.

by infantry, and had also held his ground until ordered in. During the night of the twentyfirst the army moved back to Halltown without inconvenience or loss; the cavalry, excepting Lowell's command, which formed on the left, moving early on the morning of the twentysecond, and going into position on the right of the line.

On the morning of the twenty-second the enemy moved up to Charlestown and pushed well up to my position at Halltown, skirmishing with the cavalry videttes.

The despatches received from the LieutenantGeneral commanding, from Captain G. K. Leet, A. A. G., at Washington, and information derived from my scouts, and from prisoners captured, was of so conflicting and contradictory a nature, that I determined to ascertain if possible, while on this defensive line, what reinforcements had actually been received by the enemy. This could only be done by frequent reconnoissances, and their results convinced me that but one division of infantry, Kershaw's, and one division of cavalry, Fitz Lee's, had joined him.

On the twenty-third I ordered a reconnoissance by Crook, who was on the left, resulting in a small capture, and a number of casualties to the enemy.

On the twenty-fourth another reconnoissance was made, capturing a number of prisoners, our own loss being about thirty men. On the twentyfifth there was sharp picket firing during the day on part of the infantry line. The cavalry was ordered to attack the enemy's cavalry at Kearneysville. This attack was handsomely made, but, instead of finding the enemy's cavalry, his infantry was encountered, and for a time doubled up and thrown into the utmost confusion. It was marching towards Shepardstown. This engagement was somewhat of a mutual surprise-our cavalry expecting to meet the enemy's cavalry, and his infantry expecting no opposition whatever. General Torbert, who was in command, finding a large force of the rebel infantry in his front, came back to our left, and the enemy believing his (the enemy's) movements had been discovered, and that the force left by him in my front at Halltown would be attacked, returned in great haste, but, before doing so, isolated Custer's brigade, which had to cross to the north side of the Potomac, at Shepardstown, and join me via Harper's Ferry. For my own part I believed Early meditated a crossing of his cavalry into Maryland, at Williamsport, and I sent Wilson's division around by Harper's Ferry to watch its movements. Averell in the mean time had taken post at Williamsport, on the north side of the Potomac, and held the crossing against a force of rebel cavalry which made the attempt to cross. On the night of the twenty-sixth the enemy silently left my front, moving over Opequan creek, at the Smithfield and Summit Point crossings, and concentrating his force at Brucetown VOL. XI.-Doc. 46

and Bunker Hill, leaving his cavalry at Leetown and Smithfield.

On the twenty-eighth I moved in front of Charlestown with the infantry, and directed Merritt to attack the enemy's cavalry at Leetown, which he did, defeating it, and pursuing it through Smithfield. Wilson recrossed the Potomac at Shepardstown, and joined the infantry in front of Charlestown.

On the twenty-ninth Averell crossed at Williamsport and advanced to Martinsburg. On the same day two divisions of the enemy's infantry, and a small force of cavalry, attacked Merritt at the Smithfield bridge, and, after a hard fight, drove him through Smithfield and back towards Charlestown, the cavalry fighting with great obstinacy until I could reinforce it with Rickett's division of the Sixth corps, when in turn the enemy was driven back through Smithfield, and over the Opequan, the cavalry again taking post at the Smithfield bridge.

On the thirtieth Torbert was directed to move Merritt and Wilson to Berryville, leaving Lowell to guard the Smithfield bridge and occupy the


On the thirty-first Averell was driven back from Martinsburg to Falling Waters.

From the first to the third of September nothing of importance occurred.

On the third, Averell, who had returned to Martinsburg, advanced on Bunker Hill, attacked McCausland's cavalry, defeated it, capturing wagons and prisoners, and destroying a good deal of property. The infantry moved into position stretching from Clifton to Berryville, Wright moving by Summit Point, Crook and Emory by the Berryville pike; Torbert had been ordered to White Post early in the day, and the enemy, supposing he could cut him off, pushed across the Opequan towards Berryville with Kershaw's division in advance, but this division not expecting infantry, blundered on to Crook's lines about dark, and was vigorously attacked and driven with heavy loss back towards the Opequan. This engagement, which was after nightfall, was very spirited, and our own and the enemy's casualties severe.

From this time until the nineteenth of September I occupied the line from Clifton to Berryville, transferring Cook to Summit Point on the eighth, to use him as a movable column to protect my right flank and line to Harper's Ferry, while the cavalry threatened the enemy's right flank and his line of communications up the valley.

The difference of strength between the two opposing forces at this time was but little.

As I had learned, beyond doubt, from my scouts, that Kershaw's division, which consisted of four brigades, was to be ordered back to Richmond, I had for two weeks patiently waited its withdrawal before attacking, believing the condition of affairs throughout the country required great prudence on my part, that a defeat of the forces of my command could be ill-afford

ed, and knowing that no interests in the valley, save those of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, were suffering by the delay. In this view I was coinciding with the Lieutenant-General commanding.

Although the main force remained without change of position from September third to nineteenth, still the cavalry was employed every day in harassing the enemy, its opponents being principally infantry. In these skirmishes the cavalry was becoming educated to attack infantry lines.

On the thirteenth, one of these handsome dashes was made by General McIntosh, of Wilson's division, capturing the Eighth South Carolina regiment at Abram's creek; on the same day Getty's division of the Sixth corps made a reconnoissance to the Opequan, developing a heavy force of the enemy at Edwards' Crossing. The position which I had taken at Clifton was six miles from Opequan creek, on the west bank of which the enemy was in position. This distance of six miles I determined to hold as my territory by scouting parties, and in holding it in this way, without pushing up the main force, I expected to be able to move on the enemy at the proper time, without his obtaining the information which he would immediately get from his pickets, if I was in close proximity.

of the Opequan. Crook moved across country to be in reserve at the same point.

Wilson, with McIntosh's brigade leading. made a gallant charge through the long cañon, and meeting the advance of Ramseur's rebel infantry division, drove it back and captured the earthwork at the mouth of the cañon; this movement was immediately followed up by the Sixth corps. The Nineteenth corps was directed, for convenience of movement, to report to General Wright on its arrival at Opeqnan creek. I followed up the cavalry attack, and selected the ground for the formation of the Sixth and Nineteenth corps, which went into line under a heavy artillery fire.

A good deal of time was lost in this movement through the cañon, and it was not till perhaps nine o'clock A. M., that the order for the advance in line was given. I had, from early in the morning, become apprised that I would have to engage Early's entire army, instead of two divisions, and determined to attack with the Sixth and Nineteenth corps, holding Crook's command as a turning column to use only when the crisis of the battle occurred, and that I would put him in on my left, and still get the valley pike. The attack was therefore made by the Sixth and Nineteenth corps, in very handsome style, and under a heavy fire from the enemy, who held a line which gave him the cover of slight brushwood and cornfields.

The resistance during this attack was ob stinate, and, as there were no earthworks to protect, deadly to both sides.

On the night of the fifteenth I received reliable information that Kershaw's division was moving through Winchester, and in the direction of Front Royal. Then our time had come, and I almost made up my mind that I would fight at Newtown, on the valley pike, give up my line to the rear, and take that of the enemy. The enemy, after the contest had been going From my position at Clifton I could throw my on for some time, made a counter charge, striking force into Newtown before Early could get in- the right of the Sixth corps and left of the formation and move to that point I was a Nineteenth, driving back the centre of my line. little timid about this movement until the arri- It was at this juncture that I ordered a brival of General Grant at Charlestown, who engade of Russell's division of the Sixth corps to dorsed it, and the order for the movement was made out, but, in consequence of a report from General Averell, on the afternoon of the eigh teenth of September, that Early had moved two divisions to Martinsburg, I changed this programme, and determined to first catch the two divisions remaining in vicinity of Stevenson's depot, and then the two sent to Martinsburg, in detail. This information was the cause of the I still would not order Crook in, but placed battle of Opequan, instead of the battle of New-him directly in rear of the line of battle; as town.

wait till the enemy's attacking column presented its flank, then to strike it with vigor. This was handsomely done, the brigade being led by General Russell, and its coinmander, Upton, in person; the enemy in turn was driven back, our line re-established, and most of the two or three thousand men who had gone to the rear brought back.

the reports, however, that the enemy were attempting to turn my right kept continually increasing, I was obliged to put him in on that flank instead of on the left, as was originally intended. He was directed to act as a turning column, to find the left of the enemy's line, strike it in flank or rear, break it up. and that I would order a left half wheel of the line of bat

At three o'clock on the morning of the nineteenth September the army moved to the attack. Torbert was directed to advance with Merritt's division of cavalry from Summit Point, carry the crossings of Opequan creek, and form a junction at some point near Stevenson's depot with Averell, who moved from Darksville. Wilson was ordered to move rapidly up the Berry-tle to support him. In this attack the enemy ville pike from Berryville, carry its crossing of the Opequan, and charge through the gorge or cañon, the attack to be supported by the Sixth and Nineteenth corps, both of which moved across the country to the same crossing

was driven in confusion from his position, and simultaneous with it Merritt and Averell, under Torbert, could be distinctly seen sweeping up the Martinsburg pike, driving the enemy's cavalry before them in a confused mass

through the broken infantry. I then rode along the line of the Nineteenth and Sixth corps, ordered their advance, and directed Wilson, who was on the left flank, to push on and gain the valley pike south of Winchester; after which I returned to the right, where the enemy was still fighting with obstinacy in the open ground in front of Winchester, and ordered Torbert to collect his cavalry and charge, which was done simultaneously with the infantry advance, and the enemy routed,

At daylight on morning of the twentieth of September the army moved rapidly up the valley pike in pursuit of the enemy, who had continued his retreat during the night to Fisher's hill, south of Strasburg.

Crook had gotten into the position last named, I took out Rickett's division of the Sixth corps and placed it opposite the enemy's left centre, and directed Averell with his cavalry to go up on Rickett's front and right, and drive in the enemy's skirmish line, if possible. This was done, and the enemy's signal officer on Threetop mountain, mistaking Rickett's division for my turning column, so notified the enemy, and he made his arrangements accordingly, whilst Crook, without being observed, moved on the side of Little North mountain, and struck the enemy's left and rear so suddenly and unexpect edly, that he (the enemy) supposing he must have come across the mountains, broke; Crook swinging down behind the line, Rickett's swinging in and joining Crook, and so on the balance of the Sixth and Nineteenth corps, the rout of the enemy being complete.

Fisher's hill is the bluff immediately south of and over a little stream called Tumbling river, and is a position which was almost impregnable to a direct assault, and as the valley is but about three and a half miles wide at this point, the enemy considered himself secure on reaching it, and commenced erecting breast-far works across the valley from Fisher's hill to North mountain; so secure, in fact, did he consider himself, that the ammunition boxes were taken from the caissons and placed for convenience behind the breastworks.

Unfortunately the cavalry which I had sent down the Luray valley to cross over to New Market was unsuccessful, and only reached so as Millford, a point at which the Luray valley contracts to a gorge, and which was taken possession of by the enemy's cavalry in some force. Had General Torbert driven this cavalry, or turned the defile and reached New Market, I have no doubt but that we would have captured the entire rebel army. I feel certain that its rout from Fisher's hill was such that there was scarcely a company organization held together. New Market being at a converging point in the valley they came together again, and to some extent reorganized. I did not wait to see the results of this victory, but pushed on during the night of the twenty-second to Woodstock, although the darkness and consequent confusion made the pursuit slow.

On the evening of September twentieth, Wright and Emory went into position on the heights of Strasburg, Crook north of Cedar creek, the cavalry to the right and rear of Wright, and Emory extending to the back road. This night I resolved to use a turning column again, and that I would move Crook, unperceived, if possible, over on to the face of Little North mountain, and let him strike the left and rear of the enemy's line, and then, if successful, make a left half wheel of the whole line of On the morning of September twenty-third, battle to his support. To do this required General Devins, with his small brigade of cavmuch secresy, as the enemy had a signal sta-alry, moved to a point directly north of Mount tion on Threetop mountain, from which he could see every movement made by our troops; therefore, during the night of the twentieth, I concealed Crook in the timber north of Cedar creek, where he remained during the twenty-first. On the same day I moved Wright and Emory up in the front of the rebel line, getting into proper position after a severe engagement between a portion of Rickett's and Getty's divisions of the Sixth corps, and a strong force of the enemy. Torbert, with Wilson's and Merritt's cavalry, was ordered down the Luray valley in pursuit of the enemy's cavalry, and, after defeating or driving it, to cross over Luray pike to New Market, and intercept the enemy's infantry should I drive it from the position at Fisher's hill.

On the night of the twenty-first, Crook was moved to, and concentrated in, the timber near Strasburg, and at daylight on the twenty-second marched to, and massed in, the timber near Little North mountain. I did not attempt to cover the long front presented by the enemy, but massed the Sixth and Nineteenth corps opposite the right centre of his line. After

Jackson, driving the enemy in his front, and there awaited the arrival of General Averell's division, which for some unaccountable reason went into camp immediately after the battle. General Averell reached Devins' command at three o'clock P. M. and, in the evening, returned with all the advance cavalry of which he was in command, to a creek one half mile north of Hawkinsburg, and there remained until the arrival of the head of the infantry column, which had halted between Edinburg and Woodstock for wagons, in order to issue the necessary rations.

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Early on the morning of the twenty-fourth the entire army reached Mount Jackson, a small town on the north bank of the north fork of the Shenandoah. The enemy had in the mean time reorganized, and taken position on the bluff, south of the river, but had commenced this same morning his retreat toward Harrisonburg; still, he held a long and strong line with the troops that were to cover his rear, in a temporary line of rifle-pits on the bluff commanding the plateau.

To dislodge him from his strong position,

Devins' brigade of cavalry was directed to cross the Shenandoah, work around the base of the Massanutten range, and drive in the cavalry which covered his (the enemy's) right flank; and Powell, who had succeeded Averell, was ordered to move around his left flank via Simberville, whilst the infantry was rushed across the river by the bridge.

The enemy did not wait the full execution of these movements, but withdrew in haste, the cavalry under Devins coming up with him at Newmarket, and made a bold attempt to hold him until I could push up our infantry, but was unable to do so as the open, smooth country allowed him (the enemy) to retreat with great rapidity in line of battle, and the three or four hundred cavalry under Devins was unable to break this line. Our infantry was pushed by heads of columns very hard to overtake, and bring on an engagement, but could not succeed, and encamped about six miles south of Newmarket for the night.

Powell meantime had pushed on through Simberville, and gained the valley pike near Lacy's springs, capturing some prisoners and


This movement of Powell's probably forced the enemy to abandon the road via Harrisonburg, and move over the Keezeltown road to Port Republic, to which point the retreat was continued through the night of the twentyfourth, and from thence to Brown's gap in the Blue Ridge.

Cross Keys. The enemy, however, advanced with his main force only to Port Republic, after which he fell back. Torbert this day took possession of Waynesboro, and partially destroyed the railroad bridge, but about dark on the twenty-eighth was attacked by infantry and cavalry, returned to Staunton and from thence to Bridgewater via Springhill, executing the order for the destruction of subsistence, forage, &c.

On the morning of the twenty-eighth Merritt was ordered to Port Republic to open communication with General Torbert, but on the same night was directed to leave small forces at Port Republic and Swift-run gap, and proceed with the balance of his command (his own and Custer divisions) to Piedmont, swing around from that point to near Stanton, burning forage, mills, and such other property as might be serviceable to the rebel army or confederacy, and, on his return, to go into camp on the left of the Sixth and Nineteenth corps, which were ordered to proceed on the twenty-ninth to Mount Crawford, in support of this and Torbert's movements.

September twenty-ninth, Torbert reached
Bridgewater, and Merritt Mt. Crawford.
On the first of October Merritt reoccupied
Port Republic, and the Sixth and Nineteenth
corps were moved back to Harrisonburg.

The question that now presented itself was, whether or not I should follow the enemy to Brown's gap, where he still held fast, drive him out and advance on Charlottesville and GordonsOn the twenth-fifth, the Sixth and Nineteenth ville. This movement on Gordonsville I was corps reached Harrisonburg. Crook was or- opposed to for many reasons, the most impor dered to remain at the junction of the Keezel- tant of which was, that it would necessitate the town road with the Valley pike until the move-opening of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad ments of the enemy were definitely ascertained. from Alexandria, and to protect this road against On this day Torbert reached Harrisonburg, the numerous guerilla bands, would have rehaving encountered the enemy's cavalry at quired a corps of infantry; besides, I would Luray, defeating it and joining me via New- have been obliged to leave a small force in the market, and Powell had proceeded to Mount valley to give security to the line of the PotoCrawford. mac. This would probably occupy the whole of Crook's command, leaving me but a small number of fighting men. Then there was the additional reason of the uncertainty as to whether the army in front of Petersburg could hold the entire force of General Lee there, and, in case it could not, a sufficient number might be detached and move rapidly by rail and overwhelm me, quickly returning. I was also confident that my transportation could not supply me further than Harrisonburg, and therefore advised that the valley campaign should terminate at Harrisonburg, and that I return, carrying out my original instructions for the destruction of forage, grain, &c., give up the majority of the army I commanded, and order it to the Petersburg line, a line which I thought the LieutenantGeneral believed if a successful movement could be made on, would involve the capture of the Army of Northern Virginia.

On the twenty-sixth Merritt's division of cavalry was ordered to Port Republic, and Torbert to Staunton and Waynesboro to destroy the bridge at the latter place, and, in retiring, to burn all forage, drive off all cattle, destroy all mills, &c., which would cripple the rebel army or confederacy.

Torbert had with him Wilson's division of cavalry and Lowell's brigade of regulars.

On the twenty-seventh while Torbert was making his advance on Waynesboro, I ordered Merritt to make a demonstration on Brown's gap to cover the movement. This brought out the enemy (who had been re-enforced by Kershaw's division which came through Swift Run gap), against the small force of cavalry employed in this demonstration, which he followed up to Port Republic, and I believe crossed in some force. Merritt's instructions from me were to resist an attack, but, if pressed, to fall back to Cross Keys, in which event I intended to attack with the main force which was at Harrisonburg, and could be rapidly moved to

I therefore, on the morning of the sixth of October, commenced moving back, stretching the cavalry across the valley from the Blue Ridge to the eastern slope of the Alleghanies,

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