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with directions to burn all forage and drive off all stock, &c., as they moved to the rear, fully coinciding in the views and instructions of the Lieutenant-General that the valley should be made a barren waste. The most positive orders were given, however, not to burn dwellings.

In this movement the enemy's cavalry followed at a respectful distance until in the vicinity of Woodstock, when they attacked Custer's division and harassed it as far as Louis brook, a short distance south of Fisher's Hill.

On the night of the eighth, I ordered General Torbert to engage the enemy's cavalry at daylight, and notified him that I would halt the army until he had defeated it.

In compliance with these instructions, Torbert advanced at daylight on the ninth of October, with Custer's division on the back road, and Merritt's division on the Valley pike.

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October 16, 1864.


On the evening of the fifteenth I determined to go, believing that the enemy at Fisher's Hill could not accomplish much; and as I had concluded not to attack him at present, I ordered the whole of the cavalry force under General At Louis brook the heads of the opposing Torbert to accompany me to Front Royal, from columns came in contact and deployed, and whence I intended to push it through Chester after a short but decisive engagement the gap to the Virginia Central railroad at Charenemy was defeated, with the loss of all his lottesville, while I passed through Manassas artillery excepting one piece, and everything gap to Piedmont, thence by rail to Washington. else which was carried on wheels. The routUpon my arrival with the cavalry at Front was complete, and was followed up to Mount Royal, on the night of the sixteenth, I received Jackson, a distance of some twenty-six miles. the following despatch from General Wright, On October tenth the enemy crossed to the who was left at Cedar Creek in command of the north side of Cedar creek, the Sixth corps con- army: tinuing its march to Front Royal; this was the first day's march of this corps to rejoin Lieutenant-General Grant at Petersburg. It was the intention that it should proceed through Manassas gap to Piedmont east of the Blue Ridgeto which point the Manassas Gap railroad had been completed, and from thence to Alexandria by rail; but on my recommendation that it would be much better to march it, as it was in fine condition, through Ashby's gap, and thence to Washington, the former route was abandoned, and on the twelfth the corps moved to the Ashby gap crossing of the Shenandoah river; but, on the same day, in consequence of the advance of the enemy to Fisher's Hill, it was recalled to await the development of the enemy's new intentions.

The question now again arose in reference to the advance on Gordonsville, as suggested in the following despatch:


WASHINGTON, October 12, 1864, 12 M.

Major-General Sheridan:

Major-General P. H. Sheridan, commanding
Middle Military Division.
GENERAL-I enclose you despatch which ex-
plains itself (see copy following):

If the enemy should be strongly reinforced in cavalry, he might, by turning our right, give us a great deal of trouble. I shall hold on here until the enemy's movements are developed, and shall only fear an attack on my right, which I shall make every preparation for guarding against and resisting.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General Commanding.

To Lieutenant-General Early:
Be ready to move as soon as my forces join
you, and we will crush Sheridan.

This message was taken off the rebel signal flag, on Three Top mountain. My first thought Lieutenant-General Grant wishes a position was that it was a ruse, but, on reflection, deemed taken far enough south to serve as a base for it best to abandon the cavalry raid, and give to further operations upon Gordonsville and Char-General Wright the entire strength of the army. lottesville. It must be strongly fortified and pro- 1 therefore ordered the cavalry to return and visioned. report to him, and addressed the following note on the subject:

Some point in the vicinity of Manassas gap would seem best suited for all purposes. Colonel Alexander, of the engineers, will be sent to consult with you as soon as you connect with General Augur.



FRONT ROYAL, October 16, 1864.

Major-General H. G. Wright, commanding
Sixth Army Corps:

GENERAL-The cavalry is all ordered back to you; make your position strong. If Longstreet's

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After sending this note I continued through Manassas gap and on to Piedmont, and from thence by rail to Washington, arriving on the morning of the seventeenth. At twelve o'clock M. I returned by special train to Martinsburg, arriving on the morning of the eighteenth at Winchester, in company with Colonels Thorn and Alexander, of the Engineer corps, sent with me by General Halleck. During my absence the enemy had gathered all his strength, and, in the night of the eighteenth, and early on the nineteenth, moved silently from Fisher's Hill, through Strasburg, pushed a heavy turning column across the Shenandoah, on the road from Strasburg to Front Royal, and again recrossed the river at Bowman's ford, striking Crook, who held the left of our line, in flank and rear, so unexpectedly and forcibly as to drive in his outposts, invade his camp, and turn his position. This surprise was owing, probably, to not closing in Powell, or that the cavalry divisions of Merritt and Custer were placed on the right of our line, where it had always occurred to me there was but little danger of attack.

This was followed by a direct attack upon our front, and the result was that the whole army was driven back in confusion, to a point about one and a half miles north of Middletown, a very large portion of the infantry not even preserving a company organization.

At about seven o'clock on the morning of the nineteenth October, an officer on picket at Winchester reported artillery firing, but, supposing it resulted from a reconnoissance which had been ordered for this morning, I paid no attention to it, and was unconscious of the true condition of affairs until about nine o'clock, when, having ridden through the town of Winchester, the sound of the artillery made a battle unmistakable, and on reaching Mill creek, one half a mile south of Winchester, the head of the fugitives appeared in sight, trains and men coming to the rear with appalling rapidity.

I immediately gave direction to halt and pack the trains at Mill creek, and ordered the brigade at Winchester to stretch across the country and stop all stragglers. Taking twenty men from my escort, I pushed on to the front, leaving the balance, under General Forsyth and Colonels Thorn and Alexander, to do what they could in stemming the torrent of fugitives.

I am happy to say that hundreds of the men, who on reflection found they had not done themselves justice, came back with cheers.

On arriving at the front, I found Merritt's and Custer's divisions of cavalry, under Torbert, and General Getty's division of the Sixth corps, op posing the enemy. I suggested to General Wright that we would fight on Getty's line, and to transfer Custer to the right at once, as he (Custer) and Merritt, from being on the right in the morning, had been transferred to the left; that the remaining two divisions of the Sixth corps, which were to the right and rear of Getty about two miles, should be ordered up, and also that the Nineteenth corps, which was on the right and rear of these two divisions, should be hastened up before the enemy attacked Getty.

I then started out all my staff officers to bring up these troops, and was so convinced that we would soon be attacked, that I went back myself to urge them on.

Immediately after I returned and assumed command, General Wright returning to his corps, Getty to his division, and the line of battle was formed on the prolongation of General Getty's line, and a temporary breastwork of rails, logs, &c., thrown up hastily.

Shortly after this was done the enemy advanced, and from a point on the left of our line of battle I could see his columns moving to the attack, and at once notified corps commanders to be prepared.

This assault fell principally on the Nineteenth corps, and was repulsed.

I am pleased to be able to state that the strength of the Sixth and Nineteenth corps, and Crook's command, was now being rapidly augmented by the return of those who had gone to the rear early in the day. Reports coming in from the Front Royal pike, on which Powell's division of cavalry was posted, to the effect that a heavy column of infantry was moving on that pike in the direction of Winchester, and that he (Powell) was retiring and would come in at Newtown, caused me great anxiety for the time; and although I could not fully believe that such a movement would be undertaken, still it delayed my general attack.

At four P. M. I ordered the advance. This attack was brilliantly made, and, as the enemy was protected by rail breastworks, and in some portions of his line by stone fences, his resist ance was very determined. His line of battle overlapped the right of mine, and by turning with this portion of it on the flank of the Nineteenth corps, caused a slight momentary confusion. This movement was checked, however, by a counter-charge of General McMillans' brigade upon the re-entering angle thus formed by the enemy, and his flanking party cut off.

It was at this stage of the battle that Custer was ordered to charge with his entire division, but, although the order was promptly obeyed, it was not in time to capture the whole of the force thus cut off, and many escaped across Cedar creek.

Simultaneous with this charge, a combined movement of the whole line drove the enemy in

confusion to the creek, where, owing to the difficulties of crossing, his army became routed. Custer finding a ford on Cedar creek west of the pike, and Devins, of Merritt's division, one to the east of it, they each made the crossing just after dark, and pursued the routed mass of the enemy to Fisher's Hill, where this strong position gave him some protection against our cavalry; but the most of his transportation had been captured, the road from Cedar creek to Fisher's Hill, a distance of over three miles, being literally blocked by wagons, ambulances, artillery, caissons, &c.

The enemy did not halt his main force at Fisher's Hill, but continued the retreat during the night to Newmarket, where his army had, on a similar previous occasion, come together by means of the numerous roads that converge to this point.

This battle practically ended the campaign in the Shenandoah valley. When it opened we found our enemy boastful and confidant, unwilling to acknowledge that the soldiers of the Union were their equal in courage and manliness; when it closed with Cedar creek, this impression had been removed from his mind, and gave place to good sense and a strong- desire to quit fighting.

The very best troops of the Confederacy had not only been defeated, but had been routed in successive engagements, until their spirit and esprit were destroyed; in obtaining these results, however, our loss in officers and men was severe. Practically all territory north of the James' river now belonged to me, and the holding of the lines about Petersburg and Richmond, by the enemy, must have been embarrassing, and invited the question of good military judgment.

On entering the valley it was not my object, by flank movements, to make the enemy change his base, nor to move as far up as the James' river, and thus give him the opportunity of making me change my base, thereby converting it into a race-course, as heretofore, but to destroy, to the best of my ability, that which was truly the Confederacy-its armies; in doing this, so far as the opposing army was concerned, our success was such that there was no one connected with the army of the Shenandoah who did not so fully realize it as to render the issuing of congratulatory orders unnecessary; every officer and man was made to understand that, when a victory was gained, it was not more than their duty, nor less than their country expected from her gallant sons.

At Winchester, for a moment the contest was uncertain, but the gallant attack of General Upton's brigade of the Sixth corps restored the line of battle, until the turning column of Crook's and Merritt's and Averell's divisions of cavalry, under Torbert, "sent the enemy whirling through Winchester."

In thus particularizing commands and commanders, I only speak in the sense that they

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were so fortunate as to be available at these important moments.

În the above-mentioned attack by Upton's brigade, the lamented Russell fell. He had been previously wounded, but refused to leave the field. His death brought sadness to every heart in the army.

It was during a reconnoissance to Fisher's Hill, made on the thirteenth of October, 1864, that Colonel George D. Wells, commanding a brigade in Crook's corps, was killed while gallantly leading his men.

At Fisher's Hill it was again the good fortune of General Crook's command to start the enemy, and of General Ricketts' division of the Sixth corps to first gallantly swing in and more fully initiate the rout.

At Cedar creek, Getty's division of the Sixth corps, and Merritt's and Custer's divisions of cavalry, under Torbert, confronted the enemy from the first attack in the morning until the battle was decided, still none behaved more gallantly, or exhibited greater courage than those who returned from the rear, determined to reoccupy their lost camp.

In this engagement, early in the morning, the gallant Colonel Lowell, of the Regular brigade, was wounded while in the advance en echelon of Getty's division, but would not leave his command, remaining until the final attack on the enemy was made, in which he was killed.

Generals Bidwell of the Sixth corps, and Thoburn of Crook's command, were also killed in the morning, while behaving with conspicuous gallantry.

I submit the following list of the corps, division, and brigade commanders, who were wounded in the campaign, the killed having already been especially noticed, regretting that the scope of this report will not admit of my specifying by name all the many gallant men who were killed and wounded in the numerous engagements in the Shenandoah valley, and most respectfully call attention to the accompanying sub-reports for such particulars as will, I trust, do full justice to all.

Generals H. G. Wright, J. B. Ricketts, Grover, Duval, E. Upton, R. S. McKenzie, Kitchen (since died of wounds, J. B. McIntosh, G. H. Chapman, Thomas C. Devins, Penrose, Colonels D. D. Johnson, Daniel McAuley, Jacob Sharpe.

From the seventh of August, the Middle Department, Department of Washington, Department of the Susquehanna, and Department of West Virginia, were under my command, and I desire to express my gratitude to their respective commanders, Major-Generals Lew Wallace, C. C. Augur, Couch, and Cadwallader, and to Major-Generals Hunter and Crook, who at separate times commanded the latter Department for the assistance given me.

General Augur operated very effectively with a small force under his command, the reports of which were forwarded direct to the War Department.

After the battle of Cedar Creek nothing of importance occurred in the valley up to February twenty-seventh, 1865, the day on which the cavalry moved from Winchester to Petersburg.

On the night of November eleventh, 1864, General Early moved some of his shattered forces to the north of Cedar creek for the purpose of bluster, I suppose, as on the night of the following day he hastily retired. In consequence of contradictory information received from scouts and captured cavalry prisoners, I was unconvinced of any rebel infantry being in my vicinity until it was too late to overtake it in its galloping retreat, a retreat which was continued until in the vicinity of Lacy's springs near Harrisonburg. Powell engaged the rebel cavalry co-operating on the Front Royal pike with this force, and drove it through Front Royal to Milford, capturing two pieces of artillery.

During this campaign I was at times annoyed by guerilla bands, the most formidable of which was under a partisan chief named Mosby, who made his headquarters east of the Blue Ridge, in the section of country about Upperville. I had constantly refused to operate against these bands, believing them to be substantially a benefit to me, as they prevented straggling, and kept my trains well closed up, and discharged such other duties as would have required a provost guard of at least two regiments of cavalry. In retaliation for the assistance and sympathy given them, however, by the inhabitants of Loudon valley, General Merritt, with two brigades of cavalry, was directed to proceed on the twenty-eighth of November, 1864, to that valley, under the following instructions:


November 27, 1864.

Major-General Wesley Merritt, commanding First Cavalry Division. GENERAL-You are hereby directed to proceed to-morrow morning at seven o'clock with the two brigades of your division now in camp to the east side of the Blue Ridge, via Ashby's gap, and operate against the guerillas in the district of country bounded on the south by the line of the Manassas Gap railroad as far east as White Plains, on the east by the Bull Run range, on the west by the Shenandoah river, and on the north by the Potomac.

This section has been the hot-bed of lawless bands, who have from time to time depredated upon small parties on the line of army communications, on safeguards left at houses, and on troops. Their real object is plunder and highway robbery.

To clear the country of these parties that are bringing destruction upon the innocent, as well as their guilty supporters, by their cowardly acts, you will consume and destroy all forage and subsistence, burn all barns and mills and their contents, and drive off all stock in the region, the boundaries of which are above de

scribed. This order must be literally executed, bearing in mind, however, that no dwellings are to be burned, and that no personal violence be offered the citizens.

The ultimate results of the guerilla system of warfare is the total destruction of all private rights in the country occupied by such parties. This destruction may as well commence at once, and the responsibility of it must rest upon the authorities at Richmond, who have acknowledged the legitimacy of guerilla bands.

The injury done this army by them is very slight. The injury they have inflicted upon the people, and upon the rebel army, may be counted by millions.

The reserve brigade of your division will move to Snickersville on the twenty-ninth. Snickersville should be your point of concentration, and the point from which you should operate in destroying towards the Potomac.

Four days' subsistance will be taken by the command. Forage can be gathered from the country through which you pass. You will return to your present camp at Snickersville on the fifth day. By command of Major-General P. H. SHERIDAN. JAMES W. FORSYTH. Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of Staff.

On December nineteenth General Torbert, with Merritt and Powell's division, was pushed through Chester gap to strike the Virginia Central railroad at Charlottesville or Gordonsville. An engagement took place, in which two pieces of artillery were captured, but failing to gain Gordonsville, or strike the railroad, he returned to Winchester, via Warrenton.

Custer, with his division, was at the same time pushed up the valley to make a diversion in favor of Torbert; but encountering the enemy near Harrisonburg, who attacked his camp at daylight on the ensuing day, he was obliged, in consequence of superior force, to retire.

The weather was so intensely cold during these raids that horses and men suffered most severely, and many of the latter were badly frost-bitten.

On the fifth of February, Harry Gilmore, who appeared to be the last link between Maryland and the Confederacy, and whose person I desired in order that this link might be severed, was made prisoner near Moorfield, his capture being very skilfully made by Colonel Young, my chief of scouts, and a party under Lieutenant Colonel Whittaker, First Connecticut cavalry, sent to support him.

Gilmore and Mosby carried on the same style of warfare, running trains off railways, robbing the passengers, &c.

In closing this report, it gives me great pleasure to speak of the skill, energy, and gallantry displayed by my corps and division commanders, and I take this opportunity of acknowledg. ing the assistance given me by them at all times.

To the members of my staff, who so cheerful- doing time can be saved. From Harper's Ferly on all occasions gave me their valuable as- ry, if it is found that the enemy has moved sistance, who so industriously labored to exe- north of the Potomac in great force, push north cute every duty promptly, and who always be- following and attacking him wherever found; haved with gallantry, I return my sincere thanks. following him, if driven south of the Potomac, They all joined with me in the deep grief felt as long as it is safe to do so. If it is at the loss sustained by the army, and the ascertained the enemy has but a small force friendly ties broken by the death of their fellow north of the Potomac, then push south staff officers, Colonel Tolles, Chief Quartermas- with the main force, detailing, under a competer, and Assistant Surgeon Oblenschlaeger, Med-tent commander, a sufficient force to look after ical Inspector, who were killed while on their the raiders, and drive them to their homes. way from Martinsburg to Cedar creek, in October, 1864, and in that of the death of the gallant Lieutenant Meigs, my Chief Engineer, who was killed while examining and mapping the country near Bridgewater just above Harrisonburg. This young officer was endeared to me on account of his invaluable knowledge of the country, his rapid sketching, his great intelligence, and his manly and soldierly qualities.

I would also here especially mention the loss of two of my most efficient staff officers, Lieutenant-Colonels Kellogg and O'Keefe, both of whom died, after having passed through the dangers and privations of years of warfare; the former of fever consequent upon excessive labor during the campaign from Petersburg to Appomattox, the latter from wounds received at the battle of Five Forks.

The report of the march from Winchester to Petersburg, to engage in the final campaign, has heretofore been furnished, but I consider it, in fact, a sequel to this.

In detailing such a force, the brigade of cavalry now en route from Washington via Rocksville may be taken into account.

There are now on the way to join you three other brigades of the best cavalry, numbering at least five thousand men and horses. These will be instructed, in the absence of further orders, to join you by the south side of the Potomac. One brigade will probably start tomorrow.

In pushing up the Shenandoah valley, as it is expected you will have to go first or last, it is desirable that nothing should be left to invite the enemy to return. Take all provisions, forage, and stock wanted for the use of your command. Such as cannot be consumed, destroy. It is not desirable that buildings should be destroyed, they should rather be protected, but the people should be informed that so long as an enemy can subsist among them, recurrences of these raids must be expected, and we are determined to stop them at all hazards.

I attach hereto a abstract of ordnance and Bear in mind the object is to drive the enemy ordnance stores captured from the enemy south, and to do this you want to keep him alduring the campaign (the one hundred and one ways in sight. Be guided in your course by pieces of artillery being exclusive of the twen- the course he takes. Make your own arrangety-four pieces recaptured in the afternoon at ments for supplies of all kinds, giving regular Cedar creek), also a detailed report of my casu-vouchers for such as may be taken from loyal alties, which are in aggregate as follows:

Killed, 1,938; wounded, 11,893; missing, 3,121; total, 16,952.

The records of the Provost Marshal, Middle Military Division, show about thirteen thousand prisoners (as per annexed certificate) to have been received by him, and receipts are among the records of the Assistant AdjutantGeneral, Middle Military Division, for fortynine battle flags, forwarded to the Honorable the Secretary of War.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

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Very respectfully,



A. A. G.


Lieutenant General.

NEW ORLEANS, LA., November 18, 1865.

Major-General P. H. Sheridan, U. S. Army.
GENERAL I have the honor to report that
the number of Confederate prisoners received
by the forces under your command from August
first, 1864, to March first, 1865, was about thir-
teen thousand The names of nearly that num-
ber are recorded on the books recently used in
the office of the Provost-Marshal General, Mid-
dle Military Division.
Respectfully submitted,


E. B. PARSONS, Late Provost-Marshal General, Middle Military Division.


Assistant Adjutant-General.

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