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ritt) moved out in the direction of Leetown, Virginia, where it met the enemy's cavalry in force, and gallantly drove them with the sabre through Smithfield and across the Opequan creek, a distance of five miles. The Third division (Brigadier-General Wilson) moved from Shepherdstown to Charlestown, Virginia, where it took position on the left of the army.
On the twenty-ninth the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) was attacked by the enemy in strong force and driven back about a mile, when they were relieved by the Third division, Sixth corps, who turned and drove the enemy across the Opequan creek. The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) then went into camp on the Smithfield and Charlestown pike.
On this day I had to regret the loss of Surgeon Rulison, my Medical Director, who was killed by my side by being shot by a minnie-ball.
On the thirtieth the First and Third divisions (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Wilson) concentrated at Berryville, Virginia. The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) moving across country to the Summit Point and Berryville pike. The Third division (Brigadier-General Wilson) moving down the Winchester and Berryville pike.
On the thirty-first August and first of September, the cavalry remained in the same position in the vicinity of Berryville as on the thirtieth of August.
On the morning of the second of September the cavalry moved back to Charlestown, Virginia, in two columns; the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) via the Charlestown and Berryville pike, and the Third Division (Brigadier-General Wilson) via Kabletown.
At 5 P. M., same day the First and Third divisions (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Wilson) moved to Berryville by the Winchester and Berryville pike.
The next morning (the third) at daylight, both divisions moved via Millwood and White Post to the Front Royal pike, with the expectation of drawing the enemy's cavalry from their infantry lines by threatening their communications in the Valley pike; no opposition was made to this ad
On the fourth the cavalry was ordered back to Berryville, moving back in two columns. Arriving near Berryville the advance of the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) was opposed by the enemy's cavalry; they were immediately driven back, when the First division (BrigadierGeneral Merritt) changed front on the Berryville and Snikersville pike, thus making connection with the Third division (Brigadier-General Wilson) which was marching on our right, and also connecting with the left of the army.
On the same afternoon, the First brigade, First division (Brigadier-General Custer), was moved to the right of the army, joining the Third brigade, First division (Colonel Lowell), in the vicinity of Summit Point.
On the fifth the balance of the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) was moved to the
right of the army. The cavalry remained in the following position from the fifth September to the nineteenth September:
The Third division (Brigadier-General Wilson) covering the country from Snicker's gap to the Opequan creek on the Winchester and Berryville pike.
The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) covering the country from the latter point to Smithfield, Virginia.
The Second division, West Virginia cavalry (Brigadier-General Averell), covering the country from Smithfield in the direction of Martinsburg, and the vicinity of the Potomac river.
During this time the First division (BrigadierGeneral Merritt) was reorganized in three brigades-the First brigade commanded by Brigadier-General Custer, the Second brigade by Brevet Brigadier-General Devin, and the Reserve brigade by Colonel Lowell of the Second Massachusetts cavalry.
While the army lay in this position the cavalry was constantly active, annoying the enemy by forced reconnoissances and otherwise.
On the thirteenth, the Second brigade, Third division (Brigadier-General McIntosh), moved up the Berryville and Winchester pike in the direction of Winchester, drove the enemy's cavalry before them three miles, and within two miles of Winchester came upon a regiment of infantry (the Eighth South Carolina), and by a sudden dash of the Third New Jersey and Second Ohio regiments, this regiment was broken and completely surrounded, and the whole regiment entire, officers, men, and colors, marched into camp. Too much praise cannot be given Brigadier-General McIntosh for his quick decision and gallantry on the occasion.
Orders were issued for the army to move on the nineteenth September.
The Third division (Brigadier-General Wilson) moved on the Berryville and Winchester pike, in the direction of Winchester, in advance of the infar.try.
The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) moved on the right to cross the Opequan creek at Sevres and Locke's fords.
The Second division, West Virginia cavalry (Brigadier-General Averell), was ordered to cross the Opequan creek and move on the Winchester and Martinsburg pike, in the direction of Winchester.
I remained on the right in command of these two divisions. Early in the morning the crossing of the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) was opposed by rebel infantry, but the cavalry gallantly charged across the creek and drove them from their first position back to their second, about a mile and a half from the creek, where the infantry held the cavalry in check for some time, they being posted behind stone walls and rail breastworks; in the mean time BrigadierGeneral Averell was steadily driving the enemy's cavalry before him in the direction of Winchester. Brigadier-General Averell getting well in rear of the infantry force in front of the First
division (Brigadier-General Merritt), they commenced to fall back, when the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) advanced rapidly and made a junction on the Valley pike with Brigadier-General Averell in the vicinity of Stephenson's depot. Both divisions immediately formed to advance on Winchester, BrigadierGeneral Averell on the right and Brigadier-General Merritt on the left of the Valley pike. We were now about four miles from Winchester; both divisions advanced rapidly, driving the enemy's cavalry pell-mell before them, on and behind their infantry, near Winchester. We came square upon the left flank of the rebel army, now hotly engaged with the Federal forces, their infantry lines were at once charged by brigades, which lines were broken and a great many prisoners and battle flags captured.
This day the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) alone captured seven hundred and seventy-five prisoners, about seventy officers, seven battle-flags, and two pieces of artillery.
The rebel army being driven through Winchester, after dark the pursuit was stopped, and the First and Third divisions (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Wilson) bivouacked on the Winchester and Strasburg pike, and BrigadierGeneral Averell's division on the Moorfield pike, about three miles from Winchester.
During the day the Third division (BrigadierGeneral Wilson) fought gallantly, doing wonders, driving a division of rebel infantry from different positions, and clearing the way for our infantry to form.
On this occasion Brigadier-General McIntosh, commanding Second brigade, Third division, suffered the loss of a leg, and Brigadier-General Chapman, commanding First brigade of same division, was slightly wounded.
No one could have acted with more coolness and gallantry than did Brigadier-Generals Merritt, Wilson, Custer, McIntosh, Chapman, and Brevet Brigadier-General Devin and Colonel Lowell. Too much praise cannot be given the cavalry for the active part they played on this
At daylight on the twentieth the army started in pursuit of the rebel army, Brigadier-General Averell's division of cavalry moving on the back road to Cedar creek, Brigadier-General Merritt's on the valley pike to Cedar creek, and Brigadier-General Wilson's via Stephensburg and Cedarville on the Front Royal pike.
The enemy were overtaken posted in a strong position at Fisher's Hill, above Strasburg, Virginia. The infantry coming up relieved the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) in front of the enemy, and this division was then placed on the right of the infantry, near Strasburg.
drove Wickham's division of rebel cavalry from Front Royal back toward Luray, six miles. On the same day Brigadier-General Merritt's division, with the exception of Brevet BrigadierGeneral Devin's brigade, which was left at Cedar creek (in rear of the main army), marched across the north fork of the Shenandoah river, at Buckton's ford, through Front Royal, and encamped about a mile and a half beyond. Brigadier-General Wilson was now about six miles in advance, the enemy having halted in a very strong position on the south side of Gooney Run.
At two A. M. the next day (twenty-second) the First brigade, First division (Brigadier-General Custer), moved across the ford over the South fork of the Shenandoah river, near Front Royal, with orders to move up and recross the Shenandoah at McCoy's ford, two miles in rear of the enemy's position; the enemy fearing, or knowing this move, commenced to evacuate at about ten P. M. the previous night.
At daylight, the twenty-second, the balance of the command moved up the valley. About eleven A. M. that day the advance came upon the enemy posted in a still stronger position on the south bank of Millford creek, their left resting on the Shenandoah, which runs so close under the mountain it was impossible to turn it, and their right rested against a high mountain; the length of their line was very short and the banks of the creek so precipitous it was impossible for the men to get across in order to make a direct attack; in addition to their naturally strong position, they were posted behind loophole breastworks, which extended clear across the valley. Not knowing that the army had made an attack at Fisher's Hill, and thinking that the sacrifice would be too great to attack without that knowledge, I concluded to withdraw to a point opposite McCoy's ferry.
The next day, the twenty-third, BrigadierGeneral Wilson's division moved across at McCoy's ford and proceeded to Buckton's ford, on the north side of the Shenandoah. BrigadierGeneral Merritt's division went through Front Royal, crossing the Shenandoah, and stopping at Cedarville; in the mean time having a skirmish with Mosby's guerillas at Front Royal, killing two officers and nine men. About four P. M. that day news was received of the victory at Fisher's Hill, and directions to make up the Luray valley.
The Third division (Brigadier-General Wilson) was ordered to proceed immediately to McCoy's ford on the Shenandoah river, and the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) to move up the Luray valley through Front Royal. Both divisions bivouacked near daylight at Millford creek, the enemy having evacuated that posi
Brigadier-General Averell's division was tion. moved across Cedar creek, and placed on the right of Brigadier-General Merritt's division on the back road.
The next day (the twenty-first) BrigadierGeneral Wilson, commanding Third division,
The next morning at daylight (the twentyfourth) both divisions moved up the valley, the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) in advance. The advance came upon the enemy in position about three miles from Luray; they
were immediately engaged, and by a gallant charge of the First brigade, First division, led by Brigadier-General Custer, were driven about eight miles in the direction of New Market, capturing some seventy prisoners. The command passed through Luray, on the pike leading to New Market, crossed the Shenandoah river and bivouacked at the foot of the pass, the enemy having taken the mountain road leading out of the valley.
The next day (twenty-fifth) at daylight passed over the mountain and joined the army at New Market, issued forage and rations, and marched to Harrisonburg that day. In the mean time Brevet Major-General Averell had been relieved from the command of the Second division, West Virginia cavalry, and Colonel Powell, First Virginia cavalry, placed in command. On arriving at Harrisonburg, Virginia, I found this division on the Valley pike about eight miles from Harrisonburg, on the North river. The Second brigade, First division (Brevet Brigadier-General Devin), was in the direction of Keselton and Port Republic.
The next day (twenty-sixth) the Second division, West Virginia cavalry (Colonel Powell), was ordered to move in the direction of Staunton. Brigadier-General Merritt with the First brigade, First division, was ordered to move in the direction of Port Republic and join Brevet Brigadier-General Devin's brigade.
I moved with the Third division, BrigadierGeneral Wilson, and Reserve brigade, First division (Colonel Lowell), in the direction of Staunton. Brigadier-General Custer having been assigned to the command of the Second division, West Virginia cavalry, he moved with me in order to join his division; Colonel Powell moving in the Valley pike turned off to the left from that road, in the direction of Piedmont, following the enemy.
I moved direct to Staunton, capturing in and about that place the following articles, viz.:
Three hundred muskets; seventy-five sabres; fifty cartridge boxes: seventy sets horse equipments, complete; sixty rounds field ammunition; two hundred sets harness; three hundred saddle-trees; two hundred tents; sixty-five head beef cattle; twenty-five wagons; five tons salt; one hundred barrels flour; five hundred bales hay; one thousand bushels wheat; one hundred and twenty-five barrels hard bread; fifty boxes tobacco; fifty horses; medical stores, &c.; fifty-seven prisoners.
On the twenty-seventh started a regiment with Brigadier-General Custer to join his command at Piedmont. At the same time a reconnoissance in force to Waynesboro and Rock Fish gap, but heard nothing from the reconnoissance until the whole party returned. I immediately started the whole force to Waynesboro, which place we reached, a distance of twelve miles, just after dark, and bivouacked for the night.
On the next morning (the twenty-eighth) proceeded to destroy the railroad bridge across
the south fork of the Shenandoah river, and burnt the depot and government buildings. Late in the afternoon the enemy attacked us in strong force with infantry, cavalry, and artillery. They were held in check until after dark, when on the return of the regiment sent with Brigadier-General Custer, notifying me of an attempt by the enemy to cut me off from the main army, which was then twenty-five or thirty miles distant, I fell back to Spring Hill, on Middle river, on the back road from Staunton to Harrisonburg.
On the morning of the twenty-ninth marched to Bridgewater, on the North river. Left the Third division (Brigadier-General Wilson) in position there, and sent the Reserve brigade (Colonel Lowell), of the First division, to join its division in the neighborhood of Cross Keys. In the mean time the First division (BrigadierGeneral Merritt) and the Second division, West Virginia cavalry (Colonel Powell), were operating in the vicinity of Brown's gap and Piedmont.
On the thirtieth the Second division, West Virginia cavalry (Colonel Powell), was withdrawn from the front and sent back to Harrisonburg, Virginia. One brigade of the Third division was ordered on the Valley pike, crossing the North river. On the same day Brigadier-General Wilson was relieved from the command of the Third division, and ordered to report for duty to Major-General Sherman. Brigadier-General Custer was relieved from the command of the Second division, West Virginia cavalry, and placed in command of the Third division; Colonel Powell (First Virginia cavalry) being placed in command of the Second division, West Virginia cavalry.
On the next day (October first) the Second division, West Virginia cavalry (Colonel Powell), was ordered down the Luray valley to take position at Luray, and watch the country in that vicinity,
On October second the First and Third divisions of cavalry (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Custer) were disposed on the line of the North river, about seven miles in front of the army. About two P. M. the enemy made a reconnoissance in force, with infantry, artillery, and cavalry, and attempted to cross the river, but were prevented from doing so by the cavalry alone.
October third, fourth, and fifth.-The cavalry remained somewhat in the same position, sending reconnoissances to Swift run and Brown's gap, and all the time skirmishing with the enemy.
October fifth.-Three hundred men of the Second division, West Virginia cavalry, under command of Major Farabee (First Virginia cavalry), were sent from Luray to destroy the railroad bridge over the Rapidan river, to proceed from thence to Culpepper, and thence by Sperryville to Luray.
He completely destroyed the bridge. Much credit is due to the officer in command for the
prompt and energetic manner in which he carried out his instructions.
October sixth-The First and Third divisions of cavalry (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Custer) followed the army down the valley, the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) taking the middle road, and stopping at Timberville, the Third division (Brigadier-General Custer) taking the back road and camping for the night in the neighborhood of Turleytown and Brock's gap. The enemy made an attack at this point, but were handsomely repulsed.
One brigade of Second division, West Virginia cavalry, came from Luray through New Market gap, and returned same night to Luray. October seventh.-The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) continued its march on the middle road, and came into the valley at Edinburgh, and camped for the night about two miles south of Woodstock.
The Third division (Brigadier-General Custer) continued its march on the back road, and camped in the vicinity of Columbia Furnace for the night. The rear guard of this column was fighting all day. The Second division, West Virginia cavalry (Colonel Powell), marched from Luray down Luray valley to Milford creek.
October eighth.-The First division (BrigadierGeneral Merritt) continued its march on the Valley pike, and stopped on Brook creek. The Third division (Brigadier-General Custer) continued its march on the back road, and camped for the night on Tumbling run. The rear guard of this division was fighting or skirmishing during the whole march. About four P. M. this day Brigadier-General Merritt, commanding First division, sent one brigade back on the pike to make the enemy develop the force which had been following him during the day, and at the same time he sent two brigades to attack the enemy's column, which had been following the Third division (Brigadier-General Custer), and stopped their further advance, and at dark the first division was drawn in, and camped near Brook creek, three miles south of Strasburg.
The Second division West Virginia cavalry (Colonel Powell), moved from Millford creek to Front Royal, holding Chester and Manassas gaps.
The next day (the ninth) I had received orders from Major-General Sheridan to start out at daylight and whip the rebel cavalry, or get whipped myself. My command was disposed as follows:
Brigadier-General Merritt, commanding First division, was in the Valley pike at Brook creek, at the foot of Round Top mountain.
Brigadier-General Custer, commanding Third division, was on the back road at Tumbling
These two roads, as a general thing, are parallel, and from two and a half to three miles apart. Brigadier-General Custer being about six miles from Brook creek, was ordered to move at daylight back on the back road and attack as soon as met. Brigadier-General Mer
ritt being near Brook creek and the enemy. was directed to move about seven M. one brigade in the pike, and two brigades between the roads, and connect with Brigadier-General Custer and the brigade in the pike.
The enemy's force was as follows: On the back road under General Rosser three brigades, from three thousand to thirty-five hundred men ; on the pike, under Generals Lomax and Bradley Johnson, one thousand to fifteen hundred men. Brigadier-General Custer's guns were heard early in the morning on Brook creek, and Brigadier-General Merritt moved to the attack, and to make a connection with Brigadier-General Custer.
Colonel Lowell, commanding Reserve brigade, First division, moved on the pike and attacked Lomax and Johnson; the First brigade, First division, moved on the right to connect with Brigadier-General Custer, and to attack the enemy on the right flank; the Second brigades First division, moved in the centre. After a spirited engagement for about two hours, the enemy seeing that they were being flanked and severely pressed in front, gave way in great confusion, which was immediately taken advantage of by both division commanders. The enemy endeavored to rally several times, but were unable to stand the desperate charges made by my men, and they were driven in a perfect rout for twenty miles; the First division (BrigadierGeneral Merritt) on the pike pursuing them beyond Mount Jackson; the Third division (Brigadier-General Custer) in the back road, pursuing them beyond Columbia furnaces.
The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) captured five pieces of artillery (all they had on the road except one), their ordnance, ambulance, and wagon trains, and sixty prisoners.
The Third division (Brigadier-General Custer) captured six pieces of artillery (all they had on the back road), all of their headquarter wagons, ordnance, ambulance, and wagon trains. There could have hardly been a more complete victory and rout. The cavalry totally covered themselves with glory, and added to their long list of victories the most brilliant one of them all, and the most decisive the country has ever witnessed.
Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Custer, and Colonels Lowell and Pennington, commanding brigades, particularly distinguished themselves; in fact no men could have rendered more valuable services and deserve higher honors from the hands of the Government.
My losses in this engagement will not exceed sixty killed and wounded, which is astonishing when compared with the results.
The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) returned as far as Woodstock, and camped for the night.
The Third division (Brigadier-General Custer) returned about six miles and camped for the night.
October tenth, the First and Third divisions
cavalry (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Custer), remained in camp, and the captured property, sent to the rear.
The Second division, West Virginia cavalry (Colonel Powell), was ordered from Front Royal, through Chester gap in the Blue Ridge to Sperryville, and obtained important information. October eleventh.-The First and Third divisions (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Custer) moved back to the north side of Cedar creek, taking position as follows: The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) on the left of the army, and the Third division (Brigadier-General Custer) on the right of the army. The Second division, West Virginia cavalry (Colonel Powell), marched to Arnisville.
October twelfth.-I sent reconnoissances from the First and Third divisions (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Custer) up the Valley pike and the back road for ten or twelve miles, but could find no signs of the enemy.
October thirteenth.-All quiet during the day until about two P. M., when the enemy advanced a strong infantry force in the Valley pike and commenced an attack on the pickets, at the same time they appeared in strong cavalry force on our right, opposite the Third division (Brigadier-General Custer). They succeeded in driving part of the cavalry pickets across Cedar creek, and advanced about a mile. BrigadierGeneral Custer moved out promptly and drove the enemy back across the creek and held that line. When the attack commenced, BrigadierGeneral Merritt put his division (First) in the saddle, and late in the afternoon the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) was moved on the right of the army and to the left of the Third division (Brigadier-General Custer).
October fourteenth.-The First and Third divisions (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Custer) were in camp on the right of the army, covering the country for five or six miles to the right of the infantry. Brigadier-General Custer sent reconnoissances out on the back road and found the enemy had retired to the line of Fisher's
October fifteenth.-Remained in camp. All quiet. The Second division (Colonel Powell) was still near Front Royal, covering the line of the Shenandoah from the left of the infantry to beyond Front Royal. After dark the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) was ordered to move to Front Royal. The Second division (Colonel Powell) was ordered to concentrate at the same point. Both of these divisions being designed for a raid on Charlottesville and Gordonsville, I moved to the Shenandoah near Front Royal in the afternoon to go in command of the expedition, which was to start on the morning of the sixteenth. During the night of the fifteenth I received orders suspending the expedition.
October sixteenth.-The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) was ordered back to the army, and took position on the right of the infantry. The Second division (Colonel Powell)
was ordered to resume its old position, and I returned to the army on Cedar creek. Brigadier-General Custer made a reconnoissance in his front, but could find no enemy outside of their lines on Fisher's Hill.
October seventeenth. Just before daylight the rebel General Rosser, with one brigade of infantry and three brigades of cavalry, the infantry riding behind the cavalry, attacked Brigadier-General Custer's extreme right picket from the rear, and succeeded in capturing the right reserve of a major and twenty-five men, and then fell back rapidly, evidently frightened from his original designs, whatever they may have been, as he had made a circuit of thirtytwo miles in the night to get in rear of our picket line. The same day one brigade of Second division (Colonel Powell) was moved nearer the infantry and posted at Buckton ford on the Shenandoah river, connecting their pickets with the left of the infantry.
October eighteenth.-All quiet, and cavalry in same position. Reconnoissances showed no enemy in their immediate front. While the Second division (Colonel Powell) was at Front Royal, the rebel General Lomax with his division was at Millford creek, up Luray valley, about fourteen miles distant, and did not come out.
October nineteenth.-Before daylight the enemy made a vigorous attack, having surprised and turned the left of the army. The cavalry was immediately put in the saddle, and the First and Third divisions (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Custer) put in position on the right of the infantry. The trains were then sent to the rear. The First brigade, Second division (Colonel Moore commanding), being at Benton's ford on the Shenandoah, was by this move cut off from the main army, and Colonel Moore (Second Ohio) immediately passed around the enemy's right, and came up on the left of our army at Middletown, on the valley pike, having previously sent his trains to Winchester. This brigade immediately attacked the enemy and held them in check on the pike until they could be reinforced. At daylight in the morning the enemy made his appearance in front of Brigadier-General Custer's pickets, on the extreme right, but the gallant men of the Third division prevented their further advance.
A great portion of the army, being badly broken, was going to the rear by thousands; to check this stream of stragglers I deployed my escort (First Rhode Island cavalry), as did Brigadier-General Merritt his (Fifth United States cavalry). After an hour or two's work it proved to be a fruitless effort. The escorts were drawn in, and officers sent further to the rear to form the men. By this time the enemy had come near enough for the cavalry batteries to open upon them, which they did.
The enemy did not bring their lines in the open country between them and the cavalry, but kept under cover of the woods. Between nine and ten o'clock I was ordered by General