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line thrown out from my own command, having received no support from any other source. After the command had crossed the river it was moved off to Cross Keys in good order, though under a terrific fire from the enemy's artillery which was put in position on the opposite side of the river. I then turned the command over to Brigadier-General Custer, who had been ordered to the command of the division. September 29, the division under command of General Custer, moved from Cross Keys to Mount Sidney, covering the country lying between the roads via Weyer's Cave to Piedmont and Mount Sidney, under orders to collect and drive off all stock, horses, &c., and to destroy all forage, grain, and flouring mills, returning to Mount Crawford on the main pike under same orders, where in rear of the Sixth Corps the division camped for the night. On the morning of the 30th BrigadierGeneral Custer was relieved from the command of the division and ordered to assume command of Third Cavalry Division, and I was again ordered to the command of the division and to report to Brevet Major General Torbert at Harrisonburg, Va. I moved the command to near Harrisonburg and camped for the night.
On the morning of the 1st of October I moved the division, by order of General Torbert, on the Port Republic road down Page Valley to Luray, driving off all stock of every description, destroying all grain, burning mills, blast furnaces, distilleries, tanneries, and all forage, reaching Luray on the evening of the 2d, where the division remained until the morning of the 7th, subsisting entirely upon the enemy. October 3, I sent a reconnoitering party up into Blue Ridge Mountains, surprised a party of bushwhackers, destroyed their rendezvous, capturing 2 prisoners, 10 wagons (loaded with plunder of every description), medical supplies to the value of $5,000, horses, mules, &c., and sent one bushwhacker to his long home. Sent scouting party through Thornton's Gap] to Sperryville; found all quiet at that point. October 4, had two bushwhackers shot to death in retaliation for the murder of a soldier belonging to my command by a bushwhacker, the soldier having been found by my command with his throat cut from ear to ear. October 5, sent Major Farabee, First West Virginia Cavalry, in command of a detachment of 300 men, through Thornton's Gap to Rapidan railroad bridge, who rejoined the column on the 7th on the road to Front Royal, reporting the entire destruction of the bridge by cutting down, the timber being so green that it would not burn, and the capture of 1 lieutenant and 8 men and horses; no organized force of the enemy seen on his route. October 6, destroyed tannery, the property of Peter Borsk, of Luray, used for the exclusive benefit of the rebel army. Unfinished leather to the value of about $8.0,000 was destroyed here. October 7, moved the division down the Luray Valley to Front Royal. October 11, moved the division, under orders from Brevet Major-General Torbert, through Chester Gap, Flint Hill, Gaines' Cross-Roads, and Little Washington, to Sperryville; sent detachment to Thornton's Gap; captured General Rosser's picket post in the gap; found no enemy at Sperryville. On my arrival at Sperryville I learned of the movements of McCausland's cavalry command in the direction of Amissville to form a junction with Mosby's guerrillas (some 400 strong, with four pieces artillery), with a view to making an attack upon the Manassas Gap Railroad at Salem. As soon as the command was fed I moved across to Amissville, via Little Washington and Gaines' Cross-Roads, for the purpose of cutting off his retreat and following him up. On my arrival at Amissville, at 6.30 a. m. of the 12th,
I learned that McCausland's command passed through Amissville at a very rapid speed in the direction of Madison Court-House at 4 o'clock that a. m., having heard of my movements on the evening of the 11th. Having no artillery, he was enabled to move much more rapidly than it was possible for me to move my division. Being surrounded at all times by small squads of guerrillas watching opportunities to dash upon small parties, I deemed it impracticable to allow my command to become separated or scattered. I then moved the command to Flint Hill, collecting and driving off all stock that could be found on our route to that point.
October 13, having learned of the willful and cold-blooded murder of a U. S. soldier by two men (Chancellor and Myers, members of Mosby's gang of cut-throats and robbers), some two miles from my camp a few days previous, I ordered the execution of one of Mosby's gang whom I had captured the day previous at Gaines' Cross-Roads, and placing the placard on his breast with the following inscription: "A. C. Willis, member of Company C, Mosby's command, hanged by the neck in retaliation for the murder of a U. S. soldier by Messrs. Chancellor and Myers." I also sent a detachment, under command of Captain Howe, First West Virginia Cavalry, with orders to destroy the residence, barn, and all buildings and forage, on the premises of Mr. Chancellor, and to drive off all stock of every description, which orders were promptly carried out.
October 19, all quiet on my front since the 13th. At daylight this a. m. I heard heavy artillery and musketry firing on my right. Held my' command well in hand for any emergency. At 8 a. m. received a dispatch from Colonel Moore, commanding First Brigade, stationed on my right at Buckton Ford, that he was moving back toward Middletown, but gave no reason for doing so. At 9 a. m. Captain Berry, of MajorGeneral Torbert's staff, reached my headquarters with verbal orders to fall back at once, stating that the enemy was between me and our main force and some three miles in my rear, on my right. I moved back slowly on the Front Royal and Winchester pike. On my leaving Guard Hill the enemy charged my picket-line at South Branch Ford, but were repulsed with a loss of four men killed. The enemy's force on my rear following at a respectful distance was said to be Lomax's, Imboden's, Johnson's, and McCausland's cavalry, 3,000 strong. On my arrival at the cross-roads leading to Winchester, White Post, and Newtown I formed line of battle, with a view to attacking the enemy on his approach. From this position and previous to the arrival of the enemy I was ordered by General Torbert to join him at once, which I did by moving across to Newtown, where I remained awaiting orders. Having dispatched General T. the movements of the enemy on the Front Royal and Winchester pike, I was ordered to move my command back to the cross-roads and prevent the advance of the enemy to Winchester. On the morning of the 20th I moved my command forward to Cedarville and learned that the enemy had fallen back to Milford. On the evening of the 22d I ordered Major Gibson, with detachment of 300 men, up the Luray Valley toward Milford. He met the enemy's picket at Bentonville, charged his reserve, and drove him across Milford Creek; found him in strong force and in his fortifications. On his return to camp found Colonel Dunn's (rebel) battle-flag at the picket-post from whence he had driven him. The road being strongly barricaded prevented the capture of any prisoners. On the evening of the 23d I ordered Col. H. Capehart, commanding Second. Brigade, with detachment of 500 men, on a reconnaissance in the direc
tion of Milford; found the enemy's pickets at Bentonville, drove them in, charged the reserve, and drove everything across Milord Creek; found the enemy still occupying his works. After a brisk and spirited but fruitless attempt to dislodge him, fell back to Allen's Cross-Roads. On the evening of the 25th I collected everything I had in camp but a light camp guard and moved to that point. On the morning of the 26th I moved my whole command (effective strength, 76 officers and 1,053 enlisted men) to the north side of Milford Creek, attacked the enemy in his works at daylight, made such disposition of my force as to attack him on his right flank and front, supporting the attack by a vigorous fire from my artillery; did severe damage to the enemy's works, but failed to dislodge him for want of adequate force covering his entire line of fortifications. I kept him closely holed during the day, having received dispatch from General Torbert that Colonel Kidd's brigade had been sent up the Powell's Big Fort Valley passage to co-operate with me by striking the enemy's rear. I held the enemy in his works awaiting report from Colonel Kidd, which I received by Captain Warner about 12.30 p. m., stating that Colonel K. had been misled, lost the road, and when he (Captain W.) left Colonel K.'s command, it was at least three miles north of McCoy's Ford, and about moving up into the mountain to open communication with me by signal. Later in the day I received Colonel K.'s second dispatch, saying that he had been ordered to reach the flank or rear of the enemy on my front, that he found the pass so obstructed that he could not reach me in time to accomplish anything, and had gone back to camp. In obedience to orders from headquarters Cavalry Corps, I returned with my command to Guard Hill at 10 p. m. 26th. On my leaving Milford the enemy developed his whole force in his works, but did not follow my command.
The country through which I have passed and in which I have operated has been left in such a condition as to barely leave subsistence for the inhabitants. The property destroyed, viz, grain, forage, flouring mills, tanneries, blast furnaces, &c., and stock driven off, has inflicted a severe blow on the enemy. The money value of this property could not have been less than $3,000,000. There is still considerable forage and stock in the valley, east of the Blue Ridge, adjacent to the headwaters of the Rappahannock.
My thanks are due to my present brigade commanders, Cols. H. Capehart, First Virginia Cavalry, and A. S. Moore, Eighth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, for their cheerful obedience and promptness in the execution of all orders; and especially are my thanks due to the soldiery in the division, who have been called upon to labor incessantly since the 1st of May, often barefooted, bareheaded, and ragged and lousy for lack of clothing and time to keep themselves clean, all of which has been borne by them without a murmur.
I have the honor to report that during the operations of my command, since under my immediate control, I have endeavored to execute all orders from headquarters promptly and to the letter, fearless and regardless of rebel consequences. On the 5th and 13th instant it became my duty, though painful and repugnant to my own feelings, to order the execution of three Confederate bushwhackers, in retaliation for two Union soldiers murdered by guerrillas, believing it to be the only means of protection to our soldiers against the operations of all such illegal and outlawed bands of horse-thieves and murderers, recognized and supported by rebel authorities, for which I have been' threatened by the Richmond press. But by this I cannot be intimi
dated in the discharge of my duties under orders. And I wish it distinctly understood by the rebel authorities that if two to one is not sufficient I will increase it to twenty-two to one, and leave the consequences in the hands of my Goverument.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Maj. WILLIAM RUSSELL, Jr.,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Cavalry Corps, Mid. Mil. Div.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND CAVALRY DIVISION,
DEPARTMENT OF WEST VIRGINIA,
MAJOR: I returned to camp at 10 p. m. yesterday. Fought the enemy vigorously from 6 a. m. until 2 p. m.; found his works lengthened and strengthened. His line of works is fully one mile in length, from which he cannot be driven by an attack on his front alone. I made an attempt to turn his right by sending all the force I could spare from my front and rear; dismounted, gained his flauk, and at the same time opened my guns vigorously on his right and attacked his front, but found my force too weak. With the co-operation of Colonel Kidd's brigade on the enemy's rear I am confident I could have carried his works and punished him severely. Colonel Kidd's command was near McCoy's Ford between the hours of 10 a. m: and 12 m. yesterday, so reported to me by Captain Warner, of his command. Why he did not report is as yet unexplained to me, as he could have marched his brigade, via the cross-roads to Milford, and have reached me at 1 p. m. (as did Captain Warner with his escort), and from that point reached the enemy's rear at 2.30 p. m., giving us ample time for the attack. I learned from a reliable source that General Lomax was in command; that he had seven brigades of cavalry, strength said to be between 3,000 and 5,000 men. I saw no artillery. I do not think there is any infantry near him. His entire line of fortifications was well filled with, I think, dismounted cavalry. Lieutenant Weir served his battery well; smashed up considerable of the enemy's works and the rebel headquarters; killed and wounded several. My loss is six men wounded. I was unable to get any information of the movements of the enemy from Luray Valley or elsewhere, except citizens report that his cavalry is nearly all in the valley between Milford and Luray. I think all there is of it in the Luray Valley was on my front yesterday.
Why is it that my ordnance train was stopped at Winchester last Saturday night and kept there? The train system of my division is certainly in bad shape, from which I will always have trouble until my quartermaster has possession of it to a certain extent, if not entire. I understand reflections have been cast upon my quartermaster by some one at cavalry headquarters, for my not having received clothing, &c. I know him well, and know he is capable, and is doing all he has the means to do with.
I will send in my official report of operations this evening, and will have all other reports forwarded with as little delay as possible.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
Maj. WILLIAM RUSSELL, Jr.,
W. H. POWELL,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Cavalry Corps, Mid. Mil. Div.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND CAVALRY DIVISION,
November 17, 1864.
MAJOR: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of my command on the 12th instant, in an engagement with rebel Major-General Lomax's division, on the Winchester and Front Royal pike, near Nineveh, Va.:
In compliance with orders from headquarters Cavalry, Middle Military Division, I moved my command at daylight of the 12th from camp at Parkins' Mills, on Winchester and Front Royal pike, moving in the direction of Front Royal, and to the crossing of the road leading from Newtown, Va., to White Post. Before arriving at this point orders reached me from Major-General Torbert (by Captain Martindale) to send one brigade on a reconnaissance toward Cedarville. On my arrival at the cross-roads I sent my First Brigade, commanded by Col. William B. Tibbits, Twenty-first New York Cavalry, immediately forward on the reconnaissance. Soon after Colonel Tibbits had moved out I again received orders from chief of cavalry (by Captain Reno) to move my whole command to Nineveh, and thence across the country to Middletown. On my arrival at Nineveh, while in the execution of the latter order, I found Colonel Tibbits engaged with the enemy about half a mile south of the village. I moved Second Brigade forward at once to his support, and learned from him that he had driven the enemy back to under cover of his guns. Colonel Tibbits was then falling back, in compliance with my orders to move across to Middletown. While forming my division for a charge, the enemy charged my advance. I moved my whole line forward at once with drawn sabers (having the lines well supported on each flank and the center), charged the enemy, broke his lines, and drove him in great confusion beyond Front Royal and pursued him so closely as to prevent the possibility of his rallying or reforming his lines. The close of the day prevented farther pursuit. The conduct of the officers and enlisted men throughout the entire command was most gallant-seldom equaled, rarely excelled.
The enemy's force consisted of the Fourteenth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Twenty-first, and Twenty-second Regiments of Virginia Cavalry, Sixty-second Regiment Mounted Infantry, and Lurty's batterytwo guns. My command was composed of Eighth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, and Twenty-first New York Cavalry, commanded by Col. William B. Tibbits (First Brigade), and the First Virginia Cavalry, Third Virginia Cavalry, and First New York Cavalry (Second Brigade), commanded by Col. H. Capehart, First Virginia Cavalry.
The enemy's loss was 20 killed, 35 wounded, and 161 prisoners, including 19 commissioned officers (prisoners), from the grade of lieutenaut-colonel down. Among the enemy's killed was Colonel Radford, of the Twenty-second Virginia Cavalry, a major on General Early's staff, and a captain on McCausland's staff. I captured of the enemy 2 pieces artillery (all he had), 2 caissons, 2 wagous and 1 ambulance, and 50 horses, and 2 battle-flags. I was obliged to destroy, for want of means to bring from the field, one of the caissons, one wagon loaded with ammunition, and the ambulance. The enemy had strewn the ground with small-arms in his flight; these were broken up as far as practicable.
The prisoners reported that General McCausland was slightly wounded, and escaped by taking to the woods. My own loss was 1 commissioned officer and 1 enlisted man killed and 15 enlisted men