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wounded. Among the killed was Capt. R. G. Prendergast, acting provost-marshal on my staff. I brought the wounded of my command and most of the enemy's wounded off the field, and returning reached camp at Parkins' Mills at 9.30 p. m. same day.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General.]



No. 153.

Report of Col. James M. Schoonmaker, Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, commanding First Brigade, of operations September 28.


Camp near Cross Keys, Va., September 28, 1864-8.10 p. m. GENERAL: I have the honor to report that I have just this moment returned from the reconnaissance ordered, and beg leave to submit the following report:

I crossed the river with two regiments (Twenty-second Pennsylvania and Eighth Ohio), and proceeded without any molestation to the road which leads from Brown's Gap to the Piedmont road and to the ground occupied by this division when it was attacked yesterday, sending strong patrols to within half a mile of Brown's Gap, and on the Piedmont road to near the Staunton pike and to Piedmont. From information carefully gleaned I learned that the enemy's force left the river this morning at 10 a. m. Their force consisted of one brigade of infantry, one of cavalry, and one battery (four pieces) horse artillery. They retired to the cross-roads and thence in rear of the army through Piedmont. The rebel army moved last night in the following order: Rodes' old division, with the entire train, moved up this side of the Blue Ridge in the direction of Rockfish Gap; the remainder of the infantry and artillery moved past Weyer's Cave, through Piedmont and Mount Meridian, in the direction of the railroad; the cavalry moved yesterday from Brown's Gap in the direction of Charlottesville, and a man who passed over the road states that they were scattered from one end of it to the other, twenty-two miles. Early in person went with Rodes' division and the train. At the house where he made his headquarters last night they reported him beastly intoxicated all night. Kershaw's division is shoeless, and a large number of the infantry without arms. While on the hill above Weyer's Cave I could distinctly hear artillery firing in the direction of Staunton, and citizens report heavy firing in the direction of Rockfish Gap this a. m. Nothing has passed through Brown's Gap. Citizens state that Early was censured from Richmond for placing his command in the mountain region and leaving Staunton and the Valley open. I tried to capture some prisoners, but the only squad I saw flew like sheep in all directions. My command is upon the same ground occupied during the day, and pickets out as ordered.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General CUSTER.

Colonel, Commanding.

(Through Captain Prendergast, acting assistant adjutant-general.)



No. 154.


Report of Lieuts. Albert G. Hague and John H. Nesmith, Fourteenth
Pennsylvania Cavalry, of operations October 3.

GUARD HILL, VA., October 9, 1864.

CAPTAIN: We have the honor of making the following report concerning the capture of part of the picket-post, commanded by Captain Jackson, at the bridge over the Shenandoah River near Mount Jackson, Va., on Monday morning, October 3, 1864:

The picket-post was taken by surprise about 4 a. m. Captain Jackson, of Company F, and First Lieutenant Murphy, of Company G, with forty-two men, were captured; six men were wounded-four men of the Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry and two infantrymen who staid with us over night (infantry stragglers from train). Lieutenant Hague, with nine men, escaped by way of bridge under cover of darkness to picketpost on the road; Lieutenant Nesmith, with three men, escaped to picket-post toward New Market, and finding his retreat cut off toward New Market crossed the river at the bridge after daylight and joined Lieutenant Hague at Edenburg, where we found we had forty men left of the command; since we have ascertained, by one of our men who was paroled, that sixty of the enemy pursued us as far as Edenburg, then ascertaining our strength sent for re-enforcements and still pursued us on, but did not overtake us. At Edenburg we ascertained that we would likely meet an upward-bound train near Strasburg. We kept on the road in that direction, but did not meet any train, and as the men were out of rations and had been for several days, and the horses in a bad condition for the want of shoeing and forage, and not knowing where our regiment was, we concluded to go back as far as Winchester, where we reported to the post commander, Colonel Edwards, and the first opportunity we had we returned with train to Cedar Creek, and from there to this place, where we again joined our regiment. Inclosed you will find plat of picket-post.*

The above we respectfully submit.

Your obedient servants,


Second Lieutenant Company E, Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry.

JOHN H. NESMITH, Second Lieutenant Company F, Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry. Capt. W. W. MILES,

Commanding Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry.

No. 155.

Report of Maj. Thomas Gibson, Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, of operations October 23.


October 24, 1864.

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that, in accordance with your directions, I left camp last evening with 300 men-detachments of the regiments composing the First and Second Brigades-at 7 p. m. I proceeded as far as Dry Run, and seeing fires, which I thought were

* Omitted.

probably the camp-fires of a party of guerrillas, on my left, I moved forward a short distance for the purpose of reaching a road leading in the direction of the fires. My advance moved and were immediately fired into by a squad of five or six of the enemy, who were posted behind a strong barricade in the road in my front. The night was very dark and the shade of the trees made the road so dark that an object was not discernible at ten paces. The enemy's vedettes did not challenge my advance nor make any noise or movements calculated to reveal their presence. My advance charged but were prevented from reaching the enemy by the barricade. They had three barricades in the road between the vedettes and reserve, all of which could only be passed by a detour. These obstructions prevented my capturing any of the picket and gave the main guard of the enemy, composed of two squadrons, time to form. I charged the main guard of their outpost, and the enemy fled before us down the main road and through the woods, leaving their blankets, haversacks, &c., strewn about their camp. The outpost was Dunn's battalion. We captured their battleflag, but the bearer escaped. I kept steadily down the pike at a fast trot, my advance at a gallop, and ran the enemy into their camp in great confusion. The delay at the barricades allowed the outpost time to warn the camp, and, in consequence, the enemy were mostly formed on foot. I charged them in column of fours and drove them in coufusion back to the creek, but a line on the opposite side opened a heavy fire and my movement was checked. I formed a line and charged again, but could effect little, owing to the rough nature of the ground and the darkness. I opened a heavy fire, which confused the enemy greatly and drove him in a disorderly mass over the creek, where he formed under cover of earth-works on the opposite side of the creek, which commanded my advance. The darkness and the nature of the ground, together with the superiority of the enemy's numbers, induced me to retire. I did not leave, however, until nearly all the enemy's forces crossed the creek. The camp we attacked contained, at the lowest estimate, 1,800 men. I gained from a citizen, at whose house Colonel Dunn, commanding the rebel outpost, staid, that the commands of Lee, Lomax, and Rosser were camped from Milford to Luray. citizen said they were "camped for fifteen miles along the road," which was corroborated by women and negroes in the vicinity. Rosser is said to have reached Milford at dark yesterday. The movements of wagons could be distinctly heard in the rebel camps on the Luray side of the creek, evidently hurrying away. The camps on the Luray side appeared to be of a brigade, besides the fires in rear of the earth-works, supposed, and so reported by a citizen, to be the camp of a battery of artillery. One citizen reported having seen four guns. Rosser is said to be 3,000 strong and has four guns.


I regret that I could capture no prisoners, but the circumstances made it impossible. I retired from the enemy's front at 2 a. m., and on reaching the cross-roads I crossed to the west side of the river and captured about sixty head of cattle and sheep. The battle-flag captured is that of Dunn's battalion, I believe, Thirty-seventh Virginia Cavalry Battalion.

I am, very respectfully,

Col. W. H. POWELL,

T. GIBSON, Major Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry.

Comdg. Second Cavalry Division, Dept. of West Virginia.



No. 156.

Report of Brig. Gen. James H. Wilson, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division, of operations July 31-September 30.

GRAVELLY SPRINGS, ALA., February 18, 1865.*

From the 31st of July till the 4th of August the division picketed from the left of the infantry line to Lee's Mill, connecting at that place with the Second Division. On the 4th of August I received orders to move my division, via Washington City, to the Shenandoah Valley and report to Major-General Sheridan. At daylight the next day the division broke camp and marched to City Point, where it arrived the same day and made preparations to embark upon steam transports for Giesborough Point, near Washington. On the night of August 12, the whole division having arrived at Giesborough, it began the march to the Shenandoah Valley, via Leesburg and Snicker's Gap. While near Washington the First Brigade had been armed with Spencer carbines. On the 17th of August, about noon, the command arrived at Winchester, having marched from Berryville by the way of White Post. The army had fallen back from Cedar Creek and was just retiring from Winchester. I was ordered to report to General Torbert, chief of cavalry, and hold Winchester as long as possible. I posted my command so as to cover all the roads into the place from the south, particularly the Millwood, Front Royal, and Valley pikes. About 2 p. m. Lowell's brigade of cavalry and Penrose's brigade of infantry arrived; the latter were deployed as skirmishers between the Valley and Front Royal pikes. At 4 p. m. the enemy advanced to the attack with infantry skirmishers, but were repulsed, but at 6 p. m. returned with Breckinridge's entire corps, and after a sharp fight compelled us to withdraw from the place. This was done under cover of night, Colonel Chapman's brigade, with Pennington's battery, having been previously sent back to occupy a strong position on the Martinsburg road, just north of Winchester. The command then marched to the east side of the Opequon and bivouacked at Summit Point just before daylight. The army having halted at Charlestown my division was kept employed in picketing and patrolling the Opequon from Middleway to the Berryville and Winchester pike. On the 21st of August the rebels crossed the Opequon in force at Middleway, drove in our pickets at that place, and threatened to interpose themselves between us and Charlestown. After a sharp fight, in which both Chapman and McIntosh gave the enemy a severe check, I received orders from General Sheridan to communicate with General Merritt's division, then operating in the direction of Berryville, and, in conjunction with it, to lose no time in joining the army at Charlestown. I therefore called in everything except a light skirmish line, withdrew by the right and left flank of brigades at the same time, and marched directly for the Charlestown and Berryville pike. After hearing that General Merritt was unmolested, I retired slowly to Charlestown and went into position on the Leetown road, covering the right of the infantry. General Sheridan having determined to withdraw to the strong position at Halltown during the night, I was directed to cover the rear with my division. I was ordered to be ready to move at dawn, and had my command under arms accordingly. Merritt's division and Duffie's brigade were late in

*For portions of this report here omitted, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p. 875, and Vol. XL, Part I, p. 620.


starting and thereby delayed my march. The enemy, having discov ered the withdrawal of the infantry, advanced just after dawn, and a sharp skirmish ensued. The road was soon cleared by the march of Merritt's division, marching toward Shepherdstown. The withdrawal was finally effected with but little difficulty. The division camped that night near the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and covered all approaches between the right of the infantry and the Potomac.

In pursuance of instructions from General Sheridan, on the morning of the 25th of August my division marched through the country to Walper's Cross-Roads, where it met Merritt's division. The corps, under the command of General Torbert, proceeded by the pike toward Leetown for the purpose of ascertaining the position and movements of the rebel army. The advance had hardly crossed the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at Kearneysville before it encountered the enemy's pickets. The command, moving by flanks of brigades, with the artillery on the pike, formed line of battle with great rapidity, and advanced at once to the attack-McIntosh's brigade, with Ransom's battery, formed on the left of and across the pike, dismounted in a heavy piece of woods; Chapman's brigade, with Pennington's battery, moved well off to the left, partly mounted and partly dismounted, while Merritt's division kept to the right of the pike. The enemy was encountered in the woods, and after a very sharp fight of twenty minutes was driven back nearly a mile in great confusion. My division. took sixty prisoners, all from Breckinridge's corps. From them we learned that Early's whole force had begun the march that morning for Shepherdstown, with the intention of again crossing the Potomac into Maryland. Having accomplished the object of the reconnaissance I was directed to return with my division to its old camp. Although by this time the enemy had recovered from their surprise and succeeded in forming their line for an attack upon us, no difficulty was experienced by my command in regaining its camp. General Sheridan hearing that the rebels, notwithstanding the discovery of their movements, would endeavor to make a new invasion of Maryland, directed me to cross the Potomac at Harper's Ferry and proceed, by the way of Pleasant Valley and Boonsborough, to the vicinity of Sharpsburg, for the purpose of watching the fords on the Potomac as far up as Williamsport. At 11 p. m. the same night I began the march, and after crossing the river sent parties to communicate with General Custer, near Antietam Furnace, and the pickets of Averell's division, still farther up the river. The enemy having failed to attempt a crossing and fallen back beyond the Opequon, my division recrossed the river at Shepherdstown on the 28th of August, and marched, via Charlestown, to Berryville, from which place it was engaged till the 18th of September in making daily reconnaissance in the direction of Millwood, White Post, and the Opequon. On the 13th of September General McIntosh was directed to make a strong reconnaissance toward Winchester for the purpose of determining the enemy's position. Rushing rapidly across the Opequon on the Winchester pike, he struck the enemy's cavalry pickets near the stream and captured 37 men and 2 officers. Without halting he marched rapidly forward. Within two miles of Winchester he struck a strong force of infantry posted so as to cover the town, broke through their line, captured one entire regiment, the Eighth South Carolina Infantry, with their colors, 14 commissioned officers, including the colonel, and 92 enlisted men.

September 18, orders were issued for a general movement against the enemy, and in pursuance thereof, at 2 a. m. the next morning, the divis

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