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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 Thom and Alexander to do what they could in stemming the torrent of fugitives. I am happy to say that hundreds of the men, when 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, opposing 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 breast-work 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 4 p. m. I ordered the advance. This attack was brilliantly made, and as the enemy was protected by rail breast-works, and at some portions of his line by stone fences, his resistance 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 McMillan's 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 Devin, 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 blockaded 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 New Market, 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 confident, 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, 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 were so fortunate as to be available at these important movements. In the above-mentioned attack by Upton's brigade tne 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 reconnaissance to Fisher's Hill, made on the 13th of October, 1864, that Col. 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 in 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 gal lantry.
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. Mackenzie, Kitching (since died of wounds), J. B. McIntosh, G. H. Chapman, Thomas C. Devin, Penrose; Cols. D. D. Johnson, Daniel Macauley, Jacob Sharpe.
From the 7th of August, the Middle Department, Department of Washington, Department of the Susquehanna, and the Department of West Virginia, were under my command, and I desire to express my gratitude to their respective commanders, Maj. Gens. Lew. Wallace, C. C. Augur, Couch, and Cadwalader, 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 Febrnary 27, 1865, the day on which the cavalry moved from Winchester to Petersburg.
On the night of November 11, 1864, General Early moved somet 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 Lacey'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 guerrilla 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 Loudoun Valley, General Merritt, with two brigades of cavalry, was directed to proceed on the 28th of November, 1864, to that valley, under the following
HEADQUARTERS MIDDLE MILITARY DIVISION,
Bvt. Maj. Gen. WESLEY MERRITT,
Commanding First Cavalry Division:
GENERAL: You are hereby directed to proceed to-morrow, morning at 7 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 guerrillas 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 described. 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 guerrilla 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 guerrilla 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 29th. Snickersville should be your point of concentration and the point from which you should operate in destroying toward the Potomac. Four days' subsistence 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 Maj. Gen. P. H. Sheridan: JAMES W. FORSYTH, Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of Staff.
On December 19 General Torbert, with Merritt's and Powell's divis ions, 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 frostbitten.
On the 5th of February Harry Gilmor, 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 Moorefield, his capture being very skillfully made by Colonel Young, my chief of scouts, and a party under Lieutenant-Colonel Whitaker, First Connecticut Cavalry, sent to support him. Gilmor 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 acknowledging the assistance given me by them at all times. To the members of my staff, who so cheerfully on all occasions gave me their valuable assistance, who so industriously labored to execute every duty promptly, and who always behaved with gallantry, I return my sincere thanks. They all joined with me in the deep grief felt at the loss sustained by the army, and the friendly ties broken by the death of their fellow staff officers, Colonel Tolles, chief quartermaster, and Assistant Surgeon Ohlenschlager, medical inspector, who were killed while on their 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 sol
dierly qualities. I would also here especially mention the loss of two of my most efficient staff officers, Lieutenant-Colonels Kellogg and O'Keeffe, 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.
I attach hereto an abstract of ordnance and ordnance stores captured from the enemy during the campaign (the 101 pieces of artillery being exclusive of the twenty-four pieces recaptured in the afternoon at Cedar Creek), also a detailed report of my casualties, which are, in the 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 13,000 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 forty-nine battle-flags, forwarded to the honorable the Secretary of War.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Bvt. Maj. Gen. JOHN A. RAWLINS,
P. H. SHERIDAN, Major-General, U. S. Army.
Chief of Staff, Washington, D. C.
[Inclosure No. 1.]
In the Field, Monocacy Bridge, Md., August 5, 1864. Maj. Gen. D. HUNTER,
Commanding Department of West Virginia:
GENERAL: Concentrate all your available forces without delay in the vicinity of Harper's Ferry, leaving only such railroad guards and garrisons for public property as may be necessary. Use in this concentration the railroad, if by so doing time can be saved. From Harper's Ferry, if it is found that the enemy has moved north of the Potomac in great force, push north, following and attacking him wherever found; following him if driven south of the Potomac as long as it is safe to do
If it is ascertained the enemy has but a small force north of the Potomac, then push south with the main force, detailing, under a competent commander, a sufficient force to look after the raiders and drive them to their homes. In detailing such a force, the brigade of cavalry now en route from Washington, via Rockville, may be taken into account. There are now on the way to join you three other brigades of the best cavalry, numbering at least 5,000 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 to-morrow. 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 pro
*To appear in Vol. XLVI.