Page images

men behind breast-works on the opposite bank, they found some of the flooring of the bridge had been removed. Immediately after reaching the river the bridge was fired by an explosion and soon destroyed. The ford, which was a bad one, was barricaded and defended by men in rifle pits and artillery in position behind earth-works. It was impossible to effect a crossing in front. Some delay was caused by having to send through the country to find parties who knew the roads to fords above and below Liberty Mills, so that I could cross and flauk them out of their position. Finally two columns were started, one to the right and one to the left. Two brigades of the First Division-First and Second, Second Brigade leading, commanded by Colonel Kellogg, Seventeenth Pennsylvania Cavalry-were to cross at Willis' Ford, about two miles above Liberty Mills, and come down on the Stanardsville and Orange Court-House road. One brigade Second Division, Colonel Capehart commanding, was to cross at Cave's Ford, about three miles below Liberty Mills, and come up on the Orange Court House and Stanardsville road. It was represented that both of these fords were good, and that the detour of these columns would be about four miles, when, in fact, the column at Willis' Ford could only cross by twos and had to march about eight miles before getting to Liberty Mills, and the column by Cave's Ford could only cross by file and had to march about seven miles before getting to Liberty Mills. This caused an unexpected delay, and it was not until just dark when the right column came in sight and immediately charged the enemy, driving them across the Gordonsville pike and in the direction of Orange Court-House; here they were met by my left column, and the enemy withdrew by a country road in the direction of Gordonsville. The fighting was all after dark, and not being able to tell friend from foe, and my own men having fired into each other, the firing was ordered to cease and hold their positions for the night. This day and night was intensely cold. December 23, at daylight the enemy was again engaged and all their artillery-two pieces-taken from them. and driven to within two miles and a half of Gordonsville to the top of the gap in Southwest Mountain. Here the pass was narrow and the enemy were strongly posted behind rails and earth breast-works, where a few men could hold three times their number in check. I attacked the position with nearly half of my force, but could not carry it, and I immediately started a column to flank them on the left by crossing the mountain several miles. to the north. While waiting to hear from this column, which had got well on its way, the cars were heard about ten o'clock to arrive at Gordonsville, aud about an hour after infantry was seen to file into the breastworks and relieve the cavalry. After becoming fully satisfied of the presence of infantry (Pegram's division), I concluded it was useless to make a further attempt to break the Central railroad. I had at this time six or eight men killed and about forty wounded, more than I could transport, and the worst cases were left behind. I decided to withdraw and at once crossed to the north bank of the Rapidan. That afternoon and evening I marched to Madison Court-House and Robertson's River. About thirty prisoners were taken, but having no provisions, and it being very difficult, if not impossible, for them to keep up, I paroled them. The guns, two 3-inch rifled, were brought to camp. December 24, at daylight started from Madison Court-House, marched, via James City, Griffinsburg, and Stone-House Mountain, to near Rixeyville. December 25, at daylight marched to the Fauquier White Sulphur Springs, crossing in the meantime the Hazel and the

Rappahannock Rivers, the former with great difficulty indeed. December 26, march resumed at daylight, Second Division leading. On reaching War: enton the Second Division went in the direction of Salem and Piedmont, camping near Paris. At Warrenton the First Division marched in the direction of New Baltimore, Georgetown, White Plains, and Middleburg, camping near the latter place. Decem ber 27, the Second Division marched, via Paris, Ashby's Gap, and Millwood, to camp near Winchester; First Division marched, via Middleburg, Upperville, Paris, and Ashby's Gap, to Millwood. December 28, First Division marched to camp near Winchester.

The country through which we passed was thoroughly cleaned of stock and forage. The command was obliged to live on the country for six days. Altogether it was an extremely hard trip on men and horses on account of the intense cold and bad weather. For six days out of the ten it either raiued, hailed, or snowed, and sometimes all three. A. T. A. TORBERT,

Brevet Major-General, Chief of Cavalry, Commanding.

Brevet Brigadier-General FORSYTH,

Chief of Staff, Headquarters Army of the Shenandoah.

Report of casualties in the Cavalry, Middle Military Division, on the late raid, from December 19 to December 28, 1864.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

December 23, 1864.

On the 20th General Early reported one division of enemy's cavalry, under General Custer, coming up the Valley, and two divisions, under General Torbert, moving through Chester Gap, with four pieces artillery and thirty wagons. On the 22d Rosser attacked Custer's division, nine miles from Harrisonburg, and drove [him] back, capturing forty pris


oners. This morning Torbert attacked Lomax near Gordonsville, and was repulsed and severely punished. He is retiring and Lomax preparing to follow.

Hon. J. A. SEDDON.

December 24, 1864.

General Fitz Lee reports that the force which attacked Lomax yesterday consisted of two divisions of enemy's cavalry, under General Torbert. Lomax was posted across the Madison turnpike two miles and a half from Gordonsville. The enemy was handsomely repulsed, and retired about 3 p. m., just as re-enforcements were getting in position, leaving some of his dead on the field. He traveled too rapidly last night to engage his rear, having passed Jack's Shop, twelve miles from Gordonsville, one hour after dark. Thirty-two prisoners, captured at Liberty Mills on the 22d, being unable to keep up on their retreat, were liberated. Lomax's loss slight.


R. E. LEE.

Secretary of War.

DECEMBER 26-27, 1864.-Scout from Fairfax Court-House to Hopewell

Gap, Va.

Report of Capt. John Sargent, Eighth Illinois Cavalry.

FAIRFAX COURT-HOUSE, December 27, 1864. SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the recent scout made by me with 400 men of the Eighth Illinois Cavalry:

In obedience to orders from brigade headquarters I left camp at 8 p. m. December 26, and proceeded, by way of Thoroughfare Gap, to the house of Mrs. Lewis, which I was ordered to search. At Mrs. Lewis' I captured two rebel soldiers, who reported themselves as belonging to the Fourth Virginia Cavalry. Froni Mrs. Lewis' I moved in the direction of Hopewell Gap, where I arrived at daylight this morning. During the march both of the prisoners, who were under the charge of Company C, managed to make their escape. At 9 a. m. I passed through Hopewell Gap, and arrived at camp at 5 p. m. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Maj. J. D. LUDLAM,

JNO. SARGENT, Captain, Commanding Scouts.

Commanding Eighth Illinois Cavalry.





CITY POINT, VA., August 4, 1864-12 m.

President of the United States:

(Received 7 p. m.)

Your dispatch of 6 p. m. just received. I will start in two hours for Washington and will spend a day with the army under General Hunter.t


Lieutenant-General GRANT,

WASHINGTON, August 4, 1864-10 p.m.

City Point, Va.:

Had you asked my opinion in regard to Generals Hunter and Sheridan it would have been freely and frankly given; but I must beg to be excused from deciding questions which lawfully and properly belong to your office. I can give no instructions to either till you decide upon their commands. I await your orders, and shall strictly carry them out, whatever they may be.‡

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General and Chief of Staff.


Washington City, August 4, 1864. (Received 11.40 a. m.)

[blocks in formation]

Your telegrams of yesterday has been received. The Government is taking all the measures within its power to protect your State from the rebel forces. Much might be done by the loyal people to impede any advance if it should be attempted by cutting down trees and blocking the roads and destroying bridges. If you would give attention to this subject and induce your people to do something themselves they could in the way suggested accomplish a good deal for their own protection and aid our forces in following and destroying the rebels. EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

*For Correspondence, etc., from September 1, 1864, to December 31, 1864, sec Part II.

† See Lincoln to Grant, August 3, 6 p. m., Vol. XXXVII, Part II, p. 582.

See Halleck to Grant, and Grant to Halleck, August 3, 1864, Vol. XXXVII, Part II, pp. 582, 583.

See Boreman to Stanton, Vol. XXXVII, Part II, p. 587.


WHEELING, W. VA., August 4, 1864.
(Received 9.30 p. m.)


Your telegram received. I had ordered out the State militia before dispatching you on yesterday. They will do all that undrilled men can to obstruct the advance of the enemy. I have no further news. I request that you give orders to the proper officers to issue commissary and quartermaster's stores to the militia while in actual service.



August 4, 1864-10 p. m.

Governor BOREMAN,

Wheeling, W. Va.:

Your telegram received. Orders to the commissary and quartermaster at Wheeling will be issued immediately, as requested. Your militia, with the r axes and crowbars, can, by obstructing the roads and destroying bridges, accomplish immense results toward protecting your State. We have a large force rapidly organizing for the field under command of Major-General Sheridan. A few hours of delay occasioned by the industrious labors of your militia on the roads may accomplish the destruction of the enemy. Spare no efforts on this point, and see that the work is effectually done on every road and pass. EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.


General HARDIN,

Commanding Division:

August 4, 1864.

The Hon. M. Blair, Postmaster-General, is visiting at his place near Silver Spring. I wish to have the officer commanding the cavalry picket at Leesborough instructed to have him (Blair) informed of the presence of any portion of the enemy's force in the vicinity of that place. I think you had better have a small picket established here and in front of Silver Spring, with a special reference to his (Blair's) presence at the latter place.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Communding.



Brigadier-General TORBERT,

Commanding Division, Cavalry Corps:

August 4, 1864.


GENERAL: I am instructed to inform you that you are authorized to retain your troops in camp in the position now occupied by them or its vicinity.

I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Chief of Staff and Assistant Adjutant-General.

« PreviousContinue »