The panic throughout southern Pennsylvania
had ere this become intensified.
, commanding there, was assured that a great Rebel army of invasion was marching on Pittsburg
; and that city renewed the defensive efforts of the year before.
The guerrilla John S. Moseby
, with 50 men, dashed across the Potomac
at Cheat ferry, surprising and capturing at Adamstown
nearly his own number of horsemen, and robbed a few stores; and, though he ran back instantly, his trifling raid was magnified into a vague and gloomy significance.
Neither the 6th nor the 19th corps had proceeded farther than Georgetown, D. C.
, when Crook
's defeat and its consequences impelled them in quite another direction than that of Petersburg
and Frederick, they had reached Harper's Ferry
, and there met Crook
, with part of Hunter
's long expected infantry, on the day Chambersburg
was burned; and now, with an immense train, the whole force was started on a wild-goose-chase after Early
, who was supposed to be laying waste southern Pennsylvania
, commanding at Cumberland
, had undertaken to stop Johnson
's raiders as they passed him on their retreat, and had a smart skirmish with them at Falck's mill, in which he claimed the advantage; but Col. Stough
, with 500 men, sent to Oldtown
to intercept them, had there been routed, after a short skirmish; himself and 90 men being captured.
The enemy retreated up the south branch of the Potomac
, pursued by Averill
, who struck2
them near Moorefield
, routing them, with a loss of but 50 on our side; Averill
capturing their guns, wagons, and 500 prisoners.
had already sent3 Sheridan
, with intent to have him placed in charge of our distracted operations on the Potomac
; and he now came up4
himself, to obtain, if possible, a better understanding of what was going on. In his conference with Hunter
, that officer expressed a willingness to be relieved, if that were deemed desirable; and Grant
at once telegraphed to Washington
to have Sheridan
sent up to Harper's Ferry
; himself awaiting there that officer's arrival.
An order soon appeared5
appointing Maj.-Gen. Philip H. Sheridan
commander of the new “ Middle Department,” composed of the late Departments of West Virginia
, and Susquehanna
; and two divisions of cavalry (Torbert
's and Wilson
's) were soon sent him by Grant
; raising his force to nearly 30,000 men; while Early
's, confronting him, can hardly have exceeded 20,000.6
It was no fault of Sheridan
's that his accession to command was not immediately followed by a vigorous offensive.
Doubtless, his motley forces needed to be better compacted and fitted together; but, under skillful and capable leadership, they would attain this most rapidly in the field.
Yet there had been so much failure and disappointment in this quarter, while the