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[719] the Nineteenth corps; and Colonel Lowell, with two small regiments of cavalry, was ordered to Summit Point; so that on the night of August tenth, the army occupied a position stretching from Clifton to Berryville, with cavalry at White Post and Summit Point. The enemy moved from vicinity of Bunker Hill, stretching his line from where the Winchester and Potomac railroad crosses Opequan creek, to where the Berryville and Winchester pike crosses the same stream, occupying the west bank. On the morning of August eleventh, the Sixth corps was ordered to move from Clifton across the country to where the Berryville pike crosses Opequan creek, carry the crossing, and hold it; the Nineteenth corps was directed to move through Berryville, on the White Post road, for one mile, file to the right by heads of regiments, at deploying distances, and carry and hold the crossing of Opequan creek at a ford about three-fourths of a mile from the left of the Sixth corps; Crook's command was ordered to move out on the White Post road, one mile and a half beyond Berryville, file to the right and secure the crossing of Opequan creek at a ford about one mile to the left of the Nineteenth corps; Torbert was directed to move with Merritt's division of cavalry up the Millwood pike towards Winchester, attack any force he might find, and, if possible, ascertain the movements of the rebel army. Lowell was ordered to close in from Summit Point on the right of the Sixth corps.

My intention in securing these fords was to march on Winchester, at which point, from all my information on the tenth, I thought the enemy would make a stand. In this I was mistaken, as the results of Torbert's reconnoissance proved. Merritt found the enemy's cavalry covering the Millwood pike west of the Opequan, and, attacking it, drove it in the direction of Kernstown, and discovered the enemy retreating up the valley pike.

As soon as this information was obtained, Torbert was ordered to move quickly, via the toll gate on the Front Royal pike, to Newtown, to strike the enemy's flank, and harass him in his retreat, and Lowell to follow up through Winchester. Crook was turned to the left and ordered to Stony Point, or Nineveh, while Emory and Wright were marched to the left, and went into camp between the Millwood and Front Royal pikes, Crook encamping at Strong Point. Torbert met some of the enemy's cavalry at the toll gate on the Front Royal pike, drove it in the direction of Newtown, and behind Gordon's division of infantry, which had been thrown out from Newtown to cover the flank of the main column in its retreat, and which had put itself behind rail barricades. A portion of Merritt's cavalry attacked this infantry, and drove in its skirmish line, and although unable to dislodge the division, held all the ground gained. The rebel division during the night moved off. Next day Crook moved from Stony Point to Cedar creek, Emory followed; the cavalry moved to the same point, via Newtown and the valley pike, and the Sixth corps followed the cavalry. On the night of the twelfth, Crook was in position at Cedar creek, on the left of the valley pike, Emory on the right of the pike, the Sixth corps on the right of Emory, and the cavalry on the right and left flanks. A heavy skirmish line was thrown to the heights on the south side of Cedar creek, which had brisk skirmishing during the evening with the enemy's pickets; his (the enemy's) main force occupying the heights above and north of Strasburg. On the morning of the thirteenth, the cavalry was ordered on a reconnaissance towards Strasburg, on the middle road, which road is two and a half miles to the west of the main pike.

Reports of a column of the enemy moving up from Culpepper Court-house, and approaching Front Royal through Chester gap, having been received, caused me much anxiety, as any considerable force advanced through Front Royal, and down the F. R. and W. pike toward Winchester, could be thrown in my rear, or, in case of my driving the enemy to Fisher's hill, and taking position in his front, this same force could be moved along the base of Massanutten mountain on the road to Strasburg, with the same result.

As my effective line of battle strength at this time was about eighteen thousand infantry, and thirty-five hundred cavalry, I remained quiet during the day — except the activity on the skirmish line — to await further developments. In the evening the enemy retired with his main force to Fisher's hill. As the rumors of an advancing force from the direction of Culpepper kept increasing, on the morning of the fourteenth I sent a brigade of cavalry to Front Royal, to ascertain definitely, if possible, the truth of such reports, and at the same time crossed the Sixth corps to the south side of Cedar creek and occupied the heights above Strasburg. Considerable picket firing ensued. During the day I received from Colonel Chipman, of the Adjutant-General's office, the following despatch, he having ridden with great haste from Washington through Snicker's gap, escorted by a regiment of cavalry, to deliver the same. It at once explained the movement from Culpepper, and on the morning of the fifteenth, the remaining two brigades of Merritt's division of cavalry were ordered to the crossing of the Shenandoah river near Front Royal, and the Sixth corps withdrawn to the north side of Cedar creek, holding at Strasburg a strong skirmish line.

(By Telegraph, received in Cipher.)

City Point, August 12, 1864, 9 A. M.
Major-General Halleck:
Inform General Sheridan that it is now certain two divisions of infantry have gone to Early, and some cavalry and twenty pieces of artillery. This movement commenced last Saturday night; he must be cautious, and act now

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