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[721] by infantry, and had also held his ground until ordered in. During the night of the twenty-first the army moved back to Halltown without inconvenience or loss; the cavalry, excepting Lowell's command, which formed on the left, moving early on the morning of the twenty-second, and going into position on the right of the line.

On the morning of the twenty-second the enemy moved up to Charlestown and pushed well up to my position at Halltown, skirmishing with the cavalry videttes.

The despatches received from the Lieutenant-General commanding. from Captain G. K. Leet, A. A. G., at Washington, and information derived from my scouts, and from prisoners captured, was of so conflicting and contradictory a nature, that I determined to ascertain if possible, while on this defensive line, what reinforcements had actually been received by the enemy. This could only be done by frequent reconnoissances, and their results convinced me that but one division of infantry, Kershaw's, and one division of cavalry, Fitz Lee's, had joined him.

On the twenty-third I ordered a reconnoissance by Crook, who was on the left, resulting in a small capture, and a number of casualties to the enemy.

On the twenty-fourth another reconnoissance was made, capturing a number of prisoners, our own loss being about thirty men. On the twenty-fifth there was sharp picket firing during the day on part of the infantry line. The cavalry was ordered to attack the enemy's cavalry at Kearneysville. This attack was handsomely made, but, instead of finding the enemy's cavalry, his infantry was encountered, and for a time doubled up and thrown into the utmost confusion. It was marching towards Shepardstown. This engagement was somewhat of a mutual surprise-our cavalry expecting to meet the enemy's cavalry, and his infantry expecting no opposition whatever. General Torbert, who was in command, finding a large force of the rebel infantry in his front, came back to our left, and the enemy believing his (the enemy's) movements had been discovered, and that the force left by him in my front at Halltown would be attacked, returned in great haste, but, before doing so, isolated Custer's brigade, which had to cross to the north side of the Potomac, at Shepardstown, and join me via Harper's Ferry.

For my own part I believed Early meditated a crossing of his cavalry into Maryland, at Williamsport, and I sent Wilson's division around by Harper's Ferry to watch its movements. Averell in the mean time had taken post at Williamsport, on the north side of the Potomac, and held the crossing against a force of rebel cavalry which made the attempt to cross. On the night of the twenty-sixth the enemy silently left my front, moving over Opequan creek, at the Smithfield and Summit Point crossings, and concentrating his force at Brucetown and Bunker Hill,leaving his cavalry at Leetown and Smithfield.

On the twenty-eighth I moved in front of Charlestown with the infantry, and directed Merritt to attack the enemy's cavalry at Leetown, which he did, defeating it, and pursuing it through Smithfield. Wilson recrossed the Potomac at Shepardstown, and joined the infantry in front of Charlestown.

On the twenty-ninth Averell crossed at Williamsport and advanced to Martinsburg. On the same day two divisions of the enemy's infantry, and a small force of cavalry, attacked Merritt at the Smithfield bridge, and, after a hard fight, drove him through Smithfield and back towards Charlestown, the cavalry fighting with great obstinacy until I could reinforce it with Rickett's division of the Sixth corps, when in turn the enemy was driven back through Smithfield, and over the Opequan, the cavalry again taking post at the Smithfield bridge.

On the thirtieth Torbert was directed to move Merritt and Wilson to Berryville, leaving Lowell to guard the Smithfield bridge and occupy the town.

On the thirty-first Averell was driven back from Martinsburg to Falling Waters.

From the first to the third of September nothing of importance occurred.

On the third, Averell, who had returned to Martinsburg, advanced on Bunker Hill, attacked McCausland's cavalry, defeated it, capturing wagons and prisoners, and destroying a good deal of property. The infantry moved into position stretching from Clifton to Berryville, Wright moving by Summit Point, Crook and Emory by the Berryville pike; Torbert had been ordered to White Post early in the day, and the enemy, supposing he could cut him off, pushed across the Opequan towards Berryville with Kershaw's division in advance, but this division not expecting infantry, blundered on to Crook's lines about dark, and was vigorously attacked and driven with heavy loss back towards the Opequan. This engagement, which was after nightfall, was very spirited, and our own and the enemy's casualties severe.

From this time until the nineteenth of September I occupied the line from Clifton to Berryville, transferring Cook to Summit Point on the eighth, to use him as a movable column to protect my right flank and line to Harper's Ferry, while the cavalry threatened the enemy's right flank and his line of communications up the valley.

The difference of strength between the two opposing forces at this time was but little.

As I had learned, beyond doubt, from my scouts, that Kershaw's division, which consisted of four brigades, was to be ordered back to Richmond, I had for two weeks patiently waited its withdrawal before attacking, believing the condition of affairs throughout the country required great prudence on my part, that a defeat of the forces of my command could be ill-afforded,

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