General Torbert's report.
Headquarters, Chief of cavalry, Middle military division.sir: On the night of the thirtieth July, 1864, I received an order to march the First division of cavalry, which I was then commanding, and which was at that time encamped near Lee's Mills, Prince George county, Virginia, to City Point, for the purpose of embarking it for Washington, D. C. The division moved according to orders, and commenced to embark on the night of the thirty-first. It was concentrated at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, by the night of the ninth of August following. On my arrival at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, on the afternoon of the eighth of August, I reported in person at once to Major-General Sheridan, who was then commanding the Middle Military Division, and was appointed Chief of Cavalry for that division, which command consisted (organized troops for the field) of the First division of cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, General Merritt commanding; Second division West Virginia cavalry, General Averell commanding; and First division West Virginia cavalry, Brigadier-General Duffie commanding. Brigadier-General Averell's division was then at Cumberland, Maryland, and Brigadier-General Duffie's at Hancock, Maryland. Both of these divisions were ordered to join the army by the shortest practicable route. At this time a brigade was formed, consisting of the Second Massachusetts, Twenty-second Pennsylvania, Cole's cavalry, and a detachment of the Fourteenth Pennsylvania cavalry, and placed under command of Colonel Lowell, Second Massachusetts cavalry, and assigned to the First division as the Third brigade. I left Harper's Ferry, Virginia, August tenth, with the First division cavalry (General Merritt commanding) on the advance. Arriving at Charleston, Virginia, the Reserve First and Second brigades took the direct road to Berryville, Virginia; the Third brigade was sent to Summit Point, Virginia, thus placing it on the right of the army, and the Reserve First and Second brigades on the left. Arriving at Berryville, a reconnoissance was sent in the direction of Winchester, as far as the Opequan creek, driving the enemy's pickets across the creek. The main body took the Berryville and Millwood pike as far as the Stone Chapel, about three miles, and turned to the right to go over to the Millwood and Winchester pike. About half a mile from the latter pike the enemy's cavalry was met in pretty strong force; they were immediately engaged and driven from the field. The command then went into camp in the neighborhood for the night. At daylight the next day (eleventh), the Reserve First and Second brigades moved on the Millwood and Winchester pike to the Opequan creek. From this point the First brigade (Brigadier-General Custer) was sent in the direction of Winchester, driving the enemy's cavalry about three miles, and within two miles of the town, on their infantry lines, and remained in that position until the arrival of our infantry at the Millwood and Winchester pike, near the Opequan creek. In the mean time the Reserve and Second brigades (Brigadier-General Merritt) moved round still further to the left, to get possession of the Front Royal and Winchester pike. About a mile from the pike they met the enemy's cavalry in force, with artillery. Brigadier-General Merritt immediately engaged them, and, after a severe fight, he drove them across the pike and three miles back in the direction of Newton, Virginia, on the Valley pike. In the mean time the First brigade (Brigadier-General Custer) was brought up, and the whole division was advanced in the direction of Newton. Advancing about a mile and a half, they were opposed by a strong force; not being able to tell whether they were dismounted cavalry or infantry, an attack was ordered, the attacking party being dismounted. After a very severe fight, the enemy was driven from his first position. By prisoners being captured we learned that it was Gordon's division of infantry, the rearguard of Major-General Early's army. The attack was immediately suspended, and our force fell back about a mile and a half and went into camp, it being now after dark. About this time the Third brigade (Colonel Lowell), with the exception of one regiment, joined us from the right of the army. On the next morning (twelfth) the cavalry moved in the direction of Newton, the Third brigade (Colonel Lowell) in advance. Arriving at Newton, on the Strasburg and Winchester pike, the Third, First, and Reserve brigades moved in the direction of Strasburg. The Second brigade (Brevet Brigadier-General Devin) moved west, in the direction of Fawcet's gap, and then toward Cedar creek, on the back road, about three or four miles from the main pike. These columns moved steadily along toward Cedar creek, Virginia, skirmishing slightly with the enemy. Arriving at Cedar creek, on the Valley pike, the Third brigade (Colonel Lowell) drove the enemy's skirmishers across, and advanced to the other side, and held this position until relieved by our infantry during the same afternoon. The command then went into position as follows for the night: the First brigade (Brigadier-General Custer) on the left of the pike. picketing the Shenandoah river and watching the left; the Third and Reserve brigades on the right of the pike, picketing Cedar creek and watching the right. Just after dark the Second brigade (Brevet Brigadier-General Devin arrived from the back road and went into camp on the left of the Valley pike, in rear of the First brigade. On the thirteenth the First, Second, Third, and Reserve brigades moved to the right,