previous next

[733] crossing Cedar creek about a mile from the Valley pike, and moved in the direction of Strasburg, in two columns.

After remaining in front of Strasburg, in rear of the infantry skirmish line, a short time, the command recrossed Cedar creek and went into its former position.

At daylight on the fourteenth the Second brigade moved off to the left on to the Front Royal and Winchester pike, at Cedarville, about seven miles, and two miles from the Shenandoah river, for the, purpose of watching the Luray valley.

The same day the Third brigade (Colonel Lowell) moved off to the right, on the back road, where it crossed Cedar creek.

On the fifteenth Brigadier-General Duffie reported to me with his division, about nine hundred strong, and was ordered to Berryville.

Brigadier-General Averell also reported the arrival of his division at Martinsburg, and was ordered to remain there until further orders.

On the morning of the fifteenth Brigadier-General Merritt, with the First and Reserve brigades, moved over to the Front Royal and Winchester pike, posting the Reserve brigade at Stony Point, about three miles north of Cedarville, and the First brigade at Cedarville. One regiment of the Third brigade was left at the crossing of Cedar creek, on the Valley pike.

On the afternoon of the fifteenth the pickets of the First and Second brigades were attacked near the Shenandoah river, by two brigades of infantry of Kershaw's division and Wickham's brigade of cavalry, supported by three pieces of artillery.

Brigadier-General Merritt moved out with the First and Second brigades to meet the attack, and after a severe engagement totally routed the enemy and drove them back across the Shenandoah river, killing and wounding about three hundred men, capturing nearly three hundred prisoners and two infantry battle-flags, with a loss on our side of but sixty men.

Too much praise cannot be given to Brigadier-General's Merritt, Custer, and Brevet Brigadier-General Devin for their good judgment and gallantry displayed on this occasion — for with two brigades of cavalry they defeated two brigades of infantry and one of cavalry, with a loss on our side of but sixty men.

Orders were issued this day for the cavalry to fall back the next morning (the sixteenth) in the direction of Winchester and Berryville, with directions to drive off all stock and destroy all forage they were not able to use, up as far as the Millwood and Winchester pike.

On the morning of the sixteenth the First division of cavalry (Brigadier-General Merritt) fell back, moving in five separate columns, the First reserve and Second brigades concentrating at Berryville, the Third brigade at Winchester.

About eleven A. M. this day, the sixteenth, Brigadier-General Wilson, with the Third division of cavalry from the Army of the Potomac, reported to me at Winchester, having been ordered from the Army of the Potomac via Washington and Ashby's gap.

The infantry having left Winchester that morning, and being ordered to cover the rear, I placed Brigadier-General Wilson's division (the Third) in position for that purpose in the hills south of Winchester, also one brigade of infantry (seven hundred muskets), the First brigade of the First division, Sixth corps, commanded by Colonel William H. Penrose, Fifteenth New Jersey volunteers, which had been ordered to report to me that morning. Late in the afternoon of the same day, the enemy having followed up, attacked the pickets of the Third brigade. First division (Colonel Lowell), which was concentrating at Winchester; that brigade was then drawn in and placed on the left, to cover the Berryville and Winchester pike. Skirmishing soon became general, the enemy apparently in strong force; it was some time before it could be definitely determined whether the enemy had cavalry only, or both cavalry and infantry.

The engagement became pretty general, and I learned I was fighting Breckenridge's corps — the advance of the rebel army. It was now about dark and I immediately made dispositions to withdraw, ordering the Third brigade, First division (Colonel Lowell), to fall back to the Opequan creek, on the Winchester and Berryville pike.

The Second brigade, Third division (Brigadier-General Chapman), was ordered to move through the town and take position on the opposite side; just as the infantry and the First brigade, Third division (Brigadier-General Mc-Intosh) was about to withdraw, the enemy made a charge on the whole line, and succeeded in capturing about two hundred of the infantry and fifty of the cavalry. The artillery, which was admirably served, and up to the last moment with a plentiful use of canister, checked the enemy's advance, and gave us time to withdraw in good order. The whole command was withdrawn to the opposite side of Winchester, and formed to await a further advance of the enemy and for our trains to get to the rear.

About nine P. M. we commenced to fall back to Summit Point. At this time orders were sent to Brigadier-General Averell to move in the direction of Charlestown. Orders were afterterwards sent him by Major-General Sheridan to move in the direction of Shepherdstown and cover the fords across the Potomac.

On the morning of the eighteenth the Third division (Brigadier-General Wilson) arrived at Summit Point and took position on the right of the infantry, and watching the country well to his front, and connecting with Brigadier-General Averell on his right in the vicinity of Smithfield. The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) was in the vicinity of Berryville, covering the country from the Opequan creek to Snicker's gap.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Wesley Merritt (4)
J. H. Wilson (3)
Lowell (3)
Averell (3)
Wickham (1)
P. H. Sheridan (1)
William H. Penrose (1)
Mc-Intosh (1)
Kershaw (1)
Duffie (1)
T. C. Devin (1)
George A. Custer (1)
G. H. Chapman (1)
Breckenridge (1)
Ashby (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
16th (1)
15th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: