moved out in the direction of Leetown, Virginia, where it met the enemy's cavalry in force, and gallantly drove them with the sabre through Smithfield and across the Opequan creek, a distance of five miles. The Third division (Brigadier-General Wilson) moved from Shepherdstown to Charlestown, Virginia, where it took position on the left of the army. On the twenty-ninth the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) was attacked by the enemy in strong force and driven back about a mile, when they were relieved by the Third division, Sixth corps, who turned and drove the enemy across the Opequan creek. The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) then went into camp on the Smithfield and Charlestown pike. On this day I had to regret the loss of Surgeon Rulison, my Medical Director, who was killed by my side by being shot by a minnie-ball. On the thirtieth the First and Third divisions (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Wilson) concentrated at Berryville, Virginia. The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) moving across country to the Summit Point and Berryville pike. The Third division (Brigadier-General Wilson) moving down the Winchester and Berryville pike. On the thirty-first August and first of September, the cavalry remained in the same position in the vicinity of Berryville as on the thirtieth of August. On the morning of the second of September the cavalry moved back to Charlestown, Virginia, in two columns; the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) via the Charlestown and Berryville pike, and the Third Division (Brigadier-General Wilson) via Kabletown. At 5 P. M., same day the First and Third divisions (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Wilson) moved to Berryville by the Winchester and Berryville pike. The next morning (the third) at daylight, both divisions moved via Millwood and White Post to the Front Royal pike, with the expectation of drawing the enemy's cavalry from their infantry lines by threatening their communications in the Valley pike; no opposition was made to this advance. On the fourth the cavalry was ordered back to Berryville, moving back in two columns. Arriving near Berryville the advance of the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) was opposed by the enemy's cavalry; they were immediately driven back, when the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) changed front on the Berryville and Snikersville pike, thus making connection with the Third division (Brigadier-General Wilson) which was marching on our right, and also connecting with the left of the army. On the same afternoon, the First brigade, First division (Brigadier-General Custer), was moved to the right of the army, joining the Third brigade, First division (Colonel Lowell), in the vicinity of Summit Point. On the fifth the balance of the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) was moved to the right of the army. The cavalry remained in the following position from the fifth September to the nineteenth September: The Third division (Brigadier-General Wilson) covering the country from Snicker's gap to the Opequan creek on the Winchester and Berryville pike. The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) covering the country from the latter point to Smithfield, Virginia. The Second division, West Virginia cavalry (Brigadier-General Averell), covering the country from Smithfield in the direction of Martinsburg, and the vicinity of the Potomac river. During this time the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) was reorganized in three brigades — the First brigade commanded by Brigadier-General Custer, the Second brigade by Brevet Brigadier-General Devin, and the Reserve brigade by Colonel Lowell of the Second Massachusetts cavalry. While the army lay in this position the cavalry was constantly active, annoying the enemy by forced reconnoissances and otherwise. On the thirteenth, the Second brigade, Third division (Brigadier-General McIntosh), moved up the Berryville and Winchester pike in the direction of Winchester, drove the enemy's cavalry before them three miles, and within two miles of Winchester came upon a regiment of infantry (the Eighth South Carolina), and by a sudden dash of the Third New Jersey and Second Ohio regiments, this regiment was broken and completely surrounded, and the whole regiment entire, officers, men, and colors, marched into camp. Too much praise cannot be given Brigadier-General McIntosh for his quick decision and gallantry on the occasion. Orders were issued for the army to move on the nineteenth September. The Third division (Brigadier-General Wilson) moved on the Berryville and Winchester pike, in the direction of Winchester, in advance of the infantry. The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) moved on the right to cross the Opequan creek at Sevres and Locke's fords. The Second division, West Virginia cavalry (Brigadier-General Averell), was ordered to cross the Opequan creek and move on the Winchester and Martinsburg pike, in the direction of Winchester. I remained on the right in command of these two divisions. Early in the morning the crossing of the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) was opposed by rebel infantry, but the cavalry gallantly charged across the creek and drove them from their first position back to their second, about a mile and a half from the creek, where the infantry held the cavalry in check for some time, they being posted behind stone walls and rail breastworks; in the mean time Brigadier-General Averell was steadily driving the enemy's cavalry before him in the direction of Winchester. Brigadier-General Averell getting well in rear of the infantry force in front of the First
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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.