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[738] prompt and energetic manner in which he carried out his instructions.

October sixth.--The First and Third divisions of cavalry (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Custer) followed the army down the valley, the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) taking the middle road, and stopping at Timberville, the Third division (Brigadier-General Custer) taking the back road and camping for the night in the neighborhood of Turleytown and Brock's gap. The enemy made an attack at this point, but were handsomely repulsed.

One brigade of Second division, West Virginia cavalry, came from Luray through New Market gap, and returned same night to Luray.

October seventh.--The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) continued its march on the middle road, and came into the valley at Edinburgh, and camped for the night about two miles south of Woodstock.

The Third division (Brigadier-General Custer) continued its march on the back road, and camped in the vicinity of Columbia Furnace for the night. The rear guard of this column was fighting all day. The Second division, West Virginia cavalry (Colonel Powell), marched from Luray down Luray valley to Millford creek.

October eighth.--The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) continued its march on the Valley pike, and stopped on Brook creek. The Third division (Brigadier-General Custer) continued its march on the back road, and camped for the night on Tumbling run. The rear guard of this division was fighting or skirmishing during the whole march. About four P. M. this day Brigadier-General Merritt, commanding First division, sent one brigade back on the pike to make the enemy develop the force which had been following him during the day, and at the same time he sent two brigades to attack the enemy's column, which had been following the Third division (Brigadier-General Custer), and stopped their further advance, and at dark the first division was drawn in, and camped near Brook creek, three miles south of Strasburg.

The Second division West Virginia cavalry (Colonel Powell), moved from Millford creek to Front Royal, holding Chester and Manassas gaps.

The next day (the ninth) I had received orders from Major-General Sheridan to start out at daylight and whip the rebel cavalry, or get whipped myself. My command was disposed as follows:

Brigadier-General Merritt, commanding First division, was in the Valley pike at Brook creek, at the foot of Round Top mountain.

Brigadier-General Custer, commanding Third division, was on the back road at Tumbling run. These two roads, as a general thing, are parallel, and from two and a half to three miles apart. Brigadier-General Custer being about six miles from Brook creek, was ordered to move at daylight back on the back road and attack as soon as met. Brigadier-General Merritt being near Brook creek and the enemy, was directed to move about seven A. M. one brigade in the pike, and two brigades between the roads, and connect with Brigadier-General Custer and the brigade in the pike.

The enemy's force was as follows: On the back road under General Rosser three brigades, from three thousand to thirty-five hundred men; on the pike, under Generals Lomax and Bradley Johnson, one thousand to fifteen hundred men.

Brigadier-General Custer's guns were heard early in the morning on Brook creek, and Brigadier-General Merritt moved to the attack, and to make a connection with Brigadier-General Custer.

Colonel Lowell, commanding Reserve brigade, First division, moved on the pike and attacked Lomax and Johnson; the First brigade, First division, moved on the right to connect with Brigadier-General Custer, and to attack the enemy on the right flank; the Second brigades First division, moved in the centre. After a spirited engagement for about two hours, the enemy seeing that they were being flanked and severely pressed in front, gave way in great confusion, which was immediately taken advantage of by both division commanders. The enemy endeavored to rally several times, but were unable to stand the desperate charges made by my men, and they were driven in a perfect rout for twenty miles ; the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) on the pike pursuing them beyond Mount Jackson; the Third division (Brigadier-General Custer) in the back road, pursuing them beyond Columbia furnaces.

The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) captured five pieces of artillery (all they had on the road except one), their ordnance, ambulance, and wagon trains, and sixty prisoners.

The Third division (Brigadier-General Custer) captured six pieces of artillery (all they had on the back road), all of their headquarter wagons, ordnance, ambulance, and wagon trains. There could have hardly been a more complete victory and rout. The cavalry totally covered themselves with glory, and added to their long list of victories the most brilliant one of them all, and the most decisive the country has ever witnessed.

Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Custer, and Colonels Lowell and Pennington, commanding brigades, particularly distinguished themselves; in fact no men could have rendered more valuable services and deserve higher honors from the hands of the Government.

My losses in this engagement will not exceed sixty killed and wounded, which is astonishing when compared with the results.

The First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) returned as far as Woodstock, and camped for the night.

The Third division (Brigadier-General Custer) returned about six miles and camped for the night.

October tenth, the First and Third divisions

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