on the Virginia Central railroad, and Payne
's brigade was encamped near Lexington
Such was the disposition, in widely scattered camps of a few cavalrymen at each place, many miles from headquarters, with numerous intervening mountains and streams to cross, when Sheridan
began his second Valley campaign, starting from Winchester
on the 27th of February, 1865.
's expedition to Beverly, western Virginia
, was one of the striking episodes of the early part of the year 1865.
Leaving his camp, near Swoope's, on the Virginia Central railroad, eight miles west of Staunton
, on January 7th, he crossed the Big North, Shenandoah
's ridge and Bull Pasture mountains, and encamped that night at McDowell
, on the Bull Pasture river.
On the 8th, crossing Jackson's River mountain, passing through Monterey
and crossing the Alleghany mountain
, he encamped at Yeager
's, on the Back Alleghany
, near the old encampment of Gen. Edward Johnson
during the previous winter.
On the 9th, crossing Greenbrier river
and the Cheat mountains
and river, he encamped at Stipe's, near the western foot of Cheat mountain
, not far from Huttonsville
On the 10th, marching through Huttonsville
and down Tygart's valley, he attacked the Federal
camp, that night, at Beverly
, having proceeded from Huttonsville
on byways east of the Tygart's Valley river
, and thus was enabled to attack the enemy's camp in the rear, turning its fortifications, which were constructed with reference to an attack from Parkersburg
on the west to Beverly
Just before crossing Files creek
, on the north side of which was the encampment of the Eighth and Thirty-fourth Ohio volunteer infantry, General Rosser
divided his command into two portions—the Eighth Virginia mounted infantry, commanded by Colonel Cooke
moved to the left and attacked the eastern side of the Federal
camp, interposing itself between that camp, which was just to the north of Beverly
, and its fortifications, thus preventing its occupation; while Rosser
's brigade, composed of the Eleventh, Twelfth and Seventh Virginia cavalry regiments and the Eighth Virginia of Payne
's brigade, moved farther to the right and attacked the northern side of the camp.
The attack was a complete surprise and success.
After caring for his prisoners, destroying the encampment and recuperating his command, on the morning of