Shortly after Rosser
's return from the New Creek
expedition, Colonel Munford
was sent with Wickham
's brigade to the counties of Hardy
, to procure forage for his horses, and, cold weather having now set in so as to prevent material operations in the field, the three divisions of the 2nd corps were sent, in succession, to General Lee
's division, the cavalry, and most of the artillery being retained with me.
On the 16th of December, I broke up the camp at New Market
, and moved back towards Staunton
, for the purpose of establishing my troops on or near Central Railroad-Lomax
's cavalry, except one brigade left to watch the Luray Valley
, having previously moved across the Blue Ridge
so as to be able to procure forage.
Cavalry pickets were left in front of New Market
, and telegraphic communications kept up with that place, from which there was communication with the lower Valley, by means of signal stations on the northern end of Massanutten Mountain
, and at Ashby's Gap in the Blue Ridge
, which overlooked the enemy's camps and the surrounding country.
The troops had barely arrived at their new camps when information was received that the enemy's cavalry was in motion.
On the 19th, Custer
's division moved from Winchester
, and, at the same time, two other divisions of cavalry, under Torbert
, moved across by Front Royal
and Chester Gap
This information having been sent me by signal and telegraph, Wharton
's division was moved on the 20th, through a hailstorm, towards Harrisonburg
, and Rosser
ordered to the front with all the cavalry he could collect.
's division reached Lacy's Spring
, nine miles north of Harrisonburg
, on the evening of the 20th, and next morning before day, Rosser
, with about 600 men of his own and Payne
's brigades, attacked it in camp, and drove it back down the Valley
in some confusion.
had been advised of the movement towards