The winter was a severe one, and all material operations were suspended until its close.
Late in February. Lieutenant Jesse McNeil
, who was in command of his father's old company, with forty or fifty men of that company and Woodson
's, made a dash into Cumberland, Maryland
, at night and captured and brought off Major Generals Crook
, with a staff officer of the latter, though there were at the time several thousand troops in and around Cumberland
The father of this gallant young officer had performed many daring exploits during the war, and had accompanied me into Maryland
, doing good service.
was at Harrisonburg
in October, 1864, Captain McNeil
had burned the bridge at Edinburg
in his rear, and had attacked and captured the guard at the bridge at Mount Jackson
, but in this affair he received a very severe wound from which he subsequently died.
's brigade, who was in Jefferson County
with his company, made one or two dashes on the enemy's outposts during the winter, and, on one occasion, captured a train loaded with supplies, on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
On the 20th of February, an order was issued by General Lee
, extending my command over the Department of Southwestern Virginia
and East Tennessee
, previously commanded by General Breckenridge
, the latter having been made Secretary of War
On the 27th, Sheridan
started from Winchester
up the Valley
with a heavy force, consisting, according to the statement of Grant
, in his report, of “two divisions of cavalry, numbering about 5,000 each.”
I had been informed of the preparations for a movement of some kind, some days previous, and the information had been telegraphed to General Lee
As soon as Sheridan
started, I was informed of the fact by signal and telegraph, and orders were immediately sent by telegraph to Lomax
, whose headquarters were at Millboro
, on the Central Railroad, forty miles west of Staunton
, to get together all of his cavalry as soon as possible.