On the 9th, Imboden
reported that a large force had been concentrated at Harper's Ferry
, consisting of the 6th, 19th, and Crook
's corps, under a new commander, and that it was moving to our right.
The new commander proved to be Major General Sheridan
, from Grant
On the 10th, we moved from Bunker Hill
to the east of Winchester
, to cover the roads from Charlestown
to that place; and Ramseur
's division was moved to Winchester
, to cover that place against a force reported to be advancing from the west; but, this report proving untrue, it was subsequently moved to the junction of the Millwood
and Front Royal roads.
On the morning of the 11th, it was discovered that the enemy was moving to our right on the east of the Opequon
, and my troops, which had been formed in line of battle covering Winchester
, were moved to the right, towards Newtown
, keeping between the enemy and the Valley Pike
had a brisk skirmish with a body of the enemy's cavalry on the Millwood
road, and drove it back.
's and Vaughan
's brigades had a severe fight with another body of cavalry at the double toll-gate, at the intersection of the Front Royal
road with the road from White Post
; and it was discovered that there had been a considerable accession to that arm from Grant
Just before night, Gordon
had very heavy skirmishing near Newtown
, with a large force of cavalry, which advanced on the road from the double toll-gate, and drove it off. We encamped near Newtown
; and on the morning of the 12th, moved to Hupp's Hill
, between Strasburg
and Cedar Creek
Finding that the enemy was advancing in much heavier force than I had yet encountered, I determined to take position at Fisher's Hill
, above Strasburg
and await his attack there.
with his brigade was sent to the Luray Valley
, to watch that route; and, in the afternoon, we moved to Fisher's Hill
I had received information, a few days before, from General Lee
, that General Anderson
had moved with Kershaw
's division of infantry and Fitz. Lee
's division of cavalry to Culpeper Court-House; and I sent a dispatch to Anderson
informing him of the state of things, and requesting him to move to Front Royal
, so as to guard the Luray Valley
's advance appeared on the banks of Cedar Creek
, on the 12th, and there was some skirmishing with it. My troops were posted at Fisher's Hill
, with the right resting on the North Fork
of the Shenandoah
, and the left extending towards Little North Mountain
; and we awaited the advance of the enemy.
moved to Front Royal
, in compliance with my request, and took position to prevent an advance of the enemy on that route.
Shortly after I took position at Fisher's Hill
, Major General Lomax
reported to me to relieve Ransom
in command of the cavalry, and MeCausland and Johnson
joined us with the remnants of their brigades.
demonstrated at Hupp's Hill
, within our view, for several days, and some severe skirmishing ensued.
Upon taking position at Fisher's Hill
, I had established a signal station on the end of Three Top Mountain, a branch of Massanutten Mountain
, near Strasburg
, which overlooked both camps and enabled me to communicate readily with General Anderson
in the Luray Valley
A small force from Sheridan
's army ascended the mountain and drove off our signal-men and possession was taken of the station by the enemy, who was in turn driven away; when several small but severe fights ensued over the station, possession of it being finally gained and held by a force of 100 men under Captain Keller
On the morning of the 17th, it was discovered that the enemy was falling back, and I immediately moved
forward in pursuit, requesting General Anderson
, by signal, to cross the river at Front Royal
and move towards Winchester
Just before night, the enemy's cavalry and a body of infantry, reported to be a division, was encountered between Kernstown
, and driven through the latter place, after a sharp engagement, in which Wharton
's division moved to the left and attacked the enemy's infantry, and drove it from a strong position on Bower's Hill
, south of Winchester
, while Ramseur
engaged it in the front and Gordon
advanced against the cavalry on the right.
On the 18th we took possession to cover Winchester
, and General Anderson
came up with Kershaw
's division of infantry, Cutshaw
's battalion of artillery and two brigades of cavalry under Fitz. Lee
. General Anderson
ranked me, but he declined to take command, and offered to co-operate in any movement I might suggest.
We had now discovered that Torbert
's and Wilson
's divisions of cavalry from Grant
's army had joined Sheridan
's force, and that the latter was very large.
On the 19th, my main force moved to Bunker Hill
's cavalry made reconnaissances to Martinsburg
, while Anderson
's whole force remained near Winchester
On the 20th, our cavalry had some skirmishing with the enemy's, on the Opequon
, and on the 21st, by concert, there was a general movement towards Harper's Ferry
-my command moving through Smithfield
, and Anderson
's on the direct road by Summit Point
A body of the enemy's cavalry was driven from the Opequon
, and was pursued by part of our cavalry towards Summit Point
I encountered Sheridan
's main force near Cameron
's depot, about three miles from Charlestown
, in a position which he commenced fortifying at once.
' and Ramseur
's divisions were advanced to the front, and very heavy skirmishing ensued and was continued until night, but I waited for General Anderson
to arrive before making a general
He encountered Wilson
's division of cavalry at Summit Point
, and, after driving it off, went into camp at that place.
At light next morning, it was discovered that the enemy had retired during the night, and his rear guard of cavalry was driven through Charlestown
, where Sheridan
had taken a strong position under the protection of the heavy guns on Maryland Heights
I demonstrated on the enemy's front on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th, and there was some skirmishing.
then consented to take my position in front of Charlestown
and amuse the enemy with Kershaw
's division of infantry, supported by McCausland
's brigade of cavalry on the left and a regiment of Fitz. Lee
's cavalry on the right, while I moved with my infantry and artillery to Shepherdstown
and Fitz. Lee
with the rest of the cavalry to Williamsport
, as if to cross into Maryland
, in order to keep up the fear of an invasion of Maryland
On the 25th Fitz. Lee
started by way of Leetown
, and I moved through Leetown
and crossed the railroad at Kearneysville
After Fitz. Lee
had passed on, I encountered a very large force of the enemy's cavalry between Leetown
, which was moving out with several days' forage and rations for a raid in our rear.
After a sharp engagement with small arms and artillery, this force was driven back through Shepherdstown
, where we came near surrounding and capturing a considerable portion of it, but it succeeded in making its escape across the Potomac
's division, which was moved around to intercept the enemy, became heavily engaged, and cut off the retreat of part of his force by one road, but it made its way down the river to the ford by another and thus escaped.
In this affair, a valuable officer, Colonel Monaghan
, of the 6th Louisiana Regiment, was killed.
, and had some
skirmishing across the river at that place, and then moved to Shepherdstown
On the 26th I moved to Leetown
, on the 27th moved back to Bunker Hill
; while Anderson
, who had confronted Sheridan
, during the two days of my absence, with but a division of infantry, and a brigade and a regiment of cavalry, moved to Stephenson
On the 28th our cavalry, which had been left holding a line from Charlestown
, was compelled to retire across the Opequon
, after having had a brisk engagement with the enemy's cavalry at Smithfield
On the 29th, the enemy's cavalry crossed the Opequon
, driving in our cavalry pickets, when I advanced to the front with a part of my infantry, and drove the enemy across the stream again, and after a very sharp artillery duel, a portion of my command was crossed over and pursued the enemy through Smithfield
Quiet prevailed on the 30th, but on the 31st there were some demonstrations of cavalry by the enemy on the Opequon
, which were met by ours.
On this day Anderson
moved to Winchester
, and Rodes
, with his division, went to Martinsburg
on a reconnaissance, drove a force of the enemy's cavalry from that place, interrupted the preparations for repairing the railroad, and then returned.
There was quiet on the 1st, but on the 2nd, I broke up my camp at Bunker Hill
, and moved with three divisions of infantry and part of McCausland
's cavalry, under Colonel Ferguson
, across the country towards Summit Point
, on a reconnaissance, while the trains under the protection of Rodes
' division were moved to Stephenson
After I had crossed the Opequon
and was moving towards Summit Point
's cavalry attacked and drove back in some confusion first Vaughan
's and then Johnson
's cavalry, which were on the Martinsburg
road and the Opequon
, but Rodes
returned towards Bunker Hill
and drove the enemy back in turn.
This affair arrested my march and I recrossed the Opequon
moved to Stephenson
's depot, where I established my camp.
On the 3rd, Rodes
moved to Bunker Hill
in support of Lomax
's cavalry, and drove the enemy's cavalry from and beyond the place.
A letter had been received from General Lee
requesting that Kershaw
's division should be returned to him, as he was very much in need of troops, and, after consultation with me, General Anderson
determined to recross the Blue Ridge
with that division and Fitz. Lee
On the 3rd, he moved towards Berryville
for the purpose of crossing the mountain at Ashby's Gap, and I was to have moved towards Charlestown
next day, to occupy the enemy's attention during Anderson
, however, had started two divisions of cavalry through Berryville
and White Post
, on a raid to our rear, and his main force had moved towards Berryville
's corps at the latter place, and after a sharp engagement drove it back on the main body.
Receiving information of this affair, I moved at daylight next morning, with three divisions, to Anderson
's assistance, Gordon
's division being left to cover Winchester
I found Kershaw
's division extended out in a strong skirmish line confronting Sheridan
's main force, which had taken position in rear of Berryville
, across the road from Charlestown
to that place, and was busily fortifying, while the cavalry force which had started on the raid was returning and passing between Berryville
and the river to Sheridan
As may be supposed, Anderson
's position was one of great peril, if the enemy had possessed enterprise, and it presented the appearance of the most extreme audacity for him thus to confront a force so vastly superior to his own, while, too, his trains were at the mercy of the enemy's cavalry, had the latter known it. Placing one of my divisions in line on Kershaw
's left, I moved with the other two along the enemy's front towards his right, for the purpose of reconnoitring and
attacking that flank, if a suitable opportunity offered.
After moving in this way for two miles, I reached an elevated position from which the enemy's line was visible, and within artillery range of it. I at first thought that I had reached his right flank and was about making arrangements to attack it, when, casting my eye to my left, I discovered, as far as the eye could reach, with the aid of field glasses, a line extending toward Summit Point
The position the enemy occupied was a strong one, and he was busily engaged fortifying it, having already made considerable progress.
It was not until I had had this view that I realized the size of the enemy's force, and as I discovered that his line was too long for me to get around his flank and the position was too strong to attack in front, I returned and informed General Anderson
of the condition of things.
After consultation with him, we thought it not advisable to attack the enemy in his entrenched lines, and we determined to move our forces back to the west side of the Opequon
, and see if he would not move out of his works.
The wagon trains were sent back early next morning (the 5th) towards Winchester
, and about an hour by sun, Kershaw
's division, whose place had been taken by one of my divisions, moved toward the same point.
About two o'clock in the afternoon my troops were withdrawn, and moved back to Stephenson
This withdrawal was made while the skirmishers were in close proximity and firing at each other; yet there was no effort on the part of the enemy to molest us. Just as my front division (Rodes
') reached Stephenson
's depot, it met, and drove back, and pursued for some distance, Averill
's cavalry, which was forcing, towards Winchester
, that part of our cavalry which had been watching the Martinsburg
It was quiet on the 6th, but on the 7th the enemy's cavalry made demonstrations on the Martinsburg
road and the Opequon
at several points and was repulsed.
On the 8th it was quiet again, but on the 9th a detachment of the enemy's cavalry came to the Opequon
, burned some mills and retreated before a division of infantry sent out to meet it.
On the 10th, my infantry moved by Bunker Hill
and encountered a considerable force of the enemy's cavalry, which was driven off, and then pursued by Lomax
across the Opequon
We then returned to Bunker Hill
and the next day to Stephenson
's depot, and there was quiet on the 12th.
On the 13th, a large force of the enemy's cavalry, reported to be supported by infantry, advanced on the road from Summit Point
, and drove in our pickets from the Opequon
, when two divisions of infantry were advanced to the front, driving the enemy across the Opequon
A very sharp artillery duel across the creek then took place and some of my infantry crossed over, when the enemy retired.
On the 14th, General Anderson
again started, with Kershaw
's division and Cutshaw
's battalion of artillery, to cross the Blue Ridge
by the way of Front Royal
, and was not molested.
's cavalry was left with me, and Ramseur
's division was moved to Winchester
to occupy Kershaw
There was an affair between one of Kershaw
's brigades and a division of the enemy's cavalry, while I was at Fisher's Hill
at Front Royal
, in which some prisoners were lost; and two affairs in which the outposts from Kershaw
's command were attacked and captured by the enemy's cavalry, one in front of Winchester
and the other in front of Charlestown
; which I have not undertaken to detail, as they occurred when General Anderson
was controlling the operations of that division, but it is proper to refer to them here as part of the operations in the Valley
On the 15th and 16th my troops remained in camp undisturbed.
The positions of the opposing forces were now as follows: Ramseur
's division and Nelson
's battalion of
artillery were on the road from Berryville
, one mile from the latter place.
's and Wharton
's divisions (the last two being under Breckenridge
), and Braxton
's and King
's battalions of artillery were at Stephenson
's depot on the Winchester & Potomac Railroad, which is six miles from Winchester
's cavalry picketed in my front on the Opequon
, and on my left from that stream to North Mountain
, while Fitz. Lee
's cavalry watched the right, having small pickets across to the Shenandoah
Four principal roads, from positions, centred at Stephenson
's depot, to wit: the Martinsburg
road, the road from Charlestown
, the road from the same place via Summit Point
, and the road from Berryville
via Jordan's Springs
's main force was near Berryville
, at the entrenched position which has been mentioned, while Averill
was at Martinsburg
with a division of cavalry.
is ten miles from Winchester
, nearly east, and Martinsburg
twenty-two miles nearly north.
The crossing of the Opequon
on the Berryville
road is four or five miles from Winchester
there are two good roads via White Post
to the Valley Pike
, the last two roads running east of the Opequon
The whole country is very open, being a limestone country which is thickly settled and well cleared, and affords great facilities for the movement of troops and the operations of cavalry.
From the enemy's fortifications on Maryland Heights
, the country north and east of Winchester
, and the main roads through it are exposed to view.
The relative positions which we occupied rendered my communications to the rear very much exposed, but I could not avoid it without giving up the lower Valley.
The object of my presence there was to keep up a threatening attitude towards Maryland
, and prevent the use of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
, as well as to keep as large a force as possible from Grant
's army to defend the
, by a prompt movement, thrown his whole force on the line of my communications, I would have been compelled to attempt to cut my way through, as there was no escape for me to the right or left, and my force was too weak to cross the Potomac
while he was in my rear.
I knew my danger, but I could occupy no other position that would have enabled me to accomplish the desired object.
If I had moved up the Valley
at all, I could not have stopped short of New Market
, for between that place and the country, in which I was, there was no forage for my horses; and this would have enabled the enemy to resume the use of the railroad and canal, and return all the troops from Grant
's army to him. Being compelled to occupy the position where I was, and being aware of its danger as well as apprised of the fact that very great odds were opposed to me, my only resource was to use my forces so as to display them at different points with great rapidity, and thereby keep up the impression that they were much larger than they really were.
The events of the last month had satisfied me that the commander opposed to me was without enterprise, and possessed an excessive caution which amounted to timidity.
If it was his policy to produce the impression that his force was too weak to fight me, he did not succeed, but if it was to convince me that he was not an energetic commander, his strategy was a complete success, and subsequent events have not changed my opinion.
My infantry force at this time consisted of the three divisions of the 2nd Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, and Wharton
's division of Breckenridge
The 2nd corps numbered a little over 8,000 muskets when it was detached in pursuit of Hunter
, and it had now been reduced to about 7,000 muskets, by long and rapid marches, and the various encampments and skirmishes in which it had participated.
's division had been reduced to about 1,700 muskets by the same causes.
Making a small allowance for details and
those unfit for duty, I had about 8,500 muskets for duty.
When I returned from Maryland
, my cavalry consisted of the remnants of five small brigades, to wit: Imboden
's and Vaughan
's had now been ordered to Southwestern Virginia
, most of the men having left without permission.
The surprise and rout of McCausland
's and Johnson
's brigades by Averill
had resulted in the loss of a considerable number of horses and men, and such had been the loss in all the brigades, in the various fights and skirmishes in which they had been engaged, that the whole of this cavalry, now under Lomax
, numbered only about 1,700 mounted men. Fitz. Lee
had brought with him two brigades, to wit: Wickham
's and Lomax
's old brigade (now under Colonel Payne
), numbering about 1,200 mounted men. I had three battalions of artillery which had been with me near Washington
, and Fitz. Lee
had brought a few pieces of horse artillery.
When I speak of divisions and brigades of my troops, it must be understood that they were mere skeletons of those organizations.
Since my return from Maryland
, my supplies had been obtained principally from the lower Valley and the counties west of it, and the money which was obtained by contributions in Maryland
was used for that purpose.
Nearly the whole of our bread was obtained by threshing the wheat and then having it ground, by details from my command, and it sometimes happened that while my troops were fighting, the very flour which was to furnish them with bread for their next meal was being ground under the protection of their guns.
Latterly our flour had been obtained from the upper Valley, but also by details sent for that purpose.
The horses and mules, including the cavalry horses, were sustained almost entirely by grazing.
I have no means of stating with accuracy Sheridan
's force, and can only form an estimate from such data as I have been able to procure.
Citizens who had seen his
force stated that it was the largest which they had ever seen in the Valley
on either side, and some estimated it as high as 60,000 or 70,000, but of course I made allowance for the usual exaggeration of inexperienced men. My estimate is from the following data: in Grant
's letter to Hunter
, dated at Monocacy
, August 5th, 1864, and contained in the report of the former, is the following statement: “In detailing such a force, the brigade of cavalry now en route
may be taken into account.
There are now on their way to join you three other brigades of the best cavalry, numbering at least 5,000 men and horses.”
on the 6th, and Grant
says in his report, “On the 7th of August, the Middle Department and the Departments of West Virginia
and the Susquehanna
were constituted into the Middle Military division, and Major General Sheridan
was assigned to the temporary command of the same.
Two divisions of cavalry, commanded by Generals Torbert
, were sent to Sheridan
from the Army of the Potomac.
The first reached him at Harper's Ferry
on the 11th of August.”
Before this cavalry was sent to the Valley
, there was already a division there commanded by Averill
, besides some detachments which belonged to the Department of West Virginia
A book containing the official reports of the chief surgeon
of the cavalry corps of Sheridan
's army which was subsequently captured at Cedar Creek
on the 19th of October, showed that there were present for duty in that corps, during the first week in September, 10,000 men. The extracts from Grant
's report go to confirm this statement, as, if three brigades numbered at least 5,000 men and horses, the two divisions, when the whole of them arrived with Averill
's cavalry, must have numbered over 10,000.
I think, therefore, that I can safely estimate Sheridan
's cavalry at the battle of Winchester
, on the 19th of September, at 10,000.
His infantry consisted of the 6th, 19th, and Crook
's corps, the latter being composed of the
“Army of west Virginia
,” and one division of the 8th corps.
The report of Secretary Stanton
shows that there was in the department of which the Middle Military division was composed the following “available force present for duty May 1st, 1864,” to wit:
|Department of Washington||42,124|
|Department of West Virginia||30,782|
|Department of the Susquehanna||2,970|
|Middle Department|| 5,627|
making an aggregate of 81,503; but, as the Federal Secretary of War
in the same report says, “In order to repair the losses of the Army of the Potomac, the chief part of the force designed to guard the Middle Department and the Department of Washington was called forward to the front,” we may assume that 40,000 men were used for that purpose, which would leave 41,503, minus the losses in battle before Sheridan
in the Middle Military division, exclusive of the 6th and 19th corps, and the cavalry from Grant
The infantry of the Army of the Potomac was composed of the 2nd, 5th, and 6th corps, on the 1st of May, 1864, and Stanton
says the “available force present for duty” in that army, on that day, was 120,386 men. Allowing 30,000 for the artillery and cavalry of that army, which would be a very liberal allowance, and there would be still left 90,385 infantry; and it is fair to assume that the 6th corps numbered one-third of the infantry, that is 30,000 men on the 1st of May, 1864.
If the losses of the Army of the Potomac had been such as to reduce the 6th corps to less than 10,000 men, notwithstanding the reinforcements and recruits received, the carnage in Grant
's army must have been frightful indeed.
The 19th corps was just from the Department of the Gulf and had not gone through a bloody campaign.
A. communication which was among the papers captured at Cedar Creek
, in noticing some statement of a newspaper correspondent in regard to the conduct of that
corps at Winchester
, designated it as “a vile slander on 12,000 of the best soldiers in the Union
In view of the foregoing data without counting the troops in the Middle Department and the Departments of Washington
and the Susquehanna
, and making liberal allowances for losses in battle, and for troops detained on post and garrison duty in the Department of West Virginia, I think that I may assume that Sheridan
had at least 35,000 infantry against me. The troops of the 6th corps and of the Department of West Virginia, alone, without counting the 19th corps, numbered on the 1st of May, 1864, 60,784.
If with the 19th corps Sheridan
did not have 35,000 infantry remaining from this force, what had become of the balance?
's artillery very greatly outnumbered mine, both in men and guns.
Having been informed that a force was at work on the railroad at Martinsburg
, I moved on the afternoon of the 17th of September, with Rodes
' and Gordon
's divisions, and Braxton
's artillery, to Bunker Hill
, and on the morning of the 18th with Gordon
's division and a part of the artillery to Martinsburg
, preceded by a part of Lomax
's division of cavalry was driven from the town across the Opequon
in the direction of Charlestown
, and we then returned to Bunker Hill
was left at Bunker Hill
, with orders to move to Stephenson
's depot by sunrise next morning, and Rodes
' division moved to the latter place that night, to which I also returned.
, where the enemy had a telegraph office, I learned that Grant
was with Sheridan
that day, and I expected an early move.