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Doc. 50.-General Stahel's reconnoissance.

General Sigel's despatch.

Chantilly, Va., November 30, 7 o'clock P. M.
Brigadier-General Stahel has just returned. He attacked the enemy at Snicker's Ferry, and followed them, with three hundred cavalry, into their camps on the other side of the river, and near to Berryville.

Our men charged splendidly whenever they met the enemy.

White's cavalry was driven in all directions. Nearly all their officers were captured and their colors taken. White himself fled and hid him-self at a house in Berryville.

The Third, Seventh, and Twelfth Virginia cavalry were also attacked and routed. Forty of their men, with horses, were taken prisoners, fifty killed and wounded, and two colors taken. One wagon-load of pistols and carbines was picked up on the road, having been thrown away by the flying enemy. Eighty cattle and eighty horses were also brought in. Our loss in killed and wounded is about fifteen.

Gen. Stahel reports that his officers and men behaved excellently, and used only their swords, no fire-arms being brought into use. He also reports that there is a brigade, under Gen. Jones, at Winchester; but that Jackson's main force was at New-Market last Wednesday, as reported previously.

F. Sigel, Major-General Commanding.


Official report of Colonel Cesnola.

headquarters cavalry brigade, Chantilly, December 1, 1862.
Brig.-Gen. Stahel, Commanding First Division:
General: I have the honor of transmitting the following report of the reconnaissance in which my brigade took part.

The first day my brigade was in advance with one hundred and fifty men as advance-guard, under command of Major Knox, Ninth New-York cavalry, who proceeded to Upperville, rather as a scouting than a reconnoitring party, and performed his duty well.

The second day my brigade was in the order of march in the rear, and such it remained until we reached Snicker's Ferry. During that march small camps found in the woods, and fires whose ashes were still warm, cautioned me that the enemy was perhaps not very far distant, so I redoubled my vigilance, sending out on my rear scouts to the right and left, arid arrested several civilians, whom I questioned. By threatening to send them under escort to Fairfax Court-House, I obtained some useful information as to the whereabouts of the enemy, their strength, and where last seen. Some had seen them that very morning. Being in the rear, I did not consider it necessary to communicate these facts, as Col. Wyndham in the advance had doubtless possessed himself of the same information.

In crossing the Shenandoah River, I took the main road and continued to advance carefully, leaving at short distances small pickets, whose duty it was to keep communications open with the strong picket I had left at Snicker's Ferry, to be informed immediately if the enemy were to make his appearance at any point between the ferry and my command.

Thinking that my chance for this time was not that of fighting, but only to act as a support, I detailed several small detachments, mostly taken from the First Virginia and the balance of the Sixth Ohio, to act as flankers, and other small ones to scour the road and search all the houses within a mile on both flanks. Then escorts arrived bringing me orders from you to take charge of prisoners and send them to the rear. I then detailed Lieut. Wight, of the Fourth New-York cavalry, my acting Assistant Adjutant-General, and ordered him at once to take charge of the prisoners, to take from them their papers, arms and horses, if any, and gave him sufficient force to keep in check the prisoners, who were becoming every moment more numerous. Lieut. Wight acted very wisely in making his headquarters on the other side of the Shenandoah River, and I have been quite satisfied with the manner in which he carried out and even anticipated my orders.

With my command, which by detachments was decimated so much as to represent scarcely one hundred men, I met you, who ordered me to take the town of Berryville by assault, and with yourself at our head we charged through the main street of Berryville, scattering in every direction whatever we met with. When arrived at the outskirts of the town I formed line of battle, and then yourself took the command of a portion of the Ninth New-York cavalry and charged to ward the right side of the wood, and I, with the balance of my command, charged to the left, on the road which leads to Winchester. I met three squadrons of the enemy drawn up in line of battle, covering a large building containing commissary stores, as if awaiting my arrival. I did not give them time to see the difference in numbers, but charged upon them. They broke and ran, not liking our sabres. I pursued the enemy to within five miles of Winchester, but the horses gave way, and I was obliged to leave them behind; so when I returned to Berryville I had with me but one officer and nine men.

When I charged on the left I passed through a small camp and discovered a large building containing commissary stores. I succeeded in capturing it; but the small force I had did not permit me to detail any more men from it; so I continued to charge on the flying squadrons. Seeing that the enemy did not want to have a hand-to-hand fight with us, and, having better horses than ours, I would not be able to capture them, I contented myself with firing at them, dismounting about a dozen of them, wounding some, and the balance keeping the open field. Halting my command, I immediately detached a squad of men, under Capt. R. F. Coffin, to take possession of the commissary stores.

During the halt, to give my horses a short rest, orders came from yourself to re-form at once, as my rear was menaced. . . . .

I beg leave to state that all the officers and men of the different regiments under my command have proved themselves zealous in the discharge of their duty, and I have no word of reproach to address to any body.

The Ninth New-York cavalry fought with bravery, and if they had more drill and discipline the men would have certainly been worthy of the name of veteran soldiers.

I recommend captain f. Coffin, of the Ninth New-York cavalry, as a good and brave officer, and also Lieut. Herrick for his bravery. More knowledge of the art of war would make him a splendid officer.

I have a word of praise, also, for Major Knox, who commanded the Ninth New-York cavalry. He has done as much as could be done by a citizen-soldier.

On the third day of the expedition, by the strategical march through Leesburgh, instead of Aldie, my command arrived safely in camp at Chantilly.

L. P. Di Cesnola, Colonel Fourth New-York Cavalry, commanding First Cavalry Brigade, Gen. Stahel's Division, Eleventh Corps of the Army of the Potomac.

New-York times account.

General Stahel's headquarters, Chantilly, Dec. 1, 1862.
A brief account of the recent reconnoissance by General Stahel, who returned to this place last evening, I have already telegraphed you. As this was one of the most important movements of the kind that has recently been made — both [203] in regard to its influence upon our own men and the enemy — a detailed statement of the affair, by an eye-witness, cannot be otherwise than interesting. The expedition was planned with the utmost secrecy and carried out with despatch, and in the most successful manner — reflecting credit alike upon those who planned it, the general who commanded, and the officers and men under him.

The force placed at the disposal of Gen. Stahel was well under way by four o'clock A. M., Friday, November twenty-eighth. Though there was a cold, drizzling rain falling, and the roads were not in the most desirable condition, the troops moved on with alacrity and were in good spirits at the prospect of having a brush with the enemy. Aldie--sixteen miles--was reached soon after sunrise, where a short halt was made. Leaving the command of Colonel Von Gilsa at this place, General Stahel moved on through Middlebury to Rector's Four Corners--ten miles--where the column again came to a halt.

From this point two detachments were sent out to reconnoitre--one commanded by Major Knox, of the Ninth New-York cavalry, proceeded to Upperville, where the pickets of White's rebel battalion were encountered and driven through Paris and Ashby's Gap to the Shenandoah River, notwithstanding they had a force far outnumbering the one commanded by Major Knox. The resistance offered was trifling, and as a consequence but little damage was done on either side.

Capt. Dahlgren, of Gen. Sigel's staff, who had volunteered for the expedition, was sent with a detachment to Salem--ten miles--but found no enemy. Returning in advance of his command with two men, one of our own pickets mistaking them for the enemy, fell back upon the main command. The man finally discovered his mistake and rushed back to his post.

On the road to Salem a farmer was overtaken with a load of corn. Our horses were in need of rations, and the men were directed each to take a few cars; the owner protested, and finding such a course would not save his corn, finally declared that several of his horses had the black tongue, and had been eating from the corn. “Oh!” says Dahlgren, “all of our animals have that disease — so there is no risk to run.” Mr. Secesh then became alarmed, and begged to be let off because he feared his horses might catch the distemper. But it was of no use. He was a rank secessionist, our horses were hungry, there was the corn, and a reasonable quantity of the cereal was appropriated.

The movement in this direction was undoubtedly a piece of strategy, as the sequel will show. One would have supposed that the troops had done enough for one day — but not so with their commander. He had a plan to carry out, and when Gen. Stahel once sets out to perform a task, it is completed, if within the range of possibilities. Knowing this, I was not surprised to hear, late in the afternoon, an order given to march.

The whole command took a retrograde move to a point one and a half miles east of Middleburgh, where a halt was made for the night, and this ended Friday, the first day of the reconnoissance.

Saturday morning early, the whole command proceeded rapidly, by the shortest route, to the Winchester pike, and by sunrise the advance-guard had entered Snickersville without having met an armed rebel. In place of rain, this morning we had a fall of snow. The air was cold and bracing, the men in good spirits, and riding over the Blue Ridge at Snicker's Gap, was one of the real attractions before us. No formal halt was made at Snickersville, but Gen. Stahel pushed on with rapidity over the mountain to the Shenandoah River, capturing a few stray scouts, belonging to White's battalion, on the way, without firing a shot.

Descending the mountain, the road, within one hundred rods of the river, inclines to the right. As the advance-guard turned this bend, the little village on the opposite bank--one hundred yard, distant — known as Snicker's Ferry, was brought into full view, and with it a patrolling picket of White's cavalry, numbering fifty men. It was quite evident they (lid not expect Union troops to appear to them just at that moment. They did not seem to be surprised, for only about twenty-five of our men were in sight; they had on blue overcoats — so had many of the rebels. Not expecting to see Union troops there, and at that early hour in the morning, the rebels across the river naturally concluded — as some of the prisoners subsequently stated — that it was a part of their own battalion ; it was not until after a random series of questions had been asked and answered across the river that they discovered their grave mistake, and then it was done by an injudicious new-comer, who called out: “How are you, secesh?” The query was instantly made: “Who are you, Yanks?” The truth of the matter was, we learn from prisoners, that they had heard of the advance to Ashby's Gap, and had arranged for serious opposition in that quarter; but, as their scouts in Snicker's Gap were fortunately captured, they had no intimation whatever of the force advancing from that direction. One of the scouts taken was much chopfallen, particularly because he had a good horse, two Colt's revolvers, a carbine, and sword. He came up to a squad of men, and asked if they were “confeds.” They beckoned for him to come in, and he did so, under the supposition that they belonged to White's battalion. When told that he was a prisoner, he said they had deceived him, and declared that he had been swindled.

The advance upon arriving near the ferry, was commanded by Col. Wyndham, of the First New-Jersey cavalry. Gen. Stahel directed a detail of dismounted carbineers to advance to the bank of river. Lieut. Sutherland, of the Second Pennsylvania cavalry, with a mixed detachment, numbering fifty, went forward and delivered the first fire. The enemy, concealed behind houses, fences, and trees, fired a few shots, but upon seeing a [204] body of horsemen under Captain Duggan, of the First Michigan, fording the river and not heeding their fire, mounted their horses and fled precipitately.

In the movement across the river, Capt. Heintz, of Gen. Stahel's staff, had an opportunity of displaying a quality that characterizes all good and experienced soldiers, that is, doing the right thing at the right time and in the right place. None of the men with the advance knew any thing about the ford, and nearly all had horses new to the service. The horses for a moment hesitated about going into the water. Capt. Heintz, who was close at hand, seeing apparent hesitation from some cause or other, and realizing that time just then was all-important, dashed forward into the river. The movement thus inaugurated was speedily executed, and had it not been for an unfortunate accident, Capt. Heintz would have been the first on the opposite shore. Just as he had nearly reached the opposite bank his horse fell, and horse and rider went under. The water and atmosphere were both frosty, and the mishap caused only a temporary delay, but Capt. Heintz that night and the following day suffered severely from his mishap. Gen. Stahel, Capt. Theilkuhl, of his staff, Col. Wyndham, Capt. Middleton, of the Second Pennsylvania cavalry, Capts. Dugan, Crumb, Lieutenant Sutherland and other officers, whose names I do not know, shared the dangers encountered by the first detachment that crossed the river. The balance of the command followed as speedily as possible.

The advance force, under Colonel Wyndham, as soon as the river had been forded, dashed forward in pursuit of the retreating enemy; flankers were thrown out, and at about three miles from the ford the advance came suddenly upon the camp of White's battalion.

The men, pretty well excited by what they had already experienced, now pressed on the harder, and dashed into the camp, yelling like so many demons. The commander of the camp had just received information that there were twenty-five Yanks across the ford; he supposed that was all the force there, and he was concocting a plan to capture it, as the balance of his guard at the Ferry — those who had not been captured or escaped by disappearing at the roadside — came in upon the run with the Yanks at their heels.

I have heard of scenes of confusion that “beggars all description,” but never had the pleasure of witnessing such a perfect bedlam of excitement before. The rebels ran from their tents in utter dismay, and each acted upon the impulse of the moment. Some mounted the nearest horse at hand, and dashed off without regard to direction or order; the command was, if they received any, “to stand not upon the order of going, but go at once,” and they obeyed it to the letter; two or three, who were so fortunate as to secure horses, leaped a fence that seemed to be too high for any animal to clear; one poor horse lodged upon the fence, his rider falling head foremost over it, and the animal falling the other side. Lieut. Barrett, who was on duty, owes his capture to the fact that just as he got the alarm, a private, having no respect for rank, mounted his horse and dashed off. Not a few had the shakes very bad, and begged for mercy — they had begun to think the Yanks were terrible fellows. “Gray-backs” could be seen skedaddling in every direction, at a rate of speed which would have been creditable to professional runners. One tent, containing three men, was prostrated by each of the inmates attempting to get out first. The tent fell so that the men were caught under it, when a Union soldier, seeing their position, ran up and slapped them with the flat of his sword. They cried out in great trepidation: “We surrender, we surrender!” Lieut. Penn Gaskell, Adjutant of Col. Wyndham, unearthed a man who had rolled himself in to a blanket, mummy fashion, and had managed to cover his head and body with leaves; unfortunately for himself, his legs were too long for the occasion. He acted in his fright upon the instinct of the ostrich, by concealing his head, supposing that if he could not see, the enemy could not see him. When unrolled and brought to light, he shook like an aspen-leaf in a thunder-storm. He denied being an officer, and when the discovery was made that he was a no less important personage than a captain, he was suddenly seized with the small-pox, and warned those around him of the danger of exposing themselves to such a disgusting disease. Lieut. Penn Gaskell finally told him that dissembling would be of no avail; he must go along with him. The man then acknowledged that he was Capt. Grubb, of White's cavalry, but that he had the “rheumatics,” and could not walk. Two men carried him to the rear a short distance, when the officer in charge concluded that he would waste no more time upon so worthless a fellow, and paroled him on the spot. Tents, arms, provisions, ammunition, horses, cattle, personal property and three flags were abandoned in the panic. Our men hastily picked up revolvers and other articles that struck their fancy, exchanged poor horses for good ones, and for once, at least, the Union soldiers experienced the pleasure of sacking an enemy's camp.

The camp was well supplied with every thing, for this regiment, although now receiving regular pay from the confederate government, is an independent command, and authorized to appropriate any thing they seize to their own use, without any red-tapeism intervening, or responsibility whatever. They have recently robbed two stores in Poolesville, and supplied themselves with boots, shoes, and clothing, and many other similar articles, such as could not be obtained at farm-houses. It seems that the battalion was about moving its camp, and just before our troops entered it, had sent off several wagon-loads of clothing and camp equipage — otherwise, the whole of the property lately taken by White from Poolesville would have been recaptured. At this point the bulk of Col. Wyndham's command was sent off by Gen. Stahel, on picket and scouting duties — particularly for the purpose of sweeping in the retreating and scattered rebels. Beside some twenty odd prisoners, twenty head [205] of cattle, and as many horses, (beside those impressed by the soldiers,) one ambulance filled with chickens, and a four-horse wagon, loaded with tents and camp equipage, were captured by Col. Wyndham and sent to the rear. The standing tents and all other property not carried away were destroyed.

While Col. Wyndham was engaged at White's camp, Col. Cesnola, of the Fourth New-York cavalry, advanced with his command, consisting mainly of the Ninth New-York cavalry, under the immediate command of Major Knox, to Berryville, accompanied, as the previous advance had been, by Gen. Stahel, and followed closely by Col. Wyndham, with a small portion of his command not otherwise engaged, as a reserve force. The town was found to be occupied by a part of White's command, the Fourth, Seventh, Twelfth, and part of the Seventeenth Virginia cavalry.

By direction of Gen. Stahel, Major Knox, at the head of two hundred men, charged through the principal street of the town, driving a superior force before him. In this affair, Gen. Stahel and Col. Cesnola participated, and were in the advance with Major Knox. Arriving at the westerly outskirt of the town, Col. Cesnola, with a portion of the Ninth New-York, pushed forward in pursuit of the Seventh Virginia cavalry, which had opposed his entrance into town, and drove them, pell-mell, to a point within four and a half miles of Winchester. As there was a respectable force, including infantry, artillery, and cavalry — at Winchester, Col. Cesnola concluded that the country beyond might be unhealthy for his men, and, with several prisoners captured, fell back to the main body. While this movement was being executed, another portion of our men were briskly engaged in Berryville. Soon after Col. Cesnola advanced, the rear of Major Knox's command was attacked by the Thirteenth Virginia cavalry, coming down a road leading into the village from a northerly direction. Gen. Stahel directed Major Knox to wheel to the right and charge upon the rear of the Thirteenth, which movement was executed promptly and successfully. At the same time, the rear company faced about and resisted the attack in that direction with their sabres, carbines, and pistols. Just at the opportune moment, Capt. Heintz, of Gen. Stahel's staff, appears upon the scene of action again. He saw the hazardous position in which the detachments in the village were placed, and with twenty-five or thirty scattered men he had collected, charged upon the Thirteenth regiment at about the same time Major Knox executed his second movement upon its rear. The men under Captain Heintz put their horses upon the full gallop, and went into the fight with a yell. The rebels were so situated as not to be able to see the exact force coming upon them — a panic seized them, and they fled out of town and scattered in every direction. While this was transpiring in town, squads of rebel cavalry made their appearance in the rear and on the northerly side of the road leading to Snicker's Ferry. Most of them wore blue overcoats, and for nearly an hour one squad was within long rifle-range of a squad of Union troops, and each supposed that the other belonged to the same army, until a member of the first Virginia cavalry, (Union,) named Reid, rode up to the other squad, when, after a few words, they ordered him to surrender. This he refused to do, and wheeled his horse to escape. A volley was fired at him, but he escaped uninjured. As soon as the volley had been fired, he raised himself from the leaning posture he had assumed alongside of the horse to avoid the shots, made several gestures of contempt toward the rebels, and joined his comrades. The horse was badly wounded, but was brought back.

A sergeant of company F, Ninth New-York cavalry, at about this time, through the agency of an intelligent negro, discovered where Major White, of the rebel battalion, had been an hour before. He got together half a dozen men and proceeded to the place indicated — the house of a Mr. shepherd. he was about thirty minutes too late — the bird had flown. The house and premises were thoroughly searched, and nearly an hour's time was consumed in the performance of this task. All this time a rebel squad of twenty-five men was within two hundred rods of the house, but for some reason, best known to themselves, they did not attempt to cross three stone walls and a ditch that intervened.

Toward night Gen. stahel, having accomplished the special object of the reconnoissance, ordered his command to fall back, which was done in good order — the rebel scouts following closely the rear-guard. As the expediency of returning to Chantilly by the way of Aldie — the infantry, under Col. Von Gilsa, left at that point, having gone back to Chantilly, and the place being convenient for a rebel force from the Valley to concentrate--Gen. Stahel decided to move in a north-easterly direction as far as Leesburgh. Encamping at Mount Gilead Saturday night, on Sunday morning early he moved on to Leesburgh, and crossing Goose Creek, after a long and fatiguing march, arrived in chantilly the same night. Just before Gen. Stahel crossed the shenandoah, Captain Dahlgren, of Gen. Sigel's staff, with twenty-five men, was sent off to the right from Middleburgh. He went to Mount Gilead, Circleville, Goose Creek Church, and the Leesburgh pike, and arrived at Snicker's Ford at about three of clock P. M., bringing three of White's scouts and two other men. Hearing that there were scattered squads of rebels hanging upon the flanks and rear of the force in front, he got together all the men who could be spared from the command, guarding the river at the ford, and crossed over in pursuit. While thus engaged he met the returning column and fell back with it.

As compared with the number of shots fired, and the important results attained, the losses of the day were trifling. Only one Union soldier was killed, and, so far as is known, fifteen were wounded. A number of men are missing, but it is supposed they were taken prisoners. Four of the enemy--one an officer — are known to have been killed, and not less than thirty were wounded [206] in the different skirmishes. The names of the killed and wounded, so far as ascertained, are as follows:

Private George Bradley, Co. G, Ninth New-York cavalry, killed; Lieut. John T. Rutherford, Co. L, Ninth New-York cavalry, wounded in left shoulder; private John Phillips, Co. A, Ninth New-York cavalry, left arm, slightly ; private John L. Brewster, Co. C, Ninth New-York cavalry, slightly; Lieut. Marvin, First Michigan cavalry, slightly; Lieut. N. Herrick, Co. A, Ninth New-York cavalry, was wounded, and is supposed to be a prisoner.

Corporal S. A. Pitcher, First Michigan cavalry; Sergt.-Major Smith, of Ninth New-York; Corp. Batten, of the Second Pennsylvania cavalry; private Gatten, Ninth New-York cavalry, and several others, were captured, but succeeded in making their escape. When Corporal Pitcher was captured, his horse and every thing, of course, were taken away from him. When he returned to his company he had a better horse and accoutrements than before.

Sergeant-Major Smith was captured in Berryville. He was in the charge made by Major Knox, to the north of the main street, upon the rear of the Seventh Virginia cavalry. While his horse was at a full gallop through a burying-ground, he found that he would have to run against a gravestone or jump his horse over it. He attempted to do the latter, when the animal got caught upon the stone, and horse and rider fell over together. Sergeant Smith regained his feet, and being between two lines of cavalry, he was rolled first one way and then the other by the horses rubbing against him on either side, until he was badly bruised, and fell to the ground again. After our cavalry had passed, he got upon his feet, and was immediately surrounded by a portion of White's cavalry, to whom he surrendered, and remained with them during the rest of the fight in the town. He escaped with a rebel's horse, all accoutrements, and subsequently his own horse was recaptured. Sergeant Smith says that White's cavalry is mainly composed of boys, many of them not more than fourteen or fifteen years old. While a prisoner, one of these boys came up to him in a blustering manner and said, with an oath, “I suppose you are a Yankee, and I will finish you :” and, as if to carry his threat into execution, he drew a revolver, but just at this moment an officer interfered, and thereby probably saved the life of Sergeant Smith.

Another man escaped by killing a soldier who had him in charge.

Among the prisoners captured was Lieutenant Barret, Dr. Wottem, Lieutenant Stevens, private Stephenson, and “Bob” White, a native of Washington, D. C., and who was clerk in one of the departments under Buchanan.

At the fight at Berryville, women, it is believed, fired from several houses. It is quite certain that Lieut. Rutherford was wounded by a shot fired from a window. His wound is quite severe, but he refused to retire until the rebels had been dispersed. The rebel lieutenant was killed on the main street. His horse was shot almost at the same instant, and both fell together.

Gen. Stahel evinced throughout the entire reconnoissance, great prudence in the disposition of his forces, and in every fight that took place, he was at the most exposed point, giving directions. He was one of the first to cross the river at Snicker's Ford, and was with the advance in several charges. A number of shots were evidently directed to him individually, but he escaped uninjured.

Many of the prisoners captured, did not hesitate to express their satisfaction at the change in their prospects, as they were tired of the war, and wanted to get home. “Once at home, you don't catch me out here again, fighting for nothing,” was the frank acknowledgment of at least one prisoner.

It is very generally believed that many of the Southern troops taken do not respect their paroles. The prisoner Stevens, named above, has been captured at least four times, almost within as many months, and the last time previous to this, was only a few days ago, and by the same men who took him on this occasion.

At Rector's Cross-Roads, and at various points, the people fairly begged for Uncle Sam's “green-backs,” and offered to give any thing in return they had. These people were well supplied with confederate money, and at some places it passes at par between neighbors; but for the purpose of clothing, groceries, boots, shoes, etc., it is not worth the original cost of the paper. The store-keepers who have any thing to sell now refuse to receive confederate notes in payment for goods. Virginia money they take at from forty to fifty per cent discount, and Uncle Sam's money at par generally. Some of the sharpers, who know full well the value and necessities of the people, charge a small discount upon Union money, because they know their customers cannot do otherwise than submit to the shave. As there is but little good paper-money afloat, all the people purchase in these parts is paid for in promises, in grain, or something raised upon their farms. Promises to pay are by far the most commonly used, and I have conversed with many men who have disposed of whole stocks of goods, receiving in pay this commodity.

The distress to which the people of this region have been reduced by the rebellion is, in some instances, heartrending to behold. first they were robbed by those who professed to be their friends — the rebel soldiers; and next the Union troops appropriate whatever their necessities require at the moment. This has been repeated over and over again, in hundreds of places, until at last commanders, in selecting a route to march, find it positively necessary that some attention he paid to the chances for obtaining forage and provisions. The distress is not alone the cause of the want of provisions. The people have to resort to every means to cover their nakedness. I have seen young ladies who were brought up in opulence, and with every thing at their command the heart could wish or a cultivated taste desire, [207] before the war, but who now are experiencing all the pangs incident to a state of poverty. The skins of animals, cast-away grain-sacks, and other articles heretofore never used for such purposes, I have seen worn by both men and women, made into articles of clothing. The suffering is not alone confined to the poor, ( “white trash,” ) but, to a greater or less extent, is shared by all. The effect of all this is, that, while the people talk as secessionists, they at the same time express themselves as being sorely tired of the war, and heap curses upon those who inaugurated it.

When this expedition started, a company of the Second Pennsylvania cavalry was sent to Leesburgh for the purpose of looking after any stray rebels that might be hovering upon our right flank. No sooner had the company entered the town than the people attempted to inform a rebel force, within reach, of their hated presence. The commanding officer quietly informed the people, that if attacked, he should destroy the town, and by this means doubtless saved his whole command from capture. Leesburgh is one of the most hostile towns in the whole State of Virginia. Our soldiers have frequently been shot at from houses while passing through the streets, and it is with the greatest difficulty the men can be restrained within the inhospitable place.

Since writing the above, I learn from a prisoner that Major White was wounded twice — but not dangerously — at Perryville. He was before suffering from two wounds received in skirmishes.

The moral effect of this reconnoissance will work to a good purpose in two ways. It was a complete success from beginning to end, and while it will have a tendency to elevate the character of our cavalry as soldiers, it has also taught the rebels that their cavalry is no match for ours. He was shown at several points where the contest might have been an equal one, had the rebels stood their ground.

The object of the expedition was to ascertain the whereabouts of any of the large rebel force reported to be near at hand by different scouts, and particularly the whereabouts of Jackson. It was ascertained, upon authority deemed reliable, that Jackson, with both Hills, passed through New-Market last Sunday in a southerly direction. The report that there is any considerable force at Winchester is doubted by those in authority.

Major-Gen. Burnside, upon learning the result of the expedition, at once sent an order by telegraph, thanking the Commanding General, and, through him, the officers and men under his command, for the public service rendered.

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