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Doc. 117. the Shenandoah campaign.

Major-General Sheridan's report.

headquarters military division of the Gulf, New Orleans, February 3, 1866.
Brevet Major-General J. A. Rawlins, Chief of Staff, Washington, D. C.
General — I have the honor to make the following report of the campaign in the Valley of the Shenandoah, commencing August fourth, 1864.

On the evening of the first of August I was relieved from the command of the cavalry corps of the Army of the Potomac, to take command of the Army of the Shenandoah, and, on arriving at Washington on the fourth instant. I received directions from Major-General H. W. Halleck, Chief of the Staff, to proceed without delay to Monocacy Junction, on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and report in person to the Lieutenant-General. At Monocacy the Lieutenant-General turned over to me the instructions which he had previously given to Major-General Hunter, commanding the Department of West Virginia, a copy of which is herewith attached.

The Army of the Shenandoah at this time consisted of the Sixth corps, very much reduced in numbers, one division of the Nineteenth corps, two small infantry divisions under command of General Crook, afterwards designated as the Army of West Virginia, a small division of cavalry under General Averell, which was at that time in pursuit of General McCausland, near Moorefield, McCausland having made a raid into Pennsylvania and burned the town of Chambersburg; there was also one small division of cavalry, then arriving at Washington, from my old corps.

The infantry portion of these troops had been lying in bivouac in the vicinity of Monocacy Junction and Frederick City, but had been ordered to march the day I reported, with directions to concentrate at Halltown, four miles in front of Harper's Ferry. After my interview with the Lieutenant-General, I hastened to Harper's Ferry to make preparations for an immediate advance against the enemy, who then occupied Martinsburg, Williamsport, and Shepardstown, sending occasional raiding parties as far as Hagerstown. The concentration of my command at Halltown alarmed the enemy, and caused him to concentrate at or near Martinsburg, drawing in all his parties from the north side of the Potomac. The indications were that he had intended another raid into Maryland, prompted perhaps by the slight success he had gained over General Crook's command at Kernstown, a short time before. The city of Martinsburg, at which the enemy concentrated, is on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, at the northern terminus of the valley pike, a broad macadamized road running up the valley, through Winchester, and terminating at Staunton. The Shenandoah valley is a continuation of the Cumberland valley, south of the Potomac, and is bounded on the east by the Blue Ridge, and on the west by the eastern slope of the Alleghany mountains, the general direction of these chains being south-west.

The valley at Martinsburg is about sixty miles broad, at Winchester forty to forty-five, and at Strasburg twenty-five to thirty miles, where an isolated chain, called Massanutten mountain, rises up running parallel to the Blue Ridge, and terminates at Harrisonburg; here the valley again opens out fifty or sixty miles broad. This isolated chain divides the valley, for its continuance, into two valleys, the one next the Blue Ridge being called the Luray valley, the one west of it the Strasburg or main valley. The Blue Ridge has many passes through it called gaps, the principal ones and those which have good wagon roads, are Snicker's Ashby's, Manassas, Chester, Thoroughfare, Swift Run, Brown's, Rock-fish, and two or three others from the latter one up to Lynchburg. Many have macadamized roads through them, and, indeed, are not gaps, but small valleys through the main chain. The general bearing of all these roads is towards Gordonsville, and are excellent for troops to move upon from that point into the valley; in fact, the Blue Ridge can be crossed almost anywhere by infantry or cavalry.

The valley itself was rich in grain, cattle, sheep, hogs, and fruit, and was in such a prosperous condition that the rebel army could march down and up it, billeting on the inhabitants. Such, in brief, is the outline, and was the condition of the Shenandoah valley when I entered it August fourth, 1864.

Great exertions were made to get the troops in readiness for an advance, and on the morning of August tenth, General. Torbert's division of cavalry having joined me from Washington, a forward movement was commenced. The enemy, while we were making our preparations, took position at Bunker Hill and vicinity, twelve miles south of Martinsburg, frequently pushing his scouting parties through Smithfield and up to Charlestown. Torbert was ordered to move on the Berryville pike, through Berryville, and go into position near White Post; the Sixth corps moved via the Charleston and Summit Point road to Clifton; the Nineteenth corps moved on the Berryville pike, to the left of the position of the Sixth corps at Clifton; General Crook's command via Kabletown, to the vicinity of Berryville, coming into position on the left of [719] the Nineteenth corps; and Colonel Lowell, with two small regiments of cavalry, was ordered to Summit Point; so that on the night of August tenth, the army occupied a position stretching from Clifton to Berryville, with cavalry at White Post and Summit Point. The enemy moved from vicinity of Bunker Hill, stretching his line from where the Winchester and Potomac railroad crosses Opequan creek, to where the Berryville and Winchester pike crosses the same stream, occupying the west bank. On the morning of August eleventh, the Sixth corps was ordered to move from Clifton across the country to where the Berryville pike crosses Opequan creek, carry the crossing, and hold it; the Nineteenth corps was directed to move through Berryville, on the White Post road, for one mile, file to the right by heads of regiments, at deploying distances, and carry and hold the crossing of Opequan creek at a ford about three-fourths of a mile from the left of the Sixth corps; Crook's command was ordered to move out on the White Post road, one mile and a half beyond Berryville, file to the right and secure the crossing of Opequan creek at a ford about one mile to the left of the Nineteenth corps; Torbert was directed to move with Merritt's division of cavalry up the Millwood pike towards Winchester, attack any force he might find, and, if possible, ascertain the movements of the rebel army. Lowell was ordered to close in from Summit Point on the right of the Sixth corps.

My intention in securing these fords was to march on Winchester, at which point, from all my information on the tenth, I thought the enemy would make a stand. In this I was mistaken, as the results of

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