Sheridan’s Report on the Shenandoah Campaign (OR, 43, Part I, 40-57)
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, La., April 26, 1866
Bvt. Maj. Gen. JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Chief of Staff, Hdqrs. Armies of the United States,
Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to transmit my report of the operations of the Army of the Shenandoah, from August 4, 1864, to February 27, 1865, with reports of subordinate commanders; also sub-reports to my report of the march from Winchester to Petersburg, commencing February 27, 1865. I have been long rendering this report, but the many changes to which I was subjected, and which separated me from sub-reports, and the arduous labors which I for a long time had after assignment to my present command, I beg to submit as my excuses for my great neglect.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. H. SHERIDAN,
Major-General, U. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, La., February 3, 1866
GENERAL: I have the honor to make the following report of the campaign in the Valley of the Shenandoah, commencing August 4, 1864:
On the evening of the 1st 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 4th instant, I received directions from Maj. Gen. H. W. Halleck, Chief of 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, afterward designated as the Army of West Virginia; a small division of cavalry under General Averell, which was at that time in pursuit of General McCauslaud, near Moorefield, McCauslaud having made a raid into Pennsylvania and burned the tows 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 Shepherdstown, sending occasional raiding parties as far as Hagerstown, Ad. 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 Midge and on the vest by the eastern slope of the Allegheny Mountains, the general direction of these chains; being southwest. 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 Midge, 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, Rockfish, 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 toward 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, billetting on the inhabitants. Such, in brief, is the outline and was the condition of the Shenandoah Valley when I entered it August 4, 1864.
Great exertions were made to get the troops in readiness for an advance, and on the morning of August 10, 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 Charlestown and Summit Point road to Chiffon; 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 the Nineteenth Corps, and Colonel Lowell, with two small regiments of cavalry, was ordered to Summit Point; so that on the night of August 10 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 Opequon Creek to where the Berryville and Winchester pike crosses the same stream occupying the west bank.
On the morning of August 11 the Sixth Corps was ordered to move from Clifton across the country to where the Berryville pike crosses Opequon 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 hold the crossing of Opequon 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 Opequon 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 toward 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 10th, I thought the enemy would make a stand. In this I was mistaken, as the results of Torbert's reconnaissance proved. Merritt found the enemy's cavalry covering the Millwood pike west of the Opequon, and, attacking it, drove it in the direction of Kernstown and discovered the enemy retreating up the Valley pike. As soon as this information was obtained Torbert was ordered to move quickly via the toll-gate on the Front Royal pike to Newtown, to strike the enemy's Hank and harass him in his retreat, and Lowell to follow up through Winchester. Crook was turned to the left and ordered to Stony Point, or Nineveh, while Emory and Wright were marched to the left and went into camp between the Millwood and Front Royal pikes, Crook encamping at Stony Point. Torbert met some of the enemy's cavalry at the toll-gate on the Front Royal pike, drove it in the direction of Newtown and behind Gordon's division of infantry, which had been thrown out from Newtown to cover the flank of the main column in its retreat, and, which had put itself behind rail barricades. A portion of Merritt's cavalry attacked this infantry and drove in its skirmish line and, although unable to dislodge the division, held all the ground gained. The rebel division during the night moved off.
Next day Crook moved from Stony Point to Cedar Creek; Emory followed; the cavalry moved to the same point, via Newtown and the Valley pike, and the Sixth Corps followed the cavalry. On the night of the 12th Crook was in position at Cedar Creek, on the left of the Valley pike, Emory on the right of the pike, the Sixth Corps on the right of Emory, and the cavalry on the right and left flanks. A heavy skirmish line was thrown to the heights on the south side of Cedar Creek, which had brisk skirmishing during the evening with the enemy's pickets, his (the enemy's) main force occupying the heights above and north of Strasburg. On the morning of the 13th the cavalry way ordered on a reconnaissance toward Strasburg on the Middle road, which road is two miles and a half to the west of the main pike. Reports of a column of the enemy moving up from Culpeper Court-House and approaching Front Royal through Chester Gap having been received, caused me much anxiety, as any considerable force advanced through Front Royal and down the Front Royal and Winchester pike toward Winchester could be thrown in my rear; or, in case of my driving the enemy to Fisher's lull and taking position in his front, this same force could be moved along the base of Massanutten Mountain, on the road to Strasburg, with the same result. As my effective line of battle strength at this time was about 18,000 infantry and 3,500 cavalry, I remained quiet during the day—except the activity on the skirmish line—to await further developments. In the evening the enemy retired with his main force to Fisher's Hill. As the rumors of an advancing force from the direction of Culpeper kept increasing, on the morning of the 14th I sent a brigade of cavalry to Front Royal to ascertain defnitely, if possible, the truth of such reports, and at the same time crossed the Sixth Corps to the south side of Cedar Creek and occupied the heights above Strasburg. Considerable picket-firing ensued. During the day I received from Colonel Chipman, of the Adjutant-General's Office, the following dispatch, he having ridden with great haste from Washington, through Snicker's Gap, escorted by a regiment of cavalry, to deliver the same. It at once explained the movement from Culpeper, and on the morning of the 15th the remaining two brigades of Merritt's division of cavalry were ordered to the crossing of the Shenandoah River near Front Royal, and the Sixth Corps withdrawn to the north side of Cedar Creek, holding at Strasburg a strong skirmish line:
CITY POINT, August 12, 1861 - 9 a. m.
Inform Sheridan that it is now certain two divisions of infantry have gone to Early, and some cavalry and twenty pieces of artillery. This movement commenced last Saturday night. He must be cautious and act now on the defensive until movements here force them to this to send this way. [ As recorded in Grant's letters-sent book,.this reads, "force them to detach to send this way."] Early's force, with this increase, cannot exceed 40,000 men, but this is too much for Sheridan to attack. Send Sheridan the remaining brigade of the Nineteenth Corps. I have ordered to Washington all the l00-days' men. Their time will soon be out, but, for the present, they will do to serve in the defenses.
U. S. GRANT,
The receipt of this dispatch was very important to me, as I possibly would have remained in uncertainty as to the character of the force coming in on my flank and rear until it attacked the cavalry, as it did on the 16th. I at once looked over the map of the Valley for a defensive line—that is, where a smaller number of troops could hold a greater number—and could see but one such. I refer to that at Halltown, in front of Harper's Ferry. Subsequent experience has convinced me that no other really defensive line exists in the Shenandoah Valley. I therefore determined to move back to Halltown, carry out my instructions to destroy forage and subsistence, and increase my strength by Grover's division, of the Nineteenth Corps, and Wilson's division of cavalry, both of which were marching to join me via Snicker's Gap. Emory was ordered to move to Winchester all the night of the 15th, and on the night of the 16th the Sixth Corps and Crook's command were ordered to Clifton via Winchester. In the movement to the rear to Halltown the following orders were given to the cavalry and were executed:
HEADQUARTERS, MIDDLE MILITARY DIVISION
Cedar Creek, Va., August 16, 1864
Brig. Gen. A. T. A. TORBERT
Chief of Cavalry, Middle Military Division:
GENERAL: In compliance with instructions of the lieutenant-general commanding, you will make the necessary arrangements and give the necessary orders for the destruction of the wheat and hay south of a line from Millwood to Winchester and Petticoat Gap. You will seize all mules, horses, and cattle that may be useful to our army. Loyal citizens can bring in their claims against the Government for this necessary destruction. No houses will be burned, and officers in charge of this delicate, but necessary, duty must inform the people that the object is to make this Valley untenable for the raiding parties of the rebel army.
P. H. SHERIDAN,
On the afternoon of the 16th I moved my headquarters back to Winchester; while moving back, at Newtown, I heard cannonading at or near Front Royal, and on reaching Winchester, Merritt's couriers brought dispatches from him, stating that he had been attacked at the crossing of the Shenandoah by Kershaw's division, of Longstreet's corps, and two brigades of rebel cavalry, and that he had handsomely repulsed the attack capturing 2 battle-flags and 300 prisoners. During the night of the 16th and early on the morning of the 17th Emory moved from Winchester to Berryville, and on the morning of the 17th Crook and Wright reached Winchester and resumed the march toward Clifton, Wright, who had the rear guard, getting only as far as the Berryville crossing of the Opequon, where he was ordered to remain, Crook getting to the vicinity of Berryville. Lowell reached Winchester with his two regiments of cavalry on the afternoon of the 17th, where he was joined by General Wilsou's division of cavalry. Merritt, after his handsome engagement near Front Royal, was ordered back to the vicinity of White Post, and General Grover's division joined Emory at Berryville. The enemy having a signal station on Three Top Mountain, almost overhanging Strasburg, and from which every movement made by our troops could be seen, was notified early on the morning of the 17th as to this condition of affairs, and without delay followed after us, getting into Winchester about sundown, and driving out General Torbert, who; was left there with Wilson and Lowell, and the Jersey brigade of the Sixth Corps. Wilson and Lowell fell back to Summit Point, and the Jersey brigade joined its corps at the crossing of the Opequon. Eershaw's division and two brigades of Fitz Lee's cavalry division, which was the force at Front Royal, joined Early at Winchester, I think on the evening of the 17th.
On the 18th the Sixth Corps moved, via Clifton, to Flowing Spring, two miles and a half west of Charlestown, on the Smithfield pike; Emory about two miles and a half south of Charlestown on the Berryville pike; Merritt came back to Berryville Wilson remained at Summit Point, covering the crossing of Opequon Creek as far north as the bridge at Smithfield, Merritt covering the crossing of the Berryville pike; Crook remained near Clifton, and the next day moved to the left of-Emory. This position was maintained until the 21st, when the enemy moved a heavy force across the Opequon at the bridge at Smithfield, driving in the cavalry pickets, which fell back to Summit Point, and advanced rapidly on the position- of the Sixth Corps near Flowing Spring, when a very sharp and obstinate skirmish took place with the heavy picket-line of that corps, resulting very much in its favor. The enemy appeared to have thought that I had taken position near Summit Point, and that by moving around rapidly through Smithfield he would get into my rear. In this, however, he was mistaken. During the day Merritt, who had been attacked and held his ground, was recalled from Berryville. Wilson had also been attacked by infantry, and had also held his ground until ordered in. Dnrillg the night of the 21st the army moved back to Halltown without inconvenience or loss, the cavalry, excepting Lowell's command, which formed on the left, moving early on the morning of the Ed, and going into position on the right of the line.
On the morning of the 22d the enemy moved up to Charlestown, and pushed well up to my position at Halltown, skirmishing with the cavalry vedettes. The dispatches received from the lieutenant-general commanding, from Capt. G. K. Leet, assistant adjutant-general, at Washington, and information derived from my scouts and from prisoners captured, were of so conflicting and contradictory a nature that I determined to ascertain, if possible, while on this defensive line, what re-enforcements had actually been received by the enemy. This could only be done by frequent reconnaissances, and their results convinced me that but one division of infantry (Kershaw's) and one division of cavalry (Fitz Lee's) had joined him. On the 23d I ordered a reconnaissance by Crook, who was on the left, resulting in a small capture and a number of casualties to the enemy. On the 24th another reconnaissance was made, capturing a number of prisoners, our own loss being about thirty men. On the 25th there was a sharp picket-firing during the day on part of the infantry line. The cavalry was ordered to attack the enemy's cavalry at Kearneysville. This attack was handsomely made, but instead of finding the enemy's cavalry his infantry was encountered, and for a time doubled up and thrown into the utmost confusion. It was marching toward Shepherdstown. This engagement was somewhat of a mutual surprise, our cavalry expecting to meet the enemy's cavalry and his Infantry expecting no opposition whatever. (general Torbert, who was in command, finding a large force of the rebel infantry in his front, came back to our left, and the enemy, believing his (the enemy's) movement had been discovered and that the force left by him in my front at Halltown would be attacked, returned in great haste, but before doing so isolated Custer's brigade, which had to cross to the north side of the Potomac at Shepherdstown and join me via Harper's Ferry For my own part, I believed Early meditated a crossing of his cavalry into Maryland at Williamsport, and I sent Wilson's division around by Harper's Ferry to watch its movements. Averell, in the meantime, had taken post at Williamsport, on the north side of the Potomac, and held the crossing against a force of rebel cavalry which made the attempt to cross.
On the night of the 26th the enemy silently left my front, moving over Opequon Creek at the Smithfield and Summit Point crossing, and concentrating his force at Brucetown and Bunker Hill, leaving his cavalry at Leetown and Smithfield. On the 28th I moved in front of Charlestown with the infantry and directed Merritt to attack the enemy's cavalry at Leetown, which he did, defeating it and pursuing it through Smithfield. Wilson recrossed the Potomac at Shepherdstown and joined the infantry in front of Charlestown. On the 29th Averell crossed at Williamsport and advanced to Martinsburg. On the same day two divisions of the enemy's infantry and a small force of cavalry attacked Merritt at the Smithfield bridge, and after a hard fight drove him through Smithfield and back toward Charlestown, the cavalry fighting with great obstinacy until I could re-enforce it with Ricketts' division, of the Sixth Corps, when in turn the enemy was driven back through Smithfield and over the Opoquon, the cavalry again taking post at the Smithfield bridge. On the 30th Torbert was directed to move Merritt and Wilson to Berryville, leaving Lowell to guard the Smithfield bridge and occupy the town. On the 31st Averell was driven back from Martinsburg to Falling Waters. From the 1st to the 3d of September nothing of importance occurred. On the 3d Averell, who had returned to Martinsburg, advanced on Bunker Hill, attacked McCausland's cavalry, defeated it, capturing wagons and prisoners, and destroying a good deal of property. The infantry moved into position, stretching from Clifton to Berryville, Wright moving by Summit Point, Crook and Emory by the Berryville pike. Torbert had been ordered to White Post early in the day, and the enemy, supposing he could cut him off, pushed across the Opequon toward Berryville, with Kershaw's division in advance; but this division, not expecting infantry, blundered onto Crook's lines about dark, and was vigorously attacked and driven, with heavy loss, back toward the Opequon. This engagement, which was after night-fall, was very spirited, and our own and the enemy's casualties severe. From this time until the 19th of September I occupied the line from Clifton to Berryville, transferring Crook to Summit Point on the 8th to use him as a movable column to protect my right flank and line to Harper's Ferry, while the cavalry threatened the enemy's right flank and his line of communications up the Valley. The difference of strength between the two opposing forces at this time was but little. As I had learned beyond doubt from my scouts that Kershaw's division, which consisted of four brigades, was to be ordered back to Richmond, I had for two weeks patiently awaited its withdrawal before attacking, believing the condition of affairs throughout the country required great prudence on my part, that a defeat of the forces of my command could be ill afforded, and knowing that no interests in the Valley, save those of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, were suffering by the delay. In this view I was coinciding with the 1ieutenant general commanding.
Although the main force remained without change of position from September 3 to 19, still the cavalry was employed every day in harassing the enemy, its opponents being principally infantry. In these skirmishes the cavalry was becoming educated to attack infantry lines. On the 13th one of these handsome dashes was made by General McIntosh, of Wilson's division, capturing the Eighth South Carolina Regiment at Abraham's Creek. On the same day Getty's division, of the Sixth Corps, made a reconnaissance to the Opequon, developing a heavy force of the enemy at Edwards' [Gilbert's ?] Crossing. The position which I had taken at Clifton was six miles from Opequon Creek, on the west bank of which the enemy was in position. This distance of six miles I determined to hold as my territory by scouting parties, and in holding it in this way, without pushing up the main forge, I expected to be able to move on the enemy at the proper time without his obtaining the information, which he would immediately get from his pickets if I was in close proximity. On the night of the 15th I received reliable information that Kershaw's division was moving through Winchester and in the direction of Front Royal. Then our time had come, and I almost made up my mind that I would fight at Newtown, on the Valley pike, give up my line to the rear, and take that of the enemy. From my position at Clifton I could throw my force into Newtown before Early could get information and move to that point. I was a little timid about this movement until the arrival of General Grant, at Charlestown, who indorsed it, and the order for the movement was made out, but in consequence of a report from General Averell on the afternoon of the 18th of September, that Early had moved two divisions to Martinsburg, I changed this programme and determined to first catch the two divisions, remaining in vicinity of Stephenson's Depot, and then the two sent to Martinsburg in detail. This information was the cause of the battle of Opequon, instead of the battle of Newtown.
At 3 o'clock on the morning of the 19th of September the army moved to the attack. Torbert was directed to advance with Merritt's division of cavalry from Summit Point, carry the crossings of Opequon Creek, and form a junction, at some point near Stephenson's Depot, with Newell, who moved from Darkesville. Wilson was ordered to move rapidly up the Berryville pike from Berryville, carry its crossing of the Opequon, and charge through the gorge or canon; the attack to be supported by the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps, both of which moved across country to the same crossing of the Opequon. (Crook moved across country, to be in reserve at the same point. Wilson, with McIntosh's brigade leading, made a gallant charge through the long canon, and meeting the advance of Ramseur's rebel infantry division, drove it back and captured the earth-work at the mouth of the canon this movement was immediately followed up by the Sixth Corps. The Umpteenth Corps was directed for convenience of movement to report to General Wright on its arrival at Opequon Creek. I followed up tile cavalry attack, and selected the ground for the formation of the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps, which went into line under a heavy artillery fire. A good deal of time was lost in this movement through the canon and it was not till perhaps 9 a.m. that the order for the advance in line was given. I had from early in the morning become apprised that I would have to engage Early's entire army, instead of two divisions, and determined to attack with the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps' holding Crook's command as a turning column to use only when the crisis of the battle occurred, and that I would put him in on my left and still get the Valley pike. The attack was, therefore, made by the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps, in a very handsome style and under a heavy fire from the enemy, who held a line which gave him the cover of slight brushwood and corn-fields. The resistance during this attack was obstinate, and as there were no earth-works to protect, deadly to both sides. The enemy, after the contest had been going on for some time, made a counter-charge, striking the right of the Sixth Corps and left of the Nineteenth, driving back the center of my line. It was at this juncture that I ordered a brigade of Russell's division, of the Sixth Corps, to wait till the enemy's attacking column presented its flank then to strike it with vigor. This was handsomely done, the brigade being led by General Russell, and its commander, Upton, in person. The enemy in turn was driven back, our line re-established, and most of the 2,000 or 3,000 men who had gone to the rear brought back. I still would not order Crook in, but placed him directly in rear of the line of battle; as the reports, however, that the enemy were attempting to turn my right kept continually increasing, I was obliged to put him in on that flank, instead of on the left as was originally intended. He was directed to act as a turning column, to find the left of the enemy's line, strike it in flank or rear, break it up, and that I would order a left half-wheel of the line of battle to support him. In this attack the enemy was driven in confusion from his position, and simultaneous with it Merritt and Averell, under Torbert, could be distinctly seen sweeping up the Martinsburg pike, driving the enemy's cavalry before them, in a confused mass through the broken infantry. I then rode along the line of the Nineteenth and. Sixth Corps, ordered their advance, and directed Wilson' who was on the left flank, to push on and gain the Valley pike south of Winchester; after which I returned to the right where the enemy was still lighting with obstinacy in the open ground in front of Winchester, and ordered Torbert to collect his cavalry and charge, which was done simultaneously with the infantry advance, and the enemy routed.
At daylight on the morning of the 20th of September the army moved rapidly up the Valley pike in pursuit of the enemy, who had continued his retreat during the night to Fisher's Hill, south of Strasburg. Fisher's Hill is the bluff immediately south of and over a little stream called Tumbling Run, arid is a position which was almost impregnable to a direct assault: and as the valley is but about three miles and a half wide at this point, the enemy considered himself secure on reaching it and commenced erecting breast-works across the valley from Fisher's Hill to North Mountain; So secure, in fact, did he consider himself that the ammunition-boxes were taken from the caissons and placed for convenience behind the breast-work. On the evening of September 20 Wright and Emory went into position on the heights of Strasburg, Crook north of Cedar Creek, the cavalry to the right and rear of Wright and Emory, extending to the Backroad. This night I resolved to use a turning column again, and that I would move Crook unperceived, if possible, over onto the face of Little North Mountain and let him strike the left and rear of the enemy's line, and then, if successful, make a left half-wheel of the whole line of battle to his support. To do this required much secrecy, as the enemy had a signal station on Three Top Mountain, from which he could see every movement made by our troops; therefore, during the night of the 20th I concealed Crook in the timber north of Cedar Creek, where he remained during the 21st. On the same day I moved Wright and Emory up in the rent of the rebel line, getting into proper position after a severe engagement between a portion of Ricketts' and Getty's divisions, of the Sixth Corps, and a strong force of the enemy. Torbert, with Wilson's and Merritt's cavalry, was ordered down the Luray Valley in pursuit of the enemy's cavalry, and after defeating or driving it, to cross over Luray pike to New Market, and intercept the enemy's infantry should I drive it from the position at Fisher's Hill.
On the night of the 21st Crook was moved to, and concentrated in, the timber near Strasburg, and at daylight on the 22d marched to, and massed in, the timber near Little North Mountain. I did not attempt to cover the long front presented by the enemy, but massed the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps opposite the right center of his line. After Crook had gotten into the position last named, I took out Ricketts' division, of the Sixth Corps' and placed it opposite the enemy's left center, and directed Averell with his cavalry to go up on Ricketts' front and right and drive in the enemy's skirmish line, if possible. his was done, and the enemy's signal officer on Three Top Mountain mistaking Ricketts' division for my turning column, so notified the enemy and he made his arrangements accordingly, whilst Crook, without being observed, moved on the side of Little North Mountain and struck the enemy'x left and rear so suddenly and unexpectedly that he (t e enemy), supposing he must have cone across the mountains broke, Crook swinging down behind the line, Ricketts swinging in and Joining Crook, and so on the balance of the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps, the rout of the enemy being complete. Unfortunately, the cavalry, which I had sent down the Luray Valley to cross over to New Market, was unsuccessful, and only reached so far as Milford, a point at which the Luray Valley contracts to a gorge, and which was taken possession of by the enemy's cavalry in some force. Had General Torbert driven this cavalry or turned the defile and reached New Market I have no doubt but that we would have captured the entire rebel army. I feel certain that its rout from Fisher's Hill was such that there was scarcely a company organization held together. New Market being at a converging point in the valley they came together again and, to some extent, reorganized. I did not wait to see the results of this victory, but pushed on during the night of the 22d to Woodstock although the darkness and consequent confusion made the pursuit slow.
On the morning of September 23, General Devin, with his small brigade of cavalry, moved to a point directly north of Mount Jackson, driving the enemy in his front, and there awaited the arrival of General Averell's division, which for some unaccountable reason went into camp immediately after the battle. General Averell reached Devin's command at about 3 p. m., and in the evening returned with all the advance cavalry, of which he was in command, to a creek half a mile north of Hawkinsburg, and there remained until the arrival of the head of the infantry column, which had halted between Edenburg and Woodstock for wagons in order to issue the necessary rations. Early on the morning of the 24th the entire army reached Mount Jackson, a small town on the north bank of the North Fork of the Shenandoah. The enemy had, in the meantime, reorganized and taken position on the bluff south of the river, but had commenced this same morning his retreat toward Harrisonburg; still he held a long and strong line with the troops that were to cover his rear, in a temporaryline of rifle-pits on the bluff commanding the plateau. To dislodge him from his strong position, Devin's brigade of cavalry was directed to cross the Shenandoah, work around the base of the Massanutten range, and drive in the cavalry which covered his (the enemy's) right flank, and Powell, who had succeeded Averell, was ordered to move around his left flank, via Timberville, whilst the infantry was pushed across the river by the bridge. The enemy did not wait the full execution of these movements, but withdrew in haste, the cavalry under Devin coming up with him at New Market, and made a bold attempt to hold him until I could push up our infantry, but was unable to do so, as the open, smooth country allowed him (the enemy) to retreat with great rapidity in line of battle, and the 300 or 400 cavalry under Devin was unable to break this line. Our infantry was pushed by heads of columns very hard to overtake and bring on an engagement, but could not succeed, and encamped about six miles south of New Market for the night. Powell meantime had pushed on through Timberville and gained the Valley pike near Lacey's Springs, capturing some prisoners and wagons. This movement of Powell's probably forced the enemy to abandon the road via Harrisonburg, and move over the Keezletown road to Port Republic, to which point the retreat was continued through the night of the 24th and from thence to Brown s Gap in the Blue Ridge.
On the 25th the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps reached Harrisonburg. Crook was ordered to remain at the junction of the Keezletown road with the Valley pike until the movements of the enemy were definitely ascertained. On this day Torbert reached Harrisonburg, having encountered the enemy's cavalry at Luray, defeating it and joining me via New Market, and Powell had proceeded to Mount Crawford. On the 26th Merritt's division of cavalry was ordered to Port Republic, and Torbert to Staunton and Waynesborough to destroy the bridge at the latter place, and in retiring to burn all forage, drive off all cattle, destroy all mills, &c., which would cripple the rebel army or Confederacy. Torbert had with him Wilson's division of cavalry and Lowell's brigade of regulars. On the 27th, while Torbert was making his advance on Waynesborough, I ordered Merritt to make a demonstration on Brown's Gap to cover the movement. This brought out the enemy (who had been reinforced by Kershaw's division, which came through Swift Run Gap) against the small force of cavalry employed in this demonstration, which he followed up to Port Republic, and I believe, crossed in some force. Merritt's instructions from me were to resist an attack, but if pressed, to fall back to Cross Keys, in which event I intended to attack with the main force, which was at Harrisonburg, and could be rapidly moved to Cross Keys. The enemy, however, advanced with his main force only to Port Republic, after which he fell back. Torbert this day took possession of Waynesborough, and partially destroyed the railroad bridge, but about dark on the 28th was attacked by infantry and cavalry, returned to Staunton, and from thence to Bridgewater, via Spring Hill, executing the order for the destruction of subsistence, forage, &c. On the morning of the 28th Merritt was ordered to Port Republic to open communication with General Torbert, but on the same night was directed to leave small forces at Port Republic and Swift Run Gap, and proceed with the balance of his command (his own and Custer's divisions) to Piedmont, swing around from that point to near Staunton, burning forage, mills, and such other properly as knight be serviceable to the rebel army or Confederacy, and on his return to go into camp on the left of the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps, which were ordered to proceed on the 29th to Mount Crawford in support of this and Torbert's movements. September 29 Torbert reached Bridgewater and Merritt Mount Crawford. On the 1st of October Merritt reoccupied Port Republic, and the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps were moved back to Harrisonburg. The question that now presented itself was, whether or not I should follow the enemy to Brown's Gap, where he still held fast, drive him out, and advance on Charlottesville and Gordonsville. This movement on Gordonsville I was opposed to for many reasons, the most important of which was that it would necessitate the opening of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad from Alexandria, and to protect this road against the numerous guerrilla bands would have required a corps of infantry; besides, I would have been obliged to leave a small force in the Valley to give security to the line of the Potomac. This would probably occupy the whole of Crook's command, leaving me but a small number of fighting men. Then there was the additional reason of the uncertainty as to whether the army in front of Petersburg could hold the entire force of General Lee there, and in case it could not, a sufficient number might be detached and moved rapidly by rail and overwhelm me, quickly returning; I was also confident that my transportation could not supply me farther than Harrisonburg, and therefore advised that the Valley campaign should terminate at Harrisonburg, and that I return carrying out my original instructions for the destruction of forage, grain, &c., give up the majority of the army I commanded, and order it to the Petersburg line, a line which I thought the lieutenant-general believed, if a successful movement could be made on, would involve the capture of the Army of Northern Virginia. I therefore, on the morning of the 6th of October, commenced moving back, stretching the cavalry across the Valley from the Blue Ridge to the eastern slope of the Alleghanies, with directions to burn all forage and drive off all stock, &c., as they moved to the rear, fully coinciding in the views and instructions of the lieutenant-general, that the Valley should be made a barren waste. The most positive orders were given, however, not to burn dwellings. In this movement the enemy's cavalry followed at a respectable distance until in the vicinity of Woodstock, when they attacked Custer's division and harassed it as far as Tom's Brook, a short distance south of Fisher's Hill. On the night of the 8th I ordered General Torbert to engage the enemy's cavalry at daylight, and notified him that I would halt the army until he had defeated it. In compliance with these instructions Torbert advanced at daylight on the 9th of October, with Custer's division on the Back road and Merritt's division on the Valley pike. At Tom's Brook the heads of the opposing columns came in contact and deployed, and after a short but decisive engagement the enemy was defeated, with the loss of all his artillery excepting one piece, and everything else which was carried on wheels. The rout was complete, and was followed up to Mount Jackson, a distance of some twenty-six miles.
On October 10 the army crossed to the north side of Cedar Creek, the Sixth Corps continuing its march to Front Royal. This was the first day's march of this corps to rejoin Lieutenant-General Grant at Petersburg. It was the intention that it should proceed through Manassas Gap to Piedmont, east of the Blue Ridge, to which point the Manassas Gap Railroad had been completed, and from thence to Alexandria by rail; but on my recommendation that it would be much better to march it, as it was in fine condition, through Ashby s Gap and thence to Washington, the former route was abandoned, and on the 12th the corps moved to the Ashby Gap crossing of the Shenandoah River, but, on the same day, in consequence of the advance of the enemy to Fisher's Hill, it was recalled to await the development of the enemy's new intentions. The question now again arose in reference to the advance on Gordonsville, as suggested in the following dispatch:
WASHINGTON, October 12, 1864-12 m.
Lieutenant-General Grant wishes a position taken far enough south to serve as a base for further [future as written by Halleck] operations upon Gordonsville and Charlottesville. It must be strongly fortified and provisioned. Some point in the vicinity of Manassas Gap would seem best suited for an purposes. Colonel Alexander, of the Engineers, will be sent to consult with you as soon as you connect with General Augur.
H. W. HALLECK
This plan I would not indorse; but in order to settle it definitely I was called to Washington by the following telegram:
WASHINGTON, October 13, 1864.
(Through General Augur.)
If you can come here, a consultation on several points is extremely desirable. I propose to visit General Grant, and would like to see you first.
Secretary of War.
On the evening of the 16th I determined to go, believing that the enemy at Fisher's Hill could not accomplish much, and as I had concluded not to attack him at present I ordered the whole of the cavalry force nuder General Torbert to accompany me to Front Royal, from whence I intended to push it through Chester Gap to the Virginia Central Railroad at Charlottesville, while I passed through Manassas Gap to Piedmont, thence by rail to Washington. Upon my arrival with the cavalry at Front Royal, on the night of the 16th, I received the following dispatch from General Wright, who was left at Cedar Creek in command of the army:
HEADQUARTERS MIDDLE MILITARY DIVISION,
October 16, 1864.
Maj. Gen. P. H. SHERIDAN,
Commanding Middle Military Division:
GENERAL: I enclose you dispatch which explains itself (see copy following) If the enemy should be strongly re-enforced in cavalry, he might, by turning our right, give us a great deal of trouble. I shall hold on here until the enemy's movements are developed, and shall only fear an attack on my right, which I shall make every preparation for guarding against and resisting.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. G. WRIGHT,
Be ready to move as soon as my forces join you and we will crush Sheridan.
This message was taken off the rebel signal flag on Three Top Mountain. My first thought was that it was a ruse, but on reflection deemed it best to abandon the cavalry raid and give to General Wright the entire strength of the army. I therefore ordered the cavalry to return and report to him, and addressed the following note on the subject:
HEADQUARTERS MIDDLE MILITARY DIVISION,
Front Royal, October 16,1864.
Maj. Gen. H.G. WRIGHT,
Commanding, Sixth Army Corps:
GENERAL: The cavalry is all ordered back to you; make your position strong. If Longstreet's dispatch is true, he is under the impression that we have largely detached. I will go over to Augur, and may get additional news. Close in Colonel Powell, who will be at this point. If the enemy should make an advance I know you will defeat him. Look well to your ground and be well prepared. Get up everything that can be spared. I will bring up all I can, and will be up on Tuesday,
P. H. SHERIDAN,
After sending this note I continued through Manassas Gap and on to Piedmont, and from thence by rail to Washington, arriving on the morning of the 17th. At 12 m. I returned by special train to Martinsburg, arriving on the evening of the 18th at Winchester, in company with Colonels Thom and Allexander, of the Engineer Corps, sent with me by General Halleck. During my absence the enemy had gathered all his strength, and, in the night of the 18th and early on the 19th, moved silently from Fisher's Hill, through Strasburg, pushed a heavy turning column across the Shenandoah, on the road from Strasburg to Front Royal, and again recrossed the river at Bowman's Ford, striking Crook, who held the left of our line, in flank and rear, so unexpectedly and forcibly as to drive in his outposts, invade his camp, and turn his position. This surprise was owing, probably, to not closing in Powell, or that the cavalry divisions of Merritt and Custer were placed on the right of our line, where it had always occurred to me there was but little danger of attack. This was followed by a direct attack upon our front, and the result was that the whole army was driven back in confusion to a point about one mile and a half north of Middletown, a very large portion of the infantry not even preserving a company organization. At about 7 o'clock on the morning of the 19th of October an officer on picket at Winchester reported artillery firing, but, supposing it resulted from a reconnaissance which had been ordered for this morning I paid no attention to it, and was unconscious of the true condition of affairs until about 9 o'clock, when, having ridden through the town of Winchester, the sound of the artillery made a battle unmistakable, and on reaching Mill Creek half a mile south of Winchester, the head of the fugitives appeared in sight, trains and men coming to the rear with appalling rapidity. I immediately gave directions to halt and park the trains at Mill Creek, and ordered the brigade at Winchester to stretch across the country and stop all stragglers. Taking twenty men from my escort, I pushed on to the front, leaving the balance under General Forsyth and Colonels Thom and Alexander to do what they could in stemming the torrent of fugitives. I am happy to say that hundreds of the men, when on reflection found they had not done themselves justice, came back with cheers.
On arriving at the front I found Merritt's and Custer's divisions of cavalry, under Torbert, and General Getty's division, of the Sixth Corps, opposing the enemy. I suggested to General Wright that we would fight on Getty's line and to transfer Custer to the right at once, as he (Custer) and Merritt, from being on the right in the morning, had been transferred to the left; that the remaining two divisions of the Sixth Corps, which were to the right and rear of Getty about two miles, should be ordered up, and also that the Nineteenth Corps, which was on the right and rear of these two divisions, should be hastened up before the enemy attacked Getty. I then started out all my staff officers to bring up these troops, and was so convinced that we would soon be attacked that I went back myself to urge them on. Immediately after I returned and assumed command, (general Wright returning to his corps, Getty to his division, and the line of battle was formed on the prolongation of General Getty's line, and a temporary breast-work of rails, logs, tic., thrown up hastily. Shortly after this was done the enemy advanced, and from a point on the left of our line of battle I could see his columns moving to the attack, and at once notified corps commanders to be prepared. This assault fell principally on the Nineteenth Corps' and was repulsed. I am pleased to be able to state that the strength of the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps and Crook's command was now being rapidly augmented by the return of those who had gone to the rear early in the day. Reports coming in from the Front Royal pike, on which PowelPs division of cavalry was posted, to the effect that a heavy column of infantry was moving on that pike in the direction of Winchester, and that he (Powell) was retiring and would come in at Xewtown, caused me great anxiety for the time, and although I could not fully believe that such a movement would be undertaken, still it delayed my general attack. At 4 p.m. I ordered the advance. This attack was brilliantly made, and as the enemy was protected by rail breast-works, and at some portions of his line by stone fences, his resistance was very determined. His line of battle overlapped the right of mine, and by turning with this portion of it on the flank of the Nineteenth Corps caused a slight momentary confusion. This movement was checked, however, by a counter-charge of General McMillan's brigade upon the re-entering angle thus formed by the enemy' and his flanking party cut off. It was- at this stage of the battle that Custer was ordered to charge with his entire division, but, although the order was promptly obeyed, it was not in time to capture the whole of the force thus cut off, and many escaped across Cedar Creek. Simultaneous with this charge a combined movement of the whole line drove the enemy in confusion to the creek, where, owing to the difficulties of crossing, his army became routed. Custer, finding a ford on Cedar Creek west of the pike, and Devin, of Merritt's division, one to the east of it, they each made the crossing just after dark and pursued the routed mass of the enemy to Fisher's Hill, where this strong position gave him some protection against our cavalry, but the most of his transportation had been captured, the road from Cedar Creek to Fisher's Hill, a distance of over three miles' being literally blockaded by wagons, ambulances, artillery, caissons, &c. The enemy did not halt his main force at Fisher's Hill, but continued the retreat during the night to New Market, where his army had, on a similar previous occasion, come together by means of the numerous roads that converge to this point.
This battle practically ended the campaign in the Shenandoah Valley When it opened we found our enemy boastful and confident, unwilling to acknowledge that the soldiers of the Union were their equal in courage and manliness; when it closed with Cedar Creek this impression had been removed from his mind, and gave place to good sense and a strong desire to quit fighting. The very best troops of the Confederacy had not only been defeated, but had been routed in successive engagements, until their spirit and esprit were destroyed. In obtaining these results, however, our loss in officers and men was severe. Practically all territory north of the James River now belonged to me, and the holding of the lines about Petersburg and Richmond by the enemy must have been embarrassing, and invited the question of good military Judgment.
On entering the Valley it was not my object by flank movements to make the enemy change his base, nor to move as far up as the James River, and thus give him the opportunity of making me change my base, thereby converting it into a race-course as heretofore, but to destroy, to the best of my ability, that which was truly the Confederacy—its armies. In doing this, so far as the opposing army was concerned, our success was such that there was no one connected with the Army of the Shenandoah who did not so fully realize it as to render the issuing of congratulatory orders unnecessary. Every officer and man was made to understand, that when a victory was gained, it was not more than their duty, nor less than their country expected from her gallant sons.
At Winchester, for a moment, the contest was uncertain but the gallant attack of General IJpton's brigade, of the Sixth corps, restored the line of battle, until the turning column of Crook, and Merritt's and Averell's divisions of cavalry, under Torbert, "sent the enemy whirling through Winchester." In thus particularizing commands and commanders, I only speak in the sense that they were so fortunate as to be available at these important movements. In the above-mentioned attack by Upton's brigade the lamented Russell fell. He had been previously wounded, but refused to leave the field. His death brought sadness to every heart in the army.
It was during a reconnaissance to Fisher's Hill, made on the 13th of October, 1864, that Col. George D. Wells, commanding a brigade in Crook's corps, was killed while gallantly leading his men.
At Fishers Hill it was again the good fortune of General Crook's command to start the enemy, and of General Ricketts' division, of the Sixth Corps to first gallantly swing in and more fully initiate the rout.
At Cedar Creek Getty's division, of the Sixth Corps, and Merritt's and Custer's divisions of cavalry' under Torbert, confronted the enemy from the first attack in the morning until the battle was decided, still none behaved more gallantly or exhibited greater courage than those who returned from the rear determined to reoccupy their lost camp In this engagement, early in the morning, the gallant Colonel Lowell of the regular brigade, was wounded while in the advance in echelon of Getty's division, but would not leave his command, remaining until the final attack on the enemy was made, in which he was killed. Generals Bidwell, of the Sixth Corps, and Thoburn, of Crook's command were also killed in the morning while behaving with conspicuous gallantry.
I submit the following list of the corps, division, and brigade commanders who were wounded in the campaign (the killed having already been especially noticed), regretting that the scope of this report will not admit of my specifying by name all the many gallant men who were killed and wounded in the numerous engagements in the Shenandoah Valley, and most respectfully call attention to the accompanying sub-reports for such particulars as will, I trust, do full justice to all: Generals H. G. Wright, J. B. Ricketts, Grover, Duval, E. Upton, R. S. Mackenzie, Kitching (since died of wounds), J. B. McIntosh, G. R. Chapman, Thomas C. Devin, Penrose; Cols. D. D. Johnson, Daniel Macauley, Jacob Sharpe.
From the 7th of August, the Middle Department, Department of Washington, Department of the Susquehanna, and the Department of West Virginia, were under my command, and I desire to express my gratitude to their respective commanders, Maj. Gens. Lew. Wallace, C.C. Augur, Couch, and Cadwalader, and to Major-Generals Hunter and Crook, who at separate times commanded the latter department, for the assistance given me. General Augur operated very effectively with a small force under his command, the reports of which were forwarded direct to the War Department. After the battle of Cedar Creek nothing of importance occurred in the Valley up to February 27, 1865, the day on which the cavalry moved from Winchester to Petersburg.
On the night of November 11, 1864, General Early moved some of his shattered forces to the north of Cedar Creek, for the purpose of bluster, I suppose, as all the night of the following day he hastily retired. In consequence of contradictory information received from scouts and captured cavalry prisoners, I was unconvinced of any rebel infantry being in my vicinity, until it was too late to overtake it in its galloping retreat, a retreat which was continued until in the vicinity of Lacey's Springs, near Harrisonburg. Powell engaged the rebel cavalry co-operating on the Front Royal pike with this force, and drove it through Front [loyal to Milford, capturing two pieces of artillery.
During this campaign I was at times annoyed by guerrilla bands, the most formidable of which was under a partisan chief named Mosby, who made his headquarters east of the Blue Ridge, in the section of country about Upperville. I had constantly refused to operate against these bands, believing them to be, substantially, a benefit to me, as they prevented straggling and kept my trains well closed up, and dlscharged such other duties as would have required a provost guard of at least two regiments of cavalry. In retaliation for the assistance and sympathy given them, however, by the inhabitants of Loudoun Valley, General Merritt, with two brigades of cavalry, was directed to proceed on the 28th of November, 1864, to that valley, under the following instructions:
HEADQUARTERS, MIDDLE MILITARY DIVISION,
November 87, 1S64.
Bvt. Maj. Gen. WESLEY MERRITT,
Commanding First Cavalry Division:
GENERAL.: You are hereby directed to proceed to-morrow morning at 7 o'clock, with the two brigades of your division now in camp, to the east sine of the Blue Ridge, via Ashby's Gap, Ned operate against the guerrillas in the district of country bounded on the south by the line of the Manassas Gap Railroad as fat east as White Plains, on the east by the Bull Run range, on the west by the Shenandoah River, and on the north by the Potomac. This section has been the hot-bed of lawless bands, who have from time to time depredated upon small parties on the line of army communications, on safeguards left at houses, and on troops. Their real object is plunder and highway robbery. To clear the country of these parties that are bringing destruction upon the innocent, as wolf as their guilty supporters, by their cowardly acts, you will consume and destroy all forage and subsistence, burn all barns and mills and their contents, and drive off all stock in the region the boundaries of which are above described. This order must be literally executed, bearing in mind, however, that no dwellings are to be burned, and that no personal violence be offered the citizens. The ultimate results of the guerrilla system of warfare is the total destruction of all private rights in the country occupied by such parties. This destruction may as well commence at once, and the responsibility of it must rest upon the authorities at Richmond, who have acknowledged the legitimacy of guerrilla bands. The injury done this army by them is very slight. The injury they have inflected upon the people, and upon the rebel army, may be counted by millions. The Reserve Brigade of your division win move to Snickersville on the 29th. Snickersville should be your point of concentration and the point from which you should operate in destroying toward the Potomac. Four days' subsistence will be taken by the command. Forage can be gathered from the country through which you pass. You will return to your present camp at Snickersvile on the fifth day
By command of Maj. Gen. P. H. Sheridan:
JAMES W. FORSYTH,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of Staff..
On December 19 General Torbert, with Merritt's and Powell's divisions, was pushed through Chester Gap to strike the Virginia Central Railroad at Charlottesville or Gordonsville. An engagement took place in which two pieces of artillery were captured, but failing to gain Gordonsville or strike the railroad he returned to Winchester, via Warrenton. Custer, with his division, was at the same time pushed up the Valley to make a diversion in favor of Torbert, but encountering the enemy near Harrisonburg, who attacked his camp at daylight on the ensuing day, he was obliged, in consequence of superior force, to retire. The weather was so intensely cold during these raids that horses and men suffered most severely, and many of the latter were badly frostbitten.
On the 5th of February Harry Gilmor, who appeared to be the last link between Maryland and the Confederacy, and whose person I desired in order that this link might be severed, was made prisoner near Moorefield, his capture being very skillfully made by Colonel Young, my chief of scouts, and a party under Lieutenant-Colonel Whitaker, First Connecticut Cavalry, sent to support him. Gilmor and Mosby carried on the same style of warfare, running trains off railways, robbing the passengers, &c.
In closing this report it gives me great pleasure to speak of the skill, energy, and gallantry displayed by my corps and division commanders, and I take this opportunity of acknowledging the assistance given me by them at all times. To the members of my staff, who so cheerfully on all occasions gave me their valuable assistance, who so industriously labored to execute every duty promptly, and who always behaved with gallantry, I return my sincere thanks. They all joined with me in the deep grief felt at the loss sustained by the army, and the friendly ties broken by the death of their fellow staff officers, Colonel Tolles, chief quartermaster, and Assistant Surgeon Ohlenschlager, medical inspector, who were killed while on their way from Martinsburg to Cedar Creek in October, 1864, and in that of the death of the gallant Lieutenant Meigs, my chief engineer, who was killed while examining and mapping the country near Bridgewater, just above Harrisonburg. This young officer was endeared to me on account of his invaluable knowledge of the country, his rapid sketching, his great intelligence, and his manly and soldierly qualities. I would also here especially mention the loss of two of my most efficient staff officers, Lieutenant-Colonels Kellogg and O'Keeffe, both of whom died after having passed through the dangers and privations of years of warfare, the former of fever, consequent upon excessive labor during the campaign from Petersburg to Appomattox, the latter from wounds received at the battle of Five Forks.
The report of the march from Winchester to Petersburg, to engage in the final campaign, has heretofore been furnished, [OR, Vol XLVI.] but I consider it in fact a sequel to this.
I attach hereto an abstract of ordnance and ordnance stores captured from the enemy during the campaign (the 101 pieces of artillery being exclusive of the twenty-four pieces recaptured in the afternoon at Cedar Creek), also a detailed report of my casualties, which are, in the aggregate, as follows: Killed, 1,938; wounded, 11,893; missing, 3,121; total, 16,952
The records of the provost-marshal, Middle Military Division, show about 13,000 prisoners (as per annexed certificate) to have been received by him and receipts are among the records of the assistant adjutant general, Middle Military Division, for forty-nine battle-flags, forwarded to the honorable the Secretary of War.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. H. SHERIDAN,
Major-General, U.S. Army.
Bvt. Maj. Gen. JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Chief of Staff, Washington, D.C..