The Second and Fifth Corps crossed at Harper's Ferry between the 29th of October and the 1st of November. Heavy rains delayed the movement considerably in the beginning, and the First, Fifth, and Sixth Corps were obliged to halt at least one day at the crossings, to complete, as far as possible, necessary supplies that could not be procured at an earlier period.
The plan of campaign I adopted during this advance was to move the army, well in hand, parallel to the Blue Ridge, taking Warrenton as the point of direction for the main body, seizing each pass on the Blue Ridge by detachments as we approached it, and guarding them after we had passed as long as they would enable the enemy to trouble our communications with the Potomac. It was expected that we would unite with the Eleventh Corps and Sickles' division near Thoroughfare Gap. We depended upon Harper's Ferry and Berlin for supplies until the Manassas Gap Railway was reached. When that occurred, the passes in our rear were to be abandoned, and the army massed ready for action or movement in any direction.
It was my intention if, upon reaching Ashby's or any other pass, I found that the enemy were in force between it and the potomac in the Valley of the Shenandoah, to move into the valley, and endeavor to gain their rear. I hardly hoped to accomplish this, but did expect that, by striking in between Culpeper court-House and Little washington, I could either separate their army and beat them in detail, or else force them to concentrate as far back as Gordonsville, and thus place the Army of the Potomac in position either to adopt the Fredericksburg line of advance upon Richmond, or to be removed to the Peninsula, if, as apprehended, it were found impossible to supply it by the Orange and Alexandria Railroad beyond Culpeper.
On the 27th of October the remaining divisions of the ninth Corps crossed at Berlin, and Pleasonton's cavalry advanced to Purcellville. The concentration of the Sixth Corps, delayed somewhat by intelligence as to the movements of the enemy near Hedgesville, & c., was commenced on this day, and the First Corps was already in motion for Berlin.
On the 28th the First Corps and the general headquarters reached Berlin.
On the 29th the reserve artillery crossed and encamped near Lovettsville. Stoneman's division, temporarily attached to the Ninth Corps, occupied Leesburg; Averell's cavalry brigade moved toward Berlin from Hagerstown; two divisions of the Ninth Corps moved to Wheatland, and one to Waterford. The Second Corps commenced the passage of the Shenandoah at Harper's
Ferry, and moved into the valley east of Loudoun Heights.
On the 30th the First Corps crossed at Berlin and encamped near Lovettsville, and the Second Corps completed the passage of the Shenandoah. The Fifth Corps commenced its march from Sharpsburg to Harper's Ferry.
On the 31st the Second Corps moved to the vicinity of Hillsborough; the Sixth Corps reached Boonsborough; the Fifth Corps reached Harper's Ferry, one division crossing the Shenandoah.
On the 1st of November the First Corps moved to Purcellville and Hamilton; the Second Corps to Wood Grove; the Fifth Corps to Hillsborough; the Sixth Corps reached Berlin, one division crossing. Pleasonton's cavalry occupied Philomont, having a sharp skirmish there and at Bloomfield.
On November 1 the Second Corps occupied Snicker's Gap; the Fifth