Couriers by two different routes had brought me intelligence that the enemy having gunned the bridge at Stony River, on the Northwest pike, early in the afternoon of Sunday, had gone into camp a little east of Greenland, with intention to remain for several days, and had burned the bridge at the gap there, to protect them from a rear attack. Learning also that Stany River could be passed without serous delay; that the camp a little east of Greenland could be turned by a march from New Creek Station and also by a detour to the right in proceeding from the west by way of Greenland, and believing that a strong expedition moving with celerity might except to reach the enemy at or before be would reach Petersburg and return in safety, I considered that such a movement would be within my discretion, and also within my instructions.
Accordingly, Colonel Stanley, with nearly 600 men of the Eighteenth Regiment, and Colonel Dunning, with 700 men of the Fifth Regiment, were ordered to move by the diagonal road from Oakland over the mountains to the bridge on the pike over the North Branch of the Potomac, there to be joined by eight companies of the Eighth Regiment, under Colonel Depuy; seven companies of the Sixteenth, under Colonel Irvine; six companies of the Fifteenth, under Colonel G. W. Andrews, and two companies of the First Virginia Regiment, which were to move from Red House with the Ringgold Cavalry, Captain Keys, and two guns of Captain Daum's battery; Colonel Morton, with six companies of the Twentieth Ohio and two Virginia companies, and Lieutenant-Colonel Turley, with five companies of the Twenty-second Ohio and two guns of Captain daum's battery, were ordered to proceed by railroad to New Creek Station, to attack the enemy from the north. The column to form its junction on the Northwest pike, at the North Branch of the Potomac, was to move towards Greenland, and leaving that on its left press on to the intersection of roads leading to Petersburg and Moorefield, and to be followed by Colonel W. S. Smith, with the Thirteenth Regiment and a battery of two guns - he having been ordered up from Grafton, where he was waiting on the cars. The different columns were to, and did, keep up communication by couriers, and were to co-operate whenever the case required.
The column of Colonels Dunning and Stanley left Oakland with me at 5 p. m. on the 15th; was joined by Colonel Irvine's column, as intended, and marched inside of the first twenty-four hours to Groves', five miles beyond Greenland, the distance being estimated at thirty-five and a half miles from Oakland. The enemy broke up his camp near Greenland and retired as we approached that place, and reached Petersburg in the afternoon or evening of the 16th. That night we were but fourteen miles from the enemy, and scouts were sent towards Petersburg, as also towards Moorefield and Romney, to keep watch of the enemy's movements in all directions. The column from the west, with the first division of one-third of the whole, made up of picked men, got off early the next morning, and after a four mile march was stopped by a courier with a dispatch from Major-General McClellan, ordering the pursuit to be abandoned.
it was subsequently ascertained that the enemy had resumed his march in the direction of Staunton. The column would have abandoned the pursuit at any rate if the enemy could not have reached at or in the immediate vicinity of Petersburg. The column marched united, and remained for the night. The next day the entire body marched by the Northwest pike to the North Branch of the Potomac and encamped.