Sending the Eighth Regiment, Colonel Depuy, to the Red House, and the baggage around by the same route, the other troops marched to Oakland, arriving there about 10 a. m. Friday, the 19th instant. The march was certainly a very trying one, and brought out the good qualities of the officers and men to a remarkable degree. Too much could not be said in praise of the cheerful spirit and persevering fortitude of the command.
With the most active and thorough use of scouts, mounted men, and on foot, the country was ascertained to be so clear of the enemy in any force as to give no indications of his interrupting our movements during the period intended to be covered by the expedition.
Appended is a map, showing the topography of the country and the line of march. Copies of all the reports received from those constituting parts of the command are forwarded herewith. I regret the length of this report, but the unjust imputations cast upon me rendered it due to the service and to myself that the material facts should be stated.
They are respectfully submitted.
CHAS. W. HILL,
Major General G. B. MCCLELLAN,
Commanding Department of the Ohio.
Numbers 9. Report of Colonel J. Irvine, Sixteenth Ohio Infantry, of operations from July 11 to 15.
HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH REGIMENT O. V. M.,
Oakland, Md., July 20, 1861.
GENERAL: In reply to your order of the 19th instant, requiring me to report the steps by me to intercept the retreat of the rebels from Laurel Hill, I have the honor to report that in obedience to your order I occupied and fortified the junction of the Buffalo turnpike with the Northwest road, together with the Cheat Bridge. Subsequent reconnaissances indicated the occupation of a point farther to the eastward on the Northwestern road, and upon the suggestion of Colonel Whittlesey, and your approval, I occupied the junction of the Saint George turnpike with the Northwestern with two companies then made was supposed to be the extreme eastern point of access to the Northwestern road from the vicinity of Laurel hill.
On the information received from you I advanced with the remainder of my regiment (in all seven companies) and one gun to West Union on Friday night, the 11th of July, arriving shortly after midnight, where I was joined by Colonel Depuy, of the Eighth Ohio, with his six companies. On Saturday, the 12th, Colonel Depuy and myself made reconnaissances of the roads in the vicinity, but failed to get the correct information sought. It was not until near midnight of the 12th that I learned that the road entering the Northwest pike at Red House was not a branch of the Saint George pike. I immediately dispatched mounted scouts to Horseshoe Run road (the one entering at Red House), and they brought me information of the passage of the enemy at about 6 1/2 o'clock of the 15th. I immediately put my command in motion, and marched eastward on the Northwest pike to Red House, where I learned the enemy had left at 5 o'clock a. m. I followed, crossing