Owing to the arduous duties imposed upon my cavalry companies up to the that time the enemy left Strasburg upon his retreat to Winchester I started in pursuit with one company (Captain Sheetz's), with orders for Captains Bowen and Turner to come on during the night (Friday). After reaching Newtown, or on the way there, I dispatch an order for all of the companies to come up. When I sent Captains Bowen and George W. Myers to Clarke Country I left Captains Shands and Harper upon the back road. I proceeded with such of Captains Turner's and Sheetz's companies as were fit for duty toward Winchester, Captains Henderson and Marshall coming up while I was skirmishing with them and Captain Baylor being on the Front Royal road.
These companies having had insufficient forage and rest for one week or more, reduced their number in the fight of the 23rd to not more than 150 upon the right with me, and I am informed by Major Funsten that he had but 140 men.
I fell that an explanation is due for my ranks being so small; but when I assure you of the poor condition of my men and horses, and not expecting a fight until next day, will explain the absence of so many.
Numbers 26. Report of Major O. R. Funsten, Seventh Virginia Cavalry.
CAMP NEAR HAWKINSTOWN, VA.,
April 7, 1862.
COLONEL: I make the following report of the operations of the left wing of the regiment of cavalry commanded by you in the battle near Kernstown, on the 23rd ultimo. My delay in making a report has been occasioned by not receiving at an earlier date the reports of Captains Sheetz and Baylor:
On the morning of the 23rd nothing of much importance occurred until after the arrival of General Jackson's advance, when I was ordered to send two companies from the left top the right wing.
About 4 o'clock, General Jackson having directed me to hold my command in readiness to make a charge in the event that the enemy were driven back, and my force amounting to only about 70 men, inclusive of pickets, I sent a messenger to request you to send me two companies, if you could spare them from the right. Captains Sheetz's and Turner's companies were sent, and took position on the extreme left soon after the infantry fight commenced.
About 6 o'clock, when the fortune of the day seemed to be tuning against us, General Jackson directed me to take a certain position in our rear in the event of our troops falling back, and to charge the enemy as they advanced in that direction, stating at the same time that I would be support by artillery. I immediately ordered Captain Sheetz' sand Turner's companies to report to me after leaving a strong picket ion the extreme left. The position which was occupied by the picket is a high ridge about 800 yards from the battle ground, and commands a view of the Cedar Creek and Opequon turnpike on the wert (distant about a mile from the battle ground) and of the intervening valley on the east. In addition to this, I directed Captain Bailor to take 20 men and watch the movements of the enemy between the pickets and our left.