War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0530 Chapter XXIV. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD.

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WILLIAMSPORT, May 26, 1862.

(Received 2.20 p. m.)

The enemy driving in our pickets across the river. Everything of importance safe-guns, ordnance trains, and nearly all the trains.

N. P. BANKS,

Major-General, Commanding.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

WILLIAMSPORT, May 26, 1862-4 p. m.

(Received 10.6 p. m.)

I have the honor to report the safe arrival of command at this place last evening at 10 o'clock and the Passage of the Fifth Corps across the river to-day with comparatively but little loss. The loss of men killed, wounded, and missing in the different combats in which my command has participated since the march from Strasburg on the morning of the 24th instant I am unable now to report, but I have great gratification in being able to represent it, although serious, as much less than might have been anticipated, considering the very great disparity of forces engaged and the long-matured plans of the enemy, which aimed at nothing less than entire capture of our force. A detailed statement will be forwarded as soon as possible. My command encountered the enemy in a constant succession of attacks and at well-contested engagements at Strasburg, Middletown, Newtown, at a point also between these places, and at Winchester. The force of the enemy was estimated at from 15,000 to 20,000 men, with very strong artillery and cavalry supports. My own force consisted of two brigades, less than 4,000 strong, all told, 1,500 cavalry, ten Parrott guns, and six smooth-bores. The substantial preservation of the entire supply is a source of gratification. It numbered about 500 wagons, o a forced march of 53 miles, 35 of which were performed in one day, subject to constant attack in front, rear, and flank, according to its position, by enemy in full force. By the panics of teamsters and the mischances of river passage of more than 300 yards, with slender preparations for ford and ferry, it lost not more than 50 wagons. A full statement of this loss will be forwarded forthwith. Very great commendation is due to Captain S. B. Holabird, assistant quartermaster, and Captain E. G. Beckwith for the safety of the train. Our troops are in good spirits and occupy both sides of the river.

N. P. BANKS,

Major-General, Commanding.

The PRESIDENT.

MAY 26, 1862-8.20 p. m.

(Received May 27, 2.35 a. m.)

The enemy's pickets have been in our front, and some skirmishing, but not in any force, between this and Martinsburg. I do not think there is any great force there. Shall test it to-morrow. Our troops supposed to have been cut off by enemy are coming in considerable numbers; some by Sharpsburg, other by Hancock. Trains all across river. Everything quiet. Enemy alarmed; has withdrawn, I think.

N. P. BANKS.

Honorable E. M. STANTON.