along the route from Strasburg toward Winchester, so as to keep communication from the rear to the front. I placed Lieutenant Halsted with 2 men upon the station nearest to Strasburg, with his cavalry. Lieutenant Spencer occupied the next station near Middletown, with the same instructions for leaving as I gave Lieutenant Halsted. Lieutenant Wicker occupied the next station, Lieutenant Miner the next, Lieutenant Larned the next, at Newtown.
All had the same order to remain upon their respective stations until General Hatch came up with the rear guard. I left Strasburg about 10 o'clock a. m., and upon arriving in the vicinity of Middletown I found a general stampede with the teamsters, many turning about, driving pell-mell, causing for a few minutes the greatest consternation. many wagons were upset, while many were left standing with the teams unhitched and taken away. In a short time quiet and order were restored, and the trains moved on quietly. As near as I could learn, the cause of the stampede was occasioned by the appearance of some rebel cavalry in their front, who fired, or threatened to fire, upon them.
I then went on with the advance guard to Newtown, where I saw a small party of cavalry of the enemy running from the town toward the woods on the right of town. Our advance guard moved on through the town and proceeded abut a quarter of a mile, when some rebel cavalry was seen moving toward our rear upon our right. The cavalry halted until the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania, Colonel Knipe commanding, came up to the town, when the Forty-sixth immediately deployed to the right of the town, penetrating into some woods, followed by two pieces of artillery. The rebel cavalry was in fair sight about half a mile distant. The artillery opened upon them, driving them into the woods. After throwing a few shells the guns limbered up, and, with the Forty-sixth, proceeded to the turnpike toward Winchester.
Soon after this, about 2 p. m., Lieutenant Wicker and Harvey were forced from their station by the rebel cavalry. Up to this time the stations had worked finely, transmitting many messages from rear to front and vice versa. Lieutenant Mine followed when they joined me. After this time no signals were used during the day. Lieutenant Spencer with his three men started to join me as soon as Lieutenant Wicker left, and upon arriving at Middletown he was forced to fly to the woods upon the right of the town. A company of rebel cavalry being upon the turnpike in front, a regiment of infantry in a field to the right of the road, and another squad of cavalry coming down upon them to the right, Lieutenant Spencer put spurs to his horse, followed by his men, and escaped to the woods, receiving only one volley from the infantry, which did no harm. He arrived at Winchester about 9 p. m. all right. Lieutenant Halsted during this time had been cut entirely off from us, so that he was obliged to take to the mountain road, arriving in camp the 27th instant, crossing the river at Hancock.
The corps encamped at Winchester during the night of the 24th, and on the 25th, as soon as the fog cleared away so that signals could be used to advantage, we proceeded to the field of battle. I was ordered to establish communication between the right and left wings of our forces. Just as I had got the stations established, ad before any communication was sent, the retreat commenced, we retreating with the others, Lieutenant Wicker being among the last to leave the field. A portion of our troops retreated in considerable disorder for a short