of 4 and 5 o'clock a. m. my wagons were sent to the rear as far as Cedar Creek, with instructions to await the further orders of the brigade commander.
At 5 o'clock a. m. I was directed by Brigadier-General Hatch, commanding cavalry, to proceed with my regiment to the town of Woodstock, with instructions to reconnoiter the position of the enemy, if there, as well as to hold them in check, to further the advance of the division.
Arriving within half a mile of the town, I directed one squadron (Companies B and D) to precede the regiment as an advance, with instructions to pass through the town and reconnoiter the suburbs beyond.
Upon the return of the squadron, and ascertaining to my entire satisfaction that the enemy had not occupied the town in any considerable force for some time, I counter-marched my regiment, and returned to my camp near Strasburg, arriving there at 9 o'clock a.m.
At 10 o'clock three companies (Companies F, C, and E), under command of Captain Hall, squadron captain, were ordered to report to Major-General Banks for immediate service.
At 12 o'clock m. one squadron, Companies A and G, under command of Senior Major Collins, were ordered to report to Brigadier-General Hatch. At the same time I received instructions to bring up the rear of the army and to destroy all public property after the army had advanced beyond Strasburg.
At 3 o'clock p. m. I mounted my command and left camp to carry out these instructions. Arriving at Strasburg, my instructions were countermanded, and I was to join General Hatch immediately with the remaining five companies of my regiment. Pursuant to this order I proceeded as far as the suburbs of Middletown, where I found the enemy in force. Their line of infantry was very extensive, and was well supported by cavalry and artillery. My regiment was formed in column of squadrons, in readiness to charge. The only troops in the field, independent of my five companies, consisted of a New York battery of 10-pounder Parrott guns and one company of zouaves. These latter were being drive in upon my arrival by the advance skirmishers of the enemy. Perceiving the enemy were advancing in too strong force for a successful opposition to be made, I deemed it advisable to retreat in order, abandon the wagons, and make an attempt to join General Hatch by making a detour to the left of the enemy's right flank, and signifying my intention to Captain Hampton, of the New York battery, immediately commenced the movement, and was so far successful as to join Brigadier-General Hatch at Winchester at 11.30 p. m. of the same day, bringing in with me six pieces of artillery and a portion of the Fifth New York Cavalry. The entire baggage train of the regiment was abandoned and fired, and rendered entirely worthless and useless to the enemy.
My horses wee foraged, but the men were without food, and were completely exhausted from the fatigue of the day, but bore their arduous duty with the courage and steadiness of old and well-tried soldiers, and behaved through the day in a manner to surprise and excite the admiration of their commander.
Captains Preston and Conger, and Lieutenants Huntoon, Beman, and Adams, and Private C. P. Stone, of Company F, acting as chief wagner, are particularly deserving of attention, and I would respectfully recommend them to the attention of the brigadier-general commanding. I must also speak in terms of the highest praise of the