report the operations of the First and Third Brigades of this division on the 24th and 25th instant. I beg leave to premise that the composition and strength of this division on the morning of the 24th instant, when I received orders to make preparations for an immediate evacuation of Strasburg, Va., were as follows:
First Brigade-Colonel D. Donnelly, Twenty-eighth New York Volunteers, commanding: Twenty-eighth Regiment New York Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel E. F. Brown; Fifth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel G. D. Chapman; Forty-sixth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel J. F. Knipe.
The First Regiment Maryland Volunteers, attached to this brigade,w as on duty at Front Royal. Intelligence then partly received, and since fully confirmed, had reached us on the night preceding the march that this fine regiment was nearly, if not wholly, destroyed on that day by an overwhelming force of the rebels. A company of pioneers, some 50 men, under Captain Mapes, Twenty-eighth New York Volunteers, also on duty near Front Royal, was made up of details from all the regiments. It suffered severely from the same attack, losing in killed, wounded, and missing 28 men.
Third Brigade-Colonel George H. Gordon, Second Massachusetts Volunteers, commanding: Second Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews; Third Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers, Colonel Ruger; Twenty-ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Murphy; Twenty-seventh Regiment Indiana Volunteers, Colonel Colgrove.
From this brigade five companies were on detached duty along the line of the railroad at or near Front Royal, under Lieutenant-Colonel Parham, Pennsylvania Volunteers. No report has been received from this officer.*
Artillery-1. Best's battery, light Company F, Fourth U. S. Artillery, Lieutenant F. B. Crosby, four 6-pounder guns and two 12-pounder howitzers, brass smooth-bores. 2. Cothran's battery, Company M, First New York Artillery, Lieutenant Peabody commanding, six Parrott guns. 3. Hampton's battery Maryland Artillery, Captain R. B. Hampton commanding, four Parrott guns.
Cavalry-Five companies of First Michigan Cavalry, Colonel T. F. Brodhead, numbering for duty less than 250 men.
This small command of not over 3,600 infantry present for duty, ten Parrott and six brass smooth-bore guns, not only comprised my division, but, with the cavalry, under the immediate command of Brigadier-General Hatch, and the major-general's personal escort was the entire force that could be brought to oppose this sudden, although not wholly unlooked-for, combination of the rebel columns under Jackson, Ewell, and Johnson, variously estimated by prisoners, deserters, and fugitives at from 20,000 to 30,000 men, with from fifty to sixty pieces of artillery.
Under these circumstances i hastened the execution of the major-general's order, and before daylight put in movement toward Winchester all the trains of the division, with such escort of cavalry and infantry as the smallness of the command and the uncertainty of the point of attack would warrant. I also ordered Donnelly's brigade, encamped about 6 miles above Strasburg, to join the division, in readiness for a rapid march to the rear. At the same time the Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Murphy, of Gordon's brigade, with a section of artillery, was ordered to occupy and reconnoiter the
*But see p. 560.