War of the Rebellion: Serial 028 Page 0052 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD AND PA.

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No. 17 Report of Major General J. E. B. Stuart, C. S. Army, commanding Cavalry Division.


October 14, 1862.

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that, on the 9th instant, in compliance with instructions from the commanding general Army of Northern Virginia, I proceeded on an expedition into Pennsylvania with a cavalry force of 1,800 and four pieces of horse artillery, under command of Brigadier-General Hampton and Cols. W. H. F. Lee and Jones. This force rendezvoused at Darkesville at 12 m., and marched thence to the vicinity of Hedgesville, where it encamped for the night.

At daylight next morning, October 10, I crossed the Potomac at McCoy's(between Williamsport and Hancock) with some little opposition, capturing two or there horses of enemy's pickets. We were told here by citizens that a large force had encamped the night before at Clear Spring, and were supposed to be en route to Cumberland. We proceeded northward until we reached the turnpike leading from Hagerstown to Hancock (known as the National road). Here a signal station on the mountain and most of the party, with their flags and apparatus, were surprised and captured, and also 8 or 10 prisoners of war, from whom, as well as from citizens, I found that the large force alluded to had crossed but an hour ahead of me toward Cumberland, and consisted of six regiments of Ohio troops and two batteries, under General Cox, and were en route via Cumberland for the Kanawha. I sent back this intelligence at once to the commanding general. Striking directly across the National road, I proceeded in the direction of Mercersburg, Pa., which point was reached about 12m. I was extremely anxious to reach Hagerstown, where large supplies were stored, but was satisfied, from reliable information, the notice the enemy had of my approach and the proximity of his forces would enable him to prevent my capturing it. I therefore turned toward Chambersburg. I did not reach this point until after dark, in a rain. I did not deem it safe to defer the attack until morning, nor was it proper to attack a place full of women and children without summoning it first to surrender. I accordingly sent in a flag of truce, and found no military or civil authority in the place, but some prominent citizens who met the officer were notified that the place would be occupied, and if any resistance were made, the place would be shelled in there minutes. Brig, General Wade Hampton's command, being in advance, took possession of the place, and I appointed him miliary governor of the city. No incident occurred during the night, during which it rained continuously. The officials all fled the town on our approach, and no one could be found who would admit that he held office in the place. About 275 sick and wounded in hospital were paroled. During the day a large number of horses of citizens were seized and brought along. The wires were cut, and railroad obstructed, and Colonel Jones' command was sent up the railroad toward Harrisburg to destroy a trestle-work a few miles off. He, however, reported that it was constructed of iron, and he could not destroy it.

Next morning it was ascertained that a large number of small-arms and munitions of war were stored about the railroad buildings, all of which that could not be easily brought away were destroyed, consisting of about 5,000 new muskets, pistols, sabers, ammunition; also a large