War of the Rebellion: Serial 028 Page 0086 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

Search Civil War Official Records

Infantry, Sykes' division, 1,250 strong, commanded by Major Charles S. Lovell, Fifth U. S. Infantry; Tyler's brigade, Third Division, 2,500 strong, commanded by Colonel E. M. Gregory, Ninety-first Pennsylvania Volunteers; Griffin's brigade, Morell's division, 2,250 strong, commanded by Colonel C. M. Alexander, District of Columbia Volunteers, the whole constituting a force of 500 cavalry, six pieces of artillery, and 6,000 infantry.

The difficult crossing of the canal and river, watched by the enemy, occupied much time. The command marched in the order stated, the advance guard of the cavalry, 150 of the Fifth U. S. Cavalry, being commanded by Lieutenant J. P. Ash, of that regiment. Two miles

beyond Shepherdstown our advance was resisted by four regiments of Lee's cavalry brigade and two pieces of artillery, commanded by Major General J. E. B. Stuart. An attempt to draw them into ambuscade failing, they were driven from position to position, the ground being highly favorable to defensive operations, to half a mile beyond Kearnesville (6 1\2 miles beyond Shepherstown). Here they were re-enforced by the remainder of Lee's brigade of cavalry, two regiments, four pieces of artillery, and a brigade of infantry (formerly Jackson's), five regiments strong, commanded by Colonel Charles A. Ronald. Our six pieces of artillery were rapidly placed

in position; the skirmishers of the United States infantry advanced in open ground upon theirs, posted in the wood, and in fifteen minutes, or less time, their force was driven from this position. This took place about sunset.

I have subsequently learned that the enemy's infantry advanced from Bunker Hill the night before, hat reached Kearneysville about 3 p. m., and were engaged in destroying the railroad in that vicinity when our approach interrupted them. One regiment of this brigade

Fifth Virginia Infantry) had been occupied for there days previous in breaking up the Winchester Railroad, at Thompson's [Stephenson's] Station, 6 miles beyond Smithfield.

In selecting a position to encamp for the night I was governed by the following considerations, viz: Information, believed to be worthy of confidence, had been obtained during the day that there was a camp of infantry (a brigade) on the Opequon, at Strider's Mill, 3 miles from Kearneysville; the cavalry detachment, of 150 men, commanded by Captain Crowninshield, sent on the road from

Shepherdstown to Martinsburg, reported a large cavalry force, with two pieces of artillery, at Williamston, 3 miles to my right; two vedette parties, sent by me in the direction of Charlestown, to communicate with General Hancock, had not returned, and I was thus left in doubt whether I was not open to the enemy on the left as well as on the right and in front. Accordingly, I encamped for the night at the cross-roads leading to Martinsburg and to Charlestown, retracing my steps 1 mile toward Shepherdstown.

The vedette party sent out from Shepherdstown returned at night, just as the troops had encamped, and reported, and reported that a force of at least 300 of the enemy's cavalry, with one piece of artillery, occupied the crossing of the railroad, on the Shepherstown and Halltown road, but that he had eluded them, and delivered my dispatch to General Hancock, who occupied Charlestown. In returning, he saw their camp-fires near the same ground.

The next morning, at daylight, the march was resumed in the same order as the previous day, the cavalry in advance, throwing out detachments of about 25 men on the roads leading toward Martinsburg and the Martinsburg pike, with instructions to report from time to time; the United States infantry next (with two pieces of artillery), throwing