War of the Rebellion: Serial 028 Page 0161 Chapter XXXI. RECONNAISSANCE TO RIPPON, VA.

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way between Halltown and Charlestown, from which place we routed the Twelfth Virginia Cavalry. A small force of infantry was in proximity to their rear, south of woods, separated by fields, from which they were compelled by our artillery and infantry to respectively fall back. Our want of cavalry was here greatly demonstrated, as, with a force of mounted men, we could have captured nearly the entire party. We pushed them under fire rapidly until they reached their place of encampment, near Rippon, 5 miles north of Berryville, at a strategic point of the road, where it is crossed by that leading from Bunker Hill. The camps gave evidence that four or five regiments of cavalry and several pieces of artillery had been quartered there, corroborative of my previous information, which announced that Chew's and a portion of another battery had been there several days, and still occupied their position. We vigorously attacked the encampment, pouring in a heavy fire form several points, compelling them to leave precipitately toward Berryvile, leaving their fires burning, bread baking, several unsaddled horses, and a number of beef cattle. With a cavalry pursuit would have effected nothing, and, the object of the reconnaissance having been accomplished, and finding no inducement to prolong the time originally ordered, the column returned.

My investigations proved conclusively that there are not more than 3,000 or 4,000 men in the valley this side of Front Royal. The two General Hill have left the valley and gone southward, by way of Front Royal. Jackson left Bunker Hill about October 30 or 31, proceeding to Berryville; thence, on the following day, to the vicinity of Millwood and White Post, and, on the 3rd or 4th, to Front Royal. I am satisfied that the force remaining consists of about five regiments of cavalry, with about eight pieces of artillery, and the infantry is covered by about three of four regiments.

The recent raid through Snicker's Gap to Snikersville was made by portions of the troops about Berryville, and those which were routed near Rippon yesterday.

Upon this expedition I was accompanied by Colonel Ruger, on the First, and Brigadier-General Jackson, of the Second Brigade, to whom I am indebted for much valuable assistance.

The officers and men exhibited, with but few exceptions, good conduct, gallantry, and an alacrity to engage the enemy. The small cavalry party, 12 in number, is deserving of much praise for the performance of the duties to which it was assigned.

We returned the same evening, after a round march of 28 miles, accomplished with much promptness.

I observed that nearly all the corn within a large circuit had been consumed by the rebels, and they are still engaged in hauling wheat and flour up the valley toward Stauton. The country wears a deplorable aspect, being devastated almost to the last degree. The inhabitants are impoverished, and most of them have not the resources to carry them through the winter, in their present condition.

The horses, cattle, and other property captured have been duly turned over to the division quartermaster and commissary. The prisoners have been delivered to the provost-marshal at Harper's Ferry. Their names are contained in the appendix.

No casualties occurred on our side, except 1 man of the One hundred and forty-ninth New York Volunteers accidentally shot through the arm.