and McGilvery's batteries, and about 50 of the First Battalion Maryland Cavalry, at about 6.30 a.m., the troops supplied with one day's rations in haversacks and five days' additional in wagons.
We marched by the Harper's Ferry and Winchester turnpike to Charlestown, which we reached at about 8.30 a.m., coming suddenly upon two companies of the Twelfth Virginia Cavalry, who had taken position in vacant houses and in woods about three-fourths of a mile this side of the town. A skirmish here occurred between our advance and this body of the enemy, which latter prosecuted a constant firing for some fifteen minutes, resulting to them in the loss of 4 or 5 wounded and several horses killed, and in their rout. The column was at once pushed on through Charlestown, taking the Berryville road, upon which, from successively assumed positions, we drove another squadron of cavalry to within a mile of Berryville, where we discovered the Seventh and Twelfth Regiments of Virginia Cavalry upon a hill about 1 mile west of the town, who were dislodged by the prompt opening off Knap's Pennsylvania battery, in the advance, upon them, driving them in the direction off Winchester. The ground which they occupied being most desirably prominent, I took possession of it by advancing my whole force, and driving them from it. this movement was at once succeeded by the advance of one regiment of infantry and two pieces of artillery, under cover of a skirt of woodland for about 1 mile farther, in the same direction, where I placed them in defensive position, and sent forward my cavalry force about a mile farther on the same road, when they encountered the enemy, the whole of the Twelfth Virginia Cavalry, several hundred strong, who charged impetuously upon them. My cavalry retired, pursued by three parallel columns, following closely, the charging regiment cheering vociferously at every step as they advance, firing upon them, until they came to within about 100 yards of the muzzles of the advanced guns of Knap's battery, which, in conjunction with the Seventh Ohio Volunteers, opened fire upon them with fine effect, mortally wounding 4, and wounding about 20 others. Those mortally wounded died in the vicinity a short time after. Seven or eight of their horses were killed and mortally wounded, and the whole party of the enemy was dispersed in the greatest confusion and demoralization.
Being now about dusk, I did not deem it prudent to advance, and ordered a halt, for the double purpose of allowing the men to rest for the night and to gain information of the strength of the enemy before us regarding whom great uncertainty prevailed. Our troops bivouacked in line of battle upon the site of the skirmish, felling trees as temporary barricades.
On the following morning [Wednesday] rumors were rifle that General A. P. Hill was still in the valley, and also that rebel forces were in Millwood. I therefore concluded to thoroughly reconnoiter the country, preparatory to moving my entire force. It was stated by citizens that rebel troops ere at Millwood during the night, and also at Newtown, south of Winchester. The bold front assumed by the enemy's cavalry seemed to corroborate the rumors.
Detaching about 1,000 infantry and four pieces of artillery, and personally taking command of them. I pushed on to Opequon Creek, our passage being occasionally disputed by desultory firing from cavalry secreted in woods. At Opequon we found the camp of General A. P. Hill's troops, vacated three or four days previously. Hereupon I ordered up the balance of the command, and our whole force again bivouacked in line of battle, this time upon the rebel Hill's recent camp ground.