New York Cavalry, to send a squadron of cavalry, and Colonel Gallight, commanding the Thirteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, two battalions of cavalry, in pursuit of the rebels, instructing them specially not to push the pursuit farther than 3 miles beyond Strasburg.
I inclose to you copies of the official reports to me of these officers. I also give my version of the transaction referred to s garnered from these reports and from other sources.
The squadron of New York cavalry, which only numbered 45, rank and file, Lieutenant Passagger in command, and a company of the Pennsylvania cavalry, under command of Captain Dewees, led the advance in the pursuit. This force, about 10 a. m., and about 3 miles beyond, attacked and dispersed them, recapturing our men and capture-pickets, attacked and dispersed them, recapturing our men and capturing some 25 or 30 of the rebels and a corresponding number of horses. Captain Dewees, with a portion of his command, then returned with the prisoners in the direction of Strasburg, but the remained of his command and detachment of New York cavalry, under Lieutenant Passenger continued of the rebels in the direction of Woodstock, not on the regular pike, but by a road which turns to the right some 5 miles beyond Strasburg. I have no knowledge what occurred to these forces after leaving the regular pike, except that contained in the official report of Major Adams.
The First Battalion Thirteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, Major Kerwin commanding, arrived at the place where the New York cavalry had left the pike, turning to the right, at the time that Captain Dewees reached there with the prisoners. This officer, upon being informed of the dispersion of the rebel force, their pursuit by Lieutenant Passagger, and that the rebels would probably re-enter the pike at a point about 4 miles this side of Woodstock, pushed forward his command to intercept them at that place. He arrived there too late, the rebels having re-entered the pike about half a mile in advance of him, but, notwith-standing, he continued the pursuit to within 3 miles of Woodstock. He then commenced to retreat, but had not proceeded over a mile when he met the Second Battalion Thirteenth Pennsylvania, major Byrne commanding.
When these two columns met, they halted, and the commanders consulted for some time as to the propriety of dashing into Woodstock, Major Kerwin opposing and Major Byrne advocating the proposed movement. While they were consulting, the two columns fronting each other, they were attacked by a force of rebel cavalry, estimated at from 300 to 400, fell into confusion, and commenced a disorderly and precipitate retreat, which they continued until their arrival at Middletown and until the rebels desisted from the pursuit.
It is due to Majors Kerwin and Byrne to state that they are by all accounts reprehended to have used every effort to restore order and discipline, and to have exhibited no lack of courage. i learned about 4.30 in the afternoon, from fugitives, of the disaster. I immediately ordered forward to the theater of action the First New York Cavalry, with direction to advance until they got in rear of our fugitives and in sight of the enemy, if the enemy were still pursuing. If the enemy were in formidable numbers, this regiment was instructed to full back until it received the support of a regiment of infantry and a section of a battery, which I advanced simultaneously with it. The New York. cavalry, Major Adams commanding, advanced until it gained the rear of our fugitives, and as far as 3 miles beyond Strasburg, when, observing nothing of the enemy, in pursuance of my orders it fell back.