this side of Middletown at the same time. The Thirteenth skirmished with the rebels a short time, and drew them into an ambuscade of the Eighty-seventh and artillery. Eight of the rebels were killed and a number wounded, and 37, including a captain and 2 lieutenants, were taken prisoners. No casualties on our side. The enema is probably approaching in some force. Please state specifically whether I am to abandon this place or not.
R. H. Milroy,
To this communication no reply was received. [See note attached.] It is clear that I received no order to evacuate Winchester, excepting that of Colonel Piatt, which was annulled by the telegram of Major-General Schenck on Friday, the 12th. The telegram above copied of the General-in-Chief was before me, but that is advisory in its tone, and I in common with General Schenck did not construe it as amounting to an order, or as indicating that immediate compliance was intended. I rather construed it as indicating the course which should be pursued upon an emergency yet to happen. This telegram, although sent as late as Thursday, the 11th, must have been written in the absence of all knowledge of the impending emergency; otherwise language calculated to hasten my action would have been used. The language contained in my telegram expressive of my confidence in my ability to hold Winchester was used with reference to any contingency which would probably happen. I did not mean that I could hold it against such an army as that which I knew to be at the disposal of General Lee, and it was no part of my duty to watch the movements of that army, My limited cavalry force did not enable me to scout beyond the Blue Ridge. That army was faced, however, by the Army of the Potomac, between the headquarters of which and my own, by way of Washington, a continuous line of telegraphic communication existed. I believed that Lee could not move his large army, with its immense artillery and baggage trains, and perform a six days' march in my direction, unless I received timely notice of the important fact. The immense cavalry force at the disposal of General Hooker strengthened this confidence. Therefore, on Friday, when I perceived indications of the approach of the enemy in some force on the Front Royal road, I felt confident that it was composed of the forces which I had faced, or that the expected cavalry expedition of General Stuart was in progress. Acting upon this belief, I regarded it as my duty to remain at my post at Winchester. Lee's army, in parallel columns, once across the passes of the Blue Ridge, from the direction of Front Royal, it was impossible for me to retreat upon either Martinsburg or Harper's Ferry without encountering it. I could not at any time after Friday have retreated without encountering it, and I had no knowledge of its presence, as above stated, until late Saturday, when I learned it from prisoners. After all, it may well be doubted whether the three days' delay, and the loss which my presence at Winchester occasioned the rebel army, were not worth to the country the sacrifice which they cost it.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
R. H. Milroy,
Lieutenant Colonel Donn Piatt,
Chief of Staff, Eighth Army Corps.