War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0134 N. C. VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

Search Civil War Official Records

Question. When General Milroy's force was first attacked at Winchester, what was your own opinion, and, as far as you know, the general opinion of officers at headquarters, of your power to repel the assailants, and at what time and by what cause was that opinion changed?

Answer. When we first learned that the enemy was in front, it was my impression, and, I think, it was the impression of all the officers at headquarters, that it was nothing but the "Valley defenses, " under Jones, Jenkins, and Imboden, and that we could repel them with ease. We learned from a prisoners and a deserter on the evening of June 13, that Lee's army had crossed into the Valley by way of Front Royal, and that Longstreet's and Ewell's corps were then surrounding us, and that it was with their forces we had been fighting that day .

Question. What, in your judgment, was the number of the attacking force at Winchester, and the number of the force encountered north of Winchester?

Answer. From information derived from deserters and prisoners, the enemy opposing us at Winchester was 40, 000 or 50, 000 strong, on the morning of the 15th from 7, 000 to 10, 000 strong . They also represented that the enemy had on the morning of the 15th eight to twelve pieces of artillery .

Question. Where, in your judgment, was the force you met north of Winchester on the day before you met them, and by what route had they probably got to the point at which you met them?

Answer. It is my belief that that was the force we had skirmished with on the Berryville road the day before . I think they must have marched there over the country .

Question. State whether or not, in tour opinion, the skirmishing on Saturday and Sunday enabled you the better to retreat on Monday . Did it tend to open the route by which you retreated and to kept it open?

Answer. I think it did enable us to retreat with more facility on Monday, and that it kept open the avenue of retreat . If we had no kept them engaged, they could have closed around us. That was their intention .

Question. Whose duty is it to obtain information of the strength, disposition, advance, or retreat of an opposing force?

Answer. The commanding officer of the forces against which they are operating .

Question. Did or not the commanding general give stringent orders to his cavalry scouts to observe closely the movements of the enemy? If, so, were these instructions fully carried out by them? If not, what officer commanding these scouts failed in his duty?

Answer. The general was in the habit of sending out cavalry scouts almost every day from Berryville over into Loudoun, and to all the fords and ferries of the Shenandoah River and that vicinity ; cavalry scouts also from Winchester and Strasburg and Front Royal, and sometimes within 2 or 3 miles of Woodstock . Our cavalry was kept actively engaged scouting and making reconnaissances. they did as much of that kind of service as their horses could stand. The general's orders and instructions were very stringent. The First New York Cavalry was very efficient, and, I believe, on every occasion executed their orders . The Twelfth and Thirteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry were not so efficient, nor do I believe that they carried out their orders in a great many instances as they should and might have done . I think Lieutenant-Colonel Moss, of the Twelfth Pennsylvania, failed in his duty in one or two instances ; one I remember particularly, was once when he was ordered to make a reconnaissance at Cedarville (on the 12th June, I think). In that instance the colonel reported that some 10 miles from Winchester the enemy was in some considerable force with infantry and artillery ; that they had a full battery of artillery, and that twelve shots were fired at him from their artillery . A number of his subordinate officers and the scouts who were with him represented that there was not any artillery at all, and but about 1, 500 infantry .