Gibson's battalion was sent to Williamsport on the 20th, to open up communication with the force at that point. Information was received during the day of the advance of a division of the enemy to attack us, and your orders were received to retire to Cherry Run at 3 a. m. the ensuing morning, covering the withdrawal your command . The order was successfully carried out, and the enemy, though in vastly superior force, was baffled in his attempts to molest us . We remained quiet on the 22nd, but on the 23rd sent the Eight West virginia to reconnoiter in the direction of Shanghai. On the 24th, having received intelligence that the enemy was in motion to the southward from Winchester, my command, pursuant to your order, marched again to Hedgesville, from which point, on the 25th, I sent the Third West Virginia to Martinsburg, and, on the 26th, Gibson's battalion to Winchester . About noon on the 28th, I sent out with my command, and, marched to Bunker Hill, via Martinsburg, and to Winchester on the 30th, from witch point patrols were sent to Strasburg and other points, 15 to 20 miles . About 170 disabled officers and men, left behind by the enemy, were here paroled, to report to the nearest commander of United States troops upon their recovery.
* * * * * * * *
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. W. AVERELL,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers.
Brig. General B. F. KELLEY,
Commanding Department of West Virginia -
No. 406. Report of Major General Darius N. Couch, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Susquehanna, of operations June 11-July 5.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SUSQUEHANNA, Chamersburg, Pa., July 15, 1863.
SIR: In obedience to instructions from the honorable Secretary of War, I left Washington June 11, for Harrisburg, in order to assume command of the newly organized Department of the Susquehanna. After an interview with His Excellency Governor Curtin and gentlemen of his council, an order was prepared and issued to the department, calling for a corps of troops for State defence . This was in accordance with instructions received from Mr. Stanton. The Governor also issued a proclamation to the people of the State in convention with my order . On the 15th, 800 of the enemy 's mounted force appeared at Chambersburg, 16 miles north of the Maryland line . They were closely watched by about 120 men of the First New York Cavalry, under Captain Boyd, who covered the wagon train of General Milroy on its retreat from Winchester, Va., toward Harrisburg, Pa . At this date there were not 250 organized men in the department for duty. The sick in the hospital at York were removed, as well as the United States stores at Carlise . -
* Portion here omitted relates to Averell's raid in West Virginia, August 5-31, 1863. See Series I, Vol. XXIX.