On the 9th the march up the Valley commence; we halted that afternoon at Cedar Creek. On the evening of the 9th I sent Lieutenants Ellis and Smith with scouting party to Round Top, a low mountain about three miles beyond Strasburg. They returned on the 10th, having been on the mountain, but smoky atmosphere prevented their making any observations or communicating with headquarters.
On the 11th we marched to Woodstock. On the march I left Lieutenants Ellis and Smith at Round Top with a guard of cavalry and infantry. This evening fixed station at headquarters to communicate with Round Top, and also with the road in front of our advance, where I posted parties of observation.
On the 12th I opened a new station at the front and advanced the one posted before. This evening, by direction of General Sigel, I sent a party toward the rear, arranged and instructed as follows: Sergeant Landon, with ten men, to halt at Cedar Creek, and Sergeant Knapp, with ten men, to go on to near Newtown, and, remaining concealed, send scouts carefully toward Winchester, to go through Winchester, if possible, to observe any movements of the enemy on our rear, and report any observations by a prearranged code of rockets. Sergeant Landon and the station at Round Top to repeat any rockets seen. Later in the night I sent a party down the road half way to Round Top to repeat any rocket signals from the rear, as it was so misty I feared Round Top might not be seen from headquarters.
On the 13th Sergeant Knapp returned, arriving at noon, but in the morning, having been unable to hear anything of him, I directed Lieutenant Ellis to send three or four men cautiously to look for Knapp's party. He sent two signal men and three cavalrymen and they not returning, Lieutenant Smith, with three men, went out on his own responsibility. Neither of these parties were ever heard of afterward, and it is probable they were captured at or near Fisher's Hill.
On the evening of the 14th I sent another to the same place with the same instructions, under Sergeant Curry. He sent four men to Winchester, but they were never heard from afterward, and from later information gained of parties of bushwhackers being at Kernstown, it is probable these four men were captured there.
On the 15th we marched to New Market, where we were repulsed by the enemy. During the march I kept headquarters in communication with the advance, rear, and flanks. The field of battle was too limited for signals to be of any use, but the officers did what duty could be done in observing the enemy from every accessible point, and some were permitted to act as aides to the general on the field. When the retreat began (which was at first a panic) I used all my force to stop and rally fugitives and to get them off the field in order. Indeed, for a time the signal detachment and the headquarters escort (a squadron) were all General Sigel had to depend on to restore order among the fugitives, and notwithstanding the men were mostly recruits, not one flinched under fire. During the night of the 15th and 16th we fell back to Cedar Creek, where we halted, and I posted stations of observation between us and the enemy.
On the 17th I opened the following stations of observation: At Round Hill, on the right one and one-half miles beyond picket-line, and on the left outside of the pickets to watch Luray Valley and Manassas Gap, and all to communicate direct to headquarters. I also sent Lieutenant Merritt and Brault, with twenty men, to