cavalry, he broke, and was routed with heavy loss. During the fight the signal detachment was kept actively employed on the flanks and in every position from which the enemy or the roads could be seen. General Hunter spoke in warmest terms of commendation of the service rendered by it. At evening I sent Lieutenant Muhleman, escorted by a squadron of cavalry, to reconnoiter the enemy's position and report by signal, if practicable. He returned, having been nearly at Staunton, finding no indications of the enemy.
On the 6th we marched to Staunton, and I established stations of observation on the hills in rear of and flanking the city, and believing the enemy to be between us and Waynesborough I established a station to overlook the roads in that direction. It being reported that General Averell was at Buffalo Gap, I sent Lieutenants Merritt, Ellis, and Muhleman, escorted by 200 cavalry, to meet him and open signal communication with him.
On the 7th we marched on the Buffalo Gap road, and when two miles out, we met the party returning from the gap. They had been through it and ten miles beyond, above it. Averell had not been there, but rumor placed him at Goshen. The party had passed through the camp of a brigade of cavalry, which had been abandoned on their approach, they being undoubtedly mistaken by the enemy for the advance of our main army. On this report General Hunter decided to return to Staunton, and, having returned, I established stations as before.
On the 8th General Crook's column joined us.
On the 9th, at evening, in view of our march in the morning, I detailed Lieutenants Merritt and Butcher, with fifteen men, to report to General Averell, and Lieutenants Muhleman and Fortney, with fifteen men, to report to General Crook, it being arranged that the column should march on four roads.
On the 10th we marched, and at night headquarters halted at Midway. During the march the country was so broken that no points of communication between the columns could be found.
On the 11th we marched to Lexington. During this march communication was opened with General Crook, who first found the enemy. There was some fighting in front of the town, but the enemy was speedily driven out. Crook remained south of the river, and stations were opened to the front and to General Crook's headquarters. We remained at Lexington till the 14th.
On the 12th General Averell was sent to Buchanan, Lieutenants Merritt and Butcher going with him.
On the 14th the main force was marched to Buchanan on two parallel roads. Communication was very much interrupted between the columns during the march, owing to the ruggedness of the country. About three miles before reaching Buchanan communication was established between all the separate commands.
On the 15th we marched toward Liberty and halted beyond the Peaks Otter. I had a station of observation on the peak during the day, which was opened as soon after daylight as our skirmishers could clear the peak of the enemy, and this station I kept open during the night and until the last of the rear guard had passed.
On the 16th we marched toward Lynchburg, and at night halted at Big Otter Creek. There was much skirmishing to-day, and stations were established from every point of observation during the march and at the front at night.