HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WEST VIRGINIA, Cedar Creek, Va., May 21, 1864.
Major General JULIUS STAHEL,
Commanding First Cavalry Division, Cedar Creek, Va.:
GENERAL: The general commanding directs that the following disposition of troops under your command will be immediately [made]: First, 300 cavalry will be stationed with Colonel Wells at Strasburg, to remain, there under his orders until received. Second, a picket of 100 cavalry at Cedar Creek. The commander of this picket will send out small scouting parties toward Wardensville, in the direction of the Back road; also as far as Capon Springs and to Fawcett's Gap. They will come by the Back road into connection with the pickets and patrols sent out by Colonel Wells from Strasburg. Third, a picket of 150 cavalry will be stationed on this side of the river opposite Front Royal, to scout with small parties the roads toward Luray, Millwood, and Linden. Fourth,a picket of twenty-five men will be stationed at Buckton, on the south side of the North Fork of the Shenandoah, if the ford is passable. If the ford is not passable this picket will be stationed on the north side of the river. It will report to the commanding officer of the infantry stationed there. Fifth, a picket of ten men on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, at the point where the road from this camp strikes the river between Strasburg and Buckton. Sixth, a field officer will be detailed to take charge of the pickets at Cedar Creek and opposite Front Royal.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
[P. G. BIER,]
HDQRS. BRIGADE, DEPT. OF WEST VIRGINIA, May 21, 1864-11.15 p.m.
(Received 12.25 a.m. 22d.)
[General W. W. AVERELL:]
GENERAL: I have just returned from my pickets and find that they have fallen back nearly a mile from the river. Captain Reynolds, commanding the picket, reports that he was forced back after skirmishing with the rebels. The enemy that attacked his right flank did not cross at the ford, but came from the right, for he has had men on the river-banks all day. The men at the river report that at the time the reserve was attacked they were forced back by men crossing the river, and they all report a large number of cavalry as having crossed, and think some artillery. I have nearly 200 men, 1 1/2 miles beyond town, well posted. They cannot advance farther without going into the woods, one-half mile from the river. The officers and men of the picket think that a large force is crossing but I can hardly think so. I have notified the picket of General Duffie and Colonel Schoonmaker. I would suggest that a field officer of the division be appointed to insure more co-operation between the pickets from the different brigades.
JOHN H. OLEY,
P. S.- I have my entire command in readiness to act at once.