War of the Rebellion: Serial 090 Page 0042 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LV.

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and carry and hold the crossing of Opequon Creek at a ford about three-fourths of a mile from the left of the Sixth Corps. Crook's command was ordered to move out on the White Post road one mile and a half beyond Berryville, file to the right and secure the crossing of Opequon Creek at a ford about one mile to the left of the Nineteenth Corps. Torbert was directed to move with Merritt's division of cavalry up the Millwood pike toward Winchester, attack any force he might find, and, if possible, ascertain the movements of the rebel army. Lowell was ordered to close in from Summit Point on the right of the Sixth Corps. My intention in securing these fords was to march on Winchester, at which point, from all my information on the 10th, I thought the enemy would make a stand. In this I was mistaken, as the results of Torbert's reconnaissance proved. Merritt found the enemy's cavalry covering the Millwood pike west of the Opequon, and, attacking it, drove it in the direction of Kernstown and discovered the enemy retreating up the Valley pike. As soon as this information was obtained Torbert was ordered to move quickly via the toll-gate on the Front Royal pike to Newtown, to strike the enemy's flank and harass him in his retreat, and Lowell to follow up through Winchester. Crook was turned to the left and ordered to Stony Point, or Nineveh, while Emory and Wright were marched to the left and ordered to Stony Poit, or Nineveh, while Emory and Wright were marched to the left and went into camp between the Millwood and Front Royal pikes, Crook encamping at Stony Point. Torbert met some of the enemy's cavalry at the tollgate on the Front Royal pike, drove it in the direction of Newtown and behind Gordon's division of infantry, which had been thrown out from Newtown to cover the flank of the main column in its retreat, and, which had put itself behind rail barricades. A portion of Merritt's cavalry attacked this infantry and drove in its skirmish line and, although unable to dislodge the division, held all the ground gained. The rebel division during the night moved off.

Next day Crook moved from Stony Point to Cedar Creek; Emory followed; the cavalry moved to the same point, via Newtown and the Valley pike, and the Sixth Corps followed the cavalry. On the night of the 12th Crook was in position at Cedar Creek, on the left of the Valley pike, Emory on the right of the pike, the Sixth Corps on the right of Emory, and the cavalry on the right and left flanks. A heavy skirmish line was thrown to the heights on the south side of Cedar Creek, which had brisk skirmishing during the evening with the enemy's pickets, his (the enemy's) main force occupying the heights was ordered on a reconnaissance toward Strasburg on the Middle road, which road is two miles and a half to the west of the main pike. Reports of a column of the enemy moving up from Culpeper Court-House and approaching Front Royal through Chester Gap having been received, caused me much anxiety, as any considerable force advanced through Front Royal and down the Front Royal and Winchester pike toward Winchester could be thrown in my rear; or, in case of my driving the enemy to Fisher's Hill and tasking position in his front, this same force could be moved along the base of Massanutten Mountain, on the road to Strasburg, with the same result. As my effective line of battle strength at this time was about 18,000 infantry and 2,500 cavalry, I remained quiet during the day - except the activity on the skirmish line - to await further developments. In the evening the enemy retired with his main force to Fisher's Hill. As the rumors of an advancing force from the direction of Culpeper kept increasing, on the morning of the 14th I sent a brigade of cavalry to Front Royal to ascertain definitely,