captured, were of so conflicting and contradictory a nature that I determined to ascertain, if possible, while on this defensive line, what re-enforcements had actually been received by the enemy. This could only be done by frequent reconnaissances, and their results convinced me that but one division of infantry (Kershaw's) and one division of cavalry (Fitz Lee's) had joined him. On the 23d I ordered a reconnaissance by Crook, who was on the left, resulting in a small capture and a number of casualties to the enemy. On the 24th another reconnaissance was made, capturing a number of prisoners, our own loss being about thirty men. On the 25th there was a sharp picket-firing during the day on part of the infantry line. The cavalry was ordered to attack the enemy's cavalry at Kearneysville. This attack was handsomely made, but instead of finding the enemy's cavalry his infantry was encountered, and for a time doubled up and thrown into the utmost confusion. It was marching toward Shepherdstown. This engagement was somewhat of a mutual surprise, our cavalry expecting to meet the enemy's cavalry and his infantry expecting no opposition whatever. General Torbert, who was in command, finding a large force of the rebel infantry in his front, came back to our left, and the enemy, believing his (the enemy's) movement had been discovered and that the force left by him in my front at Halltown would be attacked, returned in great haste, but before doing so isolated Custer's brigade, which had to cross to the north side of the Potomac at Shepherdstown and join me via Harper's Ferry. For my own part, I believed Early meditated a crossing of his cavalry into Maryland at Williamsport, and I sent Wilson's division around by Harper's Ferry to watch its movements. Averell, in the meantime, had taken post at Williamsport, on the north side of the Potomac, and held the crossing against a force of rebel cavalry which made the attempt to cross.
On the night of the 26th the enemy silently left my front, moving over Opequon Creek at the Smithfield and Summit Point crossings, and concentrating his force at Brucetown and Bunker Hill, leaving his cavalry at Leetown and Smithfield. On the 28th I moved in front of Charlestown with the infantry and directed Merritt to attack the enemy's cavalry at Leetown, which he did, defeating it and pursuing it through Smithfield. Wilson recrossed the Potomac at Shepherdstown and joined the infantry in front of Charlestown. On the 29th Averell crossed at Williamsport and advanced to Martinsburg. On the same day two divisions of the enemy's infantry and a small force of cavalry attacked Merritt at the Smithfield bridge, and after a hard fight drove him through Smithfield and back toward Charlestown, the cavalry fighting with great obstinacy until I could re-enforce it with ricketts' division, of the Sixth Corps, when in turn the enemy was driven back through Smithfield and over the Opequon, the cavalry again taking post at the Smithfield bridge. On the 30th Torbert was directed to move Merritt and Wilson to Berryville, leaving Lowell to guard the Smithfield bridge and occupy the town. On the 31st Averell was driven back from Martinsburg to Falling Waters. From the 1st to the 3rd of
September nothing of importance occurred. On the 3rd Averell, who had returned to Martinsburg, advanced on Bunker Hill, attacked McCausland's cavalry, defeated it, capturing wagons and prisoners, and destroying a good deal of property. The infantry moved into position, stretching from Clifton to Berryville pike. Torbert had been ordered to White Post early in the day, and the enemy, supposing he could cut him off, pushed across the Opequon