No. 106. Reports of Colonel Joseph Thoborn, Fifth West Virginia Infantry, commanding First Division, of operations September 3, 19, and 22.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST INFANTRY DIVISION, ARMY OF WEST VIRGINIA,
Summit Point, Va., September 17, 1864.
CAPTAIN: On arriving at Berryville on the afternoon of the 3rd instant, in obedience to order, I directed two regiments (the First West Virginia and Second Eastern Shore Maryland), under command of Colonel Rodgers, to move one mile and a half on the Winchester pike, and take as throng position and throw out a picket-line to their front and flanks. In less than one hour information was received that the enemy was advancing in pretty strong force, and skirmish firing was quite brisk. This information was at once sent to General Crook, and in the meantime I moved out three regiments of the Third Brigade, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Linton, of the Fifty-Fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers, to the support of Colonel Rodgers. I found the latter falling back, and directed a line to be formed on the crest of the hill three-quarters of a mile west of Berryville, and took possession of some old earth-works in an open field on the left of the road, and also occupied a woods to the right of the road. The enemy was in plain view and was moving his troops into the woods upon our right flank and also on the left. General Crook arrived on the ground and informed me that he had ordered out the whole of my command and directed that it be formed in line to the right of the line already formed. The Fifteenth West Virginia Volunteers and one hundred and twenty-third Ohio Volunteers were formed upon the left of the two regiments of Colonel Rodgers in order to strengthen his line, which was considered an essential point to hold. These dispositions were scarcely completed when the enemy moved upon my left flank from out of the cover of the woods and also from a corn-field. As the enemy advanced a battery was opened upon our front, and the left of the line at once gave way. The Second Eastern Shore Maryland broke and fell back in disorder; the First West Virginia was left alone and had to retire; the Fifteenth West Virginia Volunteers and the one hundred and twenty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry also failed to make a stand. My line upon the right of the road was thus left with its flank exposed and fell back to the edge of the woods in line with Colonel Duval's division, where I reformed my line and repelled several assaults of the enemy, the men standing to their arms all night. It is with mortification that I report the giving way of the command on the left. I can assure you that the men and officers fell their disgrace, and also believe themselves capable of doing better things.
My loss was 13 killed, 63 wounded, and 19 missing. The enemy is believed to have suffered heavily in my front, having been several times repulsed.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain P. G. BIER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of West Virginia.