Third Division (Brigadier-General Wilson), until the First Division (Brigadier-General Merritt) could withdraw in the direction of Shepherdstown and the trains withdraw to the rear. The First Division (Brigadier-General Merritt) marched direct to Shepherdstown; the Third Division (Brigadier-General Wilson) fell back to Halltown, Va., taking position on the right of the infantry; the First Division West Virginia Cavalry (Brigadier-General Duffie) moved to Point of Rocks, Md., crossing the Potomac, via Harper's Ferry, Va.; the Third Brigade, First Division (Colonel Lowell), fell back to Halltown, and took position on the left of the infantry; the Second Division West Virginia Cavalry (Brigadier-General Averell)was now across the Potomac River, his main force in the vicinity of Fair Play, Md., and watching the fords on the upper Potomac. On the 23rd and 24th the cavalry remained in the same position as on the 22nd.
On the morning of the 25th I marched the First and Third Divisions of Cavalry (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Wilson) to Kearneysville by two fourths, making the junction half a mile from Kearneysville. From there proceeded in the direction of Leetown in two columns, the First Division (Brigadier-General Merritt) on the right and the Third Division (Brigadier-General Wilson) on the left. About one mile from Leetown a small cavalry force was met in a heavy woods, and from all the information that could be obtained went to show that nothing but cavalry was in our front, and disposition was immediately made to attack. A brigade was sent on each flank, two to attack in front and one held in reserve. Soon after the attack was commenced it was found that we were fighting infantry-a division of Breckinridge's corps, while on the march in the direction of Shepherdstwon, Va. The attack was so sudden and vigorous the division was thrown in complete confusion and back three-quarters of a mile. The enemy lost 250 killed and wounded, together with one brigade commander. I then concluded to fall back, which was done in good order, the Third Division (Brigadier-General Wilson) taking the road from Kearneysville, via Duffield's Station, to the right of the army; the First Division (Brigadier-General Merritt) taking the direct road to Shepherdstown, Va., the enemy following up the latter column with infantry and artillery. Near Shepherdstown the First Brigade (Brigadier-General Custer) was sent to the relief of a regiment of the Reserve Brigade, which was the rear guard and which was about to be cut off from the main body. Soon after this brigade was cut off from the main force, and they quietly withdrew to the other side of the Potomac River; via Shepherdstown Ford, and covered that and the Antietam Ford; the balance of the First Division (Brigadier-General Merritt) fell back and took position on the right of the army. On the night of the same day (25th) the Third Division (Brigadier-General Wilson) was sent across the Potomac River, via Harper's Ferry, Va., and took position in the vicinity of Boonsborough, Md.
On the 26th the cavalry remained in the same position as on that of the 25th instant. On the 27th the First New York (Lincoln) Cavalry was ordered from Brigadier-General Duffie's division to report to Brigadier-General Averell's division, was ordered to report temporarily to Brigadier-General Duffie's division was dismounted and ordered to Cumberland, Md., to remount, their horses being turned over to other commanders.