You have been called upon to endure many privations and hardships, but they have been borne with that heroic fortitude so necessary to insure to you victories which have crowned your efforts. In the battle of the 19th September you not only routed the enemy's cavalry but gallantly charged their infantry, broke their lines, and captured many hundred prisoners, nine colors,, and three guns. This success, followed by fatiguing marches and harassing skirmishes and reconnaissances with an ever vigilant foe, crowned by your unprecedented achievement of the 9th of October, when, having broken the entire body of their cavalry, you chased their routed columns over twenty miles, capturing eleven trains, is a record which, by the blessing of God, has contributed to the renown of our arms and the success of our cause.
By command of Brevet Major-General Torbert:
WM. RUSSELL, Jr.,
No. 135. Reports of Brevet Major General Wesley Merritt, U. S. Army, commanding First Division, of operations August 9-October 20.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST CAVALRY DIVISION, October 5, 1864.
MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this division during the campaign in the Valley:
It is scarcely necessary to premise that from the fact that subordinate commanders have not as yet forwarded reports that accounts of the events which happened early in the campaign cannot be given in such detail as I could wish.
On the 9th of August, when I assumed command of the division, it was encamped near Halltown, from which point it marched on the following morning at 5 o'clock via Charlestown and Barryville. After skirmishing with a small brigade of the enemy's cavalry, which was routed, the division encamped near the Winchester and Millwod pike. The following morning the First Brigade was ordered toward Winchester, near which place the enemy was found in considerable force holding a defile on the pike near the town, while his trains and army were passing toward Strasburg. The brigade had a sharp fight with the enemy's infantry, artillery being used freely by the enemy, but I am glad to say the los of the brigade was not large. It was then determined to move on the Front Royal pike, and the division, in three columns-the First Brigade on the right, the Reserve Brigade in the center, and the Second Brigade on the left-marched in that direction. Near White Post General (then Colonel) Devin came upon a large force of the enemy strongly posted on a ridge, with temporary breast-works of rails for protection. A sharp fight ensued, in which the enemy was finally beaten and driven from the field, which gave us possession of the Front Royal pike. About 3 o'clock in the afternoon two brigades (the Reserve and Second) marched out toward Newtown. The enemy's infantry was encountered about two miles from that town, and a battle