War of the Rebellion: Serial 090 Page 0454 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LV.

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of the First Cavalry Division. True, as some friends urge, the division has enough glory for any one command, but not enough not to feel such wholesale robbery as it attempted to be practiced on in this instance.

I would remark, in conclusion, that, it is possible General Custer did not write the order attributed to him in the newspapers.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. MERRITT,

Brevet Major-General, Commanding.

No. 136. Report of Brigadier General George A. Custer, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade, of operations September 19.

HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, FIRST CAVALRY DIVISION,

MIDDLE MILITARY DIVISION,

September 28, 1864.

I have the honor to submit the following report of the part, taken by my brigade in the engagement of the 19th instant near Winchester:

In compliance with instructions from division headquarters, my command was in readiness to move from its encampment near Summit Point at 2 o'clock on the morning of the 19th. It being the intention to reach the Opequon, some five miles distant, before daylight, the march was begun soon after 2 a.m. and conducted by the most direct route across the country, independent of roads. My brigade moved in advance of the division and reached the vicinity of the Opequon before daylight and unobserved by the enemy, whose pickets were posted along the opposite bank. Massing my command in rear of a belt of woods and opposite a ford, situated about three miles from the point at which the railroad crosses the stream, I waited the arrival of the division commander and the remainder of the division. At daylight I received orders to move to a ford one mile and a half up the stream and there attempt a crossing. This movement was also made beyond the view of the enemy, and by command was massed opposite the point designated in rear of a range of hills overlooking the Opequon. Owing to a reconnaissance made at this point by our forces a few days previous the enemy were found on the alert, thereby destroying all hopes of securing possession of the ford by surprise. Two regiments, the Twenty-fifth New York and Seventh Michigan, both under command of that reliable soldier, Lieutenant-Colonel Brewer, of the Seventh Michigan, were selected to charge across the ford and obtain possession of the rifle-pits of the enemy upon the opposite bank. By request of the senior officer of the Twenty-fifth New York Cavalry, that regiment was placed in advance and both regiments moved under cover of a hill as near to the ford as possible without being exposed to the fire of the enemy. At the same time the Sixth Michigan Cavalry, Colonel Kidd commanding, advanced, dismounted, to the crest overlooking the ford and engaged the enemy upon the opposite bank. Everything promised success and the order was given for the column commanded by Colonel Brewer to charge. Accordingly both regiments moved rapidly toward the ford; the advance of the Twenty-fifth New York reached the water, when the enemy, from a well-covered rifle-pits opposite the crossing opened a heavy fire upon our advance and succeed in repulsing the head of the column, whose conduct induced the entire portion