No. 151. Reports of Brevet Major General William W. Averell, U. S. Army, commanding Second Division (Army of West Virginia), including operations August 3-September 23.
BATH, N. Y., October 25, 1864.
Brigadier General L. THOMAS,
Adjutant-General U. S. Army:
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose reports of expedition to Wytheville and destruction of Tennessee railroad; of operations during General Hunter's expedition to Lynchburg, Va.; of engagement with Ramseur's division of rebel infantry near Winchester, Va., on the 20th of July; of operations with Army of West Virginia;* of fight at Moorefield, August 7, and of operations with Middle Military Division up to September 23, 1864. All of these reports have been sent through the proper channels, but, owing to the fact that I was relieved of the command of my division on the 23rd of September, I have the honor to ask the attention of the Department to these reports in the connected form in which they are presented, in order that a just opinion may be formed of my conduct since the opening of the spring campaign.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. W. AVERELL,
Brevet Major-General, U. S. Volunteers.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND CAVALRY DIVISION,
DEPARTMENT OF WEST VIRGINIA,
New Creek, Va., August 8, 1864.
CAPTAIN: After having pursued the enemy under McCausland from Chambersburg to Hancock, on the 3rd instant I received a dispatch from the major-general commanding the department directing me to pursue, by the most expeditious route, that portion of the enemy's forces and attack it wherever found. On the same day I learned by telegram from Brigadier-General Kelley, at Cumberland, that the enemy was then at Springfield. On the 4th I accordingly crossed the Potomac with my command at Hancock, taking the route via Bloomery Gap, the Cumberland turnpike having been rendered impracticable by the enemy. Arriving at Bath, I received information from what was deemed a reliable source that the enemy in considerable force was crossing the river at Cherry Run and marching toward Hancock. I halted my command and sent scouts to verify the report, which was ascertained to be false, though it occasioned a delay of sever I hours in my movements. At 4 p.m. I moved forward, and by making a night march reached Springfield at 5 p.m. on the 5th, losing during the day about 100 horses from exhaustion. I had learned that the enemy had fallen back from New Creek on the 4th in the direction of Burlington and Moorefield, and reports were numerous that he had been re-enforced by Imboden and Vaughn. During the night of the 5th-6th rations and forage were received and issued to the command, and on the morning of the 6th I resumed the march, arriving at Romney at about 11 a.m. Here I learned that the enemy had passed the junction of the Moorefield grade with the West Virginia turnpike, seven miles from Romney, between 9 and 10 a.m. on the morning of the 5th, going in the direction of the
* Fort the reports previously enumerated, see Vol. XXXVII, Part I, pp.41, 145, 326, 327.