War of the Rebellion: Serial 090 Page 0500 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LV.

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pursuing the enemy the night before. He did not ask if I had pursued him or seem to care about knowing what had occupied me. I replied that I had received no information or instructions from him. He stated that he could not find me. I asked him if he had tried, to which he made no reply, but stated that the rebel army was a perfect mob, which would run away upon the firing of a single gun, and that he desired me to go and put in my cavalry. I assured him that I had never hesitated to put it in when there was any chance for success. The tone, manner, and words of the major-general, commanding indicated and implied dissatisfaction. I did not entertain the opinion that the rebel army was a mob. The loss of his guns at Fisher's Hill had been the result of the flank movement, but his loss in men had been inconsiderable, and his troops had been too well handled and his stragglers too few to justify in my mind an opinion that he was totally demoralized. I proceeded along the pike as rapidly as possible to within two miles of Mount Jackson, where I found the brigade of General Devin engaged with a superior force of the enemy. Putting my division in action, the enemy was driven beyond the town. Major Lady and several prisoners were captured. On the heights beyond the village the army of the enemy could be plainly seen in bivouac, while a division of his infantry marched down and engaged me, opening five pieces of artillery. The position, naturally strong, had been strengthened by article defenses. The enemy was fully on the alert and perfectly able to hold the position against five times my force, and a signal officer reported to me that the enemy was moving a brigade or division around my right. My left rested on the river, and in my rear was an almost impassable creek, across which a detail from my division built a bridge, used by the army the next morning. I held my position until dark, reporting the strength and position of the enemy to the major-general commanding. Placing a strong picket-line close to the enemy, I moved my command across the creek in rear, where water and forage, could be obtained, and where the command could rest securely until morning, as they had had but little forage for two days. At 11 p.m. I received the note marked I from the major-general commanding; shortly after the order marked K, relieving me from duty with my division.

I have in the above report introduced some details which would have been excluded were it not for the peculiar circumstances under which it is written. An officer who has served the Government nine years, who was suffered from wounds in battle, cannot without any assigned cause or pretext be suddenly relieved from the command of a division whose record tells of nothing but success and victories without having his sensibilities outraged and his reputation jeopardized. It is natural that the War Department should ask the wherefore for such action, and it is proper that I should state as explicitly as possible the reasons so far as known to me. I have evidence that it was determined to relieve me in order to make Brigadier-General Torbert chief of cavalry before Major-General Sheridan assumed command of the Middle Military Division. My success at Moorefield, achieved with an exhausted division against twice its numbers, probably caused a hesitation in my removal. The note of Major-General Sheridan, dated August 20, exhibits readiness to avail himself of any pretext to censure me, and his reply to my explanation shows how completely his purpose was battled. Major-General Sheridan illegally assumed the prerogative of the President of the United States and ordered me to report to a