HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY, MIDDLE MILITARY DIVISION,
August 17, 1864. (Received 2.30 a.m. 18th.)
Commanding Second Division:]
GENERAL: Winchester is evacuated to-night. Fall back toward Charlestown. The enemy are here in strong force.
By command of Brigadier-General Torbert:
M. A. RENO.
Captain and Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS MIDDLE MILITARY DIVISION.
In the Field, August 19, 1864-10 p.m.
(Received a.m. 20th.)
Brigadier General WILLIAM W. AVERELL,
Commanding Cavalry Division:
GENERAL: The major-general commanding directs that if you can that you employ loyal citizens of Williamsport and vicinity to give you information in the case of an advance or attempt on the part of the enemy to cross the Potomac. In fact, the general rather desires that the enemy should cross; all that he wants is early information of the character and number of troops that pass over. All citizens that you may employ you will be authorized to pay a fair compensation to for the information given.
I am, general, very respectfully, &c.,
JAS. W. FORSYTH,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND CAVALRY DIVISION,
DEPARTMENT OF WEST VIRGINIA,
Shepherdstown, August 19, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel J. W. FORSYTH,
Chief of Staff, Middle Military Division:
COLONEL: I have received orders from General Torbert regarding the return of some men of General Duffie's division, now serving with mine, and also requiring returns, &c. As I have received no order placing me under General Torbert's command, and as my commission is senior to his, I do not think it proper that my rank should be ignored. The only general orders I have received regarding the organization of the cavalry of the Middle Military Division did not include the cavalry of the Department of West Virginia. I trust that you will understand that my only motive in declining to obey the orders of a junior is dictated by a sense of duty to myself and from no disrespect to General Torbert or others. Will you be good enough to instruct me, if I am wrong, at your earliest convenience?
I inclose a return of my command; the remounting and arming of a portion is going on at Hagerstown. The latest news I hear of the enemy is that he placed a strong infantry picket north of Winchester last evening upon the road to Martinsburg. He had also about 400