NOVEMBER 28-DECEMBER 3, 1864.-Expedition from Winchester into Fauquier and Loudoun Counties, Va.
No. 1.-Byt. Major General Wesley Merritt, U. S. Army, commanding First Cavalry Division.
No. 2.-Lieutenant Colonel Casper Crownishield, Second Massachusetts Cavalry, commanding Reserve Brigade.
No. 1. Report of Byt. Major General Wesley Merritt, U. S. Army, commanding First Cavalry Division.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST CAVALRY DIVISION,
December 6, 1864.
MAJOR: In compliance with instructions received direct from army headquarters, I marched with the division, via Ashby's Gap, to the east of the Blue Ridge, for the propose of destroying all mills, barns, forage, driving off stock, and capturing and dispersing the guerrilla bands in a district of country described in orders. After passing through Ashby's Gap two regiments of the Second Brigade were ordered to move to the north along the foot of the mountains, spreading out well over the country toward Bloomfield, carrying out the orders, while a regiment of the First Brigade, for the same purpose, was sent, via Grigsby's Store, to the west of Piedmont. These regiments were ordered to meet the division the same evening near Upperville, where it encamped on the night of the 28th of November.
The following morning the First Brigade was ordered to march to Rectortown, whence it was ordered to send out strong columns to Salem and White Plains, and, marching across the country, collect its strength at Middleburg, the forces from White Plains and Salem to pursue separate routes to that place. From Middleburg the entire force was to move to Philomont and thence to Snickersville, keeping out strong flanking columns on the right toward Millville and to the left through Bloomfield to the foot of the mountains. In this manner the country as far north as the Little River turnpike was thoroughly swept over and destroyed by the evening of the second day.
Early on the morning of the third day the Second Brigade was ordered to march via Philomont, Circleville, Hamilton, Waterford, and along the Catoctin Creek to the Potomac, and meeting, at Lovettsville, a force of the Reserve Brigade which was ordered to move east of the Blue Ridge and between the ridge and Short Mountain to the Potomac, both columns to return along the pike from Lovettsville through Hillsborough and Purcellville. Both these commands reached Snickersville on the evening of the fourth day. On the third day a force of the Reserve Brigade was ordered to march down the Shenandoah, between that stream and the Blue Ridge. This force went as far down the river as Rockford. The First Brigade marched on the third day, with its collected cattle, to Snickersville, from Philomont sending out parties to complete the work of destruction.
On the morning of the fourth day four regiments of the First Brigade were detached, two in the direction of Millville and Middleburg, to complete any unfinished work in that country, and the other two to move, one on the crest of the mountains and the other along the foot,