FEBRUARY 18 - 19, 1865. - Expedition from Camp Averell (near Winchester) into Loudoun County, Va., and skirmish (19th) at Ashby's Gap.
Numbers 1. - Bvt. Brigadier General William B. Tibbits, Twenty-first New York Cavalry, commanding Second Cavalry Division, Middle Military Division.
Numbers 2. - Major Thomas Gibson, Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, commanding expedition.
Numbers 3. - Captain Henry E. Snow, Twenty-first New York Cavalry.
Numbers 1. Report of Bvt. Brigadier General William B. Tibbits, Twenty-first New York Cavalry, commanding Second Cavalry Division, Middle Military Division.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND CAVALRY DIVISION,
February 20, 1865.
I have the honor to forward report of Major Thomas Gibson, Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, commanding officer of the expedition that left these headquarters on the evening of the 18th instant.
For your information I would state that my orders to him were to take command of the party (which was to consist of 200 men), to proceed with it as far as Upperville if possible, searching houses and other places on the route for rebels of Mosby's command, to be designated (the houses) by the two deserters from Mosby who would go with him; to commence his retrograde movement by 2 a. m. or 3 a. m. of the 19th instant at the latest; that he was to obey no orders that might be given him by other officers of the party; that Lieutenant Stephen H. Draper, Twenty-first New York Cavalry, was ordered by me to command the scouts, and he would see that he received such assistance as he required to properly perform his duty; also that Lieutenant Draper would show him the best ford to cross and roads to take. The number of officers with the party from this division was seven, viz, a major, captain, and two lieutenants from the Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, and a captain and two lieutenants from the Twenty-first New York Cavalry. The command before starting was inspected, by my orders, by Captain James S. Graham, acting assistant inspector-general, First Brigade. He informs me that he discarded about forty men. As to the number of men armed with revolvers he can't inform me. I intended that the men should carry the saber, but Major Bailey and Captain Martindale (who brought the order from your headquarters that the expedition should be made) and Lieutenant Draper informed me that it was very essential that they should not be so armed, as they wanted to move as noiselessly as possible.
A few men have returned since Major Gibson's report was made out, and I think that at least half of those now missing will get in. One party of sixteen, under a sergeant, was moving toward Harper's Ferry, so a private soldier informs me, who states that he left them about daylight this morning. I would respectfully state that in my opinion the affair should be investigated. I also inclose Captain Snow's report.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM B. TIBBITS,
Major WILLIAM RUSSELL, Jr.,
Asst. Adjt. General, Cavalry Corps, Middle Military Division.