Before leaving Staunton for Waynesborough, I obtained information of a large amount of rebel property at Swoope's Depot, on the Lexington railroad, and sent a party to destroy it, which was done, a list of which property will be attached to this report.
General Custer's division encamped at Brooksville, on the east side of the Blue Ridge, General Devin's division remaining at Waynesborough.
The next morning the prisoners were sent back to Winchester under a guard of about 1,500 men, commanded by Colonel J. L. Thompson, First New Hampshire Cavalry, who safely reached that point, notwithstanding he was harassed by General Rosser's command as far as the crossing of the North Fork of the Shenandoah near Mount Jackson, at which point General Rosser made a fierce attack upon him and tried to rescue the prisoners, but he was handsomely repulsed by Colonel Thompson, who captured some of his men, and finally arrived at his destination with all his own prisoners, and some of Rosser's men besides.
General Devin resumed his march at 6 a. m., leaving General Gibbs' brigade to destroy the iron bridge over the South Fork of the Shenandoah and to burn and destroy the captured wagons and their contents.
General Custer moved on toward Charlottesville, destroying much Government property and subsistence at Greenwood Depot and Ivy Station, also the railroad and the large bridge over Mechum's River, arriving at Charlottesville at 4 p. m., the mayor and several of the most prominent citizens meeting him in the suburbs of the city and delivering up the keys of the public buildings.
The roads from Waynesborough to Charlottesville had, from the incessant rain and spring thaws, become so terribly cut up and the mud was of such a depth that it was impossible for our train to reach Charlottesville under two days. I therefore notified the command that we would remain two days at this point, for the purpose of resting, refitting, and destroying the railroad. Parties were sent well out toward Gordonsville to break the railroad, and also about fifteen miles toward Lynchburg for the same purpose, to prevent troops massing on me from either Richmond or Lynchburg. A thorough and systematic destruction of the railroads was then commenced, including the large iron bridges over the North and South Forks of the Rivanna River, and the work was continued until the evening of the 5th instant, when General Gibbs reported, with our trains. Forage and subsistence were found in great abundance in the vicinity of Charlottesville.
Commodore Hollins, of the Confederate Navy, was killed while trying to escape from a scouting party from General Custer's division.
This necessary delay forced me to abandon the idea of capturing Lynchburg, but trusty scouts had been sent there to find out the state of affairs in that vicinity.
When the time to start came I decided to separate into two columns, sending General Devin's division, under immediate command of General Merritt, to Scottsville, thence to march along the James River Canal, destroying every lock as far as New Market, while with Custer's division I pushed on up the Lynchburg railroad, through North and South Gardens, destroying it as far as Amherst Court-House, sixteen miles from Lynchburg, and then moved across the country and united with General Merritt's column at New Market.
General Merritt started on the morning of the 6th, first sending the First Michigan Cavalry, Colonel Maxwell commanding, down the Rivanna River to Palmyra and toward Columbia, with directions to rejoin him at Scottsville. General Merritt thoroughly accomplished his orders, destroying all large flour mills, woolen factories, and manu