way but a small party of fifty cavalry, which made a demonstration on right flank of the brigade February 28, but were easily repulsed by a squadron from Sixth New York Cavalry. Near Staunton a detachment of 300 men from Twentieth Pennsylvania, under Major Douglass, was sent to Swoope's Station, eight miles west of Staunton, for the destruction of rebel Government property there. The expedition was highly successful, destroying a large amount of valuable quartermaster's and commissary stores, viz, the depot and four barns in the vicinity, containing the following amount of stores: 3,000 pairs of boots, a like number of shirts, drawers, pants, jackets, and blankets; 50,000 pounds of ham and bacon, and a small quantity of ordnance stores, consisting of small-arms and ammunition. At Staunton the Fourth New York (120 strong) and 257 men with unserviceable horses, under Lieutenant-Colonel Nichols, of the Ninth New York, were sent to the rear, as part of the escort to prisoners and guns captured by Third Division at Waynesborough. The Sixth New York, Major White commanding, were left at Staunton for the destruction of rebel property there, and reported to me at night, having destroyed 17 stage coaches, 60 wagons, 1 tannery, containing a large quantity of leather, and 1 Government blacksmith shop.
Leaving Staunton March 3, the brigade marched with the division through Waynesborough and Roskfish Gap, burning a large tannery by the way, and camped seven miles west of Charlottesville; distance made, twenty-nine miles. Arrived at Charlottesville on the 4th of March, and on the 5th the Sixth New York, Ninth New York, and Seventeenth Pennsylvania were detached and sent to assist in the destruction of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad south of Charlottesville. This work was done most effectually, the regiments named demolishing the road for a distance of two miles, burning the ties and heating and bending every rail, and burning two bridges, each fifty feet in length. A rebel caisson, concealed near camp, was also destroyed here. At Charlottesville also was destroyed 2,000 pounds of tobacco, 15 wagons loaded with corn, wheat, tobacco, and flour; also a tannery containing 1,000 hides. The command was supplied at Charlottesville with seven days' rations of sugar, coffee, and salt, and marched, March 6, through Scottsville to Howardsville, at the mouth of Rockfish River, on the James, making a march of thirty-three miles and destroying effectually one canal lock at Scottsville. The First New York Dragoons, Major Smith commanding, was sent from Howardsville, March 6, with instructions to proceed rapidly to Hardwicksville, twelve miles up the river, and to use his utmost exertions to seize and hold the bridge at that point. The attempt was a failure, Major Smith reaching the bridge at early dawn just in time to see it destroyed by fire. It was impossible to save the bridge, each end being filled with straw and a man stationed ready to apply a match on the slightest indication of a hostile approach. Major Smith contended himself with destroying 336 sacks of salt, 4 bales of cotton, and a large quantity of tobacco, and then rejoined the brigade at Warminster, and, with the Sixth New York, destroyed the locks at that point.
March 8, the brigade was ordered by Brevet Major-General Merritt to proceed without delay to Columbia, to reach there by daylight on 9th, and to remain there until further orders, holding the place and sending back all the information possible regarding the movements of the enemy. The brigade marched at 12 m., reached Scottsville at dark, halted one hour to rest and feed, and then, in a hard rain and through heavy roads, pushed on for Columbia, reaching there at daylight. Two squad
32 R R - VOL XLVI, PT I