Numbers 2. Report of Colonel John L. Thompson, First New Hampshire Cavalry, of operations March 3-8.
HEADQUARTERS DETACHMENT OF CAVALRY,
Winchester, March 9, 1865.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the conducting a convoy of prisoners from Waynesborough to our lines at this place:
Some 1,300 prisoners, including 56 officers, were turned over to me at Waynesborough on the 3rd instant, with instructions to conduct them to Winchester. I was furnished with an escort, consisting of the dismounted men and those with poor horses, from all the cavalry, about 600 men, together with seven small organizations, numbering about 600 men in the ranks.
I destroyed at Waynesborough 4 guns and caissons and 6 ambulances, leaving the sick and wounded in the houses, the horses and mules being too weak to draw them. I took I gun, with a train of 14 horses and 2 mules. I was provided with no forage for the horses nor rations for the escort or prisoners, except three day's rations of coffee, sugar, and salt.
I encamped at Fisherville on the night of the 3rd, and before daylight sent the Fourth New York Cavalry, Major Schwartz commanding, to secure the two bridges between Staunton and Harisonburg, as the streams were so swollen that it was impossible to ford them. They arrived only in time to save them from burning.
Major Schwartz was directed to inform the citizens of Staunton that a large number of prisoners would pass through the town, and that they must supply them with food. On reaching Staunton I found a few females bringing out a poor pittance in small baskets. I refused to allow them to approach the prisoners, and told the citizens that they could have a half hour to provide food or I should take it from the insane asylum. They brought none, and I took flour and bacon from the asylum, upon which the prisoners subsisted until they arrived at Winchester. I learned at Staunton that General Rosser was collecting his command, which had all been furloughed, for the purpose of releasing the prisoners. He had then only fifty men, with whom he skirmished with the rear guard and prevented foraging except with large parties.
At Harrisonburg McNeill's company joined him, together with about 100 more of his regular troops. He had sent dispatches in front of us to all parts of the country, directing the citizens and soldiers to rendezvous at Mount Jackson to prevent our crossing the North Fork of the Shenandoah, stating that he would follow with his forces, and certainly capture us. I arrived at Mount Jackson at noon on the 6th, and found the river impassable, even for horsemen, except at the ford near the pike. A force of 200 men had collected, and held all the fords. I spent the afternoon in trying to build a bridge by felling trees, but was unsuccessful. The river was falling rapidly, however, and would be fordable the next morning. At daylight I directed Major Brown, commanding Twenty-second New York, with his own regiment and the First Rhode Island, to force the ford above the pike, and drive the enemy from the main ford. This was executed very handsomely; in ten minutes the enemy was scattered in the mountains, and we had taken several prisoners. At this time the enemy attacked our rear,