Edenburg unheralded, and being certain from all the information gained that there was no force at all this side of New Market, and also from the fact that the detachment of the Eighteenth Pennsylvania had joined me without a pound of forage or rations, I decided to return to Winchester without proceeding farther.
in explanation of my not moving at 6 p. m. of the 16th as ordered, I have the honor to state that when I reported to General Torbert at 5 o'clock of that evening the eighty men that I reported to him as all the men that I could move with, from this regiment, were saddled, bridled, forage packed on the horses, and men ready to move off, as soon as I returned; that on my return to the regiment I found that Colonel Ives, commanding this detachment of cavalry, had made a detail from this regiment for thirty mounted men for picket duty. Thirty of the eighty men ready to move with me had gone on picket at Kernstown. Colonel Ives requested that I would replace these men by others, and it occasioned a delay in my moving of two hours in getting those men back again. I had ordered Captain Johnson, of the Eighteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, on his reporting to me to move out on the pike to the pickets at Mill Creek, and to notify me of his arrival. Not hearing from him within an hour after I was ready to move, I sent an orderly to try and find the command. He found them at Kernstown. Captain Johnson was not to be found; had not been seen within an hour and a half. Lieutenant McKay, the next in command, reported to me. It was then raining in torrens, and it was too dark to move with safety to man or beast. I ordered Lieutenant McKay to shelter his men in the house and out houses of Mr. Prichard, near the pike.
At 1.30 the next morning, the moon being up and it having ceased raining, I moved. Lieutenant McKay reports to me that the detachment of the Eighteenth Pennsylvania left their camp, under command of a man named Johnson n done officer, Lieutenant McKay; that Johnson was a sergeant in some other regiment, was mustered out to receive promotion in the Eighteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry as captain, and has never been mustered in as captain; that he was, or appeared to be, under the influence of liquor; that he laid down under a tree while the command was waiting at Kernstown and could not be found, and was not seen again; that while Lieutenant McKay was absent from his command at Kernstown, reporting to me, quite a number of the men left the command and went back to Winchester, leaving only seventy-five men and one commissioned officer. The two prisoners we captured I sent you by Captain Cadwell, the next in command.
In my decision as to the direction, after finding it impossible to cross at Mount Hope Ford, I was governed mainly, of course, by the judgment of the scout Sailor, keeping in view the end to be obtained. I have nothing to say of him but praise for his general conduct, forethought, and intelligences. I also have the honor to state that I should have reported promptly in person last evening and with written report, but for a violent attack of bilious colic, which made it impossible for me to move farther than the camp. I am still suffering severely from its effects.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. C. BROWN,
Major WILLIAM RUSSELL, Jr.,