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44 Series I Volume XXXIII- Serial 60 - New Berne

Page 44 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLV.

large bomb-proof shelters, and appearances indicated that a good deal of work had been done lately. The works were destroyed as far as practicable, and some commissary stores and forage and about 13,000 cartridges were secured. Thomas' brigade was then marched back to Moorefield, and Rosser was sent down Patterson's Creek to collect cattle and cut the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. He destroyed the bridge over that creek and partially destroyed the bridge over the North Branch of the Potomac. He also destroyed another bridge over the canal, and a lock of the canal itself.

In the mean time a considerable cavalry force had made its appearance at Romney, and Rosser returned to Moorefield, which place he reached on the 3rd with a number of cattle and sheep. McNeil crossed over to the eastern ridge of the Alleghany and brought off over 300 cattle.

After Rosser's return I gave orders for the troops, trains, &c., to start back early next morning, as we had accomplished all we than could, and accordingly everything but the cavalry was in motion very soon, and after Thomas' brigade had gone about 4 miles from Moorefield a considerable force of the enemy's cavalry with some artillery made its appearance below Moorefield, on the road from Romney. I ordered Thomas' brigade to be brought back toward Moorefield and Rosser to retire through Moorefield, and taking a position on the South fork of the North Branch I awaited the approach of the enemy until after 12 o'clock, when he showing no disposition to attack but contenting himself with maneuvering very cautiously, and Rosser's cavalry being too much reduced in numbers to attack the enemy's cavalry, which was in view and largely exceeded his own in numbers, I resumed my march back without molestation from the enemy, crossing over to Lost River that night, and the next day (the 5th) to this valley. A large portion of the cavalry force which appeared at Moorefield went from Martinsburg and Charlestown, a brigade under Colonel Fish having lately been sent to the lower valley. I have been informed that a force of infantry was following the cavalry, but I am not certain of this. I did not think it prudent to leave the trains and cattle to the rish of capture while I was being amused by cavalry at Moorefield, and I therefore moved back, according to my original purpose.

We brought off the 50 captured wagons with their teams,1,200 cattle, 500 sheep, 78 prisoners, (1 major, 3 captains, and 74 enlisted men) and some commissary stores. WE got all the cattle we could. Many persons ran off their cattle to Maryland, and a number of those brought off will not answer for beef at present. We could have got as many sheep as we wanted, but they could not be driven.

We found the people of Moorefield and the adjoining valley very true to our cause, and exceedingly kind and hospitable to our men. I think the enemy will hardly occupy Petersburg again; and if he does not, as soon as things get quiet some more cattle can be gotten.

Very respectfully,



General R. E. LEE,

I understand that the operator here made a mistake and telegraphed that we had brought off 278 prisoners, which is just 200 more than we did get. It should have been 78.

J. A. E.

Page 44 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLV.