Union Cavalry General Thomas Devin reports on a February-March, 1865, expedition in the Shenandoah Valley. Devin reports camping near Staunton and destroying a railroad bridge and supplies in the area. He also reports destroying a blacksmith shop, a tannery, and wagons in the town.
Camp at White House,
March 25, 1865.
I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this division from February 27 to March 18, inclusive:
On the morning of February 27 the division marched from Winchester on the Valley turnpike, and passing through Newtown, Middletown, and Strasburg, encamped the same night near Woodstock. The Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry were ordered to push on and seize and hold the bridge across Stony Creek at Edenburg. The order was carried out with slight opposition from a party of rebel cavalry. At 5 a.m. the same regiment was ordered to push on to Mount Jackson and seize and hold the bridge across the North Fork of the Shenandoah, if it had not been destroyed. The regiment reached the river, but found the bridge had been destroyed some time previous.
On the morning of the 28th the division marched, in rear of the trains, to Mount Jackson, crossed the North Fork on pontoons, marching thence through New Market to Lacey's Spring, where the division encamped at 12 p.m. While on the march between Woodstock and Edenburg the train was attacked in flank by a party of rebel cavalry, who were quickly driven off. The Reserve Brigade, which covered the taking up of the pontoons, did not reach camp until 3 a.m. On the morning of March 1 the division marched, in advance of the train, to Harrisonburg; thence to Mount Crawford, crossing the North River by the turnpike bridge; thence by Mount Sidney to the Middle River, which was crossed on the turnpike bridge, the division encamping within four miles of Staunton, having marched twenty-nine miles. At 8 p.m. the First Brigade, Col. Stagg commanding, was ordered to march through or around Staunton and destroy the railroad bridge at the crossing of Christian's Creek. Col. Stagg succeeded in reaching the bridge with but slight opposition, fired the bridge, and returned to Staunton. From some cause (a heavy rain was falling) the structure was not thoroughly destroyed. In connection therewith, I would respectfully refer to the report of Col. Stagg.
On the morning of March 2 the division marched, in rear of the trains, to Staunton. At this point 300 men of the Twentieth Pennsylvania Cavalry, of Second Brigade, under Maj. Douglass, were ordered to proceed to Swoope's Station and destroy the Government property at that point. The expedition was entirely successful, resulting in the destruction of the depot and four barns in that vicinity, with all their contents, consisting of an immense amount of valuable commissary and quartermaster's stores and a small quantity of ordnance stores. The Sixth New York Cavalry were detailed to destroy all Government property at Staunton, which duty was fully accomplished, the Government blacksmith shop, a large tannery, and a number of wagons and stage coaches being totally destroyed. The division marched in rear of the trains, and encamped east of the crossing at Christian's Creek, having made but twelve miles. The road from Staunton to the creek was very heavy and the progress of the train very slow. . .
Bibliographic Information : Letter Reproduced from The War of The Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Volume 46, Serial No. 95, Pages 488-489, Broadfoot Publishing Company, Wilmington, NC, 1997.