Union Captain William Oliver reports on a March, 1865, scouting expedition in the Shenandoah Valley. Oliver reports that he believes that the headquarters of Confederate General Thomas Rosser are at Staunton.
Cmdg. Detachments First and Third Cavalry Divisions.
Cavalry Corps, Middle Military Division.
March 22, 1865.
I have the honor to make the following report of the scout upon which I was ordered on the morning of the 20th instant:
I left Winchester at 7 a.m. on the morning of the 20th, by the way of the Winchester grade road, traveling a distance of twenty-two miles and encamping at 4 p.m. at Big Paddy's Gap, in Cedar Valley. Started the next day at 2 a.m. for Woodstock, at which place I arrived at 10 o'clock. I immediately pushed on for Edenburg. My advance guard charged the town, capturing a captain of the Twelfth Virginia Cavalry and two prisoners. I learned at this point from a Union refugee on his way from Staunton that there were but two small companies of rebel cavalry stationed at New Market, numbering sixty men, and that they were picketing Rude's Hill with a picket of one non-commissioned officer and six men. I also learned from parties whom I deemed good authority (Union citizens of Woodstock) that Gen. Rosser's headquarters were at Staunton by the way of Buffalo Gap. I also captured, on the way from Winchester to Woodstock, two privates of Imboden's and one of Rosser's command.
On my return from Edenburg I halted at Woodstock for an hour to feed horses, &c. Started from there at 1 o'clock, and when near Fisher's Hill my advance encountered a force of rebel cavalry, whom fired on them, killing the lieutenant's horse in command of the advance guard. I estimate that their force did not consist of more than thirty or thirty-five men.
I arrived at Winchester at 10 p.m. without suffering any loss, either in killed, wounded, or missing. Two of my men were dismounted, but I succeeded, however, in remounting them.
I have the honor to remain, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. H. OLIVER,
Capt., Cmdg. Fourth New York Cavalry.
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 534-535, Broadfoot Publishing Company, Wilmington, NC, 1997.