Union General Wesley Merritt reports on March, 1865, operations in Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. Merritt gives details of destruction of stores near Scottsville, and the condition of roads from Staunton to Waynesborough.
Brevet Brig.-Gen. FORSYTH,
Chief of Staff:
March 6, 1865.
I arrived at Scottsville without opposition at 3 p.m. Sent a force to destroy the aqueduct over Hardware River. Captured two loaded canal-boats at Scottsville, one with shell and other with stores. Cotton factory and mill destroyed. I left Gen. Gibbs at Scottsville, with orders to move here to-night, in case Col. Maxwell and the force sent to Hardware Aqueduct get in, otherwise to come here early in the morning. It is now 10.15 p.m. Gen. Devin, just in, reports leaving his artillery a few miles back under guard of a regiment. The roads have been very heavy, but not so bad as between Staunton and Waynesborough. The report is that Johnston is moving to Lynchburg with Beauregard's army; that Petersburg was evacuated day before yesterday; that the bridge over the James above is guarded, with the intention to burn it if we advance there. I expected to meet your communication parties here to-night when I got here. I will send a force at 2 o'clock in the morning to secure the bridge over the James, unless I hear something from you to countermand the order. There is no doubt, I think, of the evacuation of Petersburg. A great deal of loot has gone up the canal. I have destroyed all locks on the canal from Scottsville to here. It's slow work destroying the canal. A boat-load of stores was captured at this place (Howardsville). I saw fires in direction of party sent along the Rivanna. Seemed to be in direction of Palmyra. Gibbs had orders to destroy canal as much as possible. No enemy in sight, save 150 reported in rear. Have not troubled us any. Will await orders here.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Bibliographic Information : Letter Reproduced from The War of The Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Volume 46, Serial No. 96, Pages 862, Broadfoot Publishing Company, Wilmington, NC, 1997.