Records Related to Augusta County Regiments

From: CHAS. G. OTIS, Maj., Cmdg. Twenty-first New York Cavalry.
March 12, 1865.

Union Major Charles Otis reports to William Russell on a March, 1865, expedition in the Shenandoah Valley. Otis reports taking in Confederate deserters, one a Staunton hospital clerk, and getting information on movements in the area.

Assistant Adjutant-Gen.:

Camp Averell, Va.,

March 12, 1865.


I have the honor to report that on the 9th of March I received a detail from headquarters Second Cavalry Division, Middle Military Division, to take charge of a detail of 530 men--430 from First Brigade, Second Cavalry Division, and 100 Eighteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry. Pursuant to instructions from Gen. Torbert I proceeded with my command to Woodstock and bivouacked. Took up the line of march at 6 a.m. and reached Edenburg at 8 a.m. Crossed the bridge and moved to within three miles of Mount Jackson, found no enemy in force, and learned there was none this side of Staunton, where Gen. Rosser's command was assembling. I returned by the Back road, picked up ten prisoners and three deserters, viz: William B. Crawford, Company B, Second Foreign Battalion; William D. Stout, clerk in hospital at Staunton, and J. H. Slasher, hospital steward, general hospital, Harrisonburg. They all report Gen. Sheridan will cross the James River, and on his way to join Gen. Grant's army. There was quite a number of rumors, both regarding Gen. Sheridan and Gen. Sherman, to the effect that Gen. Sheridan had been repulsed at Gordonsville, losing 1,500 prisoners, and again, that was contradicted, and asserted that Gen. Sheridan had captured two railroad trains, one having on board 500 paroled prisoners, which he released--the other had 1,800 exchanged prisoners. The trains were burned; also, nearly all the bridges on the Virginia Central Railroad from Charlottesville to Lynchburg. Putting all information and rumors together, I judged that Gen. Sheridan crossed the James River at Scottsville and was going, when last heard from in the direction of Burkeville. It was rumored that Gen. Sherman had been defeated, losing 20,000 prisoners--however, the rebels themselves did not credit the report, but hoped it was true. On my return I bivouacked at Strasburg the night of the 11th of March. Marched the next morning and reached Winchester about 1 p.m. Sunday.

I have no casualties to report. Two horses were wounded at Edenburg by some party who fired on the rear guard. Two men who fell out of the column to get a horse shod were picked up by the rebels, their arms and horses taken from them, and then released. I left one wounded rebel on the road. One of my men was wounded accidentally.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Maj., Cmdg. Twenty-first 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. 96, Pages 945-946, Broadfoot Publishing Company, Wilmington, NC, 1997.

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