Union General Winfield Scott Hancock proposes plans for operations in the Shenandoah Valley in this March, 1865, dispatch to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Hancock plans to use Staunton as a meeting point and supply base for his armies.
Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War
MARCH 24, 1865.
The cavalry is at present stationed as follows: One brigade near Fairfax Court-house; about 2,500 with the Army of the Shenandoah; about 2,000 in the Kanawha Valley; one regiment at Philippi, and one at New Creek, in West Virginia.
The infantry to be drawn from the line of the railroad and the regiments at Philippi and New Creek could move safely down between Rich and Cheat Mountains toward Springs and effect a junction with the cavalry from Charleston., Va., the combined force meeting the main body of the army at Staunton, where a supply of rations would have to be accumulated. A sufficient force of cavalry would return with the supply trains and be kept along the railroad to look after the small parties of guerrillas left in rear.
The cavalry from Fairfax would be available for a demonstration on the left and to look after Mosby, and could then return to its position in front of Washington.
I would move from Staunton with about 4,000 cavalry.
Throughout the western part of the State I would seize every serviceable horse, no matter to whom it belonged, and destroy the supplies on which the roving bands of guerrillas are subsisting.
The following disposition of troops left on the line of the railroad and at Washington would be made in case of an advance: All the cavalry, infantry, and artillery at Washington would be left intact, except one or two light batteries I might require and about 3,000 infantry; a strong garrison at Harper's Ferry and Maryland Heights. There are about forty-five block-house along the railroad to be garrisoned by about 2,000 men. One for at Parkersburg, one at the bridge over the Cheat River, one at New Creek, and one at Cumberland in which suitable garrisons would be left. Cavalry would be left to picket the river below Harper' Ferry and a regiment in front of New Creek. No extensive raid could be carried out, in my opinion, while the army is operating up the Valley if supplies are effectually destroyed as the army moves down.
Bibliographic Information : Letter Reproduced from The War of The Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Volume 46, Serial No. 97, Pages 106-108, Broadfoot Publishing Company, Wilmington, NC, 1997.