Series 1, Volume 25, Part I, pp. 139-40
May 9, 1863.
General: I have the honor to report the result of the expedition commanded by me, in obedience to your orders of the 4th instant:
At 1 o’clock p. m. of the last named day, I proceeded with regiment, the Thirteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, the First New York Volunteer Cavalry, under Major Quinn, and one section of Battery D, First Virginia Artillery, under Lieutenant [Chalfant]. My instructions were to proceed to Moorefield, ascertain if any force of the enemy was in the direction of Petersburg, and, if so, to harass their retreat as much as possible.
The first night I halted at a place east of Wardensville, about 17 miles from Winchester, the march being without incident. The next morning I marched at 4 o’clock, amid passed through Wardensville, and halted for the night within 10 miles of Moorefield. One mile this side of the halting-place, the advance, consisting of the First New York Cavalry, was fired upon, without loss, by a small body of the enemy, and 3 of the latter captured and left with Major Quinn, to be delivered to the general commanding. On this march great difficulty was experienced in crossing Lost River with the artillery and train.
At 5 a. m. of the 6th, I marched to Moorefield, reaching there at 9 a. m. From the most reliable information and scouting, I ascertained that there was no force of the enemy as near as Petersburg, nor had any recently been in that neighborhood, with the exception of two companies of infantry, which had been encamped on the Franklin pike, 8 miles beyond Petersburg, but had fallen back two days before my arrival at Harrisonburg, on hearing that Jones and Imboden were retreating by the way of Cheat Mountain.
While at Moorefield, I received a dispatch from Col. B. F. Smith, commanding a brigade at Greenland Gap, giving the following information: That there were none of Jones stragglers returning by any route near him, and that from all he could learn the rebels making the raid on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad were retreating by Cheat Mountain, some 60 miles distant from him.
There being no enemy within reach at Moorefield, or any duty to be performed, I decided to return by way of Wardensville, and cross to Woodstock, and back by Strasburg, to make a scout through that region, but I received reliable information that the Lost River had become so swollen by the continued rains that it would be impossible to cross it with my artillery within a week. It was more swollen than it had been for years. Upon the report of Major Quinn that his command had but one day’s rations, and at his request, I gave him permission to return by the nearest route. I then designed to cross the South Branch with the rest of my command, and take the pike to Romney, but that stream was also far too much swollen, and I was forced to take the old Romney road to the latter place, arriving on the 7th at 9 a. m. The march was exceedingly severe, the road being filled with water and so washed that the train could accomplish no more than 1 mile per hour, with every exertion.
Nothing worthy of report occurred at Romney, nor until reaching Cacapon Bridge, yesterday evening, when the advance guard was fired upon by bushwhackers, without effect, who escaped, though the country was scoured in every direction.
I reached here at l2 m. today, with trains, artillery, and regiments, and without loss. The horses of the train and artillery were, however, so much overworked that they were brought in with great difficulty; the horses of my regiment also suffered severely from the work and exposure.
My duty will not allow me to close this report without mention of the conduct of the First New York Cavalry. All my attempts to keep them in order were ineffectual, and the regiment seemed entirely undisciplined, and beyond the control of its own officers. At no time was more than half the regiment together; but they straggled in all directions, and I am informed stole about 15 horses, which were taken with them, and for which the various [owners] are now demanding restitution.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
James A. Galligher,
Colonel, Commanding Thirteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry.
Maj. Gen. R. H. Milroy,
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: May 1863