June 30, 1863
. . .
Gen. Imboden with his brigade has been operating on the West of the forces of Gen. Ewell, doing good service.
On the 9th, he crossed the Shenandoah mountains to Moorfield, in Hardy county; sent back a fine drove of cattle; pushed on to Romney, the Federals, 1,500 in number, retreating to New Creek, a depot on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. Onward he pressed to Springfield—the enemy there also falling back to their strong position at New Creek.
He commenced threatening New Creek, the enemy being 4,000 strong, and meantime sent a regiment of cavalry around them and captured Cumberland, Maryland, one mile and a half from the Pennsylvania line. It is a beautiful city, containing sixteen thousand inhabitants. So completely had the enemy been deceived by the feint on New Creek, that Cumberland surrendered without much resistance. Some ammunition and quartermaster stores were found, but their destruction would have laid the place is ashes. The regiment turned its attention to the fine bridges, these were utterly demolished, the wooden ones burned, the splendid iron ones knocked in fragments by rifle cannon. The depots were turned into smoking ruins. The canal was “put through” generally.
. . .
Series 1, Volume 27, part 3, pp. 905-906
Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia,
June 20, 1863.
Brig. Gen. J. D. Imboden,
Commanding in Hampshire:
General: Your letter of the 18th, from French’s Depot, reporting the destruction of the important bridges on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad over Evitt’s Creek, Patterson’s Creek, North and South Branches of the Potomac, with the depots, water-tanks, and engines between little Cacapon and Cumberland, has been received.
I am very much gratified at the thorough manner in which your work in that line has been done. General Kelley’s force at New Creek, I hope, is exaggerated, or that at any rate you will be able to disperse it in some way. I am also gratified at the cattle and horses that you have already captured for the use of the army, and hope that your expectations of obtaining similar supplies will be realized. They are not only important but essential, and I request that you will do all in your power to obtain all you can. At this time it is impossible to send a mounted brigade to your assistance, as the whole of the cavalry are required to watch the enemy and guard our movements east of the Blue Ridge and in Maryland. Should you find an opportunity, you can yourself advance north of the Potomac, and keep on the left of this army in its advance into Pennsylvania, but you must repress all marauding, take only the supplies necessary for your army, animals and provisions through your regular staff officers, who will account for the same, and give receipts to the owners, stating the kind, quantity, and estimated value of the articles received, the valuation to be made according to the market price in the country where the property is taken. I desire you will destroy all my letters to you after perusal (having impressed on your memory their man points), to prevent the possibility of their falling into the hands of the enemy.
Very respectfully, &c.,
R. E. Lee,
Series 1, Volume 27, part 2, pp. 296-97
Berryville, June 20, 1863.
Mr. President: I have the honor to report, for the information of Your Excellency, that General Imboden has destroyed the bridges on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, over Evarts Creek, near Cumberland; the long bridge across the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, below Cumberland; the iron bridge across the North Branch of the Potomac, with the wooden trestle adjoining it; the double-span bridge across the month of Patterson’s Creek; the Finks patent iron bridge across the month of the South Branch of the Potomac, three spans of 133 1/3 feet each, and the wooden bridge over Little Cacapon.
All the depots, water-tanks, and engines between the Little Cacapon and Cumberland are also destroyed, with the block-houses at the month of the South Branch and Patterson’s Creek.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, about 2 miles above Old Town, where the embankment is about 40 feet high, has been cut, and General Imboden reports that when he left it the entire embankment, for about 50 yards, had been swept away.
A similar crevasse, with like results, was also made in the canal, about 4 miles below Old Town.
. . .
I have thought this a favorable time for General Sam. Jones to advance into Western Virginia, and have so informed him. Should he not be able to accomplish anything more, he will fix the attention of the enemy in that region, and prevent reenforcements being sent to other points. If any of the brigades that I have left behind for the protection of Richmond can, in your opinion, be spared, I should like them to be sent to me.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. Lee,
His Excellency Jefferson Davis,
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: June 1863