Most of Ransom’s command was thus rested by the time that Beckinridge’s Corp marched into Staunton at about 10pm at night after a day’s march from Waynesboro.
By midnight first reports from scouts at Harrisburg had filtered back, a map of the Harrisburg area is available and it is clear that he Yanks are preparing to defend the town.
At present no defences have been prepared at Harrisburg, enemy strengths are consistent with the numbers that you expect to have moved north from Staunton.
Detailed examination of the railroad tracks east from Staunton to Rockfish Gap indicate severe damage in at least two places within an hour’s ride of the town.
You are shocked at the wanton damage and ruination caused to the town of Staunton, consensus of your officers is that this I no way to fight a war.
Major Caleb Early (No Relation), from the 37th Virginia Cavalry reports,
“Sir, best we can see, Hunter has move out of his prepared positions here at Staunton and retired back to Harrisburg, where there are no positions prepared. It don’t seem right to me sir. He has his supply wagons with him, but not as many as I’d expect to see for a full division.”
Meanwhile the reliable Capt Wellington J. Finch arrives back in camp at about midnight from Jennings Gap.
“Sir, just back from Jennings Gap. No enemy activity there Sir. Folks in the mountains there say the Yanks keep themselves to themselves, not been no enemy activity in the area for over two months. My uncle, old Rufus Merriweather lives up there and he said to me that story is that General Kelley is looking for a quiet war, he’s not interested in starting any fighting”.
General Early - Waynesboro
Your Corps is resting overnight at Waynesboro with the intention of marching on Staunton in the morning