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consequences of a defeat, opening the , aced and kept strong and idle, if North to a fresh invasion, and perhaps possible; he striving in turn to thrust compelling—what Lee most desired that wing through our left and seize and Grant most dreaded—a with the mouth of the ravine, so as at drawal of our army from the James- | once to sever our army and deprive were so grave, that Grant hesitated its right of any line of retreat. to authorize a determined advance It was 10 A. M. when the 6th corps until he had made him a second emerged from the ravine, and took visit,s, and become convinced that he ground on our left; Ricketts's divihad a lieutenant on the Potomac who sion pushing forward, through thick thoroughly comprehended his posi- woods and over steep hills, where tion, his work, his strength, and that musketry only could be used, right of his antagonist, and needed but against the enemy's front; for here liberty of action and a trust which his ground must be gained and held to achievements would abundantly just enable the 8th corps to debouch beify. “I saw," says Grant, in his report, hind our front from the pass, turn “that but two words of instruction the enemy's left, and charge him in were necessary-Go in!"" So he flank and rear. When our impetugave them, and Sheridan went in. ous advance had cleared the woods
Early held the west bank of and heights, a broad, open valley OPEQUAN creek, covering Winchester, was before them, .with the Rebel Sheridan was in his front and to his army sheltered by the woods and right, holding Berryville. In a skill- rocks beyond ; whence a terrific shellful and spirited reconnoissance, Gen. ing already told upon our ranks. Wilson had struck" the flank of Yet so vehement and resolute was Kershaw's division, capturing with the charge of Grover's division of the out loss Col. Hennegan and 171 of 19th corps that Early's first line was the 8th S. C. The priucipal value carried-Gen. Rhodes being killed of such a stroke inheres in its effect and three Rebel colonels sent to our on the spirits of an army; and Sheri- rear as prisoners. dan, believing his in the mood for Early, seeing that no moment was battle, drew out, at 2 a. M.," his entire to be lost, promptly hurled two fresh force, resolved to carry the enemy's divisions upon Grover and Ricketts, position by assault.
pushing them back in disorder and That position was naturally strong, with fearful loss; a heavy fire openand had been thoroughly fortified. ing on their flank as they surged to To assail it, our army had to advance ward the pass—many regiments utthrough a narrow ravine, shut in by terly broken, their officers fallen, and steep, thickly wooded hills, form in the battle seemingly lost beyond an irregular, undulating valley in hope. The 156th N. York had barely the enemy's front, advance through 40 men grouped around its colors; a wood, and attack desperately his Capt. Rigby, 24th Iowa, was seen recenter, while flanking and crushing treating firmly, deliberately, followin his left. His right, too strongly ed by a sergeant and 12 men who, posted to be turned, was to be men- reaching the assigned rallying-point, 30 Sept. 16. 9 Sept. 13.
» Sept. 19.
SHERIDAN'S BATTLE OF THE OPEQUAN.
their front sent them pell-mell back
across the fields to their original HARPER'S FERRY
cover. And now our shattered front, closing in from right and left, was rëformed and advanced over most of
the ground it had lost; the 1st divisSPET 19
ion of the 19th corps-still glorying WINCHESTER B BERRY
in its achievements at Port Hudson KERNSTOWN
and Pleasant Hill—instead of following the 8th corps in the flank move
ment, as had been intended, was STRASBURGO IN FRONT ROYAL
brought back and used to piece out and brace up the center; where desperate fighting, with little advantage
to either side, and heavy loss at least MT. JACKSONAS
to ours, was maintained till 3 P. M.
And now a shout from the far right, shut out from view by woods and hills, announced that the turning
movement was effected—that our HARRISONB
cavalry under Torbert, and Crook M. CRAWFO
with his 8th corps (the “ Army of West Virginia' that was), have struck the enemy's left in flank, and are
charging it under a terrible fire. InSTAUNTONA
10 e 20_25.
stantly, a redoubled fire breaks out -----INFANTRY
along our central front, in spite of the general scarcity of cartridges; and, these being soon exhausted, Col.
Thomas, 8th Vermont, ordered his halted, faced to the front, and gave men to charge at double quick with three hearty cheers. Five minutes the bayonet. In vain general officers later, that platoon had been swelled shouted · Halt!' 'Lie down !'"Wait by other such to a battalion ; while for supports !' &c.; for, while some Capt. Bradbury, 1st Maine battery, were still confused and vacillating, a had, by Grover's order, posted two staff officer from the right galloped guns in a gap and opened on the ex- | in front, and pointed with his saber ultant Rebels; who, charging to seize to the woods which sheltered the them, received a volley in the rear enemy. At once, all dissent was from the 131st N. York, which Gen. silenced, all hesitation at an end; Emory had rallied and posted in a the whole center, as one man, swept projection of wood, with orders not forward, cheering, and plunged into to fire till the enemy should have the woods, meeting there Crook's passed them. As they staggered corps, charging from the flank. All under this unexpected salute, a vol- the Rebels who could still travel ley from the newly formed line in I were by this time going or gone.
A height in the rear of Early's po- | there was still time enough to take sition, crowned by a fort, still held | 1,100 prisoners, 16 guns, &c., &c. out; but Crook's column quickly The pursuit hence was so sharp that stormed and carried both. And now Early had to abandon the Valley and our cavalry—which had been fight- take to the mountains, where cavalry ing and routing the enemy's came could with difficulty operate. Sheriup on our right, and charged superb- dan followed with infantry and artilly on the rear of the flying foe, ta-lery to Port Republic," where he king 700 prisoners and 2 guns at the captured and destroyed 75 wagons; first onset ; following till dark close sending his cavalry, under Torbert, on the heels of the fugitives, and to Staunton, where they destroyed gathering up prisoners, &c., as they large quantities of army supplies, and hurried through Winchester in utter thence to Waynesborough, where the rout and disintegration.
Virginia Central railroad was broken Our loss in this battle was fully up, the bridge burned, and a large 3,000, including Gen. David A. Rus- Confederate tannery destroyed. sell, killed, with Gens. McIntosh, Gen. Grant, in his letter of instrucChapman, and Upton wounded. The tions to Gen. Hunter," had directed heroic 19th corps-on which fell the thatbrunt of the fight-alone lost 1,940 “In pushing np the Shenandoah valley, killed and wounded. Among the where it is expected you will have to go first
or last, it is desirable that nothing should be Rebels killed were Gens. Rhodes and left to invite the enemy to return. Take all A. C. Godwin. Pollard admits a provisions, forage, and stock, wanted for the loss of 3,000 on their side; but, as we
use of your command; such as can not be
consumed, destroy. It is not desirable that took 3,000 prisoners, with 5 guns, it the buildings should be destroyed--they was probably much greater.
should rather be protected—but the people
should be informed that, so long as an army Early fell back to Fisher's Hill, can subsist among them, recurrences of these 8 miles south of Winchester, between raids must be expected; and we are deterthe North and Massanutten moun
mined to stop thein at all hazards." tains—regarded as the very strongest This order, Sheridan, in returning position in the Valley. Sheridan down the Valley, executed to the letfollowed sharply, allowing but two ter. Whatever of grain and forage days to intervene between his first had escaped appropriation or destrucand his second victory. Advancing tion by one or another of the arthe 6th corps against the front and mies which had so frequently chased the 19th on the left of the Rebel each other up and down this narrow stronghold, he again sent the 8th by but fertile and productive vale, was a long circuit around on the right, now given to the torch. Some of it striking heavily in flank and rear, was the property of men who not while a vigorous attack in front broke only adhered to the Union, but were the enemy's center. The victory here fighting to uphold it; more belonged was even more decisive, as well as far to Quakers, Tunkers, &c., who abmore cheaply purchased, than that horred bloodshed, and had taken no won at the Opequan. Though our part in the strife, unless under abattack could not be made till 4 P. M., solute constraint. The excuse, of 38 Sept. 25
* Aug. 6.
SHERIDAN DEVASTATES THE VALLEY.
course, was the certainty that what-1 “I have not been followed by the enemy ever was left would be used to feed for
he need to food to this point, with the exception of a small
force of Rebel cavalry that showed themthe Rebel armies and to facilitate selves some distance behind my rear-guard raids and incursions on our posts be- to-day.” low. The recent foolish as well as | The Richmond Whig thereupon culpable burning of Chambersburg—| gravely proposed to retaliate by to say nothing of the unauthorized sending incendiaries to fire the cities but openly justified arson and butch- of the loyal States, saying: . ery at Lawrence-furnished ample! "There is one effectual way, and only precedents; but it is not obvious that one we know of, to arrest and prevent this the National cause was advanced or
and every other sort of atrocity—and that
is, to burn one of the chief cities of the enethe National prestige exalted by this
iny, say Boston, Philadelphia, or Cincinnati, resort to one of the very harshest and and let its fate hang over the others as a
warning of what may be done, and what most questionable expedients not ab
will be done to them if the present system solutely forbidden by the laws of of war on the part of the enemy is contincivilized warfare.
ued. If we are asked how such a thing
can be done, we answer, nothing would be Sheridan reports this devastation, | easier. Sheridan reports this devastation,
A million of dollars would lay the in a dispatch to Grant, as follows: I | proudest city of the enemy in ashes. The
men to execute the work are already there. “WOODSTOCK, Va., Oct. 7, 1864—9 P. M. There would be no difficulty in finding there, “Lt.-Gen. U. S. GRANT:
here, or in Canada, suitable persons to take “I have the honor to report my com charge of the enterprise and arrange its demand at this point to-night. I commenced tails. Twenty men, with plans all preconmoving back from Port Republic, Mount certed and means provided, selecting some Crawford, Bridgewater, and Harrisonburg, dry, windy night, might fire Boston in a yesterday morning.
hundred places and wrap it in flames from “ The grain and forage in advance of center to suburb. They might retaliate on these points had previously been destroyed. Richmond, Charleston, &c. Let them do so
“In moving back to this point, the whole | if they dare! It is a game at which we can country from the Blue ridge to the North | beat them. New York is worth twenty mountain has been made antenable for a Richmonds. They have a dozen towns to Rebel army. I have destroyed over 2,000 our one; and in their towns is centered barns filled with wheat and hay and farm-nearly all their wealth. It would not be ing implements, over 70 mills filled with immoral and barbarous. It is not immoral flour and wheat; have driven in front of nor barbarous to defend yourself by any the army over 4,000 head of stock, and means or with any weapon the enemy may have killed and issued to the troops not less employ for your destruction. They choose than 3,000 sheep. This destruction em- to substitute the torch for the sword. We braces the Luray valley and Little Fort val- may so use their own weapon as to make ley as well as the main valley.
them repent, literally in sackcloth and ashes, “A large number of horses have been ob- that they ever adopted it. If the Executive tained, a proper estimate of which I can not is not ready for this, we commend the matnow make.
ter to the secret deliberation of the Con“Lt. John R. Meigs, my engineer officer, I gress about to meet." was murdered beyond Harrisonburg near Dayton. For this atrocious act, all the houses The atrocity here recommended within an area of five miles were burned.
was actually attempted in New York, “Since I came into the Valley from Harper's Ferry, every train, every small party,
a few weeks afterward-several of and every straggler, has been bush whacked the great hotels being simultaneously by the people; many of whom have protec
vo protec- fired by emissaries who had taken tion papers from commanders who have been hitherto in that valley.
lodgings therein for that purpose. “The people here are getting sick of the Each was quickly extinguished, when war. Heretofore, they have had no reason to complain, because they have been living
little damage had been done. in great abundance.
Sheridan's rear, as he moved down
nmander's Early, Canteens inee
to Strasburg, being infested” by Rebel | two columns, in order to strike ours horse under Rosser, he ordered Tor- at once on both flanks. He had of bert, commanding his cavalry, to turn course / to leave the turnpike and upon and chastise the presumption. move over rugged paths along the The Rebels broke and fled at the mountain-side, climbing up and down first charge, and were chased back steep hills, holding on by bushes, 26 miles; losing 11 guns, 47 wagons, where horses could hardly keep their and 330 prisoners. Sheridan's retreat feet, and twice fording the North fork was no further molested; but, having of the Shenandoah—the second time halted near Fisher's hill, Early at- in the very face of our pickets. For tempted" to steal upon him unaware, miles, his right column skirted the but found him ready, and, after a left of Crook's position, where an short struggle, the Rebel chief drew alarm would have exposed him to off, badly worsted.
utter destruction. So imperative was Sheridan now left” on a flying visit the requirement of silence that his to Washington, supposing his adver- men had been made to leave their sary had had fighting enough for the canteens in camp, lest they should season. He miscalculated. Early, clatter against their muskets. The aware of our commander's absence, divisions of Gordon, Ramseur, and stung by his repeated defeats, and Pegram thus stole by our left; those considerably rëenforced, resolved on of Kershaw and Wharton simultaneretrieving his ragged fortunes by a ously flanking our right. daring enterprise nothing less than At 2 A. M., the pickets of the 5th the surprise and rout of a veteran N. Y. heavy artillery (Kitching's diarmy. Having strengthened himself vision) heard a rustling of underto the utmost, and thoroughly organ- brush and a sound as of stealthy, ized his forces in his forest-screened multitudinous trampling; and two camp near Fisher's hill, he silently posts were relieved and sent into moved out at nightfall, resolved to camp with the report. Gen. Crook flank our position across CEDAR CREEK, thereupon ordered that a good look6 miles distant, and fall on our sleep-out be kept, but sent out no reconnoiing camps at daybreak next morning. tering party ; even the gaps in his
Our forces were encamped on three front line caused by detailing regicrests or ridges: the Army of West ments for picket duty were not filled; Virginia (Crook's) in front; the 19th and, when the crash came, the muscorps (Emory's) half a mile behind it; kets of many of our men were not the 6th corps (Wright's) to the right loaded. There was some suspicion and rear of the 19th. Kitching's pro- and uneasiness in Crook's command, visional division lay behind Crook's but no serious preparation. left; the cavalry, under Torbert, on An hour before dawn, the Rebels the right of the 6th. It is a fact, had all reached, without obstruction though no excuse, that they had no or mishap, the positions severally asmore apprehension of an attack from signed them, and stood shivering in Early than from Canada.
the chill mist, awaiting the order to Early had arranged his army in attack. No sound of alarm, no hum 35 Oct. 9. 39 Oct. 12.
57 Oct. 15.
* Oct. 18.