War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0490 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

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positions were followed by the massing of the Second and Third Divisions to follow the First Division, deployed in line of battle, when the advance was ordered of my entire force. The skirmishers met the enemy at various points of its extended line, and steadily drove them until the entire line of heights had been carried, which was done in a most dashing style under the personal direction of Brigadier-General Ward. The enemy was now reported as forming his line of battle near the Cheater Gap road and to the left of the Pass. Continuous columns of cavalry, infantry, artillery, and baggage-wagons were seen during the day moving from the direction of Winchester toward Strasburg, Luray, and Front Royal, the force in front of us being evidently a large flank guard to delay our advance. The first Division wa formed in line of battle, supported by the Second, and the Third Division held in reserve. The enemy had rallied his skirmishers in his front and behind the slopes which descend from Wapping Heigths, carried by Ward's division. I sent an order to General Prince by Lieutenant-Colonel Hayden, chief of staff, to send a brigade to penetrate the ravine in front and cut the enemy's line, and to drive them away. The Excelsior Brigade was selected to carry out my orders, and moved rapidly to execute them. Descending the precipitous slopes of Wapping Heights, they were directed upon the valley which separated the series of knolls in our front, behind the principal of which the enemy, perceiving the object of the movement, concentrated. The brigade was at once deployed at the base of the knoll, and advanced upon the enemy. Halting or a moment upon the crest of the hill, the line rushed upon the enemy with the bayonet, giving cheer after cheer, and driving him back in confusion out of the Gap. Nothing could be more brilliant than the conduct of the officers and men in this affair, evidencing fighting qualities of the highest order. Brigadier-General Spinola, who led and commanded the brigade, was twice wounded. After the front had been entirely cleared, the other brigades of the Second Division moved down in rear of the Excelsior, which, being taken for a threat upon the road to Front Royal by the enemy, a fix random shots from two rifled gun near the road were sent into our lines at a great range. It was now almost nightfall, and the men, exhausted by a long and arduous march and spirited attack, were permitted to lie on their arms. The list of casualties in this affair is attached to this report. On the following morning, the Second Division pickets being pushed out, it was discovered that the enemy had withdrawn in the night. That division was sent to Front Royal with a battery, but finding no enemy in force, it was directed to return, and the march was resumed to Warrenton, near which town the corps went into camp. The reports of division and subordinate commanders, herewith inclosed, set forth more in detail the circumstances of the marches and bivouacs of their several commands. The soldier like spirit which entered into the performance of the duties of these troops, whether in contact with the enemy or while advancing to meet him, is worthy of the highest commendation. To my staff [administrative]- Lieutenant Colonel George H. Wood, chief commissary of subsistence; Capt, A. Judson Clark, acting chief of artillery; Lieutenant Colonel J. B. Howard, chief quartermaster; Captain B. W. Hoxie, acting chief ordnance officer, and Captain Amos Webster,