War of the Rebellion: Serial 090 Page 0053 Chapter LV. THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY CAMPAIGN.

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trains at Mill Creek, and ordered the brigade at Winchester to stretch across the country and stop all stragglers. Taking twenty men from my escort, I pushed on to the front, leaving the balance under General Forsyth and Colonels Thom and Alexander to do what they could in stemming the torrent of fugitives. I am happy to say that hundreds of the men, when on reflection found they had not done themselves justice, came back with cheers.

On arriving at the front I found Merritt's and Custer's divisions of cavalry, under Torbert, and General Getty's division, of the Sixth Corps, opposing the enemy. I suggested to General Wright that we would fight on Getty's line and to transfer Custer to the right at once, as he (Custer) and Merritt, from being on the right in the morning, had been transferred to the left; that the remaining two divisions of the Sixth Corps, which were to the right and rear of Getty about two miles, should be ordered up, and also that the Nineteenth Corps, which was on the right and rear of these two divisions, should be hastened up before the enemy attacked Getty. I then started out all my staff officers to bring up these troops, and was so convinced that we would soon be attacked that I went back myself to urge them on. Immediately after I returned and assumed command, General Wright returning to his corps, Getty to his division, and the line of battle was formed on the prolongation of General Getty's line, and a temporary breast-work of rails, logs, &c., thrown up hastily. Shortly after this was done the enemy advance, and from a point on the left of our line of battle I could see his columns moving to the attack, and at once notified corps commanders to be prepared. This assault fell principally on the Nineteenth Corps, and was repulsed. I am pleased to be able to state that the strength of the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps and Crook's command was now being rapidly augmented by the return of those who had gone to the rear early in the day. Reports coming in from the Front Royal pike, on which Powell's division of cavalry was posted, to the effect that a heavy column of infantry was moving on that pike in the direction of Winchester, and that he (Powell) was retiring and would come in at Newtown, caused me great anxiety for the time, and although I could not fully believe that such a movement would be undertaken, still it delayed my general attack. At 4 p. m. I ordered the advance. This attack was brilliantly made, and as the enemy was protected by rail breast-works, and at some portions of his line by stone fences, his resistance was very determined. His line of battle overlapped the right of mine, and by turning with this portion of it on the flank of the Nineteenth Corps caused a slight momentary confusion. This movement was checked, however, by a counter-charge of General McMillan's brigade upon the re-entering angle thus formed by the enemy, and his flanking party cut off. It was at this stage of the battle that Custer was ordered to charge with his entire division, but, although the order was promptly obeyed, it was not in time to capture the whole of the force thus cut off, and many escaped across Cedar Creek. Simultaneous with this charge a combined movement of the whole line drove the enemy in confusion to the creek, where, owing to the difficulties of crossing, his army became routed. Custer, finding a ford on Cedar Creek west of the pike, and Devin, of Merritt's division, one to the east of it, they each made the crossing just after dark and pursued the routed mass of the enemy to Fisher's Hill, where this strong position gave him some protection against our cavalry, but the most of his transportation had been captured, the road from Cedar Creek to Fisher's Hill, a distance of over three miles, being literally blockaded by wagons, ambulances,