on the Shenandoah River, connecting their pickets with the left of the infantry. October 18, all quiet, and cavalry in same position. Reconnaissances showed no enemy in their immediate front. While the Second Division (Colonel Powell) was at Front Royal the rebel General Lomax, with his division, was at Milford Creek, up Luray Valley, about fourteen miles distant, and did not come out.
October 19, before daylight,the enemy made a vigorous attack, having surprised and turned the left of the army. The cavalry was immediately put in the saddle and the First and Third Divisions (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Custer) put in position on the right of the infantry. The trains were then sent to the rear. The First Brigade, Second Division (Colonel Moore commanding), being at Burton's Ford, on the Shenandoah, was by this move cut off from the main army and Colonel Moore, Second [Eighth] Ohio, immediately passed around the enemy's right and came up one the left of our army at Middletown, on the Valley pike, having previously sent his trains to Winchester. This brigade immediately attacked the enemy and held them in check on the pike until they could be re-enforced. At daylight in the morning the enemy made his appearance in front of Brigadier-General Custer's pickets on the extreme right, but the gallant men of the Third Division prevented their farther advance. A great portion of the army, being badly broken, was going to my escort, First Rhode Island Cavalry, as did Brigadier-General Merritt a fruitless effort. The escort First Rhode Island Cavalry, as did Brigadier-General Merritt his, Fifth U. S. Cavalry. After an hour or two work it proved to be a fruitless effort. The escort were drawn in and officers sent farther to the rear to form the men. By this time the enemy had come near enough for the cavalry batteries to open upon them, which they did. The enemy did not bring their lines in the open country between them and the cavalry, but kept under cover of the woods. Between 9 and 10 army temporarily (Major-General Sheridan being temporarily absent), to move my whole cavalry force on the left of the army. This I was opposed to, but proceeded to obey the order, but on my own responsibility I left three regiments to picket the right, and to this fact thousands of our stragglers are indebted for their safety, for these brave men held their position against great odds for five hours. The First and Third Divisions (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Custer) were ordered to the left of the army; the First Division (Brigadier-General Merritt) was put in position across the pike, just north of Middletown; the Third Division (Brigadier-General Custer) was formed on the left of the First Division; the First Brigade, Second Division (Colonel Moore), was formed on the left of the Third Division; the Horse Battery, B and L, Second Artillery, U. S. Army, Lieutenant Taylor commanding,* was left on the right fighting on the infantry line, where it did admirable service, and was the last artillery to leave that front. Too much praise cannot be given to the officers and men of this battery for their coolness and gallantry on this occasion. When the infantry was forced back and the battery was obliged to retire it joined it immediately went into action. As soon the cavalry was in position on the left of the army they attacked the enemy. Colonel Lowell, commanding Reserve Brigade, First Division, dismounted a part of his little band, and they advanced to a strong position behind a stone wall, from which the enemy's infantry failed to drive them after
*Lieutenant Taylor commanded Batteries K and L, First Artillery.
28 R R-VOL XLIII, PT I