War of the Rebellion: Serial 090 Page 0456 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LV.

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enemy was enabled to move or mass troops in rear of his position, unseen by my command. Either detecting our intention of delaying him, or receiving orders to this effect, he abandoned the position in our front and withdrew toward our left. In the absence of instructions I ordered a general advance, intending, if not opposed, to move beyond the enemy's left flank and strike him in reserve. I directed my advance toward Stephenson's Depot and met with no enemy until two miles of that point, where I encountered Lomax's division of cavalry, which at that time was engaged with Averell's division, advancing on my right on the Martinsburg pike. Our appearance was unexpected and produced such confusion upon the part of the enemy, that though charged repeatedly by inferior numbers, they at no time waited for us to approach within pistol range, but broke and fled. Soon after a junction was formed with General Averell on my right, which with the connection on my left made our line unbroken. At this time five brigades of cavalry were moving on parallel lines; most, if not all, of the brigades moved by brigade front, regiments being in parallel columns or squadrons. One continuous and heavy fire of skirmishers covered the advance, using only the carbine, while the line of brigades as they advanced across the open country, the bands playing the national airs, presented in the sunlight one moving mass of glittering sabers. This, combined with the various and bright-colored banners and battle-flags, intermingled here and there with the plain blue uniforms of the troops, furnished one of the most inspiring as well as imposing scenes of martial grandeur ever witnessed upon a battle-field. No encouragement was required to inspirit either man or horse. On the contrary, it was necessary to check the ardor of both until the time for action should arrive. The enemy had effected a junction of his entire cavalry force, composed of the divisions of Lomax and Fitzhugh Lee; they were formed across the Martinsburg and Winchester pike, about three miles from the latter place. Concealed by an open pine forest they awaited our approach. No obstacles to the successful maneuvering of large bodies of cavalry were encountered ; even the forests were so open as to offer little or no hinderance to a charging column. Upon our left and in plain view could be seen the struggle now raging between the infantry lines of each army, while at various points columns of light-colored smoke showed that the artillery of neither side was idle. At that moment it seemed as if no perceptible, advantage could be claimed by either, but that the fortunes of the day might be decided by one of those incidents of the battle-field which, though insignificant in themselves, often go far toward deciding the fate of nations. Such must have been the impression of the officers and men composing the five brigades advancing to the attack. The enemy wisely chose not to receive our attack at a halt, but advanced from the wood and charged our line of skirmishers. The cavalry were then so closely connected that a separate account of the operations of a single brigade or regiment is almost impossible. Our skirmishers were forced back and a portion of my brigade was pushed back to their support. The enemy relied wholly upon the carbine and pistol; my men preferred the saber. A short but closely contested struggle ensued, which resulted in the repulse of the enemy. Many prisoners were taken, and quite a number on both sides left on the field. Driving the enemy through the woods in his rear the pursuit was taken up with vigor. The enemy dividing his columns from necessity, our forces did likewise. The division of General Averell moved on the right of the pike and gave its attention to a small force of the enemy which was