Ramseur's left for the purpose of overwhelming him, and when their columns commenced advancing on Ramseur I attacked them with Rodes' and Gordon's divisions, and drove them back, with great slaughter, the artillery doing most splendid service, Braxton's battalion, driving back with canister a heavy force, before which Evans' brigade, of Gordon's division, which was on the left, had given way. This brigade was now rallied, and Battle's brigade coming to its assistance, the enemy was pushed back a considerable distance, and we were successful. Breckinridge's division did not arrive for some time, be cause General Breckinridge's division did not arrive for some time, because General Breckinridge had moved it out after my order to him to drive back some of the enemy's cavalry which was crossing the Opequon, and I sent for him again, and he came up in the afternoon before the enemy had made any further attack; but as he reported the enemy's cavalry advancing on the road from Charlestown, by Brucetown and Stephenson's Depot, I ordered one of his brigades to the left on that road, and directed General Fitz Lee to take charge of all the cavalry on that flank (my left) and check the enemy's cavalry, and moved the other two brigades of Breckinridge's division toward the right, where our forces were weakest and the enemy was making demonstrations in force. Breckinridge was scarcely in position before our cavalry on the left was discovered coming back in great confusion, followed by the enemy's, and Breckinridge's force was ordered to the left to repel this cavalry force, which had gotten in rear of my left, and this, with the assistance of the artillery, he succeeded in doing; but as soon as the firing was heard in rear of our left flank the infantry commenced falling back along the whole line, and it was very difficult to stop them. I succeeded, however, in stopping enough of them in the old rifle-pits constructed by General Johnston to arrest the progress of the enemy's infantry, which commenced advancing again when the confusion in our ranks was discovered, and could have still won the day if our cavalry would have stopped the enemy's; but so overwhelming was the battle, and so demoralized was a larger part of ours, that no assistance was received from it. The enemy's cavalry again charged around my left flank, and the men began to give way again, so that it was necessary for me to retire through the town. Line of battle was formed on the north side of the town, the command reorganized, and we then turned back deliberately to Newtown, and the next day to Fisher's.
We lost three pieces of artillery, two of which had been left which the cavalry on the left, and the other was lost because the horses were killed and it could not be brought off.
In this fight I had already defeated the enemy's infantry, and could have continued to do so, but the enemy's very great superiority in cavalry and the comparative inefficiency of our turned the scale against ut.
In this battle the loss in the infantry and artillery was: Killed, 226; wounded, 1,567; missing, 1,818; total, 3,611.
There is no full report of the cavalry, but the total loss in killed and wounded from September 1 to October 1 is: Killed, 60; wounded, 288; total, 348. But many were captured, though a good many are missing as stragglers, and a number of them reported missing in the infantry were not captured, but are stragglers and skulkers. Wharton's (Breckinridge's) division lost six colors, and Rodes' division captured two. Rodes' division made a very gallant charge, and he was killed conducting it.
I fell back to Fisher's Hill, as it was the only place where a stand could be made, and I was compelled to detach Fitz Lee's cavalry to the Luray Valley to hold the enemy's cavalry in check should it advance up that valley.