At 4.30 p.m. they drove in the skirmishers in front of Gordon and opened a lively artillery duel. At the same time a flanking force that had come on our left, near the North Mountain, advanced and drove away the cavalry and moved on the left flank of our infantry-rather beyond it. The brigade there (Battle's) was ordered to move to the left, and the whole line was ordered to extend that way, moving along the line of the breast-works. But the enemy attacking just then (5.30 p.m.) the second brigade from the left, instead of marching by the line of works, was marched across an angle by its commander. The enemy seeing this movement rushed over the works, and the brigade fled in confusion, thus letting the enemy into the rear of Early's division, as well as of Gordon's and the rest of Rodes'; our whole line gave way toward the right, offering little or no resistance, and the enemy came on and occupied our line. General Early and staff were near by, and I with others went after Wharton, to [the right], but it was too late. Our whole line had retreated before he got on the turnpike. The enemy opened a furious cannonade on him. Our men came back in a perfect rout, and so rapidly that the enemy was crossing the railroad before the head of the column got into the pike, even. It was then getting dark. I hastened back to try and stop the mass of fugitives on the top of the hill near Mount Prospect. General Gordon, General Pegram, and Colonel Pendleton with others came up. Colonel Pendleton and myself had gotten a few men to stop near a fence, there, and also two pieces of artillery, which were opened on the enemy. By the combined efforts of all a few men were induced to stop. The artillery was opened on the woods where the enemy was advancing and it checked them for the moment, but most of our men went on, officers and all, at breakneck speed. Wharton came along parallel to the pike and on the left, and kept some of his men together. He checked the enemy some, and a rear guard was formed from his division which made a stand at Tom's Brook, and gave the enemy a volley which made them desist from pursuit. Battle's brigade moved to the left and came out intact. Colonel Pendleton was mortally wounded soon after we made a stand on the hill. The rout of wagons, caissons, limbers, artillery, and flying men was fearful as the stream swept down the pike toward Woodstock, as many thought the enemy's cavalry was aiming to get there by the Middle road and cut us off. I became alarmed for the bridges, lest they should be broken and stop the retreat, so I hastened along as best I could and checked the sapped of the train, which was fairly flying. I finally got to the head of the train at Hawkinstown and advised Major Harman to park beyond Mount Jackson. Then I went to the river, beyond Mount Jackson, and got Captain Hart, of the Engineer Company, to put out guards and stop the fugitives, a duty which he and Lieutenant Boyd nobly performed. I then laid down which he and Lieutenant Boyd nobly performed. I then land down and slept two hours and fed my horse. I got there about 1 a.m. A fine warm day. We lost some eighteen pieces of artillery and about 600 or 800 men.
Friday, September 23.-The troops marched all night. The enemy only came to Tom's Brook. We got to Mount Jackson at an early hour. All the wagons got there safely, except a few that were overturned. They were this morning all sent across the river to Rude's Hill. We spent the day in line of battle, Wharton on the left and Ramseur on the right, in front of Mount Jackson, just beyond the hospitals, and Gordon and Pegram between Mount Jackson and the river. The enemy's cavalry came up and threw a few shells, but no advance was made. After dark we came across the river. We had our headquarters just back of Rude's Hill and all spent the night near there. Some rain; cool.