two divisions of infantry and a large force of cavalry, to Martinsburg, twenty-two miles away, to do what damage he could to the railroad, leaving the remainder of his force in front of Winchester.
Sheridan at once detected the blunder of his antagonist, and instead of moving to Newtown, as he had intended, determined to attack the enemy in detail, fighting first the two divisions left near Winchester, and then the two that had been moved to Martinsburg.
Accordingly, on the afternoon of the 18th, his whole army marched from Berryville towards the Opequan.
But at Martinsburg Early learned that Grant had been with Sheridan, and anticipating some movement of importance, he at once set out to return.
At Martinsburg . . I learned that Grant was with Sheridan that day, and I expected an early move.—Early's Memoir, page 84. At daylight on the 19th, there was one rebel division immediately in front of Sheridan, and another only five miles to the north, while two, still nearer, were marchi
adiness for their removal where they can be used.
As the plans of the rebels became more apparent, Grant gave orders to break up Thomas's army.
On the 14th of January, as we have seen, Schofield's corps was withdrawn from Tennessee, and on the 18th, the general-in-chief said to Halleck: I now understand that Beauregard has gone west to gather up what he can save from Hood's army, to bring against Sherman.
If this be the case, Selma and Montgomery can be easily reached.
I do not believe, there soon beyond the control of the brigade on duty in the town.
An entire division was now brought in, but it was found impossible to check the conflagration, which by midnight had become quite unmanageable.
It raged till about four A. M. on the 18th, when the wind subsided, and the flames were got under control.
Sherman was abroad till nearly morning, and Howard, Logan, Wood—his highest generals—were laboring all night to save the houses and protect the families of their enemies, thus sud