seemed to seize the key of every situation, however difficult; the amazing quickness and precision with which he formed new plans on the field, and his thunderbolt method of executing each design; his success in imparting to his infantry much of the mobility and dash of cavalry, and to his cavalry much of the coherency and steadiness of infantry-all these had combined, in spite of not a few unheroic personal traits, to give his army unbounded faith in his leadership and enthusiasm for the man. But Sheridan
was twenty miles away, at Winchester
, where he had arrived the day before from Washington
Meantime, the battle and the day wore on together.
The sulphurous cloud that overhung the field, and the dense volumes of dust that rose behind the wheeling batteries and the charging troops, contrasted grimly with the sweet light of that perfect October day, as it could be seen beyond the limits of the battle-field.
At noon, and for some time previously, the enemy was opposed only by Merritt
's and Custer
's cavalry and Getty
's Division of infantry, with their accompanying batteries, while the main portion of the Sixth Corps was more than two miles to the right and rear of Getty
, engaged in reorganizing, and the Nineteenth Corps was, in turn, to the right and rear of the Sixth.
At this juncture, those of us who were stationed near the Winchester pike
heard, far to the rear of us, a faint cheer go up, as a hurrying horseman passed a group of wounded soldiers, and dashed down that historic road toward our line of battle.
As he drew nearer, we could see that the coal black horse was flecked with foam, both horse and rider grimed with dust, and the dilated nostrils and laboring breath of the former told of a race both long and swift.
A moment more and a deafening cheer broke from the troops in that part of the field, as they recognized in the coming horseman their longed — for Sheridan
Above the roar of musketry and artillery, that shout arose like a cry of victory.
The news flashed front brigade to brigade, along our front, with telegraphic speed, and then, as Sheridan
, cap in hand, dashed along the rear of the struggling line, thus confirming to all eyes the fact of his arrival, a continuous cheer burst from the whole army.
Hope took the place of fear, courage the place of despondency, cheerfulness the place of gloom.
The entire aspect of things seemed changed in a moment.
Further retreat was not longer thought of. At all points to the rear stragglers could be seen by hundreds voluntarily rejoining their regiments, with such arms as they could hastily find-order seemed to have come spontaneously out of chaos, an army out of a rabble.
[The cannonade of the early morning, when the battle opened, had.