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[32] me to turn my attention to the approaches in other directions. I am still at a loss to know how Captain Morgan could have made the tour which he reported without seeing or encountering the enemy, for within two hours after he made the report the enemy opened upon me from the west with at least four full batteries, some of his guns being of the longest range, under cover of which fire he precipitated a column at least ten thousand strong upon the outwork held by Colonel Keifer, which, after a stubborn resistance, he carried. This outwork was commanded by the guns of the main and star forts, which were immediately brought to bear upon the enemy, driving him from the position and affording a protection to Colonel Keifer's command, under which it retreated, with small loss, to the main fort. The guns at the fort, and the Baltimore battery, Captain Alexander, at the star fort, and Carlin's battery, immediately south of the main fort, engaged the enemy's guns, and an artillery contest ensued which was maintained with energy on both sides until eight o'clock in the evening. During its progress I massed my troops in the main and star forts, and in the rifle-pits in front of them. To my regret, the enemy made no effort to take my position by assault. About nine o'clock in the evening I convened a council of war, consisting of Brigadier-General Elliott, commanding First brigade, Colonel Ely, commanding Second brigade, and Colonel McReynolds, commanding Third brigade.

Before stating the result of this council, it is proper that I should state the circumstances by which we were surrounded. It was certain that Lee had eluded the army of the Potomac, and was at liberty to use his whole force against us without hindrance from any source. Our position at Winchester, although affording facilities for defence which would enable an inferior to maintain itself against a superior number for a limited time, could not be successfully defended by the limited means at my command against such an army as surrounded me. Six principal roads, known in the army as the Romney, Pughtown, Martinsburgh, Berryville, Front Royal, and Strasburgh roads, lead into the town. The names of these roads indicate their courses. They are all intersected and connected by cross-roads in close proximity to the town. Cavalry and artillery can approach the town and the forts from any direction. We had but one day's rations left, and our artillery ammunition was almost entirely expended. On Monday morning the enemy could have brought one hundred guns to bear on us, to which we could have made no reply. Precedents which have occurred during this rebellion and in other countries would have justified a capitulation; but I thought, and my comrades in council thought, that we owed our lives to the Government rather than make such a degrading concession to rebels in arms against its authority.

The propositions concluded upon in that council were, that in consequence of the entire exhaustion of artillery ammunition, it was impossible to hold the forts against the overwhelming forces of the enemy, and that a further prolongation of the defence could only result in sacrificing the lives of our soldiers without any practical benefit to the country; that we owed it to the honor of the Federal arms to make an effort to force our way through the lines of the beleaguering foe; that the artillery and wagons should be abandoned, and the division, brigade, and regimental quartermasters instructed to bring away all public horses; and that the brigades, in the order of their numbers, should march from the forts at one o'clock in the morning, carrying with them their arms and the usual supply of ammunition. The Thirteenth Pennsylvania cavalry was attached to the Third brigade. The forts were evacuated at the time designated, and immediately thereafter the cannon spiked, and the ammunition which could not be carried by the men thrown into the cisterns of the forts. The column proceeded through a ravine, avoiding the town of Winchester, about one mile, until it struck the Martinsburgh road. It then proceeded up the Martinsburgh road to where a road leads from it to Summit Station, about four miles and a half from Winchester; when I received a message from General Elliott that he was attacked by the enemy's skirmishers. I had heard the firing and was riding forward. The enemy was on elevated ground, in a wood east of the road and a field east of and adjoining the wood. This occurred between three and four o'clock in the morning. General Elliott immediately filed the One Hundred and Twenty-third, the One Hundred and Tenth, and One Hundred and Twenty second Ohio regiments to the left, and formed them in line of battle west of and in front of the woods in which the enemy was posted. He then advanced the One Hundred and Tenth Ohio, Col. Keifer, into the woods to feel of the enemy. This regiment soon became actively engaged, and was immediately supported with the One Hundred and Twenty-second Ohio, which promptly took its position on the right of the One Hundred and Tenth. It soon became evident that the enemy was present in considerable force, with at least two batteries of artillery. It was evident, however, that a retreat could not be effected except under cover of a heavy contest with him. The One Hundred and Tenth and One Hundred and Twenty-second Ohio maintained the contest for over an hour, occasionally falling back, but in the main driving the enemy. They captured one of the enemy's caissons, and silenced two of his guns by killing his gunners and artillery horses. Although immediately under the guns of the enemy, they preserved their lines, and kept up an incessant, heavy, and murderous fire of musketry, under the effect of which the enemy's right flank fell into disorder and recoiled. During this contest Colonel Keifer especially distinguished himself by the display of the qualities of a brave soldier and a judicious and skilful officer.

About the time the contest commenced on my left, by my orders, the Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania volunteer infantry, Colonel Shawl, advanced

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