A height in the rear of Early
's position, crowned by a fort, still held out; but Crook
's column quickly stormed and carried both.
And now our cavalry — which had been fighting and routing the enemy's — came up on our right, and charged superbly on the rear of the flying foe, taking 700 prisoners and 2 guns at the first onset; following till dark close on the heels of the fugitives, and gathering up prisoners, &c., as they hurried through Winchester
in utter rout and disintegration.
Our loss in this battle was fully 3,000, including Gen. David A. Russell
, killed, with Gens. McIntosh
, and Upton
The heroic 19th corps--on which fell the brunt of the fight — alone lost 1,940 killed and wounded. Among the Rebels
killed were Gens. Rhodes
and A. C. Godwin
admits a loss of 3,000 on their side ; but, as we took 3,000 prisoners, will 5 guns, it was probably much greater.
Early fell back to Fisher's Hill
, 8 miles south of Winchester
, between the North
and Massanutten mountains
— regarded as the very strongest position in the Valley
followed sharply, allowing but two days to intervene between his first and his second victory.
Advancing the 6th corps against the front and the 19th on the left of the Rebel stronghold, he again sent the a long circuit around on the right, striking heavily in flank and rear, while a vigorous attack in front broke the enemy's center.
The victory here was even more decisive, as well as far more cheaply purchased, than that won at the Opequan
Though our attack could not be made till 4 P. M., there was still time enough to take 1,100 prisoners, 16 guns, &c., &c. The pursuit hence was so sharp that Early
had to abandon the Valley
and take to the mountains, where cavalry could with difficulty operate.
followed with infantry and artillery to Port Republic
where he captured and destroyed 75 wagons; sending his cavalry, under Torbert
, to Staunton, where they destroyed large quantities of army supplies, and thence to Waynesborough
, where the Virginia Central railroad was broken up, the bridge burned, and a large Confederate tannery destroyed.
, in his letter of instructions to Gen. Hunter
had directed that--
In pushing up the Shenandoah valley, where it is expected you will have to go first or last, it is desirable that nothing should be left to i<*>te the enemy to return. Take all provisions, forage, and stock, wanted for the use of your command; such as can not be consumed, destroy.
It is not desirable that the buildings should be destroyed — they should rather be protected — but the people should be informed that, so long as an army can subsist among them, recurrences of these raids must be expected; and we are determined to stop them at all hazards.
This order, Sheridan
, in returning down the Valley
, executed to the letter.
Whatever of grain and forage had escaped appropriation or destruction by one or another of the armies which had so frequently chased each other up and down this uarrow but fertile and productive vale, was now given to the torch.
Some of it was the property of men who not only adhered to the Union
, but were fighting to uphold it; more belonged to Quakers, Tunkers, &c., who abhorred bloodshed, and had taken no part in the strife, unless under absolute constraint.
The excuse, of