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[614] halted and the enemy had ceased to press him.

The current notion that our army instantly faced to the front, charged, and routed tile exultant foe, does justice neither to Sheridan nor to facts. The defeated are not thus easily converted into conquerors. Sheridan met his crest-fallen, shattered battalions without a word of reproach, but joyously, inspiringly, swinging his cap and shouting to the stragglers as he rode rapidly past them--“Face the other way, boys! We are going back to our camps! We are going to lick them out of their boots!” Most of them obeyed, as the weaker will submits to the stronger. Then, leaving ordered each command to face to the front, form line, and advance, he rode for two hours along that line, gathering information, and studying tile ground, while he rapidly and cheeringly talked to his soldiers. “Boys, if I had been here, this would not have happened!” he assured them, and they believed it. And so their spirits gradually rose, and they became convinced that their defeat was an awkward accident — unpleasant, of course, but such as might happen to any army so self-confident as to be easily caught napping. Finally, they began to doubt that they had actually been beaten at all.

Emory's 19th corps was strongly posted in a dense wood on the left, and had thrown up a rude breast-work of rocks and rails along its front. Here he was attacked at 1 P. M. but not in great force nor desperately; and, after a spirited fusillade, he sent word that the enemy had been repulsed. Sheridan accepted and reported the tidings as very natural and indicative of more such to come. And now, at 3 P. M. all being ready, the order was given, “The entire line will advance. The 19th corps will move in connection with the 6th. The right of the 19th will swing toward the left, so as to drive the enemy upon the pike.” Steadily, not eagerly, our infantry rose to their feet, and went forward through the woods to the open ground beyond. The scream of shells, the rattle of musketry, the charging shout, rolled at once from right to left; and soon the Rebels' front line was carried and their left decidedly turned. Gordon's division, which led the charge on our left that morning, had now been flanked and driven, if not broken.

There was a pause in the advance, but not in the fight. The Rebel guns (they had a good part of ours) opened on our new position, and were replied to mainly by musketry. Again Sheridan moved along our front, correcting its formation, giving particular orders to subordinates, and words of cheer and confidence to all. Emory's 1st division was formed nearly at right angles with the Rebels' front, so as to face the turnpike and crowd them, when it charged, toward the way they should go. And now came the second charge, more determined, more confident, more comprehensive than the first; our cavalry advancing on both wings and, as the Rebel front gave way, charging fiercely upon their disordered ranks, and running them through Strasburg. Our weary, famished infantry — whose rations and cooks had long since paid tribute to the enemy, or found shelter in Winchester — sank down in their recovered quarters to shiver through the night as they could.

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