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[66] hospitals while sick men were in them. Prisoners had been bayoneted. The black flag had been actually flung to the breeze. Cavalry had deliberately rode down some unarmed sick men, who in fear had left a hospital, and with their sabres murdered them in scores. Such is Southern chivalry. And when any regiment of this brigade marches back to Winchester, when the vanguard leaves, Winchester will have been a city of the past.

Against this rear the rebel cavalry pressed in vain. Shot and shell could not break it. And a few miles out of Winchester, Gen. Banks ordered a halt to reform any disordered regiments. It was done, and the corps moved on, the enemy harassing in vain. Martinsburgh was reached, and Williamsport--thirteen miles on. The Potomac was then reached in the evening. A battle had been fought and thirty-five miles marched that day. The train crossed and was in safety. Towards evening the troops passed over, except that the Second Massachusetts and the noble Third Wisconsin, who had stood as if made up of brothers that day, left each four companies, still doing duty on the Virginia shore.

I have said little of any but of our Second, both because it will answer the enquiries of Massachusetts readers, and because it had the hardest fighting. Its loss it cannot yet tell, as more are hoped to have escaped, who sank from sickness in crowds. But, as yet, the noble Major Dwight, as gallant an officer as ever lived, generous, beloved, who commanded the reserve of the Second, and with the most perfect composure and skill fought for hours, there is much reason to fear will never return. Drs. Leland and Stone are both prisoners. Capt. Mudge and Lieut. Crowninshield are both injured though not fatally. In all, fourteen are known to be killed, forty are known to be wounded, and one hundred and thirty are missing; as many have come in; there is reason to fear that, of the latter number, many are wounded and some dead.

If we have felt sad that the Second has had no such chance as other Massachusetts regiments — now it has been tried. It has marched in retreat fifty-three miles in thirty-two hours, in perfect order, though fighting a large part of the way, and for most of it was rear-guard, followed by an overwhelming force. It fought three hours and a half as one of seven regiments against twenty-eight--a portion of four thousand men against fifteen. Its colonel, Gordon, brave, cool, energetic, not only handled his brigade well, but is declared by the General to have been of very great personal service. Its lieutenant-colonel, commanding, has justified the high character he has always had. The regiment fired by orders, as evenly as if in mere practice. Of its officers and privates not a single man was known to flinch.

A woman's account of the retreat.

The writer of the subjoined letter to the Boston Transcript is the wife of Rev. C. W. Denison, formerly pastor of the Niagara street Baptist Church in Boston:

Having had an opportunity of being near a battle-field, and a sharer in some of the privations incident to army life, I thought a short account of the fight in and retreat from Winchester, taken from a woman's stand-point of view, would not be uninteresting to your readers. Last Saturday morning when I went the rounds of the hospitals in that city, how little I expected that I was looking my last upon so many of our poor wounded boys. We then looked for reinforcements by every train, having heard that Gen. Banks and his army were coming towards Winchester. Towards noon the army supplies and ambulances came pouring in, and then the report was that the wagons were to be camped on the Fair grounds, half a mile from town. The Unionists there had confidence in Banks, while the secessionists put on a bolder face than ever, dressed themselves in their best, and made entertainment for Jackson's army.

Little we thought, as we heard their impertinent remarks, that we should “see who would rule to-morrow,” that their boasting was to be verified. Soon came the foot-soldiers, weary and travel-worn, by tens and fifties. People began to say, “This looks like a retreat;” still we had hope. By night matters grew desperate. There was fighting. The rebels were pouring in upon our soldiers, exhausted by the march, from every point. The Union men grew thoughtful, some of them left the city, while still the immense train, portions of cavalry and tired foot-soldiers, passed on. All this time reinforcements were surely coming — but they never came. “They are twenty, thirty, forty to our one,” the soldiers said, when we questioned them about the rebel forces.

In the morning, Winchester presented a strange sight. Vehicles of every description, crowded with sick soldiers and citizens, came by the door. The contrabands flocked by, each with his little bundle. Whole families of negroes, some with huge packs strapped on head and shoulders, little children almost too small to walk, lean horses carrying two and three, went following the train. Meantime, the thunder of cannonading had commenced. Nearer and nearer it came. The cry went forth that the rebels were driving our forces. We had engaged a carriage, but it failed us. As the shells began to pour into the doomed city, we availed ourselves of the offer of some sick soldiers, who had already crowded an old army wagon, and leaving everything behind us, we took passage in the retreating train, doubtful if we should get away.

By the time we were one mile from the city, many of the buildings were in flames. Our men first fired the houses of storage and blew up the powder-magazines. The rebels directed their shells on the hospitals, firing nearly all. God knows how many of our poor boys burned to death. The report is, and that from the doctors, that they killed all they found alive, even the women nurses, of whom there were four who remained.

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N. P. Banks (3)
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