previous next
[244]

Confederate infantry broke from the woods, and with colors flying advanced in splendid alignment across an open field. So closely were the advanced Union troops pressed, that despite the destruction wrought in the Southern ranks by the breech-loading carbines, there was danger of losing the led horses.

The following is quoted from the graphic description of this fight by Lieutenant (afterwards Colonel U. S. V.) William H. Harrison, Second United States Cavalry:

With a cheer which makes our hearts bound, the First New York Dragoons, the First United States, and the Sixth Pennsylvania on the run, dismount, and form themselves on the shattered lines of the Second and Fifth. A few volleys from our carbines make the line of the enemy's infantry waver, and in an instant the cry is heard along our entire line, “Charge! Charge!” We rush forward, firing as we advance; the Confederate colors fall, and so furious is our charge that the North Carolina brigade breaks in complete rout, leaving three stands of colors, all their killed and wounded, and many prisoners in our hands. The enemy did not renew the fight, and we remained in possession of the field until relieved by our infantry.

It was, however, in the fall of the year (1864) that under Sheridan's brilliant leadership the Union cavalry won its greatest laurels. On September 19th, at Opequon Creek, Sheridan's infantry and cavalry achieved a victory which sent the Confederates under Early “whirling through Winchester,” as Sheridan tersely stated in a telegram which electrified the people of the North.

While essentially a battle participated in by all arms, the brilliant part taken by Wilson's division in a mounted charge which gained possession of the Winchester-Berryville turn-pike, and the subsequent demoralizing attack of Averell's and Merritt's cavalry divisions on the Confederate rear, had much to do with the Union victory.

The most severe fighting on the part of the cavalry took place in the afternoon. Breckinridge's Confederate corps had

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Winchester, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)
Opequan Creek (United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Philip Henry Sheridan (3)
James H. Wilson (1)
Wesley Merritt (1)
William H. Harrison (1)
Jubal A. Early (1)
Breckinridge (1)
William W. Averell (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1864 AD (1)
September 19th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: