flanks gave way, Merritt
ordered a charge along their entire line.
The retreat of Rosser
's force became a panic-stricken rout, which continued for twenty-six miles up the Shenandoah valley. Eleven pieces of artillery, three hundred and thirty prisoners, ambulances, caissons, and even the headquarters' wagons of the Confederate
commanders were captured by the Federal
Early ascribed his defeat to Sheridan
's superiority in numbers and equipment, and to the fact that Lomax
's cavalry was armed entirely with rifles and had no sabers; that as a consequence they could not fight on horseback, and in open country could not successfully fight on foot with large bodies of well-trained cavalry.
In the brilliant part taken by Sheridan
's cavalry in retrieving the misfortunes of the morning of October 19, 1864, when the Union Camp
at Cedar Creek
was surprised and routed — with “Sheridan
only twenty miles away” --resulting in the final defeat and pursuit of the Confederate army, the Federal
cavalry alone captured 45 pieces of artillery, 32 caissons, 46 army wagons, 672 prisoners, and an enormous quantity of other property.
This battle, which Sheridan
's magnetic presence turned into a great victory, was followed by a number of small but highly successful cavalry movements, culminating on March 27, 1865, in Sheridan
's veteran cavalry corps joining the Army of the Potomac in front of Petersburg
for the final campaign against Lee
In the Valley
's cavalry captured 2556 prisoners, 71 guns, 29 battle-flags, 52 caissons, 105 army wagons, 2557 horses, 1000 horse equipments, and 7152 beef cattle.
It destroyed, among other things, 420,742 bushels of wheat, 780 barns, and over 700,000 rounds of ammunition.
Meanwhile, during the years of vicissitudes which marked the evolution of the cavalry of the East
, from a multitude of weak detachments lacking organization, equipment,