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[114] was full and shining brilliantly on snow over a foot in depth. Dismounting a part of his command, and moving them in line in front, with the mounted men behind, Rosser moved upon the sleeping host. Had they remained in their strong huts and used their rifles, the disaster might have been averted, but as the result, five hundred and eighty prisoners, and ten thousand rations fell into the hands of the invaders.

On the morning of February 21, 1865, a portion of McNeill's command, under Lieutenant Jesse McNeill, entered the city of Cumberland, Maryland, an hour before daylight. Major-General Crook, the commander of the Department of West Virginia, and Brigadier-General Kelley, his able lieutenant, were quietly sleeping, the one at the St. Nicholas Hotel, and the other at the Revere House. Six thousand troops, of all arms, occupied the city. Sergeant Vandiver called on General Crook, while some other member of the command performed the like civility to General Kelley. These two officers were persuaded to accompany their ill-timed callers on their return to Dixie, and were entertained in Richmond at an official hostelry there. Rosser and his command were present at Appomattox, but did not participate in the surrender, but while that ceremony was in progress, this command passed on to Lynchburg, and dissolved into their individual elements.

Up to the winter of 1863-64, the Confederate cavalry was well organized and had proven its efficiency on many fields, but its weakness from that period grew rapidly. The sources of supplies of both men and horses had been exhausted, and the best and the bravest of men and officers had fallen in battle.

On the other hand, when General Sheridan took command of the Federal cavalry, a new and far more vigorous life was imparted to it. Armed with repeating carbines and fighting on foot, as well as mounted, it became the most formidable arm of the Federal service. When the war ended, it was but reasonable to aver that the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac was the most efficient body of soldiers on earth.

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