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 once upon either Early or Anderson, separated, as they were, by an impassible mountain. But instead of this, to our surprise, the early morning disclosed to us the fact that Sheridan had retreated. Instantly Early was in pursuit, but it was useless. Sheridan fell back to Harper's Ferry, leaving traces of his retreat in the smoking mills, hay stacks and barns, which were fired as he fell back by details made for the purpose. General Early remained confronting Sheridan on the line of the Opequon and Bunker Hill, fourteen miles north of Winchester until the 19th of September, when Sheridan advanced with his cavalry on the main turnpike from Martinsburg, and from Smithfield via Brucetown, and his infantry from Berryville. On that day was fought the battle of Winchester. The main engagement was on the Berryville pike, a mile and a half or two miles from Winchester, in which Sheridan was repulsed heavily; but his cavalry, which largely outnumbered Early's, succeeded in driving back the latter, and came down upon our left flank, threatening our rear and the town. This rendered a change of front necessary for a part of Early's infantry which successfully resisted the cavalry; but the firing in the rear of his main force, of which they could not understand its meaning, caused confusion, and finally a stampede. Sheridan at this juncture advanced, and Early only succeeded in getting off the bulk of his force with great disorder, and not until twelve or fifteen hundred had been killed and captured. His retreat, under hot persuit, followed, and on the next day he halted at Fisher's Hill to make a stand. Of his subsequent disasters, it is not my purpose to speak, nor of his brilliant victory at Cedar creek, a month later, turned also into a defeat, since General Breckinridge's connection with his army closed at Fisher's Hill. On his arrival here on the 21st of September, he was met with an order from Richmond, directing him to return in person to the command of the Department of Southwestern Virginia, which required his attention. He accordingly turned his command over to the next senior officer, General Gordon, and parted sadly from the brave men who had followed him so gallantly through the eventful campaign. Never were men more devoted to a commander, and in leaving the Valley he did so with none of the feeling with which he had first inspired both his command and the noble people abated in the least.
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