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To Culpeper and Winchester.

Marching via Verdiersville and Somerville Ford, the corps reached Culpeper on the 7th.

On the 9th, the enemy being reported to have crossed the Rappahannock in force, I moved my corps, by direction of the General commanding, to General Stuart's support, but on reaching Brandy Station with General Rodes's division, found the enemy already retiring.

Resuming the march on the 10th, we passed by Gaines's Cross Roads, Flint Hill and Front Royal, arriving at Cedarville on the 12th. At that point I detached General Rodes's division, together with General Jenkins's cavalry brigade, which had reported to me, to capture if possible a force of eighteen hundred men under Colonel McReynolds reported at Berryville, and thence to press on to Martinsburg. With the remaining two divisions and the 16th Virginia cavalry battalion, Major Newman, of Jenkins's brigade, I proceeded to attack Winchester.

From all the information I could gather, the fortifications of Winchester were only assailable on the west and north-west, from a range of hills which commanded the ridge occupied by their main fortification. The force there was represented at from 6,000 to 8,000 under General Milroy. On the 13th I sent Early's division and Colonel Brown's artillery battalion (under Captain Dance) to Newtown on the Valley pike, where they were joined by the Maryland battalion of infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert, and the Baltimore Light Artillery, Captain Griffin. General Early was directed to advance towards the town by the Valley pike. The same day Johnson's division, preceded by Newman's cavalry, drove in the enemy's pickets on the Front Royal and Winchester road, and formed line of battle two miles from town preparatory to an attack. After some skirmishing, the enemy opened from a battery near the Milwood road, and Carpenter's battery (Lieutenant [291] Lamber commanding) was placed by Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews to the left of the Front Royal road and opened vigorously, soon driving off the opposing battery and blowing up a caisson. This drew upon our battery a heavy fire from twelve to fifteen pieces in and near the town, but beyond the range of our guns.

About 5 P. M. General Early had a pretty sharp skirmish with the enemy's infantry and artillery near Kearnstown — Gordon's brigade, supported by Hays, driving them at a run as far as Milltown Mills. Here Early, coming within reach of the enemy's fortifications, halted for the night.

Before morning the enemy withdrew all their artillery into their fortifications from Bower's Hill and the south and east sides of the town.

On examining the enemy's fortifications from General Johnston's position, I found they had put up works on the hills I had intended gaining possession of, and were busy strengthening them. Having reconnoitered with General Early from Bower's Hill, I coincided with his views as to the best point of attack, and directed him to move his main force to the left and carry by assault a small open work on a commanding hill near the Pughtown road, which overlooked the main fort. About 11 A. M., finding there was no danger of a sortie, and seeing the enemy fortifying a hill north of the main fort, I directed General Johnson to move to the east of the town and interfere with their work as much as possible, so as to divert attention from General Early. He accordingly took up position between the Milwood and Berryville pikes, and threw forward the Fifth Virginia infantry, under Lieutenant-Colonel H. J. Williams, as skirmishers, who annoyed the enemy so as to force them to leave off work and effectually engross their attention.

General Gordon's brigade and Lieutenant-Colonel Herbet's Maryland battalion, with two batteries, were left by General Early at Bower's Hill, and pushed their skirmishers into Winchester — who were recalled for fear of drawing the enemy's fire on the town.

By 4 P. M. General Early had attained, undiscovered, a wooded hill, one of the range known as Little North Mountain, near the Pughtown road, on the north side of which a corn-field, and on the south side an orchard, afforded excellent positions for artillery, in easy range of the work to be attacked — which was a bastion front open towards the town. Hays's brigade was designated for the attack, and Smith's for its support; and about 6 o'clock Colonel Jones ran his pieces and those of the 1st Virginia artillery (under Captain Dance) forward by hand into position, and opened simultaneously from twenty guns, completely [292] surprising the enemy, whose entire attention at this point was engrossed by Gordon. In half an hour their battery was silenced, our artillery firing excellently; and General Hays moved quietly to within two hundred yards of their works, when our guns ceased firing, and he charged through an abattis of brushwood and captured the works, taking six rifled pieces, two of which were at once turned upon and dispersed the column that the enemy were endeavoring to press forward. The works to the left of the one taken were immediately abandoned, their defenders retreating to the main fort. It was now too late to do more than prepare to improve this important advantage promptly in the morning.

This result established the correctness of General Early's views as to the point of attack, and rendered the main fort untenable; and accordingly, anticipating the possibility of the enemy's attempting to retreat during the night, I ordered General Johnson with the “Stonewall,” Nicholls', and three regiments of Steuart's brigade and Dement's battery, with sections of Rains's and Carpenter's (the whole under Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews) to proceed to a point on the Martinsburg road, about two and one-half miles east of Winchester, so as to intercept any attempt to escape, or to be ready to attack at daylight if the enemy held their ground. Finding the road to this point very rough, General Johnson concluded to march via Jordan's Springs to Stephenson's Depot, where the nature of the ground would give him a strong position. Just as the head of his column reached the railroad, two hundred yards from the Martinsburg pike, the enemy was heard retreating down the pike towards Martinsburg. Forming line parallel with the pike, behind a stone wall, Steuart on the right and the Louisiana brigade on the left, twelve hundred men in all, and posting the artillery favorably, he was immediately attacked by Milroy with all his force of infantry and cavalry, his artillery having been abandoned at the town. The enemy made repeated and desperate attempts to cut their way through. Here was the hardest fighting that took place during the attack — the odds being greatly in favor of the enemy, who were successfully repulsed and scattered by the gallantry of General Johnson and his brave command. After several front attacks had been steadily met and repulsed, they attempted to turn both flanks simultaneously, but were met on the right by General Walker and his brigade, which had just arrived on the field (having been left behind by mistake), and on the left by two regiments of Nicholls's brigade, which had been held in reserve. In a few minutes the greater part of them surrendered--2,300 to 2,500 in number. The rest scattered through the [293] woods and fields, but most of them were subsequently captured by our cavalry. General Milroy with 250 or 300 cavalry made his way to Harper's Ferry.

The fruits of this victory were twenty-three pieces of artillery, nearly all rifled, 4,000 prisoners, 300 loaded wagons, more than 300 horses, and quite a large amount of commissary and quartermaster stores.

My loss was forty-seven killed, 219 wounded, and three missing. Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews, who had handled his artillery with great skill and effect in the engagement of the 15th, was wounded just at the close of the action.

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