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[449] and crossed the Potomac, near the mouth of the South Branch, capturing the garrison and partly destroying the railroad-bridge. Averill pursued from Chambersburg, and surprised and routed Johnson's brigade, and caused a loss of four pieces of artillery and about three hundred prisoners from the whole command.

Meantime a large force, consisting of the Sixth, Nineteenth, and Crook's corps, of the Federal army, had concentrated at Harpers Ferry under Major General Sheridan. After various maneuvers, both armies occupied positions in the neighborhood of Winchester. Early had about eight thousand five hundred infantry fit for duty, nearly three thousand mounted men, three battalions of artillery, and a few pieces of horse artillery. Sheridan's force, according to the best information, consisted of ten thousand cavalry, thirty-five thousand infantry, and artillery that greatly outnumbered ours both in men and guns.

On the morning of September 19th the enemy began to advance in heavy force on Ramseur's position, on an elevated plateau between Abraham's Creek and Red Bud Run, about a mile and a half from Winchester on the Berryville road. Nelson's artillery was posted on Ramseur's line, covering the approaches as far as practicable; Lomax, with Jackson's cavalry and a part of Johnson's, was on the right, watching the valley of Abraham's Creek and the Front Royal road beyond, while Fitzhugh Lee was on the left, across the Red Bud, with cavalry, watching the interval between Ramseur's left and the Red Bud. These troops held the enemy's main force in check until Gordon's and Rodes's divisions arrived, a little after 10 A. M. Gordon was placed under cover in rear of a piece of woods, behind the interval between Ramseur's line and the Red Bud. Rodes was directed to form on Gordon's right, in rear of another piece of woods. Meanwhile we discovered very heavy columns, that had been massed under cover between the Red Bud and the Berryville road, moving to attack Ramseur on his left flank, while another force pressed him in front. Rodes and Gordon were immediately hurled upon the flank of the advancing columns. But Evans's brigade of Gordon's division, on the extreme left of our infantry, was forced back through the woods from behind which it had advanced by a column, which followed to the rear of the woods and within musket range of seven pieces of Braxton's artillery. Braxton's guns stood their ground and opened with canister. The fire was so well directed that the column staggered, halted, and commenced falling back. Just then Battle's brigade moved forward and swept through the woods, driving the enemy before it, while Evans's brigade was rallied and cooperated. Our advance was resumed, and the enemy's attacking columns, the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps, were thrown into great confusion and fled

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