from the field. General Early exclaims, ‘It was a grand sight to see this immense body hurled back in utter disorder before my two divisions, numbering very little over five thousand muskets!’ This affair occurred about 11 A. M., and a splendid victory had been gained. But the enemy still had a fresh corps which had not been engaged, and there remained his heavy force of cavalry. Our lines were now formed across from Abraham's Creek to Red Bud, and were very attenuated. There was still seen in front a formidable force, and away to the right a division of cavalry massed, with some artillery overlapping us at least a mile. Late in the afternoon two divisions of the enemy's cavalry drove in the small force that had been watching it on the Martinsburg road, and Crook's corps, which had not been engaged, advanced at the same time on the north side of Red Bud and forced back our brigade of infantry and cavalry. A considerable force of cavalry then swept along the Martinsburg road to the skirts of Winchester, thus getting in the rear of our left flank. This was soon driven back by two of Wharton's brigades, and subsequently another charge of cavalry was also repulsed. But many of the men in the front line, hearing the fire in the rear and thinking they were flanked and about to be cut off, commenced to fall back. At the same time Crook's corps advanced against our left, and Evans's brigade was thrown into line to meet it, but after an obstinate resistance that brigade also retired. The whole front line had now given way, but was rallied and formed behind some old breastworks, and with the aid of artillery the progress of the enemy's infantry was arrested. Their cavalry afterward succeeded in getting around on our left, producing great confusion, for which there was no remedy. We now retired through Winchester, a new line was formed, and the hostile advance was checked until nightfall. We then retired to Newton without serious molestation. Our trains, stores, sick, and wounded that could be removed had been sent to Fisher's Hill. This battle, beginning with the skirmishing in Ramseur's front, had lasted from daylight until dark, and, at the close of it, we had been forced back two miles, after having repulsed the first attack with great slaughter, and subsequently contested every inch of ground with unsurpassed obstinacy. We deserved the victory, and would have gained it but for the enemy's immense superiority in cavalry. In his memoir General Early says:
When I look back to this battle, I can but attribute my escape from utter annihilation to the incapacity of my opponent.Our loss was severe for the size of our force, but only a fraction of that ascribed to us by the foe, while his was very heavy, and some prisoners fell into our hands.