made for some distance, Gordon's skirmishers came back, reporting a line of battle in front, behind breastworks, and an attack was not made.
It was now apparent that it would not do, [says General Early] to press my troops farther. They had been up all night and were much jaded. In passing over rough ground to attack the enemy at dawn their own ranks had been much disordered and the men scattered, and it had required time to reform them. Their ranks were much thinned by the absence of the men engaged in plundering the enemy's camps.It was determined, therefore, to try to hold what had been gained, and orders were given to carry off the captured and abandoned artillery, small arms, and wagons. A number of bold attempts were made, during the subsequent part of the day, by the enemy's cavalry, to break our line on the right, but they were invariably repulsed. Late in the afternoon his infantry advanced against Ramseur's, Kershaw's, and Gordon's lines, and the attack on Ramseur's and Kershaw's fronts was handsomely repulsed; a portion of the assailants had penetrated an interval which was between Evans's brigade on the extreme left and the rest of the line, when that brigade gave way, and Gordon's other brigades soon followed. General Gordon made every possible effort to rally his men and lead them back, but without avail. This affair was soon known with exaggerations along Kershaw's and Ramseur's lines, and their men, fearing to be flanked, began to fall back in disorder, though no force was pressing them. At the same time the enemy's cavalry, observing the disorder in our ranks, made another charge on our right, but was again repulsed. Every effort was made to rally the men, but the mass of them continued to resist all appeals. Ramseur succeeded in retaining with him two or three hundred men of his division, and about the same number was retained by Major Goggin from Conner's brigade; these, aided by several pieces of artillery, held the whole force on our left in check for one hour and a half until Ramseur was shot down, and the ammunition of the artillery was exhausted. While the latter was being replaced by other guns, the force that had continued steady gave way also. Pegram's and Wharton's divisions and Wofford's brigade had remained steadfast on the right, and resisted every effort of the cavalry, but no portion of this force could be moved to the left without leaving the pike open to the cavalry, which would have destroyed all hope at once. Every effort to rally the men in the rear having failed, these troops were ordered to retire. The disorder soon extended to them. The greater part of the infantry was halted at Fisher's Hill, and Rosser, whose command had retired in good order on the Back road, was ordered to that point with his cavalry to cover the retreat, and hold that position until the troops