One of the most brilliant actions of the war — indeed, one of the most brilliant of any war of modern times — was that victory which the gallant Sheridan
snatched from defeat and disaster at Middletown, Virginia
, on the 19th of October, 1864. Three or four times in the military history of the last five hundred years, has an able and skilful commander succeeded in stemming the current of disaster, and turning a defeat into a victory; but it has usually been done either by bringing up reinforcements, and thus staying the progress of the exultant and careless foe, or by suffering a day to intervene between the defeat and the victory; at Marengo
, it was the approach of reinforcements which enabled Dessaix
to say to the first Napoleon
: “We have lost one battle, but it is not too late to win another.”
, the reinforcements from Wallace
's Division and Buell
's Corps, and the intervention of the night, enabled Grant
to recover, on the second day, all, and more than all, the losses of the first.
At Stone River
, the skill and genius of Rosecrans
stayed the tide of disaster, and enabled the Army of the Cumberland, though suffering heavily, to maintain its position, and two days later to inflict upon the enemy a fearful punishment for his temerity.
, General Thomas
maintained himself grandly in the face of a foe greatly superior to himself in numbers, and after one third of the army had been driven from the field, still held the rebels at bay; and, with the aid of Steedman
's reinforcements, drove them back a little distance; but in none of these cases,