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[270] who reported it; but the approach of Early seemed so utterly improbable that no precautions were taken against a surprise. By dawn of day, Gordon's Rebel Division, closely followed by Ramseur, Pegram, Kershaw, and Wharton, had flanked Crook's Corps (Army of Western Virginia), and assaulted his camp before the men could form in line of battle. The Union army was ranged, in military phrase, en echelon; i. e., in successive steps, the Army of Virginia, which was in front, extending also farthest south. Having flanked and rolled up this corps, the rebels, Gordon still heading, proceeded to flank the Nineteenth Corps, which occupied the next “step” of the echelon, and, after a short but determined struggle, drove that also northward. The Sixth Corps interposed a stronger obstacle to their progress, but that, too, was finally flanked, and all were compelled to retreat northward through Middletown toward Winchester. The first stragglers had by this time, about ten A. M., reached Winchester.

The camps, commissary supplies, and lines of earth works of the Union army, had fallen into the hands of the rebels, and they had captured twenty-four cannon and twelve hundred prisoners. The Union army was beaten, badly beaten, though not routed; they were retreating slowly and in good order, but still retreating toward Winchester.

How all this was changed by Sheridan's arrival, let Captain de Forest, himself a staff-officer and actor in the battle, tell:

At this time, at the close of this unfortunate struggle of five hours, we were joined by Sheridan, who had

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