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[194] privates, as helpless and panic-stricken a crowd as ever was seen. They evidently had been aroused from sleep, and grabbing whatever they could put their hands on, had rushed away from the foe they had not seen, and kept on running until they struck our line. Our officers made strenuous efforts to check and compose them, but with no success. Colonel Higinbotham of the 65th New York begged and pleaded with them to shake off their fear and be men, but without avail. They were simply insane with fear, and so cursing them, we permitted them to continue their flight. And it was well that this was done, because they would have been of no use with us. They belonged to many commands and were only partially armed and clothed and there was nothing to organize. It was pitiful to see men who had behaved gallantly on other battlefields and performed heroic service, so lost to all sense of reason. But I suppose that almost any body of troops under like circumstances, fired into as they were, while lying asleep in their beds, would have been panic-stricken and stampeded.

Finally our officers, seeing that there was no use in attempting to rally them, rode out in front into the fog and hurried them back behind the lines, so that they would not impede our action in checking the advance of the Rebels. We could hear the artillery and wagon trains along the road and near headquarters, rushing away in disordered haste to our left to reach the Winchester pike and get to the rear. The whistle of bullets began to become distinct in our vicinity. We were close to the road that runs from the pike to Hortle's Ford on Cedar Creek. There were no troops to the left of our brigade toward Middletown. It was reported afterwards that a brigade of the 19th Corps had been posted on our left when we first formed.

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