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‘ [189] making his line as compact as possible, an attack made upon it at one P. M. was successfully repulsed. At three P. M., after making some charges with his cavalry, he attacked the Confederates with great vigor, driving and routing them, and capturing 50 pieces of cannon, including 20 pieces of his own lost in the morning, with about 2,000 prisoners, besides releasing many of our men who had been captured in the morning. The cavalry drove them yet further the next day. During that night Early retreated, and the military operations in the valley of the Shenandoah were at an end.’


‘Early's attack was made under cover of a dense fog, and the darkness of early morning. The troops were driven four miles. Gen. Wright, the Union commander, though wounded, still remained on the field, and managed to get his troops in a new position in the rear. Sheridan heard the cannonading thirteen miles away, at Winchester. Knowing the importance of his presence, he put spurs to his coal-black steed, and never drew rein until, his horse covered with foam, he dashed upon the battlefield. Riding down the lines, he shouted: “Turn, boys, turn! We're going back.” 1 Under the magnetism of his presence, the fugitives rallied and followed him to the fight and victory.’


Just one month after the battle of Opequon, or the commencement of Sheridan's campaign in the valley, the campaign certainly unsurpassed in brilliancy by any other of the war, was brought to an end. The Confederate army of the valley was in effect destroyed; Maryland was never more invaded or the capital again menaced.

The old Sixth Corps returned to the James to participate in the closing scenes of the war. Its record thenceforth was a continuation of that story of faithful and honorable service which had justly given it distinction from the date of its institution in the spring of 1862.

1 One of the panic-stricken, that day, says: ‘What Sheridan really said was, “Turn about, you d—d cowardly curs, or I'll cut you down! I don't expect you to fight, but come and see men (referring to the Sixth Corps) who like to.” He was recognized, and there was a shout, “ It is Sheridan!” The effect was electrical; we turned and moved southward with even more alacrity than we had displayed in retreating.’

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