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[110] of Early was weakened by the detachment of Kershaw's force; but after this there was no more delay.

The battle of Opequon (or Winchester), Va., September 19, was, in the words of General Sheridan, ‘a most stubborn and sanguinary engagement, which lasted from early in the morning until five o'clock in the evening.’ It was testified by the same general that ‘the conduct of both officers and men was most superb.’1 An impetuous charge was made by Grover's division, including the 26th and 38th Mass. Infantry and the 3d Cavalry (dismounted), upon a Georgia brigade. General Birge, commanding the brigade containing the 26th, says, ‘As the troops entered the woods, I was ordered by General Grover to halt and hold that position, and not to go farther into the woods; but the charge was so rapid and impetuous and the men so much excited by the sight of the enemy in full retreat before them that it was impossible to execute the order, and the whole line pressed forward to the extreme edge of the timber, some three hundred yards beyond the enemy's original position and to his rear on both flanks. The brigade was now far in advance of our own line.’2 The fresh troops of Rodes coming up, Grover's fell back, when Russell's division of the 6th Corps came up, struck the flank of Rodes's force, and, aided by the 5th Maine battery, again turned the tide and re-established the line. ‘On the left of the brigade,’ wrote General Upton, brigade commander, ‘the 37th Mass. Volunteers rendered invaluable service in supporting Stevens's battery.’3 Gen. D. A. Russell, himself a gallant Massachusetts officer, commanding a division, was killed by a piece of shell during the movement. ‘His death,’ said Sheridan, ‘brought sorrow to every heart in the army.’ In this engagement the Massachusetts troops losing most heavily were the 26th, 34th, 37th Infantry and the 3d Cavalry (dismounted). Battery 1 had 4 wounded only. The losses included Maj. E. S. Clark and Capt. E. W. Thayer of the 26th, Lieut. J. P. Haley of the 30th and Lieuts. J. F. Glidden and J. F. Poole of the 3d Cavalry. These were all from the 19th Corps, arrived from Florida to take part in the campaign. At one time during this battle the brigade containing the 34th Mass., having been for some time stationary under fire, was notified by General Thoburn that they would be presently ordered to charge. ‘While ’

1 Official War Records, 91, p. 25. ‘Also spelled Opequan,’ Irwin, p. 370.

2 Official War Records, 91, p. 326.

3 Official Records, 91, p. 173.

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