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 Mass. Cavalry), were engaged; and Torbert wrote afterwards that ‘the cavalry totally covered themselves with glory, and added to their list victories ... the most decisive the country has ever witnessed.’ They captured prisoners, guns, ambulances, headquarters, wagons, ‘everything on wheels,’ it was said; and the enemy were chased twenty-six miles.1 It was after this that the joke was made that cannon sent from Richmond to the Shenandoah valley were marked ‘P. H. Sheridan, care of General Early.’ Early wrote to Lee, ‘the fact is, that the enemy's cavalry is so much superior to ours, both in numbers and equipment ... that it is impossible for ours to compete with it.’ This was in curious contrast with the comparative condition of the two forces at the outset of the war. At the easy but final victory of Waynesboroa, March 2, 1865, only the 2d Cavalry of Massachusetts troops took part, with small loss. Early took Crook's command (Thoburn's division) completely by surprise October 13 at Hupp's Hill, near Strasburg, throwing shells among them while they were eating dinner, with guns stacked. Forming hastily in line, they encountered him, Wells's brigade (including the 34th Mass.) being on the left. Wells was obliged at length to retreat, having suffered severely; and he himself was mortally wounded and fell into the enemy's hands. The Union troops suffered much more than the Confederates from this unexpected attack, although both sides had fought well. It was followed up by a much larger surprise and attack, leading to the battle of Cedar Creek, Oct. 19, 1864, which fell also at first on the same division (Thoburn's), still including the 34th Mass. The attempt of Early to surprise and overcome the vastly superior forces of Sheridan at this battle is pronounced by Irwin, the admirable historian of the 19th Army Corps, to have been one of exceptional daring. ‘It may be doubted,’ he says, ‘whether in the whole history of war an instance can be found of any similar plan so carefully and successfully arranged, and so completely carried out in detail, up to the moment.’2 The final shock fell on Thoburn's corps early in the morning, with such complete suddenness that their own guns were immediately turned against them, and every part
2 History 19th Army Corps, p. 412. Irwin's description of the battle of Cedar Creek is perhaps the best, unless it be that contained in that contributed by Col. Moses M. Granger, 122d Ohio, to the Sketches of War History, published by the Ohio Commandery of the Loyal Legion, III, 122-125. For Sheridan's opinion of the Massachusetts regiments at Cedar Creek, see his Personal Memoirs, II, 68. For Early's own account of the Valley Campaign, see Southern Historical Papers, III, 212.
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