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[296] the fortune of the day. With his little force, just now routed and in full retreat, but unable, even in a moment of panic, to forget its discipline, he held his ground against two brigades of the enemy's best cavalry. Colonel Lowell's control over his men on this occasion has been compared by his officers, not inaptly, to Sheridan's famous rally of his army at the battle of Cedar Creek.

On the 26th of July, Colonel Lowell was put in command of a new ‘Provisional Brigade,’ and was ordered to report to General Hunter, then at the head of the Army of the Shenandoah. This brigade, which numbered nineteen hundred men, contained, besides the Second Massachusetts, representatives of every cavalry regiment in the service; and Lowell never gave a more signal proof of his wonderful administrative power than when he brought this heterogeneous collection of men in a few days into a state of organic unity.

On the 6th of August General Sheridan took command of the Army of the Shenandoah, which, on the 10th, moved up the valley from Harper's Ferry, the Provisional Brigade taking the outside position. The next day Lowell overtook the rearguard of the enemy, and, after a sharp skirmish, drove it pell-mell through Winchester. On the 16th, Sheridan began to retire down the valley, the cavalry protecting his rear; and for two weeks from this date Lowell's brigade was fighting every day. On the 21st, the army was again encamped near the Ferry. Colonel Lowell's business was now to watch the movements of the enemy. It was in the discharge of this duty that his soldiership made its first deep impression on the commanding general; and day by day from this moment, as he was tried in new service, his reputation rose to a higher and higher point at Headquarters and throughout the army. On the 26th of August, he led an attack on the advance of the enemy. To succeed, it must be made with great rapidity. ‘Charging up to a rail-fence behind which were the enemy, and which he could not leap, he actually whacked their muskets with his sabre. In tearing down the fence, men were clubbed with muskets, and two killed in this way; but over they went,— ’

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