Williamsport, where they arrived about nine P. M., May 25th, Captain Abbott was put in command of five companies, to hold the Virginia bank until the wagons and all the debris of the army had been put across the river. Although they met no enemy here, the disposition of his command to hold his position and repel any attack that might be made, was spoken of in terms of high praise by officers under and above him who never before or afterwards were brought in contact with him. Concerning this retreat Colonel Cogswell, who was then a captain with Abbott, writes as follows:—
Captain Abbott's company and my own were deployed as skirmishers, and moved back and through Newtown under some little fire of artillery and cavalry, which we had just there met. I remember perfectly how regularly and coolly Captain Abbott deployed his company, insisting even at that time upon the exact movements as prescribed by the tactics; and though there was some considerable excitement, gave his orders and conducted the movements of his skirmish line in the exact phraseology and according to the exact directions of the book. . . . We reached Winchester about two A. M. Captain Abbott's company was skirmishing in retreat; and during that whole night,—with the enemy pressing thicker and faster and closer upon him, having to retreat very slowly and stubbornly in order to gain time for the passage of troops and wagons (the wagon train was seven miles long),—and this, too, being his first engagement, an important trust being devolved upon him, and having been on the march since sunrise of the preceding day,—no one would have known, except by the shots and the unseasonable hours, but that Captain Abbott and his company were on drill.In the battle of Cedar Mountain (August 9, 1862), where Abbott fell, his company had been deployed to act as skirmishers to precede the regiment. The chaplain of the regiment said that he should never forget the firm voice of Abbott, as he said, ‘Fall in, men,’ and the alacrity with which they responded. The company kept on before the regiment until they reached an opening by the side of an orchard, where General Gordon first made a stand and planted his artillery.