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[451] Ramseur's division, the only organized command in his infantry; yet in that manoeuvre Ramseur had held in check Wilson's division, and my little brigade was the only force between Ramseur and Averill and Torbert; thus their three divisions of 11,000 cavalry: indeed more mounted men by double than Early had organized in the field, and yet they let us get away. They did not even press us. Let the military student take Pond's book and maps and see the battle-field and compare it with Early's narrative, and decide this matter in his own mind.

Retreat up the Luray Valley.

That night General Wickham sent my Brigade, that is the First, Second and Fourth Regiments (he retained the Third Virginia and the Battery) to Front Royal, to picket and guard the approaches from Winchester, so as to cover the Luray Valley road. I moved then, and was ready for the enemy at the three fords, and when they advanced at dawn we gave them a warm reception. My Brigade executed a manoeuvre in tactics, which was a sharp test of the skill of its officers and the gallantry of its magnificent men. They had to pass three defiles from right to rear and left, in the face of a full division, flushed with the victory of the day before, and they did it successfully, with a loss of about ten or twelve men in killed and wounded, after a four hours fight I record it with pride, but give the glory to the privates who obeyed orders and executed them with magnificent spirit, well knowing the odds against them.

Had Sheridan shown any enterprise this magnificent body of heroes could have been hurried that night of the battle of Winchester up the Luray Valley pike, and the doom of Early's army was inevitable; indeed, Early's army should never have been allowed to go to Mill Creek the day of that battle.

At Front Royal there are three principal crossings or fords. The Shenandoah river runs east and the pike to Winchester cuts it at right angles. The Fourth Virginia was on the left of my line, the Second Virginia in the centre on the main Winchester pike, and the First Virginia on the lower ford on the extre me right. Our line reached about one-half mile, and our line of retreat was from right to left, and up the Luray pike. The loss of the ford held by the Fourth or Second would of course cut the First Virginia or Second Virginia off from that line. The Fourth and Second were instructed, when dismounted, to hold at all hazards until the First could be withdrawn,

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