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[250] army was not then in sight) that I did not desire to have my brigade exposed to capture unless he would bring me an order from General Early, who was then riding slowly along the pike. He returned to the General and came back and said the General said he wished I would do it. I then dispatched Assistant-Adjutant-General Gales to General Battle, who, after the fall of Rodes, was in command of the division, with information as to where I was and what I was doing. I then turned to my command, which had been joined by other troops who had lost their commands, and directed them to deploy and advance between the enemy's cavalry and our artillery, which was done with great spirit and promptness in the presence of the General, but without a word of encouragement from him. In this manner we moved on, protecting the artillery until near dusk, when we found Ramseur with his division thrown across the turnpike to prevent pursuit. About the time the artillery and my brigade crossed his line the enemy made a spirited charge to capture the guns. Ramseur's men rose and met it with a well-directed fire, which stopped further pursuit. I moved on and soon joined our troops. So that Ramseur, upon whom the enemy had opened their battle in the morning, gave them the last repulse at night.

Of this battle, Early writing, says: ‘A skillful and energetic commander of the enemy's forces would have crushed Ramseur before any assistance could have reached him, and thus caused the destruction of my whole force; and later in the day, when the battle had turned against us, with the immense superiority of cavalry which Sheridan had and the advantage of the open country, would have destroyed my whole force and captured everything I had. * * * * I have thought, instead of being promoted, Sheridan ought to have beer cashiered for this battle.’ In his ‘Memoirs,’ Grant says: ‘Sheridan moved at the time fixed upon. He met Early at the crossing of the Opequan creek and won a most decided victory—one which electrified the country. Early had invited this attack himself by his bad generalship, and made the victory easy.’ Considering the great disparity of numbers, this battle of Winchester was, after all, no great victory on the part of Sheridan, and Grant intimates as much, for his troops outnumbered those of Early more than three to one. His cavalry was in fine condition, while ours was worn down by excessive duties and scant forage. It was won at a critical moment to the Federal government, and it became its interest to magnify it in every way practicable.

After our defeat at Winchester we fell back and formed a line of

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Philip Sheridan (4)
Stephen D. Ramseur (4)
Jubal A. Early (4)
Petersburg Grant (2)
R. E. Rodes (1)
Seaton Gales (1)
J. S. Battle (1)
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