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Zzz‘water and a good rest.’

On the afternoon of the 18th, Hunter, with his cavalry on each wing, his two infantry divisions and his artillery in the centre, advanced [297] to the assault, but the attack was feeble and quickly repulsed, and Hunter's career was over. Rodes's Division arrived that afternoon from Charlottesville, and, though the artillery had not yet come, Early had determined to attack Hunter at dawn on the 19th; but, between two suns, Hunter vanished, having lost 100 killed, 500 wounded, and 100 missing. Early was hot upon his heels, McCausland leading with his cavalry. The night of the 19th Ramseur drove his rear guard through Liberty, twenty-five miles away. On the 21st McCausland, always enterprising, struck him again at Hanging Rock in Roanoke country, capturing some guns and prisoners, and Hunter passed on through Craig county to West Virginia. The northern historian, Pond, says in his account of this campaign: ‘The night of June 24th—having passed Sweet Springs—the column reached White Sulphur Springs, and there had delicious water and a good rest.’ Had Hunter advanced from Staunton June 8th to Lynchburg, through the mountain gaps north of the James, it is hard to tell how he could have been foiled. Had he marched as fast as Early, or been bold enough to assail after he arrived, all the chances of the war were in his favor. Had he either marched by the right flank from Lynchburg and joined Grant at Petersburg, or retreated through Southwest Virginia, where he might have done infinite damage and easily subsisted, his campaign would not have been, as it is, blank record, and a minus quantity.

While Hunter's men were reposing under the great oaks at White Sulphur Springs, Early's men were moving to Staunton, where he arrived June 25th. Here he was joined by General Bradley T. Johnson with a battalion of Maryland cavalry, and that officer put in command of it, with the remains of Jones's Cavalry Brigade. His cavalry, under General Robert Ransom, composed of this brigade and of Imboden's, Jackson's, and McCausland's, now numbering 2,000 men, and his infantry, with Vaughan's dismounted cavalry, numbered 10,000. Breckinridge was now put in command of his own division and that of Gordon, while Early kept immediate charge of Rode's division and Ransom's cavalry.

On the 28th of June this force started up the Valley; July 3d was at Winchester; July 4th at Shepherdstown; July 6th it drove the enemy into his works at Harper's Ferry and Maryland Heights. This force under Generals Sigel, Staple, and Webber, was fully 6,000 strong, and leaving it in his rear, Early passed swiftly on through the gaps of the South mountain, and on the 9th confronted General Lew Wallace, strongly posted with General Tyler's troops [298] from Baltimore and Rickett's Division of the Sixth Corps, on the banks of the Monocacy, between six and seven thousand strong.

Right at this force Early hurled his men, and after a fierce, decisive fight that reddened the river for a hundred yards with blood, he drove it from the field, leaving its dead and wounded and many prisoners in the Confederate hands. Wallace lost ninety-eight killed, 579 wounded, and 1,282 missing; total, 1,959. The Confederate loss was about 700, including a number of gallant officers. The classic author of Ben Hur had found an experience quite as thrilling, no doubt, to him, as the famous chariot race he has so graphically described, and General Early has intimated that his report of Monocacy is not inferior to Ben Hur as a work of fiction; but all the Federals were seeing Early in doubles and trebles about that time, and I hardly think that Wallace surpassed the average reduplicating view taken of him.

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