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[294] in front of the works on the Bedford road, ready to move to the right or left as required, the artillery in commanding positions, and Averell's Cavalry Division in reserve. Duffie was ordered to attack resolutely on the Forestville road, our extreme left, while Averell sent two squadrons of cavalry to demonstrate against the Campbell Courthouse road, on our extreme right. This detachment was subsequently strengthened by a brigade. Meanwhile I reconnoitered the lines, hoping to find a weak interval through which I might push with my infantry, passing between the main redoubts, which appeared too strong for a direct assault. While the guns were sounding on the two flanks, the enemy, no doubt supposing my centre weakened by too great extension of my lines, and hoping to cut us in two, suddenly advanced in great force from his works, and commenced a most determined attack on my position on the Bedford turnpike. Although his movement was so unexpected and rapid as almost to amount to a surprise, yet it was promptly and gallantly met by Sullivan's Division, which held the enemy in check until Crook was enabled to get his troops up. After a fierce contest of half an hour's duration, the enemy's direct attack was repulsed; but he persistently renewed the fight, making repeated attempts to flank us on the left and push between my main body and Duffie's Division. In his effort he was completely foiled, and at the end of an hour and twenty minutes was routed and driven back into his works in disorder and with heavy loss. In the eagerness of pursuit one regiment (One Hundred and Sixtieth Ohio) entered the works on the heels of the flying enemy, but being unsupported, fell back with trifling loss. Our whole loss in this action was comparatively light. The infantry behaved with the greatest steadiness, and the artillery, which materially assisted in repelling the attack, was served with remarkable rapidity and efficiency. This affair closed about 2 P. M. From prisoners captured we obtained positive information that a portion of Ewell's Corps was engaged in the action, and that the whole corps, twenty thousand strong, under the command of Lieutenant-General Early, was either already in Lynchburg or near at hand. The detachment sent by General Averell to operate on our right had returned, reporting that they had encountered a large body of rebel cavalry in that quarter, while Duffie, although holding his position, sent word that he was pressed by a superior force. It had now become sufficiently evident that the enemy had concentrated a force of at least double the numerical strength of mine, and what added to the gravity of the situation was the fact that my troops had scarcely enough

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Lynchburg (Virginia, United States) (1)
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