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[108] south side and got down behind an ash-hopper, where I crouched a few minutes. It was now dark, and on the opposite side of the hopper sat a colonel of one of our regiments. We whispered to each other, and a plan was concocted for escape. The colonel was a very large man, but fleet of foot and followed well. Yankees was all around us, capturing men, but the dash for liberty was made and amid the shouts and shots of the enemy we two rushed across the lot, into the woods and down the hill to the river, making no stop for the water, but jumped in and I was soon across. The colonel, however, presumably struck deep water, and I had to leave him, as there was no time to turn back to help him, so on I pressed, crossing the river, beating my way up the side of the mountain—the way the army had passed in the morning—gathering stragglers as I went, and with them marched into camp, wet to the skin, with nothing to eat and the only bed the ground. Nevertheless, I slept like a log until 3 o'clock next morning when a start was made up the Valley. I afterwards heard that my mother and sisters walked all over the battle-field the next day, hunting for me, expecting that I had been killed. It was rather gratifying to know that they did not find me.

General Early deserved great credit for this battle, having won a victory second to none during the war, though all was lost afterwards, but by no fault of his. He deserved better results. Some of General Gordon's admirer's claim that he had planned that battle and would have won the victory had General Early not come upon the field. I do not believe it, however, never did, and never will. And since General Early says it was not so, there cannot be a doubt about it, and the gallant Gordon makes no such claim. Sheridan's ten thousand cavalry on our flanks caused our disaster, and not much credit to Sheridan either, for such a success, when he had enough troops to surround us at any time. Even as it was, had this battle been fought before our men learned the danger of a flank movement, we would not have been whipped. Early in the war, men were not, as a rule, demoralized because of a flank fire; while before its close it became a by-word—‘flanked’—which meant much, and men would run like cattle. One frightened man, hallooing ‘we are flanked,’ would demoralize an army, and all such men should have been shot upon the spot, because the shooting of such creatures might be the salvation of an army. Nothing ever demoralized the Yankees so much as the cry ‘Jackson is on our flank.’

In the battle of Cedar Creek, much of our loss was caused on the retreat, by the breaking of the bridge over a little stream south of

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Jubal A. Early (3)
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