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Again a few days later Early moved on Shepherdstown and drove Sheridan's cavalry from Leetown to the Potomac, and still Sheridan declined to fight.

On the 19th of September, urged by the press, and ordered by General Grant, Sheridan pushed forward his infantry towards Winchester, and about sunrise of the 19th the first gun from the enemy was fired at General Early and his staff at the crossing of the Opequon Creek, four miles north of Winchester, From that time until sun down the battle raged with great fury, Early contesting every fort to the town of Winchester, and but for the failure of his cavalry on his left to hold their position, he could have won the day.

This failure, however, caused him to withdraw his army near night to Hollingsworth Mills, two miles south of Winchester. His losses were heavy in men and officers, among whom were Generals Rodes and Godwin. He left his wounded in town and his dead on the field. This was one of the most brilliantly and stubbornly fought battles of the war—13,000 against 43,000. Early carried with him over 1,000 prisoners, who were sent on to Richmond.

The fight at Fisher's Hill was nothing more than a skirmish on a large scale. Here General Early lost his adjutant-General, A. S. Pendleton, one of the most promising young officers developed by the Civil War.

Retreat down Valley.

Retreating down the Valley, he halted at Staunton, Sheridan following to Middle River, five miles north. Here Sheridan ordered a return to Winchester, without attempting a battle. On this countermarch the enemy destroyed over 2,000 barns, 100 mills, and every grain, hay and fodder stack for sixty-five miles, and telegraphed General Grant that a ‘crow flying down the Valley would have to carry his own rations.’ In the light of burning barns, mills and grain stacks, Early followed to Woodstock, and rested his army, his front at Fisher's Hill.

On the morning of the 18th General Gordon and Captain Hotchkiss rode to the signal station on Massanutton Mountain, and they found that Wright's army had been weakened by at least a corps, and that it had been removed to White Post, about

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