An incident of the battle of Winchester, or Opequon.
The following incident of the evening before the battle of Winchester
, or Opequon
, and of the early morning on which it was fought, is illustrative of the situation:
I was at that time second lieutenant of the Charlotte Cavalry
, Company B, Fourteenth Virginia Cavalry, of McCausland
I had charge of a line of pickets extending from Brucetown
, on the banks of the Opequon, to the crossing of the Berryville pike
I had gotten acquainted with some of the officers and men of the Federal
army, who picketed the opposite side of the stream, and we exchanged civilities when not firing.
One of my acquaintances was a Yankee lieutenant, and we had gotten on as easy terms as were compatible with our hostile relations.
On the afternoon of the 18th of September, 1864, this officer hallooed across the Opequon
to me: ‘Don't you want some newspapers?’
Of course, I replied that I did. He rolled them around a stone or stick and flung two papers over to me. One was a Baltimore paper, the other of Washington, D. C.
In both of them I read the statement of a union man, who had spied out the situation in Winchester
, and who reported that Early
's force of all arms did not exceed 15,000 en, and that Kershaw
's division had left Early
and returned eastward across the mountain.
As soon as I saw this I said to myself and told my companions we will be speedily driven from here.
The next morning the Yankee
lieutenant hallooed to me again, and in a good-natured way, said: ‘We don't ,want to kill you fellows, and you had better get away; we are coming after you.’
I immediately ordered my men to mount, for I felt that trouble was on hand.
In a few moments I heard the sound of artillery to my left, and in a little while the battle was on. The fact was that Early
had been so active and aggressive attacking Sheridan
in various directions, by rapid marches playing such a bold