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[29] set out to return.1 At daylight on the 19th, there was one rebel division immediately in front of Sheridan, and another only five miles to the north, while two, still nearer, were marching rapidly up on the road from Martinsburg. Sheridan was promptly informed of these dispositions of the enemy, and understood that he now must fight the entire command of Early.

His plan was to attack the rebels with the Sixth and Nineteenth corps, holding Crook's division in reserve, to be used as a turning column when the crisis of the battle occurred. His cavalry he placed on the right and left of the infantry. The approach to Winchester by the Berryville road is through a difficult gorge, and it was nine o'clock before an advance in line could be effected. The attack was then made in handsome style, without cover; but by this time Early's two divisions from Martinsburg had come upon the ground, and the rebels were not only able to hold their own, but made a countercharge, and the national centre was forced back for a while. Sheridan, however, threw forward Upton's brigade and struck the attacking column in flank, when the rebels in turn were driven back, and the national line was re-established.

The enemy's principal strength was opposite Sheridan's right, where the Martinsburg road comes in, and Crook was now directed to find the left of the rebel line, strike it in flank or rear, and break it up, while Sheridan made a left half wheel of the main line of battle to support him. Crook

1 β€˜At Martinsburg . . I learned that Grant was with Sheridan that day, and I expected an early move.’—Early's Memoir, page 84.

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