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[30] advanced with spirit, forcing the enemy rapidly from his position, and at the same moment Torbert's. cavalry came sweeping up the Martinsburg road, overlapping Early's left, and driving the rebel cavalry before them in a confused mass, through the broken infantry. Sheridan now rode rapidly along the line of the Sixth and Nineteenth corps, to order their advance, and at the same time directed Wilson to push to the left with a division of cavalry, and gain the roads leading south from Winchester. Then returning to the right, where the battle was still raging, he ordered Torbert to charge with the remainder of the cavalry. Torbert advanced simultaneously with the infantry. The country was entirely open, and the movement could be distinctly seen by the enemy. Unable to resist any longer, crowded on both flanks, and fearful of being surrounded, the rebels everywhere broke, and as Sheridan said in his famous despatch, he ‘sent them whirling through Winchester.’ Night alone saved Early from complete destruction. He lost, by his own account, forty-five hundred men, of whom twenty-five hundred were prisoners. Two general officers were killed, several others wounded, and five guns and nine battle-flags were captured. The engagement lasted from early morning until five in the afternoon. After that time it became a rout. Sheridan's loss was forty-five hundred men; five hundred killed, three thousand five hundred wounded, and five hundred missing.1

It was of this battle that Grant declared in his

1 The exact figures reported are 558 killed, 3,759 wounded, and 618 missing; but this return includes a part of the loss at Fisher's Hill, three days afterwards. At least half of the wounded returned to the ranks, so that the actual loss to Sheridan's command did not exceed 3,000.

Early, in his Memoir, pronounces this battle a series of blunders on the part of Sheridan, who, ‘instead of being promoted, ought to have been cashiered,’ for his ‘incapacity;’ while his own generalship was supreme. ‘A splendid victory had been gained.’ ‘The enemy's attacking columns were thrown into great confusion and driven from the field.’ ‘It was a grand sight to see this immense body hurled back in utter disorder before my two divisions;’ and so on: nothing but gallant charges and wonderful repulses by the rebels, all, strangely enough, resulting in ‘great confusion, for which there was no remedy;’ and ‘nothing was left for us but to retire through Winchester.’ They retired ‘whirling.’ It would, indeed, have been better for Early if Sheridan had been ‘cashiered’ before the battle.

Early asserts, page 87, that he took into this action 7,000 muskets and 2,000 cavalry only; and at the close, declares ‘the main part of my force and all my trains had been saved.’ But in his official report to Lee, written at the time, he gives his loss in infantry and artillery alone at 3,611; that of the cavalry is not reported, but he admits a loss of 318 in killed and wounded in this and the succeeding battle, and adds ‘but many were captured;’ so that his loss at Winchester, by his own showing was 4,500—half of what in the Memoir he declares to have been his entire command. Either he had many more men than he declares, or the ‘main part of his force’ was not saved.

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