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After the utter failure of all attempts to rally his men, Early went in person to Fisher's Hill, in the hope of forming them in the trenches; but when that position was reached, the only organized body left was the column of national prisoners taken in the morning, and the provost guard; and Early declared that it was the appearance of these prisoners, moving in a body, which alone arrested the progress of Sheridan's cavalry; for it was too dark to discover what they really were. About two thousand rebels made their way to the mountains, and for ten miles the line of retreat was covered with small arms and other debris thrown away by the flying enemy. Night alone preserved the fragments of the force from absolute annihilation. Early himself escaped under cover of darkness to Newmarket, twenty miles from Cedar Creek, where once before, on a similar occasion, his army had come together, by the numerous roads converging there. From this point, on the 20th, he announced to Lee: ‘The enemy is not pursuing, and I will rest here and organize my troops.’

Sheridan took possession of Strasburg after the battle; and in the morning he proceeded to Fisher's Hill. He had retaken all the guns lost by Wright, and captured twenty-four pieces of artillery besides. Sixteen hundred prisoners were brought in, and three hundred wagons. Early reported eighteen hundred and sixty killed and wounded. His reinforced command was now in a worse condition than that which had been beaten at Winchester and Fisher's Hill.

The unfortunate commander made no attempt at the time to conceal the extent of his disaster.1

1 The

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P. H. Sheridan (2)
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