attacked impetuously, and carried the rebel work, two regiments in columns of fours charging over the breastworks and through the town of Waynesboro
, sabring the enemy as they passed, and not stopping till they had crossed the south fork of the Shenandoah
's rear, where they formed with drawn sabres, and held the east bank of the stream.
The entire rebel command threw down their arms and surrendered, absolutely cheering at the suddenness with which they had been captured; or else with delight to find themselves prisoners.
Early and a few of his officers escaped, hiding in obscure places in the houses of the town, or in the neighboring woods, until dark; but eleven pieces of artillery, two hundred loaded wagons and teams, seventeen battle flags, and sixteen hundred prisoners were captured, and the crossing of the Blue Ridge
At any other point this would have been difficult because of the snow.
The battle of Waynesboro
was fought on the 2nd of March, and before the month was over, Early
was relieved from all command, by express direction of Lee
The prisoners were sent back to Winchester
, under guard, and the advance moved to Charlottesville
, where the incessant rains had created such a depth of mud that the command was obliged to wait two days for the trains to pass the mountains.
This delay compelled Sheridan
to abandon the idea of capturing Lynchburg
, where the rebels were now prepared.
The destruction of the railroad, however, was begun, in the direction of both Gordonsville
On the 6th of March, one column was sent, under Devin
, to destroy every lock on the James river
canal for thirty miles, and the other