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[426] and was expecting such a movement from the cavalry on the Front Royal road, I gave the order to retire, but instantly discovering that the supposed force of the enemy was Ramseur's division, which had merely moved back to keep in line with the other troops, I gave the order for the latter to return to the works before they had moved twenty paces.

This order was obeyed by Wharton's division, but not so well by the others. The enemy's cavalry force, however, was too large for us, and having the advantage of open ground, it again succeeded in getting around our left, producing great confusion, for which there was no remedy. Nothing now was left for us but to retire through Winchester, and Ramseur's division, which maintained its organization, was moved on the east of the town to the south side of it, and put in position, forming a basis for a new line, while the other troops moved back through the town. Wickham's brigade, with some pieces of horse artillery on Fort Hill, covered this movement and checked the pursuit of the enemy's cavalry. When the new line was formed, the enemy's advance was checked until nightfall, and we then retired to Newtown without serious molestation. Lomax had held the enemy's cavalry on the Front Royal road in check, and a feeble attempt at pursuit was repulsed by Ramseur near Kernstown.

As soon as our reverse began, orders had been sent for the removal of the trains, stores and sick and wounded in the hospitals to Fisher's Hill over the Cedar Creek Pike and the Back Road. This was done with safety, and all the wounded, except such as were not in a condition to be moved, and those which had not been brought from the field, were carried to the rear.

This battle, beginning with the skirmishing in Ramseur's front, had lasted from daylight till dark, and, at the close of it, we had been forced back two miles, after having repulsed the enemy's first attack with great slaughter to him and subsequently contested every inch of ground with unsurpassed obstinacy. We deserved

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Ramseur (4)
W. C. Wickham (1)
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