Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/72

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Southern Historical Society Papers

in obedience to previous orders from General Rodes, I immediately went after the brigade ordnance wagons, and ordered up one from each brigade with Lieutenant Partridge. On reaching the field again I was informed by Major Peyton, Adjutant-General of Rodes' Division, that General Rodes had been killed soon after the division became engaged. He was struck on the head by a piece of shell, it is thought, and lived but a short while, totally unconscious. This is an irreparable loss to our division, and, indeed, to our army, for he was General Early's right arm. We succeeded in handsomely repulsing this attack, and several succeeding ones, our artillery being very effective, doing good execution. Ramseur was pressed back on the right, but succeeded finally in re-establishing his line, which was very long and thin. Fearing the enemy might attack there again and, if the line gave way, get into Winchester, in our rear, General Early ordered up Wharton's (Breckinridge's) Division, which was engaged with the Yankee cavalry (Merritt's Division) near Brucetown. To the withdrawal of this division, though necessary, perhaps, may be attributed the loss of the day, for now our disasters commenced. Wharton's Division had barely reached Ramseur's line [if, indeed, it reached there] when a heavy force of Yankee cavalry (Averill's and Merritt's Divisions, the former coming up from Martinsburg and the latter from Brucetown, had joined near Stephenson's) dashed up the Martinsburg pike, driving back our cavalry, two very small brigades, and penetrating to our rear. Wharton's Division was immediately withdrawn and sent to the left and rear to check them, which it succeeded in doing; but the enemy, seeing the success of their cavalry, sent a body of infantry, Crook's Corps to connect with it, which turned our left flank, forcing Gordon's and Rodes' Divisions to fall back and form perpendicular to their original line; and in this position the fight raged for an hour or more. * * * When Wharton's 'Division became engaged with the cavalry, * * * ammunition being inquired for, I started after my brigade ordnance wagons, which had gotten out of the way when the Yankee cavalry advanced. I missed their track and rode around the east side of the town to the Staunton pike without finding them, but succeeded in finding others, which I sent forward. Riding through town on my way back I found everything coming through town in the greatest confusion, Market street being filled with medical and ordnance wagons and ambulances three deep. I met the ambulance with General Rodes' body, in charge of Captain M. Lewis Randolph [signal officer of General Rodes' Division], and