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|History of Cambria County, V.2|
|HISTORY OF CAMBRIA COUNTY.||159|
some we will have an inspection, after which I will commence work on the accounts I made so many attempts to do while at home but always failed. There is so much to do at present in camp on account of the regiment disorganizing that I can scarcely find time to write at anything but official papers. If you write to Dod soon, tell him he can get here by ambulance from Harper's Ferry; the distance is about 18 miles. * * *
Capt. Suter also wrote the following vivid description of the battle of Opequan:
Near Harrisonburg, Va., September 26 [Monday], 1864.* * * As we are resting on our arms today, the first time for a week, I take advantage of the opportunity to write you a short account of our operation. We are now nearly one hundred miles from our base and it requires from four to five days for a mail to come through and there is a strong probability that a few days more will increase the distance, or perhaps sever our communications with the rear entirely. On Monday last we sent all our baggage to the rear and have not seen it since, nor do we expect to until our return, which I think now depends in a great measure upon operations about Richmond.
The battle of last Monday (Winchester, September 19, 1864) began with one corps on the Opequan about 5 in the morning. Our corps (Gen. Crook's) started and marched rapidly in the direction of the cannonading until about 2 p. m., when we arrived near the ground at 3 p. m. We were massed on the extreme right. Up to this time our forces had been several times repulsed and things hung in a balance; in fact the enemy was preparing to make a heavy attack on our right, and we were put there to meet and repel it. General Crooke ordered bayonets fixed and at 3 o'clock precisely our whole corps began the charge and did not stop until it reached the town of Winchester and nearly dark. In this charge we carried two lines of stone fence, one fort and three pieces of artillery. It was the most desperate of anything I ever saw and came on the enemy like an avalanche, which all their storm of grape and shells could not check, but the ground over which we passed was well marked by a bloody track.
The Sixth Corps on the left charged after they found us driving the enemy on the right and the result was the entire defeat and rout of Early's army. When the cavalry went to work with the sabre we followed him to Strasburgh where he was strongly entrenched and fortified on all the prominent hills, and after skirmishing on Wednesday and nearly all of Thursday we began to storm the works about five p. m., and make short work of it. Sheridan's whole army charged. Twenty-five pieces of artillery were taken, together with flags, standards, ammunition wagons, etc. The enemy were panic stricken and fled in confusion. Reinforcements met him at Newmarket but could