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History of Cambria County, V.2

Hill, on the retreat from Kearnstown, when Gen. Crook was driven back. The company had recently been recruited by new members. One of the new men was known as a Copperhead Democrat at home, but he had been drafted. He had voted against the soldiers having a right to vote while in the service ; he was continually abusing Mr. Lincoln and all the Union leaders. In the retreat, Company A became scattered. Mr. Dysart, the drafted man, and another were together. When the enemy were seen approaching Dysart and the other Union man ran and left the drafted man, who was captured. While the enemy were taking him away Dysart got on a stump and flapping his arms up and down, midst numerous bullets, cried out : “Take him, take him ; he belongs to you anyway.”


    To distinguish this battle from the many which took place at Winchester, it is officially designated as the battle of the Opequon. The field was about a mile and a half east of Winchester, on the Opequon creek. At sunrise on the morning of September 19, Gen. Early had his forces in line of battle on the Opequon. Gen. Sheridan had his at Berryville, six miles northeast of Gen. Early, and east of the Opequon. Sheridan moved Wilson's cavalry (Captain Blough) down the Berryville road and crossed the Opequon, clearing the way for the infantry. Wilson's cavalry formed on the left of Gen. Wright's 6th Corps. At noon, part of the 19th Corps formed on the right of the 6th. Gen. Crook's corps (54th Regiment) were held in reserve at the crossing on the Opequon. Sheridan moved his line forward and in a short time the forces met in a deadly struggle. Sheridan gradually pressed Early back, except Gen. Battle's brigade of Early's forces, moved through the woods and finding a weak spot in Sheridan's line, drove the latter back to the ravine. But Russell's division charged on the enemy's flank and drove it back with a heavy loss. Thus Sheridan's line was re-established. Gen. Bodes of Early's army and Gen. Russell of Sheridan's were killed about this time.
    After Russell's charge, Gen. Crook's corps (54th Regiment) were brought to the right and, attacking Gordon's division, broke it. In the meanwhile Wilson's cavalry (Capt. Blough), which were on the left, had driven the enemy back to the pike, and Merritt's division of cavalry were on the right in a severe contest with Wharton's infantry, supported by King's battery.

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Created: 25 Mar 2003, Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury, Diann Olsen and contributors