Northern commanders, whose view of the advancing Confederates was blocked by the woods, also underestimated the size of their opponents and launched an attack, ruining Ramseur’s plans. At first, the Confederate line held against the advancing North, throwing back an attack along the turnpike and on the Rebel right. But the Union right slipped in behind the Rebels’ left, and Northern infantry and cavalry crashed into the vulnerable flank, shattering the end of the Confederate line. The southern defenses began to collapse. Retreating men ran through those who tried to stand, and despite Ramseur’s efforts to draw a line in the sand, the retreat happened. A North Carolinian wrote, “This was the first time the Yankees saw my back, but it was run or die and of course we preferred the former.” The Confederates raced back to Winchester, losing 300 men with four artillery pieces captured. Ramseur wrote that he was “deeply mortified at the conduct of my troops” in the retreat.