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own up behind Tumbling Run earthworks extending clear across the narrow valley between the Massanutten and North mountains. On the left of these works he had Vaughan's, McCausland's, and Johnson's brigades of cavalry under General Lomax, who at this time relieved General Ramseur from the command of the confederate mounted forces. Within the past day or two I had received information that a column of the enemy was moving up from Culpeper Court House and approaching Front Royal through Chester Gap, and although the intelligence was unconfirmed, it caused me much solicitude; for there was strong probability that such a movement would be made, and also considerable force advancing through Front Royal toward Winchester could fall upon my rear and destroy my communication with Harper's Ferry, or, moving along the base of Massanutten Mountain, could attack my flank in conjunction with the force at Fisher's Hill without a possibility of my preventing it. Neither Wilson's cavalry nor
r I wished to control this ground so that when I was released from the instructions of August 12 I could move my men into position for attack without the knowledge of Early. The most noteworthy of these mounted encounters was that of Mclntosh's brigade, which captured the Eighth South Carolina at Abraham's Creek September 13. It was the evening of the 16th of September that I received from Miss Wright the positive information that Kershaw was in march toward Front Royal on his way by Chester Gap to Richmond. Concluding that this was my opportunity, I at once resolved to throw my whole force into Newtown the next day, but a despatch from General Grant directing Miss Rebecca M. Wright. me to meet him at Charlestown, whither he was coming to consult with me, caused me to defer action until after I should see him. In our resulting interview at Charlestown, I went over the situation very thoroughly, and pointed out with so much confidence the chances of a complete victory should
rmation had led him to believe, on the night of the 13th withdrew to Fisher's Hill; so, concluding that he could not do us serious hurt from there, I changed my mind as to attacking, deciding to defer such action till I could get to Washington, and come to some definite understanding about my future operations. To carry out this idea, on the evening of the 15th I ordered all of the cavalry under General Torbert to accompany me to Front Royal, again intending to push it thence through Chester Gap to the Virginia Central railroad at Charlottesville, to destroy the bridge over the Rivanna River, while I passed through Manassas Gap to Rectortown, and thence by rail to Washington. On my arrival with the cavalry near Front Royal on the 16th, I halted at the house of Mrs, Richards, on the north bank of the river, and there received the following despatch and inclosure from General Wright, who had been left in command at Cedar Creek: headquarters Middle Military division, October 16, 1
at the signal-station on Three Top Mountain. The winter was a most severe one, snow falling frequently to the depth of several inches, and the mercury often sinking below zero. The rigor of the season was very much against the success of any mounted operations, but General Grant being very desirous to have the railroads broken up about Gordonsville and Charlottesville, on the 19th of December I started the cavalry out for that purpose, Torbert, with Merritt and Powell, marching through Chester Gap, while Custer moved toward Staunton to make a demonstration in Torbert's favor, hoping to hold the enemy's troops in the valley. Unfortunately, Custer did not accomplish all that was expected of him, and being surprised by Rosser and Payne near Lacy's Springs before reveille, had to abandon his bivouac and retreat down the valley, with the loss of a number of prisoners, a few horses, and a good many horse equipments, for, because of the suddenness of Rosser's attack, many of the men had