set forth to capture the Federal
Dashing through the brushwood, and over the rocks, he suddenly burst upon the unsuspecting trio, when lo!
to his amazement, General Lee
stood before him.
To add to the difficulties of a campaign in the mountains, the rainy season set in; it began to rain about the middle of August, and continued without much cessation for several weeks; in the meantime, the narrow mountain roads became saturated and softened, so that the passage of heavy trains of wagons soon rendered them almost impassable; while the wet weather lasted, any movement was simply impossible.
The troops being new, and unaccustomed to camp life, began to suffer from all the camp diseases.
Typhoid fever, measles, and homesickness began to spread among them, so that in the course of a few weeks nearly one-third of the army was rendered hors de combat by sickness.
Amid this accumulation of difficulties General Lee
preserved his equanimity and cheerfulness; his chief aim now was — to ameliorate, as much as possible, the sufferings of his men. During this period of inactivity General Lee
was exerting himself to find a practicable route leading to the rear of Cheat Mountain Pass, the route by which General Loring
proposed to reach it being now effectually closed.
The possession of the Pass
was of great importance to the Confederates
, as the Parkersburg turnpike
was the principal line over which operations could be successfully carried on in Northwestern Virginia
Individual scouts were employed, both from among the well-affected inhabitants and the enterprising young soldiers of the army; Lieutenant Lewis Randolph
, of the Virginia State Regulars, was particularly distinguished for the boldness of his reconnoissances.
About the 25th of September, General Jackson
reported to General Loring
that Colonel Rust
had made a reconnoissance to the rear of Cheat Mountain Pass, and had discovered a route, though difficult, by which infantry could be led. Soon after, Colonel Rust
reported in person and informed General Lee
of the practicability of reaching the rear of the enemy's position on Cheat Mountain
, from which a favorable attack could be made, and requested the General
that, in case his information was favorably considered, to be allowed to lead the attacking column, to consist of his regiment and such other troops as the General
Another route was, in the meantime, discovered, leading along the western side of Cheat Mountain
, by which troops could be conducted to a point on the Parkersburg turnpike
, about two miles below the Federal
in the Pass
This being the information that General Lee
had been most desirous of obtaining, he determined to attack the enemy without further delay.
The opposing forces were