at the close of the Valley Mountain
, perceiving that the operations on the Kanawha
were not progressing favorably, determined to take control of affairs in that quarter himself.
He, therefore, directed Loring
to detach Gilliam
with his own regiment (the battalion of State Regulars) and a section of artillery to occupy Valley Mountain Pass, and proceed with the remainder of his force to reinforce General Floyd
. General Lee
arrived at Meadow Bluff
about the 7th of October, where he found Floyd
is a small village near the eastern base of Sewell Mountain
had proposed making a stand there, but Wise
had halted on the top of the mountain, five miles in rear, where he had determined to fight.
The hostility that had previously existed between the two generals had not been diminished by the affair at Carnifax's Ferry; the arrival of General Lee
was, therefore, fortunate, as it most probably prevented a disaster, since Rosecrans
was advancing, and would have been able to strike both Wise
found General Wise
occupying the eastern crest of Sewell Mountain
; being satisfied with the position, he determined to hold it, and give battle to Rosecrans
if he persisted in advancing.
So he ordered Floyd
to return and support Wise
had barely time to complete his arrangements when Rosecrans
appeared on the opposite crest.
Each army now occupied a mountain crest nearly parallel, separated by a gap or depression forming a notch in the mountain about a mile wide, over which it was difficult to pass except by the James River
and Kanawha turnpike, which crosses it. Both positions were naturally very strong.
The Confederate force being greatly inferior to that of the Federals
, and General Rosecrans
having assumed the offensive, General Lee
naturally expected to be attacked before Loring
could come up; he, therefore, actively employed his skill as an engineer in adding to the natural strength of his position.
, discovering the formidable preparations of the Confederates
, prudently forebore attacking them.
The arrival of General Loring
, on the 9th, placed General Lee
's force almost on an equality with that of the Federals
The force of General Lee
now amounted to about fifteen thousand men. The troops were in fine spirits, and anxious to be led to the attack; but the General
, ever mindful of the safety of his men, restrained their ardor.
On one occasion, when several of the commanders were urging an attack, he remarked: “I know, gentlemen, you could carry the enemy's lines; but we cannot spare the brave men who would lose their lives in doing it. If General Rosecrans
does not attack us, we will find a way to reach him that will not cost ”