us so dearly.”
After waiting several days for General Rosecrans
to attack, he began to make preparations for a flank movement to gain Rosecrans
' rear, who no longer manifested a disposition to continue the aggressive.
and others, who had a good knowledge of the routes in the vicinity of Sewell Mountain
, reported to General Lee
a practicable route for artillery and infantry leading about ten miles to the rear of the Federal
Upon this information, he conceived the plan of sending a column of five thousand men by this route at night, and at dawn to fall upon the Federals
' rear while a strong demonstration was being made in front.-Had this plan been executed, it would most likely have been successful; *but General Rosecrans
escaped the trap by a night retreat.
Great was the disappointment of the troops when they discovered that the Federals
had retired, and the prospects of a battle had vanished.
As soon as the retreat of the Federals
was discovered, pursuit was ordered; but General Lee
soon perceived that it would be impossible to overtake General Rosecrans
and bring him to a successful engagement in the rough, mountainous country through which he was retreating; and, not wishing to harass his troops unnecessarily, ordered them to return to their several positions, and Rosecrans
was allowed to pursue his retreat unmolested to the Kanawha
knew that, with the bravery of his troops, and the strength of his position, he could repel any attack that the Federals
could make; while, on the other hand, if he attacked them in their position, the result, even if successful, would be attended with great loss.
He, therefore, determined to give Rosecrans
every opportunity to attack before taking the offensive himself, which, as we have seen, Rosecrans
prevented by abandoning his own plans and retreating.
The season was now so far advanced that it was impossible to continue active operations in Western Virginia
Snow had already fallen, and the roads had become almost impassible.
therefore determined to withdraw the troops from Sewell Mountain
About the 1st of November the different columns were sent to their various destinations.
The campaign had been pronounced a failure.
The press and the public were clamorous against him. No one stopped to inquire the cause or examine into the difficulties that surrounded him. Upon him alone were heaped the impracticability of mountains, the hostility of the elements, and the inefficiency and captiousness of subordinate commanders.
The difficulties to be encountered in Western Virginia
were so great, and the chances of success so doubtful (as had been shown by the recent operations in that quarter), that the Confederate
authorities abandoned the idea of