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[178] a spur of the Alleghany; its eastern, the triple-ridged Massanutten. For a couple of miles above Strasburg, the surface gradually falls, by hardly perceptible descent, to the banks of Tumbling Run, the next tributary which the west fork receives above Cedar Creek. Overhanging Tumbling Run is a high, steep bluff, which seems here upheaved for the purpose of yet further narrowing the valley; this is Fisher's Hill. Along the run, westward to the foot of Little North Mountain, the land is hilly and broken, a rugged stretch of land for four miles. Here, the flanks guarded by two mountains, the Confederates were found on the 20th. They had intrenched the position from Fisher's Hill, toward Little North Mountain, and as the valley pike, passing over the hill by a zigzag course, was exposed for a mile to the fire of their artillery, they might reasonably regard their situation one of great strength. Between three and four o'clock our corps crossed Cedar Creek, as did also the Nineteenth, and the two corps occupied the high ground just north of Strasburg, the Sixth upon the right of the line, and the Nineteenth extending toward the Front Royal road. The Eighth Corps was approaching upon the north side of the creek, but was halted there when it reached the banks of the stream.

The picket line of the two corps that evening extended across the northern edge of the village. The enemy's skirmishers were within easy hailing distance. During the next day these skirmishers were driven back to their defences at Fisher's Hill. It was now determined by the general commanding to seize and hold a strong line on the front and right of the Sixth Corps, looking across Tumbling Run, confronting the main position of the Confederates. This was effected, after several temporary checks, by selected troops of the Second and Third Divisions, Sixth Corps. Immediately the trees at this place, which in a degree hid the Confederate position from sight, were cut down by the pioneers, who also prepared the way for the batteries of the corps. The corps was firmly established on this important line along Tumbling Run. This task having consumed the night of the 21st, owing to the broken surface of the ground, the ravines, knolls, and ledges, which are features of this section, in the morning the Nineteenth Corps was placed in the position the Sixth had occupied on the 21st. Now Ricketts's division of our corps, which was on the right of the command, was moved farther to the front, having,

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James B. Ricketts (1)
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