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[173] to fight Hunter at the earliest moment, and possibly defeat him, and then turn upon Crook and Averill and do the best we could. Generals Jones, Vaughan and myself were all of the same grade brigadiers, Jones being the senior by a few months, and Vaughan ranking me also by a little older commission than mine. Jones, of course, assumed the command. He was an old army officer, brave as a lion, and had seen much service, and was known as a hard fighter. He was a man, however, of high temper, morose and fretful to such a degree that he was known by the soubriquet of “Grumble Jones.” He held the fighting qualities of the enemy in great contempt, and never would admit the possibility of defeat where the odds against him were not much over two to one. So that when he took command of our little army, consisting of only a part of my brigade, not over one thousand men; Vaughan's Brigade, six hundred to eight hundred men; the two temporary conglomerate brigades under Colonels Brown and Jones, of about one thousand men each, and about seven hundred “reserves,” a total of between four thousand and four thousand five hundred men, including the two batteries, he was entirely confident that he could whip Hunter. We fully expected an attack early on the morning of the 4th. The enemy not appearing, however, up to ten o'clock, I sent a regiment of cavalry — the Eighteenth Virginia, under Colonel George W. Imboden--to Hunter's side of the river to find out what he was doing. In a couple of hours it was ascertained that he had left the main road leading from Winchester to Staunton, and was marching to the southeastward to Port Republic, at the junction of the North and South rivers, which unite there near the foot of the Blue Ridge and form the Shenandoah. This flank movement disappointed and somewhat disconcerted General Jones. It imposed on him the necessity of a night march over roads he had never seen to get in position between Port Republic and Staunton.

As we were in my native county, Augusta, I knew every road, and almost every farm over which Hunter would pass. I did not, therefore, hesitate to urge on General Jones to let me select the point of conflict with Hunter. He consented to this, and I chose the crest of what is known as “Mowry's hill,” an eminence overlooking the beautiful little vale of Long Meadow run, about eight miles northeast of Staunton. To this ground Jones decided to move on the night of the 4th, and in the morning throw up some works to cover our most vulnerable points. He ordered me to place my cavalry close in front of Hunter during the night, as we knew he would camp at Port Republic, and to avoid any risky engagement in the morning,

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