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The famous fight at Cedar creek.

General A. B. Nettleton.
When in 1864, with Grant and Meade and Sheridan in the East, and Sherman and Thomas in the West, the National army closed with the Confederate, it was in a struggle which all regarded as the final one. In June, after Grant with all his available force had besieged Richmond and Petersburg, Lee, feeling secure behind fortifications, detached an army of twenty-five thousand picked troops under General Jubal A. Early, including the flower of his Virginia cavalry, to invade the North by way of the Shenandoah Valley, threaten Washington from the rear, and, if possible, compel Grant to retreat from the James, as McClellan had been forced to do two years before. Hunter's failure at Lynchburg, and his painful retreat through the wilderness of West Virginia, had left a virtually open road for Early's force to the boundary of Pennsylvania, if not to Washington, and this open road Early was not slow to travel. The defeat of the Union provisional force at Monocacy, the appearance of the rebel infantry before the western defenses of the National Capital on the 12th of July, and the subsequent burning of Chambersburg by Early's cavalry, under McCausland, had produced a very considerable civilian panic, attracted the anxious attention of the whole country, and convinced Grant, before Petersburg, that decisive measures were required in the neighborhood of the Potomac if he was to retain his grip on the rebel capital. Accordingly, two small-sized infantry corps (Wright's Sixth and Emory's Nineteenth) were dispatched to Washington via Fortress Monroe, and were soon followed by two divisions (the First and

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