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[656] capture of eleven Confederate cannon, being all the enemy's artillery save one piece, and a galloping pursuit of the defeated force continuing twenty miles beyond the battle-field. The army then, unmolested, resumed its northward march, and crossed to the north side of Cedar creek, where it faced about toward the hypothetical enemy, and went into camp, the centre of the infantry resting on the Valley pike. The Sixth Corps continued on to Front Royal, on its way to join Grant at Petersburg. The three cavalry divisions took their positions as follows: Merritt's on the left (east) of the infantry, picketing the line of the North fork Shenandoah river; Custer's on the right of the infantry, picketing a line five or six miles in length, and extending to the western boundary of the Valley; Powell's West Virginia Division in the vicinity of Front Royal, at the foot of the Blue Ridge, and connecting with Merritt's left.

On the 12th, our scouts reported that Early's reorganized infantry force had advanced to Fisher's Hill, their old Gibraltar, six miles south of our position at Cedar creek, which unexpected intelligence caused Sheridan to halt the Sixth Corps near Front Royal to await developments. At this juncture, Lieutenant General Grant recommended that a part of Sheridan's force should establish a strong position in the vicinity of Manassas gap, from which a fresh campaign against Gordonsville and Charlottesville could be executed. To this Sheridan demurred, and, on the 13th of October, he was summoned to Washington, by Secretary Stanton, for a conference about future operations. Having decided not to attack Early immediately in his strong position at Fisher's Hill, and having no apprehension of his taking the offensive, Sheridan started for Washington, on the 16th, and, in order to improve the time during his absence, he took the bulk of the cavalry force with him to Front Royal, designing to send it on a raid against the Virginia Central Railroad at Charlottesville. General H. G. Wright, as the senior officer, was left in command of the main army, which had been rejoined by the Sixth Corps. On arriving at Front Royal, on the evening of the 16th, Sheridan received the following dispatch from Wright:

headquarters Middle military Division, October 16th, 1864.
Major General P. H. Sheridan, Commanding Middle Military Division.
General:--I enclose you dispatch which explains itself (see copy following). If the enemy should be strongly reinforced by cavalry, he might, by turning our right, give us a great deal of trouble. I shall hold on here until the enemy's

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