at this time about equal in numbers.
's force was now six thousand, General Jackson
's about five thousand strong.
's force had been increased to about eleven thousand men; of these, two thousand were on Cheat Mountain
, about five thousand in position on the Lewisburg
road in front of General Loring
The remainder of General Reynold
's force was held in reserve near the junction of the Parkersburg turnpike
and the Lewisburg
determined to attack on the morning of the 28th of September.
The plan was that Colonel Rust
should gain the rear of the Federal
position by early dawn, and begin the attack.
, with two Tennessee
regiments from Loring
's command, was to support him; while General Jackson
was to make a diversion in front.
Cheat Mountain Pass being carried, General Jackson
, with his whole force, was to sweep down the mountain and fall upon the rear of the other Federal position; General Donaldson
, with two regiments, was to gain a favorable position for attacking the enemy on the Lewisburg
road, in flank or rear; and Loring
was to advance, by the main road, on the Federal
In case of failure, Anderson
were to rejoin Loring
, and Rust
was to find his way back to Jackson
The troops gained their designated positions with remarkable promptness and accuracy in point of time, considering the distance and the difficulties to be overcome.
's attack on Cheat Mountain
was to be the signal for the general advance of all the troops.
It was anxiously expected, from early dawn, throughout the day. On every side was continuously heard, “What has become of Rust
“Why don't he attack?”
must have lost his way.”
, under Anderson
, became so impatient that they requested to be led to the attack without waiting for Rust
; but General Anderson
thought that he must be governed by the letter of his instructions, and declined granting the request of his men. Thus we see a plan that offered every prospect of success come to naught by the failure of a subordinate officer to come up to the expectations of his commander.
, finding that their situation was becoming critical-being liable to discovery, and being between two superior forces-rejoined General Loring
on the 29th.
On the same day, Colonel Rust
reported in person his operations, which amounted to this: he heard nothing of General Anderson
; his heart failed him; he passed the day watching the Federals
, and then retired.
When Colonel Rust
rendered his report, General Lee
, perceiving the deep mortification he felt at the great blunder he had committed, permitted him to rejoin his regiment.
A council of war was then held, in which it was