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[92] at the close of the Valley Mountain campaign. General Lee, perceiving that the operations on the Kanawha were not progressing favorably, determined to take control of affairs in that quarter himself. He, therefore, directed Loring to detach Gilliam with his own regiment (the battalion of State Regulars) and a section of artillery to occupy Valley Mountain Pass, and proceed with the remainder of his force to reinforce General Floyd. General Lee arrived at Meadow Bluff about the 7th of October, where he found Floyd. Meadow Bluff is a small village near the eastern base of Sewell Mountain. Floyd had proposed making a stand there, but Wise had halted on the top of the mountain, five miles in rear, where he had determined to fight. The hostility that had previously existed between the two generals had not been diminished by the affair at Carnifax's Ferry; the arrival of General Lee was, therefore, fortunate, as it most probably prevented a disaster, since Rosecrans was advancing, and would have been able to strike both Wise and Floyd in detail. General Lee found General Wise occupying the eastern crest of Sewell Mountain; being satisfied with the position, he determined to hold it, and give battle to Rosecrans if he persisted in advancing. So he ordered Floyd to return and support Wise. General Lee had barely time to complete his arrangements when Rosecrans appeared on the opposite crest. Each army now occupied a mountain crest nearly parallel, separated by a gap or depression forming a notch in the mountain about a mile wide, over which it was difficult to pass except by the James River and Kanawha turnpike, which crosses it. Both positions were naturally very strong. The Confederate force being greatly inferior to that of the Federals, and General Rosecrans having assumed the offensive, General Lee naturally expected to be attacked before Loring could come up; he, therefore, actively employed his skill as an engineer in adding to the natural strength of his position. Rosecrans, discovering the formidable preparations of the Confederates, prudently forebore attacking them. The arrival of General Loring, on the 9th, placed General Lee's force almost on an equality with that of the Federals.

The force of General Lee now amounted to about fifteen thousand men. The troops were in fine spirits, and anxious to be led to the attack; but the General, ever mindful of the safety of his men, restrained their ardor. On one occasion, when several of the commanders were urging an attack, he remarked: “I know, gentlemen, you could carry the enemy's lines; but we cannot spare the brave men who would lose their lives in doing it. If General Rosecrans does not attack us, we will find a way to reach him that will not cost ”

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