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[320] at sunrise. The same day he continued to the Potomac, which he crossed next morning (14th), and went into camp near Leesburg. Here he remained till the 16th, when he crossed the Blue Ridge in direction of Winchester at Snicker's gap, and camped beyond the Shenandoah. The enemy pursued, and on the 18th he fought a battle at Chapman's ford near by, repulsing the enemy. But he was being sorely pressed, as a heavy column was moving against Winchester, where he had sent Ramseur's division, which here suffered a repulse. He accordingly fell back and concentrated his forces at a place called Fisher's Hill, near the junction of the North and South forks of the Shenandoah, and on the main road from Staunton to Winchester, twenty-four miles south of the latter place. This retreat necessitated the giving up the richest part of the Valley, and surrendered all of our flouring mills which had been put in operation for the supply of the army. The portion of the Valley given up had been found rich in supplies of grain, none having been burned up to that time, and it not being uncommon to find two crops of wheat in the stack. But to utilize this for the army, on account of the scarcity of labor, details of soldiers had to be made to thresh out the grain, place the mills in order — most of them having fallen into disuse — and to grind the flour. Arriving at Fisher's Hill, the army found itself on less than half rations, foot-sore from almost constant marching, weakened from its losses in battle, and encumbered with many wounded. The aspect was very gloomy, and for a time it seemed that nothing was left but to continue the retreat, abandon the Valley, and return to General Lee. The position being good for defence, a few days were given for rest. In the meantime General Breckinridge proposed to General Early the resumption of offensive operations, and on the 25th of July the following plan was adopted at his suggestion: It having been ascertained that the enemy was at Kernstown, five or six miles south of Winchester, it was proposed to march with the infantry at daylight to the attack, the cavalry to be sent on the back road, a dirt road running parallel with the pike two miles off — so as to get in the rear of the enemy, to harrass them in the event of a repulse and cut off retreat. At early dawn the troops were on the road ready to move when a striking incident occurred. Breckinridge's command was in the lead. The rations in feeble supply had not been given out till late the night before, and, small as was the issue, the troops had not had time to prepare them. They were therefore without breakfast, except such as had had some

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