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[189]

Chapter 17: with Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley (continued). Cedar Creek


The Army of the Shenandoah settled down in its fortified camp behind Cedar Creek with perfect confidence that it was secure from any successful attack by the forces under General Early. But that doughty warrior thought otherwise and planned to make one more attempt to win back his laurels as a fighter and strategist. His first plan was to make a surprise attack upon the right flank of the Union army. But General Gordon persuaded him to make the attack on the left.

Gordon led his men by a narrow path along the front of the mountain Front Royal, very quietly single file, in darkness and fog, and at dawn of day was ready to assail the unprotected flank, while yet the defenders were fast asleep. Of the confusion that followed and the utter rout of the 8th and 19th Corps, many persons have written and our narrative involves only the story of the part, a portion of the 6th Corps took in the affair. It is enough to say of the entire corps, that it was not at any time disorganized, that it fell back to a more favorable position in good order, that General Wright had succeeded in rallying a large portion of the 19th Corps and considerable of the 8th, and that there had been no serious fighting for two hours, when General Sheridan came up. No doubt his presence and words were cheering

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