induced Gen. R. E. Lee
, the Confederate general-in-chief
, to take the field in person and give general oversight to military affairs on the Kanawha
and Beverly lines, by each of which Federal armies were overrunning a large and important portion of Virginia
and persistently pressing toward Staunton
and the center of the State
He first gave attention to the Beverly
the last of July, accompanied by his aides, Col. John Augustine Washington
and Capt. Walter H. Taylor
, he promptly rode forward, 47 miles, to Monterey
, where he spent a day conferring with Gen. H. R. Jackson
and inspecting the troops there encamped, and then rode on to Huntersville
, which he reached the 1st of August.
At that point he remained for several days, conferring with General Loring
, and, in his polite, suggestive way, urging him to advance on the enemy by way of Valley mountain
Not succeeding in this, or in gaining the information he desired in reference to the enemy in Tygart's valley, he again rode forward, 28 miles, to Valley mountain
, at the head of Tygart's valley, which had been occupied by Colonel Gilham
's command for over a week, and there established his headquarters on the 8th of August. Maj. W. H. F. Lee
accompanied him with his battalion of cavalry, which was at once put on outpost duty.
Without delay, General Lee
hastened to inform himself, by personal reconnoissances and through scouts, concerning the condition of affairs in the Federal
army in his front and the topographic conditions of the immediate field of action; at the same time taking general oversight of operations on the Kanawha
line by constant correspondence with Generals Wise
, who were there in command.
joined General Lee
at Valley mountain
about the 12th of August, and as he was in immediate command of the troops on the Monterey
line and on the Huntersville
line, which formed his division, he also proceeded to inform himself concerning the field of operations, and addressed himself to the task of preparing to dislodge Reynolds
, the capable Federal commander, from his strongholds at Elkwater
and on Cheat mountain
, by bringing his men to the front and gathering supplies for an advance.
His hesitating disposition led to delays, for one purpose and another, but he was completely baffled by the prevailing conditions of the weather.