By connected farm roads and bridle paths, there was a continuous route for infantry along or near a bench of fertile limestone land that shouldered out from the western side of the western Cheat mountain
, by which, unobserved, the turnpike road from Monterey
could be reached on the top of that mountain, and communication cut between the two wings of the Federal
army, some 3 miles west of the Cheat mountain
These several ways of approach regulated the Confederate
plan for a simultaneous attack.
's first objective was the capture of the Federal
garrison on the middle Cheat mountain
, some 4,000 feet above the sea level.
To effect this, Jackson
was ordered to march an assaulting column of at least 2,000 men under Col. Albert Rust
, of the Third Arkansas (who had asked to lead it, after an examination of the position), on the night of the 11th, along the turnpike to the first top of Cheat or Back Alleghany mountain, and then, at Slaven
's cabin, turn to the left, by paths and through the forest and across the Main
or Shaver fork
of Cheat river
, so as to turn the right of the Federal
position and attack it, if possible, by surprise, and carry it by assault at dawn of the 12th.
in person, with the remainder of his command, except a guard left at his camp, was to follow Rust
, during the night of the 11th, and after the latter had left the turnpike to continue along that to the front of the Federal
position, and be ready to make a demonstration or join in the attack when Rust
should make his assault on the morning of the 12th.
If the assault should be successful, Jackson
was to leave a force to hold the captured redoubt, and, with the remainder of his army, press on to join in the attack on the left rear of the Elkwater position.
The men were all to be provided with strips of white cotton cloth, to be fastened on the arm as badges, so they could recognize and not fire on each other when the attacking columns converged in cooperation.
The co-operating force under Loring
was also to move on the 11th. General Anderson
, with his brigade in light marching order, was to march along the byways and bridle paths on the western slope of Cheat mountain
, carefully concealing his movements, during that day and the following night, so as to get possession of the turnpike, on the western top of Cheat mountain
, at about