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[277] and kept the Federal troops in a constant state of excitement. Averell followed McCausland on his return and overhauled and defeated him at Moorfield, on August 7th, thus atoning to some extent for his remissness in having allowed McCausland, with a force not one-half as large as his own, to reach Chambersburg.

On this same August 7th, Hunter was relieved from command at his own request, made upon finding that Grant had determined practicably to supersede him. This officer whose achievements had been in inverse ratio to his barbarities, now sank from view, destined to add, afterwards, but one more to his claims for distinction, in presiding over the court that hung Mrs. Surat. The defeat of Crook, and the advance on Chambersburg had caused Grant to send up two divisions of cavalry, from Richmond. Now Sheridan was put in command of all the forces gathered to crush Early. Grant had come up himself to see the situation. He added to the Federal forces in the Valley until they numbered, by the returns for August, 56,618 present for duty, (of which some 5,000 or 6,000 were on garrison duty) and gave orders for a vigorous following up and attack upon Early. Early's strength at this time by the returns given by Mr. Pond, was not over 15,000 men. There is no ground for Mr. Pond's unfair statement—that Sheridan's strength was ‘far below the official returns’ while Early's was above them. The same causes affected both armies. In the above figures for Early's strength the cavalry under Ransom is put at 3,500. It probably never mustered more than the half of this at any one time ready for action. The truth is that Sheridan was sent forward with a movable column of about 50,000 men, to drive Early with a force of somewhere between 13,000 and 15,000 men out of the Valley. The large detachments that Grant had made to Sheridan enabled Lee to order Kershaw's division of infantry, and Fitz. Lee's cavalry, under General Anderson, to Early's assistance. Sheridan began to move from Harper's Ferry promptly, and Early fell back before him to Fisher's Hill, to await the arrival of his reinforcements. By the 10th of August, Anderson came up, and Early was ready to resume the offensive, though his total strength now reached but 21,000 men. Early's boldness, and his aggressive attitude, deceived Sheridan, and convinced the latter that he was in a critical situation. Sheridan's over-estimate of Early's forces finds its only parallel in McClellan's estimates of the troops opposed to him in the Peninsula campaign. The Federal General, with his large army, fell back to Winchester, and the Confederate General, with his small army, followed close at


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Jubal A. Early (18)
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