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‘ [343] wheels,’ my trunk and desk containing all the data I had collected fell into the hands of the enemy.

Wickham did not call for a report while with us in the Valley and I did not make one. Until these recent communications I had contented myself with the reflection ‘that the credit for what was done and the reward of the deeds was in doing them.’

I shall endeavor to give my recollections with frankness, and will criticise our operations without hesitation, that the student in quest of facts may see the boldness and enterprise displayed by General J. A. Early, and the corresponding want of it evinced by his opponent, General Phil. Sheridan. The latter had the finest equipped army the world had ever seen, numbering about 65,000 men of all arms, of which 11,000 were well mounted cavalry, and 100 field guns. To combat this force, Early had about 14,000 men of all arms, less than 3,500 cavalry, and the usual complement of field guns. Sheridan said our ‘cavalry were in poor condition.’ The country was admirably suited to the operations of large bodies of cavalry, and one of their greatest advantages consisted in their ability to subsist largely upon the country through which they operated, (which was done without stint and without pay). Early's presence had kept them ensconced behind fortified lines, and he had checkmated their movements until General Anderson's withdrawal to General R. E. Lee's army; after which ensued the battles of Winchester, Cedar Creek, Fisher's Hill and Waynesboroa, in every one of which engagements a soldier of dash should have gobbled Early's entire command and sent him to Washington, and moved with the remainder of his command across the mountains and joined Grant. Sheridan's dispatches to Grant and Halleck up to the battle of Winchester indicate a caution amounting to timidity. What was accomplished at the end of a six months campaign should have been done effectually at Winchester.

History will yet vindicate Early's efforts. ‘But friends in trouble are rare and few.’ General R. E. Lee had sent Early to the Valley for a purpose. He clearly understood the situation; he had certain objects to accomplish. Time was an object to him. His limited means and small army, comparatively, were heavily taxed, his resources curtailed, and he could not spare a larger force. He knew Early was an educated soldier, and that he was tenacious and full of fight. His letter to Early at the end of the Valley campaign, when Early lost the little remnant that had been retained as a nucleus to guard the upper Valley, shows he was in full sympathy with him.

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