Zzzplans to raise the siege.
From the 8th to the 21st of May, in this campaign, owing to the sickness of General A. P. Hill
, Major-General Early
, by assignment of Lee
, commanded his corps.
returning to duty, Early
had scarce gone back to his own division when Ewell
, who had become an invalid from the loss of his leg at Second Manassas
, became disqualified for field duty, and Early
succeeded to his place.
Soon after Cold Harbor, Lee
communicated to Early
that he was maturing plans for offensive operations against Grant
, and desired him to take the initiative with his corps.
‘We must destroy,’ he said, ‘this army of Grant
's before he gets to James river
If he gets there it will become a siege, and then it will become a mere question of time.’
But while Grant
was slipping off to Petersburg
a new danger now threatened Lee
in his rear; for war in the Valley
again lifted its angry head.
On the 15th of May Breckinridge
had sharply repulsed Sigel
's column at New Market
, the cadets of the Virginia Military Institute making a gallant charge, to the admiration of both armies, and capturing guns from veterans, at a loss to themselves of one to every five killed or wounded.
had hastened with his slender division to join Lee
at Cold Harbor, and after that battle had been fought, wheeled right about to meet the same force which, reinforced, and now commanded by Major-General David Hunter
, was marching up the Valley
, with 8,500 men. On June 5th Hunter
had defeated and slain the gallant cavalry general, W. E. Jones
, at Piedmont
Three days later, June 8th, Crook
had joined him at Staunton
with 10,000 men, and now with this united force, 18,500 strong, he was marching on four parallel roads to Lynchburg
Meantime Major-General Sheridan
had been sent by Grant
with a corps of cavalry on June 7th to destroy the Central
(now Chesapeake and Ohio Railway), and Grant
, expecting him to meet Hunter
, they were to return together to the Army of the Potomac.
Neither of these commanders met at the tryst, for on June 11th Hampton
had intercepted Sheridan
at Trevilians with Fitz Lee
's and Butler
's Divisions, and after the bloodiest cavalry battle of the war, Sheridan
had retired all the way to the White-House
on the York river
, victorious, had returned to Lee
, and Lynchburg
, for the time being, had by him been saved.
was still marching on, and on June 12th was within forty miles of Lynchburg
, at Lexington, Va.
, where he burned the Virginia Military Institute and Governor Letcher
's home, and sacked Washington College.