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Zzzsheridan forced back to Halltown.

Grant returned to Petersburg, Hunter passed away, and now for six weeks Early and his new antagonist are chess playing and skirmishing. We have cavalry skirmishes and infantry skirmishes without number. The 7th of August Averill takes four pieces of artillery and about 300 prisoners from McCausland's Brigade at Moorefield. On the 9th Sheridan's whole army is concentrated at Harper's Ferry, and Early hears that he is in command. On the 10th Early formed east of Winchester to cover the roads from Charlestown and Berryville, then goes to Fisher's Hill, Sheridan following. On the 17th, Anderson, with Kershaw's Division and Cutshaw's artillery, approaches to reinforce Early, and Early in turn forces Sheridan back to the vicinage of Charlestown, skirmishing every day, and is heartily commended by Lee in his dispatches. The Federal historian Pond says of Early's movements at this period: ‘Holding the line of the Opequon, Early had for weeks not only kept Maryland and Pennsylvania quaking with apprehension, but persistently maintained his grasp on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, checking every effort to open these conduits to the capital and greatly impeding thus travel and trade. His own communications meantime were not cut, and the Virginia Central railroad behind him was in free operation between Staunton and Richmond.’

On the 25th of August a heavy force of cavalry is driven through Sheppardstown by Early's Infantry and Fitz Lee's Cavalry. On the 3d of September Kershaw's Division starts back to Richmond under orders from Lee, but is quickly recalled, the enemy being discovered in line of battle and fortifying. Early now posts himself on the west bank of the Opequon, near Winchester, and on the 14th Anderson starts again to Lee, carrying his infantry and artillery. On the 16th Sheridan hears of this through a spy and prepares to advance and give battle. On the 18th Early is at Martinsburg, where he hears that Grant has again visited Sheridan at Charlestown. He divines that a movement is on hand, at once orders a concentration at Winchester, and snuffs battle in the air.

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