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[27] and canal had become indispensable. Still, Grant hesitated about allowing the initiative to be taken. The condition of affairs throughout the country required great prudence, and defeat in the Valley could be ill afforded. He was unwilling to telegraph the order for an attack without knowing the personal feeling of Sheridan as to the result. He indeed always took into consideration the temper and mood of his generals, and often in actual battle went to the front, not only to observe for himself the condition of the field, but to discover the spirit and inclination of commanders. In the same way he left City Point on the 15th of September, to visit the Valley, and decide, after conference with his lieutenant, what order should be made. He travelled direct to Charlestown, not stopping at Washington on the way.

That night, Sheridan learned that Anderson was moving through Winchester, on his way to Front Royal. He felt then that the time for battle had come, and had almost made up his mind to fight at Newtown, in the rear of Winchester, giving up his own line, and throwing himself on that of the enemy. He was, however, a little timid about this movement, until the arrival of Grant;1 but then he pointed out so distinctly how each army lay, what he could do the moment he was authorized, and expressed such confidence of success, that the general-in-chief declared the only instructions Sheridan

1 ‘I was a little timid about this movement until the arrival of General Grant.’—Sheridan's Official Report. Sheridan was never timid afterwards. He learned to confide in himself, and to know his own genius. Grant knew it too, and was never anxious about Sheridan again.

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