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General Early to General Lee.

New market, October 9, 1864.
General: Rosser, in command of his own brigade and the two brigades of Fitz Lee's division, and Lomax with two brigades of his own cavalry, were ordered to pursue the enemy, to harass him and ascertain his purposes, while I remained here so as to be ready to move east of the Ridge if necessary; and I am sorry to inform you that the enemy, having concentrated his whole cavalry in his rear, attacked them and drove them back this morning from near Fisher's Hill, capturing nine pieces of artillery and eight or ten wagons. Their loss in men is, I understand, slight. I have not heard definitely from Rosser, but he is, I understand, falling back in good order, having rallied his command, which is on what is called Back road, which is west of the pike; but Lomax's command, which was on the pike, came back to this place in confusion. This is very distressing to me, and God knows I have done all in my power to avert the disasters which have befallen this command; but the fact is that the enemy's cavalry is so much superior to ours, both in numbers and equipment, and the country is so favorable to the operations of cavalry, that it is impossible for ours to compete with his. Lomax's cavalry is armed entirely with rifles, and has no sabres, and the consequence is that they can not fight on horseback, and, in this open country, they cannot successfully fight on foot against large bodies of cavalry; besides, the command is and has been demoralized all the time. It would be better if they could all be put into the infantry; but, if that were tried, I am afraid they would all run off.

Sheridan's infantry moved off from Fisher's Hill this morning, and I am satisfied that he does not intend moving this way again, as he burned all the bridges in his rear as he went down, and the question now is what he intends doing—whether he will move across the Ridge, send a part of his force to Grant, or content himself with protecting the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. If he moves across the Ridge, I will move directly across from this place to meet him, and I think I can defeat his infantry and thwart his movements on the east of the mountains. But what shall I do if he sends reinforcements to Grant, or remains in the lower Valley? He has laid waste nearly all of Rockingham and Shenandoah, and I will have to rely on Augusta for my supplies, and they are not abundant there. Sheridan's purpose, under Grant's orders, has been to render the Valley untenable by our troops

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Lomax (3)
U. S. Grant (3)
P. H. Sheridan (2)
Rosser (2)
R. E. Lee (1)
Fitz Lee (1)
J. A. Early (1)
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October 9th, 1864 AD (1)
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