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[108] and he was utterly unable to control his troops in an emergency. Again and again he tells of his ineffectual efforts to restrain or rally his broken forces; he might as well have spoken to the wind. Neither officers nor men responded. He was out of accord with his army.

This was the judgment of his superiors; and after one more defeat, of no great consequence, the command of the rebel force in the Valley was transferred to Echols. ‘I have reluctantly arrived at the conclusion,’ said Lee, ‘that you cannot command the united and willing co-operation which is so essential to success. Your reverses in the Valley, of which the public and the army judge chiefly by results, have, I fear, impaired your influence both with the people and the soldiers, and would add greatly to the difficulties which will, under any circumstances, attend our operations in South-West Virginia. . . I therefore felt constrained to endeavor to find a commander who would be more likely to develop the strength and resources of the country, and inspire the soldiers with confidence’ Thus the military career of Early ended in a disgrace inflicted, not by his enemies, but by his friends. To the brave old soldier the blows of Sheridan were probably no harder to bear than the censures of Lee.

The rebels and their apologists have never ceased to complain of the policy, inaugurated by Grant, and carried out to its full extent by Sheridan, of destroying the resources of the Valley. During the first years of the rebellion an opposite course had been pursued. The war was strictly confined to the armies in the field, and the national soldiers

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P. H. Sheridan (2)
Robert E. Lee (2)
Butler Grant (1)
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J. A. Early (1)
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