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‘ [84] of Early's force here, relying upon his ability to get it back to the Valley before Sheridan could fit up and return. In such case he would fall upon either flank as now exposed, and inflict great damage.’ Again, on the 3rd, he said: ‘A despatch is just received from Sheridan up to the 1st instant. The enemy have entirely left his front and gone to Charlottesville or Gordonsville.1 He cannot reach them there, so that we may now confidently expect the return here of at least Kershaw's division and Rosser's cavalry. It will require very close watching to prevent being surprised by the reinforcement.’ Thus, Early's manoeuvres furnished a reason for levelling or holding the forts on the James; so completely was the campaign in the Valley a part of the operations against Richmond.

But Lee could not yet make up his mind to abandon the important region beyond the Blue Ridge. Early had not absolutely crossed the mountains, but only fled to their western base, and after his defeats at Winchester and Fisher's Hill, Kershaw and Fitz-Lee were ordered to return to him. Kershaw had already reached Culpeper on his way to Richmond, but on the receipt of these orders, he re-crossed the Blue Ridge at Swift's Gap, and came up with the beaten army on the 25th of September, at Brown's Gap, where Lomax and Fitz-Lee had arrived the day before. Rosser's brigade

1 ‘Early was driven out of the Valley, and only saved himself by getting through Brown's Gap in the night, and has probably taken position at Charlottesville, and will probably fortify, holding Waynesboroa and Rockfish Gap.’—Sheridan to Halleck, Oct. 1. This information afterwards proved incorrect, but it was the foundation for the despatch quoted in the text.

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