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‘ [90] I propose to visit General Grant, and would like to see you first.’

On the evening of the 15th, accordingly, Sheridan set out for the capital. There seemed no prospect of an immediate movement of the enemy, and the entire cavalry force accompanied him as far as Front Royal; for, like a good soldier, he intended to push Torbert through Chester Gap as far as Charlottesville, in accordance with Grant's views, although he disagreed with them. On the night of the 16th, he arrived at Front Royal, but there received a despatch from Wright, who had been left at Cedar Creek, in command of the army. A message to Early had been intercepted; it was in these words: ‘Be ready to move as soon as my forces join you, and we will crush Sheridan. —Longstreet.’ This information was contrary to any possessed by either Grant or Sheridan. Longstreet was believed to be at Richmond, and no rebel force existed either in or near the Valley, except that which Early himself commanded. The despatch had been taken from a rebel signal station, and was probably incorrectly rendered; but it served to warn Sheridan, who at once abandoned the cavalry raid, and ordered Torbert to return to Wright at Cedar Creek.

This was on Sunday, the 16th of October. Wright had announced: ‘If the enemy should be strongly reinforced in cavalry, he might, by turning our right, give us a great deal of trouble. I shall hold on here until the enemy's movements are developed, and shall only fear an attack on my right, which I shall make every preparation for guarding against and resisting.’

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