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[93] turned his attention to the opposite flank, where Sheridan had directed Wright to close in on Powell. But Powell was at the junction of the South Fork with the Shenandoah river, seven miles at least from the left of the national command. Early had a signal station on Masanutten mountain from which he ascertained exactly the situation of the national camps. The cavalry was on the right, Crook had the left, while the Sixth and Nineteenth corps, under Getty and Emory, lay between. To turn the left of Wright's command the rebels must first cross the North Fork near Fisher's Hill, then move by a rugged pathway between the base of the mountain and the stream, and finally re-cross the river at a ford below the mouth of Cedar Creek. The road at the foot of the mountain was impracticable for artillery; but Torbert's cavalry was massed on the opposite flank, and Rosser's reconnoissance had attracted attention to that quarter, so that it was closely picketed. Early, therefore, determined to attack the national left.

Accordingly, on the night of the 18th of October, he sent three divisions of infantry across the North Fork and around the mountain, under command of Gordon, one of the ablest of the rebel generals; while with Kershaw and Wharton he himself marched direct through Strasburg. The plan was for Gordon to move around in the national rear, Kershaw to attack the left flank, and Wharton to advance in front with the artillery, which would open on Wright as soon as he turned upon Gordon and Kershaw. Rosser was sent to the national right, to occupy the cavalry, and Lomax (who had been pushed down the Luray Valley) was ordered to

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