Guerrillas hovered on his flanks, but did no damage, and no effort was made to molest them.
There was some fighting on the third day between Harrisonburg
and Mount Crawford
, where the enemy attempted to burn a bridge in his front, over the middle fork of the Shenandoah
; but two of Sheridan
's regiments swam the river above the bridge, and drove the opposing force to Kline's mills, about seven miles from Staunton
Early, with about three thousand men, was at Staunton
, and, as Sheridan
approached, the rebel general made a rapid retreat to Waynesboro
, whereupon Sheridan
He had now to determine whether to move on Lynchburg
, leaving Early
in his rear, or to go out and fight him, opening Rockfish Gap, and then pass through the Blue Ridge
and destroy the railroads and canal.
His instincts were always pugnacious, and he chose the latter course.
The rain had been pouring for two days, the roads were bad beyond description, and horses and men could hardly be recognized through the mud that covered them; but Custer
was ordered to take up the pursuit, followed closely by Devin
Early was found at Waynesboro
in a well-chosen position, behind breastworks, with two brigades of infantry and a force of cavalry under Rosser
, without waiting to make a reconnoissance, and thus allow the enemy to get up his courage by delay, disposed his troops at once for the attack, sending three regiments around the rebel left, which was somewhat exposed, for, instead of resting on the river in the enemy's rear, it was advanced from the stream.
Then, in person, with the other two brigades, partly mounted and partly dismounted, he