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[440] to be at my quarters at two o'clock in the afternoon, to receive their final instructions.

The river makes a circuit to the left in front of the right of the position at Fisher's Hill and around by Strasburg, leaving a considerable body of land between it and the mountain, on which are several farms. Whenever Fisher's Hill had been occupied by us, this bend of the river had been occupied by a portion of our cavalry, to prevent the enemy from turning the right of the position, and it was now occupied by Colonel Payne with his cavalry, numbering about 300. In order to make the contemplated movement, it was necessary to cross the river into this bend, and then pass between the foot of the mountain and the river below Strasburg, where the passage was very narrow, and across the river again below the mouth of Cedar Creek. The enemy's camps and position were visible from a signal station on Round Hill in rear of Fisher's Hill, and had been examined by me from that point, but the distance was too great to see with distinctness. From the station on the mountain, which immediately overlooked the enemy's left, the view was very distinct, but I could not go to that point myself, as the ascent was very rugged, and it required several hours to go and come, and I could not leave my command for that time. I had, therefore, necessarily, to rely on the reports of my officers.

General Gordon and Captain Hotchkiss, on their return, reported the route between the mountain and river, which was a blind path, to be impracticable for infantry, but not for artillery, and a temporary bridge was constructed under Captain Hotchkiss' superintendence, at the first crossing of the river on our right.

The plan of attack on which I determined was to send the three divisions of the 2nd corps, to wit: Gordon's, Ramseur's and Pegram's,under General Gordon, over the route which has been specified to the enemy's rear, to make the attack at five o'clock in the morning, which would be a little before daybreak — to move myself, with

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J. B. Gordon (3)
J. Hotchkiss (2)
Ramseur (1)
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William H. Payne (1)
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