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attacking Sheridan, and the whole command executed a rapid retreat to the west bank of the Opequan; but had Sheridan been aware of Anderson's intention, he would doubtless have facilitated, rather than interrupted, his march. As it was, he waited now to be certain that troops had started for Richmond. Indeed, for a fortnight this was the whole policy of Grant; but of course the country could not be apprised of the plan, and failing to understand the delay, became impatient again. On the 8th, the general-in-chief said to Sheridan: If you want to attack Early, you might reinforce largely from Washington. Whilst you are close in front of the enemy, there is no necessity for a large force there. This is not intended to urge an attack, because I believe you will allow no chance to escape which promises success. But Anderson still remained in the Valley, and Sheridan telegraphed: Early's infantry force and mine number about the same. I have not deemed it best to attack him, but ha
e there. This is not intended to urge an attack, because I believe you will allow no chance to escape which promises success. But Anderson still remained in the Valley, and Sheridan telegraphed: Early's infantry force and mine number about the same. I have not deemed it best to attack him, but have watched closely to press him hard, so soon as he commences to detach troops for Richmond. This was the tenor of your despatch to me after I took up the defensive. To this Grant replied, on the 9th: I would not have you make an attack with the advantage against you, but would prefer the course you seem to be pursuing; that is, press closely upon the enemy, and when he moves, follow him up, being ready at all times to pounce upon him, if he detaches any considerable force. Meanwhile, the enemies at home were making the most of the delay and proclaiming Sheridan to be another failure. Not only the loyal people, but the government, were anxious; the continuous threat of invasion was in
had fallen, the Weldon road was carried, and Early's exit from the Valley had been barred, but the end was not yet. A long and tedious prospect still stretched out before the national commander. Hood's army was not destroyed, the rebels were in force in Sheridan's front, and Lee had not abandoned Richmond. Grant looked the situation full in the face, and lost no time in adapting his plans to the actual emergencies. On the 8th of September, Sherman had entered Atlanta in person, and on the 10th, he was instructed: As soon as your men are sufficiently rested, and preparations can be made, it is desirable that another campaign should be commenced. We want to keep the enemy constantly pressed till the close of the war. To Sheridan Grant said: If this war is to last another year, we want the Shenandoah Valley to remain a barren waste; and to Meade: I do not want to give up the Weldon road, if it can be avoided, until we get Richmond. That may be months yet. Accordingly he ordered a
e intention, so far as I can learn, was to send a column direct from Culpeper to the Potomac, and Early to advance at the same time from Martinsburg. This was frustrated by Early being compelled to fall back, and your operations on the north side of the James.—Sheridan to Grant, August, 20. Sheridan had moved from Halltown on the 10th of August, and Early at once fell back as far as Strasburg, to which point he was followed by the national army, both forces arriving at Cedar creek on the 12th. On the 13th, Early retired a few miles further, to Fisher's Hill. Anderson meanwhile had arrived at Culpeper, where he received a despatch from Early, calling for reinforcements. He at once set out with his whole command, and crossing the Blue Ridge at Chester's Gap, arrived on the 15th, at Front Royal, about ten miles east of Strasburg. The road between was held by Sheridan; but Masanutten mountain also intervened, and concealed the presence of Anderson. FitzLee therefore rode across
o far as I can learn, was to send a column direct from Culpeper to the Potomac, and Early to advance at the same time from Martinsburg. This was frustrated by Early being compelled to fall back, and your operations on the north side of the James.—Sheridan to Grant, August, 20. Sheridan had moved from Halltown on the 10th of August, and Early at once fell back as far as Strasburg, to which point he was followed by the national army, both forces arriving at Cedar creek on the 12th. On the 13th, Early retired a few miles further, to Fisher's Hill. Anderson meanwhile had arrived at Culpeper, where he received a despatch from Early, calling for reinforcements. He at once set out with his whole command, and crossing the Blue Ridge at Chester's Gap, arrived on the 15th, at Front Royal, about ten miles east of Strasburg. The road between was held by Sheridan; but Masanutten mountain also intervened, and concealed the presence of Anderson. FitzLee therefore rode across the mountain i
Sheridan had moved from Halltown on the 10th of August, and Early at once fell back as far as Strasburg, to which point he was followed by the national army, both forces arriving at Cedar creek on the 12th. On the 13th, Early retired a few miles further, to Fisher's Hill. Anderson meanwhile had arrived at Culpeper, where he received a despatch from Early, calling for reinforcements. He at once set out with his whole command, and crossing the Blue Ridge at Chester's Gap, arrived on the 15th, at Front Royal, about ten miles east of Strasburg. The road between was held by Sheridan; but Masanutten mountain also intervened, and concealed the presence of Anderson. FitzLee therefore rode across the mountain in person to communicate with Early, and preparations were made for a combined attack on Sheridan. A plan of battle was actually arranged. But Sheridan had been already warned: for Grant's opportune despatch of the 12th had arrived, announcing the addition to the enemy's force
e made for a combined attack on Sheridan. A plan of battle was actually arranged. But Sheridan had been already warned: for Grant's opportune despatch of the 12th had arrived, announcing the addition to the enemy's force; See Vol. II., pp. 507 and 510. The receipt of this despatch was very important to me, as I possibly would have remained in uncertainty as to the character of the force coming in on my flank and rear, until it attacked the cavalry.—Sheridan's Official Report. and on the 17th, when the two rebel columns advanced, the national troops had retired. Sheridan fell back as far as Berryville, and the enemy's forces were united at Winchester, only five miles off. At this time, if ever, the rebels should have pressed Sheridan across the Potomac, or crossing the river themselves, have either compelled him to follow, or forced Grant to despatch still further reinforcements from the James. The strength of Early and Anderson combined was at least equal to that of Sherida
two divisions of infantry and a large force of cavalry, to Martinsburg, twenty-two miles away, to do what damage he could to the railroad, leaving the remainder of his force in front of Winchester. Sheridan at once detected the blunder of his antagonist, and instead of moving to Newtown, as he had intended, determined to attack the enemy in detail, fighting first the two divisions left near Winchester, and then the two that had been moved to Martinsburg. Accordingly, on the afternoon of the 18th, his whole army marched from Berryville towards the Opequan. But at Martinsburg Early learned that Grant had been with Sheridan, and anticipating some movement of importance, he at once set out to return. At Martinsburg . . I learned that Grant was with Sheridan that day, and I expected an early move.—Early's Memoir, page 84. At daylight on the 19th, there was one rebel division immediately in front of Sheridan, and another only five miles to the north, while two, still nearer, were marchi
hting first the two divisions left near Winchester, and then the two that had been moved to Martinsburg. Accordingly, on the afternoon of the 18th, his whole army marched from Berryville towards the Opequan. But at Martinsburg Early learned that Grant had been with Sheridan, and anticipating some movement of importance, he at once set out to return. At Martinsburg . . I learned that Grant was with Sheridan that day, and I expected an early move.—Early's Memoir, page 84. At daylight on the 19th, there was one rebel division immediately in front of Sheridan, and another only five miles to the north, while two, still nearer, were marching rapidly up on the road from Martinsburg. Sheridan was promptly informed of these dispositions of the enemy, and understood that he now must fight the entire command of Early. His plan was to attack the rebels with the Sixth and Nineteenth corps, holding Crook's division in reserve, to be used as a turning column when the crisis of the battle occu
s the Weldon road; I shall endeavor to stay there, and employ the enemy so actively that he cannot detach further. On the 20th, Sheridan reported: I can now calculate on bringing into action about twenty-two thousand or twenty-three thousand infantrback in the night as far as Newtown, and next day to Fisher's Hill, four miles south of Strasburg; and at daylight on the 20th, Sheridan moved rapidly up the Valley in pursuit. Fisher's Hill is immediately south of a little stream called Tumbling r himself that his ammunition boxes were taken from the caissons and placed behind the breastworks. On the evening of the 20th, Sheridan went into position on the heights of Strasburg, and at once determined to use Crook as a turning column again, ae propositions to Jefferson Davis from the North. Grant had returned to City Point on the 19th of September, and on the 20th, at two P. M., he telegraphed to Sheridan: I have just received the news of your great victory, and ordered each of the ar
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