advanced, and my troops fell back, thinking they were flanked. The enemy's immense superiority in cavalry and the inefficiency of the greater part of mine has been the cause of all my disasters. In the affair at Fisher's Hill the cavalry gave way, but it was flanked. This could have been remedied if the troops had remained steady, but a panic seized them at the idea of being flanked, and without being defeated they broke, many of them fleeing shamefully. The artillery was not captured by the enemy, but abandoned by the infantry.
My troops are very much shattered, the men very much exhausted, and many of them without shoes.
When Kershaw arrives I shall do the best I can, and hope I may be able to check the enemy, but I cannot but be apprehensive of the result. I am informed that all the reserves have [been] called from the Valley. I think Sheridan means to try Hunter's campaign again, and his superiority in cavalry gives him immense advantage. If you could possibly spare Hampton's division it ought to be sent here at once.
I deeply regret the present state of things, and I assure [you] everything in my power has been done to avert it. The enemy's force is very much larger than mine, being three or four to one.
J. A. EARLY,
[General R. E. LEE.]
HEADQUARTERS, September 27, 1864.
Respectfully submitted for information of the Secretary of War, with copy of my reply.
The reserve from the Valley, if called away, should be returned to him if practicable, and everything done to strengthen him. Please see if the shoes, arms, and ammunition he may require be supplied him.
R. E. LEE,
Petersburg, September 27, 1864.
General J. A. EARLY,
GENERAL: Your letter of the 25th is received. I very much regret the reverses that have occurred to the army in the Valley, but trust they can be remedied. The arrival of Kershaw will add greatly to your strength, and I have such confidence in the men and officers that I am sure all will unite in the defense of the country. It will require that every one should exert all his energies and strength to meet the emergency. One victory will put all things right. You must do all in your power to invigorate your army. Get back all absentees; maneuver so, if you can, as to keep the enemy in check until you can strike him with all your strength. As far as I can judge, at this distance, you have operated more with divisions that with your concentrated strength. Circumstances may have rendered it necessary, but such a course is to be avoided if possible. It will require the greatest watchfulness, the greatest promptness, and the most untiring energy on your part to