War of the Rebellion: Serial 090 Page 0048 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LV.

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and a half wide at this point, the enemy considered himself secure on reaching it and commenced erecting breast-works across the valley from Fisher's Hill to North Mountain; so secure, in fact, did he consider himself that the ammunition-boxes were taken from the caissons and placed for convenience behind the breast-work. On the evening of September 20 Wright and Emory went into position on the heights of Strasburg, Crook north of Cedar Creek, the cavalry to the right and rear of Wright and Emory, extending to the Back road. This night I resolved to use a turning column again, and that I would move Crook unperceived, if possible, over onto the face of Little North Mountain and let him strike the left and rear of the enemy's line, and then, if successful, make a left half-wheel of the whole line of battle to his support. To do this required much secrecy, as the enemy had a signal station on Three Top Mountain, from which he could see every movement made by our troops; therefore, during the night of the 20th I concealed Crook in the timber north of Cedar Creek, where he remained during the 21st. On the same day I moved Wright and Emory up in the front of the rebell line, getting into proper position after a severe engagement between a portion of Ricketts' and Getty's divisions, of the Sixth Corps, and a strong force for the enemy. Torbert, with Wilson's and Merritt's cavalry, was ordered down the Luray Valley in pursuit of the enemy's cavalry, and after defeating or driving it, to cross over Luray pike to New Market, and intercept the enemy's infantry should I drive it from the position at Fisher's Hill.

On the night of the 21st Crook was moved to, and concentrated in, the timber near Strasburg, and at daylight on the 22d marched to, and massed in, the timber near Little North Mountain. I did not attempt to cover the long front presented by the enemy, but massed the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps opposite the right center of his line. After Crook had gotten into the position last named, I took out Ricketts' division, of the Sixth Corps, and placed it opposite the enemy's left center, and directed Averell with his cavalry to go up on Ricketts' front and right and drive in the enemy's skirmish line, if possible. This was done, and the enemy's signal officer on three Top Mountain, mistaking Ricketts' division for my turning column, so notified the enemy and he made his arrangements accordingly, whilst Crook, without being observed, moved on the side of Little North Mountain and struck the enemy's left and rear so suddenly and unexpectedly that he (the enemy), supposing he must have come across the mountains, broke, Crook, the rout of the enemy being complete. Unfortunately, the cavalry, which I had sent down the Luray Valley to cross over to New Market, was unsuccessful, and only reached so far as Milford, a point at which the Luray Valley contracts to a gorge, and which was taken possession of by the enemy's cavalry in some force. Had General Torbert driven this cavalry or turned the defile and reached New Market, I have no doubt but that we would have captured the entire rebel army. I feel certain that its rout from Fisher's Hill was such that there was scarcely a company organization held together. New Market being at a converging point in the valley they came together again and, to some extent, reorganized. I did not wait to see the results of this victory, but pushed on during the night of the 22d to Woodstock, although the darkness and consequent confusion made the pursuit slow.