on the Valley pike. At Tom's Brook the heads of the opposing columns came in contact and deployed, and after a short but decisive engagement the enemy was defeated, with the loss of all his artillery excepting one piece, and everything else which was carried on wheels. The rout was complete, and was followed up to Mount Jackson, a distance of some twenty-six miles.
On October 10 the army crossed to the north side of Cedar Creek, the Sixth Corps continuing its march to Front Royal. This was the first day's march of this corps to rejoin Lieutenant-General Grant at Petersburg. It was the intention that it should proceed through Manassas Gap to Piedmont, east of the Blue Ridge, to which point the Manassas Gap Railroad had been completed, and from thence to Alexandria by rail; but on my recommendation that it would be much better to march it, as it was in fine condition, through Ashby's Gap and thence to Washington, the former route was abandoned, and on the 12th the corps moved to the Ashby Gap crossing of the Shenandoah River, but, on the same day, in consequence of the advance of the enemy to Fisher's Hill, it was recalled to await the development of the enemy's new intentions. The question now again arose in reference to the advance on Gordonsville, as suggested in the following dispatch:
WASHINGTON, October 12, 1864-12 m.
Lieutenant-General Grant wishes a position take far enough south to serve as a base for further [future*] operations upon Gordonsville and Charlottesville. It must be strongly fortified and provisioned. Some point in the vicinity of Manassas Gap would seem best suited for all purposes. Colonel Alexander, of the Engineers, will be sent to consult with you as soon as you connect with General Augur.
H. W. HALLECK,
This plan I would not indorse; but in order to settle it definitely I was called to Washington by the following telegram:
WASHINGTON, October 13, 1864.
(Through General Augur.)
If you can come here, a consultation on several points is extremely desirable. I propose to visit General Grant, and would like to see you first.
E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
On the evening of the 15th I determined to go, believing that the enemy at Fisher's Hill could not accomplish much, and as I had concluded not to attack him at present I ordered the whole of the cavalry force under General Torbert to accompany me to Front Royal, from whence I intended to push it through Chester Gap to the Virginia Central Railroad at Charlottesville, while I passed through Manassas Gap to Piedmont, thence by rail to Washington. Upon my arrival with the cavalry at Front Royal, on the night of the 16th, I received the following dispatch from General Wright, who was left at Cedar Creek in command of the army:
HEADQUARTERS MIDDLE MILITARY DIVISION, October 16, 1864.
Major General P. H. SHERIDAN,
Commanding Middle Military Division:
GENERAL: I inclose you dispatch which explains itself (see copy following). It the enemy should be strongly re-enforced in cavalry, he might, by turning our right,
*As written by Halleck.