War of the Rebellion: Serial 090 Page 0052 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LV.

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give us a great deal of trouble. I shall hold on here until the enemy's movements are developed, and shall only fear an attack on my right, which I shall make every preparation for guarding against and resisting.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT,

Major-General, Commanding.

Lieutenant-General EARLY:

Be ready to move as soon as my forces join you and we will crush Sheridan.

LONGSTREET,

Lieutenant-General.

This message was taken off the rebel signal flag on Three Top Mountain. My first thought was that it was a ruse, but on reflection deemed it best to abandon the cavalry raid and give to General Wright the entire strength of the army. I therefore ordered the cavalry to return and report to him, and addressed the following note on the subject:

HEADQUARTERS MIDDLE MILITARY DIVISION, Front Royal, October 16, 1864.

Major General H. G. WRIGHT,

Commanding Sixth Army Corps:

GENERAL: The cavalry is all ordered back to you; make your position strong. If Longstreet's dispatch is true, he is under the impression that we have largely detached. I will go over to Augur, and may get additional news. Close in Colonel Powell, who will be at this point. If the enemy should make an advance I know you will defeat him. Look well to your ground and he well prepared. Get up everything that can be spared. I will bring up all I can, and will be up on Tuesday, if not sooner.

P. H. SHERIDAN,

Major-General.

After sending this note I continued through Manassas Gap and on to Piedmont, and from thence by rail to Washington, arriving on the morning of the 17th. At 12 m. I returned by special train to Martinsburg, arriving on the evening of the 18th at Winchester, in company with Colonels Thom and Alexander, of the Engineer Corps, sent with me by General Halleck. During my absence the enemy had gathered all his strength, and, in the night of the 18th and early on the 19th, moved silently from Fisher's Hill, through Strasburg, pushed a heavy turning column across the Shenandoah, on the road from Strasburg to Front Royal, and again recrossed the river at Bowman's Ford, striking Crook, who held the left of our line, in flank and rear, so unexpectedly and forcibly as to drive in his outposts, invade his camp, and turn his position. This surprise was owing, probably, to not closing in Powell, or that the cavalry divisions of Merritt and Custer were placed on the right of our line, where it had always occurred to me there was but little danger of attack. This was followed by a direct attack upon our front, and the result was that the whole army was driven back in confusion to a point about one mile and a half north of Middletown, a very large portion of the infantry not even preserving a company organization. At about 7 o'clock on the morning of the 19th of October an officer on picket at Winchester reported artillery firing, but, supposing it resulted from a reconnaissance which had been ordered for this morning, I paid no attention to it, and was unconscious of the true condition of affairs until about 9 o'clock, when, having ridden through the town of Winchester, the sound of the artillery made a battle unmistakable, and on reaching Mill Creek, half a mile south of Winchester, the head of the fugitives appeared in sight, trains and men coming to the rear with appalling rapidity. I immediately gave directions to halt and park the