War of the Rebellion: Serial 090 Page 0559 Chapter LV. THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

arrest the progress of the enemy in his present tide of success. All the reserves in the Valley have been ordered to you. Breckinridge will join you or co-operate, as circumstances will permit, with all his force. Rosser left this morning for Burkeville (intersection of Danville and South Rider Railroad), whence he will shape his course as you direct. I have given you all I can; you must use the resources you have so as to gain success. The enemy must be defeated, and I rely upon you to do it. I will endeavor to have shoes, arms, and ammunition supplied you. Set all your officers to work bravely and hopefully, and all will go well. As regards the western cavalry, I think for the present the best thing you can do is to separate it; perhaps there is a lack of confidence between officers and men. If you will attach one brigade to Rosser, making him a division, and one to Fitz Lee's division, under Wickham, Lomax will be able, I hope, to bring out the rest. The men are all good and only require instructions and discipline. The enemy's force cannot be so greatly superior to yours. His effective infantry, I do not think, exceeds 12,000 men. We are obliged to fight against great odds. A kind Providence will yet overrule everything for our good. If Colonel Carter's wound incapacitates him for duty, you must select a good chief of artillery for the present.

Wishing you every prosperity and success, I am, very truly, yours,

R. E. LEE,


NEW MARKET, October 9, 1864.

GENERAL: Rosser, in command of his own brigade and the two brigades of Fitz Lee's division, and Lomax, with two brigades of this own cavalry, were ordered to pursue the enemy, to harass him and ascertain his purposes, while I remained here, so as to be ready to move east of the Ridge if necessary, and I am sorry to inform you that the enemy, having concentrated his whole cavalry in his rear, attached them and drove them back this morning from near Fisher's Hill, capturing nine pieces of horse artillery and eight or ten wagons. Their loss in men is, I understand, slight.

I have not heard definitely from Rosser, but he is, I understand, falling back in good order, having rallied his command, which is on what is called the Back road, which is west of the pike; but Lomax's command, which was on the pike, came back to this place in confusion. This is very distressing to me, and God knows I have done all in my power to avert the disasters which have befallen this command; but the fact is that the enemy's cavalry is so much superior to ours, both in numbers and equipment, and the country is so favorable to the operations of cavalry, that it is impossible for ours to compete with his. Lomax's cavalry are armed entirely with rifles and have no sabers, and the consequence is that they cannot fight on horseback, and in this open country they cannot successfully fight on foot against large bodies of cavalry; besides, the command is and has been demoralized all the time. It would be better if they could all be put into the infantry; but if that were tried I am afraid they would all run off.

Sheridan's infantry moved off from Fisher's Hill this morning, and I am satisfied that he does not intend coming this way again, as he burnt all the bridges in his rear as he went down, and the question now is, what he intends doing-whether he will move across the Ridge, send a part of his force to Grant, or content himself with protecting the Baltimore