General Pegram, and myself rode down the Back road Lebanon Church, then back by the Middle road. A few Yanks had been there and left. Pleasant. Made and sent Rosser a map of country.
Monday, October 17.-The troops were marched out a mile or so in front of Tumbling Run in the a.m., as Rosser's brigade of cavalry, with Grimes' brigade of infantry behind it, went yesterday to surprise a Yankee camp near Petticoat Gap, and was to come back this a.m. The Yankee camp had moved, but they captured a picket of 50 men. He went by Snarr's Store and back of North Mountain. Ramseur held the left of the line on the Back road, Pegram advanced on the Middle road, Kershaw to the right of the Middle road, Gordon on the ridge west of the pike, and Wharton held the right. General Pegram reconnoitered some in his front toward Cedar Creek in the p.m., and General Gordon, General Evans, and myself, by direction of General Early, went to the end of Three Top Mountain and examined the position of the enemy around Belle Grove with reference to an attack. I made a map of the position, and General Gordon and myself fixed upon a plan of attack to suggest to General Early, which we discussed fully as we came back. General Gordon was to propose it to General Early. We had an arduous journey, and it was after dark when we got back. I supped with General Gordon. Reported the state of things to General Early when I got back. A fine day.
Tuesday, October 18.-General Pegram came up to report to General Early, urging a movement by the line he had examined. I told him General Gordon had a plan to propose, and stated the substance of it to General Early and showed him the map, as I did not with his judgment to be forestalled by General Pegram. Soon all the division commanders, Generals Gordon, Pegram, Ramseur, Wharton, Rosser, and Kershaw, and Colonel Carter, of the artillery, and Payne, of the cavalry, came, and there was a conference at headquarters at Round Hill. General Early decided to go by the route recommended by General Gordon and myself, and decided on a plan of attack to which all agreed. General Gordon, in command of the Second Corps (Gordon's, Ramseur's, and Pegrams' divisions), was to cross the river at Fisher's Hill and go round the end of the mountain and cross again at Bowman's Ford, turn the enemy's left and press on the pike to his rear. Kershaw was to go through Strasburg, to got Bowman's Mill near the mouth of Cedar Creek, and cross and advance over the front of the enemy's line of breast-works. Wharton, followed by the artillery, was to go along the turnpike to Hupp's Hill and cross after the others and press up the pike. Rosser was to cross Cedar Creek at Mohamy's Mill and engage the Yankee cavalry. Payne was to precede Gordon and try to capture Sheridan at Belle Grove. This plan having been decided on, Generals Gordon, Ramseur, and myself went to examine the route around the mountain, going almost to Water Lick. General Pegram went to the top of the mountain. We selected a route; got back late in the p.m., when I took the pioneers of Rodes' division and went over the route and made bridges and cut out trees, &c. Got back after dark, expecting to meet the column, but found the generals waiting for General Pegram, who had gone to General Early to report some new works that he thought he had discovered from the mountain on the enemy's left, and he rather opposed the movement, but General Early held firm; said he saw no occasion to change his plans, and General Gordon started at 8 p.m. We slept until midnight, then started along the turnpike, Kershaw and Wharton having gone