War of the Rebellion: Serial 095 Page 0029 Chapter LVIII. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

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that either could bring on a battle at any time. Defeat to us would lay open to the enemy the States of Maryland and Pennsylvania for long distances before another army could be interposed to check him. Under the circumstances I hesitated about allowing the initiative to be taken. Finally, the use of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which were both obstructed by the enemy, became so indispensable necessary to us, and the importance of relieving Pennsylvania and Maryland from continuously threatened invasion so great, that I determined the risk should be taken. But fearing to telegraph the order for an attack without knowing more than I did of General Sheridan's feeling as to what would be the probable result, I left City Point on the 15th of September to visit him at his headquarters, to decide, after conference with him, what should be done. I met him at Charleston, and he pointed out so distinctly how each army lay, what he could do the moment he was authorized, and expressed such confidence of success that I saw there were but two words of instruction necessary-Go in! For the convenience of forage the teams for supplying the army were kept at Harper's Ferry. i asked him if the cold get out his teams and supplies in time to make an attack on the ensuing Tuesday morning. His reply east that he could before daylight on Monday. He was off promptly to tome, and I may here add that the result was such that I have never since deemed it necessary to visit General Sheridan before giving him orders. Early on the morning of the 19th General Sheridan attacked General Early at the crossing on the Opequon Creek, and after a most sanguinary and bloody battle, lasting until 5 o'clock in the evening, defeated him with heavy loss, carrying his entire position from Opequon Creek to Winchester, capturing several thousand prisoners and five pieces of artillery. The enemy rallied and made a stand in a strong position at Fisher's Hill, where he was attacked and again defeated with heavy loss on the 20th [22nd]. Sheridan pursued him with great energy through Harrisonburg, Staunton, and the gaps of the blue Ridge. After stripping the upper Valey of most of the supplies and provisions for the rebel army, he returned to Strasburg and took position on the north side of Cedar Creek.

Having received considerable re-enforcements, General Early again returned to the Valley, and on the 9th of October his cavalry encountered ours near Strasburg, where the rebels were defeated, with the loss of eleven pieces of artillery and 350 prisoners. On the night of the 18th the enemy crossed the mountains which separate the branches of the Shenandoah, forded the North Fork, and early on the morning of the 19th, under cover of the darkness and the fog, surprised and tuner dour left flank, capturing the batteries which enfiladed our whole line. Our troops fell back with heavy loss and in much confusion, but were finally rallied between Middletown and Newton. At this juncture General Sheridan, who was at Winchester when the battle commenced, arrived on the field, arranged his lines just in time to repulse a heavy attack of the enemy, and immediately assuming the offensive, he attacked in turn with great vigor. The enemy was defeated with great slaughter and the loss of most of his artillery and trains and the trophies he had captured in the morning. The wreck of his army escaped during the night and fled in the direction of Staunton and Lynchburg. Pursuit was made to Mount Jackson. Thus ended this the enemy's last attempt to invade the North via the Shenandoah Valley. I was now enabled to return the Sixth Corps to the Army of the Potomac, and send one division from Sheridan's army to the Army of the James, and another to