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History of Cambria County, V.2

again a turning-column against his left, as had been done on the 19th at the Opequon. To this end I resolved to move Crook (54th Regiment), unperceived if possible, over to the eastern face of Little North Mountain, whence he could strike the left and rear of the Confederate line, and as he broke it up, I could support him by a left-half wheel of my whole line of battle. The execution of this plan would require perfect secrecy, however, for the enemy from his Signal Station on Three Top could plainly see every movement of our troops in daylight. Hence, to escape such observation, I marched Crook (54th) during the night of the 20th into some heavy timber north of Cedar Creek, where he lay concealed all day of the 21st. * * * In the darkness of the night on the 21st, Crook (54th) was brought into a clump of timber behind Hupp's Hill till daylight of the 22d, when, under cover of the intervening woods and ravines, he was marched beyond the right of the Sixth Corps and again concealed not far from the Back road. After Crook (54th) had got into the last position Rickett's division was pushed out until it confronted the left of the enemy's infantry. * * * While Rickett was occupying the enemy's attention, Crook (54th) again moved unobserved into the dense timber on the eastern face of Little North Mountain and gained the rear of the enemy's works. As Crook emerged from the timber, the enemy discovered him, but it was too late – they having few troops at hand to confront the turning column. Loudly cheering, Crook's (54th Regiment) quickly crossed the broken stretch in rear of the enemy's left, producing confusion and consternation at every step.”

    Sheridan then advanced his line, and Early, leaving nearly all his artillery and other property, fled up the Valley toward Woodstock. All was going well in front, and Sheridan, with Merritt and Wilson (Capt. Blough) to cut off his retreat, expected to capture Early's entire army, but Gen. Torbert, who was in command of the cavalry, made only a feeble effort to carry out his instructions, and thus the plan failed. Sheridan says, “and to this day (1888) I have been unable to account satisfactorily for Torbert's failure.” On the 23d Gen. Sheridan relieved Gen. Averell from his command for his failure to press the routed army. Mr. Lincoln congratulated the army and gave Gen. Sheridan a commission as brigadier general in the United States Army. Sheridan's losses were 509 and Early's about 1,400. (See Letters of Capt. Suter.)

    Miss Rebecca M. Wright, the loyal friend of the Union at Winchester :
    Gen. Sheridan did not have an efficient corps of scouts when

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Created: 25 Mar 2003, Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury, Diann Olsen and contributors