Reminiscences of the Civil War

By John B. Gordon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXVI
THE LAST WINTN OF THE WAR

Frequent skirmishes follow Cedar Creek -- Niether commander anxious for a general engagement -- Desolation in the Valley -- A fated family -- Transferred to Petersburg -- A gloomy Christmas -- All troops on reduced rations -- Summoned to Lee'sji headquarters -- Consideration of the dire straits of the army -- Three possible courses.

THE Cedar Creek catastrophe did not wholly dispirit Early's army nor greatly increase the aggressive energy of Sheridan's. It was the last of the great conflicts in the historic Valley which for four years had been torn and blood-stained by almost incessant battle. Following on Cedar Creek were frequent skirmishes, some sharp tilts with Sheridan's cavalry, a number of captures and losses of guns and wagons by both sides, and an amount of marching -- often twenty to twenty-five miles a day -- that sorely taxed the bruised and poorly shod feet of the still cheerful Confederates. On November 16th Captain Hotchkiss made this memorandum in his Journal: "Sent a document to Colonel Boteler showing that to this date we had marched, since the opening of the campaign, sixteen hundred and seventy miles, and had seventy-five battles and skirmishes." All of the encounters which followed Cedar Creek, however, would not have equalled in casualties a second-rate battle; but they served to emphasize the fact that neither commander was disposed to bring the other to a general

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