IN THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY (Continued)--GENERAL EARLY MAKES A RECONNOISSANCE IN FORCE--THE INFANTRY EXCHANGES PLEASANTRIES WITH THE CAVALRY--LOST ON A BLEAK PLATEAU --A FRAGRANT BREATH AND TWO CANTEENS--A WEIRD SCENE.
"See you the foeman's banner waving?"
"We see the foeman's banner waving."
"Hark to the music--the trumpet and fife,
How they ring through the ranks which they rouse to the strife!"
FROM Front Royal we moved on down the valley, looking for Sheridan, whom we found about five miles south of Winchester. On the night of November 11, 1864, our bivouac fires illumined a line of battle, and three miles distant was a long line of glowing fires, indicating that "Cavalry Sheridan" was ready and willing to fight us on the morrow. Early's army had marched down the valley with "glad and gallant tread," seemingly eager to recover the laurels it had won and lost at Cedar Creek, October 19th.
The bands played inspiring melodies, and the veterans of many battlefields sang, jested and laughed, apparently without a thought of the probable horrors of a great battle on the morrow. Their hearts were filled with "banquet song and dance and wine," oblivious of the morrow's tear, the groan, the knell, the pall, the bier. Here and there, however, was a group of Kentucky cavalrymen speculating upon "coming events," and grimly discussing the probability of measuring lances with the "gallant yellow-haired Custer," who was known to be with the Federal cavalry in front.
When Tom Hayden's bugle sounded the reveille on the morning of November 12th, our division ( Lomax's) was on the extreme right of the army. An occasional volley was heard toward the front, and as usual "camp rumors" were numerous. Some said that Sheridan had fallen back beyond Winchester, and that Early's infantry skirmishers were already advancing; others said that Sheridan was moving