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movements to dislodge the enemy from his stronghold, capture his forces, and then march his victorious army into the heart of northwestern Virginia, releasing the people there from the fetters with which, for two months, they had been bound. The prospect of such a conquest of the enemy was eminently pleasant. Rosecrans* was the ranking officer in northwestern Virginia, but Gen. Reynolds was in command of the troops on Cheat Mountain and in its vicinity, his force being estimated at from ten to twelve thousand men.
Gen. Lee felt his way cautiously along the road leading from Huntersville to Huttonsville, in the county of Randolph, and reaching Valley Mountain, he halted for some time, arranging his plans for attacking the enemy, who were about eight miles below him, in Randolph county, at Crouch's, in Tygart's Valley River, five or six thousand strong. His plans were arranged so as to divide his forces for the purpose of surrounding the enemy. After great labor and the endurance of severe hardships on the mountain spurs, where the weather was very cold, he succeeded in getting below the enemy, on Tygart's Valley River, placing other portions of his forces on the spurs of the mountain immediately east and west of the enemy, and marching another portion of his troops down the Valley River close to the enemy. The forces were thus arranged in position for making an attack upon the enemy at Crouch's, and remained there for some hours. It was doubtless in the plan of Gen. Lee for his forces to remain in position until the consummation of another part of his plan, viz. that some fifteen hundred of Gen. H. R. Jackson's forces stationed at Greenbrier
* Gen. Rosecrans is of German descent, a native of Ohio, and a graduate of West Point. He had devoted much study to chemistry and geology, and resided some time in Charleston, Kanawha, prosecuting some researches into the mineral riches of that region. He was also employed in some capacity for a time by some of the coal companies or some of the coal-oil manufacturers there. His last enterprise, previous to the war, was the establishment of an oil manufactory in Cincinnati. In this he failed pecuniarily. The war was a timely event to him, and his military education gave him a claim to consideration. In the South, he was esteemed as one of the best generals the North had in the field; he was declared by military critics, who could not be suspected of partiality, to have clearly out-generalled Lee in western Virginia, who made it the entire object of his campaign to "surround" the Dutch general; and his popular manners and amiable deportment towards our prisoners, on more than one occasion, procured him the respect of his enemy.