Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 18, 1863 (Friday): Early Tracks Averell

General Jubal Early

Lexington, December 18, 1863.
[General J. A. EARLY:]
    GENERAL: I arrived at this place at sunrise this morning after a very hard march on men and horses. Scouts sent to Buchanan confirm Averell's movements, as previously reported, viz, via Roanoke, Red Sulphur, New Castle, and toward Sweet Springs. I shall march, via Covington, to Callaghan's, as I find rom statements of the citizens and guides I can get across all streams. The only way I can see that Averell can escape is in direction of Lewisburg (unless arrangements have been made to stop him by that route), or unless he is delayed by high water. Supposing that he is forced back by either of the two causes, he might return and come up by Buchanan. I have ordered the Corps of Cadets to that point. Had you not better throw a supporting force to this point? Averell has too much start of me to intercept him if he goes toward Lewisburg, unless delayed by high waters. Will do what I can, however.
     Very, respectfully,

     FITZ. LEE, 
     Major-General, Commanding.

    P. S. - Imboden is up, and I have also Colonel Massie's home guards.

    F. L.,

     2 P. M. - Dispatches inclosing slip from Richmond papers just received.
      F. L.,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 52, Part 1, Page 802.

Early was no Stonewall Jackson, but he was a Valley native (Franklin, Virginia) and knew the area well.  Averell had come east into Western Virginia and was to the west of Lexington around Salem.  The terrain was difficult and the weather prohibitive, but the ever combative Early still desired to get at him. 


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