The fall of Atlanta in early September, 1864 sent shockwaves through the Northern states. Sitting at his headquarters at City Point on the James River outside Petersburg, Virginia, Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, hoped that his subordinate in the Shenandoah Valley, Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan, would launch an offensive and capitalize on the Union success. For the better part of a month, Sheridan had marched his command up and down the Valley, having nothing to show for his maneuvers except an indecisive skirmish at Charlestown. For two weeks, Grant waited for Sheridan to take the offensive and deal a blow to Lieut. Gen. Jubal Early’s Army of the Valley. When none came, Grant decided to pay Sheridan a visit.
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