Confederate Gen. Joseph Kershaw’s infantry division and Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry, under overall command of Gen. Richard Anderson (Army of Northern Virginia, I Corps) were sent from Petersburg to reinforce Jubal Early’s army in the Valley.
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At Front Royal on the August 16, Union cavalry of Gen. Wesley Merritt’s division surprised the Confederate columns in mid-stream of the Shenandoah River, capturing about 300. The Confederates rallied and advanced, gradually driving the two Union brigades back to Cedarville. After dark, Merritt withdrew to Ninevah.