In September, the commander in Washington had the satisfaction of hearing that his old assailant Early had been sent "whirling through Winchester" by the fierce advance of Sheridan. Lincoln recognised the possibility that Early might refuse to stay defeated and might make use, as had so often before been done by Confederate commanders in the Valley, of the short interior line to secure reinforcements from Richmond and to make a fresh attack. On the 29th of September, twenty days before this attack came off, Lincoln writes to Grant: "Lee may be planning to reinforce Early. Care should be taken to trace any movement of troops westward." On the 19th of October, the persistent old fighter Early, not willing to acknowledge himself beaten and understanding that he had to do with an army that for the moment did not have the advantage of Sheridan's leadership, made his plucky, and for the time successful, fight at Cedar Creek. The arrival of Sheridan at the critical hour in the afternoon of the 19th of October did not, as has sometimes been stated, check the retreat of a demoralised army. Sheridan found his army driven back, to be sure, from its first position, but in occupation of a well supported line across the pike from which had just been thrown back the last attack made by Early's advance. It was Sheridan however who decided not only that the battle which had been lost could be regained, but that the work could be done to best advantage right away on that day, and it was Sheridan who led his troops through the too short hours of the October afternoon back to their original position from which before dark they were able to push Early's fatigued fighters across Cedar Creek southward. Lincoln had found another man who could fight. He was beginning to be able to put trust in leaders who, instead of having to be replaced, were with each campaign gathering fresh experience and more effective capacity.
Mr. Snowman looked up from his catalog. "Why is that?"
'God bless you, Trot! My own boy never could be dearer. I think of poor dear Baby this morning.' 'So do I. And of all I owe to you, dear aunt.'
With this last repetition of the magic word that had kept him going at all, and in which he surpassed all his previous efforts, Mr. Micawber rushed out of the house; leaving us in a state of excitement, hope, and wonder, that reduced us to a condition little better than his own. But even then his passion for writing letters was too strong to be resisted; for while we were yet in the height of our excitement, hope, and wonder, the following pastoral note was brought to me from a neighbouring tavern, at which he had called to write it: -
`At the same time,' continued General G., himself smiling thinly at the pleasure he had caused, `we continue to forge everywhere stealthily ahead-revolution in Morocco, arms to Egypt, friendship with Yugoslavia, trouble in Cyprus, riots in Turkey, strikes in England, great political gains in France-there is no front in the world on which we are not quietly advancing.'
Then he spoke. "That's all, Drax," he said quietly, and sat slowly back in his chair.
Bond's feet settled into the trigger pedals and now he had the helicopter in the centre of the grid. "Steady," he said quietly.