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Chapter 13: Review of military conditions, Spring of 1862. In the spring of 1862 the Federal and Confederate armies in northeastern Virginia held nearly the same relative positions as in the early autumn of 1861. The former had, February 7th, again occupied the line of the South branch of the Potomac, which Jackson, by order, had abandoned, and Gen. Edward Johnson, after his victory of December 1 3, 1861, on Alleghany mountain, had fallen back to Shenandoah mountain; but the Confederate army of Northern Virginia still had its center, in command of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, on the field of its victory at Manassas, while its right rested at Fredericksburg, in command of General Holmes, and Jackson held its left in the lower Shenandoah valley. Practically its pickets patroled the Potomac from Chesapeake bay up to within the mountains. Not satisfied with a condition of military affairs that still held north of the Potomac the great army—on its rolls, March 1, 1862, 222,00
e day that had, of necessity incurred from bad roads, been taken for a march, Jackson was ready to move against the enemy on the morning of the 7th. During the afternoon of the previous day Johnson marched his brigade from his camps at West View, through Buffalo gap and up the eastern slope of Big North mountain, and at dusk rested his advance, in bivouac, in Dry Branch gap or Notch, of that mountain, 15 miles west of Staunton. Milroy's advance was encamped near the eastern foot of Shenandoah mountain, across the Big Calf Pasture valley, in sight of Johnson's pickets. Jackson's engineers had previously conferred with Johnson, after a reconnoissance of the Federal advance, and it had been agreed that Johnson should send a flanking party, by a detour to the left, in advance of his front attack, to fall upon the rear of Milroy's camp. Learning from his spies that a junction had been made between the forces of Jackson and Johnson, Milroy ordered his detachments to concentrate at Mc