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We would call the line of retreat of A parallel to the frontier, or the Potomac, an accidental line of operation; and this retreat should be considered a fine strategical movement, as A, although retreating, prevents B gaining any ground on Union territory, and increases the distance between it and the great Northern capitals, centers of industry and wealth which would have been endangered if it had effected a retreat to the North.
（Frederick, in 1757, and Soult, in 1814, executed similar retreats.)
A might, perhaps, have done even better in retreating from Manassas to Winchester, instead of to Washington, if such a course was possible, after the first engagements, forcing it to the retreat, as by such a step it prevents B, at the very outset, from acting against the capital, or dividing it from the North; it remains longer on the enemy's territory, and forces the Army B to follow it in the direction of Winchester; but, on the other hand, it is a