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[728] the troops left at Romney resulted, on the 31st of January, in an order from the Secretary of War, sent without consultation, to withdraw Loring from that place.--Jackson obeyed the order, and at --once resigned, on the ground that such interference, by the department at Richmond, with the details of military affairs in the field, could only lead to disaster. After explanations, and upon the urgent request of Governor Letcher and General J. E. Johnston, he withdrew the resignation. Subsequently there was no desire on anybody's part to interfere with him. For the next month Jackson remained quietly at Winchester. General Loring and all his troops that were not Virginians were ordered elsewhere, and in order to induce reenlistments, furloughs were freely granted. The Confederate force was in this way reduced to about four-thousand men, exclusive of militia.

With the 1st of March opened the great campaign of 1862, in Virginia, in which Jackson was to bear so prominent a part. In other sections of the Confederacy fortune favored the Federal cause, and the Union armies were on the full tide of success. On the 8th of February Roanoke Island fell, on the 16th Fort Donelson, on the 26th Nashville, and on the 27th the evacuation of Columbus (Kentucky) was begun. These successes made the Federal administration impatient to push forward operations in Virginia. At the urgent representation of General McClellan, President Lincoln had yielded his favorite plan of campaign — an advance against the Confederate lines at Manassas-and had reluctantly consented to the transfer of the Army of the Potomac to Fort Monroe, and its advance thence on Richmond. Before he would allow McClellan, however, to begin the transfer, the Potomac river, below Washington, must be cleared of Confederate batteries, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad must be recovered and protected, and all the approaches to Washington must be made secure. To fulfil a part of these conditions, Banks' and Lander's commands were ordered forward, and on February 24th General Banks occupied Harper's Ferry. Soon after McClellan began the movements on his other wing that were preparatory to an attack on the Confederate batteries along the Lower Potomac. These indications of activity announced to General Johnston that the time had come for carrying out his plan-already determined upon-of retreating behind the Rappahannock. On the 7th of March he began the withdrawal of his army, and by the 11th all the infantry and artillery east of the Blue ridge had reached the new position.

Jackson, meanwhile, remained at Winchester, watching closely the advance of Banks, and doing what was possible to impede it. General Johnston thus describes the duty assigned to him:

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