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[733] express found the rear brigade already en route to join us. .The General himself returned forthwith, and after making me a hasty visit, assumed command of the forces in pursuit of the enemy. This pursuit was kept up until they reached Woodstock.

Thus the design of McClellan to post Banks' Corps at Centreville (see letter of March 16th) became impracticable, and that body of over twenty thousand troops was thought necessary to guard against the further movements of Jackson's two thousand, and the imaginary reinforcements with which they supplied him. This battle, too, no doubt decided the question of the detachment of Blenker's Division of ten thousand men from McClellan, and its transfer to Fremont, recently placed in command of the Mountain Department, which embraced West Virginia. While en route from Alexandria to join Fremont, Blenker's Division was to report to Banks, and remain with him as long as he thought any attack from Jackson impending. A few days later the sensitiveness of the Federal Government to the danger of Washington, excited anew by Jackson's movements, led to the detachment of McDowell's Corps. McClellan had left over seventy thousand men for the defense of Washington and its approaches, and yet, after Kernstown, President Lincoln felt so insecure that, on April 3d, he countermanded the order for the embarkation of McDowell's Corps, and detained it in front of Washington, and so deprived McClellan of the finest body of troops in his army. Thus Jackson's bold dash had effected the object of General Johnston in leaving him in the Valley, in a way far more secure than either of them could have expected.

The next month was to Jackson one of comparative inaction. Having slowly retreated to the south bank of the Shenandoah, near Mount Jackson, he spent the next few weeks in resting and recruiting his forces. The militia of the adjoining counties had already been called to the field, but this resource was superseded on the 10th of April by the passage of the Conscription Act. The time for reorganizing the regiments was near at hand. New officers were to be elected. The ranks were filling up under the impetus given to volunteering by the conscription bill. The weather during the first half of April was very raw and cold, and during the whole month was exceedingly rainy. All these causes rendered quiet very acceptable to the Confederates. Nor was the enemy in haste to disturb them. Banks was, on April 4th, placed in independent command of the Department of the Shenandoah, and McDowell of the country between the Blue ridge and the Rappahannock, while Fremont was in command from the Alleghenies westward. These were all made

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