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[741] was about fifteen thousand or sixteen thousand. This dispatch shows, however, that Jackson was, for the time, not only occupying all the troops in and around Washington, together with Fremont's forces, but was completely neutralizing the forty thousand under McDowell, and thus disconcerting McClellan's plans.

But if the skill, celerity, and daring of Jackson are illustrated in his movement against Banks, these qualities shine out far more brilliantly in his retreat from the Potomac, and in his battles at Port Republic. He moved to Harper's Ferry on the 28th of May, and spent the 29th in making demonstrations against the force that had been rapidly gathered there, but which was too strongly posted to be attacked in front. Time did not allow a crossing of the river and an investment of the place. The large bodies of troops which the Federal administration was hastening from every direction to overwhelm him, were already closing in. McDowell, with twenty thousand men, was hurrying toward Front Royal and Strasburg, and Fremont, now awake to the fact that his enemy had pushed him back into the mountains, and then slipped away to destroy his colleague, was moving with his fourteen thousand or fifteen thousand men toward Strasburg. General Saxton had seven thousand Federal troops at Harper's Ferry, and Banks was taking breath with the remnants of his command (some three thousand or four thousand men) at Williamsport, Maryland. Thus, over forty thousand men were gathering to crush Jackson, whose strength was now not over fifteen thousand. On the morning of May 30th he began his retreat by ordering all his troops, except Winder's Brigade and the cavalry, to fall back to Winchester. Nor was he an hour too soon, for before he reached that town McDowell's advance had poured over the Blue ridge, driven out the small guard left at Front Royal, and captured the village.

The condition of affairs when Jackson reached Winchester, on the evening of May 30th, was as follows: The Federals were in possession of Front Royal, which is but twelve miles from Strasburg, while Winchester is eighteen. Fremont was at Wardensville, distant twenty miles from Strasburg, and had telegraphed President Lincoln that he would enter the latter place by five P. M. the next day. The mass of Jackson's forces had marched twenty-five miles to reach Winchester, and his rear guard, under Winder (after skirmishing with the enemy at Harper's Ferry for part of the day), had camped at Halltown, which is over forty miles distant from Strasburg. The next day (Saturday, May 31st) witnessed a race for Strasburg, which was in Jackson's direct line of retreat, but it was

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