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[737] having gathered Abercrombie's and other scattered commands from the country in front of Washington into a new division, to replace those sent to McClellan, now lies at Fredericksburg, impatient to take part in the movement on Richmond. Banks, hearing of Ewell's arrival in the Valley, fears an attack from him and Jackson combined, and retires from Harrisonburg to New Market. Jackson's inaction for some weeks, and now his movement to West Virginia, reassures the Federal administration, and Shields, with more than half of Banks' force, is detached at New Market, and ordered to Fredericksburg to swell McDowell's Corps to over forty thousand men. Banks is left with only some seven thousand men, and falls back to Strasburg, where he fortifies. He assumes a defensive attitude to hold the Lower Valley and to cover the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. These movements of the enemy had nearly disarranged Jackson's plans. Upon the march of Shields toward Fredericksburg, General J. E. Johnston, commanding in chief in Virginia, thought it time to recall Ewell to meet the new danger thus threatened, and the orders reached Ewell while Jackson was yet one day's march short of Harrisonburg. After conference with Ewell, Jackson took the responsibility of detaining him until the condition of affairs could be represented to General Johnston, and, meantime, they united in a vigorous pursuit of Banks.

Ashby has followed close on Banks' heels, and now occupies his outposts with constant skirmishing, while he completely screens Jackson. The latter, having marched rapidly to New Market, as if about to follow the foe to Strasburg, to attack him there, suddenly changes his route, crosses the Massanutten mountains to Luray, where Ewell joins him, and pours down the narrow Page Valley, by forced marches, to Front Royal. This place is about one hundred and twenty miles (by Jackson's route) from Franklin, and the Confederates reached it on May 23d, ten days after leaving Franklin. This village (Front Royal) is held by about one thousand men under Colonel Kenly, of the First Maryland (Federal) regiment, who has in charge the large stores there gathered, and the important railroad bridges on the Shenandoah. This force also covers the flank and rear of Banks' position at Strasburg. Kenly is taken by surprise, makes what resistance he can; is forced across the bridges he vainly attempts to destroy, and flies toward Winchester. Jackson, too impatient to wait for his tried infantry, places himself at the head of a few companies of cavalry and pushes after the foe. He overtakes, attacks, and disperses Kenly's force, and in a few moments four-fifths

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T. J. Jackson (8)
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