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[208] was on the Rappahannock, and General Wool was at Fortress Monroe. During the preceding autumn and winter the Confederate General Jackson had been at or near Winchester with a body of raw troops, which he had been engaged in drilling and disciplining. The campaign opened in the valley early in March. On the 23d of that month a battle was fought near Winchester between General Shields and General Jackson, in which the latter was defeated. This battle, by revealing the presence of a considerable force of the enemy in that region, was probably the reason why McDowell's corps was not sent to the Peninsula with McClellan. After the battle of Winchester, Jackson had retreated up the valley to Harrisonburg, and then struck off to the west. On the 8th of May, he fought a battle of not very decisive results with the Federal forces under Milroy and Schenck, at a place called McDowell, near Bull Pasture Mountain. From this point he marched to Harrisonburg, thence to New Market, where a junction was effected with Ewell's division, which had come from Elk Run Valley. Their united forces amounted. to at least fifteen thousand men.

About the middle of May, an order was issued from the War Department at Washington for General Shields to move with his command from the Valley of the Shenandoah and join General McDowell at Fredericksburg. This left General Banks with only five or six thousand men at Strasburg. The Government was warned of the danger of leaving him with so small a force when so active

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