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[209] and vigilant an officer as Jackson was in the valley; but it was all to no purpose. It is a mistake to suppose that General Jackson had been planning and executing movements of his own, and upon his own responsibility, all this time: he had been under the control of the commander-in-chief at Richmond, and all his marches and battles had reference to one sole object,--the defence of that city. The Confederate authorities knew how important it was for General McClellan that he should be reinforced by General McDowell, and they also knew that it was an apprehension for the safety of Washington that had thus far prevented the junction; and they, of course, reasoned that by keeping up and increasing this alarm they might postpone indefinitely a combination of forces which would be fatal to them. The time had come, now that General Banks was left so exposed, when a decisive blow might be struck towards the end; and the opportunity, was not neglected.

After the battle at McDowell. General Jackson had contrived to conceal his movements from the observation of our forces. General Banks, as has been said, was at Strasburg. At Front Royal, twelve miles in advance, Colonel Kenley was stationed, with a Maryland regiment and a few companies,--about twelve hundred in all, rank and file. On Friday, the 23d, at noon, this little handful of men was suddenly and unexpectedly assailed by General Jackson at the head of a force at least ten times as large as its own. Though taken by surprise, and with such immense odds against him,

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