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[211] river was crossed the next day; “and,” says General Banks, in his official report, “there never were more grateful hearts in the same number of men than when, at mid-day on the 26th, we stood on the opposite shore.”

General Banks throughout these two disastrous days behaved with energy and self-possession; and there is nothing disparaging to his military reputation in the fact that he retreated, because he did it in good order against a force three or four times as great as his own, saving all his guns, and losing only fifty-five wagons out of five hundred.

On the part of the enemy it must be admitted that this expedition, as a move upon the great chess-board of war, demands the highest praise. It was admirably planned and skilfully and successfully executed. The loss of men on our side was not great; that of army and medical stores was more considerable; but the indirect, the moral, advantages it secured to the enemy were of infinitely greater moment. To drive General Banks from Strasburg across the, Potomac was in itself a play not worth the candle; but the real object of the expedition was to prevent General McDowell's division from being sent to reinforce General McClellan; and it unfortunately succeeded.

When news of the attack on Colonel Kenley's command at Front Royal, on the 23d, reached General Geary, who was at Rectortown with a force charged with the protection of the Manassas Gap Railroad, he immediately hogan to move to

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