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[214] impossibility; next, that I am entirely beyond helping-distance of General Banks, and no celerity or vigor will be available as far as he is concerned; next, that by a glance at the map it will be seen that the line of retreat of the enemy's forces up the valley is shorter than mine to go against him. It will take a week or ten days for the force to get to the valley by the route which will give it food and forage, and by that time the enemy will have retreated. I shall gain nothing for you there, and lose much for you here. It is, therefore, not only on personal grounds that I have a heavy heart in the matter, but I feel that it throws us all back, and from Richmond north we shall have all our large mass paralyzed, and shall have to repeat what we have just accomplished.


It will be observed that on the 24th of May the President directed General McDowell to march to the Shenandoah, to cut off the retreating division of Jackson, and that on the next day the Secretary of War telegraphed the Governor of Massachusetts that the “enemy, in great force,” meaning of course Jackson's command, were marching on Washington. This difference of opinion between two high functionaries as to an enemy's movements is rather a curious fact, and only to be explained on the ground that they were acting independently and without consultation or conference.

What generous mind will refuse to sympathize with General McDowell's suffering and sadness of spirit in obeying an order which he perceives to be most unwise at the very moment he prepares to execute it!

The silent and incommunicative Jackson — a man

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