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[115] strongly posted behind a high and solid stone wall, crossing a hill, where a desperate stand was made by Jackson's famous “Stonewall brigade,” and others, whose fire was for a few minutes rapid and deadly; but their position was soon flanked and carried by our eager, determined advance, and they retreated in disorder, leaving 2 guns, 4 caissons, and many small arms. Night now fell, and saved them, doubtless, from a heavier loss. Our men secured their prisoners, cared for their wounded — those of the Rebels leaving mostly been carried off by them prior to their retreat — and sank down to rest on the battle-field. The Rebels retreated a few miles, rapidly but in good order, ere they, too, rested for the night.

Jackson attributes his defeat in part to Gen. R. B. Garnett's error of judgment in repeatedly ordering his men to retreat, when he should have held on and fought. It seems clear, however, that the capital mistake was his own in fighting at all, when his total force, according to his own estimate, was less than 5,000 men, and lie estimates our infantry on the field at over 11,000. He makes his loss 80 killed, 342 wounded, and 269 missing, mainly prisoners; total, 691; while Shields claims 300 prisoners, and estimates the Rebel loss in killed and wounded at 1,000 to 1,500.1 Our own loss in this engagement was 103 killed, including Col. Murray, of the 84th Pennsylvania; 441 wounded, and 24 missing.

Gen. Shields, well aware that heavy reenforcements for Jackson were at hand, immediately sent an express after Williams's division — by this time well on its way to Harper's Ferry — desiring its immediate return; but Gen. Banks, hearing of the battle by telegraph from Winchester, had already stopped at Harper's Ferry and anticipated this order; himself rejoining Shields early next day, and resuming command. He pursued Jackson vigorously up the Valley to Woodstock, but was unable to bring him to bay.

We have seen that Gen. McClellan's council of corps commanders decided, on the 13th of March, to abandon his original plan of debarking at Urbana, on the Rappahannock, and advancing thence on Richmond by West Point, at the head of York river, making this a secondary base. This most unfortunate decision is rendered unaccountable by a destructive if not disastrous naval collision which had just occurred in Hampton Roads, and of which the results were well known to the council.

Of our naval officers' most calamitous, cowardly, disgraceful desertion of and flight from the Norfolk Navy Yard and Arsenal at the beginning of the struggle, the revolting particulars have already been given.2 Among the vessels there abandoned to the Rebels, after being fired, was the first-class 40-gun steam-frigate Merrimac, which, by Capt. McCauley's orders, had been scuttled and partly sunk, so that only her rigging

1 Shields's official report says:

The enemy's loss is more difficult to ascertain than our own. Two hundred and seventy were found dead on the battle-field; 40 were buried by the inhabitants of the adjacent village; and, by a calculation made by the number of graves found on both sides of the Valley road between here and Strasburg, their loss in killed must have been about 500, and in wounded 1,000.

2 See Vol. I., p. 473-7.

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