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[136] sending some 2,300 up the Valley. He attributes his failure to crush Banks entirely to the misconduct of Ashlby's cavalry, who stopped to pillage our abandoned wagons between Middletown and Newtown, and could not thereafter be brought to the front till too late.1

Jackson, after menacing Harper's Ferry,2 which was held by Gen. Rufus Saxton, called in his detachments and commenced a rapid retreat.3 It was high time. Gen. Shields, whose division had been detached from Banks, and marched over a hundred miles to join McDowell at Fredericksburg, to replace the division of Gen. Franklin--already sent to McClellan — and enable McDowell to move directly on Richmond, was now ordered4 from Washington to postpone this movement, and push 20,000 men rapidly to the Shenandoah, along the line of the Manassas Gap Railroad. Gen. Fremont, who had concentrated his little army at Franklin, Pendleton county, 24 miles north of Monterey, was likewise ordered5 by telegraph from Washington to hasten across the main range of the Alleghanies to Harrisonburg, hardly 50 miles distant, and thus intercept the retreat of Jackson up the valley, and coopcrate with McDowell and Shields to crush him.

There is a direct road from Franklin to Harrisonburg, not absolutely impassable by an army, though it crosses four distinct ranges of steep mountains; but Gen. Fremont's trains were at Moorefield, 40 miles north by east, and to attempt crossing without them was to doom his army to starvation, there being little for man or beast to eat in those wild mountains. He therefore decided to go by Moorefield, which compelled him to go 29 miles farther northeast, to Wardensville, in order to find a practicable route across the mountains. Stripping his army as

1 Speaking of our retreat from Winchester, he says:

The Federal forces, upon falling back into the town, preserved their organization remarkably well. In passing through its streets, however, they were thrown into confusion; and, shortly after debouching into the plain and turnpike to Martinsburg, and after being fired upon by our artillery, they presented the aspect of a mass of disordered fugitives. Never have I seen an opportunity when it was in the power of cavalry to reap a richer harvest of the fruits of victory.

2 May 29.

3 May 30.

4 Gen. McDowell, in his testimony before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, states that Shields's division, 11,000 strong, raising his entire force — not including Franklin's division. already sent to McClellan — to 41,000 men, joined him at or near Fredericksburg either on the 22d or 23d of May, but in want of artillery ammunition: that which they had having just been condemned at Catlett's Station. and the new supply ordered from the Washington arsenal having got aground on the flats of the Potomac and thus been delayed. On Saturday, the 24th the President and Secretary of War came down to confer with him, and found him not yet ready for the contemplated advance on Richmond, but that he would be that afternoon, and that Shields's division could go on Sunday. He [McDowell] added, that he had once before moved on Sunday--alluding to the battle of Bull Run--and had been very much condemned for it all over the country, but that he was ready to do so again. The President therefore suggested that he might get a “good ready,” and start on Monday, which was agreed on. Messrs. Lincoln and Stanton returned to Washington that night, and “had hardly left before a telegram came announcing this raid of Jackson up [down] the Shenandoah Valley.” This was soon followed by an order to send a division up after Jackson. McDowell adds: “I did so, although I replied that it was a crushing blow to us all.” The President ordered another brigade to move up there, and then another brigade, and then another regiment. Two divisions were thus sent before McDowell, whose heart was set on the Richmond movement, followed himself.

5 May 24.

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