and before the cabinet, I did not exaggerate the difficulties of marching in that region. The sufferings and sickness that would be produced can hardly be exaggerated.These passages, written after the “falling back” of the army had been authorized in the consultation, indicate a strong disposition on my part to postpone it, on account of the difficulties and hardships of marching at that season. They proved, too, that the President was reminded of these difficulties when we were discussing the measure in his office, with his cabinet. After it had become evident that the Valley was to be invaded by an army too strong to be encountered by Jackson's division, that officer was instructed to endeavor to employ the invaders in the Valley, but without exposing himself to the danger of defeat, by keeping so near the enemy as to prevent him from making any considerable detachment to reenforce McClellan, but not so near that he might be compelled to fight. Under these instructions, when General Banks, approaching with a Federal force greatly superior to his own, was within four miles of Winchester, General Jackson1 fell back slowly before him to Strasburg — marching that distance, of eighteen miles, in two days. After remaining there undisturbed until the 16th, finding that the Federal army was again advancing, he fell back to Mount Jackson, twenty-four miles, his adversary halting at Strasburg. General Jackson's report, showing these relative
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1 March 12th.
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