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[16] Ewell's arrival in the Valley, fears an attack from him and Jackson combined, and retires from Harrisonburg to New Market.

Jackson's inaction for some weeks, and now his movement to West Virginia, reassures the Federal Administration, and Shields, with more than half of Banks' force, is detached at New Market, and ordered to Fredericksburg to swell McDowell's corps to over 40,000 men.1 Banks is left with only some 7,000 or 8,000, and falls back to Strasburg, which he fortifies.2 He assumes a defensive attitude, to hold the lower Valley, and to cover the Baltimore and Ohio railroad.

These movements of the enemy, which had taken place while Jackson was after Milroy, had nearly disarranged Jackson's plans. Upon the march of Shields towards Fredericksburg, General J. E. Johnston, commanding in-chief in Virginia, thought it time to recall Ewell to meet the new danger thus threatened, and the orders reached Ewell while Jackson was yet one day's march short of Harrisonburg. After conference with Ewell, Jackson took the responsibility of detaining him until the condition of affairs could be represented to General Johnston, and meantime they united in a vigorous pursuit of Banks.3

Ashby has followed close on Banks' heels, and now occupies his outposts with constant skirmishing, while he completely screens Jackson. The latter, having marched rapidly to New Market, as if about to follow the foe to Strasburg to attack him there, suddenly changes his route, crosses the Massanuttin mountain to Luray, where Ewell joins him, and pours down the narrow Page Valley by forced marches towards Front Royal. This place is about one hundred and twenty miles (by Jackson's route) from Franklin, and the Confederates reached it on May 23d, ten days after leaving Franklin. Front Royal is held by about one thousand men under Colonel Kenly, of the First Maryland Federal regiment, who has in charge the large stores there gathered, and the important railroad bridges on the Shenandoah. This force also covers the flank and rear of Banks' position at Strasburg. Kenly is taken by surprise, makes what resistance he can, is forced across the bridges he vainly attempts to destroy, and flies towards Winchester. Jackson, too

1 McDowell says his corps at this time “consisted of the divisions of McCall, King and Ord. * * * There were about 30,000 men altogether. Then General Shields came with about 11,000 men, making my force about 41,000 men.” He had also 100 pieces of artillery. See McDowell's testimony before the Committee on Conduct of the War, part I, 1863, page 267.

2 Shields left New Market May 12th.

3 Dabney's Life of Jackson, page 359.

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