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“ [20] battle ensued between the two forces, in which Banks was beaten back into full retreat towards Martinsburg, and probably is broken up into a total rout. Geary, on the Manassas Gp railroad, just now reports that Jackson is now near Front Royal with ten thousand, following up and supporting, as I understand, the force now pursuing Banks; also that another force of ten thousand is near Orleans, following on in the same direction. Stripped bare as we are here, it will be all we can do to prevent them crossing the Potomac at Harper's Ferry or above. We have about 20,000. men of McDowell's force moving back to the vicinity of Front Royal, and Fremont, who was at Franklin, is moving to Harrisonburg. Both of these movements are intended to get in the enemy's rear. One more of McDowell's brigades is ordered through here to Harper's Ferry. The rest of his forces remain for the present at Fredericksburg. We are sending such regiments and dribs from here and Baltimore as we can spare to Harper's Ferry, supplying their places in some sort by calling on the militia from the adjacent States. We also have eighteen cannon on the road to Harper's Ferry, of which arm there is not a single one yet at that point. This is now our situation. If McDowell's force was now beyond our reach, we should be utterly helpless. Apprehensions of something like this, and no unwillingness to sustain you, has always been my reason for withholding McDowell's forces from you. Please understand this, and do the best you can with the forces you have.” 1

The exaggerations of this dispatch show the panic produced. Jackson had no troops at Orleans, or anywhere east of the Blue Ridge (except a little cavalry), and his entire force, which was all with him, was about 16,000 men.2

This dispatch shows, however, that Jackson was for the time not only occupying all the troops in and around Washington, together with Fremont's forces, but was completely neutralizing the 40,000 under McDowell, and thus disconcerting McClellan's plans.

But if the skill, celerity and daring of Jackson are illustrated in his movement against Banks, these qualities shine out far more brilliantly in his retreat from the Potomac and in his battles at Port Republic. He moved to Harper's Ferry on the 28th of May, and spent the 29th in making demonstrations against the force that had been rapidly gathered there, but which was too strongly posted to be attacked in front. Time did not allow a crossing of the river

1 For foregoing dispatches see McDowell's testimony and McClellan's report.

2 Dabney's Life, page 364. Major Dabney was at this time Chief-of-Staff to General Jackson.

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Sunday McDowell (6)
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