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[28]

This double victory ended the pursuit of Jackson. Fremont on the next morning began to retreat, and retired sixty miles to Strasburg. Shields, so soon as his broken brigades rejoined him, retreated to Front Royal, and was thence transferred to Manassas.

The battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic closed this celebrated campaign. Just three months had passed since Jackson, with about 4,000 troops badly armed and equipped, had fallen back from Winchester before the advance of Banks with 25,000 men. So feeble seemed his force, and so powerless for offence, that when it had been pushed forty miles to the rear, Banks began to send his force towards Manassas, to execute his part of “covering the Federal capital” in McClellan's great campaign. While a large part of the Federal troops is on the march out of the Valley, and their commander is himself en route from Winchester to Washington, Jackson, hastening from his resting place by a forced march, appears most unexpectedly at Kernstown, and hurls his little army with incredible force and fury against the part of Banks' army which is yet behind. He is mistaken as to the numbers of the enemy. Three thousand men, worn by a forced march, are not able to defeat the 7,000 of Shields'. After a fierce struggle he suffers a severe repulse, but he makes such an impression as to cause the recall of a strong force from McClellan to protect Washington. The Federal Administration cannot believe that he has attacked Shields with a handful of men.

Falling back before his pursuers, he leaves the main road at Harrisonburg, and crossing over to Swift Run Gap he takes a position in which he cannot be readily attacked, and which yet enables him so to threaten the flank of his opponent, as to effectually check his further progress. Here he gains ten days time for the reorganization of his regiments (the time of service of most of which expired in April), and here, too, the return of furloughed men and the accession of volunteers nearly doubles his numbers.

Finding that no more troops could be obtained beside those of Ewell and Edward Johnson, he leaves the former to hold Banks in check, while he makes a rapid and circuitous march to General Edward Johnson's position, near Staunton.

Uniting Johnson's force with his own, he appears suddenly in front of Milroy, at McDowell, only eight days after having left Swift Run Gap. He has marched one hundred miles and crossed the Blue Ridge twice in this time, and now repulses Milroy and Schenck, and follows them up to Franklin. Then finding Fremont

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Banks (4)
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