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[5] a terrible storm of sleet and snow and cold set in, which for the next three weeks subjected the troops to the severest hardships, and finally forced their commander to suspend his forward movement. At first the troops marched cheerfully on in spite of cold and sleet. Bath was evacuated, but General Lander, who within a day or two had superseded Rosecrans, hurried reinforcements to Hancock, in time to prevent Jackson from crossing the Potomac.1 Jackson having made a demonstration against Hancock, done what damage was possible to the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and placed himself between Lander at Hancock and Kelly at Romney, moved toward the latter place as fast as the icy roads would permit. While Jackson was on the road, a part of Kelly's force made a reconnoissance towards Winchester, and at Hanging Rock, twelve miles from Romney, surprised and defeated a force of Confederate militia, of some 500 or 600 men, taking two guns. But alarmed at Jackson's movements, Kelly did not attempt to follow up the advantage, and hastily retired from Romney on January 10th. Jackson entered it on the 14th, and though the weather and roads grew worse held to his intention of advancing further. He aimed at Cumberland. Preparations were at once begun for a movement on New Creek (now called Keyser), but when the orders to march were given, the murmuring and discontent among his troops, especially among those which had recently come under his command, reached such a pitch that he reluctantly abandoned the enterprise and determined to go into winter-quarters. Leaving Loring and his troops at Romney, he returned with his own old brigade to Winchester, January 24th, and disposed his cavalry and militia commands so as to protect the whole border of the district.

This expedition, though it had cleared his district of the foe and effectually broken up all plans of the enemy for a winter campaign against Winchester, was disappointing to Jackson, as well as to the public. Though believing that results had been obtained which outweighed all the suffering and loss, he was conscious that the weather, and the lack of cordial support, had prevented the accomplishment of far more important ends. But this did not abate his self-reliance, nor diminish his clear-sightedness. The discontent among his troops left at Romney resulted on the 31st of January in an order from the Secretary of War, sent without consultation, to withdraw Loring from that place. Jackson obeyed the order,

1 One of Banks' brigades was sent to aid Lander at hancock. See Banks' testimony, above cited.

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