and at once resigned, on the ground that such interference by the Department at Richmond
, with the details of military affairs in the field, could only lead to disaster.
After explanations, and upon the urgent request of Governor Letcher
and General J. E. Johnston
he withdrew the resignation.
Subsequently, there was no desire on anybody's part to interfere with him.
For the next month Jackson
remained quietly at Winchester
and all his troops that were not Virginian were ordered elsewhere; and in order to induce re-enlistment, furloughs were freely granted.
The Confederate force was in this way reduced to about four thousand men, exclusive of militia.
With the 1st of March opened the great campaign of 1862 in Virginia
, in which Jackson
was to bear so prominent a part.
In other sections of the Confederacy
fortune favored the Federal
cause, and the Union
armies were on the full tide of success.
On the 8th of February Roanoke Island
fell, on the 16th Fort Donelson
, on the 26th Nashville
, and on the 27th the evacuation of Columbus, Kentucky
, was begun.
These successes made the Federal Administration
impatient to push forward operations in Virginia
At the urgent representation of General McClellan
, President Lincoln
had yielded his favorite plan of campaign — an advance against the Confederate
lines at Manassas
— and had reluctantly consented to the transfer of the Army of the Potomac to Fortress Monroe
, and its advance thence on Richmond
Before he would allow McClellan
, however, to begin the transfer, the Potomac river
must be cleared of Confederate batteries, the Baltimore and Ohio railroad must be recovered and protected, and all the approaches to Washington
must be made secure.2
To fulfill a part of these conditions, Banks
' and Lander
's commands were ordered forward, and on February 24th General Banks
occupied Harper's Ferry
Soon after, McClellan
began the movements on his other wing, that were preparatory to an attack on the Confederate batteries along the lower Potomac.
These indications of activity announced to General Johnston
that the time had come for carrying out his plan, already determined upon, of retreating behind the Rappahannock
On the 7th of March Johnston
, began the withdrawal of his army, and by the 11th all the infantry and artillery east of the Blue Ridge
had reached the new position.