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[9] on the afternoon of the 22d, the greater part after a march of twenty-two miles. Meantime Ashby was following close behind the retreating enemy, and late in the afternoon of the 22d, as Jackson was entering Strasburg, Ashby was attacking the Federal pickets one mile south of Winchester. After the skirmish, Ashby camped for the night at Kernstown, three miles south of Winchester. General Shields, who commanded the troops Ashby had attacked, and who was himself wounded in the skirmish, had displayed but a small part of his force, and this fact, combined with information gotten within the Federal lines, misled the Confederates. The last of Williams' division of Banks' corps had left on the morning of the 22d for Manassas, but Shields' division of three brigades still remained. The reports brought out led Ashby to believe that all but one brigade had gone, and that it expected to leave for Harper's Ferry the next day.1 This information, transmitted to Jackson, caused the latter to push on with all haste the next morning. At daylight he sent three companies of infantry to reinforce Ashby and followed with his whole force. He reached Kernstown at 2 P. M., after a march of fourteen miles.2

General Shields had made his dispositions to meet attack, by advancing Kimball's brigade of four regiments and Daum's artillery to the vicinity of Kernstown. Sullivan's brigade of four regiments was posted in rear of Kimball, and Tyler's brigade of five regiments, with Broadhead's cavalry, was held in reserve. Ashby kept up an active skirmish with the advance of Shields' force durng the forenoon.

But though thus making ready, the Federal generals did not expect an attack in earnest. Shields says he had the country in front and flank carefully reconnoitred during the forenoon of the 23d of March, and the officer in charge reported “no indications of any hostile force except that of Ashby.” Shields continues: “I communicated this information to Major-General Banks, who was then with me, and after consulting together, we both concluded that Jackson could not be tempted to hazard himself so far away from his main support. Having both core to this conclusion, General Banks took his departure for Washington, being already under orders to that effect. The officers of his staff, however, remained behind, intending to leave for Centreville in the afternoon.” 3

1 Shields' report — Rebellion Record, volume IV; Ashby's reports.

2 Jackson's report. Confederate Official Reports.

3 Shields' report.

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