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 on Front Royal, have recaptured his stores and prisoners, and planted himself in our rear. Whether this would have been a wise thing for him to do is another question, and he does not seem to have long hesitated as to “entering the lists” (as he expresses it in his report) “for a race to the Potomac.” General Ewell, with Trimble's brigade and some cavalry, was sent on the morning of Saturday, May 24th, by the direct road to Winchester, while Jackson moved his main body across to Middletown, on the main “Valley pike.” Coming in sight of Middletown, Jackson saw that the pike was filled with a rapidly retreating column, and immediately he ordered Captain Poague, of the famous Rockbridge artillery, to open on the moving mass, while General Dick Taylor was ordered to charge with his splendid Louisiana brigade. The best troops find a sudden attack on them while retreating in column a severe test, and these broke in wildest confusion, the main body hurrying on towards Winchester, while a part retreated back to Strausburg. Our brigade was hurried forward at a double quick, but only got there in time to see the rear of the retreating column, and witness the wild confusion presented by upturned wagons, dead and wounded horses and men, muskets, knapsacks, etc., scattered over the fields, while pursued and pursuers were disappearing in the distance. Our column now pressed on along the main pike to Winchester, passing along the whole route the deserted wagons of the enemy. At Newton there was a temporary check to our advance, which gave the enemy time to fire their wagons, and from that point we marched for miles (night had now set in) by the light of burning wagons, baggage and stores. Jackson was himself at the head of the column, and was frequently in great personal peril from the ambuscades of the enemy, and the fire of their rear guard. It was a very weary, tedious night march, but was enlivened by the music of our bands, the cheers that would ring out along the whole column, and the jests of the men, which would create loud bursts of laughter. An hour before daybreak our column halted, and the men snatched a little sleep, while Jackson himself stood sentinel at the head of the column, receiving reports from the skirmishers, who pressed slowly on, and giving frequent orders to direct their movements. “At early dawn” (a favorite hour with Stonewall for beginning to march), Jackson gave the quiet order, which aroused the column from its hasty slumber, and moved it forward on the enemy, who had taken a strong. position on the hills commanding the approach to Winchester. Jackson personally reconnoitered the position, going so close to the skirmish line of the enemy, that two officers were wounded at his side, and immediately
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