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[274] four weeks, congratulated the troops on their patient endurance and splendid courage, and concluded as follows:

The explanation of the severe exertions to which the commanding general called the army, which were endured by them with such cheerful confidence in him, is now given in the victory of yesterday. He receives this proof of their confidence in the past with pride and gratitude, and asks only a similar confidence in the future.

But his chief duty to-day and that of the army is to recognize devoutly the hand of a protecting Providence in the brilliant successes of the last three days (which have given us the results of a great victory without great losses); and to make the oblation of our thanks to God for his mercies to us and our country, in heartfelt acts of religious worship. For this purpose the troops will remain in camp to-day, suspending as far as practicable all military exercises, and the chaplains of regiments will hold divine services in their several charges at 4 o'clock P. M.

It was an impressive scene as we gathered in large congregations at that thanksgiving service, and among the most devout of the worshipers in the service held at the Thirty-third Virginia regiment was the iron chief who had led us to the great victory gained. On Wednesday morning, May 28th, we were in motion for the Potomac, and having driven the enemy back from Charlestown to Harper's Ferry, were proceeding to invest this position, when the situation suddenly changed into one which would have unnerved a less determined commander, and have demoralized troops of less implicit confidence in their chief.

McClellan had been gradually closing in on Richmond, and was only waiting for McDowell's column to swoop down from Fredericksburg in order to make his grand assault. But the movements of Jackson and the rout of Banks so alarmed the authorities at Washington that the following dispatch changed the whole situation:

Washington, May 20, 1862.
General Fremont has been ordered by telegraph to move from Franklin on Harrisonburg to relieve General Banks, and capture or destroy Jackson's and Ewell's force. You are instructed, laying aside for the present the movement on Richmond, to put twenty thousand men in motion at once for the Shenandoah, moving on the line or in advance of the line of the Manassas Gap railraod. Your object will be the capture of the forces of Jackson and Ewell, either in co-operation with General Fremont, or in case want of supplies or of transportation interferes with his movement, it is believed the force with which

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