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[275] you move will be sufficient to accomplish the object alone. The information thus far received here makes it probable that if the enemy operates actively against General Banks, you will not be able to count on much assistance from him, but may even have to release him. Reports received this moment are that Banks is fighting with Ewell eight miles from Winchester.

General McDowell at once proceeded, though with a heavy heart as his dispatches show, to execute this order. Fremont put his column in motion, and while we were lingering in the lower valley two armies were closing in on our rear, while a third was concentrating to push us on our retreat.

Jackson had left at Front Royal to guard the stores and prisoners there, the gallant Twelfth Georgia Regiment, which, if rightly handled, could have held the gaps in the mountains for some time against greatly superior forces, but somehow the affair was badly managed, and the advance of Shield's dashed into the village in right gallant style, and re-captured the prisoners, the stores having been burned by an enterprising quarter-master.

The news reached Jackson just as he had posted the Second Virginia Regiment on Loudon Heights, and was preparing to attack the enemy. How he received these unpleasant tidings is best told by one of his staff (Colonel A. R. Boteler). As Jackson, on information of Shield's advance, was returning on a special train to Winchester, the following scene occurred:

At one of the wayside stations a courier was seen galloping down from Winchester, and Jackson clutched at the dispatch which he brought. “What news?” he asked briefly.

Colonel Conner is cut off and captured at Front Royal, General.”

“Good!” was the quiet reply. “What more?”

Shields is there with four thousand men.”

“Good — very good!”

And after spending some time in deep abstraction, and then slowly reading and tearing to pieces the dispatch (a common habit with him), he leaned forward on his hands and immediately went to sleep. Not long afterward he roused himself and said to Colonel Boteler: “I am going to send you to Richmond for reinforcements. Banks has halted at Williamsport and is being reinforced from Pennsylvania, Dix, you see, is in my front and is being reinforced by the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. I have a dispatch informing me of the advance of the enemy upon Front Royal, which is captured, and Fremont is now ”

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Stonewall Jackson (4)
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Shields (1)
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Ewell (1)
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