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“ [276] advancing toward Wardensville. Thus, you see, I am nearly surrounded by a very large force.”

“What is your own, General?”

“I will tell you, but you must not repeat what I say, except at Richmond. To meet this force I have only 15,000 effective men.”

“What will you do if they cut you off, General?”

After a moment's hesitation Jackson cooly replied:

I will fall back on Maryland for reinforcements.

He evidently meant what he said, and it is a matter of curious speculation as to what would have been the result of such a movement. Whether “My Maryland” would have “come” at that time — what impetus would have been given to the panic which induced the Secretary of War to telegraph the Governor of Massachusetts to “send all of the troops you can forward immediately. Banks completely routed. Intelligence from various quarters leaves no doubt that the enemy in great force are advancing on Washington.” Whether Jackson would have captured Washington or have been captured himself all of these questions must be left to conjecture, for Jackson did not allow himself to be cut off, and his “foot cavalry” proved fully equal to the emergency.

On the afternoon of the 30th of May we “entered the lists for a race” to Strausburg. I can never forget that march. “Press forward,” was the constant order, and when the troops were well nigh exhausted, word was passed down the column: “General Jackson desires the command to push forward much further to-night in order to accomplish a very important object,” and every man bent his energies to meet the requirement of our loved chieftain, while the muddy, weary road was enlivened by jest and song and cheers. The whole of the Stonewall brigade marched that day thirty-five miles, while the Second Virginia regiment accomplished a march of more than forty miles without rations, and fairly won the sobriquet of “foot cavalry.”

Meantime the main army had hurried on to Strausburg, upon which point Fremont was rapidly advancing, while Shields was waiting to join him from Front Royal. The head of Ewell's column filed to the right at Strausburg, and was soon engaged in a sharp skirmish with Fremont's advance, to whom we offered the gage of battle, until the Stonewall brigade and the Second Virginia regiment could come up. The object of the halt having been thus accomplished, Jackson leisurely moved up the Valley with his prisoners and his immense wagon trains, loaded with captured stores of every description.

The incidents of this retreat were stirring. Shields moved up the

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