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[178] been to ‘throw his command between Washington City and the army of General Pope and to break up his railroad communications with the Federal capital.’1 That energetic lieutenant had carried them out to the letter. It is now time to look to Pope's movements.

While Jackson's column was executing this flank movement to the rear of Pope, Lee retained Longstreet's command in his front to divert his attention, and learning that Pope was about to receive re-enforcements from McClellan, he ordered forward the remainder of his army from Richmond.2 Nevertheless, the stealthy march of Jackson did not pass unbeknown to the Union commander, who received very precise information respecting his movement northward, though he was unable to divine its aim.3 Bewildered by his antagonist's manoeuvres, Pope made a series of ridiculous tentatives; but finally, on the 26th, he determined to fall back from the Rappahannock nearer to Washington. During the day he learned that Jackson was already on his rear at Manassas, and had cut his railway communications with Washington!

It must be admitted the situation was a difficult one, but it was one that afforded a vigorous commander a rare opening for a decisive blow. Lee had in fact committed an act of unwonted rashness, and voluntarily placed himself in such a position that when Jackson had reached Bristoe Station and Manassas, Longstreet, with the van of the main column, moving by the same route taken by that officer, was still distant two marches. Pope was therefore left free to place himself between the two, and beat them in detail. Such a piece of

1 Jackson's Report: Reports of the Army of Northern Virginia, vol. II., p. 92.

2 This force consisted of D. H. Hill's and McLaws' divisions, two brigades under General Walker, and Hampton's cavalry brigade.

3 The information was derived from Colonel J. S. Clark, of the staff of General Banks. That officer remained all day in a perilous position within sight of Jackson's moving column, and counted its force, which he found to be thirty six regiments of infantry, with the proper proportion of batteries and a considerable cavalry force.

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