moved to begin military operations without delay, he petitioned the secretary of war
to send the entire command of General Loring
to reinforce him at Winchester
for the purpose of making an immediate attempt to capture the Federal
forces at Romney
, commanded by General Kelley
He stated to the secretary of war
that it was of great importance to occupy northwestern Virginia
at once, and that while the enemy was not expecting attack, during the severity of winter, was the Confederate
opportunity of achieving success.
's plan, as outlined in his letter of 1861, covered a campaign which included a general battle with McClellan
, who was to be defeated, and the preoccupation of the northwest counties and the Kanawha valley
The proposed campaign was undoubtedly hazardous, but the ardent spirit of Jackson
saw that the chances of a great success were on the Confederate
The eagerness of Jackson
to be striking a blow against the enemy somewhere would not suffer him to wait for a decision which seems to have been delayed in a too cautious consideration of obstacles.
Believing that even his small command could be made effective, before the arrival of the army of the Northwest, and as a good exercise in the chilly December, he moved upon Dam No. 5, on the Chesapeake
& Ohio canal
, which was being used by the Federals
in forwarding troops and supplies.
The expedition involved more hardship than danger.
, with a large force, was near the opposite bank of the Potomac
deceived that Federal officer easily by making a diversion with Virginia
militia toward Williamsport
Early in December, Taliaferro
's brigade of the army of the Northwest
—the First Georgia, Third Arkansas, Twenty-third and Thirty-seventh Virginia regiments, arrived, and a few weeks later more of the same army reported, under General Loring
, consisting of Col. William Gilham
's brigade—the Twenty-first, Forty-second