the 10th and fell back to the Baltimore & Ohio railroad at Patterson
's creek, where he concentrated the Federal
troops from Hancock
with those from Romney
's advance encamped on the night of the 13th near Slanesville, establishing headquarters at Bloomery gap.
The next day, marching through another storm of driving sleet, his advance entered Romney
in the evening, capturing some stores and supplies which the Federals
had left behind in their precipitate retreat.
in possession, Jackson
prepared for a movement on Cumberland
, to destroy the railroad bridges across the Potomac
near that town, as well as those across Patterson
and New creeks
He selected Garnett
's and Taliaferro
's brigades for this purpose, in order to destroy the enemy's line of communication preparatory to a further aggressive movement; but a new obstacle, more difficult to overcome than the serious natural ones he had just encountered, now confronted him. While the troops selected for the new expedition did not break out in actual revolt, their murmurings were loud.
They made open complaint of the suffering they had endured and concerning the greater ones they imagined in store for them if this campaign were continued in such an inhospitable country and amidst the thawing and freezing of a rigorous, though changeable winter.
Especially was this opposition strong in Taliaferro
's brigade, which had not been accustomed to Jacksonian discipline under the command of Loring
Not a few of the officers of Jackson
's old command sympathized with those who had been selected for the arduous duty Jackson
had in view.
A rain and thaw set in at about this time, and changed the frozen roads into slush and mire.
reluctantly submitted to the discontent of his troops and the unfavorable conditions, relinquished his aggressive intentions and prepared to defend what he had already won. He had in two weeks and with little loss, though with much suffering, discomfited the enemy opposed to him and disconcerted their offensive plans; practically expelling them from all his district, liberating three fertile counties from their domination, and thereby securing sources of supply for the subsistence of his own army.
's three brigades and thirteen pieces of artillery were quartered at and near Romney
' brigade of