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[205] militia, mainly gathered from that region, was disposed along the South branch to Moorefield, with his pickets joining those of Edward Johnson from Camp Alleghany on the southwest. Three companies of Ashby's cavalry were left with Loring for outpost duty. Carson's brigade of Virginia militia, gathered from the lower valley mainly, was stationed at Bath; and Meem's brigade of Virginia militia, from the counties of Shenandoah and Page, was placed at and beyond Martinsburg; while Ashby, with the larger portion of his cavalry regiment, held the line of the Potomac from near Harper's Ferry westward. Garnett's brigade was ordered to Winchester, to be in position to guard against any movement of the large force under Banks that had been gathered at Frederick City. Jackson established his own headquarters at Winchester on the 24th of January, having provided communication with Loring, at Romney, by a line of telegraph.

With these dispositions of his forces, made so as to be ready for either offensive or defensive purposes, and on good roads by which they could be readily concentrated, General Jackson had a reasonable expectation that he could now rest and recruit his army for the coming spring campaign, which everything indicated would be a very active one. Furloughs were granted freely to men and officers, not only for their own satisfaction, but with the hope that by going to their respective homes they would be the means of bringing new recruits to his army. To his surprise and mortification, these very men, especially the officers, were the means of adding to the discontent already prevailing among Loring's men, and some of them, high in favor with the government at Richmond, were the means of inducing the secretary of war, on the 31st of January, to order Jackson to recall Loring's command, at once, to Winchester, on the pretense that a movement was being made to cut it off, without sending the order through his superior officer, Gen. J. E. Johnston, and without consultation with either of these capable commanders in the field of operations. Jackson promptly obeyed the order; recalled Loring to Winchester, and ordered the militia to fall back in the same direction if the enemy should advance. At the same time he informed Mr. Benjamin, the secretary of war, that he had complied with his order, and asked to be himself ordered to report for duty to the Virginia military institute,

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