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[224] 1st of April and forced Ashby's pickets back to Edinburg, on the line of Stony creek, which Jackson had decided to hold. He established his headquarters at Rude's hill, April 2d, and there remained until the 17th, when the Federals again moved forward in force, occupying himself, as well as the cold and raw weather, with snow and rain would permit, in recruiting and drilling his troops, marching them back and forth, almost daily, from their camps to the line of Stony creek, and otherwise keeping them in fighting trim. doing all in his power to get to his command the regiments of Virginia militia that had been ordered to him from the counties of Augusta and Rockingham in the Shenandoah valley. He was greatly aided in reorganizing his army by the anticipated general conscription bill, placing all the able-bodied men of the country, between eighteen and thirty-five years of age, in the military service, which became a law on the 16th of April, as patriotic Virginians preferred to volunteer rather than be conscripted.

When Banks again began his forward movement, on the 17th of April, he captured some of Ashby's outposts, but that fearless trooper turned on him at every favorable opportunity, and forced him to contend for every mile he made up the valley. Jackson retired before the oncoming enemy and reached Harrisonburg, 25 miles beyond Mt. Jackson, during the morning of the 18th. To the east of this town the Massanutton mountains, beginning opposite Strasburg and dividing the middle section of the Shenandoah valley into two parts, drop off abruptly and the valley widens to near 30 miles between the North mountain and the Blue ridge. Sending all his surplus trains and his tents on to Staunton, with orders to burn the Valley Turnpike bridge at Mt. Crawford after these had crossed the North river of the Shenandoah, Jackson, at Harrisonburg, turned abruptly to the left, abandoning the Valley turnpike and taking the one leading from Harrisonburg around the southwestern end of the Massanutton mountains to Conrad's store, and thence across the Blue ridge, by Swift Run gap, to Gordonsville, halting the night of the 18th at Peale's cross roads, six miles from Harrisonburg, and the next day crossing the main Shenandoah to camps on Elk run near the western entrance to Swift Run gap of the Blue ridge; thus placing himself in a thoroughly

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