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[225] secure position, where he could easily hold the road leading to Ewell's division, of Johnston's army, which had fallen back and was holding the line of the Rapidan, taking the precaution of sending to burn the bridges across the South Fork Shenandoah in the eastern, or Page valley, below him.

When Banks learned of Jackson's unexpected movement to the left, he informed his government that he believed Jackson had abandoned the valley. Continuing his tardy pursuit, his cavalry entered Harrisonburg on the 22d of April and part of his infantry on the 26th. Looking out at the broadly widening valley before him, recalling that his base of supplies was nearly 100 miles in his rear by a wagon road, and uncertain as to what had become of his elusive foe, he hesitated what to do and asked for instructions.

Jackson, in his secure position but with his men exposed in open bivouacs to the snow, rain and sleet that made memorable the closing days of April, completed the reorganization of his army, received additions by enlistments and the Tenth Virginia, ordered to him from Ewell's division, increasing his force to near 6,000 men; in the meantime stimulating Ashby to keep Banks busy guarding his encampment and his long line of communication to his rear, which presented so many favorable points of attack to the horsemen of the Valley who knew all its byways as well as its highways and the sally-ports to these from the mountains on either side. He had his engineers, as well as his cavalry, on the outlook for opportunities to attack any exposed positions occupied by Banks. On the 28th, Jackson appealed to Lee, now the acting commander-in-chief of the Confederate forces, to let Ewell's command cross the Blue ridge and join him, that thus reinforced he might march out and attack Banks and drive him back down the Valley, suggesting also that some additional men could be spared him from the force covering Fredericksburg. General Lee was favorably impressed with Jackson's suggestion, writing, that a decisive and successful blow at Banks' column would be fraught with the happiest results, but regretting that the large force of the enemy now threatening Fredericksburg would not admit of the withdrawal of troops from that line, but suggesting that he might combine the forces of Ewell and Edward Johnson with his own, if he thought that by so doing he could hold Banks

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