him by a courier, informing him that an overwhelming force had descended from the Blue ridge
on his position at Front Royal
and his staff slept near the picket line, on the ground in the front yard of McCoy's house at Cedarville
, while his army bivouacked along the road between that place and Front Royal
By the dawn of Saturday, May 24th, Jackson
was on the alert, pushing his cavalry scouts forward toward Winchester
and to points along the Valley turnpike
between that place and Middletown
, dispatching his topographical engineer toward the latter place to find out the movements of the enemy.
That officer soon struck the Federal
pickets, within less than a mile of where Jackson
had bivouacked, and following after these with cavalry, infantry and artillery that he had successively sent for, he reached the vicinity of Middletown
early II the day in time to cut Banks
' retreating column just as Jackson
himself came up with a larger force, which he formed into two bodies, one pushing after Banks
' men retreating toward Winchester
, and the other following those that fell back toward Strasburg
when they found their line of march interrupted at Middletown
This latter body destroyed the bridge as they crossed Cedar creek
, thus checking the Confederate
pursuit, and then hastened through Strasburg
and retreated by the Strasburg
and Capon road and by the Winchester
and Capon road, through the mountains to Winchester
, which they reached during the night.
These disposed of, Jackson
reunited his men and pressed toward Winchester
, having ordered Ewell
's division forward along the Front Royal
road on which he was constantly coming nearer and nearer to Banks
' line of retreat, as that road and the Valley turnpike
converged toward Winchester
Brig.-Gen. George H. Steuart
, who had been temporarily placed in command of the Second and Sixth Virginia cavalry, was sent in advance of Ewell
, 8 miles from Winchester
, to observe the enemy's movements.
There he attacked the flank of Banks
' retreat and made some captures of prisoners, wagons and ambulances.
, now fully realizing his perilous situation, and alarmed at the rapid and incomprehensible movements of Jackson
, and realizing that his only safety was in flight, retreated, pressed in rear and flank.
as rapidly as