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[239] him by a courier, informing him that an overwhelming force had descended from the Blue ridge on his position at Front Royal. Jackson 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 and Winchester 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 to Newtown, 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.

Banks, 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

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