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[246]

The general commanding would warmly express to the officers and men of his command his joy in their achievements, and his thanks for their brilliant gallantry in action and their patient obedience under the hardships of forced marches, often more painful to the brave soldier than the dangers of battle. The explanation of the severe exertions to which the commanding general called the army, which were endured by them with such cheerful confidence in him, is now given in the victory of yesterday. He receives this proof of their confidence in the past with pride and gratitude, and only asks a similar confidence in the future.

But his chief duty to-day, and that of the army, is to recognize devoutly the hand of a protecting Providence in the brilliant successes of the last three days (which have given us the results of a great victory without great losses), and to make oblation of our thanks to God for His mercies to us and our country in heartfelt acts of religious worship. For this purpose the troops will remain in camp to-day, suspending as far as possible all military exercises; and the chaplains of regiments will hold divine service in their several charges at 4 o'clock p. m.

It is noteworthy that after this battle of Winchester there was inaugurated a humanitarian movement, in reference to surgeons left in charge of wounded prisoners, that has since become the rule among civilized nations engaged in war. Immediately after Banks was driven out of Winchester, Dr. Hunter McGuire, the medical director of the army of the Valley district, visited the Federal hospital, which had been established in the old Union hotel, where he found among the captured prisoners eight Federal surgeons or assistant surgeons. He reported this fact to General Jackson, and asked his permission to unconditionally release these medical officers upon their parole of honor that they would remain in charge of the Federal sick and wounded in Winchester for fifteen days, after which, by the terms of their paroles, they would be permitted to report to their commanding officers for duty. It was further understood that these surgeons should use every effort to have released, on the same terms, the medical officers of the Confederate States who were then held as prisoners by the Federal government, or who might thereafter be captured.

General Jackson readily assented to Surgeon McGuire's proposition, and directed him to carry out his suggestions. Accompanied by Dr. Daniel B. Conrad, of the Second Virginia regiment, he then went to the Federal hospital and released, on their paroles, the surgeons, assistant surgeons, attendants and nurses, but not the sick and wounded, who were afterward paroled by the regular

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