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[252] reached Strasburg before either of his adversaries, and passed safely between their converging armies, holding Fremont at bay on the left by an offer of battle, and blinding and bewildering McDowell on the right by the celerity and secrecy of his movements.

Retiring on the afternoon of June 1st from the front of Strasburg, Jackson withdrew to Woodstock, 12 miles, for the night, his cavalry holding the rear four miles from Strasburg, followed by a small party of Federal cavalry, which it repulsed in a slight engagement. Fremont bivouacked on the Capon road, on the line of battle he had chosen, and only entered Strasburg the next morning at about the same time that Bayard's cavalry reached there from Front Royal. Ordering these to take the advance, Fremont followed after Jackson with quite a display of vigor. McDowell held one division of his troops at Front Royal and started another, under Shields, up the valley of the South Fork, to co-operate with Fremont in his pursuit of Jackson. The latter concluding, from what he could learn, that a Federal force was moving up the Luray or South Fork valley, dispatched a small body of cavalry under Captain Boswell, of the engineers, by way of New Market, to burn the three remaining bridges across the South Fork, thus destroying the possibility of a junction between Fremont and Shields either at New Market or near Luray, owing to the swollen condition of the South Fork as well as of the other streams in the valley, in consequence of the heavy and almost continuous rains that characterized that season.

Jackson's strategy had now brought all the Federal forces in the Valley or on either side of it into the lower valley. Banks, with the shattered remnant of his army, was still resting at Williamsport. Saxton, with his 7,000, made a show of following after Winder, but soon returned to his safe quarters at Harper's Ferry. Fremont and Mc-Dowell had failed to combine before Strasburg, and now they feared to do so and leave either the eastern or the western valley open, and so each was pursuing his own way up the Valley, Fremont following after Jackson, and Shields following an objective the location of which he did not know, and that Jackson knew he could not reach with his army closed up, through the mud and quicksands of the road leading up the South Fork valley, such as Jackson had encountered on his way to McDowell.

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