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The military problem for Jackson, as it now presented itself, was to get his trains and prisoners safely to Staunton and find an opportunity to defeat his oncoming foes separately, before they could form a junction in the vicinity of Harrisonburg. The grand bulwark of the Massanuttons had divided them, and it was for him now to conquer and dispose of them. Knowing the road difficulties in the way of Shields, Jackson felt secure in falling back leisurely up the great macadam road leading to Staunton. On the 2d he reached Mt. Jackson. Bayard's cavalry force, which had not yet had a taste of Ashby's tactics, pressed with unusual vigor on Jackson's rear guard, which broke and was thrown into some confusion; but Ashby promptly rallied his men behind the bushes and fences, and with the help of an infantry regiment that filed to the roadside, sent the Federals back in confusion. On the 3d, Jackson retired to New Market, Ashby destroying the bridge across the North Fork of the Shenandoah near Mt. Jackson as he fell back, checking Fremont there for a day. From his camp near New Market, Jackson sent Captain Hotchkiss in the night to the peak at the southwestern end of the Massanuttons, accompanied by signal men, to watch the movements of the two Federal armies from that commanding height and report their progress to Jackson as he marched up the valley. Harrisonburg was reached before midday of the 5th, and a cavalry force was promptly sent to destroy the bridge across the South Fork at Conrad's store, by which Shields had hoped to cross and join Fremont near Harrisonburg, thus anticipating the arrival of Federal cavalry which Shields had hastened forward to seize that bridge and which was already near at hand when Jackson's men fired it. There was now but one bridge left across the swollen South Fork, that over its North river fork at Port Republic.

Sending his sick and wounded on to Staunton, Jackson tarried at Harrisonburg with his rear guard till about midday of the 6th, being kept constantly informed by Captain Hotchkiss from the peak signal station. He then left the Valley turnpike and retired toward Port Republic, that he might place himself on the shortest line of communication with General Lee, through Brown's gap, which he had crossed when starting for McDowell a little more than a month before. Upon the approach

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