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‘ [457] their exact position, and the danger our trains at Fredericksburg will be in if we move, I shall not make the move designated for to-night, until their designs are fully developed.’ On the 20th he reported that his casualties of the previous day were 196 killed, 1,090 wounded, and 240 missing.

When Grant began his forward movement, on the 4th of May, he not only ordered Butler forward, but also directed Sigel, in the Shenandoah valley, to make a simultaneous advance to capture Staunton and break Lee's communications with the Shenandoah valley, with the 6,500 men and 28 guns in his command. Apprised of this movement, Lee ordered Gen. John C. Breckinridge to collect at Staunton the infantry and cavalry outposts that had wintered in the mountains west of the Great valley, and had called upon the governor of Virginia to add to these the cadets from the Virginia military institute, and with these march down the valley to meet this new irruption. Breckinridge had some 4,500 men, including Gen. John Daniel Imboden's cavalry and McLaughlin's artillery company with eight guns. These met Sigel at New Market, on the 15th of May, and completely routed him, capturing six guns and nearly 900 prisoners. Breckinridge's infantry made a front attack, aided by the artillery, while Imboden fell on Sigel's flank. The mere boys from the institute fought like veterans in this, their first engagement. Halleck telegraphed to Grant, on the 17th: ‘Sigel is in full retreat on Strasburg. He will do nothing but run. Never did anything else.’ The day before, Grant received the unwelcome news that the ‘army of the James,’ under Gen. Ben Butler, from which he expected so much assistance, and which he was longing to join, had been successfully repulsed from a position it had gained. on the railroad between Richmond and Petersburg, and driven back into the angle between the James and the Appomattox, where, as Grant says in his official report, ‘his army, therefore, though in a position of great security, was as completely shut off from further operations directly against Richmond, as if it had been in a bottle strongly corked.’

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