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[87] the engineers considering the line of the movement a false one, and the position then held a dangerous one, as Johnston could easily flank it, and all agreed that they ought to go at once to Shepherdstown, Charlestown, or Harper's Ferry. Stone suggested that from the latter place they could best threaten Johnston.

Later, the same day, Scott added to Patterson's distractions by telling him that they had information, doubtless reliable, that the Confederates intended to draw him far back from the Potomac, where Johnston could defeat him, when the latter would join Wise, and moving upon McClellan, in the northwest, conquer him; and then their joint forces would march back and join Beauregard in an assault upon Washington. Concerning this marvelous scheme, Patterson replied, on the 12th, that it confirmed his impression as to the insecurity of his position, and he asked permission to transfer his depot to Harper's Ferry and his forces to the Charlestown line, as defeat in the Shenandoah valley would be ruin everywhere. Scott at once gave his consent, suggesting that later he could march to Alexandria, by way of Hillsboro and Leesburg, but that he must not recross the Potomac.

The news of McClellan's success at Rich mountain, on the 12th, elated Patterson, but he maintained that his column was the keystone of the combined movements, and it must be preserved in order to secure the fruits of that and other victories; that it would not do to hazard that result by a defeat, and he would act cautiously while preparing to strike. Scott promptly replied that if he was not strong enough to defeat Johnston the coming week, he must make demonstrations to detain him in the valley.

After having tarried twelve days at Martinsburg, in his ‘hot pursuit’ of Johnston, Patterson, on the 15th, advanced 12 miles to Bunker Hill, only opposed by Stuart's cavalry (he said some 600), which fell back, skirmishing with his advance and barricading the road behind them, which Patterson interpreted as ‘showing that the enemy had no confidence even in their large force.’ The day after he reached Bunker Hill, Patterson, realizing that his ninety days race with time was about up, and that the prospect of having Johnston's army as a prize had vanished, informed Scott that the term of service of most of his command had about expired, and he felt confident that

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