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[88] many of these would lay down their arms the very day their term of enlistment ended; therefore, he could not think of advancing toward Winchester until these men were replaced with three years men. On July 17th he began his retrograde movement (the newspapers called it an advance) by leaving the Winchester road, crossing the Opequan, and posting his army along the road from Smithfield to Charlestown. Scott telegraphed him that he had learned, through the Philadelphia papers, of his ‘advance,’ and added: ‘Do not let the enemy amuse you and delay you with a small force in front while he reinforces the junction with his main body.’ Next day Scott repeated his injunction:
I have certainly been expecting you to beat the enemy. If not, to hear that you had felt him strongly, or, at least, had occupied him by threats and demonstrations. You have been at least his equal, and, I suppose, his superior in numbers. Has he not stolen a march and sent reinforcements toward Manassas Junction? A week is enough to win victories. The time of the volunteers counts from day of muster into the service of the United States. You must not retreat across the Potomac. If necessary, when abandoned by the short term volunteers, intrench somewhere and wait for reinforcements.

Three times on that same 18th of July, while Johnston's army was rapidly marching from the valley toward Manassas, Patterson telegraphed Scott, insisting that the enemy had not stolen a march on him; that he had held Johnston in Winchester and accomplished more than Scott had asked or could well have expected in the face of an enemy of superior numbers. The determination of his three months men to go home still troubled him, and on the 19th, he said that only three regiments had consented to stay for ten days, and repeated that from his last information, Johnston was still at Winchester and being daily reinforced. That day, July 19th, Patterson was honorably discharged from the service of the United States, to take effect on the 27th, and Maj.-Gen. N. P. Banks was directed to assume command of the army under Patterson, and of the department of the Shenandoah.

From Harper's Ferry, on the 21st, Patterson reported that Winchester was abandoned the day before by all armed parties; that Johnston had left to operate on McDowell's right, and that he could not follow because he had but few active troops, all the others being barefooted and ordered home when their term of service should expire.

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