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Such was also the Yankee's thought, for he immediately ordered a strong squadron of his cavalry to go up and capture those trains. So the horsemen formed in column and advanced up the street, leaving Colonel Crutchfield in silent despair. But near the head of that street they were met by a discharge of canister at close quarters. The balls came ricocheting down the road amidst the horses' legs, and back came the column in headlong flight, with a tempest of dust. Said Crutchfield's thoughts to him: ‘Did those cannons drop from the skies? Did the angels fire them? I thought I was artillerychief to that army, and had posted all the guns, and I thought I knew that there was no artillery there.’ But none the less did the mysterious guns hold their post, despite the cannonading of the Yankee battery accompanying their advance; and whenever the attacking column of cavalry was advanced, lash it back to the sidealleys with canister-shot until Jackson re-occupied the village.

The explanation was that there was a new battery, that of Captain Carrington, of Albemarle, just arrived, which Colonel Crutchfield had found so partially equipped and so absolutely unskilled, that he had relegated it with the baggage, and thus had actually discounted it in his mind as anything more than baggage. Two guns of this battery had been brought forward, with fragments of the fleeing Confederate pickets for supports, and with that audacity which, as Jackson taught, was on some occasions the most timely discretion, had made its little fight and saved the trains.

But now the cannonade answers back from Cross-Keys, where Fremont crowds upon Ewell, endeavoring to keep his part of the rendezvous. How the fight raged there through the day, while Jackson vibrated thither and back, watchful of all points, I need not detain you to relate; for your history-books may tell you all this, as also how Ewell hurled back his adversary, and held his own stoutly at all points. One little thing I may relate, not flattering to myself, which may be to you a revelation of Jackson's mind, (and may also be taken as an example of the scant encouragement which suggestions from subordinates usually met). As he sat upon his horse, scanning the region whither Shields had retired, I moved to his side and asked: ‘There is, then, a general action at Cross-Keys?’ The answer was an affirmative nod. ‘Then General Shields will not be blind to the importance of his cooperating in it: he will surely attack you again to-day?’ Hereupon he turned upon me, as though vexed with my obtuseness, with brows knit, and waving his clenched fist towards the commanding positions of the artillery near him, said:

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Stonewall Jackson (6)
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