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[149] ‘No, sir; he cannot do it, sir. I should tear him to pieces’! And Shields did not do it, because he could not!

The two Yankee Generals have now had their forwardness a little rebuked; are taught to keep their places quietly until they are wanted. The Sabbath-eve has descended as calmly as though no blood or crime had polluted it, and Jackson has rested until the midnight hour ushers in the working day with a waning moon. He then addresses himself to his work and takes the aggressive. The trains are sent over to Ewell to carry rations to his hungry men and to replenish the guns with their horrid food; a foot bridge is prepared for the infantry over South river, by which they may be passed towards Lewiston. Ewell is directed to creep away at daybreak, from Fremont's front, leaving only a skirmish line to amuse him, and to concentrate against Shields. Colonel Patton, one of the two commanders who are to lead this line, is sent for to receive his personal instructions from Jackson. ‘I found him,’ says Colonel Patton, ‘in the small hours of the night, erect, and elate with animation and pleasure. He began by saying: “I am going to fight. Yes, we shall engage Shields this morning at sunrise. Now, I wish you to throw out all your men before Fremont as skirmishers, and to make a great show, so as to cause the enemy to think the whole army are behind you. Hold your position as well as you can; then fall back when obliged; take a new position; hold it in the same way, and I will be back to join you in the morning.” ’ Colonel Patton reminded him that his brigade was small, and that the country between Cross-Keys — and the Shenandoah afforded few natural advantages for protecting such manoeuvres. He therefore desired to known for how long a time he would be expected to hold Fremont in check. He replied: ‘By the blessing of Providence, I hope to be back by ten o'clock.’

Here then we have the disclosure of his real plan, to which he makes no reference in his own official report. He proposed to finish with Shields, peradventure to finish Shields, by ten o'clock. Five hours should be enough to settle his account, and he would then go straight back to see after Fremont. By ten o'clock of the same day he would meet his retreating skirmish line north of the river, arrest the retrograde movement and be ready, if Fremont had stomach for it, to fight a second pitched battle with his army, more than double the one vanquished in the morning. As to the measure of Shield's disaster, it was to be complete; dispersion and capture of his whole force, with all his material. As Napoleon curtly said at the battle of Rivoli, concerning the Austrian division detached around the mountain to


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