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[275] detached by Grant to oppose him. A much larger force than his own had thus been drawn away from Richmond. His position in front of Washington quickly became critical. Hunter was hastening to Harper's Ferry, in his rear, and had reached Martinsburg on the 11th, while overwhelming forces were gathering before him. After skirmishing vigorously on the 12th, Early fell back on that night, and on the 14th recrossed the Potomac at White's Ford, and camped at Leesburg. This retreat was managed most skillfully and successfully, the Confederates slipping, without loss, between the armies gathering for their destruction. As the two Federal armies united and advanced south of the Potomac, under Wright of the Sixth corps, Early crossed the Blue Ridge into the Valley about Berryville. Here he repulsed an attack on the 18th, with severe loss to the assailants, and the next day began to fall back to Strasburg, a more secure position, now that 30,000 men were pressing him. On the 20th, Averell defeated his rear guard under Ramseur, near Winchester, but the Federals did not push on.

General Grant expected that Early would be recalled to Richmond, and he had therefore ordered that the corps (Sixth and Nineteenth) he had sent up, should, if possible, anticipate him. They were now withdrawn, and Hunter's forces, under Crook, were left to hold the Valley. Early quickly discovered this, and promptly advancing from Strasburg, on July 24th, fell upon Crook, on the battlefield of Kernstown, where Shields had repulsed Jackson in 1862. Early's victory was thorough, Crook's forces being routed with heavy loss, and in two days Early once more held the Potomac. Mr. Pond does not give Crook's strength in this fight, but as the returns for August show some 22,000 men in the ‘Department of West Virginia,’ it is certain that Crook outnumbered Early, who, according to Mr. Pond, had in all about 15,000 under his command.

This victory caused an immediate change in the Federal programme. The troops that had been recalled to Richmond were ordered back from Washington and others in addition were sent up. Meantime Early again broke up railroad and canal and spread consternation by sending two brigades of cavalry to levy a contribution upon Chambersburg, and in case of refusal to burn it. Mc-Causland, in command of this expedition, burnt the town on July 30th, and as his men were improperly turned loose in it, there were no doubt many unjustifiable acts of plunder and wrong. But Mr. Pond gives an entirely unfair and one-sided account of this transaction.


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