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[382] Thence followed the fierce battles around Spotsylvania, North Anna and Cold Harbor.

So ended the terrible Battle of the Wilderness. On nearly the same ground Lee and Hooker had fought two years before, and now the first captain in the Federal army was sent with the finest army to crush Lee, yet he failed, and Chancellorsville and the Wilderness became famous in history as stragetic spots. Here in each battle genius and unsurpassed courage more than matched numbers and splendid appointments.

Thus, in succession, Manassas, Cold Harbor, and Chancellorsville and the Wilderness, heretofore unknown, became luminous in history, and the terrific battle fought on these fields demonstrated their value as strategic points.

Less only in the number of troops engaged, Winchester, in the lower Valley, became conspicuous in Confederate annals as a strategic point. Early in 1861 Johnston recognized its value and so held it. Later Jackson made a vigorous attack on Shields at Kernstown for its recovery, but for paucity of numbers and exhaustion of his troops from rapid and severe marching would have wrested it from Federal grasp.

In the spring of 1862 this same Stonewall made a sudden rush upon Banks and drove him from the town and across the Potomac. So greatly did the Federal government appreciate its worth that two armies were dispatched, one under McDowell from Fredericksburg, and the other under Freemont from Franklin, each largely superior to Jackson, to drive him from Winchester.

Again the town became headquarters for Federal occupation of the Valley district, and again after Second Manassas was evacuated. On the retirement of Lee's army to Fredericksburg in the fall of 1862, again the town became the Federal headquarters for that section of Virginia. After Chancellorsville, in the order of Lee's combinations, Ewell burst through the gaps of the Blue mountains, and suddenly swooping down upon the little city, threw Milroy and the remnant of his garrison across the Potomac. After Gettysburg, Winchester again fell to the Federal occupation. General Jubal Early once again wrested it from the troops of the United States and again forced back, Federal occupation followed, and once more partial success almost

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