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 about the dangers which such an advanced position involved. Once there, he had suddenly withdrawn from him, as we have just stated, Shields' division, thereby reducing the number of his forces to six or seven thousand men. More to the west, Fremont with the army of the Mountain, so called, occupied West Virginia, which the Confederates had entirely abandoned since the end of January. One of his brigades, commanded by Crook, was posted on the banks of Greenbrier River, while the remainder of his troops were encamped at Moorefield, and Franklin in some of the numerous valleys which stretch between the ridges of the Alleghanies. The President, after taking away Blenker's division from the army of the Potomac, in order to place it at Manassas, had sent it to Fremont, thus increasing the number of his forces to six brigades, amounting to thirteen or fourteen thousand men. These armies, being so scattered as to be unable to give each other mutual support, were all independent of one another; McDowell, Geary, Banks and Fremont received their orders direct from Washington. The Secretary who directed the movements of these armies in the name of the President from the recesses of his office, was thus preparing an inevitable defeat for them. Jackson was not the man to neglect such an opportunity. Yorktown had just been evacuated. All the Confederate forces which were in Virginia were assembling around Richmond to swell Johnston's army. It would have been easy for the several Federal armies to make a corresponding movement. McDowell could by a few days' march have joined McClellan on the borders of the Chickahominy. Fremont occupied the two slopes of the Alleghanies; the Confederates, who had contested their possession with so much fury the preceding autumn, had abandoned to him the sources of the Potomac and the Greenbrier; he could by pushing his outposts into the valley of the Shenandoah have connected with Banks, and, combined, they would have menaced Staunton near the important passes which open into the valley of James River. The Richmond authorities felt that it was necessary to prevent this concentration of troops at any price, and that the surest way was to rouse the fears of the government at Washington by a
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