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[37] bold stroke. Nothing further would have been required but to wait with confidence for the errors which those alarms would be sure to make the Federals commit. Jackson, who had never ceased to urge an invasion of the North, and had obeyed the order directing him to evacuate the valley of Virginia with great reluctance, was entrusted with this task. The Richmond government, shrewder than its adversary in the distribution of its forces, gave him at once the means he needed. General Edward Johnson, who had defended Camp Alleghany during the winter, joined him with one brigade, while Ewell brought him a fine division from Gordonsville. Jackson had thus twenty thousand men under his orders; he started at once. Leaving Staunton, where he had organized his army, he sent Ewell to watch and detain Banks, while, with the remainder of his forces, he went to attack Fremont in person, in order to prevent the junction of his two adversaries.

The commander of the Mountain army was at Franklin, and had detached Milroy's brigade to occupy the last ridges bordering on the Virginia valley on the west, known by the name of Shenandoah Mountains and Bull Pasture Mountains. Milroy had taken his position in the village of McDowell, situated at the foot of the western slope of the last line of heights. On the 7th of May, Jackson drove in his outposts, which had penetrated into the valley of Virginia, and was crossing the Shenandoah Mountains with nearly ten thousand men. By a forced march he reached the second chain, Bull Pasture Mountains, on the 8th, and his heads of column, rapidly ascending those acclivities, took possession of them before the Federals were strong enough to defend them. Once master of these heights, he had the village of McDowell at his feet, where Milroy had allowed himself to be taken completely by surprise. The latter, discovering too late the error he had committed, made a vigorous effort to recapture a point called Sutlington's Hill, which was the key to this position. He failed in the attempt. He was soon joined by General Schenck's brigade, which had been sent to his assistance by Fremont as soon as he was informed of Jackson's appearance, and which had arrived after a march of fifty-five kilometres in twenty-three hours. Schenck, who assumed the command, had only three thousand five hundred men to defend,

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