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 small army was lost indeed. It only evacuated Winchester on the 31st, carrying off, in the midst of the inhabitants who were filled with consternation at this sudden departure, the valuable spoils of the Federal storehouses, which formed a train of nearly twenty kilometres in length. Despite the presumptuous incapacity of those who directed the operations against Jackson from Washington, this general might yet have found himself in great jeopardy. Shields, punctual to the rendezvous, had reached Front Royal on the 30th, with a brigade, before which the small Confederate garrison had retired. But the plan of the Federals was too complicated to succeed. It was Fremont who caused its failure by allowing Jackson to reach Strasburg before him by a forced march; finding himself thus placed between his two opponents, he prevented them from acting in concert and paralyzed all their movements. While McDowell was uniting two of his reduced divisions at Front Royal, Fremont, encamped on the neighboring heights of Strasburg, waited, without stirring, for Jackson to attack him, instead of coming down to bar his passage, or at least to dispute it. The Confederate chief found it easy to occupy his attention by means of a few demonstrations, and thus gave his long column time to escape. At last, on the 1st of June, he was rejoined by the whole of his rear-guard, and quietly resumed his march toward Harrisonburg by the turnpike. His adversaries had been so entirely separated that neither of them felt strong enough to attack him singly; and while each party was waiting for the support of the other, they suffered their prey to escape them. As soon as they became aware of the fact they tried to redeem their error by a vigorous pursuit. They might yet possibly intercept Jackson farther on, and, at all events, turn his retreat into a positive rout. Fremont, who was ascending the valley of the North Fork, was sufficiently near him to retard his march, while Shields' vanguard, by following the parallel valley, had some chance of reaching the right bank of the South Fork in advance of him, and of burning the bridges of that deep river before they could be occupied by the Confederates. If the whole of Shields' division should arrive in time, it could even cross the river in its turn, so as to attack the Confederates in flank, and finally form a junction with Fremont. But Jackson was too
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