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Robert Lewis Dabney, Life and Commands of Lieutenand- General Thomas J. Jackson, Chapter 8: winter campaign in the Valley. 1861-62. (search)
audacious enterprise of clearing away the foes who hung around his own district, and then invading another, occupied by an army as strong as his own. But his genius taught him that his safety lay in audacity. Winchester is the centre to which great thoroughfares converge, from Harper's Ferry on the northeast, from Martinsburg and Williamsport on the north, and from Romney on the northwest; while another highway from the south branch would place his enemies twenty miles in his rear, at Strasburg. He said that unless Romney and the south branch were held, Winchester was untenable, It was true that his central position gave him the interior line of operations; but, to employ this advantage, it was necessary for him to strike one of his adversaries promptly. If he waited until they approached near enough to co-operate, and to hem him in by their convergent motions, he would have no alternative except precipitate retreat or surrender; hence his burning anxiety to be in motion. His
Robert Lewis Dabney, Life and Commands of Lieutenand- General Thomas J. Jackson, Chapter 11: McDowell. (search)
reaching the latter place at evening on the Sabbath; to the unspeakable delight of the inhabitants, who had only heard that the army had disappeared again into Eastern Virginia, no one knew whither. By Monday evening, the whole army came up, and the junction with General Johnson was virtually effected. Meantime, General Banks no sooner learned that General Ewell had reached Elk Run, and that General Jackson had vanished thence, than he hastily evacuated Harrisonburg; and retreated to Strasburg, followed by the cavalry of Ashby. The imagination of the Federal leader was affrighted with the notion of an attack in front from Ewell, while the mysterious Jackson should fall upon his flank or rear, from some unimagined quarter. Yet his force present at Harrisonburg, about twenty thousand men, was superior to that of both generals united! On Wednesday morning, May 7th, a day having been employed in collecting and refreshing the troops, General Johnson broke up his camp at West Vi