I saw a little fellow stoop, and, resting his rifle on his knee, take a long aim and fire. Fortunately, they shot no better at their own men than they did at the enemy, as not a man was touched. Up to this time we had been absorbed in events immediately at hand, but, quiet being now restored, we heard cannonading back toward Harrisonburg.
On the last of April Jackson slipped away from Swift Run Gap while Ewell quietly took his place and Ashby blinded Banks by driving the Federal cavalry back on Harrisonburg. Jackson's men were thoroughly puzzled and disheartened when they had to leave the Valley in full possession of the enemy while they ploughed through seas of mud towards Richmond. What was the matter? Were they off to Richmond?
Sunday morning was full of rumours and excitement. 10,000 Federals, it was reported, were advancing against Johnson at West View; Banks was moving from Harrisonburg; his cavalry had been seen from the neighbouring hills, and Staunton believed that it was to share the fate of Winchester.
Fremont, on the same date, was instructed to halt at Harrisonburg, and Shields to march to Fredericksburg. But before Stanton's dispatches reached their destination both Fremont and Shields had been defeated, and the plans of the Northern Cabinet were once more upset.
I do not object to his knowing this, nor to his having an exaggerated idea of their number. You will regard these instructions as important." "I will do my best, sir." "Good, good! That is all, colonel." Munford returned to Harrisonburg, drew his cordon across the Valley, and pushed his outposts twelve miles to the northward.
He's jerked that right hand of his into the air sixteen times since we left Harrisonburg day before yesterday, and the staff says he prays at night most powerful. Done a little praying myself; hope the Lord will look after the Valley, seeing we aren't going to do it ourselves!" Cleave drew his horse to one side. "I'll wait here until he comes up no, not the Lord; General Jackson.
I therefore thought that the interest of the service would be subserved by removing one whose growing indifference might render the best-laid plans inoperative. "HEADQUARTERS MIDDLE MILITARY DIVISION. "HARRISONBURG, VA., SEPT. 25, 1864 11:30 P. M. "LIEUT-GENERAL GRANT, Comd'g, City Point, Va. "I have relieved Averell from his command. "P. H. SHERIDAN, Major-General."
Then, with much volubility, she said we were near Front Royal; that the town was filled with Federals, whose camp was on the west side of the river, where they had guns in position to cover the bridge; that they believed Jackson to be west of the Massanuttons, near Harrisonburg; that General Banks was at Winchester, where he was concentrating his widely scattered forces to meet Jackson's advance, which was expected some days later.
The Army of the Valley, when the Commander-in-Chief's letter was received, had already been put in motion. Three roads lead from Conrad's store in the Elk Run Valley to Johnson's position at West View; one through Harrisonburg; the second by Port Republic, Cross Keys, and Mount Sidney; the third, the river road, by Port Republic and Staunton.
Sherman's orders to Smith required him to make use of the interval by co-operating with the navy in an expedition up the Black and the Washita, for the destruction of Harrisonburg, but Porter had already done the work single-handed.