James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.
|force at Front Royal and put it to rout, capturing a large part of it. Banks himself was then at Strasburg with 6800; but next day, fearing that his retreat would be cut off, he “ran a race” with Jackson to Winchester. The pursuit was hot, but the fighting of his rear-guard prevented his capture, and he reached Winchester first. During these two days, however, Jackson had produced big results. The War Department in Washington received despatch after despatch from the theatre of operations, each more alarming than the last. Reënforcements were ordered to Banks from Baltimore; Harper’s Ferry sent him a portion of its garrison.
| Until May 24, the faulty disposition of the Union forces was largely due to orders from the War Department, coming in Stanton’s name. Now the President tried his hand at strategy. He directed Frëmont to move into the Shenandoah Valley to a point in Jackson’s rear. He suspended the order which had been given to McDowell to unite with McClellan and instructed him to send 20,000 men to the Shenandoah Valley to assist Frémont in the capture of Jackson; or, if Frémont should be late, he suggested that McDowell’s force alone would be sufficient to accomplish the object.
| At daybreak, on Sunday, May 25, Jackson routed Banks at Winchester, gave hot pursuit to the “mass of disordered fugitives,” was at one time on the point of destroying the entire force and finally drove them across the Potomac river. “There were never more grateful hearts in the same number of men,” wrote Banks, “than when at midday of the 26th we stood on the opposite shore.” 1
| The despatches sent to Washington on the Sunday came chiefly from panic-stricken men and greatly alarmed the President and Secretary of War. The main objective,