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the structure was still standing; for he had now awakened to some conception of its importance to him. They found it safe; but hearing that there was a corporal's guard of Confederate soldiers a few miles above, watching a parcel of stores, they dashed off to capture them, instead of remaining to guard the bridge, or else returning to report its condition to their com mander. The stores were captured, and the guard escaped; but when the head of Shields's main column reached the bridge, the Confederates had arrived, and the work was hopelessly involved in flames. The Shenandoah, still swollen by the rains of a late and ungenial spring, was nowhere fordable, and the construction of a bridge in the presence of such a foc as Jackson was not an inviting enterprise. He was now master of the situation: he had comprehended all the conditions of the critical problem upon which he staked the very existence of his army; and while all others were full of anxious forebodings, he awaited the issue with calm determination.

The part which remained to him in the coming tragedy was to hold fast his command of the brigade at Port Republic, and to seize his opportunity to crush the one of his assailants, now approaching from opposite directions, whom he judged it most judicious to attack. But the nearness of both of them, (within less than a day's march,) left little room for seeking the advantage which he knew so well how to use, by rapid movements, and successive blows. To any inferior leader, the danger would have been imminent of a simultaneous attack in front and rear; for if the converging detachments of enemies are allowed time to make such attacks, then indeed, all the success expected from the bungling plan of thus surrounding an army, may be realized. To understand the consummate union, of skill and audacity with which Jackson obviated this danger, and still compelled his enemics to fight him in detail, although within sight of the smoke



of each others' guns; a more particular description of the ground is necessary. Between Harrisonburg and Port Republic the country is occupied by the wooded ridges characteristic of a limestone region, elevated but rounded, and practicable for the movements even of artillery; and these are interspersed with farms and fields which fill the vales. These bold hills extend to the river's brink on that side; while between the waters and the mountain, where Shields was approaching, the country stretches out in low and smooth meadows, everywhere commanded from the heights across the stream. Between these level fields and the mountain itself, is interposed a zone of forest, of three miles' width, broken into insignificant hillocks, and interposed with tangled brush-wood, which stretches parallel with the river and the Blue Ridge, for a day's march above and below. The little village is seated on the southeastern side of the Shenandoah, in the level meadows, and just within the angle between the main stream and a tributary called South River. The only road to Brown's Gap, descending from the bold highlands of the northwest bank, over the long wooden bridge, passes through the hamlet, crosses the South River by a ford, and speedily hides itself, upon its way to the mountain-base, in the impenetrable coppices of the wood.

General Shields, disappointed in the hope of joining Fremont by the bridge at Elk Run valley, continued his march up the southeastern bank of the river, by the same difficult road which the Confederates had followed in their march from Swift Run in April. On the evening of Saturday, the 7th of June, his advance appeared at Lewiston, the country-seat of General Lewis, three miles below the village. The main object dictated by General Jackson's situation now was, to keep his enemies apart, separated as they were by the swollen stream, and to fight first the one or the other of them, as his interest might advise him.

The defeat of one would obviously procure the retreat of both; for their cautious and timid strategy required the concert of the two armies to embolden them for coping with their dreaded adversary. It was manifest that good generalship should select Shields as the victim of the first blow. His force was smaller than that of Fremont, and so it was reasonable to expect an easier victory over it. If he were beaten, his retreat would be hemmed in between the river and the mountain, to a single scarcely practicable road; whereas General Fremont would be able, if overthrown, to withdraw by a number of easy highways. If, on the other hand, the attack of the Confederates upon Shields were unsuccessful, they would be able to retire into their own country, and nearer their supplies; while if they were defeated in an assault on Fremont upon the other side of the river, they would have that barrier to a retreat in their rear, with Shields's army unbroken, threatening them with destruction. It might appear, at first thought, that the obvious way to carry out the purpose of attacking Shields and defeating him separately, was to withdraw the whole Confederate army at once to the same side of the river with him, burn the bridge, thus leaving Fremont alone and useless upon the other bank, and then fall with full force upon the former. This, any other good soldier than Jackson would probably have done; but his designs were more audacious and profound still. With whatever promptitude he might attack Shields, he saw that the battle-field must be upon the southeastern margin of the Shenandoah, and under the heights of the opposite bank; which, if he yielded all the country on that side to Fremont, would of course be crowned by his artillery. And then, the struggle would have been virtually against both his foes combined; although the waters still flowed between their troops. In addition, his powerful artillery, the right arm of his strength, would then

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