On Thursday night, April 17, 1862, the report came that Jackson was attached that morning by thirty-five thousand men and one hundred cannon, and was in full retreat toward Staunton. At that time there were in Staunton clothing for ten thousand or twelve thousand soldiers, ammunition, cannon and other arms, besides the ordinary quartermaster and commissary stores. On the 19th, it being understood that General Jackson had ordered the evacuation of Staunton, the convalescent patients at the hospital and a portion of the military stores were sent by railroad to Charlottesville. The money, etc., of the Staunton banks, the records of the courts, etc., were also sent to Charlottesville. At the same time, General Johnson’s command, in his absence, fell back from the Shenandoah mountain to the village of Westview, in Augusta. It turned out, however, that Jackson had given no orders for these movements, and a degree of confidence was speedily restored. But by the 24th, some of the enemy had appeared on North mountain, at Buffalo Gap, and also at Jennings’ Gap. On the 28th the enemy occupied Harrisonburg, “and helped themselves to whatever they wanted.” There were conflicting reports as to the movements of Jackson and Ewell, but it was evident that they had withdrawn from about Harrisonburg toward the Blue Ridge.
On Saturday, May 3, the news came that Jackson was crossing the Blue Ridge at Brown’s Gap, leaving Ewell at Swift Run Gap, and the way open for the enemy from Harrisonburg to Staunton. Sunday, May 4, was a day full of rumors and excitement. Among other reports, it was stated that 10,000 of the enemy were advancing upon Johnson, at Westview, seven miles west of Staunton. In the afternoon, however, several trains of railway cars arrived from the east, crowded with soldiers. Pickets were immediately posted on all the roads leading from town toward Harrisonburg, and no one was allowed to go in that direction. General Jackson and his staff arrived, on horseback, before night, and it was soon found that the army had entered the Valley again, through Rockfish Gap. Train after train arrived on Monday, and a part of the command came on foot. Jackson’s
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Edited Annals of Augusta County,Virginia, from 1726 to 1871 copyright © 2006-2017 by EagleRidge Technologies, Inc..