Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/99

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Career "/</ chum,-!, / <,/ General '/'. ./. ./m-i^.n. 95

army, but in his miiul he clearly saw the locality and strength of the armies of Fremont and McDowell, gradually converging from the raM and west towards Strasburg to cut of his retreat. He knew the leaders of these hostile forces, their skill and moral courage, and calculated on it, and this so nicely that he was able to pass between them without a moment to spare. Indeed, he held these hosts apart with his skirmishers while his main army passed through, each com- mander of the Federal army in doubt and dread whether the mighty and mysterous Jackson intended one of his overwhelming blows for him. Both, doubtless, hoping the other one would catch it. Cer- tainly they acted in a way to indicate this.

With the help of Ashby and Stuart he always knew the location and strength of his enemy. He knew the fighting quality of the enemy's forces too. " Let the Yankees get very close," he said to Ewell at Cross Keys, "before your infantry fires, they won't stand long." I asked him at Cedar Run if he expected a battle that day. He smiled and said: " Banks is in our front and he is generally wil- ling to fight, and," he added very slowly, as if to himself, "and he generally gets whipped."

At Malvern Hill, when a portion of our army was beaten and to some extent demoralized, Hill and Ewell and Early came to tell him that they could make no resistance if McClellan attacked them in the morning. It was difficult to wake General Jackson, as he was exhausted and very sound asleep. I tried it myself and after many efforts partly succeeded. When he was made to understand what was wanted, he said: "McClellan and his army will be gone by daylight," and went to sleep again. The generals thought him mad, but the prediction was true.

At Sharpsburg, when on the ijth, our army had repulsed three great assaults in succession and was reduced to a thin line, happen- ing to have urgent business that took me to the front, I expressed to General Jackson my apprehension lest the surging mass of the enemy might get through. He replied: " I think they have done their worst and there is now no danger of the line being broken." McClellan' s inaction during the long i8th when General Lee stood firm and offered him battle, proves that Jackson knew his enemy's condition.

At Fredericksburg, after Burnside's repulse, he asked me how many bandages I had. I told him, and asked why he wanted to know. He said that he wanted to have a piece of white cloth to tie on each man's arm that his soldiers might recognize each other in a