their forces at Strasburg so as to have prevented his retreat up the Valley? To which he promptly replied: "I should have fallen back into Maryland for reinforcements." Then recurring to the subject which seemed uppermost in his mind, he told me that in making the proposed counter-movement northward he would advance toward the Potomac along the eastern side of the Blue Ridge, making his march secret as much as possible, and by rapidly crossing the mountain at the most available gap, he could, by getting in the rear of Banks (who had returned to Winchester), readily dispose of him, and thereby open up the road to Western Maryland and Pennsylvania by way of Williamsport, etc. Ordinarily, Jackson was exceedingly reticent in regard to his plans and purposes, but on this occasion he spoke without reserve and was more communicative than I ever knew him to be. Our conversation occurred after dinner, and in concluding it, he asked when it would suit me to go again to Richmond and make the application he desired. I told him in reply I would go at once; would ride that evening over to Staunton, which was some fifteen miles from our encampment, and take the cars next morning for the Confederate capital. This seemed to be satisfactory to him, so I proceeded forthwith to prepare for the journey. Arriving at Richmond the next evening after office hours, I lost no time in seeing the Secretary of War at his residence. He referred me to President Davis, who, in turn, told me to submit the matter to General Lee, whereupon, late as it was, I procured a horse and rode out to the commanding general's headquarters on the lines below Richmond.
General Lee had not yet retired for the night, and after listening to what I had to say, with the kindly courtesy which so eminently characterized his intercourse with every one, replied by asking me a question I was not prepared to answer.
"Colonel," said he, "don't you think General Jackson had better come down here first and help me to drive these trouble-some people away from before Richmond?""I think," said I, "that it would be very presumptuous in me, general, to answer that question, as it would be hazarding an opinion upon an important military movement which I don't feel competent to give."