By Sylvain Savoia
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In 1862, from the Valley, Nisbet wrote home in the grip of a contemporary passion at least as pronounced as the spirit of his postwar memoir, describing his reaction to ‘‘our glorious leader’’: ‘‘Like old Frederick the Great, [ Jackson] ﬁghts to win, and will win or die. At the same time, he is very considerate of the lives . . of his men. He makes his ﬁghts at the right time and in the right place. He shares the fate of the men. . We are ready, for we all feel that what he does is all right.
Geary claimed that Jackson’s main force had crossed Ashby’s Gap and was en route to Centreville. Lincoln suspected it remained in the lower Valley. ’’∞∂ Over the next several days, Lincoln sought unsuccessfully to coordinate the e√orts of McDowell and Frémont. On May 26 he asked McDowell, who remained at Falmouth, just up the Rappahannock from Fredericksburg, ‘‘Should not the remainder of your force except su≈cient to hold the point at Frederick’sburg, move this way—to Manassas junction, or to Alexandria?
As commander of this Department, should you not be here? ’’ The next day he telegraphed Frémont. ‘‘I see you are at Mooreﬁeld [due west of Strasburg],’’ stated the exasperated president. ‘‘You were expressly ordered to march to Harrisonburg. m. on May 28, that his troops su√ered from short rations and were in no condition to undertake more marching. The general also assumed he had discretion to follow a line of march that seemed most appropriate, but if ordered to do so, he would literally follow Lincoln’s directions.