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ts) commanded Harper's Ferry and the whole line of the Upper Potomac, and it was confidently expected that he would succeed in breaking the backbone of rebellion. On our side, to watch and profit by the false moves of this New-Englander, General Turner Ashby and his cavalry were stationed at Charlestown, in the Shenandoah Valley, and kept continually hovering between that point and Harper's Ferry, intercepting supplies, capturing foraging parties, and making frequent dashes into the enemy's lihe Lower Potomac unnavigable by numerous batteries armed with Armstrong and Whitworth guns, and we endeavored to imitate the example by stopping all traffic on the north banks of the Upper Potomac. These incessant demonstrations and the raids of Ashby's cavalry so incensed the Federal troops that they swore eternal enmity against every Secessionist. Being out on picket, we enjoyed ourselves amazingly among the farmers, who willingly furnished all things needful, and as our camps were near
iment of cavalry, and several hundred militia, Ashby gradually approached Harper's Ferry, and sent n of his command, although he ardently admired Ashby's bravery, and yearned to assist him. Knowing cket-fires and videttes. There was no sign of Ashby or his command: but when the mists of morning barracks and storehouses, establishments that Ashby had long beheld with a jealous and covetous ey. Shortly afterwards clouds of dust indicated Ashby's approach. At eight A. M. to a minute he hal and dispersed the rest in wild confusion. Ashby now advanced several hundred yards nearer, andfortified house used for barracks in Bolivar. Ashby observed this place, and stealing along the roe heights on which we stood, but did no harm. Ashby, seeing that he was greatly outnumbered, and tgallantly advancing, repulsed the enemy; while Ashby, conspicuous on a white horse, led on the cavards Winchester, to get under the protection of Ashby. This indeed was startling news. The men had[4 more...]
in the Shenandoah Valley character of this General Ashby's cavalry force heavy marching bivouac in the snowo the Valley in the beginning of December, 1861, General Ashby, with his own regiment and other cavalry detachm did we accomplish the object for which we started. Ashby's cavalry arrived at the appointed time, and took upGarnett commanding the left, Jackson the centre, and Ashby, with his cavalry, the right. Heavy skirmishing was., when a full brigade of the enemy were observed by Ashby endeavoring to get in on our right and rear, while trrounded if this flank movement should be permitted, Ashby determined to put a bold face upon matters, and attat a swinging gallop, but had not proceeded far, when Ashby again advanced, sabre in hand, and his men were soon discomfited horsemen through to the rear. While Ashby's gallant little band was thus checking the enemy only pushed across the mountain towards Harrisonburgh; Ashby's cavalry and the enemy's being continually engaged
r final shellings. A great move was evidently preparing by both parties, but few could guess its object. Banks and others at Harper's Ferry were in great force, and were beginning to move up the Shenandoah slowly and cautiously. General ( Stonewall ) Jackson had been detached from Manassas before Christmas, with about three thousand men, which, together with those already in the valley, might make a total of ten thousand, but certainly not more. He was ably seconded by Generals Ewell and Ashby, and no three men in the Confederacy knew the country better. Although their force was small, and that of the enemy large, they unexpectedly appeared and disappeared like phantoms before Banks and Shields, acting like Jack-o‘--lanterns to draw them on to destruction. Our position on the Upper Potomac at Leesburgh was also threatened at not less than four points, namely, westward, from Lovettsville and Harper's Ferry; northward, from Point of Rocks; eastward, from Edwards's Ferry; and ou
est, we pushed through Strasburgh, and took the road towards Charlottesville, and had thus got a start of over twenty miles ere the enemy's cavalry came in sight. Ashby, as usual, was in the rear, and nobly beat back the foe, and saved us from annihilation; every rise in the road was disputed by him, until at last the Federals seeport, and ere he had crossed over to that town, our advance was well up with him; while the number of dead, wounded, and prisoners along the road showed what havoc Ashby had made among the foe with his cavalry. Hats, caps, muskets, boots, wagons, dead, wounded, prisoners, burning stores, sabres, pistols, etc., lined every yard of e far more fatigued than they, the punishment inflicted and the vigor of our pursuit were not half as effective as they might have been. Never giving up, however, Ashby still hung on their rear, and unmercifully thrashed them whenever they turned to fight. At last, totally prostrated from fatigue, and helpless as children, we rea
y Shields and Fremont battle of cross Keys Ashby killed battle of Port Republic end of the Vashing along the muddy roads as best we might, Ashby and his cavalry in the rear skirmishing and brte, cavalry skirmishing was incessant, so that Ashby's regiment of one thousand men was completely oping forward, and we retired. The brigade of Ashby now came up, and, with loud shouts, attacked tg that the enemy's infantry were near at hand, Ashby sent information to Ewell, who soon counterma broke and ran, and while doing so, out rushed Ashby's cavalry, and overtaking them in open ground,e of the universal grief when this was known. Ashby, the chivalric cavalry leader, loved by all,, They gave us no time to prepare to meet them. Ashby had but begun to form his men, before three reded not until this infantry opened fire. Here Ashby drew up his men, and remained beneath their fi of cavalry. The infantry having arrived, Generals Ashby, Ewell, and Stewart (of Maryland) led them[12 more...]
alted some two miles distant, and invited another attack, the enemy would not pursue, but rested where they had fought. Next day reenforcements were sent up, when we advanced again, and endeavored to draw on an engagement; but the Federals remained close within their lines, and allowed us to forage without the shadow of resistance. Stuart has been much censured for his conduct in this surprise, and has seldom figured since in command of infantry. As a cavalry officer he stood second to Ashby only in Virginia, and, from his thorough knowledge of the country, was of incalculable service on all occasions. It was at Williamsburgh I first saw him. Commanding the cavalry rear-guard on that occasion, he was obliged to fall back before superior numbers, and rode up to Johnston's headquarters in the village to report just as the enemy appeared advancing on the redoubts from the Yorktown and Warwick Court-house roads. He appeared much fatigued and overworked, and would have served admi