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s, rich with their abundant crops. The scene was a beautiful one, well calculated to rivet the attention and awaken the admiration of the beholder. But other scenes, of greater interest to the veteran soldier, met the gaze of the observing staffofficer. Upon an ordinary country road, approaching the Shenandoah River almost at the base of the mountain on which he stood, and crossing the stream at that point by a ford, thence losing itself in the system of ravines and hills leading to Chester's Gap, a large body of rebel infantry were moving in close column and most perfect order. Several thousand of these infantry were seen, followed by a large body of mounted men, subsequently shown to be sick and disabled soldiers mounted on horses stolen in Pennsylvania. The rear of the line was covered by a large body of cavalry. On the turnpike beyond, running nearly parallel with the country road above described, leading directly to Front Royal, were the long wagon trains of the enemy,
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: Volume 2., The Peninsular campaign. (search)
y command, and authorizing me to with — draw from the troops therein ten thousand, to form a division to be added to the First Corps. The fortifications of Washington were at this time completed and armed. I had already given instructions for the refortification of Manassas, the reopening of the Manassas Gap Railroad, the protection of its bridges by block-houses, the intrenchment of a position for a brigade at or near the railroad crossing of the Shenandoah, and an intrenched post at Chester Gap. I left about 42,000 troops for the immediate defense of Washington, and more than 35,000 for the Shenandoah Valley--an abundance to insure the safety of Washington and to check any attempt to recover the lower Shenandoah and threaten Maryland. Beyond this force, the reserves of the Northern States were all available. On my arrival at Fort Monroe on the 2d of April, I found five divisions of infantry, Sykes's brigade of regulars, two regiments of cavalry, and a portion of the reserve
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: Volume 2., chapter 8.58 (search)
retired from the valley of the Shenandoah to Richmond, so there was not at that time any force of the enemy of any consequence within several days' march of my command. I accordingly sent orders to General Sigel to move forward, cross the Shenandoah at Front Royal, and, pursuing the west side of the Blue Ridge to Luray, and then crossing it at Thornton's Gap, take post at Sperryville. At the same time I directed General Banks to cross the Shenandoah at Front Royal and proceed by way of Chester Gap to Little Washington. Ricketts's division of McDowell's corps, then at and beyond Manassas Junction, was ordered to move forward to Waterloo Bridge, where the turnpike from Warrenton to Sperryville crosses the Rappahannock, there known as Hedgman's River. In deference to the wishes of the Government, and much against my opinion, King's division of the same corps was kept at Fredericksburg. The wide separation of this division from the main body of the army not only deprived me of its u
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Volume 3., The battle of Fredericksburg. (search)
xtended from Culpeper Court House (where the First Corps was stationed) on its right across the Blue Ridge down the Valley of Virginia to Winchester. There Jackson was encamped with the Second Corps, except one division which was stationed at Chester Gap on the Blue Ridge Mountains. About the 18th or 19th of November, we received information through our scouts that Sumner, with his grand division of more than thirty thousand men, was moving toward Fredericksburg. Evidently he intended to srals; still they would have had the chance of success in their favor, while in the battle as it was fought it can hardly be claimed that there was even a chance. Burnside made a mistake from the first. He should have gone from Warrenton to Chester Gap. He might then have held Jackson and fought me, or have held me and fought Jackson, thus taking us in detail. The doubt about the matter was whether or not he could have caught me in that trap before we could concentrate. At any rate, that
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Volume 3., The first day at Gettysburg. (search)
B. F. Smith at Martinsburg. On the night of June 11th, Milroy received instructions to join Kelley, but, reporting that he could hold Winchester, was authorized to remain there. Ewell, leaving Brandy Station June 10th, reached Cedarville via Chester Gap on the evening of the 12th, whence he detached Jenkins and Rodes to capture McReynolds, who, discovering their approach, withdrew to Winchester. They then pushed on to Martinsburg, and on the 14th drove out the garrison. Smith's infantry croOrange and Alexandria Railroad, and occupied Thoroughfare Gap in advance of it. On the 15th Longstreet left Culpeper, keeping east of the Blue Ridge and so covering its gaps. Hill left Fredericksburg on the 14th, and reached Shepherdstown via Chester Gap on the 23d. Stuart's cavalry had been thrown out on Longstreet's right to occupy the passes of the Bull Run mountains and watch Hooker's army. On the 17th he encountered, near Aldie, a portion of Pleasonton's command; a fierce fight ensued,
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Volume 4., From Gettysburg to the coming of Grant. (search)
on upon the enemy's flank and rear, and by a determined attack cut him off from the Potomac while the rest of the army moved directly on his front. This proposition, it appears, was negatived in the council. [See Vol. III., p. 382.] The next day was passed in observation and in preparations for an attack. In the night-time (July 13th) Lee's army withdrew, and, falling rapidly back, crossed the Potomac in safety. Longstreet's corps moved up the valley, crossed the Blue Ridge by way of Chester Gap, and proceeded to Culpeper Court House, Fort Ramsey, Upton's Hill, Virginia, showing Mrs. Forney's House and signal Observatory, 1863. View of Aldie Gap, Virginia. where it arrived on the 24th. Hill's corps followed closely by the same route. Ewell, delayed by a fruitless pursuit of General Kelley's force west of Martinsburg, found the Gap obstructed by Meade, crossed the mountains farther up at Thornton's Gap, and joined the other corps in the vicinity of Culpeper. Kilpatrick
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Volume 4., The battle of New Market, Va., May 15th, 1864. (search)
tune favored us in a most unexpected way. Early in the afternoon of Sunday, the 8th of May, Captain Bartlett announced from his signal station on top of the Massanutten Mountain, overlooking Strasburg, that two bodies of cavalry, which he estimated at one thousand men each, had left General Sigel's camp in the forenoon, the one moving across the North Mountain westward on the Moorefield road, and the other eastward through Front Royal, passing that town and taking the road leading through Chester Gap in the Blue Ridge. These facts convinced me that Sigel, before venturing to advance, meant to ascertain whether he had enemies in dangerous force within striking distance on either flank; an investigation which would consume several days. As there were no troops, except my little band, nearer than General Lee's army, it was manifestly important to attack these detachments as far from Strasburg as possible and delay their return as long as possible. I summoned Colonel Smith, of the 62d,
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Volume 4., Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley. (search)
The winter of 1864-65 was passed by Sheridan's command at Kernstown, where better protection could be given the troops and a short line of supplies secured. He moved to this position in November. About this time I moved under orders with my division of cavalry into Loudoun Valley and reduced it to a state of destitution, so far as supplies for the enemy were concerned, as had been done in other parts of the valley. On December 19th Torbert with two divisions of cavalry marched through Chester Gap in another raid on the Virginia Central Railway; but this attempt, like the others, was unsuccessful. The local troops and Valley cavalry succeeded in delaying Torbert until infantry was hurried by rail from Richmond, when he was forced to retire. As a diversion in favor of Torbert's expedition Custer's cavalry was moved up the Valley to engage the cavalry of Early. Near Harrisonburg he was attacked and surprised and was forced to retreat. In making these expeditions the troops suff
Benson J. Lossing, Pictorial Field Book of the Civil War. Volume 2., Chapter 18: Lee's invasion of Maryland, and his retreat toward Richmond. (search)
ppahannock Station. --See McClellan's Report, page 237. Burnside's sense of the magnitude of his trust made him exceedingly cautious, and instead of going forward to the point of a great battle, to which McClellan's movements seemed tending, with promises of success, At that time Lee's army was in a perilous position. A great part of It, as we have observed, was under Longstreet, in the vicinity of the Rapid Anna; while Jackson, with a heavy force, was in the Shenandoah Valley, near Chester and Thornton's Gaps. A vigorous movement forward at this time must have fatally severed the two forces. To effect that object seems to have been McClellan's design. I doubt, he said, whether, during the whole period that I had the honor to command the Army of the Potomac, it was in such excellent condition to fight a great battle. he occupied about ten days getting the army, now one hundred and twenty thousand strong, well in mind and hand, and in reorganizing it. He consolidated th
Benson J. Lossing, Pictorial Field Book of the Civil War. Volume 3., Chapter 2: Lee's invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania. (search)
of about five hundred men. Stuart reported his loss at six hundred men, among whom was General W. H. F. Lee, wounded. Pleasanton's cavalry reconnaissance developed the fact of Lee's grand movement, but so perfectly were his real intentions concealed, that while Hooker was expecting him to follow his route of the previous year, See chapter XVII., volume II. and was watching and guarding the fords of the Rappahannock, he projected his left wing, under Ewell, through the Blue Ridge at Chester's Gap, and by way of Front Royal it crossed the Shenandoah River, and burst into the valley at Strasburg like an avalanche. That energetic leader moved with the divisions of Early and Edward Johnston rapidly down the Valley pike, and arrived before Winchester, where General Milroy was in command of about ten thousand men, on the evening of the 13th, June, 1863. having marched from Culpepper, a distance of seventy miles, in three days. At the same time Imboden, with his cavalry, was operating
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