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[724]

Stonewall Jackson's Valley campaign.

Colonel William Allan.
After the disastrous termination of Braddock's campaign against Fort Duquesne, in the summer of 1756, Colonel George Washington, to whom was intrusted the duty of protecting the Allegheny frontier of Virginia from the French and Indians, established himself at Winchester, in the lower Shenandoah Valley, as the point from which he could best protect the district assigned to him. Here he subsequently built Fort Loudoun, and made it the base of his operations. A grass-grown mound, marking the site of one of the bastions of the old fort, and Loudoun street, the name of the principal thoroughfare of the town, remain, to recall an important chapter in colonial history. It was this old town that Major General T. J. Jackson entered on the evening of November 4th, 1861, as commander of the “Valley District,” and established his headquarters within musket shot of Fort Loudoun. He had been made major general on October 7th, for his services at the first battle of Manassas, and was now assigned to this important command because of the expectations formed from his capacity, as well as from the fact of his acquaintance with the country. His district embraced the territory bounded north by the Potomac, east by the Blue Ridge, and west by the Alleghenies. Born and reared in Western Virginia, and filled with a patriot's devotion to the land of his birth, he had manifested a strong desire to be employed in the operations in that region, and had cherished the ambition of freeing his former home from hostile domination. The Confederates, during the summer, had in that region been unsuccessful. General Robert Garnett had [725] been forced to retreat by General McClellan, and had then met defeat and death at Carrick's ford, on Cheat river, July 13th. This gave the Federals the control of the greater part of Virginia, west of the Alleghenies, and the subsequent efforts of Generals Floyd and Wise, and still later, of General Lee, availed only to prevent further encroachments of the enemy — not to regain the lost territory.

When, therefore, General Jackson assumed command of the Valley of Virginia, the enemy had possession of all the State north of the Great Kanawha, and west of the Alleghenies, and had pushed their outposts into that mountain region itself, and in some cases eastward of the main range. Thus General Kelly had captured Romney, the county-seat of Hampshire county, forty miles west of Winchester, and now occupied it with a force of five thousand men. This movement gave the Federals control of the fertile valley of the south branch of the Potomac. Another, though much smaller force, occupied Bath, the county-seat of Morgan county, forty miles due north of Winchester, while the north bank of the Potomac was everywhere guarded by Union troops. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was open and available for the supply of the Federal troops from Baltimore to Harper's Ferry, and again from a point opposite (Hancock) westward. The section of about forty miles from Harper's Ferry to Hancock, lying for the most part some distance within the Virginia border, had been interrupted and rendered useless by the Confederates, but this gap was now supplied by the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which was open all the way from Cumberland, Maryland, to Georgetown, in the District of Columbia. The plan of operations that Jackson had conceived for regaining West Virginia was to move along the Baltimore Railroad and the turnpikes parallel to it, and thus enter West Virginia at the northeastern end. In this way he could turn the left flank of the enemy's forces, place himself on their communications and force them to evacuate, or fight under circumstances of his own selection. Having seen how his predecessors had been hampered, in trying to operate from Staunton westward, by the difficult and inaccessible nature of the country, composed almost entirely of mountains destitute of supplies, and penetrated by nothing but indifferent wagon roads, he was anxious to try a mode of approach, which, if more exposed to the enemy, had the advantage of being easier, by lying through a much more populous and cultivated region, of affording to some extent the use of a railroad for supplies, and which would soon place him in the midst of some of the most fertile parts of West Virginia. In order to carry out this scheme, he asked for his old brigade, which [726] had been left at Manassas, and that all the forces operating along the line of the Alleghenies, southwest of Winchester, and lately commanded by General Lee, should be concentrated under his command. This would have given him fifteen thousand or sixteen thousand men, the least force with which he thought it possible to undertake so bold an enterprise.

His wishes were complied with in part. His own brigade was promptly sent to him, and one of the brigades of Loring's troops (General Loring had succeeded General Lee) reached him early in December. Subsequently two more brigades, under General Loring himself, were added, but all these troops only increased the small force of three thousand State militia, which he had assembled in the district itself, to about eleven thousand men. The greater part of General Loring's force did not arrive at Winchester until Christmas, thus preventing any important movements during November and December. But, meantime, Jackson was not idle. He spent the time in organizing, equipping, and drilling the militia and the scattered cavalry commands, which he consolidated into a regiment under Colonel Ashby, and sent expeditions against the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, by breaking which he annoyed the enemy, and interrupted an important line of communication. By the last week in December, all the troops that the War Department thought it judicious to spare him had arrived, and, though the season was far advanced, he determined at once to assume the offensive. The winter had so far been mild, the roads were in excellent condition, and though his force was not large enough for the recovery of West Virginia, important advantages seemed within reach. The forces and positions of the enemy opposed to Jackson at the beginning of 1862 were as follows: General Banks, commanding the Fifth Corps of McClellan's army, with headquarters at Frederick, Md., had sixteen thousand effective men, the greater part of whom were in winter quarters, near that city, while the remainder guarded the Potomac from Harper's Ferry to Williamsport; General Rosecrans, still holding command of the Department of West Virginia, had twenty-two thousand men scattered over that region, but was concentrating them on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. He says, in his testimony (see Report of Committee on the Conduct of the War, 1865, Volume III.):

On the 6th of December, satisfied that the condition of the roads over the Alleghenies into Western Virginia, as well as the scarcity of the subsistence and horse feed, would preclude any serious operations of the enemy against us until the opening of the spring, I began quietly and secretly to assemble all the spare troops [727] of the department in the neighborhood of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, under cover of about five thousand men I had posted at Romney,with the design of obtaining General McClellan's permission to take nearly all these troops and suddenly seize, fortify and hold Winchester, whereby I should at once more effectually cover the northeastern and central parts of Western Virginia, and at the same time threaten the left of the enemy's position at Manassas, compel him to lengthen his line of defense in front of the Army of the Potomac, and throw it farther south.

This plan of Rosecrans was foiled by Jackson's movement.

On the 1st of January, 1862, the latter left Winchester at the head of about ten thousand men, and moved toward Bath, in Morgan county. The fine weather of the preceding month changed on the very first night of the expedition, and a terrible storm of sleet and snow and cold set in, which, for the next three weeks, subjected the troops to the severest hardships, and finally forced their commander to suspend his forward movement. At first the troops marched cheerfully on in spite of cold and sleet. Bath was evacuated, but General Lander, who, within a day or two had superseded Rosecrans, hurried reinforcements to Hancock in time to prevent Jackson from crossing the Potomac. Jackson, having made a demonstration against Hancock, did what damage was possible to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and placed himself between Lander, at Hancock, and Kelly, at Romney, moved toward the latter place as fast as the icy roads would permit. Kelly did not await his approach but hastily retired, and, on January 14th, Jackson entered Romney. Here, though the weather and roads grew worse, the Confederate leader had no intention of stopping. He arrived at Cumberland and preparations were at once began for a movement on New Creek (now called Keyser), but when the orders to march were given the murmuring and discontent among his troops, especially among those which had recently come under his command, reached such a pitch that he reluctantly abandoned the enterprise, and determined to go into winter quarters. Leaving Loring and his troops at Romney, he returned with his old brigade to Winchester and disposed his cavalry and militia commands so as to protect the whole border of the district.

This expedition, though it had cleared his district of the foe, and effectually broke up the all plans of the enemy for a winter campaign against Winchester, was disappointing to Jackson as well as to the public. Though believing that results had been obtained which outweighed all the suffering and loss, he was conscious that winter and the lack of cordial support had prevented the accomplishment of far more important ends. But this did not lower his self-reliance or diminish his clear-sightedness. The discontent among [728] the troops left at Romney resulted, on the 31st of January, in an order from the Secretary of War, sent without consultation, to withdraw Loring from that place.--Jackson obeyed the order, and at --once resigned, on the ground that such interference, by the department at Richmond, with the details of military affairs in the field, could only lead to disaster. After explanations, and upon the urgent request of Governor Letcher and General J. E. Johnston, he withdrew the resignation. Subsequently there was no desire on anybody's part to interfere with him. For the next month Jackson remained quietly at Winchester. General Loring and all his troops that were not Virginians were ordered elsewhere, and in order to induce reenlistments, furloughs were freely granted. The Confederate force was in this way reduced to about four-thousand men, exclusive of militia.

With the 1st of March opened the great campaign of 1862, in Virginia, in which Jackson was to bear so prominent a part. In other sections of the Confederacy fortune favored the Federal cause, and the Union armies were on the full tide of success. On the 8th of February Roanoke Island fell, on the 16th Fort Donelson, on the 26th Nashville, and on the 27th the evacuation of Columbus (Kentucky) was begun. These successes made the Federal administration impatient to push forward operations in Virginia. At the urgent representation of General McClellan, President Lincoln had yielded his favorite plan of campaign — an advance against the Confederate lines at Manassas-and had reluctantly consented to the transfer of the Army of the Potomac to Fort Monroe, and its advance thence on Richmond. Before he would allow McClellan, however, to begin the transfer, the Potomac river, below Washington, must be cleared of Confederate batteries, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad must be recovered and protected, and all the approaches to Washington must be made secure. To fulfil a part of these conditions, Banks' and Lander's commands were ordered forward, and on February 24th General Banks occupied Harper's Ferry. Soon after McClellan began the movements on his other wing that were preparatory to an attack on the Confederate batteries along the Lower Potomac. These indications of activity announced to General Johnston that the time had come for carrying out his plan-already determined upon-of retreating behind the Rappahannock. On the 7th of March he began the withdrawal of his army, and by the 11th all the infantry and artillery east of the Blue ridge had reached the new position.

Jackson, meanwhile, remained at Winchester, watching closely the advance of Banks, and doing what was possible to impede it. General Johnston thus describes the duty assigned to him: [729]

After it had become evident that the Valley was to be invaded by an army too strong to be encountered by Jackson's Division, that officer was instructed to endeavor to employ the invaders in the Valley, but without exposing himself to the danger of defeat, by keeping so near the enemy as to prevent him from making any considerable detachment to reinforce McClellan, but not so near that he might be compelled to fight.

At this-time Jackson's entire force did not amount to four thousand men, exclusive of the remnants of the militia brigades, which were not employed any more in active service. It consisted of the five regiments of his old brigade, now under Garnet, of three regiments and one battalion under Burks, and of two regiments under Fulkerson. He had also five batteries and Ashby's regiment of cavalry. General Banks had his own division, under Williams, and Shields' (late Lander's troops) Division, now incorporated in his corps. Two brigades of Sedgwick's were also with him when he crossed the Potomac. On the 1st of April the strength of Banks' corps, embracing Shields, is given by General McClellan at twenty-three thousand three hundred and thirty-nine, including three thousand six hundred and fifty-two cavalry, and excluding two thousand one hundred railroad guards. If Sedgwick's Brigades continued with him in his advance on Winchester his entire force was over twenty-five thousand. Jackson sent his stores, baggage and sick to. the rear, but continued to hold his position at Winchester to the last moment.

Banks occupied Charlestown on the 26th of February, but only reached Stephenson's, four miles north of Winchester, on March 7th. Here Jackson drew up his little force in line of battle to meet him, but the Federals withdrew without attacking. The activity of Ashby, and the boldness with which Jackson maintained his position, impressed his adversary with greatly exaggerated notions of his strength. Banks advanced in a cautious and wary manner, refusing to attack, but pushing forward his left wing so as to threaten Jackson's flank and rear. By the 11th of March, the movement had gone so far that it was not longer safe for the Confederates to hold Winchester. Jackson remained under arms all day waiting an attack in front, but none was made, and late in the afternoon he ordered trains and troops into camp near the south end of the town. By some mistake the trains went on six miles further, and the troops had to follow. Jackson called a council of his chief officers — the first and last time, it is to be believed, that he ever summoned a council of war--to meet after dark in Winchester, and proposed to them a night attack upon Banks. His proposition was not approved, and he learned then for the first time that the troops were already six miles from Winchester [730] and ten from the enemy. The plan was now evidently impracticable, and he withdrew from the town, which was occupied by the Federals on the next day (March 12th). The Confederates continued to retreat slowly to Woodstock, Mount Jackson (forty miles in rear of Winchester), and Shields' Division was thrown forward in pursuit to Strasburg on the 17th.

The retirement of Jackson, and the unopposed occupation of the Lower Valley by Banks, relieved General McClellan of all fears in that direction, and induced him, in pursuance of President Lincoln's requirement that Manassas Junction and the approaches to Washington from that direction be securely held, to send the following instructions to Banks, on March 16th:

Sir :--You will post your command in the vicinity of Manassas, intrench yourself strongly and throw cavalry pickets out to the front. Your first care will be the rebuilding of the railway from Washington to Manassas, and to Strasburg, in order to open your communications to the Valley of the Shenandoah. As soon as the Manassas Gap Railway is in running order, intrench a brigade of infantry, say four regiments, with two batteries, at or near the point where the railway crosses the Shenandoah. Something like two regiments of cavalry should be left in that vicinity to occupy Winchester, and thoroughly scour the country south of the railway and up the Shenandoah Valley. * * * Occupy by grand guards Warrenton Junction and Warrenton itself. * * * Some more advanced point on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. * * *

In compliance with these instructions, Shields' Division was recalled from Strasburg, and Williams' Division began its movement toward Manassas on the 20th of March.

On the evening of the 21st, Ashby reported that the enemy had evacuated Strasburg. Jackson, divining that this meant a withdrawal toward Washington, at once ordered pursuit with all his available force. The whole of his little army reached Strasburg on the afternoon of the 22d, the greater part after a march of twenty-two miles. Meantime Ashby was following close behind the retreating enemy, and late in the afternoon of the 22d, as Jackson was entering Strasburg, Ashby was attacking the Federal pickets, one mile south of Winchester. After the skirmish, Ashby camped for the night at Kernstown, three miles south of Winchester. General Shields, who commanded the troops Ashby had attacked, and who was himself wounded in the skirmish, had displayed but a small part of his force; and this fact, combined with information gotten from within the Federal lines, misled the Confederates. The last of Williams' Division, of Banks' Corps, had left on the morning of the 22d for Manassas, but Shields' Division of three brigades still remained. The reports brought out led Ashby to believe that all but one brigade had gone, and that it [731] expected to leave for Harper's Ferry the next day. This information, transmitted to Jackson, caused the latter to push on with all haste the next morning. At daylight he sent three companies of infantry to reinforce Ashby, and followed with his whole force. He reached Kernstown at two P. M., after a march of fourteen miles. General Shields had made his dispositions to meet attack, by advancing Kimball's Brigade of four regiments and Daum's Artillery to the vicinity of Kernstown. Sullivan's Brigade of four regiments was posted in rear of Kimball, and Tyler's Brigade of five regiments, with Broadhead's cavalry, was held in reserve. Ashby kept up an active skirmish with the advance of Shields' force during the forenoon.

But, though thus making ready, the Federal generals did not expect an attack in earnest. Shields says he had the country, in front and flank, carefully reconnoitred during the forenoon on the 23d of March, and the officers in charge reported “no indications of any hostile force except that of Ashby.” Shields continues:

I communicated this information to Major General Banks, who was then with me, and, after consulting together, we both concluded that Jackson could not be tempted to hazard himself so far away from his main support. Having both come to this conclusion, General Banks took his departure for Washington (being already under orders to that effect). The officers of his staff, however, remained behind, intending to leave for Centreville in the afternoon.

When Jackson reached Kernstown, his troops were very weary. Three-fourths of them had marched thirty-six miles since the preceding morning. He, therefore, gave directions for bivouacking, and says:

Though it was very desirable to prevent the enemy from leaving the Valley, yet I deemed it best not to attack until morning. But, subsequently ascertaining that the Federals had a position from which our forces could be seen, I concluded that it would be dangerous to postpone the attack until the next day, as reinforcements might be brought up during the night.

Jackson, therefore, led his men to the attack. His plan was to gain the ridge upon which the Federal right flank rested, turn that flank, and get command of the road from Kernstown to Winchester, in the enemy's rear. He gained the top of the ridge, but Shields was able to hold him in check until Tyler's Brigade and other troops could be hurried to that flank, when Jackson, in turn, became the attacked party. For three hours of this Sunday afternoon the sanguinary and stubborn contest continued. The left half of the Confederate line was perpendicular to the ridge; the right half, which was mainly composed of artillery, ran along the ridge to the rear, and [732] was thus at right angles to the other part. The brunt of the Federal attack was borne by the centre, near the angle presented by that part of the line. Fulkerson's Brigade, holding the extreme Confederate left, firmly maintained his position, but the centre was thinned and worn out by the persistent Federal attacks, until General Garnett, whose brigade was there, deeming it impossible to hold his position longer, ordered a retreat. This, of course, caused the retreat of the whole, which was effected with the loss of two disabled guns, and from two to three hundred prisoners.

Jackson's whole force at this time consisted of three thousand and eighty-seven infantry, of which two thousand seven hundred and forty-two were engaged in the battle of Kernstown; of twenty-seven guns, of which eighteen were engaged, and of two hundred and ninety cavalry. General Shields states his force at seven thousand, of all arms. The total Confederate loss was nearly seven hundred. The Federal is put by General Shields at less than six hundred.

Weary and dispirited was the little army which had marched fourteen miles in the morning to attack a force more than double its own, and which had for three hours wrestled for victory in so vigorous a fashion as to astonish and deceive the enemy. Baffled and overpowered, it slowly retraced its path for six miles more, and sank to rest. In the fence corners, under the trees, and around the wagons the soldiers threw themselves down, many too weary to eat, and forgot, in profound slumber, the trials, dangers, and disappointments of the day. Jackson shared the open air bivouac with his men, and found the rest that nature demanded on some fence rails in a corner of the road. Next morning he crossed to the south side of Cedar creek, and gradually retired before the advancing enemy once more to Mount Jackson.

The bold attack of Jackson at Kernstown, though unsuccessful, led to many important results. Its first effect was the recall of the Federal troops then marching from the Valley toward Manassas. General Shields says:

Though the battle had been won, still I could not have believed that Jackson would have hazarded a decisive engagement so far from the main body without expecting reinforcements. So, to be prepared for such a contingency, I set to work during the night (after the battle) to bring together all the troops within my reach. I sent an express after Williams' Division, requesting the rear brigade, about twenty miles distant, to march all night, and join me in the morning. I swept the forts and routes in my rear of about all their guards, hurrying them forward by forced marches, to be with me at daylight. * * * General Banks, hearing of our engagement on his way to Washington, halted at Harper's Ferry, and with remarkable promptitude and sagacity ordered back Williams' whole division, so that my [733] express found the rear brigade already en route to join us. .The General himself returned forthwith, and after making me a hasty visit, assumed command of the forces in pursuit of the enemy. This pursuit was kept up until they reached Woodstock.

Thus the design of McClellan to post Banks' Corps at Centreville (see letter of March 16th) became impracticable, and that body of over twenty thousand troops was thought necessary to guard against the further movements of Jackson's two thousand, and the imaginary reinforcements with which they supplied him. This battle, too, no doubt decided the question of the detachment of Blenker's Division of ten thousand men from McClellan, and its transfer to Fremont, recently placed in command of the Mountain Department, which embraced West Virginia. While en route from Alexandria to join Fremont, Blenker's Division was to report to Banks, and remain with him as long as he thought any attack from Jackson impending. A few days later the sensitiveness of the Federal Government to the danger of Washington, excited anew by Jackson's movements, led to the detachment of McDowell's Corps. McClellan had left over seventy thousand men for the defense of Washington and its approaches, and yet, after Kernstown, President Lincoln felt so insecure that, on April 3d, he countermanded the order for the embarkation of McDowell's Corps, and detained it in front of Washington, and so deprived McClellan of the finest body of troops in his army. Thus Jackson's bold dash had effected the object of General Johnston in leaving him in the Valley, in a way far more secure than either of them could have expected.

The next month was to Jackson one of comparative inaction. Having slowly retreated to the south bank of the Shenandoah, near Mount Jackson, he spent the next few weeks in resting and recruiting his forces. The militia of the adjoining counties had already been called to the field, but this resource was superseded on the 10th of April by the passage of the Conscription Act. The time for reorganizing the regiments was near at hand. New officers were to be elected. The ranks were filling up under the impetus given to volunteering by the conscription bill. The weather during the first half of April was very raw and cold, and during the whole month was exceedingly rainy. All these causes rendered quiet very acceptable to the Confederates. Nor was the enemy in haste to disturb them. Banks was, on April 4th, placed in independent command of the Department of the Shenandoah, and McDowell of the country between the Blue ridge and the Rappahannock, while Fremont was in command from the Alleghenies westward. These were all made [734] independent of McClellan, and of each other. General Banks followed Jackson but slowly. He reached Woodstock on April 1st, and having pushed back Ashby's cavalry to Edinburg, five miles beyond, he attempted no further serious advance until the 17th. He then moved forward in force and Jackson retired to Harrisonburg, where he turned at right angles to the left, and crossing the main fork of the Shenandoah at Conrad's store, took up his position at the western base of the Blue ridge mountains, in Swift Run gap. This camp the Confederates reached on the 20th of April, and here they remained through ten days more of rain and mud.

Meantime, the advance of McClellan up the Peninsula had begun in earnest. General J. E. Johnston had transferred the mass of his army to the front of Richmond, and had taken command there in person. Ewell's Division alone remained on the Rappahannock to watch the enemy there, and to aid Jackson in case of need. This division was now near Gordonsville, and a good road from that point through Swift Run gap placed it within easy reach of Jackson. The latter, conscious of his inability with five or six thousand men (his force had nearly doubled since Kernstown by the return of furloughed men and by new enlistments) to resist in the open country the advance of Banks, had availed himself of the nature of the country to take a position where he could be attacked only at great disadvantage, and yet might threaten the flank or rear of the advancing column if it attempted to pass him. The main Shenandoah river covered his front — a stream not easily fordable at any time, and now swollen by the spring rains. The spurs of the mountains, as they run out toward this river, afford almost impregnable positions for defense, his flank could only be turned by toilsome, exposed marches, while good roads led from his rear to General Ewell. Thus, secure in his position, Jackson at the same time more effectually prevented the further advance of the Federal column than if he had remained in its front. For he held the bridge over the Shenandoah and was but a day's march from Harrisonburg, and should Banks venture to move forward toward Staunton, he was ready to hurl the Confederate forces against his enemy's flank and rear. General Banks, at Harrisonburg, was in the midst of a hostile country, and already one hundred miles from the Potomac, at Harper's Ferry, with which a long line of wagon communication had to be maintained. To push on to Staunton, with Jackson on his flank or rear, was virtually to sacrifice his present line of communication with no practicable substitute in view; to attack the Confederates on the slopes of the mountains, with even a greatly superior force, was to risk defeat. [735]

On the 28th of April, Jackson applied to General Lee, then acting as commander-in-chief under President Davis, for a reinforcement of five thousand men, which addition to his force he deemed necessary to justify him in marching out and attacking Banks. Next day he was informed that no troops could be spared to him beyond the commands of Ewell and of Edward Johnson, the latter of whom was seven miles west of Staunton, at West View, with one brigade. Jackson at once decided upon his plan of campaign, and the very next day began to put it in execution. This campaign, so successful and brilliant in its results, and now so renowned, shows in its conception the strong points of Jackson's military genius, his clear, vigorous grasp of the situation, his decision, his energy, his grand audacity. It recalls the Italian campaign of 1796, when Napoleon astonished, baffled and defeated the armies of Beaulieu, Wurmser, and Alvinzy in succession. Jackson was now, with about six or seven thousand men, at the base of the Blue ridge, some thirty miles northeast of Staunton. Ewell, with an equal force, was in the vicinity of Gordonsville, twenty-five miles in his rear, and east of the mountains. Edward Johnson was seven miles west of Staunton with three thousand five hundred men. Such was the Confederate position. On the other hand, Banks, with the main body of his forces, of about twenty thousand men, occupied Harrisonburg, twelve or fifteen miles in Jackson's front. Schenck and Milroy, commanding Fremont's advance of six thousand men, were in front of Edward Johnson, their pickets already east of the Shenandoah mountain and on the Harrisonburg and Warm Spring turnpike. Fremont was preparing to join them from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad with ten thousand men-making the total of Fremont's force some fifteen thousand men. McDowell, with thirty thousand men, had drawn away from the Upper Rappahannock, and was concentrating at Fredericksburg. This movement of McDowell had released Ewell and left him free to aid Jackson, who, with a force of about sixteen thousand men (including Ewell and Edward Johnson), had on his hands the thirty-five thousand under Banks and Fremont. The Warm Springs turnpike afforded Banks a ready mode of uniting with Milroy and Schenck, in which case Staunton would be any easy capture. Fremont was already preparing to move in that direction. Jackson determined to anticipate such a movement, if possible, by uniting his own force to that of Johnson, and falling upon Milroy while Ewell kept Banks in check. Then he would join Ewell and with all his strength attack Banks. [736]

To accomplish this, Ewell was ordered to cross the mountain and occupy the position Jackson had held for ten days at Swift Run gap-thus keeping up the menace on Banks' flank. As Ewell approached, Jackson left camp on the 30th of April, and marched up the east bank of the Shenandoah to Port Republic. No participant in that march can ever forget the incessant rain, the fearful mud, the frequent quicksands which made progress so slow and toilsome. More than two days were consumed in going fifteen miles. Meantime, Ashby was demonstrating against the enemy and keeping Jackson's line close, to prevent information from getting through. At Port Republic, the army turned short to the left, left the Shenandoah Valley altogether, crossed Brown's gap in the Blue ridge, and marched to Mechanic's River Station, on the Virginia Central Railroad; thence, by road and rail, it was rapidly moved to Staunton, and by the evening of May 5th it had all reached that point. The movement by this devious route mystified friends as well as foes. One day is given to rest, and on the next Jackson hurries forward, unites Johnson's troops with his own, drives in the Federal pickets and foraging parties, and camps twenty-five miles from Staunton. On the morrow (May 8th) he pushes on to McDowell, seizes Sittlington's hill, which commands the town and camp of the enemy, and makes his dispositions to seize the road in the rear of the enemy during the night. But Milroy and Schenck have united, and seeing their position untenable, make a fierce attack in the afternoon to retake the hill and cover their retreat. For three or four hours a bloody struggle takes place on the brow of Sittlington's hill. The Federals, though inflicting severe loss, are repulsed at every point, and at nightfall quietly withdraw. They light their camp-fires and, in the darkness, evacuate the town. They retreat twenty-four miles to Franklin, in Pendleton county, where they meet Fremont, advancing with the main body of his forces. Jackson follows to this point; has found it impossible to attack the retreating foe to advantage, and now deems it unadvisable to attempt anything further in this difficult country with his ten thousand men against Fremont's fourteen thousand or fifteen thousand. Screening his movements from Fremont with cavalry, he turns back (May 13th), marches rapidly to within seventeen miles of Staunton, then turns toward Harrisonburg, and dispatches General Ewell that he is on his way to attack Banks with their united forces.

Meantime, important changes have taken place in the disposition of the Federal troops in the Valley. McClellan is calling for more troops and complaining that McDowell is withheld. The latter, [737] having gathered Abercrombie's and other scattered commands from the country in front of Washington into a new division, to replace those sent to McClellan, now lies at Fredericksburg, impatient to take part in the movement on Richmond. Banks, hearing of Ewell's arrival in the Valley, fears an attack from him and Jackson combined, and retires from Harrisonburg to New Market. Jackson's inaction for some weeks, and now his movement to West Virginia, reassures the Federal administration, and Shields, with more than half of Banks' force, is detached at New Market, and ordered to Fredericksburg to swell McDowell's Corps to over forty thousand men. Banks is left with only some seven thousand men, and falls back to Strasburg, where he fortifies. He assumes a defensive attitude to hold the Lower Valley and to cover the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. These movements of the enemy had nearly disarranged Jackson's plans. Upon the march of Shields toward Fredericksburg, General J. E. Johnston, commanding in chief in Virginia, thought it time to recall Ewell to meet the new danger thus threatened, and the orders reached Ewell while Jackson was yet one day's march short of Harrisonburg. After conference with Ewell, Jackson took the responsibility of detaining him until the condition of affairs could be represented to General Johnston, and, meantime, they united in a vigorous pursuit of Banks.

Ashby has followed close on Banks' heels, and now occupies his outposts with constant skirmishing, while he completely screens Jackson. The latter, having marched rapidly to New Market, as if about to follow the foe to Strasburg, to attack him there, suddenly changes his route, crosses the Massanutten mountains to Luray, where Ewell joins him, and pours down the narrow Page Valley, by forced marches, to Front Royal. This place is about one hundred and twenty miles (by Jackson's route) from Franklin, and the Confederates reached it on May 23d, ten days after leaving Franklin. This village (Front Royal) is held by about one thousand men under Colonel Kenly, of the First Maryland (Federal) regiment, who has in charge the large stores there gathered, and the important railroad bridges on the Shenandoah. This force also covers the flank and rear of Banks' position at Strasburg. Kenly is taken by surprise, makes what resistance he can; is forced across the bridges he vainly attempts to destroy, and flies toward Winchester. Jackson, too impatient to wait for his tried infantry, places himself at the head of a few companies of cavalry and pushes after the foe. He overtakes, attacks, and disperses Kenly's force, and in a few moments four-fifths [738] of it are killed, wounded or prisoners. Exhausted nature can do no more. Weary and foot-sore, the soldiers lie down to rest.

General Banks, amazed at this irruption, by which his flank is turned and his communications threatened, begins, during the night, a precipitate retreat to Winchester. Jackson anticipates this, and presses on, the next morning, to Middletown, a village between Strasburg and Winchester, to find the road still filled with Federal trains and troops. Capturing and scattering these in every direction, he follows on after the main body, which has already passed him toward Winchester. He overhauls them in the afternoon, pushes Banks' rear guard before him all night, and, having given but one hour to rest, at daylight, on the 25th of May, reaches Winchester, to find the Federal forces drawn up across the approaches to the town from the south and southeast. The main part of ,Banks' army occupies the ridge on which the battle of Kernstown had been fought, but at a point two miles further north, while another part held the Front Royal road, on which Ewell, with a part of his division, was advancing. A vigorous attack is at once made by the Confederates, which, for a short time, is bravely resisted; but the Federal lines begin to yield, and seeing himself about to be overwhelmed, Banks retreats through Winchester. Jackson presses closely, and the Federals emerge from the town a mass of disordered fugitives, making their way, with all speed, toward the Potomac. The Confederate infantry followed for several miles, capturing a large number of prisoners, and had the cavalry been as efficient, but few of Banks' troops would have escaped. Banks halts on the north side of the Potomac, and Jackson allows his exhausted men to rest at Winchester. Thorough and glorious was Jackson's victory. In forty-eight hours the enemy had been driven between fifty and sixty miles, from Front Royal and Strasburg, to the Potomac, with the loss of more than one-third of his entire strength. His army had crossed the latter river a disorganized mass. Hundreds of wagons had been abandoned or burned. Two pieces of artillery, and an immense quantity of quartermaster, commissary, medical, and ordnance stores had fallen into the hands of the victor. Some twenty-three hundred prisoners were taken to the rear when Jackson fell back, beside seven hundred and fifty wounded and sick paroled, and left in the hospitals at Winchester and Strasburg, making a total of about three thousand and fifty.

A day is given, according to Jackson's custom, to religious services and thanksgiving, and another to rest, and on the third he is again moving toward Harper's Ferry, in order, by the most [739] energetic diversion possible, to draw away troops from Richmond. How well he effected this, a glance at the Federal movements will show. As above stated, the quiet that succeeded Kernstown, the advance of Banks far into the Valley, and the movement of Jackson to West Virginia had calmed the apprehensions of the Federal administration, for the time, in regard to Washington, and the urgent requests of McClellan and McDowell, that the latter's corps should be sent forward from Fredericksburg toward Richmond, were listened to. Shields was detached from Banks, and sent to McDowell, and, on May 17th, the latter was ordered to prepare to move down the Fredericksburg Railroad, to unite with McClellan before Richmond. On Friday, May 23d, the very day of Jackson's attack at Front Royal, President Lincoln and Secretary Stanton went to Fredericksburg to confer with General McDowell, found that Shields had already reached that point, and determined, after consultation, that the advance should begin on the following Monday (May 26th). McClellan was informed of the contemplated movement, and instructed to assume command of McDowell's Corps when it joined him. This fine body of troops, moving from the north against the Confederate capital, would have seized all the roads entering the city from that direction, and would have increased McClellan's available force by from forty to fifty per cent. There was strong reason to expect that this combined movement would effect the downfall of Richmond.

The Federal President returned to Washington on the night of the 23d to await the result. He there received the first news of Jackson's operations at Front Royal the preceding afternoon. The first dispatches indicated only an unimportant raid, and McDowell was directed by telegraph to leave his “least effective” brigade at Fredericksburg, in addition to the forces agreed upon for the occupation of that town. Later, on the 24th, the news from Banks became more alarming, and General McDowell was dispatched that:

General Fremont has been ordered by telegraph to move from Franklin on Harrisonburg, to relieve General Banks, and capture or destroy Jackson and Ewell's forces. You are instructed, laying aside, for the present, the movement on Richmond, to put twenty thousand men in motion at once for the Shenandoah, moving on the line, or in advance of the line, of the Manassas Gap Railroad. Your object will be to capture the forces of Jackson and Ewell, either in co-operation with General Fremont, or, in case want of supplies or of transportation interferes with his movements, it is believed that the force with which you move will be sufficient to accomplish the object alone. * * *

The following was sent to General McClellan at four P. M. on May 24th: [740]

In consequence of General Banks' critical position, I have been compelled to suspend General McDowell's movements to join you. The enemy are making a desperate push on Harper's Ferry, and we are trying to throw Fremont's force, and part of McDowell's, in their rear.


Next day the news from Banks seems to have greatly increased the excitement in Washington. The following telegrams were sent to General McClellan (May 25th) by President Lincoln:

The enemy is moving north in sufficient force to drive Banks before him, in precisely what force we cannot tell. He is also threatening Leesburg and Geary, on the Manassas Gap Railroad, from both north and south, in precisely what force we cannot tell. I think the movement is a general and concerted one, such as could not be if he was acting upon the purpose of a very desperate defense of Richmond. I think the time is near when you must either attack Richmond or give up the job and come to the defense of Washington. Let me hear from you immediately.

A later one reads:

Your dispatch received. Banks was at Strasburg with about six thousand men, Shields having been taken from him to swell a column for McDowell to aid you at Richmond, and the rest of the force scattered at various places. On the 23d, a rebel force of seven to ten thousand men fell upon one regiment and two companies guarding the bridge at Front Royal, destroying it entirely, crossed the Shenandoah, and, on the 24th (yesterday), pushed to get north of Banks on the road to Winchester. Banks ran a race with them, beating them into Winchester yesterday evening. This morning a battle ensued between the two forces, in which Banks was beaten back into full retreat toward Martinsburg, and probably is broken up into a total rout. Geary, on the Manassas Gap Railroad, just now reports that Jackson is now near Front Royal, with ten thousand, following up and supporting, as I understand, the force now pursuing Banks; also, that another force of ten thousand is near Orleans, following on in the same direction. Stripped bare as we are here, it will be all we can do to prevent them crossing the Potomac at Harper's Ferry or above. We have about twenty thousand of McDowell's force moving back to the vicinity of Front Royal, and Fremont, who was at Franklin, is moving to Harrisonburg. Both of these movements are intended to get in the enemy's rear. One more of McDowell's brigades is ordered through here to Harper's Ferry. The rest of his forces remain, for the present, at Fredericksburg. We are sending such regiments, in dribs, from here and Baltimore as we can spare, to Harper's Ferry, supplying their places, in some sort, by calling in the militia from the adjacent States. We also have eighteen cannon on the road to Harper's Ferry, of which arm there is not a single one yet at that point. This is now our situation. If McDowell's force was now beyond our reach, we should be utterly helpless. Apprehensions of something like this, and no unwillingness to sustain you, has always been my reason for withholding McDowell's force from you. Please understand this and do the best you can with the forces you have.

The exaggeration of this dispatch shows the panic produced. Jackson had no troops at Orleans, or anywhere east of the ridge (except a little cavalry), and his entire force, which was all with him, [741] was about fifteen thousand or sixteen thousand. This dispatch shows, however, that Jackson was, for the time, not only occupying all the troops in and around Washington, together with Fremont's forces, but was completely neutralizing the forty thousand under McDowell, and thus disconcerting McClellan's plans.

But if the skill, celerity, and daring of Jackson are illustrated in his movement against Banks, these qualities shine out far more brilliantly in his retreat from the Potomac, and in his battles at Port Republic. He moved to Harper's Ferry on the 28th of May, and spent the 29th in making demonstrations against the force that had been rapidly gathered there, but which was too strongly posted to be attacked in front. Time did not allow a crossing of the river and an investment of the place. The large bodies of troops which the Federal administration was hastening from every direction to overwhelm him, were already closing in. McDowell, with twenty thousand men, was hurrying toward Front Royal and Strasburg, and Fremont, now awake to the fact that his enemy had pushed him back into the mountains, and then slipped away to destroy his colleague, was moving with his fourteen thousand or fifteen thousand men toward Strasburg. General Saxton had seven thousand Federal troops at Harper's Ferry, and Banks was taking breath with the remnants of his command (some three thousand or four thousand men) at Williamsport, Maryland. Thus, over forty thousand men were gathering to crush Jackson, whose strength was now not over fifteen thousand. On the morning of May 30th he began his retreat by ordering all his troops, except Winder's Brigade and the cavalry, to fall back to Winchester. Nor was he an hour too soon, for before he reached that town McDowell's advance had poured over the Blue ridge, driven out the small guard left at Front Royal, and captured the village.

The condition of affairs when Jackson reached Winchester, on the evening of May 30th, was as follows: The Federals were in possession of Front Royal, which is but twelve miles from Strasburg, while Winchester is eighteen. Fremont was at Wardensville, distant twenty miles from Strasburg, and had telegraphed President Lincoln that he would enter the latter place by five P. M. the next day. The mass of Jackson's forces had marched twenty-five miles to reach Winchester, and his rear guard, under Winder (after skirmishing with the enemy at Harper's Ferry for part of the day), had camped at Halltown, which is over forty miles distant from Strasburg. The next day (Saturday, May 31st) witnessed a race for Strasburg, which was in Jackson's direct line of retreat, but it was [742] very different in character from the race of the preceding Saturday. Orders were issued for everything in the Confederate camp to move early in the morning. The two thousand three hundred Federal prisoners were first sent forward, guarded by the Twenty-first Virginia Regiment; next the long trains, including many captured wagons loaded with stores; then followed the whole of the army except the rear guard, under Winder.

Jackson reached Strasburg on Saturday afternoon without molestation and encamped, thus placing himself directly between the two armies that were hastening to attack him. Here he remained for twenty-four hours, holding his two opponents apart until Winder could come-up, and the last of the long train could be sent to the rear. Winder, with the Stonewall Brigade, had marched thirty-five miles on Saturday, and by Sunday noon had rejoined the main body. Meantime, Shields and McDowell had been bewildered at Front Royal by the celerity of Jackson's movements, and had spent Saturday in moving out first toward Winchester and then on other roads, and finally in doing nothing. Fremont had stopped five miles short of Strasburg, on Saturday night, and on Sunday was held in check by Ashby, supported by part of Ewell's Division. On Sunday McDowell, despairing of “heading off” Jackson, sent his cavalry to unite with Fremont, at Strasburg, in pursuing the Confederates, and dispatched Shields' Division up the Luray Valley, with the sanguine hope that the latter might, by moving on the longer and worse road, get in the rear of Jackson, who, with a day's start, was moving on the shorter and better. On Friday morning Jackson was in front of Harper's Ferry, fifty miles in advance of Strasburg; Fremont was at Moorefield, thirty-eight miles from Strasburg, with his advance ten miles on the way to the latter place; Shields was not more than twenty miles from Strasburg (for his advance entered Front Royal, which is but twelve miles distant, before midday on Friday), while McDowell was following with another division within supporting distance. Yet by Sunday night Jackson had marched a distance of between fifty and sixty miles, though encumbered with prisoners and captured stores, had reached Strasburg before either of his adversaries, and passed between their armies, while he held Fremont at bay by a show of force, and blinded and bewildered McDowell by the rapidity of his movements.

Now followed five days of masterly retreat. The failure of McDowell to attack him at Strasburg caused Jackson to suspect the movement of his forces up the Page or Luray Valley. McDowell himself did not go beyond Front Royal, but sent Shields' Division to [743] follow Jackson. The road up the Page Valley runs along the east side of the main Shenandoah river, which was then impassible except at the bridges. Of these there were but three in the whole length of the Page Valley, two opposite New Market, but a few miles apart, and a third at Conrad's store, opposite Harrisonburg. Jackson promptly burned the first two, and thus left Shields entirely unable to harass his flank or impede his march. Having thus disposed of one of the pursuing armies, he fell back before Fremont by moderate stages, intrusting the protection of his rear to the indefatigable Ashby. As Fremont approached Harrisonburg, on the 6th of June, Jackson left it. Instead of taking the road via Conrad's store to Swift Run gap, as he had done when retreating before Banks, in April, he now took the road to Port Republic, where the branches of the main Shenandoah unite. He next sent a party to burn the bridge at Conrad's store, which afforded the last chance of a union of his adversaries short of Port Republic. The bridge at the latter place, together with a ford on the south, near the smaller of the tributaries which there form the Shenandoah, gave him the means of crossing from one side to the other, which, by the destruction of the other bridges, he had denied to his enemies.

And now came the crowning act of his campaign. When his enemies were already closing in on his rear with overwhelming force he had, with wonderful celerity, passed in safety between them. He had continued his retreat until they were now drawn one hundred miles from the Potomac. A large fraction of his pursuers had given up the chase, and were off his hands. Banks had only come as far as Winchester. Saxton, from Harper's Ferry, had only followed the rear guard under Winder for part of one day, and then went into camp “exhausted,” as he states. McDowell, with two divisions, had remained at Front Royal when Shields moved toward Luray, the latter officer undertaking, with one of his divisions, to “clean out the Valley.” Hence Jackson had now but Fremont's forces, about equal to his own in number, pressing on his rear, while Shields was making his toilsome way up the Page Valley, and was a day or two behind. By laying hold of the bridges he had placed an impassable barrier between his two pursuers, and now he occupied the point where their two routes converged. No further to the rear would the Shenandoah serve as a barrier to their junction, for south of Port Republic its headwaters are easily fordable. Here, too, was Brown's gap near at hand, an easily defended pass in the Blue ridge, and affording a good road out of the Valley in case of need. In this position Jackson determined to stand and fight his enemies in detail. [744]

On Friday the footsore and weary Confederates went into camp at different points along the five miles of road that intervened between Port Royal and Cross Keys, the latter a point half way between the former village and Martinsburg. The skirmish on that day, in which Fremont's cavalry was severely punished, is memorable because in it fell Turner Ashby, the generous, the chivalric, the high-toned knight-who, as commander of his horse, had so faithfully and gloriously contributed to Jackson's achievements. The next day was given to rest, and sorrow for the loss of Ashby replaced all other feelings for the time. But brief the time for sorrow. War gives much space to the grand emotions that lead to heroic doing or heroic bearing, but is niggardly in its allowance to the softer feelings of sadness and grief. As Ashby is borne away to his burial, all thoughts turn (once more) to the impending strife. Fremont was advancing. He had been emboldened by the retreat of the Confederates, and failing to comprehend the object of Jackson's movements, pushed on to seize the prey which he deemed to be now within his grasp. His troops were all up by Saturday night, and his dispositions were made for attack on Sunday morning, June 8th. But, though Fremont was thus close at hand, while Shields, detained by bad roads with his main body, was yet twelve or fifteen miles off on the east side of the river, yet the opening of the battle on Sunday, June 8th, was made by a dash of Shields' cavalry, under Colonel Carroll, into Port Republic. They had been sent on a day's march in advance, and meeting but a small force of Confederate cavalry, had driven them pell-mell into Port Republic, dashed across South river after them, seized and, for a few minutes, held the bridge over the larger stream. Jackson had just passed through the village as they entered it. Riding rapidly to the nearest infantry regiment north of the bridge, he put himself at the head of it, quickly retook the bridge, captured two cannon, and drove these adventurous horsemen back. They retired two or three miles with their infantry supports, and, as the bluffs on the west side of the river commanded the roads along the east side, a battery or two kept them inactive for the remainder of the day. It was at this time that Shields, from Luray, was dispatching Fremont as follows:

June 8th-9.30 A. M.
I write by your scout. I think by this time there will be twelve pieces of artillery opposite Jackson's train at Port Republic, if he has taken that route. Some cavalry and artillery have pushed on to Waynesboro to burn the bridge: I hope to have two brigades at Port Republic to-day. I follow myself with two other brigades from this place. If the enemy changes direction you will please keep me advised. If he attempts to force a passage, as my force is not large there yet, I hope you will [745] thunder down on his rear. Please send back information from time to time. I think Jackson is caught this time.

Yours, sincerely,


Meanwhile, Fremont had marshaled his brigades, and was pressing on in brilliant array to “thunder down” on his adversary's rear. To General Ewell and his division had Jackson assigned the duty of meeting the foe. His other troops were in the rear, and nearer Port Royal, to watch movements there and to assist General Ewell if necessary. Ewell was drawn up on a wooded ridge near Cross Keys, with an open meadow and rivulet in front. On a parallel ridge beyond the rivulet Fremont took position. The latter first moved forward his left, composed of Blenker's Germans, to the attack. They were met by General Trimble, one of Ewell's brigadier's, with three regiments of his brigade. He coolly withheld his fire until the Germans were close upon him. Then a few deadly volleys and the attack is broken, and the Federal left wing bloodily and decisively repulsed. That sturdy old soldier, General Trimble, having been reinforced, presses forward, dislodges the batteries in position in his front, and threatens the overthrow of Fremont's left wing. While this last is not accomplished, the handling Blenker has received is so rough as completely to paralyze the remainder of Fremont's operations. The attack on centre and right become little more than artillery combats, and by the middle of the afternoon Fremont withdraws his whole line. Ewell's force was about six thousand and his loss two hundred and eighty-seven; Fremont's force twice as great and his loss over six hundred and fifty.

About the time of Fremont's repulse, General Tyler, with one of Shields' infantry brigades, reached the position near Lewistown, to where Colonel Carroll and his cavalry had retired in the morning. But so strong was the position held by the Confederate batteries on the west bank of the river, that Tyler felt it impossible to make any diversion in favor of Fremont, and with his force of three thousand men remained idle.

Jackson, emboldened by the inactivity of Shields' advance, and the easy repulse of Fremont, conceived the audacious design of attacking his two opponents in succession the next day, with the hope of overwhelming them separately. For this purpose he directed that during the night a temporary bridge, composed simply of planks, laid upon the running gear of wagons, should be constructed over the South river, at Port Republic, and ordered Winder to move his brigade at dawn across both rivers and against Shields. Ewell was [746] directed to leave Trimble's Brigade and part of Patton's to hold Fremont in check, and to move at an early hour to Port Royal to follow Winder. Taliaferro's Brigade was left in charge of the batteries along the river, and to protect Trimble's retreat if necessary. The force left in Fremont's front was directed to make all the show possible, and to delay the Federal advance to the extent of its power. The Confederate commander proposed, in case of an easy victory over Shields in the morning, to return to the Harrisonburg side of the river and attack Fremont in the afternoon. In case, however, of delay, and a vigorous advance on Fremont's part, Trimble was to retire by the bridge into Port Republic and burn it, to prevent his antagonist from following.

Jackson urged forward in person the construction of the foot bridge and the slow passage of his troops over the imperfect structure. When Winder's and Taylor's Brigades had crossed he would wait no longer, but moved forward toward the enemy, and when he found him, ordered Winder to attack. The Federal General Tyler had posted his force strongly on a line perpendicular to the river, his left especially in a commanding position and protected by dense woods. Winder attacked with vigor, but soon found the Federal position too strong to be carried by his brigade of twelve hundred men. Taylor went to his assistance, but met with a stubborn resistance and varying success. Winder was forced back until other troops came up and enabled him once more to go forward. Jackson, finding the resistance of the enemy so much more stubborn than he had expected, and that his first attack had failed, determined to concentrate his whole force and give up all intention of recrossing the river. He, therefore, sent orders to Trimble and Taliaferro to leave Fremont's front, move over the bridge, burn it, and join the main body of the army as speedily as possible. This was done. Before his rear guard had arrived, however, a renewed attack in overwhelming force on Tyler had carried his position, captured his battery, and compelled him to retreat in more or less disorder. The pursuit continued for eight miles; four hundred and. fifty prisoners and six guns were captured, and two hundred and seventy-five wounded paroled in the hospitals near the field. I have seen no official statement of the Federal loss, but the above was, of course, the greater part of it. Jackson's total loss was eight hundred and seventy-six.

Fremont had advanced cautiously against Trimble in the forenoon, and had followed as the latter withdrew and burnt the bridge. By this last act Fremont was compelled to remain an inactive spectator of the defeat of Tyler. General Fremont thus describes the scene when he reached the river: [747]

The battle which had taken place upon the further bank of the river was wholly at an end. A single brigade, in fact, two, sent forward by General Shields had been simply cut to pieces. Colonel Carroll had failed to burn the bridge. Jackson, hastening across, had fallen upon the inferior force, and the result was before us. Of the bridge nothing remained but the charred and smoking timbers. Beyond, at the edge of the woods, a body of the enemy's troops was in position, and a baggage train was disappearing in a pass among the hills. Parties gathering the dead and wounded, together with a line of prisoners awaiting the movement of the rebel force near by, was all, in respect to troops, of either side now to be seen.

Thus the day ended with the complete defeat of the two brigades under Tyler. Gallant and determined had been their resistance, and Jackson's impetuosity had made his victory more difficult than it otherwise would have been. In sending in Winder's Brigade before its supports arrived, he had hurled this body of troops against more than twice their number. Taylor next attacked, but the repulse of Winder enabled the Federal commander to concentrate his forces against Taylor, and drive him from the battery he had taken. It was then that Jackson renewed the attack with the combined forces of three brigades, and speedily forced the enemy from the field. The Confederate trains had been moved in the course of the day across South river toward Brown's gap, and during the afternoon and night the Confederates returned from the battle-field and pursuit, to camp at the foot of this mountain pass. It was midnight before some of them lay down in the rain to rest. This double victory ended the pursuit of Jackson. Fremont, on the next morning, began to retreat, and retired sixty miles to Strasburg. Shields, so soon as his broken brigades rejoined him, retreated to Front Royal, and was there transferred to Manassas.

The battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic closed the Valley campaign of 1862. Just three months had passed since Jackson, with about four thousand troops badly armed and equipped, had fallen back from Winchester before the advance of Banks, with twenty-five thousand men. So feeble seemed his force, and so powerless for offense, that when it had been pushed forty miles to the rear, Banks began to send his force toward Manassas to execute his part of “covering the Federal capital” in McClellan's great campaign. While a large part of the Federal troops is on the march out of the Valley, and their commander is himself en route from Winchester to Washington, Jackson, hastening from his resting place, by a forced march, appears most unexpectedly at Kernstown, and hurls his little army with incredible force and fury against the part of Banks' army which is yet behind. He is mistaken as to the number of the enemy. Three thousand men, worn by a forced march, are not able to defeat the seven thousand of Shields. After a fierce struggle he suffers a [748] severe repulse, but he makes such an impression as to cause the recall of a strong force from McClellan to protect Washington. The Federal administration cannot believe that he has attacked Shields with a handful men.

Falling back before his pursuers, he leaves the main road at Harrisonburg and crossing over to Swift Run gap, he takes a position in which he cannot be readily attacked, and which yet enables him so to threaten the flank of his opponent as to effectually check his further progress. Here he gains ten days time for the reorganization of his regiments, the time of service of most of which expired in April; and here, too, the return of furloughed men, and the accessions of volunteers, doubles his numbers. Finding that no more troops could be obtained besides those of Ewell and Edward Johnson, he leaves the former to hold Banks in check while he makes a rapid and circuitous march to General Edward Johnson's position, near Staunton. Uniting Johnson's force with his own, he appears suddenly in front of Milroy, at McDowell, only eight days after having left Swift Run gap. He has marched one hundred miles and crossed the Blue ridge twice in this time, and now repulses Milroy and Schenck, and follows them up to Franklin. Then, finding Fremont within supporting distance, he, on May 14th, begins to retrace his steps, marching through Harrisonburg, New Market, Luray, Ewell joining him on the road, and swelling his force to sixteen thousand men, and, on May 23d, unexpectedly appears at Front Royal (distant by his route nearly one hundred and twenty miles from Franklin), and surprises and completely overwhelms the force Banks has stationed there. Next day he strikes with damaging effect at Banks' retreating column, between Strasburg and Winchester, and follows him up all night. At dawn he attacks him on the heights of Winchester, forces him from his position, and drives him in confusion and dismay to the Potomac, with the loss of immense stores and a large number of prisoners. Resting but two days, he marches to Harper's Ferry, threatens an invasion of Maryland, and spreads such alarm as to paralyze the movement of McDowell's four thousand men at Fredericksburg, and to cause the concentration of half of this force, together with Fremont's command, on his rear. The militia of the adjoining States is called out; troops are hurried to Harper's Ferry in his front; more than forty thousand troops are hastening, under the most urgent telegrams, to close in around him. Keeping up his demonstrations until the last moment, until, indeed, the head of McDowell's column was but twelve or fourteen miles from his line of retreat, at a point nearly fifty miles in his rear, he, by a forced march of a day and a half, traverses this distance of fifty miles, and places himself at [749] Strasburg. Here he keeps Fremont at bay until his long train of prisoners and captured stores has passed through in safety, and his rear guard closed up. Then he falls back before Fremont, while by burning successively the bridges over the main fork of the Shenandoah, he destroys all co-operation between his pursuers. Having retreated as far as necessary, he turns off from Harrisonburg to Port Republic, seizes the only bridge left south of Front Royal over the Shenandoah, and takes a position which enables him to fight his adversaries in succession, while they cannot succor each other. Fremont first attacks, and is severely repulsed, and next morning Jackson, withdrawing suddenly from his front, and destroying the bridge to prevent his following, attacks the advance brigades of Shields, and completely defeats them, driving them eight or ten miles from the battle-field.

A week of rest, and Jackson, having disposed of his various enemies, and effected the permanent withdrawal of McDowell's Corps from the forces operating against Richmond, is again on the march, and while Banks, Fremont and McDowell are disposing their broken or baffled forces to cover Washington, is hastening to aid in the great series of battles which, during the last days of June and the early ones of July, resulted in the defeat of McClellan's army and the relief of the Confederate capital.

I have thus tried to give you, fellow soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia, an outline of one of the most brilliant pages of our history. Time has not permitted me to dwell on the great deeds which crowded those few months, or to characterize, in fitting terms of panegyric, the mighty actors in them. I have attempted nothing beyond a simple and carefully accurate statement of the facts. This may help to clear away from one campaign the dust and mould which already gathers over the memories of the great struggle. It may do more. It may, by touching the electric chord of association, transport us for the time into the presence of the majestic dead, and of the mighty drama, the acting of which was like another and higher life, and the contemplation of which should tend to strengthen, elevate, ennoble. It is wise in our day — it is wise always — to recur to a time when patriotism was a passion; when devotion to great principles dwarfed all considerations other than those of truth and right; when duty was felt to be the sublimest word in our language; when sacrifice outweighed selfishness; when human virtue was equal to human calamity. Among the heroes of that time Jackson holds a high place — a worthy member of a worthy band-aye, of a band than which no land in any age can point to a worthier.

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Winchester, Va. (Virginia, United States) (52)
Strasburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (30)
Harper's Ferry (West Virginia, United States) (20)
Washington (United States) (19)
Front Royal (Virginia, United States) (19)
Port Republic (Virginia, United States) (14)
Harrisonburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (14)
Staunton, Va. (Virginia, United States) (11)
Jackson (Tennessee, United States) (11)
West Virginia (West Virginia, United States) (10)
Manassas, Va. (Virginia, United States) (10)
Fredericksburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (9)
Romney (West Virginia, United States) (6)
Alleghany Mountains (United States) (6)
Virginia (Virginia, United States) (5)
New Market (Virginia, United States) (5)
Shenandoah (United States) (4)
Luray (Virginia, United States) (4)
Woodstock, Va. (Virginia, United States) (3)
Port Royal, Va. (Virginia, United States) (3)
Mount Jackson (Virginia, United States) (3)
Cross Keys (Virginia, United States) (3)
Berkeley Springs (West Virginia, United States) (3)
Williamsport (Maryland, United States) (2)
South River (Virginia, United States) (2)
Orleans, Ma. (Massachusetts, United States) (2)
Martinsburg (West Virginia, United States) (2)
Hancock, Md. (Maryland, United States) (2)
Gordonsville (Virginia, United States) (2)
Franklin, Va. (Virginia, United States) (2)
Fort Loudoun (Tennessee, United States) (2)
Cumberland (Maryland, United States) (2)
Centreville (Virginia, United States) (2)
Baltimore, Md. (Maryland, United States) (2)
Alexandria (Virginia, United States) (2)
Waynesboro, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)
Warrenton (Virginia, United States) (1)
Wardensville (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Tyler, Texas (Texas, United States) (1)
Shenandoah county (Virginia, United States) (1)
Roanoke Island (North Carolina, United States) (1)
Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Page Valley (Virginia, United States) (1)
New Creek (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Moorefield (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Middletown (Virginia, United States) (1)
Meadow Mills (Virginia, United States) (1)
Maryland (Maryland, United States) (1)
Lewistown (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Leesburg (Virginia, United States) (1)
Keyser (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Hampshire County (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Halltown (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Frederick, Md. (Maryland, United States) (1)
Franklin (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Fortress Monroe (Virginia, United States) (1)
Fort Donelson (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Edinburg (Virginia, United States) (1)
Edgefield (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Columbus, Ky. (Kentucky, United States) (1)
Cheat River (United States) (1)
Charles Town (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Braddock (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Beaulieu (Louisiana, United States) (1)

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