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[137] naked as possible, he left Franklin next morning,1 the soldiers discarding even their knapsacks, but taking five days rations of hard bread ; and thus, through constant rain, and over mountain roads that could be made barely passable, he crossed the Alleghanies and descended into the Valley, reaching and occupying Strasburg on the evening of June 1st, just in time to be too late to head Jackson, who had retreated through that place a few hours before. Next morning, Gen. Bayard,2 with the cavalry advance of Shields's division, reached that point.

Shields, however, pushed up the South Fork of the Shenandoah, on the other side of Massanutten Mountain, expecting to head Jackson at some point farther south; while Fremont followed him directly down the North Fork, by Woodstock and Mount Jackson, to Harrisonburg. The advance of each was greatly embarrassed by the many streams which make their way down from the mountains into either branch of the Shenandoah, and which were now swollen to raging torrents by the incessant rains; Jackson of course burning or breaking down the bridges as he passed them, and sending cavalry across to destroy the more important of those in front of Shields. Passing through Harrisonburg,3 Jackson diverged from the great road leading southwardly to Staunton, moving south-easterly, with intent to cross the South Fork at Port Republic. His rear was bravely and ably protected by the 2d and 6th Virginia cavalry, Gen. Turner Ashby, who that day repulsed a spirited charge of our cavalry in advance, capturing Col. Percy Wyndham and 63 men. Being still sharply pressed, Ashby called for an infantry support; when the brigade of Gen. Geo. II. Stewart was promptly ordered up, and was soon hotly engaged with the Pennsylvania Bucktails, whose commander, Lt.-Col. Kane, was wounded and taken prisoner. The Rebel loss in this affair was numerically less than ours, being but 20 killed and 50 wounded; but among the killed was Ashby himself, whose loss was at least equal to that of a regiment. Always fighting at the head of his men, with the most reckless self-exposure, his fate was merely a question of time. For outpost and skirmishing service, he left no equal behind him in either army.

Being now within a few miles of Port Republic, where his trains and artillery must be taken over a

1 May 25.

2 Gen. McDowell, in his testimony aforesaid, blames Gen. Ord, commanding one of his divisions, for lack of energy in pushing it on from Front Royal to Strasburg, and adds, that he sent forward Gen. Shields from Front Royal with express orders “to go on the direct road to Strasburg, and not cross the North Fork of the Shenandoah until near that place.” He adds:

After some time in getting Ord's, or rather Ricketts's, division together, I started out to tile front. I met one of Gen. Shields's aids-de-camp coming in from Front Royal and asked him how far out he had met Gen. Shields. He said he had rot met him at all. I told him he had started to go out, and he said he must have lost his way. Without stopping to see what had become of him. I took Bayard's cavalry brigade, the only one ready to move. and sent it forward by the direct road to Strasburg. I then went to see where Gen. Shields was, and found him over on the road toward Winchestar. He had sent his troops on that road, instead of on the one I had ordered him to send them on. He said that he had received information from his aid-de-camp that Jackson had fallen back, and he had sent his troops this way. When I got up there, they were coming in. Well, it was too late to get ahead of Jackson then.

3 June 5.

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