previous next

“ [339] his left flank, and hurl it back on the centre,” were his orders, and Col. Kimball executed them with rapidity and vigor. The movement was entrusted to Tyler's splendid brigade, and following their intrepid leader, they pressed forward with enthusiasm to the performance of this perilous duty. The enemy's skirmishers were as chaff before the wind. Steadily onward it went until within a few yards of a high stone wall, behind which the enemy was securely posted, when it was met by a fire so fierce and deadly that its ranks melted away like frost before the morning sun. They wavered but for a moment, then rushed forward to the desperate struggle. At this juncture Col. Tyler was reinforced by five companies of the Fifth Ohio, the Thirteenth Indiana, and Sixty-second Ohio, of Sullivan's brigade, and the Fourteenth Indiana, Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania, seven companies of the Sixty-seventh Ohio, and three companies of the Eighth Ohio, of Kimball's brigade; and with a cheer and a yell that rose high and loud above the roar of battle, drove the enemy from their shelter, and through the woods, with a fire as destructive as ever fell upon a retreating foe. The rebels fought desperately, as their piles of dead attest, and, to their chagrin and mortification, Jackson's “invincible stonewall brigade” and the accompanying brigades were obliged to fall back upon their reserve in disorder. Here they took up a new position, and attempted to retrieve the fortunes of the day. But again rained down upon them the same close and destructive fire. Again cheer upon cheer rang in their ears. But a few minutes did they stand against it, when they turned and fled in dismay, leaving their killed and wounded on the field. Night alone saved them from total destruction. The enemy retreated about five miles, and took up a new position for the night. Our troops threw themselves down upon the field to rest and to partake of the first food since early dawn.

Although the battle had been won, still Gen. Shields could not believe that Jackson would have hazarded a decisive engagement at such a distance from the main body of the enemy without expecting reenforcements. So to be prepared for any contingency, he brought together all the troops within his reach, and sent an express for Williams's brigade, now twenty miles distant, to march all night and join him in the morning. He gave positive orders to the forces in the field to open fire upon them as soon as daylight would enable them to point their guns, and to pursue the enemy without respite, and compel him to abandon his guns and baggage or cut him to pieces.

It appears that Gen. Shields had rightly divined the intentions of his crafty antagonist, for on the morning of the twenty-third a reenforcement of five thousand men from Luray reached Front Royal, on their way to join Jackson. This reinforcement was being followed by another body of ten thousand from Sperryville, but recent rains having rendered the Shenandoah River impassable, they were compelled to fall back without effecting the proposed junction.

At daylight on the twenty-fourth our artillery again opened upon the enemy. He entered upon his retreat in good order, considering what he had suffered. Gen. Banks, hearing of the engagement on his way to Washington, halted at Harper's Ferry, and ordered back a part of Williams's division. Gen. Banks himself returned, and after making a hasty visit to Gen. Shields, who was confined to his bed with his wounds, assumed command of the forces in pursuit of the enemy in person.

The pursuit was kept up with vigor until they reached Woodstock, where the enemy's retreat became fright, and the pursuit was abandoned, because of the utter exhaustion of our men.

The killed, as reported, are one hundred and three. Among them the country will deplore the loss of the brave Col. Murray of the Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania volunteers, who fell while gallantly leading his regiment in the face of the enemy. The wounded are four hundred and forty-one, many of them slightly, and the missing twenty-four.

The enemy's loss is difficult to ascertain. Two hundred and seventy were found dead on the battle-field, forty were buried by the inhabitants of the adjacent village, and by a calculation made from the number of graves on both sides of the valley road, between Winchester and Strasburg, their loss in killed must have been about five hundred, and in wounded a thousand. The proportion of the killed and wounded of the enemy shows the closeness and terrible destructiveness of our fire — nearly half the wounds being fatal.

The enemy admit a loss of between a thousand and fifteen hundred. Our force in infantry, cavalry, and artillery did not exceed seven thousand. That of the enemy must have been more than eleven thousand.

Jackson, who commanded in the field had, in addition to his own “stone-wall” brigade, portions of Smith's and Loring's brigades.

Their force in infantry must have been nine thousand. The cavalry of their united brigades amounted to fifteen hundred, and they had thirty-six pieces of artillery.

The Federals had six thousand infantry, seven hundred and fifty cavalry, and twenty-four pieces of artillery.

The thanks and commendations of the country are due the officers and soldiers for their noble conduct on that trying day. It was worthy the great people whose national existence they had pledged their lives to sustain. Col. Kimball, commanding the First brigade, and the senior officer in the field — cool, brave, and judicious, executing orders with vigor and sagacity. Col. Tyler, commanding the Third brigade, winning the admiration of the army by the fearless intrepidity with which he led his gallant brigade, and achieved the decisive movement of the day.

Col. Sullivan, commanding the Second brigade, with the gallant Col. Carroll of the Eighth Ohio,


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
E. B. Tyler (3)
James Shields (3)
Nathan Kimball (3)
Stonewall Jackson (3)
Philip Williams (2)
J. C. Sullivan (2)
N. P. Banks (2)
William E. Smith (1)
A. Murray (1)
Loring (1)
James Carroll (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: