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[341] Jackson in force, he sent word to Gen. Shields of the threatened attack upon the town. Upon this information, Col. Kimball's brigade and Capt. Huntington's battery, First Ohio, were immediately advanced upon the Strasburg road, the direction from which the enemy were approaching, and only a mile from the outskirts of the town met the enemy's battery in position at the right of the road, upon a hill, their guns all pointing down the turnpike. Capt. Huntington's battery was immediately placed in position likewise, at the right of the road and in a hollow; and Gen. Shields, with his staff, rode to the front, and himself gave the order to fire, when a shell from the enemy's battery exploded near him, a fragment striking his arm and causing a fracture of the long-bone, not making the slightest rupture of the skin. The skirmish closed at dusk, the only other accident of which was the killing of one of the artillerymen and one horse.

During the fight Gen. Shields continued to give his orders as if nothing had happened, and in reply to an officer who asked, “You are hit, General, are you not?” he said, “Yes, I am, but say nothing of it,” and he continued to issue his commands with firmness and apparent unconcern, until the severity of his wound caused faintness, and he was necessarily removed from the field.

Four times has the General now received wounds which have endangered his life--three times in Mexico, and now again.

From early morning our pickets were engaged with the cavalry of the enemy, who rode up and down, in the woods and on the road, shooting at our men both from the saddle and dismounted. The firing brought out our artillery again to the position where the enemy had commenced to harass our pickets.

The whole battle was conducted by General Shields, who issued his orders from his sick-room, two miles distant, at his headquarters in Winchester.

The artillery, who had encamped near the place where the skirmish had occurred on the previous evening, were ordered to be reinforced by the entire command of Gen. Shields, composed of three brigades of infantry, the first commanded by Col. Nathan Kimball, of Indiana; the second by Col. I. C. Sullivan, of Indiana, and the third by Col. E. B. Tyler, of Ohio, whose command, leading the right wing, appeared most conspicuously throughout the battle.

There were also engaged four and a half batteries of artillery, commanded by Lieut.-Col. P. Daum, and sixteen companies of cavalry, commanded by Col. Broadhead, of Michigan. Our pickets, whom the cavalry of the enemy had annoyed so much in the morning, were of the Eighth Ohio, and the remainder of their regiment was the first to come to their assistance, who engaged in a promiscuous fight with the enemy until the arrival of the full reinforcement of Gen. Shields' division, already enumerated, who immediately were put in line of battle, extending from a point a short distance to the left of the Strasburg turnpike, to a point two miles distant upon the right.

The position chosen by our forces was nearly a mile from the rebel batteries, which they had posted upon the hills near the little town of Kernsville, like our own troops, mostly at the right-hand side of the road, a few guns only being posted upon the left. Tyler's brigade had the right wing, Kimball commanded the middle, and Sullivan the left wing. All of them were protected from the fire of the enemy by the intervening hills, upon which were placed our artillery, confronting the rebel batteries upon the top of the opposite hills, with about a mile distance between them. The cavalry was disposed in squadrons in reserve.

There is a road which turns to the right away from the turnpike, and bends forward in the direction of the enemy — a poor, clay road — and as it approaches the enemy's lines, is covered with thick woods on either side. It was behind these woods that the enemy had placed their infantry and cavalry, and several pieces of artillery were in position commanding the road, extending also, as above described, as far as and even beyond the turnpike. From this position of the forces, the rebel infantry and cavalry being concealed by the woods opposite our right flank, it was evident that most was to be feared from the enemy in that quarter. Their first and heaviest fire was, however, opened by their artillery upon our left, they hoping by that means to draw our attention and forces in that direction, and by a sudden onset and charge of their infantry and cavalry upon our right, to outflank us. The attempt was entirely unsuccessful, and the fire was directed against the right.

The forces thus placed were under a continual fire of the batteries of the enemy, returning the same most vigorously and constantly, while our men dropped down one after another, and the groans of the wounded were added to the roar of the artillery through five long hours, from half-past 10 to half-past 3. From that onward until dark the fight was one of musketry — of close hand-to-hand conflicts, of hazardous charges and of desperate slaughter. The order was given to the whole right wing to charge, and led on by Col. Tyler, they rushed fearlessly and fought bravely till the enemy was forced to retreat.

We cannot attempt to give due credit to all who fought well, but those who most distinguished themselves must be mentioned, and among them the Fifth Ohio. When ordered to advance, they marched forward unflinching, supported by the Fourteenth and Thirteenth Indiana, and when in the very face of the enemy's cannon, and when they could almost touch them with their bayonets, a fire was opened upon them which killed instantly fifteen of them, and brought many of them wounded to the earth. The man who bore the colors was shot down, but another seized them and he was also killed, and the third had fallen, when Capt. Geo B. Wilcomb took them and bore them onward, and was also killed. In this gallant onset a colonel was killed--Colonel Murray, who while leading his regiment to the charge, fell dead from the shot of the enemy. The Seventh

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James Shields (6)
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